The EAS Acheron arrives at Babylon 5 to deliver the station's new CO, Captain Elizabeth Lochley. Corwin meets her in the docking bay to give her a tour and quick briefing. Lochley is a straight-laced, no-nonsense officer, and appears to be ready to run things by the book and whip this place into shape, despite Corwin's attempts to explain that B5 doesn't really have a book and that around here trouble seems to spring up all on its own.
On Mars a man with a music box is holding a Ranger captive. He says it not personal, he just needs to send a message to Babylon 5. As he draws his weapon, he asks if the Ranger has any final words. Only, "We live for the One, we die for the One." The gunman thinks that's appropriate and shoots the Ranger, then puts a sign on him reading "Special delivery for Babylon 5".
Sheridan is in his quarters when Delenn comes out of the bedroom. She needs to get ready to meet with the new Gaim ambassador while Sheridan is informed that Captain Lochley is aboard. She also wants to know about the wet socks hanging in the bathroom. Sheridan just washed them, a habit he picked up from an old Sergeant who said the only man who dies is one who has nothing left to do, so he'll always come back, because he has socks to wash.
- Sheridan: (Sergeant voice) Any of you maggots got a problem with that?
Delenn: I assume you said "no".
Sheridan: Ooh, loud and clear.
As they head off, Delenn asks, "My place tonight?" Sheridan agrees, then expresses the concern that switching from one room to the other will be inconvenient at the least, but neither place is big enough for both of them, and it only needs to last until they leave for Minbar.
Outside a cargo container drifts in space with a body inside.
Sheridan meets with Lochley in his office and confirms her transfer and that she is now in command of the station. They discuss a few details, such as Babylon 5 remaining independent until the Alliance decides to buy it from Earth, but he wanted someone from Earthforce in charge as a symbol of healing the wounds caused by the Earth Civil War. She also wants to know why he asked for her specifically. He summarizes her record, ability to resolve situations without force and grasp of diplomacy and can fight when she needs to. She also asks to have full authority over Babylon 5. Interstellar matters will be Alliance business and Sheridan will have jurisdiction there, but control of the station should be hers, and Sheridan agrees. A call then comes in, Corwin asking her to come down to Bay 3.
Before she leaves, she mentions he never asked which side of the war she was on. Yep. later, Captain.
As she walks off, a long-haired man lurks in a corner of the corridor.
Garibaldi is walking Zack through the security arrangements, much to Zack's annoyance, but Garibaldi knows this place better than anyone and feels he owes Sheridan for everything that happened last year, so he wants to make sure the inauguration goes without a hitch. As they walk, they pass the gunman drinking at a bar.
Lochley arrives to find medics about to transport the Ranger's body. Corwin gives her a quick rundown. They know that he didn't die from spacing, and he still had the sign around his neck.
In Sheridan's quarters the comm terminal is overridden and a message appears on it.
- Dear Mr. President,
as of this date, you are officially a dead man.
Have a nice day.
Lochley is having lunch when the man from earlier appears. He stares at her for a bit when everything suddenly goes silent...except for him. He comes over and introduces himself as Byron. He asks her to meet him in Brown 3 in two hours. Alone. When she asks why, he only says his people are coming. The background noise suddenly comes back and Byron vanishes. Franklin calls next, with news that he's completed the autopsy, and she heads off to Medlab.
G'Kar is in his quarters when Captain...er, President Sheridan comes to visit. Sheridan's still getting used to that, and G'Kar shares that his name was not his first name. Narn young are given a temporary name until they reach the age of ten, then choose their true names from the path they choose to follow. Cultural lessons aside, Sheridan came for a reason; they need an oath of office and a declaration of principles for the Alliance. Given G'Kar's speaking and writing abilities, Sheridan wants him to do it. G'Kar is...a mixed bag of emotions at the responsibility, but is pleased by Sheridan's confidence in him and promises to dedicate himself to nothing else until it's ready. He will not sleep, he will not eat, nor drink until he has found the words he needs and captured them on paper. Sheridan slowly backs away from the monster he just created.
In Medlab Lochley comes in and doesn't beat around the bush. Franklin says the Ranger dies of a PPG shot at close range right in the heart. He doesn't think he's been dead for longer than a week, but had only been outside a few hours, meaning someone dumped the body out there for them to find. But why? All Franklin knows is that the killer is an expert. Lochley then gets another call reminding her about an appointment and she rushes off again.
In Brown 3, Lochley arrives at the meeting place where Byron appears, along with several others. From what happened earlier, it's clear he's a telepath, which means he's potentially dangerous, so she did not come alone. A group of security guards appear from either direction. Byron protests that theirs is a simple, nonviolent way. Once it's confirmed they have no weapons, Lochley hears him out.
