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Recap / Babylon Five S 05 E 14 Meditations On The Abyss

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Delenn has a secret mission for Lennier.
It is not necessary to know. It is only necessary to try.
-Lennier
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Night on Babylon 5. Sheridan and Delenn Are asleep when she seems to get a signal and gets up. She starts heading out, but John wakes up and asks where she's going. She says she couldn't sleep and needs to get some papers from her quarters. She urges him back to sleep and closes the door.

She does not go to her quarters, but to a loud dive bar, hood covering her bone, where she sits down to wait. Before long she attracts some unwanted attention; one of the patrons comes over and starts trying to hit on her. Delenn is not having any of that, but the man starts getting more forceful. Delenn seems to relent, smiles, runs her hand over his, hooks one of her fingers onto his...and jerks it back sharply.

Man: Augh! You broke my finger!

She gets up and goes to leave, but the man jumps to his feet and runs after her. He doesn't get too far before he's knocked in the head by another hooded figure, who turns around and swiftly knocks him into the bar. The figure then goes to join Delenn.

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Delenn: I was beginning to wonder if you were going to make it, Lennier
Lennier: I said that I would never leave you, that I would be here when you needed me most. Tell me what you want done, I will make it happen, no matter the cost.

They find a corner of Downbelow where she can explain what she wants without someone seeing them. She tells him about what Mr. Garibaldi found on the Drazi homeworld that seems to implicate the Centauri in the attacks on shipping lanes, but they need something concrete before they can go public with it. None of the Rangers investigating the attacks have the experience with the Centauri that Lennier does, so she needs him to go and find the proof they need.

He seems to assent, but asks why keep Sheridan in the dark? She thinks he would be reluctant to send someone close to her into a potentially dangerous situation. He doesn't want to see her get hurt again. Lennier thinks if that's the case he doesn't know her well enough. Delenn counters that he knows her, but sometimes his love can cloud that over. Lennier can certainly understand that.

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She notices a scar on his cheek. Got it from a Drazi recruit. "They're faster than I thought." She brings up what Sech Durhan told her about how he's been training too hard and should take it more slowly. He asks if he hadn't trained so hard, would she have called him for this. She doesn't have an answer for that.

She hands him a data crystal with his instructions. He'll be aboard White Star 27, which is ready and waiting for him. The captain is not aware of his mission, but she's ordered him to take his trainees close to Centauri territory for space combat training. As soon as he finds anything, he's to return at once. Lennier agrees and says he should go report to the ship.

Delenn tries to get him to stay and talk for a bit, she hasn't seen him since the day of the dead. Lennier brings up what he saw then, that Morden predicted he would one day betray the Rangers. Delenn can't think of any reason he would do that, and Lennier says he can't either. He bids her good day and heads off.

In the morning, Londo is in his quarters when Vir comes in piled high with packages. There was nothing fresh in Londo's quarters so he went to stock up. So what's he been eating while Londo was gone? Vir stammers out that he eats at McBari's, that new place in Brown Sector. Londo says he should put a stop to that, it's ill-fitting of someone in Vir's position to be eating fast food. What position?

Before Londo can explain, his bug detector starts going off. He waves it over the packages, eventually finding a listening device hidden in one of the bags. Vir got that one from a Drazi merchant. Londo decides to have a little bit of fun.

Londo: Now the thing you must remember about the Drazi is that they are very insecure people, but they have so much to be insecure about. Did you know that the female of their species will gladly mate with any other species in the universe to avoid the males of their own kind? Take the wife of the Drazi ambassador, for example. After spending an afternoon of passion with her, the Gaim ambassador told me the most amazing stories. Yes, You know that one day he actually...oops. (drops bug and stomps on it) There, hah. They should stew all day over that.

Vir is puzzled, why would members of the Alliance spy on each other, but Londo tells him never to take politics personally. Back to his position, since Londo will soon be emperor, he will need a replacement ambassador to Babylon 5, and Londo has decided it will be Vir.

Lennier arrives aboard White Star 27 and reports to Anla’shok Captain Enrique Montoya. Lennier gives a brief summary of his experience during the Shadow War under Delenn and Sheridan. Montoya's impressed, but he'll see if he can find something to add to what they imparted. Another Ranger comes up, and Montoya introduces him as Findell, another of the Maria's trainees, or as she's officially known, White Star 27, but what kind of name is that for a ship? Montoya named her Maria after his sister.

