The command staff are caught in a conundrum when Sheridan agrees to give sanctuary to a Narn warship fleeing the Centauri, at the same time that Earthgov attempts to placate the increasingly aggressive Centauri Republic. The Nightwatch begins to expand their influence on the station.
- Bruce Boxleitner as Captain John Sheridan
- Claudia Christian as Commander Susan Ivanova
- Jerry Doyle as Security Chief Michael Garibaldi
- Mira Furlan as Ambassador Delenn
- Richard Biggs as Dr. Stephen Franklin
- Andrea Thompson as Talia Winters
- Stephen Furst as Vir Cotto
- Bill Mumy as Lennier
- Mary Kay Adams as Na'Toth
- Robert Rusler as Lieutenant Warren Keffer
- Andreas Katsulas as Ambassador G'Kar
- Peter Jurasik as Ambassador Londo Mollari
- Roy Dotrice as Frederick Lantze
- Jeff Conaway as Zack Allan
- Juli Doland as Pilot #1
- Rick Hamilton as Mitch
- Robin Sachs as Na'Kal
- John Vickery as Mr. Welles
- Donovan Brown as pak'ma'ra Ambassador
- Joshua Cox as Tech #1
- Elisa Beth Garver as Tech #2
- Mark Hendrickson as Narn #1
- Joshua Patton as Human/Minbari Kosh
- Kim Strauss as Drazi Ambassador
- Unknown as Xavier Darabuto
- First appearance of Mr. Welles, played by John Vickery.
- Regular characters appearing in this episode are John Sheridan, Susan Ivanova, Michael Garibaldi, Delenn, Vir Cotto, Lennier, Warren Keffer, Londo Mollari, and G'Kar.
- This episode marks the last appearance of Keffer.
Captain Sheridan oversees a Zeta Squadron Starfury training run. Warren Keffer made a mistake and Sheridan makes a point of it. He also notes that some non-humans can withstand g-forces better than humans and it is worth it to get out of the line of fire if alien craft get a better bead on them.
On Babylon 5, Lennier has quick words with Vir Cotto at a bar, both commiserating at being left out of the momentous and worrying things their superiors are involved in. They agree to meet again, same time tomorrow.
Sheridan confronts Ambassador Londo Mollari over the aggressive actions of Centauri "presence" but Londo pushes back that his authority ends at Babylon 5. Sheridan seeks Garibaldi's advice as he is his 'closest friend'. They are interrupted by the arrival of Frederick Lantze from the Ministry of Peace. Sheridan and Ivanova greet Lantze who is here to investigate the Centauri. Lantze also introduces Welles, his co-director in charge of the Nightwatch.
Meanwhile, Starfury pilots suiting down from off-station activity discuss the occurrence of "the ghost", a spidery form in space. Lt. Keffer approaches a veteran pilot, Mitch Harvey, to question him about the ghost – saying that he saw it too, and that it killed Commander Galus. Harvey initially tries to leave thinking Keffer isn't serious, but it's soon apparent he is. He advises Keffer not to go trying to find it.
Ivanova comes to pick up Lantze at his quarters, who regales her of tales of Earth and family. In C&C, a Narn Heavy Cruiser is detected to arrive. Sheridan hails them, and they reply, revealing that they had been in deep space patrol when the Centauri invasion of the Narn Homeworld begun, and had been on the run since. They request for sanctuary on Babylon 5.
Welles visits Ivanova in her quarters. He praises her record, and attempts to establish cooperation from her for the Nightwatch for her own command. She rejects him in the name of loyalty and the ideals of the Earth Alliance. He leaves, but the offer still stands. In the C&C, G'Kar is delighted to learn from Sheridan that assistance is being extended to the heavy cruiser and Sheridan is likely to extend sanctuary to them.
Welles meets members of the Nightwatch onboard "informally", but singles out Zack Allan for not sending in any reports. He hints that any thought could be seditious and it was up to the administration to decide what is seditious or not. Allan admits there was a complaint but not that it was serious. Welles presses him, noting the reports others have made about the inconsequential but, to Welles, significant, grievances of others. Allan is clearly uncomfortable reporting this, but Welles forgives it, saying he shows promise.
Harvey later returns to Keffer with a data crystal of sensor recordings of the ghost, hinting that it gives away a neutrino emission signature but wants nothing else to do with this.
