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Synopsis by Matthew Murray (i9717029@unicorn.it.wsu.edu)

While Sheridan and Ivanova take care of minor station affairs, Talia waits for a friend who soon arrives, Taro Isogi. They greet each other, and he asks her what she thinks of his new Mars proposal. "It's like all your proposals," she says. "Too progressive, too risky, and too costly in the short run. But if you can make it happen..." He says that he must make it happen so that FutureCorp can expand beyond Earth, with Mars as the next logical step. Talia says that senate will be against it and that the Mars Conglomerate will bury him, but Isogi says he is prepared, if they can convince Mars to share the risk. He says that, if his plan doesn't go through, many innocent people, and his dream, will die on the path toward Martian independence.

Another woman enters. She introduces herself as Amanda Carter, of the Mars colony business affairs committee. Isogi introduces Talia to her. Carter says that she read Isogi's proposal, and that he is either insane or very brave. He says that people probably felt much the same way about her great grandfather John, when he piloted the colony first ship to Mars. She sits down to discuss the proposal with Isogi and Talia.

The negotiations begin.

In a small office deep in the midst of the San Diego wastelands, a woman sits at a desk, with many monitors and displays around her, one of which is showing a speech made by President Clark soon after President Santiago's death. A component on the desk beeps, and she answers it by saying, "Thirteen?"

A strange circular pattern of lights appears on a screen. A computerized voice says to her, "All components have arrived safely on Babylon 5. Control is prepared to go on-line." She orders the operation to commence. On Babylon 5, in a cargo bay, a large container marked CLASSIFIED CARGO opens, and a hand reaches out, as something or someone emerges.

Sheridan receives a call from Earth, from Senator Elise Voudreau. She tells him that Isogi has arranged a meeting with Carter, who she describes as an "outspoken advocate of Mars independence," and who she believes is conspiring with FutureCorp to finance another rebellion on Mars Colony. Sheridan asks her for proof, and she tells him that if the current Mars Conglomerate could be removed, FutureCorp could get a foothold in space if they had an exclusive trade and services agreement with Mars. She says that most of the members of the Mars Conglomerate wanted to leave after the last rebellion. Sheridan apologizes, but says that he cannot interfere. She tells him to investigate the matter, and report anything of interest to her. He says that his duties don't include spying, to which she replies, "These are volatile times, Captain. Practicality is more important than principles, if lives are to be saved. I'll expect to hear from you soon." She breaks off the communication.

Isogi tells Carter that Mars has resources that could be used by alien worlds, which in turn would supply Mars with economic base enough to win Mars its independence in about ten years. Carter says that it will be hard to convince the committee of this, and that they will need lots of assurance. Talia points out that her words aren't entirely true--it is Carter that needs the assurance, since Carter believes the committee will accept her recommendation. Carter says that Mars is in great turmoil now, and that she doesn't want to propose anything to the committee without knowing all that is expected of them. Isogi explains that it is for that reason that he chose Babylon 5 for the negotiations, since the representatives of the alien worlds involved in the plan are located there.

Carter says that she will speak with the business affairs committee, says that she might have an answer by the next day, and leaves. After she is gone, Talia explains that Carter likes the idea, though she does have her doubts. Isogi asks Talia what she thinks, and she says that there is a great financial risk, and that the legal maneuvering will be difficult. They agree to go to dinner.

While Sheridan and Ivanova discuss a new alien delegation that has come to the station, Talia and Isogi walk along a corridor, talking about the benefits of Isogi's plan. He says that Mars can be the beginning of a new life for humans. As they talk, a man approaches the two of them. "Free Mars," he says. He clutches Isogi's neck, and throws Talia to the ground. Electricity streams forth from the man's hand, electrocuting Isogi. When Isogi drops to the ground, dead, the man comes after Talia, but as he approaches, she senses something. In his mind, she sees a strange image which looks like a ship being blown apart as seen from the inside. The man sees it in his own mind as well, and walks away, confused. Talia goes over to Isogi's body, but can do nothing to help him.

