In a large building on Minbar, a Minbari, Rathenn, holding a large box, chases after a robed figure. He tells the figure, who he calls Entil'za, that the ancient books told the Minbari to enter the sanctuary and open the box, which has remained sealed for over 900 years. The robed figure opens the box to see an envelope inside, with the words "Jeffrey David Sinclair" written on it. The figure removes his hood to reveal he is indeed Ambassador Sinclair. "How did he know that you would be here?" Rathenn asks. "How did he know your name?"
Back on Babylon 5, C&C detects a distress call coming from sector 14,
which surprises Ivanova since it has been quarantined for nearly 3
years after Babylon 4 disappeared there. Lt. Corwin plays
the message, and it is Ivanova's own voice, which a computer voice
scan confirms. "They're coming through," Ivanova's voice cries out
desperately, "repeat, they're coming through. This is Earth Alliance
Station Babylon 5. They're all over the place! They're killing us.
Can anyone hear me? They're killing us!"
On Minbar, Sinclair sits by himself, contemplating what he has read. Rathenn returns, saying that Sinclair's ship has been prepared. Rathenn offers to listen to whatever Sinclair might have to say, but Sinclair says the message was meant for him alone. He tells Rathenn to have the others continue the work in his absence, and that he appreciates Rathenn's trusting him when he first arrived -- something no one else did. Rathenn merely says that it is because of Delenn, and that he has done nothing extraordinary. Sinclair tells him that his help has been invaluable, and that the Rangers will finish the work ahead. He walks away, and Rathenn knows he will not see Sinclair again. A Vorlon comes up behind him and offers, "He is the closed circle. He is returning to the beginning." Rathenn asks what the Vorlon means, but it walks away instead of responding.
Ivanova plays back the distress signal for Sheridan and Garibaldi, but denies ever having sent the message. Garibaldi corrects her, saying that she hasn't yet, but since it comes from sector 14 -- a place where time doesn't work right -- anything is possible. Garibaldi relates to the others that, when he visited Babylon 4 two years earlier, he had a flash-forward in which he experienced the fall of Babylon 5, which could very well be the same thing to which this message refers. Garibaldi tells Sheridan he wants to check it out, and Sheridan agrees.
Zack Allen is having quite a time trying to process the identicards of
those in the station's docking bay, but while he is processing them, he
comes across a very interesting one -- that of Ambassador Sinclair.
Zack welcomes Sinclair back to the station, and asks him if he plans to be
staying long. Sinclair says that is a more interesting question than
Zack probably knows, and disappears into the crowd.
While Garibaldi begins the long trip to sector 14, Lennier enters Delenn's quarters. She asks him if "he" is here, and Lennier tells her yes. Lighting, a candle, she recites, "We are Grey. We stand between the candle and the star." She tells Lennier that "he" is her friend. Lennier tells her that he knows, but that "it must be done, or the dream will die, and countless others will die with it." She says she wishes she had more time, but that time is all they have. They both walk away, leaving a letter, hand-addressed to Delenn, behind.
Marcus and Sheridan are in the war room talking when Delenn arrives,
telling them that they must both accompany her to the White Star, with
Ivanova, and one other. The other is Sinclair, who enters the war
room. He tells Sheridan that he appreciates
the work he has done looking after the station. Garibaldi calls
in, reporting that the temporal rift in sector 14 is twice as large as
it was before, and that it is being created by a tachyon beam emanating
from Epsilon 3.
On Epsilon 3, Zathras and another caretaker watch what is happening to the Great Machine, which Zathras describes as "not good." The other caretaker suggests they tell Draal, but Zathras knows that it is taking all of Draal's power to control the machine. Zahtras knows what he must do, and he will do it, or else there might be great death.
Sheridan asks Delenn why they are going to the White Star instead of to Epsilon 3, but Delenn simply insists that they must go to sector 14. Sheridan doesn't understand, but Delenn promises to explain everything when the time is right. Meanwhile, Garibaldi finally arrives at sector 14, and performs a scan on the temporal rift formed there.
Two ships depart from Babylon 5, carrying those going to the White
Star. Sheridan tells Sinclair that he was very surprised to see him in
the war room, but Sinclair says that he was just as surprised to be
there. Sheridan mentions that Sinclair's timing seems to be more than
a coincidence, to which Sinclair replies that there are no
coincidences. Marcus tells Sheridan to quit while he's ahead, since
Sinclair has a reputation, back on Minbar, for seldom giving straight
answers to questions.
