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Sinclair is waiting at a docking bay for the arrival of Dr. Stephen Franklin, the new medical chief of staff--and evidently an old friend of Sinclair. Right after the new doctor arrives, Sinclair gets a message from the bridge that there's a disturbance at the jump gate.

On the bridge, Sinclair finds out that a very damaged ship has come spinning out of the jump gate. The ship is out of control and is on a collision course with the station. The ship cannot be identified--its configuration doesn't match anything they've seen before. Sinclair decides to go outside the station and try to grapple the unknown ship with a ship of his own in order to prevent the ship from crashing into Babylon 5. He gives the order to destroy the unknown ship only if he fails to stop it. After a number of failed attempts, he is successful in grappling the ship and preventing it from hitting the station.

Matching rotation with the alien ship.

As Sinclair is on his way to the Medical Lab to check with the injured pilot of the unknown ship, Delenn meets up with him and offers her help in identifying the unknown pilot. When they arrive, they find that Dr. Franklin is unsure of the condition of the alien pilot, simply because he knows too little about the unknown alien's physiology. Upon seeing the patient, however, Delenn immediately recognizes him and has a surprising reaction: she attempts to kill him. Sinclair stops this attempt only with difficulty. Delenn warns Sinclair to kill the patient immediately, because the patient is a "Soul Hunter" who steals people's souls. She warns Sinclair to get rid of the patient, "before someone dies!"

Later, Delenn apologizes to Sinclair for her actions in the Medical Lab. Sinclair comments on her unusual behavior; he has never before seen such a violent reaction from Delenn. "You don't know these things as I do," replies Delenn, who explains that all Minbari are taught to be afraid of the soul hunters. Soul hunters, she explains, are immortal beings who are drawn toward death and who steal people's souls at the moment of death. They don't steal every soul, only ones which they deem to be worthy enough. Delenn also explains that the soul hunters have previously shown an interest in "certain classes of Minbari." She again warns Sinclair to send the soul hunter away.

Meanwhile, in the alien sector of Babylon 5, a gambler is running a seemingly-innocuous, familiar game where he hides a ball under one of three cups and has a player choose which cup they think the ball is under. In the Med Lab, the voice of this gambler is echoed and heard in the mind of the soul hunter, who awakes suddenly.

Garibaldi, in the meantime, warns Sinclair that many people in the alien sector seem to be "hiding"--that the alien sector is basically deserted. Ships which were not scheduled to leave for months are suddenly requesting departure. It seems that the aliens are afraid of the soul hunter.

The voice of the gambler continues to echo in the mind of the soul hunter. The gambler meanwhile has won a game, but is violently confronted by the loser, who proves that the gambler was cheating. The loser starts to chase the gambler, while the gambler runs away.

Fleeing the scene.

When Dr. Franklin next walks into the Med Lab, he is surprised to find that his patient is awake and standing. "I have been to your world," says the newly-awoken soul hunter. "Can you feel it?" he asks, but Dr. Franklin just gives him a perplexed look. Meanwhile, the gamble is still running away from his pursuer. "It comes," says the soul hunter. Meanwhile, in the alien sector, the gambler's pursuer finally catches up with him and stabs him. "It comes!" repeats the soul hunter.

The gambler is brought to the Med Lab, where it becomes nearly certain that the soul hunter realizes that the gambler's dying. As the gambler finally dies, the soul hunter says, in a contemplative voice, "Quick flash. The deep blue of pain. Dull, muffled. Slower, now. Closer, now. Gone, now! Gone! If you could only see."

Sinclair comes to visit the soul hunter in the Med Lab, where the soul hunter is chanting to himself and is refusing to speak with Sinclair, who wants to know how the soul hunter knew that the gambler was dying. Trying to get his attention, Sinclair confronts him: "Did you come here for his soul? Oh, we've heard, if you're wondering." Sinclair expresses his disbelief that the idea of "soul hunting," and, further trying to pique the soul hunter's attention, accuses him of being a thief--a stealer of souls.

"We are not thieves," replies the soul hunter. "We are preservers. We act only for the greater good."

"The Minbari don't seem to think so," contests Sinclair.

"The Minbari: pale; bloodless; look into their eyes and see nothing but mirrors; infinities of reflection. Will not let us help them." The soul hunter then explains that his kind are drawn toward death--toward the moment of death--in order to save and preserve certain souls. Not every soul; only outstanding ones-- those of "leaders, thinkers, poets, dreamers, blessed lunatics." Sinclair asks what the soul hunters actually =do= with the souls once they have them. The soul hunter replies that they talk, listen, and learn from them. Dr. Franklin, who has been standing by Sinclair, comments to Sinclair that what the soul hunter is saying is truly impossible--that, with enough technology, a person's thoughts could be saved, but that the idea of taking someone's "soul" is not possible.