He explains that they are rogue telepaths, looking for a place to call home, and Babylon 5, which is outside the Earth Alliance, may be the best place for them right now. Until they are able to establish a real home for themselves. He begins introducing his companions, including a boy named Simon, who projects an image of flowers into Lochley's mind. Byron explains that he can remember everything he's experienced from the day of his birth and sometimes shares them with others. He never says anything though, not even telepathically, and Lochley wants to have him checked out by a doctor. Byron agrees, and again asks for a place to stay offering to help in any way possible in return.
Delenn is finishing up her meeting with the Gaim, promising to continue working closely with them in the Alliance. As they part ways, the gunman begins tailing the Gaim.
Sheridan arrives in his quarters to find a message waiting for him. When he plays them, he finds the message from the assassin. This is followed by a voice message. The gunman begins speaking of historical figures, particularly presidents who died at the end of major wars, Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War, Franklin Roosevelt for World War II, President Kyoshi three days after the War of the Shining Star. He says it's the president who must pay for the lives of those who fall in their wars, and that Sheridan must now pay that price as well. Sheridan asks the computer to trace the origin, but the records have been altered.
- Gunman: You won't know where it's coming or when, but it's coming. And as strong as you think you are, the one thing you can't stop is the lone gunman determined to kill you even if he gets killed in the process. I'm that man Sheridan.
Meanwhile, the gunman has followed the Gaim ambassador to his quarters and killed him.
Byron's people have been brought to Medlab, where Franklin is looking over Simon. the boy's dehydrated and malnourished, but there's no damage or other issue besides atrophy with his vocal cords, so he just chooses not to speak. When he asks why, Byron explains that Simon is an orphan who was living in the tunnels beneath the Mars domes, and that he endured some great trauma at some point in the past. Beyond that, they've never asked. Byron prefers to let Simon tell them on his own someday, and if he doesn't he will bear his pain alone. Simon suddenly sends an image of himself and a girl. Byron says he never lets anyone see more. They have no idea who she is, only that Simon feels guilty about her death and hopes to make up for it someday. Franklin begins compiling a treatment plan, promising to handle everything, but a call comes for an emergency meeting. When he looks around, they're all gone. Simon watches from a duct he somehow got into.
At the meeting Garibaldi is insisting on holding off until they can bring in more security. He doesn't want to go forward with a killer who clearly knows their systems and can bypass them running loose. Sheridan does not want to back down, but Londo also advises caution.
- Londo: On my world we have found that an inauguration is simply a signal to assassins that a new target has been set up in the firing range.
Sheridan still won't back down, thinking this day or the next isn't going to change his status, he'll always be a target for someone. He also wants to be more than just a guy in an ivory tower, thinking that's the problem with leaders in general, they're too far removed from the people they represent. The others all think his attitude is commendable but naive at best.
Sheridan points out that the gunman claimed all the security in the world can't stop a man willing to die for his mission. Lochley backs up Sheridan, saying he's trying to advance an agenda, while they're trying to protect a friend. She votes the ceremony continue, feeling they can handle it, and Sheridan agrees.
As she leaves Garibaldi runs to catch her, demanding to know what that was all about. He thinks Sheridan's unwittingly setting up himself as some kind of martyr, which means the rest of them have to protect him from himself. Lochley doesn't want to hear it, since Garibaldi technically doesn't have an official position anymore, unless he decides to reenlist. He left, and that's all Lochley needs to know. She stalks off, leaving him behind.
Simon creeps through the ventilation, following the sound of the music box, eventually finding the gunman preparing. As he looks at him he catches what's on the man's mind, stumbling in surprise. The gunman looks up, casually walks to the other side of the room, grabs a gun, then riddles the ceiling with PPG bolts. He then hurries out while Simon, wounded but alive, crawls away.
At the ceremony guests are gathering, being patted down and searched before allowed entry, much to Sheridan's annoyance.
- Sheridan: I thought we agreed on a discreet presence from Security?
Delenn: This is discreet, at least more discreet than Mr. Garibaldi would have preferred—having each guest strip-searched on his way in.
Sheridan: I'm glad you talked him out of it. I have no desire to be struck blind by the sigh of Londo naked.
Garibaldi himself is still trying to find a match for the voice recording, but is having little luck. It doesn't match any criminal files. Reviewing it again, he finds a possible connection: Roosevelt died of natural causes, but Lincoln and Kyoshi were killed by poeple from the other side of a civil war. He has the computer check Earthforce personnel. After linking with Earth Dome he gets a match and calls Zack. The man is John Clemens, former head of the Beta 7 prison system under Clark. Now he's underground, wanted for murder and torture, and can't show his face in public, which means he has nothing to lose. He's a trained infiltrator, which means he could already be inside the ceremony.
