Doctor Franklin is getting started on the compilation the Alliance has requested, starting with the pak'ma'ra. They're carrion eaters, but they never seem to be affected by outside infections, which is what Franklin is looking into right here. First he wants to see how their digestive system works by having one drink a special solution, composed of non-organic material. The pak'ma'ra he's examining is reluctant, but he persuades him to drink the stuff...only to spit it out moments later. Clearly some hurdles to overcome.
In the customs area Zack shows up where security is holding a number of people, more of Byron's flock, no money, visas, in a lot of cases not even IDs. Zack is starting to get a little fed up with it, asking how many more will be coming and Byron comes up from behind and asks, "How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?" An old religious question that had scholars baffled until one came up with an answer: "As many as want to." How many of Byron's people are coming, as many as want to. Captain Lochley is under orders from Captain Sheridan to allow them aboard, and Byron promises the required paperwork for the new arrivals. Zack sighs and lets them go, though he still thinks this is going to end badly. He asks to talk to Lyta for a minute.
Byron greets the newcomers, especially a young man who speaks with a stutter named Peter. Peter says he's been practicing and Byron asks for a demonstration. Peter lifts a ball into the air with his mind, getting a pleased response from Byron.
Zack takes Lyta to a place to chat for a bit. After a bit of awkward fidgeting he demands to know what she's doing with those people. There's something about them that rubs him the wrong way and Byron's the worst of the bunch. And he doesn't like her seeing him. Lyta starts to think he's jealous, and when he doesn't let her peek inside his head and see, he tries to deflect, but Lyta starts going after him. She lists everything she's done for them the times she's put her neck on the line, and what has she gotten for her trouble? She almost got kicked out of her quarters, had to make a deal with Psi Corps, and pretty much has had her life sliding into the dumps. With Byron she feels someone actually cares about her for herself. Zack protests that he cares, but Lyta is not impressed. He tries to get her to listen for five minutes, but she's not having that either.
- Lyta: If Byron asked me to follow him into hell, I'd do it gladly with a smile on my face, because I believe in him. What could you possibly say in five minutes that would change that?
Zack just looks away and Lyta walks off.
Byron leads a procession back to his enclave, passing a few lurkers, one of whom, Carl, starts getting up in their faces. Carl starts getting belligerent and when he expresses the wish to fight Byron has him hit him. Carl punches him and Bryon has him do it again...and again. The lurker is completely nonplussed now and Byron asks if the last punch was any better than the first, and if not, does he expect anything else from any others?
- Byron: Your anger has nothing to do with me. What will satisfy your anger will never come from me or anyone else here. I'm afraid you must look for it elsewhere.
With that Byron and his people walk on. Carl looks around and dismisses what happened as just a "teep trick".
Franklin is meeting with the Hyach ambassador, Tal, and her attache Kirrin. He requests that their people grant him access to their genetic history and medical records. The ambassador says they have never given them to offworlders to prevent it from being used against them. Franklin assures them as a doctor he's bound by an oath of confidentiality and any data would be privileged information. Kirrin does not seem convinced, asking if he would keep to that oath even if there was a gun to his head. Franklin says he would. He would die rather than allow his work to be used for biological warfare. Kirrin seems satisfied with this. The ambassador says she will have their medical files transferred to Medlab and he thanks them and leaves.
Kirrin voices the opinion that this is a mistake, but the ambassador says it is not their place to question the elders. Kirrin asks what if he finds out, and the ambassador says if he does they will simply have to accept it. Kirrin adds that if he betrays them he will die.
Lyta finds Byron nursing his split lip. She wants to know why he allowed this to happen and he says if there had been a fight then there would be seven people, fourteen if you count the lurkers, hurt instead of just him. He repeats that violence is not their way, something Lyta wishes he'd let go just once. He affirms that violence is the way of the mundanes, who mistreat them and kill them because they're afraid of them. Psi Corps has adopted their ways because they're afraid of themselves. He says every government built on violence has fallen sooner or later, and does not want that for the home he hopes to build. Lyta keeps wanting him to make an exception, loudly protesting just letting them get away with it, which gets an amused reaction from Byron. He looks at her, describing how she blazes into and out of an area, wondering what to do about her. She responds the same way, and after a few more exchanged flirts, Lyta leans in and kisses him.
She promises to get something for his bruises, but he asks why she leaves every night. She says he doesn't feel she truly belongs with them yet. Byron takes her out to where the rest of his people are and asks what they think. They each come up and embrace her.
