Cool Ships!

God, what an obvious extension of the whole conceptual sci-fi thing, I can’t believe I didn’t think of it sooner! After all, what is a sci-fi franchise without some cool spacefaring vessels? Sometimes, these come in the form of exploratory ships that chart the unknown regions of the galaxy. Sometimes they are battleships which kick ass and don’t do much else. And sometimes they are generational ships, spending decades, centuries or even millennia cruising through space, ferrying people to new star systems and new galaxies.

But whatever their purpose, futuristic vessels are a constant source of enjoyment and interest. A lot of imagination and creativity goes into creating them, and what comes out is often a testament to the allure of speculative sci-fi. Anyway, today I thought I’d explore some choice examples of sci-fi ships and what makes them so cool. Here goes…

Defiant:
Making its debut in Star Trek: DS9, the Defiant became the workhorse of the station and the first line of defense against it’s enemies. Originally designed for combat with the Borg, the Defiant was a prototype for an entire generation of warship. Smaller than most starships, but also faster and boasting very powerful weaponry, the Defiant quickly gained a reputation for being the most dangerous vessel in the quadrant!

Yep, when this ship made its debut, I started watching the show. Every episode that featured space battles with the Defiant were worth watching, in my estimation. Blasting those rapid-fire cannons, firing those quantum torpedoes, blowing up anyone stupid enough to cross it; the Defiant did it all!

It’s prototype version even boasted a cloaking device, something the Federation borrowed from the Romulans so they could slit into Dominion territory once they found out about them. In time, the Defiant was lost, but more of its kind appeared to take up its role. The Valiant, the Sao Paolo, and a host of others were pressed into service as the series went on and the Dominion War became the focal point of the show. Much like their predecessor, these new Defiant-class ships kicked plenty of asses and never went down without a fight. A big, brutal, hard-slogging fight!

Galactica:
This ship is the namesake of the original movie and series and got a makeover for the re-imagining which was released back in 2005. And though her appearance has changed somewhat since the 1970’s when the original movie came out, the Galactica’s role and importance has remained the same. The last surviving Battlestar of the Twelve Colonies, she is the sole protector of the human fleet as it flees the Cylon onslaught and makes its way to an elusive world called Earth… and salvation!

One thing that did change between the old and new series was the sophistication of the design. Whereas in the 1970’s version, the Galactica was a state of the art, modern warship with laser cannons and a full crew, the newer version was an older, outdated vessel with projectile cannons and flak guns that had been retired from active service. As the series opens, we see that the Galactica was being converted into a museum ship that was meant to commemorate the last war against the Cylons which had ended over twenty years ago. It’s crew was skeletal and its senior officers were also due for retirement.

However, all of that changed when the Cylons launched their surprise attack on the Colonies. Being an obsolete vessel which used outdated computers and had no wireless networks, the Galactica was the only ship that wasn’t crippled by the virus the Cylon’s used to disable the Colonial fleet. After hastily equipping themselves with ammunition and some equally outdated Vipers from their showroom, the Galactica was forced into service. But by this time, the war was effectively over, and the Captain and crew dedicated themselves to a new mission: to find the only other human colony in existence (Earth) and begin repopulating their species.

Despite her age, the Galactica could still surprise her enemies when she needed to. Unlike her more modern companions, including the Pegasus which she met in season two, she had a habit of getting out of some rather tight spots. You could say that in the new series, this ship was a metaphor for humanity; aging and endangered, but a survivor nonetheless!

Millennium Falcon:
Here she is, the centerpiece of this list! For what ship is more cool than the Millennium Falcon? I mean really! Sure, she’s not the biggest or the most heavily armed ship on this list, but she is the fastest, nimblest, and she’s definitely got the most character. In some ways, she was almost part of the cast of the original Star Wars series, and I’m sure everyone felt bad for her when she got scuffed up during that last battle in Return of the Jedi ;).

Officially, the Falcon is a modified Corellian transport. Corellia, the planet Han calls home, is renowned for producing good ships in addition to good spacers. They’re fast, sleek, and infinitely modifiable. It’s little wonder then why they are a favorite amongst smugglers. And Corellian spacers especially are known for being very monogamous and loyal when it comes to their ship selection.

Prior to joining the Rebellion, the Falcon was primarily used to smuggle spice from Kessel to other regions of the Galaxy, usually at the behest of Jabba the Hutt. In spite of its speed, the Falcon would occasionally get boarded by Imperial patrols. When this happened, Han and Chewi relied on a secret compartment to stash their goods. However, on one of his final runs, Han was boarded by an Imperial patrol and was forced to ditch his manifest.

Shortly thereafter, Han and Chewi joined the Rebellion and the role of the Falcon changed considerably. Now, it was involved in attack missions, the most notable of which were the assaults on the first and second Death Star. At other times, it continued to do what it did best – fly fast and elude Imperial ships!

Nostalgia for Infinity:
Here we have an interesting ship, which comes to us from the mind of Alastair Reynolds and the Revelation Space universe. Known as a “Lighthugger”, this class of vessel was one which could travel close to the speed of light thanks to its massive “Conjoiner Drives”. These engines, which were attached to the outsides of the ships, relied on a controlled singularity to generate the necessary inertia to push the ship as close to light speed as was physically possible for a vessel of its size.

The crews of these ships were known as “Ultranauts”, or Ultras for short. Typically, these were the kinds of cybernetically enhanced human beings who were capable of interfacing with the ship’s advanced machinery, prolonged space travel and withstanding the inertial stresses caused by near-light speed travel.

In the case of the Nostalgia, the ship was commanded by a Triumvir, three Captains who took turns commanding the ship while it was in deep space and the others were in reefersleep (i.e. cryogenic suspension). This included Ilia Volyova, Sajaki and Hegazi, three Ultras who had taken over after the Captain and ship had succumbed to what was known as the “Melding Plague”. This virus is a key element to the story of RS, being alien in origin and which infects and perverts nanotechnological matter.

In the course of running their various missions to and from the many worlds of the RS universe, the crew came into possession of a series of “Cache Weapons”, missiles and gun platforms which were apparently of Conjoiner design, and were officially known as Hell-class weapons.  As the series progressed, both the Nostalgia, its crew, and these weapons played an increasingly important role in defending the human race from the alien threat of the “Inhibitors” (see Planet Killers, The Inhibitors, for more detail).

Red Dwarf:
The eponymous spaceship from the BBC series, the Red Dwarf – otherwise known as the “giant red trashcan” – was a huge mining vessel measuring 10 km in length, 6.5 km in height, and 5 km in width. Built for mining and owned by the Jupiter Mining Corporation, the ship is immense, largely self-sufficient, and run by an AI named Holly. And for some reason, it has an asteroid embedded in its hull (this is never explained).

In the beginning of the series, a radiation leak killed the entire crew, except for the protagonist Dave Lister, a technician who was apparently in suspended animation at the time. In order to ensure his survival, Lister is kept in suspension by Holly until all the background radiation dissipates, a process which takes over three million years. As a result, Lister wakes up to find that he’s the last living human in existence. His only companions are the hologram of his former bunk-mate Rimmer, and a humanoid feline named Cat who evolved from Lister’s cat (Frankenstein) over three million years that he was asleep.

Over the course of the show, the crew encounters new planets, species and time distortions aboard the Red Dwarf, all the while trying to make their back to Earth. The largely self-sufficient ship takes care of their every need, though it has begun to run out of certain supplies after three million years (including Shake n Vac and all but one After Eight mint!).

Serenity:
I’ve spent quite a bit of time talking about Firefly as of late, but the list says cool ships so I don’t see how the Serenity can possibly be left off this list! As the centerpiece of the single-season series and the movie, the ship has a long story and a lot of character, much like her crew! Originally designed as a class of cargo freighter, the Firefly is apparently an older model of ship that is no longer in use with the Alliance but remains popular out on the rim.

