Garibaldi's past catches up to him, with some fairly disastrous consequences that will linger long after the episode is finished. He's blamed by some for an accident aboard B5, which leads to hitting the bottle again after a prolonged abstinence.
President Santiago has decided to visit Babylon 5, ostensibly in order to present a new fighter wing to the station (though some people believe his real purpose is to drum up popular support for his new alien trade and immigration policies, which have met with opposition in the Senate).
Ivanova and Garibaldi are en route to the president's arrival site on B5, and they are discussing the president's arrival. Ivanova tells Garibaldi that the president and his staff have not informed B5 command of their travel plans because the president feels it's safe if nobody is aware of these plans till the last minute (though Garibaldi jokes that, if B5 is unaware of the president's plans, the president's staff can blame B5 if anything goes wrong). Garibaldi feels that the president's visit is simply a waste of time and money; Ivanova responds that at least they're getting a new fighter wing out of the visit. Garibaldi is not grateful - he explains that B5 should have had those fighters a long time ago. Ivanova shares in the cynicism - now, B5 will have to renovate bays that haven't been maintained for years, using untrained crews rushed for time - and all of this at B5's expense. When Garibaldi claims he's no longer surprised by anything the government does (he's come to expect it), Ivanova compliments him on his very "Russian" outlook.
Suddenly, there is an explosion in the bay. Garibaldi and Ivanova are almost injured, and Sinclair, from the observation dome, sees a body in a spacesuit fly away from the station.
Down in the Med Lab, Franklin has diagnosed the person who flew out of the station - he flew out of the bay before the pressurization doors were activated. When Sinclair asks if the patient can say anything, Franklin replies that any procedure that could be used to rouse the patient would kill him. Garibaldi, meanwhile, has finished his evaluation of the damage ("You can put what's left of [the bay] in a shot glass," he tells Sinclair). Garibaldi still doesn't know what the cause of the explosion was, but he feels it was probably caused by negligence or fatigue on the part of the overworked crew. Sinclair asks about the possibility of sabotage, and though Garibaldi claims he never rules that possibility out, he feels that the inexperience and possible exhaustion of the crew was "inviting an accident."
Ivanova reports that Major Lianna Kemmer, an official on the president's security staff, has arrived. Kemmer requests an immediate briefing on the explosion. Garibaldi, when he hears Lianna's name, becomes lost in thought - he explains to Sinclair that he knew Lianna seventeen years ago (her father was his friend). "She's a real sweet kid," comments Garibaldi.
The meeting between Garibaldi and Lianna is somewhat cold, however. Lianna largely ignores Garibaldi and introduces herself to Sinclair. Sinclair comments that Garibaldi will brief her on the situation, but she requests that her own team handle the investigation. Sinclair is reluctant, but because Lianna, as chief of presidential security, has the legal authority to take over the investigation ("with or without your permission," she comments. "I would much rather my report reflected full cooperation on your part). Sinclair hesitantly agrees (after Garibaldi bitterly tells him to let Lianna take over the investigation), and Garibaldi moves away bruskly, commenting that he has "better things to do."
Sinclair follows Garibaldi out and asks what the problem is between Garibaldi and Lianna. Garibaldi is hesitant to answer, but Sinclair feels that if their relationship affects B5, Sinclair has a right to know. Abruptly, Ambassador G'Kar interrupts them - he has a problem with the seating arrangements for the president's banquet ("The entire Narn delegation has been seated next to the Vree," says G'Kar. "An intolerable situation! Have you ever seen them eat? That's horror for you.... This is a deliberate slap in the face to the entire Narn Regime.")
Meanwhile, Garibaldi, who had walked away slightly after G'Kar interrupted his conversation with Sinclair, has caught a thief trying to steal something. He begins angrily yelling at the thief (whom he has caught several times before in the past month), and when he treats the thief somewhat violently, a fight erupts between the two. Sinclair interrupts G'Kar in order to break up the fight.
