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|Babylon 5 episode|
|Directed by||David J. Eagle|
|Written by||J. Michael Straczynski|
|Original air date||April 1, 1996|
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Following the replacement of Nightwatch personnel with Narn security forces and the declaration of martial law by Earth Alliance President Morgan Clark, the station goes through a period of adjustment. Near the Earth colony Orion 7 the EAS Alexander is ambushed by the pursuing Earthforce vessel EAS Clarkstown suffering severe damage. Major Ryan, in command of the Alexander, engages the Clarkstown and reluctantly destroys the vessel 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 of General Hague's death and that Earth colonies are refusing to implement martial law. They are interrupted by a transmission to Major Ryan announcing Earthforce is bombing Mars.
A Ranger arrives at Babylon 5 and reveals to Delenn the Shadows have incited members of the League of Non-Aligned Worlds to war with their neighbors. When the Grey Council refuses to become involved, Delenn leaves to confront them. The Interstellar Network News reports the colonies at Proxima III and Orion VII have declared independence from the Earth Alliance in protest over the Mars bombings. The newscaster says Earthforce troops are assaulting ISN headquarters and the government has long prevented them from reporting the truth. After an explosion, ISN stops transmitting mid-broadcast.
Meanwhile, Delenn accuses the Council of abandoning its primary duty: to stand against the Shadows. She demands they lead or be broken, as prophesied. She breaks the lead Councillor's staff, and, at her urging, the Worker and Religious castes 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 makes 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; ignoring his attempts at diplomacy, 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 them, though the Narns do not listen and charge heedlessly into battle, resulting in heavy casualties. Outside, the Churchill is severely damaged by enemy fire. Knowing that her ship is doomed, Captain Hiroshi rams the Roanoke, destroying both ships. 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. Captain Drake, in command of the second wave, threatens to board the station, but Delenn points out Sheridan is the only one to ever survive battle with the Minbari fleet. The task force disengages and retreats.
In the aftermath, Major Ryan withdraws from the area, and Sheridan agrees to take on pilots from the Churchill. Upon leaving the conference room, Ryan asks Sheridan why he left his uniform jacket behind. Sheridan replies that he can no longer wear the uniform and maintain a clear conscience, but will put it back on when the civil war is over. 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 September 17, 2010.