The Babylon Project

The War Prayer is an episode from the first season of Babylon 5, which is collectively entitled Signs and Portents.

A racist group is terrorizing aliens on Babylon 5, stabbing and branding them. Meanwhile Londo has trouble with two young Centauri who want to break tradition by ignoring their arranged marriages, and instead marrying for love.



Also starring[]


Guest starring[]



Cast notes[]



Delenn enjoys a drink and some conversation with Shaal Mayan, a Minbari poet and childhood friend of hers, in her quarters late in the evening. Shaal Mayan had come aboard as part of a poetry tour (leading to Earth) and read some of her work earlier that day. The two reminisce about old times and where their lives have brought them. Mayan soon decides she needs to retire for some rest and leaves.

As she walks through the corridor, Mayan hears a strange noise nearby. A shadow passes over her and then a knife is plunged into her stomach. After she falls to the ground, a gloved hand presses a device to her forehead, branding a symbol there. A voice warns her to stay away from Earth.

Act I[]

Delenn angrily confronts Commander Jeffrey Sinclair and Michael Garibaldi over the attack. Sinclair promises to apprehend the attacker, though Delenn is too outraged to be easily satisfied.

Afterwards, Garibaldi discusses the attack with Sinclair, commenting on how it is the sixth attack on an alien in the last two weeks, all with the same M.O. The brand left on Shaal Mayan is the hallmark of Homeguard, a radical, xenophobic "pro-Earth" group that has recently emerged. Sinclair declares he will not tolerate such hate groups on Babylon 5. Ambassador G'Kar then finds and confronts Sinclair over the incident, warning Sinclair that should any Narn be attacked in such a way there will be "bloody retribution." Sinclair coldly replies he will not tolerate any disruptions on his station.

Garibaldi goes to Medlab to interview Mayan, but she is unfortunately unable to recall any details about her assailant. Dr. Stephen Franklin offers to remove the brand on her forehead, but she elects to keep it as a lesson.

Lt. Commander Susan Ivanova calls Garibaldi to C'n'C, informing him that a Centauri liner about to dock has a pair of detainees they wish to hand over to a member of the command staff. She asks him to pick them up, but he replies he is too busy with his investigation. When she insists, he suggests he will remove a certain coffee plant he noticed growing in hydroponics, prompting Ivanova to pick up the detainees herself.

In customs, Ivanova oversees a pair of young Centauri citizens brought aboard in handcuffs. Interestingly, they demand to see "Ambassador Cotto." Ivanova orders them taken to a holding area, but just as she leaves she hears someone call her name. The man is Malcolm Biggs, who knew her from years earlier. Ivanova curtly but politely acknowledges him before returning to duty.

The two Centauri, Kiron Maray and Aria Tensus, meet with Vir Cotto, who is Kiron's cousin. They are disappointed to learn that he exaggerated his position. Sinclair is present and explains to Londo Mollari when he arrives that the two were caught using stolen credit chips. Sinclair agrees to release them into Mollari's custody, though he is hardly thrilled with the prospect.

Biggs tracks down Ivanova at the end of her shift. They talk about old times, how they used to be lovers. Susan quickly excuses herself, however, insisting they take things slowly.

Once in his quarters, Mollari questions Aria and Kiron over why they have left Centauri Prime. They explain they have both been arranged to marry other people ("ugly and old"), but wish to marry each other out of love. Mollari explains they are attempting to go against 1000 years of tradition that keeps the Republic together. He points to a picture of his three arranged wives ("Pestilence, Famine, and Death") as an example of the "great sacrifice" this often requires. He insists they will have to be sent home and back to their families.

Garibaldi questions a suspect named Roberts, who was found with an illegal knife that had blood on it. Roberts denies attacking Mayan or anyone else, but does admit he thinks Homeguard "has the right idea." Garibaldi decides to book him over the illegal possession, warning him of the consequences should the blood match Mayan.

Act II[]

Cmdr. Sinclair visits Ambassador Kosh in his quarters. He explains the recent attacks, though Kosh is not very interested.

Afterwards, Sinclair goes to C'n'C and talks with Ivanova. He mentions how he was recently thinking about the attempted assassination of Kosh when he first arrived. The assassin administered poison through a patch he placed on Kosh's hand. Sinclair asks how that was really possible since Kosh's hand should have been completely covered by his encounter suit. Ivanova wonders just how much of the suit is necessary and how much is camouflage. Sinclair comments on how the only two people to see inside the suit, Dr. Benjamin Kyle and Lyta Alexander were both recalled to Earth shortly after the incident.

Mollari yells at Cotto in his quarters over the two young lovers. Both their families have been giving him no end of grief about their running off. Cotto is sympathetic to them, but Mollari is not. He orders Cotto to make sure the two of them are on a transport that evening for Centauri Prime before taking off for the Casino.

Garibaldi had to release Roberts after his DNA cleared him of the attack on Mayan. Garibaldi hopes that Roberts will generate a real lead.

Ivanova (after receiving a rose from him at her quarters earlier) has dinner with Biggs. They catch up on old times, and she affirms that she has no regrets about taking her assignment on Io, even though it did mean leaving him. Biggs surprises her by declaring that he is shifting his business to Babylon 5, having already acquired quarters and an office on the station.