Lennier: And where is she?
Montoya: With God. (walks off)
Lennier: Well, I think I may have asked an indiscreet question.
Findell: no, the Captain does not believe in indiscreet questions. He believes the only way to get pertinent information is to ask impertinent questions.
Lennier: Well, then I may have finally found a home.

Montoya orders them to jump, and the Maria heads for the jumpgate.

In Sheridan's office, G'Kar is happily telling them that his new artificial eye is in. He'll finally be able to see proper Narn eyes in the mirror again. Sheridan is happy for him, then turns to business.

The Drazi ambassador is there with news that there was another attack, and he begins to indicate he thinks they know who's behind it. Sheridan only says they are still investigating and while they do have some good leads, they can't release anything until they have solid proof. The Drazi begins all but accusing them of covering it up to keep from implicating a race they need to keep the Alliance together, such as the Centauri, perhaps. Sheridan assures him that if they had absolute proof they would release it, no matter where it lead. Delenn asks that they be patient, just as Sheridan and Delenn have had to be patient with the former League worlds. The ambassador reminds them that once they information is released, they promised to support any action the member worlds decided upon. G'Kar says they do, but before they can say anything else, Londo comes in.

Sheridan tries to say this is a private matter, but as a member of the Advisory Council, why have the Centauri been excluded? Oh, and how's the wife, Ambassador?

Londo: I just came by to mention to you all that someone must be terribly inept, whoever it was, planted a listening device in my quarters this morning. The very idea is laughable, absurd, even moronic, wouldn't you say, Ambassador? (Drazi glares) Well, I just wanted to alert you all in case anyone tries anything equally as stupid as this again. Good day to you all, especially you, Ambassador. Oh, and your wonderful, beautiful wife. (walks out)
Ambassador: Get your evidence and remember your promise, President. We will keep you to it.

The Maria is in hyperspace as Findell comes to find Lennier. The captain wants them to scout the area after they jump out. Anything specific? No, the captain tends to leave stuff like that out, which Findell finds frustrating. Lennier feels it is the human way of encouraging initiative and flexibility, as opposed to the Minbari methods which are rigid.

Findell: They have worked for the last several thousand years and I see no reason why we should change them now.
Lennier: Several thousand years ago we had no starships. Should we stay home and pretend they do not exist?

Lennier offers to help Findell with relating to humans, since he's been around them for some time, but Findell rebuffs him.

In Medlab, Dr. Franklin is removing G'Kar's artificial eye and begins preparing the new one. He also takes the opportunity to talk to G'Kar about his book. The parts he can read, that is. G'Kar is still somewhat embarrassed by the whole thing. Franklin wonders why, it's got good ideas in it. He also wonders why there's a semi-circular stain on page 83.

G'Kar: All our holy books are reproduced exactly as written. Line for line, word for word, right down to the flaws in the paper. The circular stain is a coffee stain left by Mr. Garibaldi. When I confronted him with it, he said it's the best part of the book!

They have a good laugh at that, and G'Kar asks why Franklin decided to read it. Franklin explains a little about his own religion, Foundationism, which is about getting past the doctrines to the core of each belief system to find out what they have in common, which is more than everyone thinks as long as greed and pride and petty differences don't cloud the message.

He finishes up and lets G'Kar see the results. G'Kar, with two red Narn eyes again, looks at himself and thanks Franklin, asking how he can repay him. Franklin wants to sit in on one of G'Kar's talks with his followers. G'Kar's a little dubious, but he agrees to share a little of his confusion.

The Maria jumps to normal space and Montoya orders Lennier and Findell to launch. They emerge from the launch bay, but while checking systems, Lennier finds his atmosphere is showing 15% of what it was when he did his pre-flight. Findell's is the same. They're about to head back, but the Maria suddenly jumps away, stranding them in deep space with less than an hour of air.

With little air left and no way of knowing when the ship will be back, Lennier suggests entering a meditative state to reduce their body functions and try to use as little air as possible. They might be able to last a couple of hours that way. Findell's not sure he can, but Lennier says it's only necessary to try.

On Babylon 5, G'Kar is answering questions and turns to the next one, "What is truth? And what is God?"

G'Kar answers this by describing the search for truth as shining a light upon a wall, but all too often we come to see the light reflected on the wall as God rather than the revelation of knowledge that it truly is. He says the perception of God comes from the search for God. It may be an appreciation of the light, which is actually coming from us. If we get in the way, we assume we are the center of the universe, or look at our shadow and assume all is darkness. Getting in the way of the light defeats the purpose, which is to reveal the wall in all its splendor and flaws and understand the world around us.