"Free Mars!"

In Sheridan's office, Sheridan asks Talia if she was sure she didn't understand the meaning of the images from the man's head. She says that all she saw was a blur of light and sound, followed by blackness. She explains that, although all he said was "Free Mars," he was feeling no emotions, and had only those images in his head, much different from other Free Mars advocates she scanned when she worked on Mars.

Sheridan asks her why someone from Free Mars would kill Isogi, and she says that there would be no reason, as his solution was peaceful. Sheridan tells her that Earth Central disagrees, and that they believe that he had planned to back another rebellion on Mars. She tells him that Isogi wouldn't do such a thing, and that someone is lying to him. He suggests that someone may be lying to her, even though she is a telepath, because Isogi was an old friend of hers. Crying, she says to Sheridan, "Taro Isogi spent his life improving the lives of others. He built a business based on that principle, and he never broke a rule or harmed another to do it. Mars was his dream, Captain, now he's been murdered for it, and you're trying to cast the blame on him." Sheridan apologizes, and Talia asks to go back to her quarters. Sheridan says he will arrange for an escort, and Garibaldi appears to perform the job. On their way in the elevator, Garibaldi tries to cheer Talia up, and is partially successful. He also promises to find the person responsible.

The man who murdered Isogi approaches a communications terminal and enters a code. The same circular light pattern that appeared on the console in the office in the San Diego wastelands comes onscreen. The computerized voice asks for a report, and the man says that phase one has been completed. The voice orders him to download all the data accrued during the mission, and then erase the source file. The man removes the flesh-colored covering from his hand, revealing a black extension, lined with circuits. He inserts a finger into the transfer port. An image of Isogi being killed appears on the screen, followed by one of Talia on the ground. The computerized voice analyzes the information, telling about Talia's position and telepath rating. The voice says, "Control states Miss Winters could jeopardize mission. Eliminate her, then continue with phase two." The communication ends, and the man asks the station's computer to locate Talia.

Consulting with Control.

On C&C, Sheridan orders all outgoing traffic to be held, as he doesn't want the murderer leaving. Ivanova asks if he knows who did it. He says he doesn't, but that Talia was an eyewitness. Ivanova asks if she is okay. Sheridan says that she is, and that he believes the killer wanted a witness. Sheridan asks Ivanova what she thinks of Talia. Ivanova says that she is interesting. Sheridan observes that Ivanova doesn't usually describe people as "interesting." Ivanova says that she doesn't know Talia very well, though she has talked to her several times before. She reminds him how she feels about telepaths.

Sheridan asks her if Talia can be trusted, and Ivanova says that she believes so, but that Talia is very loyal to PsiCorps. Sheridan asks her if she trusts PsiCorps, and Ivanova says that she doesn't and asks Sheridan if he does.

"Telepaths are gifted and cursed in ways I can never hope to understand," Sheridan answers. "But they're still human beings -- good, bad, or indifferent. I trust in individuals, not organizations."

"Then you may trust Miss Winters," Ivanova says.

Amanda Carter is in her quarters when Sheridan enters. He tells her he wants to ask her questions about Isogi. She declines, saying that her affairs are none of Earth Force's business. Sheridan tells her that in this case they are, because of Isogi's murder. She asks who could have done it, and Sheridan tells her that the man who did it said, "Free Mars." She says that Free Mars was not informed of the meeting, and that they would have had nothing to gain anyway. She says that someone didn't like the idea of Mars gaining its independence.

Sheridan delivers the bad news.

Sheridan asks who would go to such lengths, and she says that the senate and Mars Conglomerate would both be opposed to the deal, though she couldn't believe that either group would go as far as murder. Sheridan says good-bye to her, but says he might have to ask her some more questions. As he leaves, she says that she wants to help in any way possible, as "whoever killed Taro Isogi killed Mars' best hope for the future."