Later, Sinclair and Garibaldi are eating together, and Sinclair asks Garibaldi what is wrong. Garibaldi finally comments that seventeen years ago, he was working as a security officer on Europa ("a real cesspool," he claims). "Ever try and uphold the law when nobody cares? After a few weeks, I started drinking hard just to get through the night." Eventually, Garibaldi met Frank Kemmer, Lianna's father. Kemmer was a shuttle pilot - "a real decent guy." Garibaldi explains that when his job got tough, he spent some time with Kemmer and his family - this is when he first met Lianna, who used to call him "Uncle Mike." "With all the madness, [staying with Kemmer] kept me sane and sober for a while," Garibaldi explains. However, as Garibaldi was beginning to have a certain amount of success upholding the law, he ended up making a few enemies. Garibaldi knew that some people were trying to kill him, but he also felt that he could handle it. Unfortunately, his enemies worked indirectly: they exploded one of Kemmer's shuttles, thereby killing Kemmer. They blamed the explosion on Garibaldi's negligence. Since the government didn't want a scandal, they kept the situation quiet and "blackballed" Garibaldi throughout the system. "But none of that was as bad as telling Frank's family what had happened. Lianna didn't even cry; she just died inside... I crawled back into the bottle, and didn't come out again for a long, long time." Suddenly, Dr. Franklin calls Sinclair into the Med Lab.
At the Med Lab, Lianna and her staff have violated Franklin's wishes and are trying to rouse the explosion victim in order to try to get information from him. When Sinclair arrives, the victim has already been roused, and he claims that the explosion was no accident - it was caused by a bomb. Sinclair orders Kemmer to leave the patient alone - for Franklin feels that any procedure to rouse the patient will kill him - but Lianna refuses. Just as the victim dies, he names the person who planted the bomb: "It was Garibaldi."
Major Kemmer has called a hearing in response to the allegation against Garibaldi. Garibaldi, however, cannot believe that Kemmer and the rest of the president's staff are placing so much importance in the accusations of a dying man. Garibaldi claims that the victim "had it in for me" - that is, he resented Garibaldi because Garibaldi had arrested him a few months ago for "trashing an alien shop." Further, Garibaldi argues that the initial damage reports showed no trace of a bomb, but Kemmer contends that the explosion may have destroyed any traces of it. Lieutenant Cutter, a member of Kemmer's staff, adds that perhaps no bomb was found because Garibaldi didn't *want* to find one. This accusation angers Garibaldi, but Kemmer doesn't seem to care - she asks Sinclair to suspend Garibaldi from duty because of Garibaldi's possible criminal involvement. Though Sinclair doesn't want to suspend Garibaldi, Kemmer - as head of presidential security - effectively *orders* Sinclair to carry out the suspension. Sinclair, who has little choice but to submit to Kemmer's legal authority, is forced to remove Garibaldi from active duty. Major Kemmer, now that Garibaldi has been removed from duty, temporarily assumes the position of B5 security chief.
Garibaldi, upon returning to his quarters, is confronted by a security officer who refuses to allow Garibaldi entry. Major Kemmer and Lieutenant Cutter arrive, and Garibaldi pleads with Kemmer to allow him to speak with her. When he moves to grab Kemmer in order to speak with her, however, the security guard roughly forces him to withdraw his grasp. Kemmer orders Cutter to leave and see what the scanning team has discovered concerning the explosion in the bay; she then dismisses the other security guard so that she and Garibaldi can be alone.
Once they are alone, Garibaldi explains to Lianna that he "loved Frank like he was my own brother." Lianna angrily tells him that Frank died because Garibaldi was concerned only with protecting himself, but Garibaldi denies this. He admits that he "made a mistake," but he claims that he would never have let Frank die to save himself. When he pleads with her and asks her to believe him, she replies that it's too late for Garibaldi to ask to be trusted: "I might [believe you], if you had told me then, but you just got drunk and ran, like you always do," she says. Cutter has meanwhile returned, and he informs Kemmer that the explosion was indeed caused by a bomb, for the burns of the victim (the one who originally implicated Garibaldi) showed traces of certain explosives. Cutter also informs Kemmer that schematics of the bay, as well as substantial amounts of Centauri currency, has been found in Garibaldi's quarters. Garibaldi again tries to reason with Kemmer: "Come on, Lianna, this is a frame. If I were guilty, why would I leave the evidence in my own quarters?" he asks.
"Maybe you just made another mistake, just like you did seventeen years ago," replies Kemmer, who orders Cutter to take Garibaldi into custody. Garibaldi, however, who is angered by the whole situation, runs away and attempts to escape Cutter. Kemmer orders her security officers after Garibaldi and posts a stationwide security alert for Garibaldi.