Garibaldi, after increasing power to the scanners, picks up the distress message from Ivanova, which he records. Ivanova reports that the captain is dead, and their defenses are down. She says that the enemy is boarding from all over, and that Garibaldi is rigging the fusion reactors. She switches to external cameras, and the enemies attacking the station are indeed Shadows. It is not long before they deliver their final blow, and Ivanova's message is terminated.
Everyone arrives in a conference room in the White Star. Delenn asks Sheridan if he trusts her, and he admits that he would trust her with his life. She invites them all to sit down. She begins by telling them that she was aware of the transmissions from Epsilon 3 several hours before they left, the same time that other information came into her possession. "As you know," she explains, "our last great war against the Shadows was a thousand years ago. With the help of the Vorlons and a few others, we were able to defeat them, driving them from their homeworld, Z'ha'dum. But... there is something you do not know. What you are about to see has never been shown to anyone outside the Grey Council."
She touches a small device, and on the wall behind her, an image
appears showing a great space station, with many ships around it,
fighting. "This is one of the few surviving records from that war.
Toward the end, the tide of battle had turned against us. Our greatest
starbase, the center of our efforts in the war, had been destroyed by
the Shadows. Without a long-range base of operations from which to
launch our forces, we were doomed to lose the war. Then, as if in
answer to our prayers, a replacement arrived." She touches the device
again, and something very familiar appears on the screen.
"Babylon 4!" Sheridan says in amazement.
"Oh my God," Ivanova says. "We always knew that Babylon 4 had been taken to somewhere in time, but we assumed it was into the future."
"No," Delenn says, "it was taken into the distant past, where it helped us defeat the Shadows. Without Babylon 4, we would have lost the war, or it would have ended in a stalemate."
"So you're saying the Minbari... that you stole Babylon 4...?" Sheridan says.
"Not quite," Delenn tells them. "Before coming to you, I received two additional records from Draal. Remember, the Great Machine on Epsilon 3 has been there for over 500 years. During that time, it recorded much of what happened in this area of space." She changes the image to Babylon 4 again. "After Babylon 4 vanished six years ago, it reappeared again, two years ago. Ambassador Sinclair and Mr. Garibaldi traveled there at great personal risk to help evacuate her crew before it vanished again."
"It was a close call," Sinclair tells them, "we almost didn't get out. We never did find out who was behind it."
"And that is about to change," Delenn replies, changing the image again. "This was recorded shortly before the station first disappeared six years ago. As Babylon 4 neared completion, the allies of the Shadows recognized it for what it was, and sent these ships to destroy it. Striking without warning, they would have succeeded in their attack, but something stopped them." A ship appears on the screen, firing at the Shadow fighters.
"The White Star?" Sheridan asks.
"Delenn, are you saying we stole Babylon 4?" Marcus asks.
"But that was years ago!" Ivanova says.
"Yes!" Delenn says. "And that is exactly where we must go. At this moment, the Great Machine is using all its power to enlarge the temporal rift in sector 14. We will use it to go back six years into the past. Once there, we must prevent the destruction of Babylon 4, and take the station with us through time. Because, if we fail to save Babylon 4, Babylon 5 will also be destroyed."
Sheridan can't believe that he is responsible for the disappearance of
Babylon 4, but Delenn says that it has already happened, and all they
must do is establish the past. No one knew where the replacement station had
come from until she came to Babylon 5, and she was afraid to say
anything, for fear of changing the future. Marcus says he isn't sure
how moving Babylon 4 through time will save Babylon 5. Delenn answers
that, without Babylon 4, the Shadows would come out of the last war much
too strong -- something with which Sinclair agrees. Sheridan asks where
the information came from, but Sinclair just says a reliable source.
Marcus says that, if Sinclair believes it, he believes it. Delenn says
that, if they do not proceed, in the next major attack by the Shadows,
Babylon 5 will be destroyed. Sheridan calls Garibaldi, who says that
he has been recording everything he can, and that the time stamp on the
distress messages is eight days in the future. Based on this, Sheridan
reluctantly agrees to go along with the plan. He calls Garibaldi and
says they will investigate further, and that he should return to
Lennier appears on the screen, and tells them that they are being followed by something he believes comes from Epsilon 3. Delenn explains that only the Great Machine can control such an unstable time field, and that the ship that is following them will assist them in helping control the time field. The ship docks, and Delenn, Sheridan, and Sinclair go to meet it. Delenn explains that a homing device must be placed in Babylon 4's central power core so that the Great Machine will find a clearly defined target, and that Draal has sent one of his aides to assist. That aide turns out to be Zathras, who clumsily crashes into another Minbari. As Zathras approaches and tries to introduce himself, Sinclair remembers having met him before. Zathras is confused, but Sinclair explains it is in his own past. He warns Zathras not to say anything to him that might change the past. Zathras is very confused, but agrees. Zathras tells both Sinclair and Sheridan that he is honored to meet them, but for different reasons. Sheridan asks what the reasons are, but Zathras will not say, since Draal advised him not to mention that, as well as other things, which he doesn't remember. Delenn arrives and tells them that Zathras' equipment is being unloaded, and that they are ready to proceed. Delenn leads Zathras away, leaving Sinclair and Sheridan alone. Sinclair tells Sheridan he needs a favor.