Sheridan enters Garibaldi's office, where Garibaldi is going over the medical report, and tells Sheridan that he died of electrocution. They found finger marks on Isogi's neck, but no prints or striations. Sheridan asks if it may have been a slaver's glove, but Garibaldi said it couldn't have been. He says that it must have been some sort of prosthetic weaponry, though he doesn't know why the power source didn't show up on scanners. Sheridan says that he might need to enlist some "special help," though he doesn't want to elaborate further until they have more information. Sheridan orders Garibaldi to watch over Talia, and continue the investigation, including Earth government and "Corp secure areas." Garibaldi agrees, but wants to know what Sheridan has in mind. Sheridan declines to answer what he is thinking, but does hope that he is wrong. He then leaves.

Talia is being escorted by a security guard when a voice behind them calls out, "Hey, Earthers!" The man who killed Isogi runs up to the security guard and electrocutes him. Talia tries to escape, but the man catches her and prepares to electrocute her, saying only "Free Mars." Unable to break free, she sees more of the scene she saw in his head earlier; this time she sees another ship firing. While the man is stunned, she runs away, looking for help. The man looks at his hand. "What have they done to me?" he wonders. He wanders off.

Talia explains to Sheridan her recent experience. "The images in his mind were the same as before, except this time I saw an Earth Alliance ship. A big one, a cruiser I think. It was firing at him. And I know this sounds crazy, but it hit him and he died." Sheridan has difficulty believing this. "It was as if he were reliving the thought of his death over and over again, clinging to it as if it were the only thought he had." Garibaldi comes into Sheridan's office, and tells them that Medlab was able to analyze the DNA of some of the assailant's hair. He puts the analysis up on the screen, and Talia confirms the man as her attacker. Garibaldi explains that the man is a leader of Free Mars, by the name of Abel Horn. Sheridan recognizes him as the man who claimed responsibility for destroying Richie Station on Mars, and he wants him captured. Garibaldi says that there is a problem -- according to Earth Force intelligence, Horn is dead, his ship destroyed during the rebellion. Talia is able to interpret that as the image from his mind. Sheridan doesn't explain anything to Garibaldi, but orders Talia put in protective custody, and a fugitive alert placed on Horn. Garibaldi escorts Talia out of the office.

Amanda Carter enters her quarters, and runs into someone who is already there -- Abel Horn. She says that she thought he was dead, and he explains that he was attacked over Phobos, but that a friend of hers rescued him and helped him. He says that he has been on the run and hiding until he heard that she was on Babylon 5. She asks him why he killed Isogi. He says that the murder charge is a lie, and that he only came to see her. He says he needs to get back to Mars, and that she is the only one that can help him. She says that she can't help him because she doesn't want anyone to know that she was once a member of Free Mars, and she doesn't want to jeopardize Mars' chance at independence. Horn threatens to tell her secret if he doesn't help her, and she says that she can't believe blackmail is something he would stoop to. He tries to tell her he's changed, and removes the covering on his hand, when he cripples over in pain. She asks him what is wrong, and he says that he needs her to help. He says that Talia can help him, and asks Carter to find her.

Horn begs for Carter's help.

Garibaldi is with Talia telling her that she is safe, and that she can get an escort if she needs to leave. He is about to leave when she offers him some tea. He agrees to stay, saying that it is his third favorite thing in the universe.

Ivanova tries to deal with the problems cropping up from keeping the ships docked aboard Babylon 5, but Sheridan says that he doesn't think the murderer is trying to leave, though he does order her to check all ships before letting them go. He says there is something else he wants to check, and leaves.

While they drink their tea, Garibaldi tells Talia that his father taught him everything he knew about security, and that he misses him now that he is dead. Talia says she never knew her parents, but had someone help her through her first year at the PsiCorps academy. Garibaldi receives a call from Sheridan, who tells him to come to his quarters. As Garibaldi leaves, Talia thanks him for talking with her, and Garibaldi says it was his pleasure.

