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The Fall of Centauri Prime
Babylon 5, episode 106 (5.18)
Last Modified: 28 Jun 2006 13:30:03
As Sheridan races to stop the Alliance ships from attacking Centauri Prime, Londo's fate, and that of his people, is decided.
The Narn and Drazi fleets bombard the defenseless Centauri Prime from space, hitting even the Royal Palace. The ceiling in G'Kar's cell partly collapses over him just before Londo arrives. Londo helps him stand up, and takes him elsewhere in the Palace.
As the capital burns, G'Kar is left alone in a room, somewhat worse for wear, while Londo goes looking for the Regent. In hyperspace, Sheridan races to Centauri Prime. He is informed that the Narn and Drazi have begun the bombardment, and that Delenn's White Star has been missing for almost 12 hours ("Movements of Fire and Shadow").
The bombardment moves away from the capital, and Londo finds the Regent. He discovers who the mysterious "they" the Regent has been obeying are: the alien from his 'dream' ("Movements of Fire and Shadow").
The alien is a Drakh ("Lines of Communication"). The Drakh are looking for a home, now that Z'ha'dum has been destroyed. They remembered Centauri Prime, and they remembered Londo. They remembered him blowing up the island with the Shadow vessels ("Into the Fire"). Centauri Prime is the perfect place for their work. They have isolated the Centauri from the rest of the Alliance.
"You are now what we need you to be," explains the Drakh. "A beaten, resentful people, who will have to rebuild. Who will have to rely on our good graces. Who can be used, and... guided, as we wish to guide you. Perfect ground for us to do our work. Quietly."
The Drakh claims to have planted many fusion bombs around the main continent, just as Londo did on the island. Unless Londo cooperates, as the Regent did before him, he will detonate the bombs and kill millions of Centauri.
The Regent outlines what the Drakh have in mind: he will die to give Londo the perfect alibi. Londo can claim the Regent was mad, and ordered the attack on the Alliance without knowledge or approval from the Centarum. Then Londo can call an end to the war, once he becomes Emperor. He will have no choice but to obey the Drakh then, the Regent explains, as he reveals the Keeper on his neck. The Keeper will control him when its interests are at stake, but mostly will leave him to be himself. Once the Keeper is removed from the Regent, the Regent will die.
The Keeper disentangles itself, and the Regent collapses.
Sheridan's White Star squadron finally arrives at Centauri Prime, and he orders the Narn and Drazi to cease fire. They agree... provided he supports them in the oncoming fight against the returning Centauri ships. When the ships get back, says a Narn commander, they will attack all Alliance ships, regardless of whether the attack was authorized or not. Sheridan can either join them and live, or hold back and be destroyed.
Sheridan tries to contact Centauri Prime, and orders all ships near Delenn's last known location to look for her.
Adrift in hyperspace, Delenn's battered ship tries to stay close to the beacon. But the navigational thrusters will be out of fuel soon, and then they will drift away and be caught in the currents of hyperspace. They will never be found then.
On Centauri Prime, Londo returns to see G'Kar, who is feeling better. "I would be dead, if not for you," says G'Kar. "You risked your life to save mine." "Yes," replies Londo. "You would have done the same." "Yes," quips G'Kar, "but I am a better person." Londo fights back a laugh. He promised he would get G'Kar out of that cell, and he keeps his promises. But G'Kar cannot remain his bodyguard. It is no longer appropriate, since Londo will become Emperor. But before then he wanted to say goodbye to G'Kar.
"In the months and the years to come," hints Londo, "you may hear many strange things about me, my behavior. Well, they say the position changes you. And I just wanted to..." "I understand," interrupts G'Kar. Londo isn't so sure.
As Londo turns to leave, G'Kar adds: "Mollari. Understand that I can never forgive your people for what you did to my world. My people can never forgive your people. But I can forgive you." They clasp hands awkwardly, and Londo leaves in silence.
He returns to the throne room, where the Drakh implants him with a Keeper.
Shortly thereafter, the returning Centauri ships receive coded transmissions and halt: Londo has issued the surrender order. He contacts Sheridan. Londo accepts the explanation that the Narn and Drazi attack was unsanctioned, since he finds himself in a similar position. He blames the Regent for the attacks. Sheridan is relieved, and asks to see Londo personally. Although the risk is great, with the Centauri people so angry at the Alliance, Londo agrees when he finds out about Delenn's ship missing.
