109: The Path of Sorrows
J. Michael Straczynski
30 June 1999
On a so-called "Planet of Healing" the crew discovers a mysterious alien in a bubble. When Gideon has a telepathic vision of his own abandonment in space, he decides to take the alien with him. Gideon visits the creature, who telepathically communes with him, taking him back to the time his ship, the Cerberus, was fired upon by an unknown alien vessel. Gideon was in an environment suit checking the exterior of the ship when it began to leave before being destroyed by its mysterious attacker. A fleet of smaller ships passed him by, ignoring his distress calls, until one of them stopped and he was picked up by the pilot, Galen. Later, in a card game, one of the players offers Gideon a mysterious "Apocalypse Box" as collateral, before he is killed in a skimmer accident, finally glad to be "free" of the power of the box. Gideon wonders why the alien has shown him this vision, but the alien seems to wish only to forgive him. The alien also gives a vision to Matheson of the last few weeks of the telepath war, where Matheson obeyed the directives of Psi Corps until a prisoner persuades him to look into Psi Corps' involvement in the deaths of innocent thousands. He helps her contact the resistance who bomb the Psi Corps headquarters. The alien forgives him.
Galen, determined to discover why the alien is behaving the way it is, also has a vision of his last moments with his lover, Isabelle. They were betrayed by three of their own kind and she died as a result of a serious injury. Galen is certain that there is no great Universal plan, that there is no life after death - but one of Isabelle's last promises to him was that if she is right, and that everything happens for a reason, then she will pass a message to him somehow from beyond. The creature does not wish to forgive Galen - it tells Galen that it is he who must forgive God, or the Universe, first.
Gideon decides to take the creature back to the place where they found it for future explorers to discover. Matheson passes to Galen a scrambled message with no discernible point of origin: the only two coherent words in the message are "GALEN" and "LOVE".
Notes: Isabelle was mentioned in The Well of Forever, and Gideon's abandonment in space first told of in War Zone. The ship that destroys the Cerberus, although of a new design, appears to be of Shadow origin (see also the novel Summoning Light). The Apocalypse Box (and from references in the dialogue it appears it's not unique) makes appearances later (Racing the Night).
The story of Galen's relationship with Isabelle, and the story behind their betrayal, is told in the novel Casting Shadows. Galen's rescue of Gideon is also told in Summoning Light.
Guest Cast: Gary Graham (Bruder) played Matt Sykes in the Alien Nation TV series (and subsequent telemovies), as well as appearances in Star Trek: The Next Generation and recently a semi-recurring role as a Vulcan in Enterprise. Mark Blankfield (Jenson), Dawn Stern (Alison), Sophie Ward (Isabelle).