Garibaldi goes to Sheridan's quarters, and Sheridan shows him some data regarding a project entitled Lazarus. Sheridan explains it was part of Earth Force's experiments with cybernetics. Garibaldi knew that they weren't able to make them work because humans couldn't function with machines put in their brains. Sheridan tells Garibaldi that they then experimented with using people on the brink of death. "The theory was to 'hard-wire' the subject's brain with a computer intelligence that kept the brain functional while the body was repaired. Then, using telepathic deep scan, the subject was fixated on the moment of his death, shutting down all conscious thought. The computer takes complete control, while the subject is dying over and over again in his subconscious." Sheridan tells Garibaldi that Talia sensed that from Horn, and that it is possible that Horn is someone to whom that happened. Garibaldi says that he thinks that Sheridan's information could be wrong, but Sheridan disagrees, saying that he had two opportunities to kill Talia, but didn't do so, which might mean that Talia made him realize who he was, which screwed up his programming. Garibaldi and Sheridan both express uncertainty at this idea, but Sheridan says that, if he is correct, there might be some way to locate Horn.

Viewing the Lazarus files.

Meanwhile, Horn lies, unconscious, on Carter's sofa. Carter walks over to her communicator and tells the computer she wants to send a message to Talia. At the mention of Talia's name, Horn's eyes open suddenly. When she contacts Talia, she asks Talia to meet her in her quarters in thirty minutes. Horn tells Carter that he knew she'd help, but as she tries to explain, he hits her, knocking her unconcious.

Sheridan and Garibaldi believe that they have found a way to track Horn. Though Sheridan's information on Project Lazarus is quite old, the power crystal of the cybernetic computer emits radiation. It wouldn't show up on environmental scans, but if they reconfigure the sensors, it might be detectable. Garibaldi receives a call from security, telling him that Talia has asked for a security escort to meet with Amanda Carter. Garibaldi assigns an officer, telling him that he will meet them outside, just in case. Sheridan tries to reconfigure the scanning device, but has difficulty. Garibaldi walks over and tells him to "let the wizard have a go." Sheridan does, and Garibaldi attempts to reconfigure the scanners, but only succeeds in causing the door to the room to open and shut repeatedly. Garibaldi admits that the task is difficult and leaves. "Thanks, Mr. Wizard," Sheridan says as Garibaldi leaves.

Garibaldi meets up with Talia on her way to Carter's quaters. Garibaldi asks why she is going there, and she says that Carter wants to push Isogi's plan through. Talia isn't sure if she can convince FutureCorp to go along with it, but, if she can, it would be honoring Isogi's memory. She enters Carter's quarters, and finds her on the floor. As she examines the body, Horn grabs her, warning her that he will kill her if she screams.

As Sheridan completes the reconfiguration of the sensors, Horn orders Talia to tell him what the images in his head means. He lets go of her, and asks her to help him. She scans him again. She sees the same images as before, with the addition of several others. After the destruction of Horn's ship, she sees the inside of a room where he is being operated on by several doctors, who supply him with a cybernetic prosthesis on his hand. Also present in the room is a female PsiCop, who looks at him and smiles. "Ours now. All ours." Talia loses the scan, and she tells Horn what happened to him. She tells him that, while he was dying, he was scanned, operated on, and then rebuilt. She asks him who the PsiCop is, but he doesn't respond.

"All ours."

Sheridan's environmental scan finishes, and he learns that Horn is in Carter's quarters. Sheridan calls Garibaldi, telling him what he just learned. He orders Garibaldi to take Horn alive. Garibaldi and the other security officers enter, but, as they do, Horn grabs Talia and threatens to kill her. Garibaldi tells Horn to think about what he's doing, but Horn says he can't. Horn orders Garibaldi and the others to drop their weapons, which they do. Horn picks one of the guns up. Garibaldi says that he will see Horn dies painfully if he kills Talia, but Horn says that he is already dead. Sheridan bursts in and says that Horn isn't really dead, but that he is being used to betray Mars. Horn asks how Sheridan knows this, but Sheridan says that Horn knows as well. Sheridan tells Horn that he wants to help him, but that he wants Talia to be freed as well. Horn lets go of Talia, who runs to Garibaldi. Sheridan tells Horn to put the weapon down. "It was the Earthers, wasn't it?" Horn asks. "It wasn't...it wasn't enough just to kill me." Sheridan says that he will help Horn learn who is responsible if he puts down the gun. "Mars will never be free until the sands run red with Earther blood," Horn says to Carter, who just regained conciousness. He fires at Sheridan, but misses. Sheridan draws his weapon quickly and hits Horn, who falls to the ground. Before he dies, Horn thanks Sheridan for killing him. A security guard scans Horn, and detects a dangerous energy surge. Realizing what is going on, Sheridan evacuates everyone from the room, right before Horn explodes, leaving no evidence.

