A Distant Star

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"A Distant Star"
Babylon 5 episode
Episode no. Season 2
Episode 4
Directed by Jim Johnston
Written by D.C. Fontana
Production code 204
Original air date November 23, 1994
Guest appearance(s)

Russ Tamblyn (Captain Jack Maynard)
Daniel Beer (Patrick)
Art Kimbro (Ray Galus)
Miguel A. Nunez, Jr. (Orwell)
Patty Toy (Ogilvie)

Episode chronology
← Previous
"The Geometry of Shadows"
Next →
"The Long Dark"
List of Babylon 5 episodes

"A Distant Star" is an episode from the second season of the science fiction television series Babylon 5.


Jack Maynard, an old friend of John Sheridan, visits Babylon 5 in command of an Explorer-class ship, the EAS Cortez. Maynard, while Sheridan is showing him around the station, causes Sheridan to question whether he wishes to continue in position as a "bureaucrat."

Maynard relates a disturbing experience he had on the galactic rim, spotting what he believed to be a huge, dark, ominous vessel which vanished before his co-pilot could see it.

Minbari Ambassador Delenn is defending her loyalty to her people, which since her physical change into a Minbari/Human hybrid is being questioned by other Minbari on the station. Meanwhile, Commander Ivanova is recovering from the broken foot she suffered while trying to stop a Drazi riot (in an earlier episode), and security chief Garibaldi is also still recovering from being shot in the back. A comic side plot has both trying to sneak food past Dr. Franklin, who has placed them on strict diets to improve their health.

After the Cortez departs to hyperspace, an explosion on board causes a navigation failure, stranding the ship in hyperspace. Since no ship lost in hyperspace has ever been found, the prognosis for the Cortez is grim.

Babylon 5 launches a rescue operation using Starfury fighters to relay the jumpgate signal to the Cortez. Galus, the Zeta Squadron Commander, and Lt. Keffer locate the Cortez and are about to start rescue when a huge, dark vessel materializes, destroying Galus' Starfury, and disabling Keffer's. The ship then vanishes.

Keffer repeatedly fires his fighter's weapons towards the direction of the jumpgate, give Maynard a path to escape with the Cortez. Keffer appears doomed, as his damaged fighter drifts in hyperspace. However, another of the mysterious ships appears and vanishes; Keffer follows the vessel's trajectory, locates the jumpgate beacon and is able to return to Babylon 5.

Keffer is disturbed by his experiences with the mysterious vessels and becomes determined to obtain proof that they exist.

Arc significance[edit]

  • Some details of the structure and navigation of hyperspace are revealed.
  • Lieutenant Keffer sees a strange ship in hyperspace, leading him to an obsessive, season-long effort to learn what they are.
  • Lt. Keffer is promoted to command of Zeta Squadron following the death of Galus.
  • Delenn is becoming isolated from her people by her physical change.

Production details[edit]

  • While not explicitly mentioned in the episode, the series creator explains that Explorer ships both map unknown regions of space and leave behind jumpgates that they construct.[1]
  • Explorer ships have a SPOF design flaw.
  • Bagna càuda is an authentic Italian dish.

External links[edit]