Commander Sinclair is recalled to Earth and discovers a long-kept secret that leads to a new assignment.
[singlepic=60,200,,,left] Issue 1 (January 1995, released December 6, 1994)
Writer: J. Michael Straczynski Penciller: Michael Netzer Inker: Rob Leigh Colorist: Robbie Busch Letterer: Tracy Hampton Munsey
A few days after being recalled from Babylon 5 (cf. episode “Points of Departure”) Commander Sinclair is languishing in Earthdome, Geneva, waiting for someone to tell him why he was called back. His nights, as always, are filled with horrible dreams, replays of the Battle of the Line. He tries to prevail on a senator to tell him what’s going on, but is rebuffed, with an additional admonition to stop spreading rumors about President Santiago being assassinated.
Then, in the middle of the night on January 6, 2259, some heavily-armed men escort Sinclair to see President Clark. Clark introduces him to Rathenn, of the Minbari Grey Council. Rathenn introduces himself and says he’s come to take Sinclair back to his home. Not Mars Colony, where his body was born — but to his soul’s home.
Rathenn uses a triluminary on Sinclair, who is suddenly able to recall in full what happened after he was taken aboard the Grey Council’s cruiser at the Battle of the Line (cf. episode “And the Sky Full of Stars.”) He was drugged, interrogated about Earth targets, and tortured after he tried to escape. He recalls the whispers of the Grey Council as Delenn confirms that he has a Minbari soul.
Rathenn explains that every human pilot the Grey Council examined had a Minbari soul, or part of a Minbari soul, and that the Minbari population has been declining for the past six thousand years. At first the Grey Council blamed the soul hunters (cf. episode “Soul Hunter”) but the decline was too great to be accounted for that way. That day, they discovered why the Minbari race was dying, where all the souls were going. Since no Minbari had killed another in thousands of years, the Grey Council surrendered.
Clark says that the Grey Council told the Earth government of their findings, and that both the government and the Council agreed the information would not be taken well by the public. Earth officials gave the Council permission to wipe Sinclair’s memory; they were on the verge of defeat and weren’t about to object to such a small demand by the Minbari. “We were dying,” Clark explains later, after Rathenn has left. “It didn’t matter that it was insane… Everything was insane. If it made them stop killing us… well, that was fine by us.”
Clark tells Sinclair he’s free to resign his commission with full retirement pay. Or he can accept a new assignment, his most important one to date: accept the Minbari government’s invitation to come to their world as ambassador. Clark promises to keep Sinclair informed about Garibaldi’s condition. As for why the Minbari wanted Sinclair, Clark speculates: “Maybe they feel guilty about what they did to you. Maybe they’re comfortable with you. And maybe they need you. We’ve heard about trouble between the Minbari religious caste and the military caste. It’s possible that… well, the religious caste might just need an experienced soldier to talk to.”
Sinclair’s shuttle arrives at the Grey Council’s cruiser. As he waits to be greeted, he pulls out a small slip of paper and reads. He’s shortly greeted by several hooded Councilmembers and a few members of the military caste, and explains that he was reading a poem by a long-departed writer, something he wants to share with the Council in the hopes that it will help them understand. He is escorted away by the Council members, as one of the military looks on, expression twisted in hatred.
• No Minbari has killed another (intentionally, presumably) for several thousand years. (See jms speaks)
• The Grey Council believes Sinclair has a Minbari soul.
• Some within the Earth government have known the reason behind the Minbari surrender from the start, and gave the Grey Council permission to wipe Sinclair’s mind. Clark claims to have not learned the secret until he took office as President.
• What does the triluminary do to Sinclair such that he can remember everything all of a sudden? Is there a single function it performs that explains its seeming variety of uses? (cf. episodes “And the Sky Full of Stars,” “Chrysalis”)
• Who in the Earth government knew about the Minbari surrender? Someone other than the President, probably, since Santiago was dead when Clark took office. It’s also possible the Minbari told Clark themselves.
