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Midnight on the Firing Line, as well as the Babylon 5 series, starts out at the Ragesh 3 colony, a Centauri agricultural colony. The colony finds itself suddenly under attack. As the station in orbit around the colony is about to contact its home world, Centauri Prime, the station is destroyed.

The attack on Ragesh 3.

Meanwhile, on the Babylon 5 station. Lt. Commander Susan Ivanova, the new officer who is second in command of the station, interrupts the only quiet, restful part of Commander Jeffrey Sinclair's day--a time when he shuts off his comm-link and "escapes" from the rigor of his life. "There's a problem," she tells him.

Elsewhere on the station, Centauri Ambassador Londo Mollari is having a pleasant conversation with Security Chief Michael Garibaldi when Londo receives word that the Ragesh 3 colony has been attacked. He's informed, however, that nobody knows who the attackers are.

Londo and Sinclair meet concerning the incident. Sinclair tells Londo that Earth doesn't know anything more about the incident--the identity of the attackers is still a great mystery. Ambassadors Delenn (of the Minbari) and G'Kar (of the Narn), offer their condolences and also claim to know very little about the attack. Sinclair suggests that an emergency meeting of the Council be called to discuss the matter and lend aid to the Centauri colony.

Shortly after, on the bridge, Ivanova informs Garibaldi that they've received a distress signal from a trading ship near the station. She says that at first, she thought the incident might have had something to do with the Ragesh 3 incident, but that, instead, the ship claims to have been attacked by "raiders." Garibaldi takes a fighter out to try to come to the aid of the ship that was attacked. Right after Garibaldi leaves the bridge, Talia Winters--the commercial telepath on the station--enters the bridge and wants to speak with Ivanova. She says that because of Psi Corps regulations, she must report with the second in command, but that she hasn't been able to find Ivanova for quite a while. Ivanova rudely dismisses Talia, saying that she's rather busy right now.

Meanwhile, Sinclair is in his office, watching on "television" the latest news about the upcoming presidential election. Ivanova enters, and Sinclair informs her that there is not yet any further information on the Ragesh 3 incident. Ivanova notices the telecast and finds out from Sinclair that the presidential race is very close at the moment.

Londo is in his room when Vir, his gawky assistant, rushes in and tells him that a coded broadcast has just been received. As Vir shows the broadcast to Londo, Londo sees the incident that we saw at the beginning of the episode. He freezes the image of the broadcast and enhances the image of one of the attacking ships. He immediately recognizes it as a Narn warship, and heads out to confront his enemy G'Kar with this newly-found evidence.

Meanwhile, Garibaldi has found the ship that was attacked by the raiders. He finds it very badly damaged--and realizes that the weapons that were used to attack this ship must have been much stronger than the weapons the raiders have previously had.

Londo finds G'Kar and accuses him of deceit--since G'Kar said he previously knew nothing of the attack. G'Kar, somewhat surprisingly, tells Londo that he has just found out about the attack--but he confirms that it was indeed Narn forces that attacked Ragesh 3. "I'm sure there's some reasonable explanation," he adds. Londo asks what reasonable explanation there could be for attacking a defenseless, agricultural colony. G'Kar refers Londo to a similar attack that the Centauri made years ago against Narn holdings--and expresses his indignity at the former Centauri subjugation of the Narn. One insult leads to the next, and a fight breaks out between the two ambassadors. The fight is eventually broken up by security personnel, but not before G'Kar threatens Londo that the Narn will eventually rise and destroy the Centauri.

"The wheel turns, does it not, Ambassador?"

After the fight, Londo meets with Sinclair. He apologizes for his actions and says that he won't repeat the incident--but that he will eventually kill G'Kar. He explains that Centauri have strange premonitions of how, and even when, they will die--and that Londo has had a dream in which he will eventually die 20 years from now, with his hands wrapped around G'Kar's throat and vice-versa. Londo also explains that he had a nephew on Ragesh--a nephew for whom he deeply cares and is deeply concerned about. He vows that if his nephew has been harmed, there will be war--at any cost. He dismisses Sinclair's "galactic peace" arguments as nothing but silly paperwork and "games." "Only one thing matters: blood," says Londo.

