The Babylon Project

While Susan Ivanova must contend with a civil war among the Drazi, Londo Mollari confronts a coalition of mysterious techno-mages.



Guest Starring[]


Cast Notes[]



Michael Garibaldi receives a follow up examination in Medlab, conducted by Dr. Stephen Franklin. Franklin approves him for returning to active duty within another day, but Garibaldi is unsure if he wants to go back. He is worried that he has lost his edge (having been shot in the back by his own second-in-command) and does not know if he can trust the new captain.

Londo Mollari meets with Lord Refa, a powerful, influential figure in the Centauri Republic. Refa praises Mollari for earning the Republic a great victory regarding the destruction of the Narn outpost in Quadrant 37. He then explains to Londo that the death of the Emperor is not far off, and that he and his allies are maneuvering into a position to fill the void that will be left when he dies. He asks Londo to join him, and Londo agrees.

Meanwhile, in the Zócalo, two different groups of Drazi (one wearing green sashes, the other purple) begin a violent altercation with each other.

Act I[]

Londo Mollari and Vir Cotto escort Lord Refa to the customs area. After Refa boards his ship, Londo notices a trio of new arrivals that he recognizes as techno-mages: mysterious figures who use highly advanced science to create the illusion of magic. He explains to Vir that seeing even one is rare, and to see three can only be a sign for the worse.

Captain John Sheridan discusses the Drazi situation with Lt. Comm. Susan Ivanova: every five Drazi years, the entire Drazi people splits into two factions and begins to fight one another for the dominant place in their society. The fights so far have not been lethal, but they are highly disruptive. Sheridan assigns Ivanova the task of finding a peaceful resolution to the conflict on the station. He also informs her that she has been promoted to full commander, and congratulates her on her achievement, which leaves her awe-struck.

Meanwhile, more techno-mages gather.

Vir tracks down Londo in the Zócalo, reminding him about an appointment with the Abbai delegation. Londo is distant, talking about fate and wondering what it means for him. He recalls that the very first Emperor received a blessing from three techno-mages upon taking the throne. Londo believes that if he could get a similar blessing from the techno-mage aboard the station it will be a powerful symbol to everyone back home. He orders Vir to arrange a meeting as soon as possible.

Captain Sheridan goes to see Garibaldi in his quarters. Garibaldi is depressed, however, and not particularly anxious to talk to Sheridan. He admits that he has doubts about returning to work. Sheridan tells him that he believes he can be a powerful asset to him and tells him he will hold his job open as long as he can.

Newly promoted Commander Ivanova gathers the leaders of the two Drazi factions in the Babylon 5 council chamber. She appeals to them to help her work out their conflict peacefully, asking what their point of contention is. The Drazi explain that the only difference between the factions is the color of the sash they wear, and who gets put in what faction is completely random--even the leaders of the factions are chosen by chance. When Ivanova presses them on this point, a fight breaks out between the two sides, during the course of which she is violently knocked down, breaking her leg.

Vir tracks down the part of Downbelow where the techno-mages have gathered, though they are all hidden from view. He calls out to them who he is and who he represents. The response comes in the form of a large, monstrous creature coming around the corner and heading straight at him.

Act II[]

Vir holds his ground as the monster comes right up to him. He repeats his identity and purpose over and over. Eventually, a voice calls out and the monster disappears. The voice belongs to Elric, a techno-mage, who asks Vir what he wants. When Vir explains that Londo requests an audience, Elric tells him that neither he nor any of the other mages are interested, regardless of anything Londo can promise them. He warns Vir to leave them alone.

In Medlab, Dr. Franklin treats Ivanova for her injuries. Her leg was broken in multiple places, and, while he was able to heal the worst of them, the smaller of them will require time, meaning Ivanova will have to have a cast and crutches for a while. Sheridan joins her, asking her if she wants to be relieved of the Drazi assignment. She insists that she can finish the job using a different angle.

Vir delivers the message to Londo, who is frustrated but not about to give up. He decides to take an alternative approach to getting the techno-mages' blessing.

Lou Welch tracks down Garibaldi and asks him when the Chief is coming back to work. Garibaldi tells him he will be back to work soon. The Drazi conflict draws Welch away.

