Near a Drazi colony on the border of Drazi space, the Centauri and Drazi fight one another.
Sheridan stops by Lochley's quarters late at night. He wants to tell her about the latest information. According to reliable, but still unconfirmed reports, the Centauri are targeting enemy jumpgates. Lochley is aghast. This is a violation of every rule of civilized warfare. And if the hyperspace beacon system fails, it will hurt the Centauri as much as anyone else. It makes no sense.
Sheridan agrees. This means, he says, that the Centauri are out of control, and may even strike at Babylon 5 itself. Moreover, he has just authorized the White Star fleet to fire on any Centauri vessel engaged in hostilities against Alliance ships. Babylon 5 is no longer neutral in this conflict.
Over breakfast, Sheridan is trying to ask Delenn for something he doesn't really want to ask. Since the Alliance has been using White Stars against pretty much every size of ship. Since the Shadow War, through the battle for Earth, and now the Centauri War, they've lost a lot of them. Sooner or later they will run out of ships. They need more ships, and they need bigger ships as well.
The problem is that she needs to do it in person. The project must be kept secret until the first prototypes start rolling out of the assembly lines. And the hyperspace routes from Babylon 5 to Minbar are no longer safe, with the war going on. Nonetheless, Delenn agrees to do it. After all, it is impossible to live without risks.
Franklin and Lyta arrive at Vir's temporary quarters. He has been moved to help protect him, and he has asked both of them to come because he needs their help. The biggest losses the Centauri have had have been against the Drazi. According to the Declaration of Principles of the Alliance, opposing sides should exchange bodies of those killed, returning them to their own people. The Centauri have been honoring this, but the Drazi have refused to return any bodies of Centauri dead. Vir thinks something is going on.
But Lyta will not do it for free. Her fee will be five hundred thousand credits, to be deposited in an account to help rogue telepaths escape the Psi Corps. Vir is taken aback, as it is more than he can afford. And Londo is, as Vir puts it, "otherwise engaged."
In fact, Londo is in a cell with G'Kar ("And All My Dreams, Torn Asunder"). G'Kar tries to get him to leave, but Londo will not. For one, it is a question of principle: he said he would go wherever G'Kar did. Besides, he figures he can be of more help in there. The people will be outraged when they find out he is being held in prison without being charged, and the popular outcry will force the Centarum to take a stand. They may even have to issue a cease fire over the Regent's objections. He'll wait until morning. It has been three days since he has been in the cell, more than enough time for the people to get organized.
G'Kar and Londo start getting ready to go to sleep when a bright light flashes; they both fall to the ground unconscious, and robed figures grab Londo and drag him out of the cell, leaving G'Kar behind.
On Babylon 5, Sheridan, Garibaldi, and Lochley arrive for a meeting with the Narn, Brakiri, and Drazi generals. According to them, with the help of the White Stars, they are holding their own against the Centauri. But the Narns have taken heavy losses on their already depleted forces. Lochley suggests they consolidate their defenses: the Drazi could send some ships to help the Narns, and so on. But the Brakiri ships will not take orders from Drazi, according to the Brakiri general. And the Drazi, claims the Narn, will not take orders from them. The Drazi general, on the other hand, claims they can win by themselves and do not need help from others. Clearly, no cooperation is possible.
Sheridan also wants to get a sense for the Centauri strategy. According to Garibaldi, the Centauri fleet has divided in two; one wing is defending their bases, and the other wing is attacking others, with little to no exchange between the two wings. Which, according to the Narn, is atypical of Centauri tactics. Furthermore, no overall strategy is apparent. Very strange indeed.
Lochley is called to C&C. After she leaves, the Narn suggest pooling their forces and launching an offensive. The Drazi agrees; they want to hit Centauri Prime. But Sheridan will not allow it, as it would mean hitting civilians. The Brakiri points out that such considerations have not stopped the Centauri. Nonetheless, Sheridan does not yield, and he forbids any attacks on civilians.
Now alone, the Drazi and Narn generals take the near miss as an indication that the humans cannot fight this war properly. The Drazi suggests they join forces and attack Centauri Prime. The Narn general agrees. On this, at least, they can work together.
Sheridan contacts Delenn and Lennier, who are already en route to Minbar. The gate at Babylon 5 will be out for a couple of days. Delenn is relieved everyone on the station is fine. She is two days away from Minbar, and has already scheduled a meeting with the Grey Council.
On Babylon 5, Garibaldi runs to Sheridan's quarters. He just found out that thirty percent of the Narn and Drazi fleets have disappeared. Garibaldi thinks they are on their way to Centauri Prime, but there is no time to get proof. Sheridan needs to get between them and the planet, or several million civilians will die.
On Babylon 5, Sheridan has assembled a White Star strike team, and they head out to Centauri Prime. Elsewhere in hyperspace, Delenn's ship detects four Centauri warships. Too many to fight. And before they can notify Babylon 5, the Centauri fire and damage the White Star. The ship starts spinning out of control, and fires break out inside.
On the Drazi Homeworld, Franklin and Lyta arrive at a research facility, and discover why they were almost killed: the Centauri ships had no crew, only some black pods attached to the controls. Lyta recognizes them, just as more shots are fired at them from inside the facility. Lyta grabs a pod, and they both run out.
In hyperspace, Sheridan receives Franklin's report. Lyta explains that the pods are leftover Shadow technology. The Vorlons left the information behind in her. The pods are organic devices, used to control ships from a distance. This is why the Centauri military leaders did not know about the attacks, and why the defensive and offensive wings of the fleet did not mix. All attacking ships are being controlled through the pods. Sheridan wonders how the Centauri got their hands on them, but Franklin points out many Shadow servants were left behind when Z'ha'dum exploded ("Epiphanies"). It is possible one of these races sold them to the Centauri. Or, as Lyta points out, a third party may be using them to frame the Centauri. The Drazi kept the pods secret so they wouldn't have to turn them over to the Alliance, and because they have always competed with the Centauri for trade; a war is in their best interest.
Sheridan realizes now why they couldn't figure out the Centauri strategy: there was none. The objective was to turn everyone against the Centauri so they would attack them.
Delenn's ship is adrift in hyperspace, half destroyed. Delenn and Lennier are still alive, the only ones left on the bridge. The jump engines are off line, and most of the crew is dead. The few other survivors are trapped in lower decks, unable to get through the debris. They have enough fuel left in the thrusters to keep from drifting too far off the beacon for now ("A Distant Star"). Lennier can't even tell if the distress signal is working, and his leg is broken. "This is bad, then," says Delenn. "Very bad," confirms Lennier.
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