"Our orders are to bring back information on the Minbari and that's just what I'm going to do!"
- – Captain Jankowski, shortly before opening fire on the Valen'Tha
In his time as a starship Captain, Jankowski had developed a reputation among those who serve under him as a loose cannon and is known to be bad at handling first contact situations. Even though a tribunal cleared him of all responsibility, some still believed he was at least partly to blame for the "Omega Incident". Such was the concern of some officers over his competence that Commander John Sheridan turned down the offer to serve as Jankowski's first officer.
Contact With The MinbariEdit
In July 2245 the Prometheus lead an expedition from the Jericho 3 station into Minbari space. Jankowski was under orders to survey the disposition of their forces but to avoid any first contact situations, unless authorized to do so. A few weeks previous, Jankowski had lost his First officer to the EAS Churchill and through General Leftcourt offered the position to Commander Sheridan. Sheridan turned down his offer in favour of remaining aboard the Lexington, so the position went instead to Commander Alan Chafin.
Shortly after arriving at one of the fleet's rendezvous points the Prometheus's sensors detected a silhouette at the edge of their range. Jankowski knowing they were well away from the Minbari Transfer points immediately grew suspicious, speculating that the Minbari could be out looking for them. Deciding not to strain the engines with a second jump into hyperspace so soon after jumping in and seeing an opportunity to gain some intelligence and a commendation, he gave the order to follow the Minbari ship and turn the scanner up to maximum, believing the Minbari wouldn't be able to detect them. Because of the Minbari ships' stealth technology the Prometheus's scanners were unable to lock on and could only provide silhouettes of the main cruiser and its support ships, so Jankowski, ignoring Commander Chafin concerns about initiating contact and still eager to get a profile on the Minbari ships ordered the fleet to move in closer. At this point the Minbari cruiser changed course to intercept and began a scanning the Earth fleet. Jankowski order the fleet to jump but found the powerful Minbari scanners were jamming the ship's electrical systems, preventing them from jumping out. Captain Jankowski ordered the ship to red alert and attempted to open a channel to the Minbari, the message was not acknowledged and the closing ship was opening all gun ports. With the Minbari scanner arrays still jamming the Prometheus's own sensors, Chafin couldn't determine if the weapons were locked onto them. Just then the sensors picked up an energy surge from the ships; fearing an immediate attack Jankowski panicked and order all forward batteries to open fire. Caught by surprise, the Minbari ships were severely damaged by the sudden barrage from the Earth ships and did not get a chance to retaliate, though the escorting fighters did their best to engage the attackers. As soon as the Minbari scanner arrays were hit the Prometheus's jump engines came back online and Jankowski ordered the fleet to jump to Hyperspace.
On returning to Earth space, Jankowski made a full report on his encounter with the hostile alien fleet and was lauded a hero for defeating an enemy even the Centauri were afraid of. A short while later back at Earth Dome Captain Jankowski attended a celebration of his "victory" with various other Earthforce officers, diplomats and officials while video footage of the incident was played for the crowd over and over. Hastur, President Elizabeth Levy's aide congratulated Jankowski and remarked to General Leftcourt that he had made the right choice in selecting Jankowski for the mission. Just then Jankowski walked over to Captain Sterns and Commander Sheridan and proceeded to gloat over his success and ridiculed Sheridan's decision to remain where he was. Neither Sheridan nor Sterns were as impressed by what they saw on the screens as others, saying Jankowski looked more like a trapped deer though the Captain maintains that he's sent a message to all aliens that Earth should not be taken for granted. At that point Ambassador Londo Mollari chimes in saying that he is indeed correct, a message has certainly been sent. The party is cut short when a special ISN bulletin show live footage from the Jericho 3 station, under attack from the Minbari fleet. The Earth-Minbari War has begun.
Over the next few weeks, Jankowski is brought before a court martial, stripped of rank, and offered to the Minbari as a means of making amends. When the offer is rebuffed, he is confined to quarters.
Not long after, a deal is struck between the Narn Regime and the Earth Alliance. General Lefcourt sends for Jankowski to come to his office for further debriefing. When he fails to respond, a military attaché is sent to fetch him. What he finds in Jankowski's quarters is the remains of the former captain seated before a video monitor playing looped footage of the destruction of Earth ships and colonies, intercut with a bridge recording of his first contact with the Minbari. Next to the body is found a used PPG and a note that reads simply, "On my head."