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Recap / Babylon Five S 05 E 11 Phoenix Rising

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The task before them.
Our job is to protect normals from rogue telepaths. Perhaps now you'll understand why we are necessary. Every race to develop telepaths has had to find some way to control them: through laws, religion, drugs, or extermination. We may not be pretty...but we're hell of a lot better than your alternatives.
-Bester
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Bester is briefing his people on the situation on the telepath colony, how they have engaged in unauthorized scans of several ambassadors, gaining an unknown amount of sensitive information. They have since split into two groups, one holed up in downbelow on a hunger strike, where Bester is happy to leave them for now, and another running loose on the station, which is where he wants to concentrate his efforts. He anticipates some casualties on that side, but he wants to keep it to acceptable levels. He then hands out assignments and dismisses them as Lochley comes in.

She and Bester have a brief discussion about his job, and the pleasure he seems to take in it. He says he enjoys doing a job well, though she's still iffy on his methods. He just insists she allow him to do his job. He says that despite their differences, they're all telepaths and therefore on the same side. He just has to help them see that. A second later, the lift they'd been waiting for opens to reveal the body of one of the bloodhounds nailed to the wall with the words "Free Byron" above it.

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Lochley: I have a hunch that might be more difficult than you think, Mr. Bester.

Sheridan is in his office where Lochley comes with news that Byron wants to talk. Sheridan hopes this means they can still resolve this before it gets completely out of control. Byron regrets how things are spiraling out of control, especially after Sheridan tried to help them. he think he can reign his people in, but he can't do that with the Psi Cops on the station. He thinks he can get them to back down, but if he leaves the barricade he'll be arrested. Bester comes in and warns Sheridan not to believe him, that Byron never keeps his promises. Bester refuses to let him slip away again. So he can either wait there and wait to be picked up or come out and be arrested. Either way, Bester thinks it's over. Byron thinks there's still another way and cuts the call.

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As he does, Lyta asks what Bester meant by that. Byron says he'll tell her later and heads off. On the other ends, Sheridan is not happy about Bester's "help", thinking their only chance to open a dialogue has just gone up in smoke. Bester doesn't think there's any point to dialogue by this juncture, he just came by to give a report on their progress. He assures Sheridan and Lochley that this will be over by morning then leaves. Lochley watches him go, getting the sense there's more to this than just enforcing the Corps' will, it's personal for him. Which reminds Sheridan, where is Garibaldi? Lochley hasn't seen or heard anything from him since this started.

Sheridan: That's what's got me worried. There's only one thing more dangerous than Mr. Garibaldi when he's loud, it's when he's dead silent.

Bester comes to his quarters, to find Garibaldi waiting for him with a PPG in hand. Bester offers some mocking concern over his well-being, but Michael has no time for that. He wants Bester to go and record a confession of everything he did regarding Michael's "conditioning" last year. Bester looks at him and flatly refuses, telling Garibaldi he won't shoot. Garibaldi thinks he might be able to get away with it, but even if he doesn't, it might be worth it. Bester still refuses, and tells Garibaldi to go ahead. Michael glares at him for a moment, a look of confusion crossing his face, before Bester asks, "How stupid do you think I am?" Michael demands to know what he's done, and Bester says it's an Asimov, named after the author who wrote rules to prevent robots from turning against their creators, and Bester has adapted them for his own use. Garibaldi cannot harm Bester, nor can he allow any harm to come to him. And to make it even more difficult, he put it in the part of the brain that controls neural system. Garibaldi can want to dismember him all he wants, but will never actually be able to will himself to do it. All he can to is stew in his rage and impotence, Bester left that part intact. Just because. For now, Bester has work to do, and asks Michael to turn off the lights when he leaves. He walks out and Garibaldi glares after him, finally turning to the comm unit, still on standby to record, and shoots it several times.