When the transmission ends, Londo turns to the Drakh and asks what happened to Delenn. The Drakh explains without words, and Londo asks and begs him not to kill her.
Once Sheridan arrives, Londo is standoffish, but agrees to help... in exchange for a future favor. He reacts angrily when reminded that Delenn is his friend too, and blames the Alliance for what happened. Sheridan tries to smooth things over and offers to help, but Lonod refuses. The Centauri will have nothing more to do with the Alliance. "If I give you back Delenn's life, it will be an act of charity, nothing more." Annoyed, Sheridan demands reparations for the war. Part of those reparations will be information about the shadow pods that were used to control the Centauri ships ("Movements of Fire and Shadow"). Londo claims the pods were bought on the black market, and he is well aware of them.
In hyperspace, Delenn's ship finally runs out of fuel. In a last desperate attempt, they fire the weapons, hoping it will attract the ships that must be looking for them by now. Unfortunately, it attracts several Centauri warships.
The warships lock on and begin to approach. Lennier and Delenn realize they are about to die. "Delenn, I love you," Lennier says, just before he expects the warships to fire. "I know," replies Delenn. But the shot never comes. Instead, tractor beams are fired, and their ship is towed.
Delenn pretends she did not hear what Lennier said, and Lennier pretends he didn't say anything. "Nothing happened," says Delenn, "except that for a moment I found myself feeling extremely complimented, and deeply honored, by your presence, and by your friendship."
The next day, Vir arrives on the Royal Palace, and bursts in on Londo. "Never burst in on me without knocking!" says Londo, who was about to take off his jacket. Londo mentions the surrender terms: the reparations will severely cripple the economy, and there will be nothing left to rebuild with.
Outside, Sheridan, Delenn, and G'Kar still hipe they can help out, and plan to attend Londo's inaguration. But outside, a projection of Londo, now in full imperial garb, addresses the citizens of the Republic. He blames the Alliance for the attacks, and for the severe strain the reparations will put on the economy. But he promises to rebuild their cities and to reclaim their place in the Galaxy. The Centauri will not be broken, he promises.
"This punishment is unfair," he says. "A violation of our sovereign rights. But we will bear this burden. We are no longer part of the Alliance. We are alone. We fought alone, and we will rebuild alone." In the shadows, the Drakh nods approvingly.
Vir joins Delenn, Sheridan, and G'Kar, as surprised and confused as they are over Londo's speech. Londo then arrives, and advises them all not to attend the inaguration. He also officially appoints Vir as ambassador to Babylon 5. Reluctantly everyone agrees to leave. Delenn thanks Londo on Lennier's behalf, for saving their lives. "I fear," she adds, "I can no longer see the road you are on, Londo. There is only darkness around you. I can only pray that in time, you may find your way out of it."
G'Kar respectfully salutes Londo, and the four of them of leave. Londo walks among fallen statutes and debris to the Centaurum, to be officially named Emperor of the Centauri Republic.
Back on Babylon 5, Sheridan, Delenn, Garibaldi, Franklin, and Lyta are going over the latest on the shadow pods. Sheridan points out that they cannot follow up on the matter: whether or not Londo's claim that the pods were obtained in the black market is true, the investigation is now dead ended.
Franklin says that the pods are what scares him most: having Shadow technology loose among those who cannot understand it but are willing to use it. He likens it to the nuclear bomb, a remnant of the old Soviet Union, that devastated San Diego. Weapon technologies left over from great wars are dangerous, he says. "Weapons like us," points out Lyta, referring to telepaths.
Garibaldi wonders if any useful technology has been left behind on the Vorlon homeworld, technology they can use. But Delenn points out that dozens of ships have already been sent there, and were destroyed by the automatic defense systems before they even got close.
"The Vorlon homeworld is off limits until we're ready," says Lyta. "Until we've earned the right to go there, a million years from now." She doesn't know how she knows, but she does.
Zack arrives and lets Sheridan know the fighting on the station is almost over. He wonders why everyone looks so worried, though.
"We won the war," says Delenn by way of explanation, "but what did we lose?"
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