All references to it in the early episodes indicate that the series is essentially obsolete, but due to their ruggedness, shelf-life and the presence of secret compartments, they remain a popular item amongst smugglers. Hmmm, echoes of the Millennium Falcon there. Nevertheless, as the series progresses, this reputation is illustrated in how Mal and the crew are able to stow illegal goods and how Kaylee is able to keep the ship running under tight conditions with all kinds of improvised repairs. And despite the fact that it is no longer being constructed, most of its parts are still available and easily attainable on the open and black market.

Much like all ships in the Firefly/Serenity universe, the Firefly is apparently a sub-light vessel, incapable of traveling faster than the speed of light. Though unarmed, it is fast and maneuverable in both space and planetary atmospheres. This is made possible by the addition of two external multi-directional thrusters which allow for takeoff, landing, and the occasional crazy Ivan (which the crew pulled in the pilot episode). It also boasts two shuttle pods, which can be used as escape vessels or as secondary transports. Inara, the Companion crewwoman, uses one such pod as her quarters and transport for personal away missions.

The ship also has its own medbay and crew quarters, which is another feature that makes it popular amongst spacers. In fact, the availability of a private room was intrinsic in Mal’s offer to “recruit” Jayne Cobb from another gang, which was illustrated in a flashback sequence during the episode “Out of Gas”. There was even room enough to accommodate River and Simon and Book, which would indicate that the ship contains eight bunks in total. A communal dining area and food processors also see to their needs while not sleeping, gun-slinging, or generally doing something illegal!

USS Sulaco:
After barely surviving her first encounter with the xenomorph in Alien, Ellen Ripley and a crew of Colonial Marines returned to LV-426 in Aliens to settle the score! The ship that brought them there was none other than the USS Sulaco – a big, bad, military vessel boasting big-ass guns and enough Marine firepower to level an entire colony. Much like the Nostromo, the Sulaco is a reference to the work of Joseph Conrad, writer of Heart of Darkness (significant? Oh, I think so!).

Apparently, the Sulaco is a Conestoga-class warship designed for ferrying Marines to and from conflict areas in the future. While it was only carrying one platoon of Marines and two dropships in the second movie, this class of ship is capable of carrying 20,000 tons of cargo, eight UD4L Cheyenne-class dropships and a crew of 90 personnel (according to other franchise reference material). Hmm, too bad they didn’t pack the Sulaco to capacity, otherwise Ripley would have never had to take matters into her own hands to kill the Queen Alien!

Much like everything else in the Alien franchise, the Sulaco and all other Conestoga-class vessels are built by the Weyland-Yutani corporation, military division. Clearly, their purpose is to enforce the law, hunt down (and capture) xenomorphs, and maintain the peace aboard its many, many colonies. All part of their commitment to “Building Better Worlds” I guess 😉

White Star:
My personal favorite of this list, the coolest and most badass ship to come from the Babylon 5 universe! Fast, small, and boasting incredible firepower, the White Star was the workhorse of the Shadow War, Sheridan’s campaign to liberate Earth, and the early military campaigns of the Interstellar Alliance. In a lot of ways, it is much like the Defiant from the DS9 universe… I do believe they stole the idea from Straczynski!

As a collaboration between the Mimbari and the Vorlons, the White Star ships were partially based on organic technology. This meant that the ship was essentially alive and could heal itself when damaged. In addition, its organic armor was capable of deflecting energy, giving it a sort of shielding which could protect it from anything other than a physical impact.

The ship’s main weapons consisted of pulse cannons and a single beam cannon mounted in the nose. This gave it the ability to pepper targets with rapid fire shots while conducting high-speed maneuvers, and slicing them with focused bursts while on an attack vector.  All of this came in handy when dealing with Shadow vessels, which are notoriously hard to kill! It also proved useful when up against larger, heavier ships like Earth Force cruisers, Drakh vessels, and anything else the known universe could throw at them.

From the initial prototype, the Mimbari would go on to construct thousands of White Star-class vessels which were crewed by the Rangers and members of the Religious Caste. After the formation of the Alliance, Sheridan proposed the creation of a heavier version which culminated in the design of two White Star Destroyers, the Victory and Excalibur. This latter ship was the centerpiece of the spinoff series, Crusade.

Final Thoughts:
Well, that was fun! No final thoughts today, as I really have none to offer. I just really like cool ships! And much like most toys for grown ups, they are made cool by the fact that they are used for some fun purposes – like smuggling, fighting or exploration – and generally boast one or more of the following factors: speed, firepower, special abilities, visual appeal, and maybe some secret compartments. Any or all of these will do, thank you very much. Until next time!

B5, Season 3 Best Episodes

Season Three was named “Point of No Return” for good reason. It was the season where everything hit the fan and there was no going back.  The Shadow War began, B5 broke away from the Earth Alliance, the temporal plot and purpose of the Great Machine was fulfilled, and Sheridan finally went to Z’ha’dum. So of course, there were plenty of big, great and significant episodes. Here are the one’s I liked best and why.

1. Matter of Honor:
A representative from Earth Force Special Intelligence (David Endawi) comes to B5 to investigate the matter of the Shadow vessel. After talking with all the ambassadors, he learns a few disturbing facts. G’Kar relates what he has learned from the book of G’Quan and his own investigations out on the rim. Londo relates a nightmare he has where he can see countless Shadow vessels passing overhead while he is standing on Centauri Prime. And Delenn claims she knows nothing about it. Naturally, she is lying…

Londo meets with Morden and tells him he wants to end their relationship. Morden reluctantly agrees, but first, they must divvy up the assets. He agrees to let the Centauri hold a quarter of the Galaxy, in return, they will get the rest and the two sides will go their separate ways. As an addendum, he asks that Londo let them take one world in between, a world which he has already asked Lord Refa to blockade for them. Londo is startled to know that Morden is in contact with someone else in the royal court.

At about the same time, another visitor comes to B5, a Ranger named Marcus Cole. After escaping from a world on the border of Centauri space, he comes to B5 to ask for their help in liberating the colony. For years, the Rangers have been using it as a training base and now it seems that the Centauri are moving in and blockading it. Sheridan is shown the White Star, a prototype Mimbari-Vorlon creation that will be the mainstay of the alliance in the coming war. They fly to the planet, just as a Shadow vessel appears and engages them. They narrowly defeat it by luring it into a jump gate and opening a seperate jump point inside it, which creates a massive explosion that kills the pursuing ship.

Endawi returns home and tells Earth Force Intelligence that he was unable to learn anything of value. We then see the head of Intelligence meeting with Morden and a representative of the Psi Corps. Morden is pleased that nothing was turned up, but is told by the Psi Corps representative that fears of nebulous alien threat that this sighting has caused could prove useful to their agenda…

Significance:
This episode introduces Marcus Cole and the Rangers, who’s existence has been mentioned before but will now be of extreme importance. Started by Sinclair on Mimbar and made up of largely human volunteers, these are to be the foot soldiers in the coming Shadow War. The White Star, which is also introduced in this episode, is to be the mainstay of their fleet.

After growing uneasy about his alliance with Morden and his “associates”, Londo has finally broken it off, only to learn that Lord Refa is attempting to forge one of his own. In time, this will pit Londo and Refa against each other, and give Londo a chance to redeem his mistakes. Finally, we learn that Morden and the Shadows have made friends back at Earth, and may have had a hand in assassinating Santiago and installing Clark. Already we have learned that the point of their alliances is to sow chaos and discord before they attack. Clearly, backing Clark’s conspiracy is part of that plan.