Londo goes to see Sheridan in his office. He explains about the presence of the techno-mages (though Sheridan is aware that they are aboard), but says that they can be problematic troublemakers. He offers to help Sheridan deal with them. As Earthforce wants more information about the techno-mage migration, he agrees to set up a meeting.

As Ivanova makes her way to the Council chamber, she receives a link from C'n'C, informing her that the green faction of Drazi have begun killing the purple on the Drazi homeworld, not just knocking them out. She rushes (as best she can) to the chamber hoping to arrive before the local Drazi hear about it. However, she finds they have and many are killed.

Act III[]

Elric meets with Sheridan, insisting that the techno-mages pose no threat to the station and that they will be on their way in another day or so. Londo then enters with a charismatic greeting while discretely setting a small camera near the door. Elric immediately explains to Sheridan that Londo has been seeking an audience with him ever since he arrived, producing a recording of Vir from earlier to prove it. Londo brushes this off, and offers "the hands of friendship." Elric accepts, but tells Londo not to use the gesture as an endorsement. Londo says he will not, but Elric is aware of the recording device. He promptly destroys it with a gesture and warns Londo that he will pay for his actions. Sheridan, angry at being manipulated, orders Londo out of his office.

Sheridan and Elric continue their discussion into the Zócalo. After discussing the great depth of their knowledge, Elric then admits that a "storm is coming, a black and terrible storm." He explains that his people do not wish their collective knowledge to be lost or used for evil purposes, thus they are leaving that part of space forever. He appeals to Sheridan not to stop them, asking for his trust.

Ivanova tracks down the stronghold of the green Drazi faction. They allow her inside and the leader talks to her since she was hurt by them. He offers a "solution" to the current fighting. They suggest she gather all the purple Drazi into one place (Brown 29), then flush them out into space by opening an airlock. Ivanova is appalled at their plan to murder 2,000 of their own people. When she refuses to help, they explain that they already sent a message in her name to the purple faction. They insist she stay with them until their plan is carried out, removing her link and holding her at knife point.

Act IV[]

Garibaldi runs into Welch and a number of security guards and asks where they are headed. Welch mentions that they got an uplink from Ivanova ordering them to clear out Brown 29 for the Drazi. Garibaldi is suspicious when Welch tells him that it was an uplink, not a personal message, and also that the uplink mentioned she would be going offline for a while. Garibaldi asks where she was when the uplink went out and Welch tells him Brown 2.

In the green Drazi stronghold, Ivanova is unable to convince her captors to let her go. Garibaldi arrives, and upon discovering Ivanova is there, he overpowers the captors and frees her.

Vir goes to see Londo and finds his quarters in a state of total chaos. Londo explains that Elric has unleashed a holo-demon, wreaking havoc with Londo's personal files and finances (as well as blaring Narn opera - which he abhors - loudly in his quarters). Vir suggests Londo try apologizing, and while Londo is angry at the very notion, he reluctantly realizes he has no other choice.

Garibaldi and Ivanova confront the leaders of the green Drazi. They explain that all the purple Drazi are gathered as the green planned, but they will not let them be spaced. Garibaldi suggests that they will keep all the purple Drazi contained there for the rest of the week, until the conflict is scheduled to end. The Drazi laugh, explaining that the conflict is not due to end until the end of their year, over one Earth year away. Ivanova angrily accosts them for the irrationality of what they are doing, tearing the sash off the top Drazi leader. The Drazi then all stand at attention, explaining that anyone who takes the leader sash instantly becomes leader. Realizing this makes her the new leader, Ivanova quickly devises an end to the conflict. Those Drazi not facing time in the brig for assaulting her are ordered to switch to purple.

Londo heads down to the techno-mages' lair. Though he does not see any, the monster growling grows in volume. He calls out his apology to them. He is met by silence, but takes this as acceptance. He turns to leave, oblivious to the three, tiny, demon-like beings clinging to his back.

