Ambassador Sinclair arrives on Minbar, just in time to see a new Minbari leader sworn in… and a conspiracy plot unfold.
[singlepic=61,200,,,left] Issue 2 (February 1995, released January 3, 1995)
Writer: Mark Moretti Premise: J. Michael Straczynski Penciller: Michael Netzer Inker: Rob Leigh
In a docking bay on the station, an armed man in dockworker clothes loads a small package onto a Minbari flyer, which departs the station three hours later.
Three days later, Babylon 5 receives a distress call from a ship in Grid Epsilon. Keffer takes Zeta Squad to respond. In C&C, Ivanova arrives in time to see the final distress call, which turns out to be from the Starliner Chiyoda-Ku. The person making the call is killed by an unseen person as Ivanova watches. Ivanova begins calling up the registration and manifest of the Chiyoda-Ku. “These are the times I wish Garibaldi was back on duty,” she says, “but…”
Garibaldi, meanwhile, is in his quarters, showing Talia his second-favorite
thing in the universe (cf. episode “Midnight on the Firing Line.”)
Parsecs away, the Minbari cruiser carrying Ambassador Sinclair stops to take on a transfer, arriving on the flyer from Babylon 5. Racine, a Grey Council member, tells Sinclair that the period of mourning for Dukhat is over, that the Grey Council, which has ruled Minbar since Dukhat’s death, is gathering on Minbar to install a new leader, and that the flyer is carrying a member of the Council who was away but has returned for the Shi-Ki, the installation ceremony. Sinclair tries to talk to the newly arrived Satai, but is rebuffed by one of the Satai’s guards, a member of the militant Star Rider caste.
Garibaldi and Talia are interrupted by a call from Sinclair, who apologizes for not being able to say goodbye. He asks Garibaldi to forward his regards to Delenn, who he’s glad isn’t going to be at the ceremony. “There’s some kind of undercurrent running through the Minbari castes — tension. It seems dangerous with the Grey Council and the new leader all in one place.” Garibaldi tells Sinclair that Delenn has come out of her chrysalis, and is in fact on her way to Minbar.
Keffer’s squad finds the Chiyoda-Ku, a top-notch starliner. Flying close, they can see through the windows: dead bodies, bleeding, floating in the air inside the zero-G passenger areas. Ivanova tells Keffer to attach tow cables to the ship and bring her back to the station. As Keffer and his squad tow the ship back, Ivanova finally finds the ship listed in a registry… and the file is classified. She tells Dr. Franklin to meet her in the docking bay, and tells the C&C staff to keep everything under wraps.
Elsewhere on the station, the man who loaded the package onto the Minbari flyer, Jason Colby (apparently a Homeguard sympathizer) manages to bypass the station’s computer security and finds out that the Chiyoda-Ku is being brought aboard. He quickly changes into a station security uniform.
The bodies are counted — twenty-five aboard, all but one dead, some with PPG wounds, and none with any identification. The ship’s life support didn’t malfunction; it was turned off. One of the security men says he’s seen the Chiyoda-Ku somewhere before, but can’t place it. As the survivor is taken away, Colby watches.
Franklin stabilizes the survivor; Ivanova has him placed under guard. Later that night, Colby enters Medlab and discovers the survivor, conscious. Colby tries to kill the man, but is hit by a powerful mental force. The survivor stumbles out of Medlab, taking the dead guard’s gun on the way out. Colby recovers shortly thereafter and goes looking for the man.
Ivanova discovers that the Chiyoda-Ku was confiscated by Earth Force in an arms-smuggling bust two years earlier. Just then, Franklin calls in from Medlab, reporting the escape of his patient and the death of the guard. Ivanova issues a lookout for the patient; he is to be taken alive if possible, but is armed and dangerous.
Sinclair stands near a large window of the Earth Alliance embassy in Yedor, the Minbari capital, and looks out over a gathering area in the midst of the crystalline city. He is joined by Ambassador Delenn, whose new appearance shocks Sinclair. She tells him he didn’t see her in time, that it’s too late now. Of her transformation, she says, “I reached a time when I could go no further… as I was. I cannot explain more yet. I am the first of my kind ever to… become this. I am now only half-Minbari. I am also half-human.”
The search for the escaped patient is going poorly. Ivanova is coordinating search teams when Talia calls and says the man everyone’s looking for is in her quarters. Ivanova tells all the search teams to converge on Talia’s quarters… an order Colby hears, too.
When Ivanova and her men burst in, Talia says the man’s name is Dexter Hall, that he’s a psi-cop, and that he didn’t kill the guard. He came to her because she was a fellow Psi-Corps member. He had been working undercover, infiltrating a pro-Earth group on the Chiyoda-Ku who blamed Santiago’s death on alien groups. He found out the group was supplying weapons for an assassination of a head of state: the new Minbari leader.
Delenn and Sinclair are talking when Kozorr, military caste, barges into the room, two subordinates pushing a pile of boxes of Sinclair’s belongings from Babylon 5. Kozorr opens one of the boxes, revealing an Earth-made rifle, along with a map of the new leader’s coronation route — with a marker drawn at the point when the leader will pass closest to Sinclair’s window. He places Sinclair under arrest for conspiring to assassinate the new leader. “When you are convicted,” Kozorr continues, “be assured we will declare war against Earth for your treason.”
• Delenn is still a member of the Grey Council, even after her transformation and her rejection of the Council leadership.
• The Grey Council has been in charge of the Minbari government since the death of Dukhat, but that will no longer be the case once the new leader is installed.
• What will the Minbari do to Sinclair?
• What happened on the Chiyoda-Ku? Did Hall kill all the other people on the ship, such as the person placing the distress call?
• Was the bogus package intended for someone other than Sinclair? Was it supposed to be discovered to implicate him? (See Analysis)
• How did Colby intercept the security transmission about the Chiyoda-Ku’s arrival?
• Who is Colby’s “boss,” the one who told him to plant the package?
• This story seems to take place between the episodes “Revelations” and “The Geometry of Shadows” since it features Delenn post-chrysalis, but Ivanova is still referred to as Lieutenant Commander. That makes it unlikely that Garibaldi’s aide is Colby’s contact on the station.
• The placement of the package is odd. If it was intended to frame Sinclair, then Hall was wrong about there being an assassination attempt against the new Minbari leader (or there are even more weapons, as yet undiscovered by the Minbari.) So perhaps it was supposed to be intercepted by someone else at the Earth Alliance embassy before Sinclair ever saw it, and the Minbari have unwittingly foiled a real assassination plot.
• The Homeguard is apparently unaware of the real plot to kill Santiago, if they assumed it was the work of aliens. Or, perhaps, they know something that hasn’t been discovered by the Babylon 5 crew yet.