||This television-related article describes a work or element of fiction in a primarily in-universe style. (October 2009)|
|Lord Antono Refa|
|Babylon 5 character|
|First appearance||The Geometry of Shadows|
|Last appearance||And the Rock Cried Out, No Hiding Place|
|Portrayed by||William Forward|
|Home planet||Centauri Prime|
|Affiliated with||Centauri Republic|
Lord Antono Refa is a fictional character from the universe of the science fiction television series Babylon 5, played by William Forward. He is a regular guest character in the second and third seasons.
A Centauri politician and a member of the nobility, Lord Refa is dedicated to restoring the power of the Centauri Republic through distinctly Machiavellian methods. His house is one of the most powerful in the Centaurum, the Centauri Republic's ruling legislature, and he is apparently a man of great wealth and influence. As the series progresses he emerges as a sinister character. While he is charismatic and otherwise amicable, Refa is extremely ambitious and seeks to revive Centauri Prime's imperial tradition of conquest as a means to position himself for the Centauri throne. Devoid of empathy and exploitative of cultural mores, he engineers a campaign of paranoid nationalism among the Centauri population to create distrust against his opponents in the Centaurum, allowing him the clout to successfully plan a coup d'état against the emperor. Initially Refa and Londo Mollari, a Centauri noble and ambassador to Babylon 5, are portrayed as allies in their mutual desire to restore the Centauri Republic to its former power, prestige, and glory. However, Refa's ruthless tactics eventually strain their alliance to the breaking point, and they eventually become bitter rivals and enemies who will stop at nothing to destroy one another.
Refa appears on Babylon 5 shortly after the only son of Emperor Turhan dies, leaving a gap in the line of succession for the Centauri throne. On his first visit, Refa makes it clear to Londo that he speaks for a group of Centauri politicians who are interested in making a move for the throne after the death of Turhan, whose health is in rapid decline. In an attempt to restore his wounded pride and prestige, Londo naively allies himself with Mr. Morden for assistance in dealing with problematic Narn military outposts, unaware that he is the intermediary for The Shadows. When The Shadows successfully destroy all their assigned targets, Londo's mysterious association with a powerful military force earns him tremendous political advancement in the Centauri Republic. Refa sees him and his "associates" as the tools necessary to complete the transition of power; while he initially believes Londo to be a fellow sympathizer, Londo's escalating reservations about Refa's ruthlessness in the Centaurum lead Refa to consider disposing of him once he has outlived his usefulness.
The Imperial Coup
Later, this group stages a coup when the ailing Turhan pays a visit to Babylon 5. The purpose of this visit, as Turhan sees it, is to ask for forgiveness and peace from the Narn ambassador, G'Kar, for the great abuses the Centauri had done to the Narn. Unfortunately, Turhan collapses before he can make this offer in person to G'Kar, though his message is relayed to G'Kar through Dr. Franklin. With Turhan now dying and his message of peace not delivered in public view of the Centauri and Narn, Refa's men take this opportunity to strike, ordering the assassination of Turhan's prime minister on Centauri Prime, while Refa and Londo, on Babylon 5, are present at the death of the Emperor.
The Narn-Centauri Conflict
With his political enemies out of the way, Refa and his associates install the mad Emperor Cartagia to power, and begin a protracted war against the Narn. Using Londo's agreement with the Shadows forces, Refa personally oversees the war. As the Narn forces begin to falter, Refa devises a masterstroke: to reconquer the Narn homeworld in a single, massive attack. When he learns that the Narn have diverted the majority of their fleet to destroy a vital supply post on Gorash 7, he needles Londo into tasking his Shadow forces to destroy the fleet so that the Centauri forces have a clear line of attack on the Narn homeworld. The Shadows obliterate the Narn fleet at Gorash 7, and the Centauri fleet arrives at the Narn homeworld with mass drivers: large ships that utilize asteroids for planetary bombardment. Refa cordially drafts the reluctant Londo into attending the assault on an escort vessel; the experience traumatizes Londo and, coupled with Refa's violation of multiple weapons treaties, he becomes disenfranchised with their alliance. After 4 days of bombardment, the Narn unconditionally surrender.
The Shadow War
Following the Second Conquest of Narn, Londo dissolves his partnership with Morden to prevent further escalation. Undeterred, Morden approaches and re-establishes his business relationship with Refa, much to Londo's dismay. In an effort to prevent Lord Refa from continuing his relationship with the Shadows, Londo "poisons" Refa's drink during a meeting on Babylon 5 with a binary poison. He informs Refa that the second, activating dose of the poison will be clandestinely administered unless he terminates his relationship with Morden; it will also be administered if he attempts to betray him in the future. Angrily, Refa agrees.
Again, Morden comes to Londo, this time quite angry that Londo would interfere in his associates' activities in this way. However, Londo really wants nothing more to do with Morden, so when Londo gives him the brush off, Morden arranges for Londo to care again, by setting up the murder of Londo's true love, Adira. However, Morden takes this further, by poisoning her with a poison of Centauri origin, allowing Morden to convince Londo to place the blame on Lord Refa, whom Londo already knows is still upset about being "poisoned." This, again, places Londo in association with Morden. Finally, though, Londo resolves to do something about Lord Refa, who has himself been inciting a feud between their two houses on Centauri Prime.
In an elaborate plot staged to maximize Londo's political gain, Refa is lured to the Narn homeworld in expectations of capturing G'Kar, who is on Narn ostensibly looking for his old assistant, Na'Toth. However, the actual plan is to capture Refa, who was responsible for the decision to use mass drivers on Narn, and turn him over to G'Kar and his Narn associates who were allowed by Londo to kill this Centauri without retaliation. Two of the reasons Londo has for having Refa killed are personal: the death of Adira (which, in fact, Refa was not involved with) and the death of Urza Jaddo (which Refa brought about). In the end Lord Refa is surrounded by G'Kar's Narn associates and beaten to death. On Babylon 5, Londo presents evidence of Refa's "betrayal" of the Centauri to the visiting Centauri minister, gaining prestige in the royal court and ridding himself of Lord Refa. Footage of Refa's death at the Narn's hands is interspersed with a Baptist prayer service on Babylon 5, which includes a hymn about the inevitability of the punishment of a fleeing sinner ("No Hiding Place").
- "It has just the right ring of desperation to be true." (In response to Londo's worry that the intercepted Narn attack plan is a ruse.)
- "Ink on a page!" (In response to Londo's concerns that use of mass drivers is banned by treaties the Centauri have signed.)
William Forward asked J. Michael Straczynski "Why me?" Why was his character being killed off? Straczynski told him "If he hadn't done such a good job, this wouldn't have happened, because no one would've cared about the character."