Memorable Lines:
Sheridan: You’ve been back and forth to your homeworld so many times since you got here, how do I know you’re the same Vorlon? Inside that Encounter Suit you could be anyone.
Kosh: I have always been here.
Sheridan: Oh yeah? You said that about me too.
Kosh: Yes.
Sheridan: I really hate it when you do that.
Kosh: Good.

Londo: My people have a manifest destiny. They can achieve it just as well without the help of your associates, perhaps better.
Morden: So we’re no longer necessary?
Londo: That’s right.
Morden: And now that we’ve done everything you’ve asked, you’d like us to just.. disappear.
Londo: I do believe you have got it surrounded, Mr. Morden!
Morden: Aren’t you being premature? After all, you’re people are moving on several other worlds. You might still need us.
Londo: No, I don’t think so. We have danced our last little dance Mr. Morden. Now it is time for you… to go away.

Sheridan: (looking at the footage of a Shadow vessel) A few months ago, you told me about an ancient race, the Shadows. This is one of theirs, isn’t it?
Delenn: These ships, once they target you they never stop, never slow down, never give up until they’ve destroyed you… and nearly invincible.
Sheridan: I don’t believe that. Every ship has a weakness.
Delenn: Believe what you will, til experience changes your mind. Take a good look, John, and remember it well. That is the face of our enemy.

Garibaldi: I’m not authorized for that kind of information.
Endawi: But… you’re the head of Security.
Garibaldi: And what kind of head of Security would I be if I let people like me know things that I’m not supposed to know? I mean, I know what I know because I have to know it, and if I don’t have to know it, I don’t tell me, and I don’t let anyone else tell me, either. Now look, we’ve tried most of the other ambassadors. Why don’t you speak to G’Kar? Maybe he knows something about this ship.
Endawi: Under the terms of our recent treaty, I am not authorized to have any official conversation with the Narn without Centauri approval.
Garibaldi: So you’ll ask unofficially. And I can give you reasonable assurances that the head of Security will not report you for doing so.
Endawi: Because you won’t tell yourself about it.
Garibaldi: I try never to get involved in my own life. Too much trouble.

Delenn: We must find help. We cannot hope to destroy a ship like that alone.
Sheridan: With all due respect, Ambassador, I’ve heard that before.

Ivanova: Captain, the day something happens around here and I don’t know about it, worry
Sheridan: Tell me, Commander…have you ever wondered what would happen if you opened a jump point while inside a jump gate?
Ivanova: No! And neither should you! EarthForce experimented with the idea during the Minbari War. They called it the Bonehead Maneuver. (to Lennier) No offense.
Lennier: None taken.

Morden: Your government can dismiss this as an isolated incident.
Psi Cop: I don’t know. There’s something about this idea of a threat to planetary security I find very appealing. As long as we keep the real truth to ourselves, there’s no reason we can’t use this situation to speed up the program here at home.

2. Voices of Authority:
B5 is assigned a political officer from the Ministry of Peace, a woman named Musante who’s purpose is to expand the power of the Nightwatch. In addition to following Sheridan around (and trying to seduce him), she openly tells Zack and the other members of Nightwatch that their mandate has expanded to stamp out all indications of treason and ideological impurity. Sheridan has to stay on his toes in order to keep the “conspiracy of light” a secret in her presence.

Otherwise occupied with her, he sends Ivanova to meet with Draal on Epsilon 3 so they can begin using the Great Machine to locate the First Ones. She finds the home of The Walkers, the ancient race that’s been spotted around Sigma 957, but also alerts the Shadows to her presence. She narrowly escapes before they are able to take her over. Then, she is given a vision of Earth Force One as it exploded, and sees a private communique between Morden and Clark where they discuss Santiago’s assassination. After months of quietly waiting, they have the proof they need to expose him!

Ivanova and Marcus travel to Sigma 957 and meet with a Walker ship. After some deliberation, Ivanova is able to get them to agree to join their war effort against the Shadows. When they return, the information she uncovered with Draal’s help has been released, Mustante is recalled to Earth so that MiniPax can investigate the allegations and “punish” whoever’s responsible.

Significance:
This episode picks up where season two left off where Draal tells Sheridan that he wants to join their alliance and will place the Great Machine at their disposal. In using it, Ivanova is able to find one of the elusive First Ones, first shown in season one, and uncover evidence of the conspiracy back home. In so doing, she also demonstrated that she has latent telepathic abilities, for as Draal says, no ordinary human could do what she did. Marcus and Ivanova also secure the cooperation of The Walkers, and learn that they are not on good terms with the Vorlons.

This episode also establishes that the Ministry of Peace, after slowly expanding its mandate on B5, is now mounting an all out offensive against dissenters and those who oppose Clark’s government. Now that evidence has been released that implicates them in Santiago’s death, things are likely to escalate.

Memorable Lines:
Draal: Good afternoon, everyone! Captain, Delenn tells me that you’re going to try contacting the First Ones. It is a magnificent idea—a daring and splendid idea! In doing so, you will see things no human has ever seen before! It will be…fun! Assuming you’re not vaporized, dissected, or otherwise killed in an assortment of supremely horrible and painful ways! Exciting, isn’t it?

Draal: I asked for Captain Sheridan!
Ivanova: Um… He’s busy.
Draal: I don’t like surprises!
Ivanova: Really? Love ’em, myself. To me, everything’s a surprise! You’re a surprise. This place is a surprise. You see this? [She holds up a finger.] Paper cut. Hurts like hell! Anybody else would be upset, but to me, it’s just one more wonderful surprise! I mean, I even surprise myself sometimes! So I guess there’s nothing wrong with me surprising you. Right?
Draal: (laughs) I like you! You’re trouble!
Ivanova: Well, thank you! That’s the nicest thing anybody’s said about me in days!

Sheridan: And, uh when exactly did all this happen?
Musante: When we rewrote the dictionary.

Ivanova: Good luck, Captain. I think you’re about to go where…everyone has gone before

Marcus: I think you just hit a nerve. The Vorlons must owe them money or something.
Ivanova: At least it tells us that they understand our language. They’re just not willing to speakto us in it.
Marcus: Who knew they were French? Sorry.

Walkers: ZOG!
Ivanova: “Zog”? What do you mean, zog? Zog what? Zog yes, zog no?
Marcus: It’s leaving. My guess is “zog” means “no”.
Ivanova: Like hell. I am not letting them leave here without saying yes.
Marcus: Really? And how do you propose stopping them? Perhaps a big red and white sign with the word “stop” on it? I’ll put a bucket on my head and pretend to be the ancient Vorlon god Boogee.
Ivanova: That’s it!
Marcus: Fine. I’ll get a bucket.

3. Messages from Earth:
Marcus escorts a former member of IPX, a woman named Dr. Mary Kirkish, to meet with the command staff of B5. She has some terrible news for them: it seems that Earth has known about the Shadows for quite some time, and has even been experimenting on their ships. The last time was on Mars after they uncovered one that was buried there, which  witnessed personally. Now they are planning on doing it again, this time on Ganymede with another buried ship. This time, they plan to merge a human pilot with it and control it. Garibaldi claims he surveyed the site years back and found a Psi Corps badge that was left there. Sheridan agrees to take the White Star and head to Ganymede to destroy it.

In his absence, the Nightwatch grows wary of his whereabouts. They have been ordered by their new head to be on the lookout for suspicious activity.Meanwhile, Garibaldi visits G’Kar in his cell, where he’s serving his sentence for assaulting Londo, and finds he’s writing a book about his experiences. On their way to Earth, Delenn and Sheridan spend an evening together and share precious memories. When they arrive at Earth, they find that the Shadow vessel has already been activated and begins destroying the facility.