Ivanova and Garibaldi are discussing the raiders' methods. Garibaldi says that trade routes are normally kept secret--to prevent the kind of attacks that recently happened--and Ivanova and Garibaldi come to the conclusion that there must be some leak of information from the trading companies.

Meanwhile, Sinclair goes to meet with Ambassador Kosh, the mysterious Vorlon representative who must wear an environmental suit at all times because of extreme differences between the Vorlons and the other races. Sinclair wants to know Kosh's position on the Ragesh incident, and asks Kosh if he will support sanctions against the Narn. "They are alone. They are a dying people; we should let them pass," enigmatically responds Kosh. "Who?" asks Sinclair. "The Narn or the Centauri?" Kosh's simple and almost humorous answer is merely "Yes."

Sinclair visits Kosh

Garibaldi is meanwhile sitting at Ivanova's station on the bridge, researching the flight paths of the trading vessels. All incoming ships are tracked through Ivanova's console.

Londo is lying down in his quarters, rather drunk. He is rather depressed, and tells Vir, his assistant, that he has received word from the Centauri government saying that they will do "nothing" about the attack on Ragesh. Londo is enraged--he feels that the Centauri government is made up of cowards, and he nostalgically pictures the former grandeur of his people--a grandeur that has all but evaporated. He suddenly gets the idea to ignore his government's message, and he forces Vir to comply with this. He tells Vir not to mention that the message was ever received--that if they can get the other powers to force sanctions against Narn, they can force their own government into cooperation. He says that he will go ahead with the emergency session of the Council--a session that will be used to decide on the actions to be taken against the Narn regime.

Talia Winters, in the meantime, finds herself in the elevator with Garibaldi. She tells him that she's upset that Ivanova is basically ignoring her, and she wants to know what she's done wrong. Garibaldi says that Ivanova takes a while to get to know people--especially while at work--and advises Talia to catch Ivanova in the casino after hours.

G'Kar and Sinclair meet in the station's arboretum. They have a sharp conversation where G'Kar tries to gain support for his people by telling Sinclair that the Narn race and humans are very much alike--and that, in fact, the Narn were one of the only people that were willing to supply weapons to the Earth in the Earth-Minbari war. Sinclair dismisses G'Kar's claim by saying that the Narn will simply supply weapons to anyone who can afford them--not out of any sense of brotherhood or similarity between cultures. Sinclair further criticizes the Narn cowardice because of their "sneak attack" on Ragesh. G'Kar is enraged.

Garibaldi presently finds that one trading company--which sold access to the "jump gates" that provide interstellar travel--seems to have had its information concerning the trade routes stolen from it. He informs Sinclair about these findings, and tells him that there's one ship which had bought routes from the company that was broken into and which still hasn't been attacked. Garibaldi says that they have only a few hours to come to the rescue of this ship.

Sinclair is meanwhile speaking with a representative of the government of the Earth Alliance--a superior of his. The representative is advising Sinclair to either delay the emergency session of the Council or to abstain from the vote; Earth cannot get involved in any type of war so soon before an election. Sinclair protests that this will hurt the Centauri case--that if Earth doesn't lend aid, others might not either. The representative doesn't seem to care, and closes the communications channel. During the conversation between Sinclair and the Earth official, Ivanova has arrived at Sinclair's room and has been standing outside of the door, waiting for Sinclair to finish. She has come to inform him that Garibaldi is going to leave on his mission to rescue the ship that was supposedly about to be attacked by the raiders. Suddenly, Sinclair seems to realize something about the allegedly-powerful raider weapons. He says that he will be replacing Garibaldi on the mission to rescue the ship. He orders Ivanova to continue the meeting; further, he tells her that she "never" heard the conversation that he had with the Earth official--and that as far as she last heard, Earth was voting for the sanctions, rather than abstaining.