Narn: Ah, yes. But what is truth, and what is God?
G'Kar: (sighs) Truth is...a river.
Narn: And what is God?
G'Kar: God is...the mouth of the river.

The Narns murmur in appreciation of this wisdom and get up, bowing to their teacher as they leave. Franklin just chuckles as he watches.

Lennier is still in a meditative state when Findell starts calling, saying he can't breath. Lennier tries to calm him down but Findell's air is almost gone. He flies off to look for...someplace with air, but the Maria jumps back in. Montoya orders them to report to the bunks for debriefing, where he explains what happened out there. He engineered a scenario to simulate situations where they have been left behind for whatever reason. The ship and its mission come first. Montoya wanted to see how they responded, and Lennier had the correct solution, one that would have allowed them to extend their life support and allowed the ship to find them when they returned.

Montoya: To be Anla'Shok means understanding that there is nothing to fear in death except the failure to complete our assigned mission. Death is not the enemy. Death simply is.

Vir comes back to the Drazi merchant to confront him about the bug. He demands the Drazi admit what he did, but the merchant isn't impressed, since he doesn't think Vir has it in him to do anything about it and threatens to squash him if he doesn't leave. Vir leaves and goes to Londo's quarters, where he grabs one of Londo's swords. Curious, Londo goes to see what he's up to.

A short time later he comes back to the Drazi's stall and starts hacking away at it. The Drazi, completely terrified, falls to his knees, admitting it was a terrible mistake. From across the Zocalo Londo grins as Zack arrives with Security.

Zack: What happened to Vir?
Londo: I promoted him. Now...now he is ready to be ambassador for the Centauri!

The Maria enters a star system with a large asteroid field and explains that they're going on an "Easter egg hunt". The crew have planted 39 homing devices among the asteroids and they are to find and destroy 10 of them while avoiding being hit and destroyed by an asteroid themselves. Findell has a question: with only 39 devices and four trainees, won't one of them come up short. Montoya says a little competition is good for the soul, then orders them to their fighters.

As they head off, Findell stays behind. He's convinced Montoya is thinks he's going to fail. Lennier tries to tell him that he's just seeing what he wants to see and he accuses Lennier of thinking he's going to fail. Lennier asks why he joined the Anla'Shok. Findell says he lost two family during the Shadow War, both of them Rangers, and felt the need to pick up where they left off. Lennier is worried about this, as the desire to be Anla'shok must be pure and unclouded by any ulterior motives.

Out among the asteroids, the exercise starts, with Lennier taking an early lead. Findell, however, doesn't have any kills at all and when Montoya tries to confirm, he doesn't respond. Lennier orders his fighter to locate Findell, who cuts comms and orders his fighter to top speed. Lennier realizes what Findell's trying to do and sets off after him. He opens a private channel to try and talk him down. Findell admits Lennier was right, he is not Anla'shok but he cannot return home in shame. Lennier again tries to talk him out of it, but Findell cuts the comm and flies head on toward a large asteroid. Now forced to take drastic action, Lennier orders his fighter to override its friend-or-foe system and enable weapons. He fires on Findell's fighter, disabling its engines then flies in close to bump his off course. He then has to pull a sharp turn to keep from crashing into the asteroid himself.

Back on the Maria, Montoya demands to know what all that was about. Lennier tries to pass it off as a computer glitch, but Montoya's already seen its flight data, which shows he took manual control when he fired. Lennier says it was the only way to regain control. Montoya says he doesn't know what happened out there but for the record fails Lennier on the Easter egg hunt. Since they don't know what Findell would have done on his own, he gets a neutral grade. He then turns to Findell. He's arranged an assignment for him, going to the recruitment office in Tuzanor working with new recruits.

Montoya: I want you to look into their eyes, Findell, and I want you ask them from the very bottom of their soul if this is really what they want to do. I don't want you to let anyone through who's here for the wrong reasons. Not just for their own safety, but for the sake of all the Anla'shok.

He tells him this is an important assignment, that has no shame, and there is no one better suited to fulfill it than he is. Findell says he understands and Montoya dismisses them. He calls Lennier over for a bit, though.