Carter apologizes to Talia; she only asked Talia to talk to her because she believed that Talia could help Horn. Garibaldi asks how Carter knew so much about Horn, and Carter explains that Horn wasn't always a terrorist. She was once in love with Horn, and he convinced her to join Free Mars which, at that time, wasn't violent. But, when it became more violent, she left it, and him. Garibaldi doesn't believe this. But Carter insists that she is telling the truth, that she has just ended her career by telling it. Carter says that she still believes in Isogi's ideas, and Sheridan tells her that, if she will do her best to make Isogi's plan go through, they won't report the incident. Talia even agrees to help talk to FutureCorp to convince them that the Mars government had nothing to do with the murder. Carter thanks Sheridan for his help, and Talia, Sheridan, and Garibaldi leave. Garibaldi asks Sheridan why he did what he did, but Talia explains that Horn didn't want to kill her -- only to be scanned by her. Sheridan asks her if she did, and she tells him that she did, and that she saw the image of the operation. Sheridan asks her if she recognized anything, such as a face or a uniform. Talia says that she didn't, and is escorted back to her quarters by Garibaldi.

Garibaldi enters Sheridan's office, and asks him how he knew about the Lazarus Project. Sheridan explains that, while some people collect art or coins, he collects secrets, such as black projects, secret organizations, and conspiracies. Garibaldi asks if one of those secrets includes who was behind the recent incidents. Sheridan tries to avoid answering, but Garibaldi says that he needs to know if there is a threat to the station. Sheridan says that the threat goes far beyond the station, and Garibaldi agrees, saying that, if Horn was what Sheridan believed, the situation has nothing to do with Free Mars. Garibaldi knows that to do something like this would take a lot of power and money. He suspects Sheridan knows who is behind it.

Sheridan tells Garibaldi his suspicions, after making Garibaldi promise to not tell anyone else. "For the past six years, there have been rumors about a...rogue agency operating deep inside Earth gov. A dirty tricks squad dealing in black projects and Star Chamber justice. It took me over three years just to get the name: Bureau 13. And the man who gave me that name died soon after. I am convinced that they exist and that they are behind this incident."

"Why?" asks Garibaldi.

"Isogi was a danger to Earth policy on Mars. I think his death was a warning to the other corporations. I also think Horn was meant to destroy Free Mars from the inside, and, possibly, ruin Amanda Carter as well. Unfortunately, I can't prove any of it."

"If this is true..."

"Then everything we believe in is in jeopardy. There is a spider in the web, Mr. Garibaldi, and I intend to find it... and kill it."

"There is a spider in the web..."

Inside the office in the San Diego wastelands, the woman working there answers another communication. "Thirteen." A screen with the familiar circular light pattern appears, and the same computerized voice says, "Report from Babylon 5 control mission only partly successful. Isogi terminated but unit was destroyed before he could leave station for Mars."

"Is the bureau at hazard?" asks the woman.

"Control does not believe so."

"Belief is not enough. He is to follow up until he is certain. Thirteen out." The woman turns around, and we see her face -- she is the PsiCop from the images Talia found in Horn's mind.

Talia searches through her computer, looking for records of the PsiCop from Horn's mind. As she recalls the information she found in Horn's mind, the computer completes its search. Talia looks over the information. On the computer screen is a picture of the woman -- the same one from Horn's memory. Under her picture is but one flashing word: DECEASED.

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Last update: June 10, 2018