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|Babylon 5 episode|
|Episode no.||Season 3
|Directed by||David J. Eagle|
|Written by||J. Michael Straczynski|
|Original air date||1 April 1996|
||This article's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (November 2009)|
Following the replacement of Nightwatch personnel with Narn security forces and the declaration of martial law by Earth Alliance President Morgan Clark, the station is going through a period of adjustment. Meanwhile, the EAS Alexander is locked in combat with a pursuing Earthforce vessel and has suffered severe damage. Major Ryan, in command of the Alexander, is forced to destroy the pursuer before setting a course for Babylon 5 to repair and refit.
Upon learning that the Alexander is en route, Captain John Sheridan orders Michael Garibaldi to disable external communications to prevent Earth from learning her location. Major Ryan arrives and informs the command staff that General Hague has been killed and that Earth colonies are refusing to implement martial law. They are soon interrupted by a transmission to Major Ryan announcing that Earth Force has begun bombing Mars.
A Ranger arrives at Babylon 5 and reveals to Delenn that the Shadows have incited members of the League of Non-Aligned Worlds to war with their neighbors. The Grey Council is aware of this, but they have refused to become involved in non-Minbari affairs. Angered, Delenn leaves the station to confront the Grey Council.
During an ISN broadcast, the newscaster is interrupted by a colleague who reports that the colonies at Proxima III and Orion VII have declared independence from the Earth Alliance in protest over the Mars bombings. He says that Earthforce troops are assaulting ISN headquarters and that the government has prevented them from reporting the truth for some time. Mid-broadcast, there is an explosion in the studio and ISN stops transmitting.
Meanwhile, a righteously indignant Delenn confronts the Grey Council. She accuses the Council of abandoning its primary duty: to stand against the Shadows. "If the Council has lost its way, if it will not lead, if we have abandoned our covenant with Valen, then the council should be broken as was prophesied!" She breaks the lead Councillor's staff and urges the Worker and Religious castes to stand with her. Those five members of the council do follow her out, leaving only those from the Warrior caste in the chamber.
Another destroyer, the EAS Churchill under Captain Sandra Hiroshi, arrives at Babylon 5. She has intercepted orders to an Earth task force which is being sent to seize Babylon 5. Sheridan decides to make a stand with the two destroyers. He deploys his fighters and security forces before using Draal's holographic system to announce to the station that Babylon 5 will join other Earth colonies in declaring independence until President Clark is arrested and rightful government is restored.
Soon, the task force led by the destroyers Agrippa and Roanoke jumps into Babylon 5 space demanding the surrender of all renegade vessels. Sheridan refuses and tries to reason with the task force, but the Earth forces close in for attack. Sheridan tells his forces not to fire the first shot but to respond with deadly force if attacked. Fighters from both sides engage and a breaching pod attaches itself to the station. As Marines board the station, Garibaldi leads his security forces to contain the boarding party, though the Narns do not listen and charge heedlessly into battle resulting in heavy casualties. Outside, the Churchill has been severely damaged by enemy fire. Knowing that her ship is doomed, Captain Hiroshi rams the Roanoke, destroying both ships in the process. As this is happening the Alexander flanks the Agrippa and opens fire, inflicting heavy damage. Sheridan orders the defense grid to add its firepower to the assault, destroying the Agrippa.
With the battle apparently over, Sheridan asks for a status report, but is interrupted by the arrival of a second wave of Earth forces which again demand Babylon 5's surrender. Lieutenant Corwin reports jump points forming around the station and Sheridan prepares to surrender. However, three Minbari warcruisers and the White Star emerge from the jump points. In command of the White Star, Delenn informs the task force that the station is now under Minbari protection and orders them to withdraw. Drake tries to assert his authority: "Do not force us to engage your ship," to which Delenn coolly responds:
|“||Why not? Only one human captain has ever survived battle with the Minbari fleet. He is behind me. You are in front of me. If you value your lives, be somewhere else.||”|
The task force disengages and retreats.
In the aftermath, Major Ryan decides to withdraw from the area and Sheridan agrees to take on pilots from the Churchill. Upon leaving the conference room, Ryan asks Sheridan why he is leaving his uniform jacket behind. Sheridan replies that he could no longer wear the uniform and maintain a clear conscience. He meets with his command staff and thanks Delenn for her rescue before Ivanova arrives and takes them to the Zocalo, where a crowd applauds Sheridan for leading the stand against Clark.
- "Hugo Awards 1997: Hugo Awards". World Science Fiction Society. Retrieved 17 September 2010.