Sinclair, meanwhile, still wants to know what is precisely going on between the soul hunter and the Minbari. The soul hunter explains that years ago, when one of the great Minbari leaders was dying, the Minbari made a "wall of bodies" to stop him--they defended their leader's soul at all costs. The leader, according to the soul hunter, therefore died a wasted death--a death due to which his thoughts and dreams were forever lost. Sinclair, ending the discussion, responds that he still doesn't believe that the soul hunter can do what he says he can do. However, because the aliens on the station seem to fear the soul hunter (and because Sinclair says that he has no reason to doubt the judgment of the aliens), Sinclair orders the soul hunter off the station as soon as the soul hunter has recuperated from his injuries.

On the bridge, Ivanova is meanwhile conducting the gambler's funeral from the bridge. The body is launched out to space while Ivanova says, "From the stars we came, and to the stars we return ..." Dr. Franklin contemplates the shortness of life--that, as soon as humans have nearly figured out life, they die. Ivanova dryly comments that, even if humans lived 200 years, they would still make the same human mistakes. "I'm a Russian; we know these things," she adds.

Delenn is meanwhile visiting with the soul hunter in the Med Lab. She confronts him, saying that soul hunters never travel without their collection of souls and asking him where his is. "My children are safe," he replies. Delenn vows that, before the soul hunter leaves the station, she will find and release the souls in his collection--to free them once are for all. The soul hunter dismisses this vow, commenting that by "freeing" the souls, she is actually killing them. Delenn expresses her belief that, if the souls of the Minbari leaders and thinkers are "stolen" from them, the Minbari are diminished with each generation because the stolen souls cannot rejoin the Minbari and be reborn. The soul hunter dismisses this as superstitious nonsense, saying that the soul dies at death (unless, of course, a soul hunter saves them). "We will help you, in spite of yourselves," he promises. Suddenly, he recognizes Delenn: she was among the group of Minbari that stopped him from "rescuing" the soul of the great Minbari leader that he discussed with Sinclair before. "That was where it began to go wrong," he says, mostly to himself. The lost souls. ... one after another. I failed because you stopped me! A pattern began." Suddenly, changing the tone of his voice, he adds, "They called you Satai Delenn of the Grey Council. Curious, curious." He goes on to ask her why a great leader of the Minbari would be "playing ambassador" here. Somewhat taken aback, Delenn leaves the room quickly.

Right after Delenn leaves, the soul hunter feigns injury and falls to the floor. The guard who was stationed outside the Med Lab rushes in, only to be knocked unconscious by the soul hunter. The soul hunter escapes, gun in hand. He arrives at his ship, where he begins to talk with his collection of souls. He tells them that he finally knows why he was drawn to Babylon 5.

Shortly after, Garibaldi tells Sinclair that he scanned the soul hunter's ship. The soul hunter is no longer aboard; further, Garibaldi says that there's a cabinet of some sort on the ship--but it's empty, meaning that whatever was in there, the soul hunter now has with him. However, Garibaldi can't understand what the soul hunter could possibly be up to, because Garibaldi has guards all around and because the soul hunter couldn't possibly get back to his ship or (even if he did) pilot the ship away from the station. Ivanova suggests that if the soul hunters are drawn to death, the way to catch this soul hunter would be simply to figure out who's about to die.

The soul hunter has meanwhile entered the alien sector and has bought a map of the that section of B5--a map that includes all of the secret corridors, hiding places, entrances, and exits.

Negotiating with a shady character.

Meanwhile, the bridge crew is made aware of another unsched- uled arrival through the jump gate. Another ship arrives, carrying another soul hunter. "Someone's about to die," he warns, and goes on to warn that more will die if he's not allowed to come aboard and speak with Sinclair.

The soul hunter on the station has meanwhile entered the ambassadorial wing and knocked out another of the guards.

As Sinclair is heading to a reception room to speak with the arriving soul hunter, Garibaldi warns him against meeting with him- -he mentions that the soul hunter's warning sounded very much like a threat. Sinclair thinks about this for a moment, and then decides that the tone of the arriving soul hunter was not aggres- sive, but nervous. Sinclair meets with the soul hunter, who describes how the soul hunter who has been on board the station is a deeply disturbed person and because of this, the station is in great danger--someone is about to die, but at the soul hunter's own hands.

Delenn is in her quarters, negotiating a trade route with some alien race through her communication screen, when her "doorbell" rings. "Come," she says; she doesn't even look around until she realizes that it's the soul hunter, who tells her that he has come to save her soul.