• Why did the Grey Council choose to reveal their secret to Sinclair now? Why have they invited him to become ambassador after pushing so hard to get him in command of Babylon 5 (cf. episode “Signs and Portents”?)
• Sheridan was wrong about Clark being the only other person who knows about the situation with Minbari souls (cf. episode “Points of Departure.”) How widespread the knowledge is, and how it’s being used, may be important story points in the future.
• The coverup of Santiago’s assassination appears to be very effective, unless the senator Sinclair speaks with is in on it as well. Everyone seems convinced that it was a simple accident.
• Sinclair’s d*ck makes an appearance on page 17. Or a swan, anyway.
• Oddly, there are some inconsistencies with the series:
- Clark tells Sinclair that he’s giving Ivanova a field promotion to commander, before Sheridan arrives on Babylon 5 and puts in the paperwork (in episode “The Geometry of Shadows.”) On the other hand, it’s possible Sheridan actually requested the promotion as soon as he got his assignment, or that Clark was planning on promoting Ivanova anyway.
- Sinclair’s recollection of his last words on the Line are different. In “And the Sky Full of Stars” he says, “If I’m going out I’m taking you bastards with me! Target main cruiser, set for full velocity ram.” Possibly to tone down the language, the comic renders this as, “If I’m dying I’m taking you demons with me! Target lead Minbari cruiser! Set for full velocity ram!”
• Even Clark thinks Sinclair is stiff: “Excuse me, Commander, but is that as much at ease as you get?”
• There’s a slight gaffe on page 19; Sinclair’s uniform is backwards in the mirror. (The strap should be on the other side of the buttons, as shown on page 22.)
- By the “flip side” of stories I was referring to the other side of
events. I.e., in episode one, Sinclair is reassigned, but we hear about
this mainly when he’s away. In the comic, we’ll see where he is, and
see his reaction to what’s going on. In B-squared, we saw the present
events in the vanishment of B4; in a future episode, we’ll actually see
our characters make the decision to go back in time and yank B4 forward,
what went wrong, and so on.
- It’s not supposed to be a blasted landscape around Geneva, and didn’t
look like that in the pencils.
- The word “bastards” was in the script I turned in to DC. It got
changed to “demons” by the editor. That change was made at the last
minute; all the inked and penciled versions I’d seen before had the
right word in it. I’m considerably less than thrilled about it.
- Prior to the time of Valen,
the Minbari’s greatest spiritual leader,
there was killing of Minbari by Minbari. There were three warring
castes, which he pulled together when he formed the Grey Council
(three from each caste forming nine, Worker, Warrior, Religious Caste).
Since that time, and the Minbari have been in space for well over a
thousand years, they have pretty much hewn to that rule; it is their
greatest taboo. Once the three sides were integrated, the warrior
caste mainly contented itself with external threats.
- Rathenn said the soul migration had been going on for 6000
years; Lennier in
“Points of Departure”
said one or two thousand. What gives?
Rathenn spoke incorrectly.
- Rathenn said Sinclair did not *entirely* remember their meeting; he
then refreshed this memory.
- Squaring the account of Ivanova’s promotion with “The Geometry
The president spoke truthfully; Sheridan could petition for a
promotion for her, but it’s up to Earthforce to grant it, so the line
still tracks. (Note also there’s no pronoun there; “Giving her a
field promotion.” The imperial We still stands, though.) Also,
Sheridan says he put through the paperwork the day after he got there;
which is fairly close to the time frame in the story in which the
President says they’ll be giving Ivanova a promotion. There’s no
- In “Points of Departure,” Sheridan implied he told Clark about the
Sheridan did NOT tell President Clark about the
Minbari soul situation. Clark already knew about it. Sheridan’s line
is, “I spoke with the president. He is the only other person who knows
why the Minbari surrendered.” Also, in the first issue of the comic,
this prior knowledge on Clark’s part is clear as well.