Clemens scans the room from inside the Gaim suit until he locates Sheridan. Then Simon appears, but Franklin has security let him through when he notices the boy's injuries. Simon collapses into Franklin's arms and frantically looks around, calling out "No" when he sees Clemens and shows everyone what he saw in Clemens' mind earlier. As Clemens makes his move, Security blocks his line of fire and he grabs a nearby woman, dragging her from the room at gunpoint.
Sheridan orders Zack to put out an APB. Docking bays are now sealed, Clemens' face will be all over the station and they should have him soon. Sheridan intends to continue forward, to make sure everyone knows they will not be intimidated. They turn to Franklin who is trying to help Simon, but there's nothing he can do.
In a cobra bay, Clemens knocks out a pilot as the ceremony moves to the observation deck. As he launches, Garibaldi finds a note in his file that he's a qualified Starfury pilot, and rushes off.
G'Kar begins the swearing in, but before he can finish, Clemens flies up to the window. Sheridan tells him at that range he'll kill himself as well, but Clemens is fine with that. Sheridan ruined his life and took everything he has and he intends to see him pay. He doesn't even care about stopping the Alliance, only Sheridan. He's so fixated on his target he doesn't notice Garibaldi coming up behind him in another fighter and latching on with the grapple. As Clemens fires, Garibaldi pulls him away and contacts C&C. They activate the defense grid and Garibaldi releases Clemens right into the line of fire, where he's destroyed in seconds.
Sheridan and Delenn watch as G'Kar comes up behind them.
- G'Kar: You want to be president?
G'Kar: Put your hand on the book and say, "I do."
Sheridan: I do.
G'Kar: Fine. Done. Let's eat.
Later, Sheridan has Byron brought to his office. He offers condolences for their loss and has heard of their request to start a colony. Lochley said no, but he feels this is a political matter and so he's overruling her. They'll set apart part of Brown Sector, which is a start at least. Byron thanks him and leaves. Franklin hopes this is the right decision, but Sheridan reminds him there's a war with telepaths brewing, and he'd like to have some on their side when it comes. Beside he feels he owes them something for saving his life. Franklin then asks about a meeting with Garibaldi, who has gone to notify the captain about it.
Lochley is having her office arranged when Garibaldi comes in. He talks about what she said about reenlisting, but he's never been one for uniforms and he has other obligations so no, but Sheridan has asked him to help set up the Alliance's covert intelligence department, which makes him the head of Covert Intelligence. before he leaves he notes that Lochley actually served with Clemens some years back. She confirms it, saying he was a good officer, but time can change people. Garibaldi looks dubious, but turns to leave. He has one more question: what side was she on during the war?
- Lochley: I was on the side of Earth, Mr. Garibaldi. Weren't we all?
Garibaldi grunts and walks out.
This episode contains examples of:
- Air Vent Escape: Attempted and subverted, when the assassin realized someone was in the vent and peppered it with gunshot, mortally wounding the kid.
- Answer Cut: After Clemens misses his first attempt, Zack asks where's he gonna go? Cut to the cobra bay.
- Assassin Outclassin': Clemens hijacks a Starfury intending to blow up the observation deck with Sheridan inside, but Garibaldi follows in another Starfury and pulls him away just as he fires, them releases him right into the station's weapons range.
- Big Damn Heroes: Garibaldi comes up and grapples Clemens' Starfury away just as he fires.
- Brain Bleach: Sheridan is glad they didn't go with strip-searches, he didn't want to see Londo naked.
- Dark Is Not Evil: Byron and his followers dress all in black, but are pacifists.
- Drill Sergeant Nasty: Sheridan's anecdote about a habit he picked up of washing his own socks every day because his drill sergeant, "Sergeant Slaughter", in boot camp always did.
- Foregone Conclusion: We already know the telepath colony isn't going to end well.
- Humanity Is Insane:Delenn: You're a strange man, even for a human.
Sheridan: Thank you.
- Mugged for Disguise: The new Gaim ambassador is ambushed in the Alien Sector and murdered so his suit can be worn by Clemens.
- Nose Art: Garibaldi's Starfury has artwork of Daffy Duck painted on the side.
- Ominous Music Box Tune: Clemens, villain of the week, always carries a playing music box with him. The tune is not off in any way, but it serves as a sign, telling us that Clemens is somewhat mentally disturbed.
- Properly Paranoid: Garibaldi seems to be taking security a bit too far at first, but this is Babylon 5, where there's always something to be worried about and someone actually is after Sheridan.
- Skip to the End: After the second straight interruption of the inauguration ceremony, G'Kar decides to just get it done.
- Stealth Hi/Bye: Byron and his ilk seem fond of these.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Captain Lochley is pretty much Ivanova with a more controlled attitude.
- Thrown Out the Airlock: Quickly eliminated as the cause of death for the Ranger when they find him in the stasis bubble.
- The Voiceless: Simon can speak, he just doesn't for reasons only he knows.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Clemens' hostage? What did he do with her?