On the observation dome, Ivanova and Sinclair are surprised to see an alert against Garibaldi. Sinclair orders Ivanova to cancel the alert, but Kemmer - who has just arrived at the observation dome - tells Sinclair that he can't cancel the alert because there is now hard evidence that Garibaldi is a saboteur. Sinclair responds angrily to Kemmer and tells her that "Garibaldi is many things but he's no saboteur"; further, Sinclair tells Kemmer that he is quite annoyed with her personal vendetta against Garibaldi. Sinclair again orders Ivanova to cancel the alert, and Ivanova gladly complies with the order. Kemmer responds that if Sinclair keeps "obstructing" her, she will have no choice but to invoke presidential authority; however, Sinclair tells Kemmer that he's tired of "presidential authority" excuse. "This is my station, and it's time you realized that," says Sinclair. Sinclair proceeds to order Ivanova to escort Kemmer off the observation dome. Ivanova gladly complies with this order as well ("You are going to resist, I hope," she tells Kemmer). After Kemmer leaves, Ivanova warns Sinclair that Kemmer will probably contact Earth Central; Sinclair says he's aware of that, but at least the delay will buy him enough time to find Garibaldi before Kemmer's staff does. Ivanova suddenly has an idea: she smugly orders the B5 staff to begin a "Level 6 maintenance check" on all off-station communication channels - a move which will tie up the communication channels for hours.
Garibaldi has discreetly moved down to the Zocalo, where he seeks out Londo. He tells Londo that he is looking for information about the explosion in the bay. He explains that someone tried to frame him by planting substantial amounts of currency in his quarters; he then explains that the currency was Centauri. Londo picks up the implication, and stares with feigned disbelief at Garibaldi; "Oh, Mr. Garibaldi, do you really think that I would do such a thing to you, my good and dear friend?"
"In a minute," responds Garibaldi.
"You're right," answers Londo, "but I didn't, though I may have an idea who did...."
Meanwhile, Kemmer angrily contacts Ivanova and asks why all communications channels are offline. Ivanova replies that a communications check is being conducted, for they don't want the president to be "out of touch" when he arrives at B5. Kemmer demands that Ivanova open a channel, but Ivanova brushes her off ("I'm a lieutenant commander in Earth Force, major. I do not take 'demands.' If you have a request, I'll consider it," Ivanova says. When Kemmer 'requests' that Ivanova open a channel to Earthdome, Ivanova simply denies her request.).
Kemmer comments to Cutter that Ivanova and Sinclair are "doing everything they can to protect Garibaldi," but Cutter isn't surprised - their files show that Ivanova and Sinclair are Garibaldi's only real friends, aside from Londo Mollari. Kemmer sends Cutter to question Londo; she sends another officer to return to their ship and open a communication channel with Earth Force One (President Santiago's ship) - specifically, with General Netter on Earth Force One. Kemmer explains that Earth Force One should be close enough to pick up the signal from Kemmer's ship, which is docked at B5.
Londo, meanwhile, has explained to Garibaldi why he feels that G'Kar is the one who's trying to frame Garibaldi. Londo says that during the Narn occupation of Ragesh 3, some important scientific material was "lost," but the Narns claimed they could find it again - for the right price. Thus, G'Kar could possibly have had access to large amounts of Centauri currency, which he could have planted in Garibaldi's quarters. Garibaldi says that he wants to visit G'Kar. Without his usual security clearance, however, Garibaldi knows that he might have a hard time gaining access to the ambassadorial wing, where G'Kar's quarters are located. Garibaldi therefore asks Londo for a loan; Garibaldi claims that, with enough money, he can gain access to the ambassadorial wing. Londo appreciates the irony in the situation - he has switched roles with Garibaldi for the time being - but he eventually extends a fairly generous loan to his "good, dear friend." Londo explains that he sees certain parallels between himself and Garibaldi (Londo feels that, like Londo himself, Garibaldi is sometimes "the odd man out"); it therefore gives him a certain comfort to be able to help Garibaldi in a time of need (however, the more practical side of Londo claims that the Centauri goddess of luck, with whom Londo has had a "long and rather dubious relationship," has been smiling on him lately - he can therefore afford the loan). "If they catch you," warns Londo, "I will deny ever seeing you. Good luck!"
Garibaldi successfully gains access to the ambassadorial wing; when he arrives at G'Kar's quarters, he's surprised to find that G'Kar has been expecting him ("... you've been talking to Mollari. It was inevitable he would send you to me.... My people watch him; his people watch me; we all watch one another here, Mr. Garibaldi.") G'Kar also explains that the security monitors are "malfunctioning" at the moment, so Garibaldi need not worry about the security officers finding him here (especially since G'Kar took the liberty of telling a security guard that he had seen Garibaldi on the next level). G'Kar says that he's sure Londo blamed Garibaldi's present situation on the Narns; however, he denies any part in the incident (though he admits he doesn't think it's a bad idea). G'Kar offers Garibaldi a chance to escape B5; G'Kar says that Garibaldi's talents and services could be useful on Narn. Once on Narn, if Garibaldi were to ever become "homesick," G'Kar says he's sure the Narns could arrange for Garibaldi to return - as a genetically altered spy. Garibaldi immediately declines G'Kar's offer, however; he refuses to even think about betraying Earth. G'Kar advises Garibaldi to stop seeing things in "such absolute terms" ("The universe is run by the complex interweaving of three elements: energy, matter, and enlightened self-interest. Unless you comprehend that fact - and soon - you will be cornered and caged," warns G'Kar), but Garibaldi still refuses G'Kar's offer. G'Kar makes one last plea: "Without your position, this station is not safe for you. You have made many enemies."