Franklin is in Medlab when Kirrin brings the last of the files he needs. Or does she, he notices their medical history only goes back about 800 years. In a civilization that is 7000 years old? Kirrin says all the conclusions and developments from before are there and that was all she was given. She abruptly leaves. Franklin checks the historical records and finds that they two only go back about 800 years, which makes him think they're hiding something.
Peter is returning from the Zocalo, but gets separated from his group, forcing him to go through Downbelow himself. Carl confronts him and starts getting pushy to the point Peter tries to drive him off with his telekinesis. This only enrages Carl and he starts beating Peter with a pipe.
Peter is brought to Medlab where Byron and Lyta come to see him. Franklin asks if he knows what happened, Byron says he was attacked for being what he was. He thinks he knows who it was. As he looks down at Peter, the telepaths in the enclave also see it. Byron asks Franklin to take care of him then rushes off.
In Downbelow the telepaths are tormenting one of the lurkers who was present when Peter was attacked. Though he hadn't actually done anything, they make him feel as though he is on fire, watching him twist and scream until Byron arrives and gets them to stop. Byron goes to check on the victim, but Zack appears and has him arrested.
With Peter stabilized, Franklin goes back to the Hyach problem. Since he can't get any information directly from them he starts searching the records of other races for mentions of the Hyach.
In his cell, Byron paces restlessly. He asks the guard to be able to speak with his people, but gets turned down. Then he starts getting flashes of the lurker that started this all getting beaten up by the telepaths.
Franklin has fallen asleep at his station when the computer finds something he plays a record of a Drazi merchant who mentions something called Hyach-Doh who asked to travel with him. The Drazi refused and notified those in charge of "collection". Franklin starts searching for Hyach-Doh. There isn't anything in current Hyach literature so he again starts checking alien sources. In the morning he leaves with the results of his search, but Kirrin follows pulls a gun, demanding he do as she tells him. She takes him to a cargo pay and demands to see what he found. He knows about the Hyach-Doh, another sentient race that developed on their homeworld, a race that is now extinct, by their hand. Tal appears and explains what happened. For a time they had lived in peace, both sides intermarrying, though it was a great scandal. About 1200 years ago, religious laws made such unions immoral and it took off from there, from immoral to illegal, illegal to punishable by death and finally to genocide.
The Hyach-Doh were hunted down, bounties places on them, captains found transporting them executed. It took centuries, but they got them all. Kirrin protests that they are not responsible for something that happened so long ago, but Tal says they bear the price. She has Kirrin give Franklin his results back and asks him to look at the population numbers. He sees that their population has a negative curve, births rates are down. He realizes something in their genetic makeup is breaking down, something that the Hyach-Doh had. And without them, the Hyach themselves are slowly dying, unless Franklin helps them.
Franklin...refuses. First off, he considers them accomplices after the fact for trying to cover it up, so morally he feels he can't help them. Second, this would be a long project, longer than his lifetime. That's all a moot point if they keep the cover-up going since this will require the rest of the Alliance to have even the possibility of success. But they can get started, if the Hyach are willing to let go of their shame and let it come out. The ambassador tells Kirrin to release him. She protests but is shut down and walks off. Tal asks if Franklin can forgive them, but he says only the Hyach-Doh can to that. Too bad there aren't any left.
Byron is brought to Zack's office. The guy from earlier woke up and doesn't remember the incident, except that Byron tried to help him. Zack corroborated that with other sources and based on that is releasing Byron. But there is one thing; not long ago the body of Carl Townsend was found. Zack heard he and that other guy had been hassling Byron's people the other day, now one's dead and the other injured. Curious. Byron says that if he had not been locked up this might not have happened. Byron and Lyta go back to the enclave, Lyta asking if he'll be alright. He says no, deeply disappointed in his people for their betrayal of his teachings. He doesn't know which of them did it, but he feels responsible, thinking he should have taught them better. Lyta says he's done more for them than they will ever understand, and for her, but he still expresses doubts, but she assures him it's true. He looks at her and they kiss and sink down to the bed.
She takes off her shirt but warns him she doesn't know what will happen, The Vorlons changed her and it may burn him. Byron just says, "Let it burn."
They make love, their thoughts and emotions begin rousing the other telepaths, while flashes of Lyta's experiences with the Vorlons begin appearing in their minds. Lyta's eyes go black and the rest of the telepaths are jolted out of their beds. As they watch, they see Lyta in some kind of tank along with countless others many of them fetuses, in the place where the Vorlons created and modified telepaths.
