Captain Sheridan returns to Earth following total victory over now deceased President Clark to face charges over his actions. Meanwhile, a new organization is being seeded by Delenn that would usher in an era of peace and unity among the powers of the galaxy.
- Bruce Boxleitner as Captain John Sheridan
- Claudia Christian as Commander Susan Ivanova
- Jerry Doyle as Michael Garibaldi
- Mira Furlan as Ambassador Delenn
- Richard Biggs as Dr. Stephen Franklin
- Stephen Furst as Vir Cotto
- Bill Mumy as Lennier
- Andreas Katsulas as Ambassador G'Kar
- Peter Jurasik as Ambassador Londo Mollari
- Jeff Conaway as Security Chief Zack Allan
- Jason Carter as Marcus Cole
- Patricia Tallman as Lyta Alexander
Special Guest StarEdit
- Joey Dente as Luko
- Denise Gentile as Lise Hampton-Edgars
- Rance Howard as David Sheridan
- Michael Potter as General Foote
- Beata Pozniak as President Susanna Luchenko
- Regular characters who appear in this episode are John Sheridan, Susan Ivanova, Michael Garibaldi, Delenn, Stephen Franklin, Lennier, Vir Cotto, Marcus Cole, Londo Mollari and G'Kar.
- Marcus appears only briefly in the beginning, and has no lines. This marks Jason Carter's last appearance in the show.
- First and only onscreen appearance of President Luchenko.
ISN continues its reporting on the events transpiring since the end of the Earth Alliance Civil War. It reports on the suicide of President Morgan Clark, showing footage from his office, where his shrouded body, still in its chair, has a sign "Traitor to Earth" hung on it. An investigator also displays the "Scorched Earth" note. Sheridan, meanwhile, has surrendered to Earthforce and is now in a closed session with them to determine how he will answer for his actions. Following Clark's death, Susanna Luchenko of the Russian Consortium has assumed acting Presidency and answers questions from reporters. Her key statement is that Earth Dome will investigate the Clark coup carefully so as to separate willing conspirators from those merely coerced into action; allow time for justice to be meted out properly. The reporter then asks and offers well wishes for Susan Ivanova, who had been critically wounded back in the Battle of Sector 300.
Dr. Stephen Franklin races to Babylon 5 in a White Star, hoping against hope that he can stop a foolhardy sacrifice, but it is too late. Several members of Medlab walk into Ivanova's room to discover Marcus Cole lying comatose against Ivanova, the Alien Healing Machine having transferred his life energy into Ivanova.
By the time Franklin arrives, the orderly reports that Cole is all but dead. Meanwhile, Ivanova has recovered miraculously and has actually regained consciousness. In fact, she has learned everything...
Franklin cautiously approaches Ivanova, sitting on the floor against a wall. She is in a state of considerable grief having learned that Cole sacrificed himself to save her, even though she had actually been prepared to die at that point, accepting her sacrifice for the greater victory. Franklin himself admits he did not realize Cole would go to such lengths to save her. Learning about the Alien Healing Machine had required breaking though all sorts of encryptions and protections. Ivanova laments how her bad luck with men had struck again: how she never realized how much Cole loved her. At the very least, she wished she had (to play on his English accent) "boffed" him just once so he would not die a virgin. After echoing one last sour sentiment, "All love is unrequited," Franklin helps to console her.
G'Kar chides Londo Mollari for arriving late, but Mollari counters that G'Kar was actually early. When G'Kar says he is "never premature," Mollari twists the word around, wondering about the rumor that Narns are "quick" in bed, whereas Centauri are well-known for drawing it out for hours. Then Vir Cotto arrives with an urgent message for Mollari. Realizing that it is a matter of state, G'Kar leaves, allowing Mollari to verbally prod him one more time and then muse at how their strange relationship has been developing. Cotto finally reveals that Regent Virini is in failing health and that the Royal Court has chosen Mollari to become Emperor upon his death. Mollari hears the news with unexpected trepidation but then urges Cotto to come along as he departs.
Back at Earth Dome, Sheridan is in the uncomfortable position of waiting while deliberations continue outside his notice. Just then, Alfred Bester enters the room. They engage in a thorny conversation full of threats and insults. But Sheridan is fully aware of how to play political chess and does not back down against Bester. Then Bester gets to the point. In the Battle of Mars, Sheridan employed 30 of the Shadow-altered telepaths to disable the loyalist ships. They were ultimately killed as the crews fought to regain control. Was Carolyn Sanderson among them?