Unable to match the vessels firepower, they manage to destroy it by luring it into Jupiter’s atmosphere then pulling a hasty escape maneuver. The Shadow vessel is unable to follow them out and is crushed by Jupiter’s intense gravity well. However, before they can exit the atmosphere, Sheridan’s old ship, the Agamemnon, shows up and attempts to board them. Sheridan and crew manage to narrowly escape by opening a jump point in the upper atmosphere, which ignites the hydrogen and covers their escape. Back at home, ISN says that Earth gov claims the facility was attacked by an unknown ship and uses this as a pretext to declare martial law.

Significance:
The link between the Psi Corps and the Shadows is revealed, as are Earth’s experiments with Shadow technology. The Nightwatch, having grown suspicious of Sheridan’s activities, are now planning to move on him. G’Kar’s book, which he has begun writing in this episode, will prove of great significance in later episodes. Clark’s government, which has been planning on using the “alien threat” to justify its repression, has decided to use Sheridan’s intervention as a pretext to declare martial law. Delenn and Sheridan’s relationship is also developing and becoming romantic.

Memorable Lines:
Garibaldi: But where in my contract does it say that I have to eat the same food for breakfast every day for three years?
Sheridan: Paragraph 47, Subsection 19, Clause 9A. You can find it in the index under S.U.A.E.I.
Garibaldi: S.U.A.E.I.?
Sheridan/Ivanova: Shut Up And Eat It.

Marcus Cole: And they have much to be concerned about. There’s always the threat of an attack by, say, a giant space dragon – the kind that eats the sun every 30 days? It’s a nuisance, but what can you expect from reptiles? Did I mention that my nose is on fire, and that I have 15 wild badgers living in my trousers?… I’m sorry. Would you prefer ferrets?

Sheridan: Full power! Give me everything you’ve got!
Lennier: If I were holding anything back, I would tell you.

4. Point of No Return:
The declaration of martial law has caused a great stir aboard B5. At home, Clark has apparently dissolved the Senate and ordered that all commanders who do not comply with the order are to be arrested. Sheridan contacts General Hague, but is told by one of his officers that he has gone to ground and that the Army is attacking the Senate building. Londo recieves a guest aboard the station, lady Lady Morella, a psychic who was also the wife of the late Emperor Turhan. He has asked her to visit so that she might give him a vision, in the hopes that he can avert the future he has foreseen for himself. Naturally, the declaration of martial law is a major inconvenience!

Shortly thereafter, Hague’s ship gets into a firefight with ships loyal to Clark and narrowly escapes. Sheridan is forced to issue the declaration of martial law and a riot ensues. He is told by Franklin to hang on, that things will get better, but Clark’s loyalists begin bombing Mars and Proxima shortly thereafter. G’Kar is released from prison early due to a shortage of staff, and he tells Garibaldi he might be in a position to help him and the command staff. Nightwatch is ordered to take over security and Garibaldi openly declares his resistance to it. Sheridan contacts General Smits to get advice on how to deal with the situation, and Smits tells him in a covert and roundabout way how to beat it.

Shortly thereafter, Zacks helps them by telling the Nightwatch that Sheridan is conspiring against them and lures them into an airlock where they are sealed in. Sheridan tells them their orders are not legal and places them under arrest. They are shipped out shortly thereafter and replaced by Narns loyal to G’Kar. They have managed to avert this crisis and buy some time, but also know that very soon, Clark’s forces will be coming for them.

Significance:
Sheridan and his staff have taken a stand against Clark and the Nightwatch, which at this point puts them directly in the path of fire. They know now that they might openly rebel if their “conspiracy of light” against the Shadows is to survive. Londo is told definitively that he will be Emperor someday, which he fears because he’s foreseen how it will lead to his death.  He is also told that he has one final chance to break from the path that he is on, and gives several clues as to what will be coming in later episodes. “The eye that does not see” is G’Kar, who he is told he must not kill. “The one that is already dead” is Sheridan, whom he must save along with Delen. And how he must “surrender to (his) greatest fear” alludes to letting G’Kar kill him, as he has foreseen numerous times and allow Vir to take his place.

Memorable Lines:
Vir: I thought the purpose of filing these reports was to provide accurate intelligence!
Londo: Vir, intelligence has nothing to do with politics!

General Smits: Captain. I’m sure you’ve been following the news.
Sheridan: Yes, sir. If I may ask, what’s your opinion?
General Smits: My opinion has nothing to do with this, Captain, and neither does yours! Our job is to follow orders from the Commander in Chief and respect the chain of command! If you have different opinions, I suggest you file them in a deep dark place where nobody’ll ever find them! Am I clear?

G’Kar: You must understand, Ta’Lon. I have had a revelation!
Ta’Lon: What kind of revelation?
G’Kar: A most profound and substantial one, Ta’Lon. The kind of revelation that transforms your mind, your soul, your heart—even your flesh—so that you are a new creature, reborn in the instant of understanding
Ta’Lon: That was a stirring reply, Citizen G’Kar. Unfortunately, while all answers are replies, not all replies are answers. You did not answer the question that I asked. What do you understand now that you did not understand before?

Sheridan:If I were you, I wouldn’t use my weapons on the airlocks. They’re a solid beryllium alloy. The ricochet is a killer.

Morella: You have a chance few others will ever have, Mollari. You still have three opportunities to avoid the fire that waits for you at the end of your journey. You have already wasted two others. You must save the eye that does not see. You must not kill the one who is already dead. And at the last, you must surrender yourself to your greatest fear, knowing that it will destroy you. Now if you have failed all the others, that is your final chance for redemption.
Londo: I…don’t understand!
Morella: The future reveals itself only reluctantly, Ambassador. Take the sign for what it is. Look for it when it appears!
Londo: I will. Thank you!
Morella: One more thing. You will be Emperor. That part of your destiny cannot be avoided.
Londo: I see.
Morella: (to Vir) You will also be Emperor.
(Vir laughs)
Morella: Why are you laughing?
Vir: I… I thought you were joking!
Morella: We do not joke in the face of prophecy, Vir.
Londo: Lady Morella, please! We cannot both be Emperor!
Morella: Correct. One of you will become Emperor after the other is dead. That is all we see and all we wish to see.

5. Severed Dreams:
Hague’s ship, the Alexander, makes to B5 after escaping from Earth and fighting against many of its own fleet. Major Ryan is in charge ever since Hague died in their last firefight. Sheridan orders that communications be cut off so no one will learn that they are harboring rebels, and Ryan tells Sheridan that Clark has begun bombing Mars after it declared its opposition to martial law. Another ship arrives soon after, the Churchill under Captain Hiroshi, that is also on the run. Together, they decide to make a stand against Clark and his forces once they arrive. Sheridan declares to the station that B5 is breaking away from the Earth Alliance and will not submit to President Clark’s forces.

A Ranger comes to the station to see Delenn. After being wounded, he is recovering in medbay and tells her that many other League worlds have begun fighting amongst themselves at the behest of the Shadows, and that the Grey Council intends to do nothing about it. Incensed, Delenn travels to Mimbar to confront the Council, and despite their attempts to block her, is able to come before them. She breaks the Council, as was foretold by one of Valen’s prophecies, and ask the Religious and Worker Castes to join her. They agree and mobilize to follow her.

Back at the station, Clark’s forces arrive and demand Sheridan’s surrender. He refuses, and the firefight begins. B5 and the Alexander are damaged, Hiroshi scuttles her own ship and rams one of the enemy’s Destroyers, and raiding party is beaten by Garibaldi’s security forces and G’Kars Narns. They believe they’ve won by a razor’s edge, only to be confronted by another force of Earth ships. All seems lost, but Delenn and several Mimbari warships jump in and she tells the Earth ships to back off. They do, and Sheridan and his staff are hailed by the station’s people as heroes. The episode ends with a close-up of a Nightwatch wall poster that has been ripped in half.