Byron and Lyta are walking through the enclave as he laments the actions his people are taking, how he tried to show them a better way. Lyta says you can't change human nature, but he asks what the point of living is then if you can't hope things will get better. She then asks again what Bester meant, especially since it seems then know each other. Byron is reluctant, but she keeps prodding and eventually he relents and tells her his history. He grew up in Psi Corps, psi rating strong P-12. Automatic Psi Cop. And not just a Psi Cop, he was Bester's protege. For a long time, he was just like Bester, until one mission where they intercepted a transport carrying rogues to the other colonies. They had surrounded the transport and demanded the telepaths or be subject to deadly force. the transport crew complied, but after the blips were secured, Bester decided to send a message. Bester ordered the transport destroyed. Byron tried to refuse, but when Bester insisted, the rest of the Black Omega fighters turned and locked onto him. Faced with either destroying the transport or being killed by his own squadmates, Byron fired, after all they were only mundanes. When they got back he tried to file a report, but no one wanted to hear it. Rather than be put in another position where he might have to harm innocents he left, trying to find a better way. But it all seems to have been for nothing.

Thomas is leading a group of the renegades fighting security, but they're losing ground and reinforcements are closing in. Thomas thinks they need some insurance, so he leads his people to Medlab and take the place over. Garibaldi had just arrived to ask what Doctor Franklin knows about neural blocks and the two of them wind up as hostage along with several other patients and staff. Thomas is delighted to find such valuable hostages and has the others contact the president and captain. If they don't get what they want, they start killing hostages starting with Garibaldi then Franklin.

In the enclave, Byron and his people watch as Thomas makes an announcement laying out his demands, freeing Byron, safe passage off babylon 5 and beginning negotiations to establish a homeworld for telepaths. He gives two hours to comply or they will begin executions. And he's serious about it too, after all, they're only mundanes. Byron decides this cannot be allowed. Lyta thinks they're in Medlab One, and he asks if she can get him there. She is hesitant but he insists and they go off to find a passageway they can use.

In Medlab, the rogues pull Peter out of bed so they can use his telekinesis to guard the main hall. Franklin tries to protest but is shut down. As security approaches the corridor, Peter starts hurling things at them until they fall back.

Bester is in Sheridan's office arguing with Sheridan, insisting they be allowed to continue. He still has jurisdiction, and walks off. Sheridan turns to Lochley, demanding to know if that's true. President Luchenko's office has confirmed they've recieved the request to shut down Bester, but right now they're "considering it", meaning they're hoping it blows over and they won't have to bother with it. As of now their only options are to let Bester run the show, or give in and let the telepaths have their way. Does he really want to negotiate with terrorists?

Byron and Lyta are checking any openings for a clear passage, Lyta apparently throwing her mind down each one to see what's at the other end. Finally they find one they can get through.

In Medlab the clock is ticking down. Byron and Lyta reach where Peter is standing guard. Byron assures him it's alright, then hurries off. Garibaldi starts trying to talk down the telepaths, telling them this won't work, asking what kind of sympathy they expect to get from this, when Sheridan appears on the monitor. After consulting with Captain Lochley, he has determined that he will not negotiate with terrorists for the lives of hostages. He orders them to surrender or he will use lethal force. As he disappears, Garibaldi mutters, "Swell". Thomas then points a gun at him, but before he can fire, Byron shoots him.

Sheridan is pacing in his office, waiting for some kind of response from Medlab. He begins musing on how Garibaldi has survived on Babylon 5 longer than anyone else, and if this is the day that changes...Lochley assures him he did the right thing, but that doesn't really help. Then a call comes in from Medlab. They're surprised to see Byron there and he assures them the current situation has been dealt with. For now, he needs to talk to his people. If he can get them in one place, he can calm them down and prevent things from escalating again. After that, he and those directly responsible for the violence will surrender, to station personnel, not the Corps. And he wants a guarantee that those who have harmed no one will be allowed to go free. Sheridan wants to know how they can be sure those responsible will surrender, but Byron says they will have everything they need to be sure. They agree and Byron promises to be in touch in a few hours.

Bester is not happy, and comes storming into Sheridan's office. he insists he still has juristiction here, but since station personnel have been attacked, Lochley asked EarthGov to transfer it to them. They now have say-so over who will be held and who will go free. And Byron will surrender, but Bester wants him in the hands of the Corps. But to get that, he'll have to go through channels back home. Zack comes in with a box containing the identicards and signed confessions of everyone who was involved in the violence. Bester watches unhappily until Sheridan tells him to take it up with EarthGov if he has a problem. He stalks off, looking like murder.

