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Synopsis by Katrina Glerum (kat@midwinter.com)

Commander Ivanova finds the Captain scowling at another ISN broadcast "reporting on" the mistreatment of humans aboard Babylon 5. From the tone they figure it is only a matter of time before Earth attacks the station again, but this time as part of a "rescue mission." Just then a more welcome message is logged from Franklin on Mars.

The meeting with the leaders of the resistance is ready to begin as soon as everyone arrives. Franklin and Marcus' mission to Mars is well-timed. Number One of the Mars Resistance estimates that Earth Force will have captured and subdued all of Mars within a few months. But she warns that some of her allies are more dangerous than she is. No sooner are the words spoken than Marcus rushes in exclaiming that their hotel has just been bombed and 10 civilians killed. Number One departs in a fury.

These are not the only unprovoked attacks baffling the Army of Light. A visiting Minbari, Forell, tells Delenn of raiders destroying transports and ships along the borders of various peoples dependent on the Minbari for their protection. Even more disturbing is the news that the warrior caste refuses to protect these allies now that the Grey Council has been broken.

Delenn finds Sheridan in C&C and explains that she needs to take a flight of White Stars out to determine who is attacking their allies. He balks at her personal involvement until she reminds him not to forget who she was, and who she is and what she can do.

Number One angrily accosts Philippe, an Earth resistance leader, for bombing the hotel without her authorization. What he does on Earth is his business. What he does on Mars is her responsibility, and she will gut him if he forgets that again.

ISN is still replaying the story of Sheridan suffering from Minbari War Syndrome, when a new idea strikes the Captain. He can't wait for morning, and instead runs off to roust Ivanova from her bed and drag her into the War Room. "I've been here before," she reminds him, bleary eyed and unkempt. So he begins to explain.

"You have a face people trust," he says. When she was giving status reports during the war, she provided everyone with solid, reliable information. Now it's time to do it again, he says, but on a larger scale. This time, the War Room will become the Voice of the Resistance, broadcasting live to ships, to colonies, and to Earth, competing directly with ISN for ownership of the truth.

As he exits with brisk enthusiasm, he tells her to go back to bed, leaving her muttering more empty threats against his safety.

The White Stars speed through hyperspace. Delenn asks Forell how bad things are back home. The Grey Council held their society together. Now the castes are at odds again. He tells her how the warrior caste forced all members of the religious caste out of a certain city in the midst of polar wastelands. Most of them died of exposure and starvation. His family was among them. Although the warrior caste stopped short of actually killing Minbari with their own hands, there are few who wouldn't call them murderers for this action.

With the resistance leaders all assembled, Franklin begins his appeal. Sheridan is offering an alliance. He will support their cause actively if they will fight with him to overturn President Clark. If they will carry out any order coming from Babylon 5 no matter how strange, then when it is all done, he promises that Mars will have its freedom. But, Franklin adds angrily, this means no more terrorist attacks against civilians.

The White Stars pop out of hyperspace and find a distress signal being send out by a dying Pak'ma'ra. They reach the site only to find a fleet of unknown ships. Delenn is ready for first contact this time and opens a channel. When ships identify themselves as Drakh, Lennier is alarmed to discover that they speak Minbari. This could only occur if this were not true first contact.

It is instantly apparent who has talked to the Drakh before when Forell pulls a weapon on Delenn and tells her that he has brought her here to listen to their message.

Number One grants the B5 duo her grudging approval, before catching Franklin out as a liar. There is no way Sheridan could have sent the message to stop terrorist bombing because news of these attacks isn't getting off of Mars. Sheepishly Franklin admits that he just threw that in to help her.

As soon as she leaves, Marcus starts pestering the Doctor about his new love. Franklin denies it until she walks back in and invites him to dinner. (Marcus she assigns to guard duty.) "Touch passion, Stephen," Marcus advises. "Don't walk away when it calls you by name."

The White Stars follow the Drakh to their mother ship and Delenn allows an emissary on board. Dark and deadly, the Drakh hisses, shudders and trembles its way to the bridge.

Forell explains that the religious caste needs allies in order to defend themselves against the warrior caste. In exchange for some deserted worlds along their border, these Drakh will help the religious caste in the looming civil war. The Drakh want peace, he argues. They only want a home.

"Because they have just lost their home," Lennier finishes, mouthing "Z'ha'dum" to Delenn.

Forell admits that he couldn't have hurt Delenn, but he needed to show her that here they had a way to be the "salvation of their people."

Delenn tells the creature that she will return in a week with an answer. "You will not regret this, Delenn," Forell says. The Drakh stops and hisses with recognition, "Delenn!" before departing.

She realizes her mortal danger at that instant. Now that these Drakh know her, she tells Forell, they will take revenge for her part in the Shadow war. The White Star fleet is surrounded and stationary. There is no time to escape by jump point or by fleeing. So instead, she orders Lennier to fly straight at the mother ship, "skin dancing" along its hull until they have built up enough speed to escape through jump points. In the process, White Star 16 is destroyed.

Forell has been struck by a falling beam and is fatally wounded. With his final words he begs Delenn's forgiveness. "No. I am sorry, Forell. I should never have been away this long," she utters as his body is carried away.

Safe in hyperspace, Lennier begins to set a course for Babylon 5, but now with blood in her eye Delenn overrides him and orders the White Stars to attack. The angry, attacking White Stars make short work of most of the Drakh fighters, and as the mother ship races for the local jump gate, Delenn's flagship beats her there and fires through her hull from stem to stern.

Upon her return Delenn finds Sheridan in the revamped War Room. Apparently there have been more sightings of the Drakh in other areas. But that isn't the only bad news she brings him. "The caste system is falling apart," she says. She must go to try and save her people from the ravages of civil war, and attempt to rebuild the Grey Council. Sheridan is unhappy to hear these words. But she comforts him, arguing that humans form communities which are more powerful than the individuals were before. This is humanity's strength, and also what makes them dangerous. Since his return from Z'ha'dum, the Captain has been trying to pretend that he hasn't changed. But he has. And now in order to fight the battles ahead and rebuild what has been destroyed he needs to be dangerous. With her gone, she knows that he will be able to do that.

Far away on Mars, a lonely Ranger sits on guard duty, listening to a woman's voice gasping Stephen's name.

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Last update: June 10, 2018