Off the record, he congratulates Lennier on his actions. There's no point in putting this on Findell's record now, it would only defeat the purpose, but he does know. And Lennier should learn one very important lesson; Never assume no one can listen in on a private channel. He then sends Lennier to get some rest. He then orders them to jump to the next training area.

Sheridan, Delenn, Franklin and Zack are all having dinner as Zack tells them about the incident with Vir. They all find the story hilarious, But Sheridan half-wishes they'd succeeded, but Delenn reminds them that Londo still probably doesn't even know about it. That's a real point of concern, since if they could pull something like this without the Prime Minister knowing, it would have to come from the the very top. No matter what happens, they need proof. The member worlds won't wait forever, and Sheridan figures about a month before they decide to take matters into their own hands. If they don't have proof, they'll have to oppose any action they take and the Alliance will collapse into another war. Franklin doesn't want to be overly negative, they till have time let's make the most of it.

Sheridan agrees, then asks about Garibaldi. Where's he been all day?

Garibaldi is currently in his quarters, drunkenly searching for the missing link so he can order pizza.

This episode contains examples of:

  • Ambadassador: How Vir gets his job of representing the Centauri back. This time Londo thinks he did good.
  • Answer Cut: Where's Garibaldi? The camera tells us.
  • Asteroid Thicket: Montoya takes his trainees to one for the Easter egg hunt.
  • Attempted Rape: This is what the man in the bar was intending, but he picked the wrong woman. Do not hold Delenn's hand if she doesn't want you to.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Vir discovers that his groceries had a bug planted in them. When the Drazi grocer tells him off after being accused, Vir destroys the grocer's stand with one of Londo's swords.
  • Blatant Lies: Lennier's fighter suffered a "computer glitch". Probably the most blatant we've ever seen from a Minbari.
  • Bluff the Eavesdropper: After locating the Drazi bug, Londo decides to have some fun with whoever's listening.
  • Bond One-Liner: She broke your finger but you still have nine left.
  • Call-Back:
  • Can't Catch Up: Findell starts to feel this way.
  • Curbstomp Battle: After Delenn walks off, the man who accosted her gives chase, only to be knocked across the room by Lennier.
  • Death Glare: The Drazi ambassador as Londo is saying how stupid putting a listening device in his quarters was.
  • Don't Fear the Reaper: "Death is not the enemy. Death simply is."
  • Driven to Suicide: Findell tries to kill himself during the Easter egg hunt, but Lennier manages to avert it.
  • Humans Are Special: Lennier explains to Findell how the more impulsive human methods complement the Minbari's more rigid rationale.
  • Improbable Piloting Skills: Lennier pulls such an impressive flying maneuver, one might wonder if he's descended from Sinclair too.
  • In the Hood: Delenn uses one to conceal her identity at the bar.
  • Incredibly Obvious Bug: Londo finds one in the bottom of a shopping bag. Not that obvious at first glance, but his little detector finds it easily enough. He and Vir decide to have some fun by having a loud conversation about the Drazi ambassador's wife before smashing it.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: When Sheridan asks about Garibaldi, it reminds the audience that we haven't seen him all episode either.
  • Oh, Crap!: When Lennier sees Findell start charging into the asteroids.
  • Rage Breaking Point: To recap the last 4 and a half years: Vir got sent to Babylon 5 because he was seen as a joke and the position looked important on paper. There he tried to talk Londo out of his deals with Morden and prevent the second Narn-Centauri war. When that didn't work he was Put on a Bus to Minbar, where he saved 2000 Narn from his own government. Londo later used that part to blackmail him to as far as Vir knew help capture G'Kar. On top of all that he had to kill Cartagia to save his homeworld. Then the Drazi bugged his quarters and called him weak.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: The Drazi merchant gives one to Vir.
  • Secret Test of Character: Montoya sends Findell and Lennier on fighters to scout around and then leaves. The fighters have - to their surprise - only one hour of oxygen. The goal of the exercise was to see how would they respond.
  • Training from Hell: In Ranger training you might be abandoned in deep space with barely any oxygen or sent to fly through a thick knot of asteroids at dangerous speeds. Sounds like fun.
  • Troll: Londo tells Vir about how insecure the Drazi are and how their females will mate with anyone to avoid their own males, and how the Drazi ambassador's wife had a night with the Gaim...and then smashes the bug. He later needles the ambassador about it to his face.
  • We Need to Get Proof: Delenn sends Lennier out for this purpose.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Londo heartily approves of Vir dismantling the Drazi merchant's stall for planting the bug.
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