As Sinclair leaves, the session of the Council is begun. G'Kar stands up and announces that the Narn regime has a valid claim to Ragesh 3 because the planet was originally Narn territory before it was invaded by the Centauri. Delenn succinctly rebuts this argument, saying that if the Narn hold a grudge for so long, peace will never come, and an endless cycle of wars will result. G'Kar claims that he doesn't want a war--he's only exercising a valid claim to the planet. Further, he claims that the Ragesh colony invited the Narn there--that the Narn never invaded the colony. To support this claim, he opens up a live link with Ragesh. Carn Mollari, Londo's nephew, appears on the screen and recites a message--clearly forced--saying that the Ragesh colony did indeed invite the Narn regime in to restore order in the colony. After the message is completed, Londo says that the message was clearly forced at gunpoint and is of no validity. However, G'Kar silences Londo by revealing that he knows that the Centauri government has taken the position that they will not intervene--he asks Londo why he is using the Council to enact a personal vendetta. G'Kar proceeds to call a vote to dismiss all charges against the Narn regime.

Sinclair is meanwhile pursuing the raiders. After successfully saving the trading ship, he outwits the raiders and finds their command base.

The battle at the trading ship

If Londo was desperate before, he's certainly desperate now. He is entirely outraged at the preceding events in Council, and has decided to take matters into his own hands. He assembles a gun from parts that he's hidden around his quarters and proceeds to attempt to kill G'Kar. As he's walking toward G'Kar's quarters, however, he bumps into Talia, who, despite her training, accidentally senses Londo's intense, emotional thoughts. She quickly informs Garibaldi, who intervenes and stops Londo from committing the murder of G'Kar.

Sinclair has returned to Babylon 5 and carries evidence with which he immediately confronts G'Kar. Sinclair has found a Narn agent on the raiders' base; it seems that the Narn were supplying weapons to these raiders, and when Narn supply weapons, they always include a Narn agent to instruct their customers on how to use the weapons and to make sure that the weapons are not resold to a third party. Further, this Narn agent had been found with logs of the communication between the attacking force on Ragesh 3 and the Narn homeworld. The logs of this communication confirm that the attack was, indeed, uninvited and unprovoked. Faced with this evidence, G'Kar is forced to tell Narn to withdraw the forces from Ragesh.

Talia meanwhile has found Ivanova in the casino, just as Garibaldi advised. Talia asks Ivanova if she had done anything to offend her. Ivanova apologizes to Talia and admits that the acted rude. Ivanova explains that her mother was a telepath--however, she had kept this as a secret to herself and had never joined the Psi Corps. On her mother's 35th birthday, the Psi Corps caught up with her and gave her three alternatives: to either join the Corps, go to prison, or take telepathy-inhibiting drugs. She chose the latter; however, as Ivanova explains, the drugs were very strong and destroyed her mother's will and personality. After 10 years, after her family thought her mother could no longer survive, her mother took her own life. Ivanova explains that she doesn't blame Talia as an individual for what happened to her mother, but says how these types of events are part of every member of the Psi Corps. However, Ivanova explains to Talia that Talia is just as much of a victim as Ivanova's mother was. When Talia responds that she does not feel like a victim, Ivanova rejoins that she hasn't yet figured out if that feeling is good or bad. When Talia suggests that they might start off on better terms the next day, Ivanova says that she very much doubts it.

In the meantime, Garibaldi is sitting in his quarters, showing Delenn his "second favorite thing in the universe"--old "Duck Dodgers in the 23rd-and-a-half century" cartoons.

Sinclair is resting in his quarters, watching with what appears to be disappointment that Santiago, the incumbent president, has been declared the victor of the election. As he is about to retire for the night, he receives a call from Ivanova: "Commander, there's a problem." It seems that a commander's job is never done ... in fact, it has just started.

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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Last update: June 10, 2018