Significance:
In addition to containing one of the best battle scenes of the series, this episode was pivotal in terms of the overall plot. Sheridan and B5 have officially broken away from Earth and now are free to pursue their war against the Shadows freely. Their conspiracy of light has finally come full circle and become a full-fledged war effort. Delenn has broken the Grey Council in order to mobilize what Mimbari she can to join the war effort and cut out the obstructive Warrior Caste who never believed in the prophecy of the coming Shadows. This is beneficial in the short run, but will have consequences down the road.

Memorable Lines:
Acolyte: I told you, Delenn, they will not speak to you.
Delenn: Then they will listen to me! I served the Council for sixteen cycles. I was the chosen of Dukhat to replace him! I held him when he died! His blood is on my hands, his spirit in my eyes, his word on my lips! You will step aside in his name and mine, or–in Valen’s name—I will tear this ship apart with my bare hands until I find them! Move aside!

Delenn: Three years. For three years, I warned you this day was coming. But you would not listen. “Pride,” you said! “Presumption!” And now the Shadows are on the move. The Centauri and the younger worlds are at war, the Narns have fallen… even the humans are fighting one another. The pride was yours! The presumption was yours! For a thousand years, we have been awaiting the fulfillment of prophecy. And when it finally happens, you scorn it – you reject it – because you no longer believe it yourselves!… “The problems of others are not our concern.” I do not blame you for standing silent in your shame. You, who knew what was coming, but refused to take up the burden of this war! If the Warrior Caste will not fight, then the rest of us will! If the Council has lost its way, if it will not lead… if we have abandoned our covenant with Valen… (Grabs the leader’s staff and breaks it) Then the Council should be broken… as was prophesied! We must stand with the others – now, before it’s too late!

David Sheridan: Son… I follow the news. Well, I did until ISN went black! I see what’s going on. Your mother doesn’t like to think about it. You know how she is. John, I can’t imagine the kind of decisions that are going through your mind right now. I’m sure they’re not easy. The important ones never are. But when push comes to shove, you’ve always done the right thing. What was the first lesson I ever taught you?
John Sheridan: Never start a fight, but always finish it.

Sheridan: May I have your attention, please? In the last few hours, we have learned that warships are coming this way from Earth, their orders are to seize command of Babylon 5 by force. As commanding officer and military governor of Babylon 5, I cannot allow this to happen. President Clark has violated the Earth Alliance Constitution by dissolving the Senate, declaring martial law, and personally ordering the bombing of civilian targets on the Mars colony. He is personally responsible for the deaths of hundreds of innocent people. Following these attacks Orion 7 and Proxima 3 have broken away from the Earth Alliance, and declared independence. Babylon 5 now joins with them. As of this moment, Babylon 5 is seceding from the Earth Alliance. We will remain an independent state until President Clark is removed from office. At the end of this current crisis, anyone who wishes to leave for Earth is free to do so. Meanwhile, for your own safety, I urge everyone to stay in their quarters until this is over. That is all.

Delenn: This is Ambassador Delenn of the Mimbari. Babylon 5 is under our protection. Withdraw… or be destroyed!
Captain Drake: Negative. We have authority here. Do not force us to engage your ship.
Delenn: Why not? Only one human captain has ever survived battle with a Mimbari fleet. He is behind me. You are in front of me. If you value your lives, BE SOMEWHERE ELSE!

6. Interludes and Examinations:
The Shadows have begun openly attacking known space, beginning with the Brakiri. Sheridan tries to mobilize help, but find no other races are willing to get involved. He is told that if he can demonstrate that he has equal power, they will consider joining, otherwise they will keep their heads down and hope the Shadows will pass them over. He meets with Delenn to share his misgivings, and says that if he could give the other races a victory, they might join. She tells him that is what he will need to do, and he will find a way. He reflects that she is beginning to sound like Kosh, and that’s when it hits him!

Londo is expecting Lady Adira, the woman he loves to arrive on the station soon. However, Morden shows up beforehand and confronts him about his intervention in his relationship with Lord Refa. He tells Londo that his race must continue making war on its neighbors. He accuses Morden’s associates of using his people as a distraction so they might carry out their own agenda unnoticed. Morden threatens him, but Londo refuses to back down, telling him there’s nothing he can do to him “that hasn’t already been done.” Rather than kill him, Morden poisons Adira, knowing that Londo will think Refa was responsible. Intent on revenge, he decides to work with Morden again in exchange for his help.

Meanwhile, Franklin’s problems with stims are reaching a tipping point and beginning to effect his work. Garibaldi confronts him about it but is told to mind his own business. He then goes around him to his second and asks for access to Franklin’s medical records to prove he’s addicted. He is about to access the records but then stops, and sees Franklin watching him. He is asked why he didn’t go through with it, and tells Franklin that it doesn’t seem worth it if he can’t convince him as a friend. Franklin tells him he already checked, and that his tests prove he’s addicted. He resigns his post immediately and begins going on walkabout to deal with his issues.

Meanwhile, Sheridan asks Kosh for help but is rebuffed. Kosh tells him its not time for his people to get involved. Desperate and out of patience, Sheridan berates him for the way his race has been on the sidelines and how he’s been manipulating them. Kosh becomes angry and attacks Sheridan using a strange energy wave, but Sheridan refuses to back off. He says he will comply, but that he will not be there when Sheridan goes to Z’ha’dum. Vorlon ships attack and destroy the Shadows, a move which rallies the younger races, but Morden and some of his “associates” come to Kosh’s quarters and kill him. Too late, Sheridan understands what Kosh meant. His ship, with his remains, flies into the sun to die.

Significance:
In this episode, the Shadow war finally begins. After having insurmountable difficulties getting the other races to work together, Sheridan is able to establish a fragile alliance by getting the Vorlons to intervene. Kosh is killed in retaliation, but before he dies, he reaches out to Sheridan in a dream again and tells him he’s sorry he waited so long to get involved. A part of his consciousness breaks off and attaches itself to Sheridan, which will prove significant in later episodes. After waiting for years to see her again, Londo loses Adira and turns to Morden for help. His revenge will lead him into cooperation with G’Kar, who will in turn assist him in saving his world from the Shadows.

Memorable Lines:
Sheridan: Will you (get involved)?
Gaim Ambassador: No… We are not attacked yet… may not be attacked. If we join Brakiri, we are noticed. We invite attack.
Sheridan: They are going to come for you, sooner or later.
Ambassador: You do not know that. What do they do not see, they may not attack. The enemy is powerful. Show us you have equal power, and we will consider. If not, then we will stay quiet. Do you have equal power?

Morden: I thought we had a deal… we carved up the galaxy you and I.
Londo: Yes, we did. And what you do in your half is your business. And what I do in mine is mine.
Morden: We need your government to continue its campaign.
Londo: Yes? And why is that, hmm? I don’t think you have any interest in restoring the glory of the Centauri Republic. No, I think you are using us as… shall we say, agents as chaos? Convenient distraction, making it easier for your associates to do whatever they wish to do, yes?
Morden: My associates need a voice and an ear in the Centauri royal court. If you violate the terms of our agreement, my associates may turn their eye towards your homeworld.
Londo: Then we will pluck it out.
Morden: If you put yourself between us and our objectives, you may come to regret it.
Londo: There is nothing you can do to me, Mr. Morden, that hasn’t already been done… Good day.
Morden: (to Shadow) No… we need him alive for now. There are other ways.