"Call it a lifestyle," replies Garibaldi, as he leaves.
From the observation dome, meanwhile, Ivanova is giving instructions to the new fighter wing, which has just arrived.
Down in the alien sector, Garibaldi is trying to purchase a high-level security card from N'grath, but N'grath refuses because Garibaldi is "still police," even though he's a fugitive. N'grath abruptly forces Garibaldi to leave, and when Garibaldi is thrown outside N'grath's doors, he is almost caught by some of Kemmer's guards.
He narrowly escapes and eventually returns to the human sector of B5, only to be attacked by a group of angry aliens. Just when it appears that Garibaldi has no hope left, Sinclair (who has been monitoring security reports concerning Garibaldi's whereabouts) suddenly finds him and helps to fight off the aliens. Sinclair suggests that Garibaldi go to Med Lab, but Garibaldi refuses to go anywhere before he figures out who framed him. Ivanova contacts Sinclair and tells him that he has a Gold Channel message from General Netter; meanwhile, when Sinclair turned his head to speak with Ivanova through his comm link, Garibaldi ran off. By the time Sinclair turns around again, Garibaldi is gone.
General Netter's message has come through, and Netter orders Sinclair and his staff to fully cooperate with Kemmar. After Netter ends communication, Sinclair explains to Kemmer that he wants to find Garibaldi as much as she does - "the only difference is," says Sinclair, "I haven't already judged him.... But the fact is, Garibaldi is as loyal as you are, and if you weren't so twisted up inside about what happened to your father you'd realize that. It's not justice you're after, major, it's blood." Just then, Cutter contacts Kemmer and says that the guards have sighted Garibaldi and have discovered that Garibaldi has been paying for things with Centauri currency. Kemmer believes that the currency found in Garibaldi's quarters was only part of the payoff; she orders the guards to move in on Garibaldi. After Kemmer leaves, Sinclair contacts the security guard who had been stationed outside Garibaldi's quarters when Garibaldi first found that his quarters were being guarded.
Garibaldi, meanwhile, has entered a club. He sits down and suddenly notices that a security guard has moved into the same club. He borrows an alien's hat and tries to avoid notice - and he succeeds, at least for the moment. The guard leaves, and when Garibaldi gives the alien back his hat, the alien replies, "Don't want hat? Take bottle.... I go casino." As the alien gets up, he pushes a bottle of some alcoholic drink toward Garibaldi. Garibaldi fights with himself for a long moment - will he give up the sobriety that he has worked toward for so long? The past few hours have been excruciatingly difficult for Garibaldi - how appealing the drink must seem - how easy it is to simply forget about all of his problems.
At last, Garibaldi decides to drink - and he drinks heavily. Quite soon, he's experiencing quite a hangover - despite his trouble standing up, he is sharing jokes with the aliens, and, in general, parading around the room making a fool of himself. ("You got a real nice place here! Great ambiance, terrific decor, friendly people. Yeah, this place should be on all the chartered tours - 'see and experience the real Babylon 5.' Hell, in a couple month, I could see a few of you people topside," he mumbles, as he stumbles out the door).
Meanwhile, one of the people in the restaurant has notified the security guards of Garibaldi's whereabouts, and when Garibaldi wanders out of the restaurant, Kemmer, Cutter, and their guards are waiting for him. "Drunk again, Uncle Mike?" asks Lianna. The confused Garibaldi remembers how the young Lianna, seventeen years ago, often said the same thing. Kemmer's guards take Garibaldi into custody; Cutter, meanwhile, comments that the new fighter wing are getting ready to be launched, and he feels he should check the bays one more time.
Lianna is questioning Garibaldi; she's trying to get him to confess. At one point, she confronts him and asks, "You never change, do you, Michael?" He replies that he thought he had - until she showed up.
Garibaldi tries to reason with her again. He asks her if she really wants to destroy his life, just as she feels he destroyed hers years ago. "If I could have gone in Frank's place, I would have," says Garibaldi. "I didn't know, Lianna. I didn't know."