Later that evening, while in the Gardens alone, Kiron and Arion are attacked by shadowy figures. Kiron is seriously injured before the figures withdraw. Cotto finds both of the Centauri unconscious a few minutes later. They are rushed to Medlab, where Dr. Franklin is able to stabilize the critically injured Kiron (though he slips into a coma). Aria's injuries are superficial. In response to the attack, G'Kar raises a disturbance in the Central Corridor of Brown Sector. He whips up a mob of aliens during a speech, calling for them to take the law into their own hands after suggesting that Sinclair is dragging is feet in the investigation. Sinclair and Garibaldi turn up with a riot team, which shuts down the mob before it turns violent. It is too late, however, to stop a series of anti-human attacks across the station, including a vicious attack on Roberts by two Drazi.

Act III[]

Ivanova's date with Biggs is cut short when Sinclair links her about the near riot. She quickly meets them in Sinclair's office where Garibaldi explains about the attack on Roberts, who was rescued by Security and taken to Medlab.

Kiron's condition remains the same, and Ambassador Mollari is unable to persuade Aria to leave his side in Medlab. Shaal Mayan speaks to Mollari, telling him he should not try to impede the love the two Centauri have. Mollari coldly replies that even if Kiron does not die, Aria can learn to live without love. Shaal asks if that is what happened to Mollari, and he does not respond. He later goes to the gardens alone, lamenting over where his life has taken him. Cotto confronts him there, angrily insisting that Kiron and Aria should be together. Having taken Mayan's words to heart, Mollari no longer needs convincing.

Garibaldi contacts Sinclair and shows him a surveillance tape of Biggs contacting Roberts in Medlab, attempting to recruit him into Homeguard. The two then show Ivanova, who is clearly surprised and upset but determined to do her duty. Sinclair asks her to introduce him to Biggs, allowing him to go undercover and bust open the Homeguard attacks on the station.

The plan goes forward that evening at the diplomatic reception. Biggs is present and in front of him Sinclair acts coldly to Delenn when she introduces him to Ambassador Mila Shar of the Abbai. Afterward, Sinclair invites Biggs and Invanova to his quarters, where Sinclair plays up his false anti-alien sentiment. Biggs is encouraged and begins to spout "Earth first!" and other anti-alien rhetoric. Biggs asks the two of them to meet some of his "friends" later, though he makes it clear that Sinclair will need to make a small gesture for their benefit.

Act IV[]

At a meeting of the Babylon 5 Advisory Council, Sinclair announces that the investigation is over – that the perpetrators have fled the station to Earth. When he refuses to divulge any further details, G'Kar and the rest of the Council are incensed.

Meanwhile, Kiron awakens from his coma in Medlab. Mollari explains to him and Aria that upon their return to Centauri Prime, they will be met by his second cousin, Andilo Mollari, who will take them back to his estate and adopt them into a "fosterage," which he is certain that their families will permit. Mollari explains that his cousin is a very powerful man and that it is a great honor to be fostered by his family, and if their parents were to refuse this honor, they would violate tradition. He goes on to state that during this fostering period, the two young people will learn more about their native culture and be taught decorum and manners appropriate to their evaluated social status. At the conclusion of this fostering period, Andilo will allow them to marry one another. Grateful, the two young Centauri thank Mollari.

That night, Sinclair and Ivanova are led by Biggs to Cargo Bay 5. Several figures "decloak," all wearing black suits from head to toe. One of them, Worth, activates a jamming device (which cuts off Garibaldi's monitoring device). Biggs explains that the suits are black-light camouflage, a technology still under development by EarthForce. Homeguard allies were able to secure some prototypes which were what allowed the attacks on the station. Biggs further explains that in a few days time, a simultaneous assassination of the four major ambassadors on Babylon 5 will be carried out. This will act as a signal for operatives on Earth to assassinate any alien delegates on the planet. Biggs requests aid from Sinclair getting into Green Sector and then off the station. Sinclair agrees, but Biggs insists on a loyalty test. He has Mila Shar brought forward and orders Sinclair to murder her. Before Sinclair can make any response, the operatives are alerted to approaching security forces. Sinclair and Ivanova make their move, saving Shar and capturing Biggs. Garibaldi and his forces arrive and round up all the Homeguard agents.

Act V[]

Delenn, G'Kar, and Shal Mayan watch as the arrested perpetrators are taken through customs, bound for deportation to Earth. The three remark about how the intense hatred for no real reason is almost unfathomable.

On his way out, Biggs angrily accosts Ivanova about her betrayal. Ivanova stoically responds that many of the aliens she has met are far more human than Biggs and the rest of his ilk.


  • By referring to his wives as "Pestilence, Famine, and Death," three of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Mollari unconsciously implies that he is the other Horseman - War.
  • Pro-Earth groups were first mentioned in "Infection." This is the first time that the Babylon 5 crew has had to deal with such a group.

Memorable quotes[]

"These are my three wives: Pestilence, Famine, and Death. Do you think I married them for their personalities? Their personalities could shatter entire planets!"

Londo Mollari

"My shoes are too tight, and I have forgotten how to dance."

Londo Mollari

"We have friends everywhere!"

Malcolm Biggs

DVD release[]

This episode, along with the other episodes from season one, has been released on DVD with extensive special features.

External links[]