Ivanova and Lantze complete speaking to the representatives of the League of Non-Aligned Worlds when G'Kar finds them in the corridors. G'Kar seeks an audience, but Lantze shrugs him off.
In C&C, Sheridan assures the Narn cruiser that they will protect them when they take their engines off-line. Welles enters C&C, asking Sheridan to stop conducting fighter exercises against Centauri models. Ivanova is surprised at this line, and asks his real purpose. He reveals that he was investigating the situation in order to sign a non-aggression treaty with the Centauri – and build a Human-Centauri alliance before he leaves.
A younger officer catches Welles in the lift with some new information.
Meanwhile, Ivanova visits Sheridan in his quarters, and presents him with a Christmas gift: a piece of shrapnel from the Black Star. They are interrupted by a call from Ambassador Mollari, who has learned of the Narn heavy cruiser and demands its surrender to Centauri authority. Ivanova thinks that Welles might have something to do with it. They rush to C&C to inform the Narn cruiser that the Centauri are now aware of their presence. As Sheridan does so, a Centauri battle cruiser jumps in, and Sheridan orders Zeta squadron to surround the Narn Cruiser. Just then, Lantze barges in to berate the captain for jeopardising the incipient Human-Centauri non-aggression pact, but Sheridan notes it's not effective yet and asks him to be escorted out of C&C. Sheridan then warns Ambassador Mollari that he has extended shelter to the Narn cruiser and will be escorting it out of Babylon 5 space. A copy of his call with Mollari is sent to the Centauri cruiser and the station's battle grid is activated. After a tense moment, the Centauri open fire and an assault is commenced. Zeta Squadron and Babylon 5 return fire, giving time for the Narn ship to escape through the jumpgate.
The heavily-damaged Centauri heavy cruiser breaks apart before Sheridan can render them any assistance.
Lantze and Welles confront Sheridan for destroying a Centauri ship. Sheridan defends his orders, citing General Order 47 to assist any vessel not in direct conflict with Earthforce. Lantze counters that his actions provoked the Centauri to accuse Babylon 5 of moving to a pro-Narn position. Welles intervenes just then, saying that the joint chiefs support Sheridan's act, but also points out that they should have been informed of the sanctuary request immediately. Lantze says that the Centauri are willing to accept an apology, but Sheridan opposes it. Then, Welles threatens to replace him if he doesn't do it in a meeting with various ambassadors due in an hour.
Sheridan changes to his formal uniform and practices his apology speech but relishes the thought of admitting his pride in his actions. Meanwhile, at the Ambassadorial meeting in Hydroponics, Ivanova spots a hiding G'Kar who wishes to publicly express his support for Sheridan.
Lt. Keffer, meanwhile, is in space looking for the ghost and its neutrino emissions. Finally, he sights the Shadow Fighter. He fires a homing beacon at it but not before Shadow Fighter notices him and destroys his vessel.
While on the public shuttle to the meeting, Sheridan spots a bomb on the train. He is quick enough to activate an emergency override on the doors to jump out over hydroponics. The ambassadors watch in horror overhead, and Delenn begs Kosh to act. Kosh exits from his encounter suit, emerges as a glowing angel, catches the falling Sheridan and safely returns him to ground.
Sheridan is recovering in his quarters when Delenn checks up on him. He expresses that everyone has been talking about the incident but saw Kosh as a different being of light. Delenn reveals that the Vorlons have been guiding the various younger races as angels but warns that Kosh' actions may have gained the attention of the Shadows.
Elsewhere at the bar, a Drazi asks Ambassador Mollari what he saw, to which he replies nothing and walks away.
A few days later, the Earth-Centauri Alliance is announced, and the Centauri further expand their "presence" to more Non-Aligned Worlds. Allan witnesses the shopkeeper being arrested for sedition and their shopfront closed by ministry decree. Finally, Keffer's homing beacon is found by ISN and the first images of a Shadow Fighter is broadcast publicly.
"Before I leave here, there will be an Earth-Centauri alliance that will guarantee peace for Earth."
"We will, at last know peace in our time."
- – Frederick Lantze
"Apologize for doing my job, like hell"
- – Captain Sheridan to Mr. Lantze
"Tell them that from this place we will deliver notice to the parliaments of conquerors that a line has been drawn against the darkness… and we will hold that line, no matter the cost."
- – Captain John Sheridan
|Babylon 5 Season 2 "The Coming of Shadows"|
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