Sheridan: The only way we’re going to survive this war is to organize the League, the Narns and as many other races as possible into a cohesive, offensive force… It’s never been done before, and I can see why. I mean, it’s like stacking marbles in a corner. They are hip deep in their own agendas and their own rivalries. I mean, half of them won’t even talk to the other half! But what’s worse…
Delenn: What?
I feel like I’m lying to them. You’ve seen the reports from the front lines. Yes, I have ideas, some possibilities. But at this moment, the stone cold fact is that none of us can stand up to those ships! If we could just score one victory against the Shadows, it’d be enough to make some of the others come around.
Delenn: Then perhaps we should give them a victory.
Sheridan: Oh, just like that?
Delenn: Just like that.
Sheridan: And how do you suggest we do that?
Delenn: I’m sure you’ll think of something.
Sheridan: Everyday, people around here start talking more and more like Kosh…

Morden: Anything I can do to help?
Vir: Um… Short of dying? No, can’t think of a thing.

Sheridan: For three years now you’ve been pulling everyone’s strings, getting us to do all the work, and you haven’t done a damn thing but stand there and look cryptic! Well, it’s about time you start pulling your own weight around here. […] I hear you’ve got a saying: “Understanding is a three-edged sword”? Well, we’ve got a saying, too: “Put your money where your mouth is”!
Kosh: Impudent.
Sheridan: Yeah? Well, maybe that’s the only way to get through to you. You said you wanted to teach me to fight legends. Well, you’re a legend too, and I am not going away until you agree!
Kosh: Incorrect. Leave. Now.
Sheridan: No.
Kosh: Disobedient!
Sheridan: Up yours! (Kosh hits him with some kind of energy) So, the real Kosh shows his colors at last, huh? You angry now? Angry enough to kill me? Because that’s the only way I’m leaving. Unless your people get off their encounter-suited butts and do something, I’ve got nothing to lose! God, my own government wants to kill me, and if we lose this war, I’m just as dead! Our only chance is to get the other races on board for this fight and right now you’re the key to doing that.
Kosh: It is not yet time.
Sheridan: And who decides that time? You? You put me in this position. You asked me to fight this damn war! Well, it’s about time you let me fight it my way! How many people have already died fighting this war of yours, huh? How many more will die before you come down off that mountain and get involved? Ships, colonies, whole worlds are being destroyed out there, and you do nothing! How many more? How many more, Kosh? How many more dead before you’re satisfied? Huh?
Kosh: I will do as you ask. But there is a price to pay. I will not be there to help you when you go to Z’ha’dum.
Sheridan: All right. If that’s the trade-off. If you want to withhold your help when the time comes, that’s fine. I’ll go it alone.
Kosh: You do not understand. But you will.

B5 Forever, Baby!

B5 Forever, Baby!

As I said last time, Season two ended with the defeat of the Narns and the coming of the Shadows. It also ended with the Babylon project being declared a failure. But as Susan Ivanova put it so eloquently at the very end of the season finale, “The Babylon project was our last, best hope for peace. It failed. But in the year of the Shadow War, it became something greater. Our last best hope… for victory.” This forecast B5’s true purpose, the one no one really suspected. I guess sometimes peace is overrated, or as Ivanova put it, “sometimes peace is just another word for surrender.”

Yeah, season one ended with “Nothing’s the same anymore,” but henceforth, every season would end with a speech, and a kickass one at that!

Season Three:

Season three opens with some interesting revelations. An Earth intelligence operative shows up trying to collect info on the mystery ship (the Shadow vessel Zack Allen encountered). After getting only tidbits from everyone, except G’Kar who tells him what he’s seen, the agent goes away with virtually nothing. Delenn professes ignorance, but tells Sheridan that this is what a Shadow vessel looks like, that this is “the face of their enemy”. Upon returning home, we learn that Morden is working with Earth Alliance people, including the president’s office and the Psi Corps.

They are pleased that no one seems to know anything about the Shadows yet, and that the Narns have been neutralized in part because of what G’Kar had learned about them. We also see that Clark’s people are keen on using the feeling of a “threat to planetary security” that news of this ship has stirred up to speed up their own plans. In essence, we learn that the Shadows were not just behind the Narn-Centauri War, but the assassination of President Clark as well and the Psi Corps plans for world domination.

At the same time, we get to meet Marcus for the first time, a Ranger who is seeking the help of B5 to evacuate a training post on the border of Centauri space. It seems that the Shadows have become aware of it and are moving in. In order to save them, Sheridan is take to a prototype ship, the White Star, a joint Mimbari-Vorlon creation. Faster and more powerful than anything they’ve ever made, ships of its kind are planned to be the workhorse of the coming war. Sheridan and crew arrive at the planet to find a Shadow vessel closing in, and narrowly manage to destroy it by outsmarting it.

Londo also decides to terminate his relationship with Morden, fearing how powerful his “associates” are and suspecting that they might turn on them eventually. However, Morden establishes closer ties with Refa, keeping his position with the Centauri royal court open so that they might continue their wars. Eventually, Londo administers one part of a two part poison to Refa and tells him to end his relationship with Morden and pull their forces back from all their skirmishes to bolster their defenses. Refa agrees, but now sees Londo as an enemy. Lyta also returns to B5, now as the permanent attache to Kosh. As usual, she seems to be in possession of several secrets, but will not reveal them… yet.

Similarly, G’Kar has begun a resistance against the Centauri occupation and is running weapons and supplies to his people back home. However, when attempting to procure Dust (a drug that temporarily gives the user telepathic abilities), G’Kar experiences something that changes him. While “high”, he breaks into Londo’s quarters, assaults Londo, and begins invading his mind. He learns that Londo was responsible for enlisting the help of the Shadows, and while probing deeper, he experiences a revelation. G’Quon appears to him and tells him that his people are dying because of their obsession with the destruction of the Centauri. He must find a better way to help his people. G’Kar awakes and cries, and we see that Kosh was watching him and was the one who sent him the vision. Eerie…

G’Kar is placed in custody, but is pleased for the opportunity to have some time alone and reflect on everything he sees. He begins writing down everything that’s happened to him: the war, the mistakes, and his revelation. He decides that the coming darkness, and how he must pledge his and his people’s help to stop it. When he gets out, he pledges the help of all the Narns aboard the station, and asks that he allowed into Sheridan’s alliance. Sheridan tells Delenn, and they realize it will be hard. They are happy for the help, but it will mean telling G’Kar that they knew he was right about the Shadows, but chose to stand by and let his world be overrun in order to keep their own plans hidden.

In between this all, the station personnel are made aware that things are changing back home. The Ministry of Peace, a strange organization committed to keep an eye on “public morale” has been creating and is enlisting the help of B5’s security. Their purpose appears to be none other than detecting and persecuting people who’s loyalty might be questionable, and Sheridan even receives a political officer for a time. However, she is pulled back home when a startling revelation is made!

In the last season, Draal invited Sheridan to the surface of Omicron 7 to tell him that he wanted to help their alliance and that the great machine was at his disposal. Now, he invites Sheridan to use the machine to help him find some of the remaining First Ones so that they might ask for their help as well. However, Sheridan is being watched by the political officer and sends Ivanova. In the course of finding some leads, she also is detected by the Shadows and is forced to flee. However, right before she disconnects from the machine, she sees something else. Earth Force One, right before it blew up, and a transmission where Clark is clearly speaking to Morden and openly talking about the assassination. They record this and send it home. The finally have the proof they’ve been looking for!

Then, Garibaldi gets a visitor, a woman who was working for Interplanetary Expeditions (IPX) who he knows from way back when. Turns out she’s discovered that the Earth government has found Shadow vessels buried on Mars and Ganymede. Years back, she witnessed them trying to revive the one on Mars, unsuccessfully. However, they are going to try again with this new one. Sheridan prepares the White Star and heads for Ganymede. Once again, they get into a fight with a Shadow vessel and are forced to outsmart it. They do this by luring it deep into Jupiter’s atmosphere and then flying out with all haste. The Shadow vessel, however, gets pulled in by the terrible gravitational forces and is destroyed. Sheridan and crew narrowly escape as the Agamemnon, Sheridan’s old ship, detects the disturbance and tries to capture them.