As the White Star meets Garibaldi's Starfury, Sheridan tells Garibaldi
it is important to go back to Babylon 5, even though Garibaldi very
much wants to go with them back to Babylon 4. Garibaldi doesn't
understand, but complies. After Garibaldi has gone, Sheridan asks
Sinclair if he didn't want to talk to Garibaldi himself, and Sinclair
tells him he did. He walks away to a viewscreen, where he watches Garibaldi's
ship fly off. He remembers the flashforward he experienced on Babylon
4, as well as the destruction of Babylon 5 he saw a couple years
earlier in Ladira's vision. He promises himself that he won't let it happen.
The White Star arrives in sector 14, and Zathras hands out small devices to everyone, saying that without them, they may become unstuck in time. These devices, time stabilizers, will protect them and keep them from drifting. After everyone has put on their time stabilizers, the White Star moves into the temporal rift.
As the White Star makes its journey into the past, Garibaldi arrives back at the station, where he meets Zack, who tells him that Sinclair was there. Garibaldi is shocked, unable to believe Sinclair would leave without saying anything.
The White Star emerges from the temporal rift, and before long,
detects the ships sent to destroy Babylon 4, which are escorting
very powerful fusion bomb. The White Star moves to intercept the
ships. The ships fire on the White Star, but there is neglible damage
due to, Lennier explains, the ability the ship has to learn from
Garibaldi arrives in his quarters to find a message from Ambassador Sinclair, but it requires a password. It isn't long, though, until Garibaldi is able to guess the password, "Hello, old friend." The message from Sinclair apologizes for not saying goodbye. Sinclair says that, if he had met with Garibaldi, neither of them would be returning from Babylon 4, and that Sinclair had to do whatever he could to protect his friend.
Though the weapons are outside optimum firing range, Ivanova is able to fire at the ships manually, destroying the fusion bomb. A huge blast is created, and the White Star is caught in it. Sheridan's time stablizer is hit by a blast of energy, and he vanishes. Zathras runs up to the damaged stabilizer, and explains that Sheridan has become unstuck in time, and could be in either the past or the future. Though everyone is very concerned and wants to find Sheridan, Sinclair knows that the mission is what is truly important, and if they wait too long, they may lose their one chance to move in under Babylon 4's damaged scanners.
Sheridan is thrown down onto the floor and kicked. He is picked up by
several guards, who say that he is awake again. Sheridan looks at the
figure on the throne, and recognizes it as Londo, who looks quite a bit
older than Sheridan is used to him.
The White Star moves to grapple onto a stable area of Babylon 4.
Delenn has been deeply disturbed by Sheridan's disappearance. Sinclair
insists that he will be all right, and, to her stunned surprise, tells
her in Minbari that he
knows what is coming. He asks if she is all right, and she says she
isn't. She says she is sorry, but he doesn't want her to be. Sinclair
tells her that he never knew before now where he belonged in life, but
that now, his path is clear.
Sheridan asks Londo why he is there, and Londo tells him that he is finally going to put Sheridan out of Londo's own misery, finally punishing him for his crimes of neglect and convenience. Londo tells him that, during the war, he drove away the Shadows, but that the Shadows' servants came to Centauri Prime, and Sheridan allowed it to happen. Sheridan is taken to a window, where he looks out upon the burning, smoking city around him. "There's the legacy of your war," Londo tells him.
The White Star connects to Babylon 4, and the crew exits the ship. Though the configuration of the station is different, Ivanova believes she can find her way around. Ivanova needs to secure the primary corridors while they place the homing device, and Marcus goes off with her to help. Sinclair asks Zathras if he will be able to unload and prepare the equipment by himself, and Zathras indicates he can.
"Ready?" Sinclair asks Delenn.
"Why do your people always ask if someone is ready before you're going to do something massively unwise?" she asks him.
Smiling, he answers her. "Tradition." The two of them move off down the corridor, to set the plan into motion.