Some time later, Byron is going over what they saw, that the Vorlons created telepaths as cannon fodder for the war against the Shadows. Without that they would all be normal people and be able to live without fear of persecution. The Vorlons are gone, so they can't make it right, but the races they created telepaths to protect are still here and Byron now feel they owe them. A homeland, a place they can call their own and build their own society. And if they don't give it, they'll force it out of them.
This episode contains examples of:
- Abusive Precursors: What they learn lands the Vorlons squarely in this territory in Byron's mind. And he's not exactly wrong.
- After Action Patchup: Lyta does this for Byron.
- Armor-Piercing Question: Zack has no response when Lyta asks what he could say to change her mind about Byron.
- Asshole Victim: Carl, a racist thug that hates telepaths, is later killed by them in revenge for the assault on Peter.
- Badass Pacifist: Byron tells a hostile lurker to punch him three times, asks the man if he feels any better, then tells him he won't get any greater satisfaction out of further hits. Unfortunately the thug soon dismisses this as a "teep trick" instead of learning An Aesop.
- Bizarre Alien Biology:
- Franklin has been charged with compiling medical profiles for all the Alliance races, some of which are more exotic than others.
- The pak'ma'ra can eat anything that walks or flies, but not fish.
- Call-Back: After risking her life in the Shadow War, Lyta nearly got kicked out of her quarters and had to cut a deal to get back into Psi Corps. Then she risked her life again in the Earth Civil War, and what did she get for all her trouble? Nothing.
- Les Collaborateurs: The Drazi pilot who hand the Hyach-Doh over to the Hyach "collectors".
- Continuity Nod: Jason Ironheart said telekinesis was very rare (1 in 10,000 telepaths) and half were clinically insane. Peter is clearly not insane, but he does seem simple and speak with a severe stutter.
- Dark Secret: Franklin and Byron both discover ones about the Hyach and Vorlons respectively.
- Deadly Euphemism: There were Hyach in charge of "collection".
- Dying Race: There may be plenty of them walking around, but it's revealed that the Hyach are actually this. Slowly but inevitably, they're dying off.
- Fiery Redhead: Byron describes Lyta as a B.C.F.M.O., a brightly colored fast-moving object.
- Green-Eyed Monster: Lyta starts to think this of Zack after he mentions he knows she's been seeing Byron.
- Hilarious in Hindsight: Way back in "The Geometry Of Shadows", the Drazi mentioned that the rules of their Green-vs-Purple political conflict predated contact with other races, and the rules change to keep an alien from taking leadership was still caught up in committee. Although the circumstances in this episode are anything but funny, Dr. Franklin's research shows that the Drazi had already made contact with the Hyach at least 800 years ago.
- Honor Before Reason: Even when their races future hinges on it, the Hyach have to decide if bearing the shame is worth revealing their biggest secret.
- Meaningful Echo: Both Franklin and G'Kar refuse to forgive on behalf of the dead.
- Mindlink Mates: Lyta and Byron (and telepaths in general) become this while lovemaking. In this case, Byron and the rest of his enclave uncover far more than they bargained for.
- Mind over Matter: Peter's special gift, which gets him into trouble when he uses it against the hostile lurker.
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: The lurker puts Peter in Medlab for using telekinesis against him.
- One Password Attempt Ever: Dr. Franklin assures the Hyachs that the medical information that they have provided is secure because it is triple-encrypted and even one wrong password attempt would destroy the data altogether. One has to wonder what he'd do if he himself mistyped any of those three passwords and accidentally destroyed the data.
- Sins of Our Fathers: Kirrin protests that the Hyach cannot be held responsible for the atrocities their ancestors committed, but Tal points out that they still bear the consequences of said atrocities.
- Sliding Down The Slippery Slope: First it was frowned upon for Hyach and Hyach-Doh to marry. Then it became illegal. Then punishable by death. Then the Hyach committed genocide. And then they pretended that the Hyach-Doh had never existed.
- Toplessness from the Back: Lyta right before she and Byron get down to it.
- Undying Loyalty: Lyta says she's willing to follow Byron into hell.
- Un-person: The Hyach have done this to the Hyach-Doh.
- Wham Shot: For the telepaths at least, when it is revealed that the Vorlons created telepaths.
- Would Be Rude to Say "Genocide": The Hyach will not acknowledge their history. The Drazi pilot from over 800 years ago also says that he will notify those in charge of "collection".