Between this latest incident and the revelations against him, Clark declares martial law, citing treason and a threat to planetary security as his reasons. General Hague tells Sheridan they are rallying their forces for a counter-strike, but things move too quickly. Clark’s people begin arresting anyone who appears to be resisting and even begins ordering the bombing of colonies that aren’t complying with the order. Sheridan and his staff decide to declare their secession, making B5 an independent port. But in order to do this, they have to get rid of the Night’s Watch, which has effectively take over their security forces.

They do this by leading them into a trap and then sealing them in the cargo bay. G’Kar then arrives with his Narns, who have taken over security, and the Night Watch are all disarmed and relieved. However, this move now means Clark will send the fleet to take over and institute martial law on the station. Sheridan and his crew are now forced to decide between laying down or fighting; they chose to fight! As the fleet nears, Hague’s co-conspirators in the fleet show up and declare that they will stand with B5. Hague himself is dead, but between their two ships and B5’s defenses, they have enough to make a stand. A big firefight ensues!

Delenn, meanwhile, attempts to get help from her government. She knows how important B5 is to the coming war effort, but her government does not want to listen. After undergoing her transformation, she was disavowed by the Grey Council and replaced by Neroon, a hard-core member of the warrior caste. The warriors now have control over the Council, are not convinced the Shadows are coming, and are not willing to commit forces to B5’s defense. Delenn responds by urging the Religious Caste and the Worker Caste to break the Council and join her. This effectively ends the Mimbari government, but it gets her the help she needs.

In the midst of the firefight between Earth forces and B5, when it seems all hope is lost, Delenn and several Mimbari cruisers show up. Delenn tells them “Only one man has survived battle with ou r forces. He is behind me, you are in front of me. If you value your lives, be somewhere else!” Naturally, they listen! B5 is safe, for now, and now an independent station. Sheridan is applauded when he steps into the public market, and all of Night Watch’s posters torn down! Yaaaaaay!

In time, another interesting visitor comes calling yet again. It’s Bester (played by Walter Koenig, aka. Chekov), the psi cop who always seems to show up wherever and whenever there’s trouble. The last two times, it had to do with the “underground railroad” and the Dust smuggling operation, this time it has to do with the Shadows. He claims that he knows they’ve infiltrated the Psi Corps, and that they are the ones pulling the strings back home. In exchange for their help, Bester promises to help them out. Turns out, he knows of a shipment that is heading for Shadow territory containing “weapons”, but when they board the ship, they find telepaths who have some kind of implants in their heads.

In short, they learn that telapaths ARE the key component to a Shadow vessel. The implants they carry allow them to interface with a Shadow vessel, keep them under the Shadow’s control, and make them very dangerous! Bester also learns that a woman he loves in amongst the people in the shipment. In addition to everything else, he asks that Sheridan and his people help her as best they can. Franklin begins studying the implants, but as yet, can find no way to remove them without killing the subject.

But most importantly of all, they learn from all this that a telepaths is capable of stopping a Shadow vessel by blocking the telepath that controls it.  It is little wonder then why the Shadows are using the Psi Corps and wiped out the Narn’s own telepath’s the last time they were on the move. They good guys have a weapon! However, this realization comes just before they learn that the Shadows are now moving openly, attacking worlds all over known space. Having sown the seeds of chaos, they’ve decided to come out of hiding and begin mounting their invasion. Things very quickly become crazy!

Sheridan tries to mobilize the member races of Babylon 5, but no one who hasn’t been attacked wants to act. Most of the races have been fighting each other, don’t trust each other, or are too afraid to get involved. Sheridan is told that if he can show that he has can match the Shadows firepower, they might be willing to join. He asks Kosh for help, since the Vorlons are almost as old as the Shadows and haven’t done anything in response yet. However, Kosh does not seem to want to get involved. He says that it is not his peoples time, and that Sheridan must do this without their help for now. Sheridan is incensed, and demands that Kosh and his people put their money where their mouths are. He can’t understand why Kosh would bring him into this alliance and then leave him to flail helplessly.

Kosh eventually agrees, but tells him he will not be there for him when Sheridan goes to Z’Hadum. Sheridan seems to think this is some kind of punishment; Kosh tells him he doesn’t understand, but soon will. After ordering his people to attack the Shadows, a battle which goes their way and inspires the younger races to join Sheridan’s alliance, Kosh is confronted by Morden and killed by his Shadow escort. Sheridan sees this in a nightmare, where he is being spoken to by the image of his father who tells him not to regret anything, and that he’s sorry he didn’t get involved sooner, but was afraid to because he knew of the consequences. Sheridan awakes and realizes Kosh is dead, and what he meant. He has his alliance, but has lost a friend…

Getting back to Morden, he initially came aboard the station to confront Londo. He told Londo that if his people did not cooperate with their plans, they might turn their eyes to Centauri Prime. Londo ignores the threat and tells him there’s nothing he can do to him “that hasn’t already been done”. However, Morden finds his achilles heel and poisons Londo’s mistress  (Lady Adira from the first season), who was on her way to B5 to see him. Londo immediately suspects Refa’s hand in this, seeing as how he poisoned Refa. Sad and indifferent, Londo reenlists Morden’s help and asks for his help in getting revenge. In turn, he will help Morden and his associates any way he can.

The season begins to wrap up with some curious reappearances. On the surface of Omicron 7, Draal begins to use the great machine to open a time-space rift in the neighboring sector. This coincides with Sinclair’s arrival on the station, having been summoned by a mysterious letter sent from the past. Seems he and Delenn have both recieved these letters, both of which were written over nine-hundred years ago, the Mimbari’s greatest prophet. Naturally, they are surprised, and meet up on B5 with Sheridan to discuss what’s going on. It’s at this point that Delenn begins to tell Sheridan more about the  last Shadow War, and how it was won.

To break it down, a thousand  years ago, the Shadows invaded, as they are doing again. The Mimbari, Vorlons and other member races were preparing for big offensive that they hoped would break their advance. However, these plans were delayed when the statio which was the rallying point for the offensive was attacked and destroyed. All seemed lost, until a new station appeared, with a prophet named Valen aboard it. He was the one who delivered this station, led the Mimbari to victory, and created their Grey Council. He was also the one who told them what the future held, that another Shadow War was coming, and the Mimbari would need to come together with another race to fight it (aka. the humans).

Delenn shows them a recording of all this, and Sheridan is shocked! The mysterious station, as it turns out, was Babylon 4! In essence, the station that disappeared without a trace years back, and which appeared briefly in season one, was being taken back in time to serve in the last Shadow War! What’s more, they see from the recording that shorty before it was taken back in time, the Shadow’s showed up and tried to destroy it, having realized its importance. But before they could, another ship showed up out of nowhere and saved it. That ship – drumroll! – was the White Star! Naturally, Sheridan is mind-blown, as is Sinclair.  Basically, they now understand that history as they know it has been subject to a temporal paradox, and they have a direct hand in it.

Gathering a crew together, which includes Zathros (who appeared in the first season aboard B4) they take all the kit they need to pull of this temporal job and fly into the big time-space anomaly opened by Draal. This takes them back, they encounter the Shadow attack party, take it out, and land aboard the station to begin preparing to take it back in time. However, in the fight, Sheridan’s time-space device (which they all wear to keep them rooted in their own time) is damaged, and he becomes “unstuck in time”, as Zathros puts it. The rest carry on without him, since time is of the essence.