Meanwhile, the soul hunter who just arrived tells Sinclair why his "brother" is deeply disturbed: When he was ordered to save the soul of the Minbari leader (and others), he either arrived too late to save the souls or was prevented by others from his mission. His order was disgraced. Because of this, he had found the ultimate solution: to stop waiting for death--to take the lives himself. "Our order does not support this," claims the newly-arrived soul hunter. The soul hunter explained how he chased his "brother" and how it was they who had damaged his ship before it had come through the jump gate. They had almost caught him at his last stop, but he escaped. This time, however, there will be no escape--after he kills whomever he's about to kill (for they feel it's too late to stop him), they are determined to apprehend him. Sinclair doesn't accept this--he vows that there will be no death this time.

Meanwhile, the soul hunter explains to Delenn that her death will avenge his previous failures. "I give you a great gift--to life forever." He starts the process of killing her slowly and warns her not to resist, because it will trouble her soul if she does.

Sinclair, searching for Delenn, confronts the newly-arrived brother of the murderous soul hunter: "You're drawn to death," he says, indicating a map. "Show me!" The soul hunter complies.

The slow process of killing Delenn is continuing; her blood is being drained slowly. The soul hunter feels that the time is getting closer--close enough for a glimpse into her soul. He takes that glimpse, and after seeing what he sees, he shows great surprise. "You would plan such a thing? You would do such a thing? Incredible!"

Sinclair runs up to the ambassadorial wing, whence he goes to Delenn's quarters. As he's running up, the soul hunter tries to stop him. "Why do you fight for her," he asks Sinclair. He goes on to explain: "She's Satai. I have seen her soul. They are using you!" After a brief fight with the soul hunter, Sinclair runs over to Delenn. Right next to Delenn, there is a bag of some sort containing the soul hunter's "collection." Sinclair opens the bag and allows the souls to swarm about the soul hunter, presumably confronting him about what he's about to do to Delenn. Suddenly, the soul hunter's "soul-draining" machine begins to activate. He swirls it around on its platform and aims it at the soul hunter himself. The soul hunter's soul is captured into one of the little soul vessels like those the other souls occupied, amid cries of "No!" from the soul hunter. Sinclair kneels down next to Delenn.

Sinclair watches a soul globe.

Later, in the Med Lab, Sinclair finds that Delenn will be all right; Dr. Franklin explains that she has a remarkable constitution (and extrapolates that this was the reason that they did so well in the Earth-Minbari war--because they kept going despite severe injuries). "So, I hear you saw something," says Dr. Franklin to Sinclair.

"I'm not sure--I don't know if I'll ever be sure," replies Sinclair.

Dr. Franklin replies that that type of talk could get Sinclair sent on a "very long vacation." The doctor further goes on to say that he still doesn't believe that the soul hunter can do what he says he can do.

Meanwhile, Delenn, who has just awoken, sees Sinclair and smiles. "I knew you would come," she says. "We were right about you ..."

"Who was right?" asks Sinclair, but Delenn has already fallen back to sleep. Sinclair jokes with Dr. Franklin that he's almost completely sure that Delenn won't finish the sentence once she wakes up.

Later, in his quarters, Sinclair asks the computer to do a key-word search. He struggles to remember the word that the soul hunter used to refer to Delenn, and finally successfully remembers it. The computer tells him that the title "Satai" is used as an honorific applied to the members of the grey council. Sinclair expresses basically the same question that the soul hunter had asked: why a member of the ruling body was assigned to diplomatic service. The computer asks Sinclair if he wishes to make another enquiry. "No, it can wait. There's always time," he says.

Sinclair finds out that Delenn will certainly live. Mean- while, as Sinclair is escorting the soul hunters off the station, he warns them that they will no longer be allowed on Babylon 5. The soul hunter seems already to expect this--he admits that his kind are usually not welcome wherever they go. The soul hunter asks Sinclair what happened to his "brother"'s collection of souls. Sinclair harshly brushes this question off: "Life's full of mysteries. Consider this one of them!"

Delenn, in her quarters, is crushing the vessels that contained the souls in the soul hunter's collection, thereby freeing them. She studies each of them for a moment, listens intently to them, and finally destroys their containers, allowing them to fly about the room freely, eventually to fade into nothingness.

Shawn Bayern bayern@minerva.cis.yale.edu

Copyright 1994, Shawn Bayern. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to distribute this synopsis noncommercially as long as the synopsis and this copyright notice remain intact. Babylon 5 is a copyright of the PTN Consortium; no infringement of that copyright is intended by writing these synopses.

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