Just then, the security officer whom Sinclair contacted earlier arrives at the room where Garibaldi is being interrogated. He explains that Sinclair ordered him to search the explosion victim's quarters - and when he carried out that search, he found a detonator and a few Homeguard pamphlets (the security officer also explains how there had been some trouble with the Homeguard a while ago, and he mentions that Garibaldi cleared it up). Garibaldi says that security had suspected the victim of being a Homeguard member for a long time - but they never could prove it. Garibaldi says that he feels that the victim was killed by a bomb that the victim planted in the bay - but the victim was unaware of the use of a plasma driver in the bay. Such a plasma unit would have created enough vibration to trigger the bomb prematurely. When Lianna asks about a possible motive, Garibaldi explains that the president was planning to announce new alien trade and immigration policies - policies that the Homeguard would strongly oppose.
Cutter calls in and informs Kemmer that the president is about to arrive for the fighter wing presentation ceremony. Kemmer orders Cutter to make sure the bays are secure.
Kemmer admits that she'd like to believe Garibaldi, but she still sees no explanation for how the Centauri currency and the bay schematics got into Garibaldi's quarters. She explains that nobody knew that the victim had named Garibaldi except her, Garibaldi, Franklin, and Sinclair.
"And Cutter," remembers Garibaldi. "He was there just when the evidence against me was found." Lianna is skeptical, however; she claims that Cutter is one of their best agents. Garibaldi just comments that perhaps the Homeguard was counting on that - though the first bomb didn't work, Cutter can finish the job, so to speak. He advises Kemmer to check the bays herself - just to be sure.
As Earth Force One approaches the B5 docking bay, Kemmer and Garibaldi walk down to the bay themselves. Kemmer tells Cutter that she wants to scan the bay herself; however, as she moves to do so, Cutter knocks her out with the weapon he is carrying. He points a gun at Garibaldi, but when he bends down to recover the weapon that he used against Kemmer, Garibaldi kicks the gun out of his hand. A struggle ensues, but Garibaldi gains the upper hand long enough to grab hold of a comm link and warn Ivanova to abort the docking procedure.
Later, in the Med Lab, Franklin tells Garibaldi that he'll be all right (though Garibaldi feels like he "just made love to a meteor shower") - and so will Lianna. Sinclair tells Garibaldi that explosives were found on the bay doors - if the doors had opened, the new fighter wing, as well as half of the station, would have been lost. Sinclair also ran a check on Cutter and found that someone on Earth deposited a large sum of money in Cutter's account an hour after the explosion victim named Garibaldi. Cutter then withdrew it on B5 in Centauri currency, which he planted in Garibaldi's quarters. Sinclair congratulates Garibaldi on his actions, and places Garibaldi back on active duty, but Garibaldi feels that he lost a personal battle: "I blew it, Jeff ... just like I always do. When things get too rough, I crawl right back into the damn bottle. What really scares me is how much I enjoyed it." Sinclair still feels that Garibaldi shouldn't be upset with himself - he crawled back out of the bottle and saved the station. Garibaldi, however, feels that he just got lucky - this time; what will happen next time, he asks? Sinclair says he hopes there won't be a "next time," but if there is, he wants Garibaldi to promise not to try to fight the battle alone. "You're more trouble than a toilet full of snakes," says Sinclair, "but I couldn't run this station without you."
President Santiago successfully completed his address and reception. In his address, he called for alien governments to work more closely with earth - "a position certain to cause much controversy in the weeks to come," according to a news broadcast.
Garibaldi finds Lianna just as she's about to leave. Lianna thanks Garibaldi for his favorable report of the situation; Garibaldi replies, "I figured if you could nab me on my own turf, you might just have a career in this game." Lianna admits that she messed up - she apologizes for what she put Garibaldi through (and she says that Sinclair was right - she was out for blood, not justice), but he tells her there's no need to apologize. He explains that people are not machines, and when they're angry, they lash out. "Seventeen years ago," he says, "we both died inside. But somehow, we survived. For better or worse, that's all we can do - survive. And, maybe one day, forget how much it can hurt to be human."
As she leaves, Lianna tells Garibaldi that President Santiago is "fond of Babylon 5." Garibaldi half-humorously tells her to make sure to keep the president safe, for B5 needs all the allies it can get. They hug, and Lianna leaves quietly. Garibaldi stares after her, afraid that he really hasn't changed at all in seventeen years. If it's so easy to crawl back into the bottle, how can he ever be sure that he won't do it again?
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