While they prepare the station, Sheridan gets a glimpse of the future. He is in the Centauri palace, Londo is emperor, and he is being sentenced to death. He quickly learns that it is seventeen years since he first came to Babylon 5, that they won the war, but that Centauri Prime was devastated in the process. Delenn is there too, tells him that their son is safe, and that everything they’ve done came with a terrible price. Londo releases them soon after, and shows them that he is being manipulated by a Shadow implant, but that he’s managed to knock it out by getting plastered drunk. He sends them on their way, ask G’Kar to come in, and asks him to kill him.  However, the implant wakens as G’Kar puts his hands around Londo’s throat, he begins to fight back, and they end up killing each other. Vir then enters, and picks up the Emperor’s sigil. Thus we see the prophecy Londo and Vir were given coming true, how they would both be Emperor someday, but only after the other one died.

Before Sheridan becomes unstuck again, which returns him to B4 in time for Zathros to give him his time-space device now that its fixed. But before he does, Delenn tells him “do not go to Z’Hadum”.  Now back, he realizes that they are reliving what Sinclair and Garibaldi witnessed a few years back. Zathros has been captured, and is being questioned by B4’s personnel and Sinclair (circa. three years ago). In keeping with what happened, the station is abandoned, Sheridan and crew finish rigging it, and prepare to leave themselves.  Zathros also reveals to them that Sinclair, Sheridan and Delenn are all “The One”, explaining the statement he made to Sinclair years back. In keeping with the Mimbari tradition of all things in three, Sinclair is the one who was, Delenn is the one that is, and Sheridan is the one that will be.

However, the current Sinclair also tells them that someone must stay behind to guide it into the past. They don’t want him to do this, but oblige him when he tells him that HE sent the letters form the past, that it is his destiny to go back. They leave him with Zathros, narrowly making it away before the station is pulled back in time and the time-space rift closes. The crew then realize another startling truth, putting it all together. As Delenn explains to them, if the Mimbari had received the station with a human on board, they would not have accepted it. Marcus then realizes what was meant when Valen was described as “a Mimbari not borne of Mimbari”. Aboard the station, we see Sinclair using the same chrysalis that Delenn used to become half-human, and himself becomes half-Mimbari. We then see him in the distant past, meeting with the Mimbari and declaring that HE is Valen!

Whoa… Now we understand why Sinclair was thought to have Valen’s “soul” and why they believed humans carried other Mimbari souls. Turns out, the device he gave the Grey Council was tuned to sense his DNA, and the Mimbari and humanity have been connected ever since. So really, the bit about souls being shared was true, after a fashion. We also learn that Delenn’s transformation was seen as necessary in order to return the favor, combining her physiology with humanity’s in return for Sinclair taking on Mimbari form.

With the past fulfilled, they get to work ensuring the future. It begins with Delenn showing Sheridan to the White Star fleet, a force of over a thousand ships that are based on the original White Star which are now at their disposal! She tells him that at last, they have a “fighting chance”, and the two come together and kiss. The budding romance between them is now in full blossom!

Then, back on B5, they prepare their new alliance to fight the Shadows. It takes time coming up with a plan, since the Shadow’s attacks seems totally random. However, they soon realize that their goal is to create chaos and panic by striking as many systems as possible along the rim, thus driving as many refugees as possible into one sector in the interior where they will then attack to obliterate them all. Sheridan rallies their forces to meet at this sector, and a major battle ensues. The alliance forces suffer serious losses, but the Shadows are beaten and forced to withdraw for the first time ever.

With this victory, however, comes worry… Now that the Shadows know they are onto them and are able to stand up to them, how long before they come knocking on B5’s door?

Also, I should mentioned that Franklin begins struggling with an addiction to stims (stimulants) and quits his job when it becomes clear he is an addict and has problems. After going on walkabout for a while, he is knifed in the stomach and experiences a revelation of his own. His problem, it turns out, is that he keeps running from his problems. His “other self” then tells him to get off his bleeding ass, get back to his job and his friends, and fight for what matters! He does, and barely makes it to help before passing out from blood loss. After a few days recouping, he wakes up and sees Garibaldi and Sheridan, and tells them he’s happy to be back and alive and will do it all better from now on. Coincidentally, he’s back just in time to help as casualties come pouring in from the battle…

As it turns out, they do, but as not as anyone would have suspected. In the middle of the night, Sheridan and Delenn are greeted by a visitor. Anna Sheridan, John’s wife, shows up! She’s alive, it seems, has been living on Z’Hadum for years, and wants John to come with her. The invite is peaceful, she says. The Shadows simply want a chance to tell John their side of the story. He has Franklin examine her to determine she’s real, which she apparently is, and confronts Delenn. Basically, he feels like he was lied to, seeing as how Delenn assured him she was dead, but apparently knew that there was a slight chance she might have been alive. He decides to accept the invite, and leaves with Anna aboard the White Star. However, he is also made aware before he leaves that Anna bears the same marks as those telepaths they captured, the ones who had the implants placed in their heads. He also has a vision where Kosh reminds him that if goes, he will die…

When he arrives, John is met by Morden and a man named Justin, a human who appears to be the Shadows main human laison. Here, Sheridan learns the truth, the whole truth. As it turns out, the Vorlons have been keeping some things from John, Delenn and everyone else. Long ago, they say, the Vorlons and Shadows were allies, ambassadors to the younger races who worked together to shepherd them. However, ideological differences soon led to a split. The Vorlons believed that order and stability were the keys to growth, the Shadows that evolution came through chaos. In time, they began to fight each other, and enlisted the help of other races to fight. They want John’s help because apparently, those that survive the wars are rebuilt, bigger and stronger. Humanity has been selected as one such race, the Shadows having seen great potential in them.

At the same time, Shadow ships appear around the station, waiting and preparing for an attack. It seems that if John says no, they will destroy the place. In addition, Delenn gets a message from John in which he explains his true reasons for going. He tells her of what he saw of the future when they were going aboard Babylon 4, how she told him not to go to Z’Hadum and how they’d won, but Centauri Prime was destroyed. He says that he believed that he suspected he might have listened to her, hence why the Centauri were destroyed, and that he could still prevent that future by going. And of course, that they have all learned that they are mere players in this prophecy, and they must do what’s they are required to, even though he knows its a trap.

*Personally, I would have thought a better explanation would be that by telling him NOT to go, he knew that he must have. Since time is circular in this series and all things in the past and future are connected, he would therefore reason that he had to go because it had already been foretold.

But I digress… back on Z’Hadum, Sheridan reveals that he knows what they did to his wife, that they must have put her in one of the Shadow ships and that she was changed. The woman they sent to convince him is no longer his wife, and he imagines they will do the same thing to him if he doesn’t cooperate. Realizing he won’t cooperate, a Shadow walks in and Sheridan begins shooting his way out. Cornered on the edge of a balcony which overlooks a massive underground city, Sheridan orders the White Star to crash into the city and detonate its cargo. Turns out, he also smuggles some nukes aboard, knowing he might need them. Before it crashes, Sheridan hears Kosh’s voice telling him to jump into a massive chasm below.  He does, the nukes go off, the city and Anna Sheridan (what’s left of her) are destroyed, and the Shadow vessels withdraw from the station.

Everyone on board quickly realizes that something terrible must have happened, as the Shadows would not have left unless they thought the station were no longer a threat. But that couldn’t be unless… Oh dear! Delenn, Ivanova, and pretty much everyone else is heartbroken, and to make matters worse, Garibaldi’s fighter is also reported missing. Seems the Shadows picked him up before they left, but as far as anyone can tell, he simply disappeared…

The season ends with G’Kar narrating a part from the Book of G’Quan in which the author speaks of tragedy, revelation and transitions, and how all new ages are borne of pain. Heavy stuff… and a very poignant note to end a season on!