316: War Without End, Part I

Directed by
Michael Vejar

First broadcast week of
13 May 1996

Ivanova is surprised to receive a distress call, apparently sent by her during a devastating attack on Babylon 5.  The signal is emanating from the temporal rift in Sector 14, which explains the time stamp on the message which places it a week into the future.  Garibaldi heads to Sector 14 to investigate, finding that a tachyon emission from Epsilon 3 has caused the rift to reopen, and that the attack on Babylon 5 is from a huge fleet of Shadow vessels.  Ambassador Jeffrey Sinclair arrives aboard the station from Minbar, having received a 900-year-old personally-addressed handwritten message, supposedly from Valen himself, informing him of what he must do.

Sheridan, Delenn and SinclairDelenn is expecting him, having received a similar message herself.  With Sheridan, Ivanova and Marcus, they leave in the White Star for Sector 14 - where Delenn explains their mission.  Babylon 4, which disappeared into the temporal rift some years before (and was revisited by Sinclair and Garibaldi themselves on its sudden reappearance two years ago), was taken back in time one thousand years to act as a much-needed base of operations for the first Shadow War.  Without it, the War would have been lost and the Shadows would have re-emerged stronger and more powerful than they should have.  The distress signal received on Babylon 5 is a vision of that possible future.  They must ensure that Babylon 4 is safely evacuated, and then fixed with a beacon so that Draal can use the Great Machine to guide it back in time.

The crew is joined by the alien Zathras from Epsilon 3, who supplies them with the necessary equipment to safely navigate the time distortion.  Sheridan orders Garibaldi to return to Babylon 5: he has passed through the temporal distortion before and doing so again without a time stabilizer may kill him.  Sinclair asks that Garibaldi not be informed that he is with them.  Garibaldi learns of the visit when he returns to the station, where he finds a message from Sinclair telling him that had he known what was happening, Garibaldi would have insisted on coming - and wherever Sinclair is going, he isn't coming back.

The White Star enters the temporal rift, travelling back in time six years to Babylon 4's original disappearance, where they intercept Shadow agents intent on planting a bomb onto the station.  They destroy the bomb, but the explosion causes an energy release that damages Sheridan's time stabilizer and sends him 20 years into the future to Centauri Prime.  There, on a world ravaged by fire and destruction, Emperor Londo Mollari greets Sheridan as his prisoner.

Notes: This story shows the "other side" of the events seen in Babylon Squared.  Sinclair's posting to Minbar was established in Points of Departure, and recalled in The Coming of Shadows, where we also learn of his appointment as Entil'zha, leader of the Rangers.  The Great Machine was introduced in A Voice in the Wilderness.  Garibaldi mentions his "flash-forward" during the first visit to Babylon 4 - but it was actually Sinclair who experienced this; in this sequence, Garibaldi claims the enemy (now identified as being the Shadows) are "coming through the walls", as Ivanova does in her distress signal, and as Amos does in The Long Dark.  This is the first time we see Minbar, where the other Vorlon seen is more than likely Ambassador Ulkesh Naranek from the novel To Dream in the City of Sorrows.

Sheridan is transported to the year 2278, and met by Emperor Londo Mollari - a future glimpsed as a dream in The Coming of Shadows, and promised by Lady Morella in Point of No Return.  This, and the initial devastation of Centauri Prime, are actually seen to occur in The Fall of Centauri Prime.  Londo welcomes Sheridan "back from the abyss" (see Z'ha'dum).

Adam Nimoy was originally intended to direct the two episodes of this story.  John Schuck was unable to return as Draal so a sequence featuring him on Epsilon 3 was dropped.  The soundtrack of this episode is available on CD.

Guest Cast: Michael O'Hare returns as Jeffrey Sinclair.  Tim Choate returns as Zathras.  Time Winters makes his first appearance as Rathenn (at least, on the actual series - he is introduced in the comic The Price of Peace, seen again in Grey 17 is Missing, and also the novel To Dream in the City of Sorrows; his name has previously been mentioned in A Voice in the Wilderness, Part I).