Sheridan starts a lengthy tear down of Bester's attitude, calling him out as a heartless man who would use other people not just because it advances the Psi Corps but because he enjoys having power over people. He reveals that using the telepaths had been one of the toughest decisions he had ever made, and he took great pains to only select telepaths with no known kin: no one to grieve their deaths. For once, Bester is nervous, as Sanderson had no kin. Then Sheridan reveals he made sure she wasn't chosen. She and all the remaining telepaths are on B5 and will be transferred to Earth once things settle down. Before Bester leaves, however, Sheridan makes one thing clear: he knows Bester's agenda to advance homo superior any way he can. Sheridan knows he'll make another move in the future; he will be waiting. So will Michael Garibaldi, for that matter, who has a personal score to settle with Bester.
Garibaldi roughs up Max, a man known on Mars for underworld accounting. Apparently, Lise Hampton-Edgars, having avoided the Psi Corps strike that killed her husband, tried to flee the planet by turning to the underworld, but instead of producing new credentials, the Martian crime syndicate is now holding her for ransom. Since such a ransom would have to go through him to be laundered, Max would know where she is held. Max counters he will die if he tells, so Garibaldi counters that death would be preferable to living after he's through with Max.
Mollari and G'kar join Delenn aboard a White Star. To his chagrin, Mollari learns Delenn already knows about his becoming the successor to the throne. But then, she gets down to business. She presents each of them with a copy of a new treaty. Soon they will be joined by the League of Non-Aligned Worlds who will be presented with the same document. G'Kar asks, "Are you sure you want to do this?" Mollari starts laughing but explains that he is laughing not because her idea is a joke; on the contrary, the proposal is so revolutionary it is leaving him lightheaded in anticipation. When the League ambassadors join them, Mollari is first to warn them Delenn's proposal may leave them wanting "a change of underwear."
Finally, an important Earthforce administrator, General Foote arrives and announces that a decision has been made concerning Sheridan's fate. Next to enter the room is President Luchenko herself. Sheridan stands at attention as she enters. She explains the difficulty his actions have caused: doing the wrong thing even if for all the right reasons. She makes a proposal. If he takes responsibility and resigns from Earthforce, she'll give amnesty to everyone else. His resignation in Earthforce however will allow him to retain the pension he has accumulated in his career. Before he agrees, Sheridan insists the amnesty be put in writing.
In a nondescript warehouse in one of the Mars domes, someone knocks a door. A man is admitted: one who has informed Hampton-Edgars' family of the ransom. Just then, the door is knocked again. This time, the only thing outside is a strange multi-colored box with a button on it. Curious, someone presses the button. After it plays a Porky Pig "Th-th-th-that's all, folks!" the box exploides, revealing itself to be a flash-bang. At that same moment, Garibaldi and a group of Rangers descend from the ceiling and burst through the door. The mobsters are quickly subdued. Garibaldi then searches the warehouse. He soon finds Hampton-Edgars, breaks the lock with his PPG, and rescues her.
Delenn's White Star jumps into Earth orbit. Lennier walks into the conference room, and Delenn announces that her proposal was approved: a proposal that will likely be remembered for many years to come. Lennier wished Cole were still here to witness this day, but Delenn believes Cole's spirit also joins them in this great step forward. She also recalls how much Cole had hated himself for letting people die because of his inability to listen or to heed warning. Seen that way, preventing the same thing happening to Ivanova was probably the only way he could end his internal torment. Lennier then notes Ivanova's quote that all love is unrequited. Delenn disagrees.
Delenn, G'Kar and Mollari arrive at Earth Dome in time for a press conference, which ISN covers live. President Luchenko speaks first, honoring those who fought to end the Clark regime and recognizing the difficult decision they had to make. On that note, she turns the podium over to Sheridan. In his full Earthforce dress uniform, Sheridan speaks carefully, acknowledging that what he and the Resistance had done was choose being right over being lawful. He agrees that what he did in leading this Resistance was controversial. And he recognizes that this controversy could easily continue long into the future, so he announces that in hopes of easing these tensions, he will accept the responsibility and the consequences, formally announcing his resignation from Earthforce. As he finishes, Luchenko once again assumes the podium, next introducing Ambassador G'Kar. In his usual eloquence, G'kar tells of the humans' unique strength when it comes to bridging people together and forming communities. The events of the Shadow War and now the Earth Alliance Civil War have given the alien worlds belief in the value of joining together. Then G'kar reveals that the proposal agreed aboard the White Star is to dissolve the League of Non-Aligned Worlds. Those worlds will now unite, along with the Minbari, Centauri, and Narn, in a new Interstellar Alliance born of the philosophies of mutual cooperation and respect. He then allows Delenn to speak. Delenn speaks in further detail about the new Alliance: about the missions to improve lesser races, encourage free trade, and improve interspecies relations. On that last end, she publicly introduces the peacekeeping force of the new Alliance: the Rangers. As she speaks, the White Star fleet flies over Earth Dome. Delenn declares their role: to come in peace, stay only where invited, secure borders, control unlawful elements, and do so equally to all races. Their mission will be to create the peace. They will not intervene in matters between Alliance worlds, though they will freely exchange information so as to help settle them. The Interstellar Alliance will be an economic and political alliance: not a military one. Alliance members will be required to adhere to a code of a conduct in order to gain the benefits of membership. In return, the Alliance is opening the ranks of the Rangers to all member races so they will maintain a fair say. Finally, she invites the Earth Alliance to join the Alliance.
