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Synopsis by Katrina Glerum (kat@midwinter.com)

The scene in the Council Chambers is chaotic and the nascent Interstellar Alliance appears on the verge of cribdeath. Member species are demanding the promised technological advances while refusing to sign the Declaration of Principles on the grounds that it is an attempt to legislate morality and thereby violates the very spirit of the Alliance. The Drazi Ambassador is loudly in the forefront as usual, claiming that his species has never conquered another, making the Declaration both irrelevant and insulting to them.

The President is taking a breather on the Observation Deck when he is joined by the head of Covert Intelligence. Garibaldi agrees with Londo that the Declaration should be dropped and a show of force would be more effective persuasion instead, but Sheridan insists that without the Declaration, the Alliance is meaningless.

At dusk on a beautiful verdant planet, a community of aliens huddles in shelters under an aerial bombardment. A Ranger appears at the door and is ushered to their leader. The hope that the Alliance might save them from their attackers illuminates their faces.

While G'Kar struggles to write a more interspecially palatable Declaration, Sheridan, Delenn and Londo scheme of ways to convince more worlds to become members. Garibaldi proposes an idea that he has been brooding on for quite awhile. In order to be on an equal footing with other intelligence operations, he suggests that the Alliance use telepaths in addition to Rangers for intelligence gathering. The new telepath colony has offered to work for their lodgings, and this would be a good way for them to do it.

Once Sheridan grants him permission to discuss this with the telepaths, Garibaldi sets off immediately. He finds Byron hanging out with his overtly hostile coven in DownBelow. Without listening to a word, Byron abruptly refuses Garibaldi's mission. Mocking Garibaldi's attempts at manipulation and his tendency to rehearse his conversations, Byron describes how difficult it is for a telepath to avoid overhearing the thoughts of others.

A battered White Star flies sideways through the jump gate. The Ranger on board is rushed to Medlab, but the prognosis is bad. Delenn decides to bring in Lyta to discover his message before it's too late. Lyta sees the embattled Enphili through the Ranger's eyes. Even though it may kill them, the Enphili have finally refused to pay tribute to the raiders who periodically hound them. If the Alliance will save them within the next twelve days they will join the Alliance and freely give their planet's resources to the cause. Otherwise they are prepared to perish.

"I'm dying, aren't I," the Ranger suddenly asks Lyta. He appears to be standing across the bed from her. His final anguished thought is that she not let the Enphili die because of his failure. Then a white tunnel of light appears and draws him in, leaving Lyta gravely disturbed.

When Delenn tells Sheridan about the Enphili decision, he grumbles that Garibaldi is right again. it's time for a show of force. She suggests that instead of a token force, they should send every White Star they have to the planet so that the message is clear to anyone paying attention. And perhaps as a result, they won't have to fight at all. "Terror is also a form of communication," she quotes Dukhat. Since the Enphili planet is on the edge of Drazi space, Sheridan informs the Drazi ambassador of their intent and invites the Drazi to participate. The Ambassador immediately rushes off on a furtive mission as soon as the meeting is finished. Byron happens to be lurking pensively in the corridor.

Lyta is sitting bleakly over an untouched plate of food when Garibaldi bustles up and offers her a job. When she sarcastically thanks him for his polite concern, he apologizes. Before he can get going on his intention, she tells him what it's like being inside the mind of a person when they die. A piece of yourself follows them into death, she says. Permanently. When you look into the eyes of a telepath who's done this too many times, "there's nothing there anymore," she nearly sobs. Psi Corps rumor is that Bester has tasted this too often, and at least once, too deeply. In a manner both forlorn and bitter, Lyta asks what Garibaldi wants her to do now.

He tells her about his object in approaching the telepath colony. "Did they tell you they were tired of working for mundanes?" she asks. "Did they tell you do go to hell?" When he confirms both, she says that there isn't a problem then, and stalks off.

Michael never gives up easily though. He chases after her and asks it as a personal favor to him, to Sheridan and to Delenn. Lyta is affronted, but he continues saying that even if he thinks Sheridan and Delenn are too pie-in-the-sky idealistic, he's still going to do everything he can to help them succeed, including this. He promises this is the last request of Lyta he'll make--until the next time, and she reluctantly agrees to help.

In a dark, empty council chamber, G'Kar stands, gathers his paper wearily, and walks away.

Unable to sleep, Sheridan hears the door chime. The latest Declaration of Principles is lying on the floor outside. Delenn rouses and asks him to read it.

"The Universe speaks in many languages but only one voice...," he begins. G'Kar striding down the corridor takes up the speech. "...It is the language of the heart." A fleet of White Stars speeds through hyperspace. "The language of the soul." The Enphili shiver in their shelters. "It is the voice of our ancestors speaking through us. And the voice of our inheiritors waiting to be born..." Dr. Franklin is writing a letter to the parents of the Ranger telling them who he died for. "...No matter the cost..."

"We agree to recognize this singular truth and this singular rule...We are one."

When Lyta finds Byron, he reproaches her for blocking him out. But she's in no mood to let down her guard. When she brings up Garibaldi's request, Byron berates her for running other people's errands. "Sit!" he orders, and then kicks away the chair as she approaches. When she angrily starts to walk away he asks if she doesn't deserve to be asked and understood rather than commanded and used by inferior humans. "What a piece of work is man," Byron recites from Hamlet, "...the paragon of animals." Worse than animals, he argues, which is why he has established this place for telepaths to make a new, better way. He agrees for her sake to help Garibaldi and passes on what he learned from the Drazi Ambassador in the hall. The Drazi intend to ambush the White Star fleet.

Apparently the Drazi are behind the raiders attacking the Enphili, but not directly involved, Lyta reports. Sheridan is incensed at the Drazi hypocrisy and orders the White Star fleet to head directly to Enphilia as quickly as possible. He sternly thanks Lyta for her help and departs.

Once the White Stars have wiped out the raiders, Sheridan calls a council meeting where he describes the situation. The Drazi Ambassador is upset when he discovers that his government's ships are flying toward certain annihilation. As he stammers that he needs to contact his government, the advisory council confronts him with the truth about Drazi exploitation of the Enphili. As the Ambassador runs to stop his fleet, Sheridan gives each Ambassador a Declaration of Principles which he now has the moral authority to demand that they sign. Lyta is outside, and seeing the Alliance leaders all proudly grinning at their success reminds Lyta once again that she is an outsider.

Afterwards Sheridan reflects that telepaths saved the day twice. His musings are interrupted by G'Kar bustling in to grab all the Declarations and insist that they be signed again. When Sheridan objects, G'Kar replies, "but it's better now" and runs off. To Sheridan and Delenn's amazement G'Kar is right. Returning to the telepath question, Sheridan expresses his concern that it will be difficult to make use of the telepaths wisely and yet ethically.

Lyta finds herself drawn back to Byron, anxious to hear more of his ideas and plans for the future.

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Last update: June 10, 2018