Byron is going around bidding his people farewell, especially Lyta. Outside, bester comes up to one of the barricades, putting a hand on it and projecting himself inside. Byron hears him and goes to see what's going on. Bester asks him not to do this, offering to put this behind them if he comes home. Byron thinks Bester just doesn't want the mundanes to know what they did. Bester insists they're still family, the Corps is Mother, the Corps is Father, but Byron thinks there is another way. Lyta comes up and tells him the others are ready to go. Bester vanishes.

Bester has gone to rally his forces, determined not to let Byron escape their grasp. As the telepaths file out, Lochley and Sheridan watch. Finally Byron and those who are surrendering arrive. Before they can do anything, Bester arrives contesting this action. He insists he has a right to the prisoners, which causes a stir among them, one of them insisting he won't go with the Corps and pulling a gun. He fires a shot off, and the Psi Cops return fire. Several security guards are hit, one of them bumping into a loose fuel cap, causing it to spill open. Lochley calls for a cease fire as they watche the spill spread. Byron laments that it came to this, but there's no going back now. They are what they've become. He picks up a PPG and Sheridan begins pleading with him not to do anything but Byron thinks it's too late for that. He then turns to Lyta and tells her now is the time to walk away. She protests, but he insists the others will need her. He says it's too late for him, but not for them, and through them will be his redemption. They share one last embrace then she turns and leaves him.

Byron holds the gun, sings the song his people sing, then fires into the spill, causing a huge fireball that engulfs him and his followers.

Later, Sheridan and Bester are looking over the damage. Bester is honestly confused about this. He thought all telepaths were really on the same side, they just needed someone to explain it to them. Bester walks off and Franklin comes in. He was looking for Garibaldi, and figured he'd be around here somewhere, but no one's seen him. Franklin recalls what Garibaldi was asking about before, and how he seemed out of it, like he was...powerless. He just wanted to make sure he was OK. Sheridan has no answer, and they walk off, passing some graffiti that reads, "Remember Byron."

Bester, behind a line of security, watches as the telepaths are lead out when Lyta comes in. She shares some words. She also has some information that he gave her and has made arrangements to have each of them taken to safety, promising that tomorrow, they begin again. As each one passes, she shares the info with them with a hand hold, bidding each, "Remember Byron". Bester leaves in a huff.

Garibaldi comes to his quarters and turns on the news. As he listens to a story about Psi Corps headquarters being bombed with the message "Remember Byron" left behind, he pulls a bottle out of a paper bag, pours a glass, looks at it...then takes a drink.

This episode contains examples of:

  • Astral Projection: A downplayed example; Lyta doesn't manifest herself as a ghost anywhere, but she does seem to be able to cast her mind away from herself for brief periods.
  • Driven to Suicide: Byron would rather die than be taken by the Psi Corps. He dies alongside Peter, Sarah, and the unnamed black telepath.
  • For the Evulz: Bester all but admits there's no reason to keep Garibaldi's rage and frustration intact, he just did it anyway.
  • Mind over Matter: Peter's telekinesis is used to keep guards away from Medlab.
  • Off the Wagon: Garibaldi, depressed over his inability to deal with Bester, turns back to the bottle.
  • Match Cut: The explosion from the transport becomes a light in the corridor.
  • Once More, with Clarity!: We finally get to see the hostage situation Garibaldi was shown in at the end of the fourth season, but now see that he survives, where previously it is implied that he died.
  • Restraining Bolt: Bester implanted a psychic one on Garibaldi, rendering him unable to harm Bester or, through inaction, allow Bester to be harmed, regardless of his actual rage or desire to do so.
  • Shoot the Television: After Bester walks off, cheerfully unharmed, Garibaldi turns to the Babcom unit that has been sitting seemingly mocking him with its "Ready to Record" screen and shoots it several times.
  • Shout-Out: The Psi Corps refers to such psychic restraining bolts as "Asimovs" in reference to the Three Laws of Robotics.
  • Three Laws-Compliant: With regards to Bester, Garibaldi has become this.
  • This Means War!: Back on Earth, the headquarters of the Psi Corps is bombed by the telepath resistance.
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