President Luchenko meets with Delenn, Mollari, and G'Kar. Their proposal has caught her by surprise, and she is taking the time to let all the facts sink in. Mollari is candid enough to express his own misgivings, but he also notes that the Centauri have had enough of war. Luchenko stays frank and notes she's going to need to know what kinds of benefits Earth could stand to gain. Knowing this was coming, Delenn offers one key technology humans could really use: artificial gravity. It's the one technology common to aliens that humans have yet to crack. Luchenko admits it's a tempting offer. Then she asks to whom should she negotiate. There is little in the way of an executive structure in the nascent Alliance at present. The only position that is firmly established at this time is that of the President...
General Foote accuses Sheridan of knowing of the forming of the Alliance and demands the certificate of amnesty. However, Sheridan counters by noting that copies have already been given to the press; the original is safe elsewhere. His main goal with the plea bargain was to protect everyone else; he took the fall for them as a true leader should. As he puts back on his Army of Light uniform, Sheridan admits knowing Delenn was planning something of the sort, as most of the structure and impetus had come in the aftermath of the Shadow War, but he hadn't completely banked on it being pulled off. He would've been happy to just retire, but as it stands, he now has "another job offer."
Delenn joins Sheridan in the hall, and she has brought someone with her: Sheridan's father, David Sheridan. He had spent a short time in captivity, but was quickly released after Sheridan was rescued: his captors realizing keeping him had become a liability. Sheridan's mother evaded capture and is safe in Minneapolis. David Sheridan is then formally introduced to Delenn, his future daughter-in-law. He is quite happy for them, and Delenn genuinely appreciates being accepted so openly. Just then, General Foote returns, explaining that President Luchenko wishes to speak to the new President of the Interstellar Alliance.
ISN coverage continues. At another press conference, Sheridan is formally revealed to be the new President of the Interstellar Alliance. Luchenko has agreed to seek admission into the Alliance, although per the Constitution the Senate must confirm this. Then, Sheridan announces one more condition of Alliance membership: recognition of colonial sovereignty. If a colony world wishes to assume independence, it must be honored. In particular, this means that Earth must recognize the independence of Mars: fulfilling Sheridan's promise to the Mars Resistance.
Garibaldi and Hampton-Edgars watch this news from a bedroom on Mars. Hampton-Edgars asks when he will have to return to Babylon 5. Garibaldi answers he can wait. Hampton-Edgars then notes she could use someone to help her run Edgars Industries, which she now owns as Edgars' widow.
ISN continues with more news. One of Sheridan's last acts in Earthforce was to promote Susan Ivanova to full captain. Ivanova has in turn chosen to leave Babylon 5 and take command of a new Warlock-class destroyer for a shakedown cruise, citing personal reasons for leaving the station. She is quoted as saying, "I need to decide where my heart belongs before the rest of me can follow."
Finally, ISN reports that Sheridan and Delenn were married in a private ceremony aboard a White Star en route to Babylon 5, which will be the temporary headquarters of the Interstellar Alliance until a permanent facility is built on Minbar. Aboard this same ship, Mollari turns off the news and talks with G'Kar about making history. G'Kar counters one survives history. They then muse about human marriage customs as G'Kar munches some rice. Mollari wistfully wishes he could peek in on the happy couple. Suddenly, Mollari realizes G'Kar is keeping his left eye closed, the one which normally houses his prosthetic eye...
As G'Kar's prosthetic eye gazes into the "honeymoon suite," Delenn narrates:
- "It was the end of the Earth year 2261. and it was the dawn of a new age, for all of us. It was the end of one chapter and the beginning of another. The next 20 years would see great changes, great joy, and great sorrow. The Telepath War... The Drakh War... The new Alliance would waver and crack, but in the end it would hold because what is built endures and what is loved endures. And Babylon 5...Babylon 5...endures."
"You don't make history, you only hope to survive it!"
- – G'Kar
- When the episode was first filmed, a fifth season had not been ordered. It was assumed that this episode would be the penultimate episode, to be followed by "Sleeping in Light." In the original filming, the scene in which Ivanova was promoted was to have a news voice over reporting that Ivanova was taking command of Babylon 5 following Sheridan's resignation. However, when the fifth season was eventually ordered, Claudia Christian could not return for filming. This meant Ivanova had to be replaced. The news voice over was then redone to reflect Ivanova leaving the station.
- During Luchenko's press conference, editing duplicates her: both delivering the speech while also half of her being shown sitting next to Sheridan.
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