Act V[]

Sheridan, Ivanova, and Franklin all enjoy a round of drinks with Garibaldi, congratulating him on his decision to return to duty. When Ivanova asks him what prompted him to come back, he explains that he realized he still has his edge when he figured out that Ivanova would never send just an uplink to security, nor would she ever be offline. Sheridan excuses himself when he receives a link about the techno-mage ship preparing to depart.

Londo meets Elric in the customs as Elric is preparing to depart. He "thanks" Elric for the prank involving the three creatures and asks if the torment will ever end. Elric tells him that he has withdrawn the spell, but warns Londo that he is "touched by darkness...a blemish that will grow with time." He also gives Londo a prophecy of sorts:

"As I look at you, Ambassador, I see a great hand, reaching out of the stars. The hand is your hand, and all around are billions of voices calling your name...your victims."
– Elric

In C'n'C, Sheridan watches as the techno-mage ship departs. He wonders if their kind will ever be seen again, with part of him sure that they most certainly will.

Memorable Quotes[]

"I believe that there are currents in the universe. Eddies and tides that pull us one way or the other. Some we have to fight, some we have to embrace. Unfortunately, the currents that we have to fight look exactly like the currents we have to embrace. The currents that we think are gonna make us stronger they're the ones that are going to destroy us, and the ones we think are going to destroy us they're the ones that are going to make us stronger."

Vir to Londo, when asked if he believed in fate

"Risky business, condemning my recording device while using one of your own. I don't like to be used! You must learn manners and respect. From this moment on, you will!"

Elric to Londo

"There is a storm coming. A black and terrible storm. We would not have our knowledge lost or used to ill purpose. From this place, we will launch ourselves into the stars. With luck, you will never see our kind again in your lifetime."

Elric to Sheridan, 2259

"Green must fight Purple. Purple must fight Green. Is no other way."

Green Drazi to Ivanova

"As I look at you, Ambassador Mollari, I see a great hand reaching out of the stars. The hand is your hand. And I hear sounds of billions of people calling your name...Your victims."

Elric to Londo


  • First appearance of the techno-mages. Although they would not appear again on "Babylon 5," they would go on to play a major role in the spinoff series Crusade and a trilogy of canon novels ("The Passing of the Techno-Mages").
  • First appearance of Lord Refa.
  • Susan Ivanova is promoted to the rank of full commander.
  • Michael Garibaldi returns to work following his long recovery after being shot (in "Chrysalis").
  • The destruction of the Narn base in Quadrant 37 and Londo's involvement (from "Chrysalis") is again referenced.
  • The scripted but unfilmed Season One finale of Crusade would have shed new light on the events of this episode--specifically, Elric's line, "We would not have our knowledge lost or used to ill purpose." The episode would have revealed that the techno-mages were, in fact, fleeing from an Earthforce black-ops faction that was attempting to obtain Shadow Technology and create their own techno-mages.
  • While joking with Lou Welch, Garibaldi mentions that there is "another guy with a changeling net" this is of course, a reference to the Minbari Assassin in The Gathering.

Behind The Scenes[]

  • Elric's line "Do not try the patience of Wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger." is a paraphrase from J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. The original quote as said by the character Gildor was: "Do not meddle in the affairs of Wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger."
  • This is the second time J. Michael Straczynski has quoted Tolkien in Babylon 5. The earlier example being G'Kar's line to Na'Toth at the end of ("Chrysalis") "Expect me when you see me." Straczynski would later use this quote again in the Crusade episode ("Racing the Night"), this time said by Galen (Elric's apprentice no less) to Dureena.
  • Elric's name is inspired by Michael Moorcock's series of fantasy novels featuring the antihero, Elric of Melnibone.
  • Claudia Christian actually broke her leg at her home shortly before filming began. J. Michael Straczynski decided to write this into the episode, specifically the scene in which Ivanova gets caught in the middle of a Green/Purple Drazi brawl.
  • A possible costume error is noticeable where Claudia's uniform contain the full gold staff bar after her promotion scene.  In the next episode, she goes back to the gold/silver hybrid staff bar.

DVD Release[]

This episode, along with the other 21 from Season 2 have been released on DVD with extensive Special features.

External links[]

Episode guide page for The Geometry of Shadows at the Lurker's Guide