The Gathering / In the Beginning / Thirdspace / River of Souls / A Call to Arms

A Call to Arms

Written by
J. Michael Straczynski

Directed by
Mike Vejar

First broadcast
3 January 1999

This story takes place in 2266 (December according to the novel Armies of Light and Dark).  It is intended as a "bridge" between Babylon 5 and the spin-off series, Crusade.

ExcaliburPresident Sheridan and Michael Garibaldi visit the construction yards of two experimental ships - the Excalibur and the Victory.  The master shipbuilder, Drake, assures them that the ships will be ready for launch soon.  Sheridan begins to experience strange visions in his dreams of a Techno-mage calling him to return to Babylon 5 - along with the faces of three other people destined to help him in his quest.  Dureena Nafeel, a thief and the only survivor of her race after the Shadow War and Captain Leonard Anderson of EarthForce arrive, also drawn by their dreams.

Taking the Excalibur and the Victory, Nafeel, Anderson and Sheridan travel Daltron 7, a planet they see has been decimated in their visions.  When they arrive there, they find the prediction was true, and a record found on the body of a Drazi trader (the third face in the vision) confirms their suspicions that the planet was attacked by the Drakh - less than a week before, using a Shadow Planet Killer.

Garibaldi discovers that Drake has betrayed Earth to the Drakh, who intend to make the planet their next target.   Sheridan manages to convince Lochley to mobilize EarthForce against the oncoming fleet, and he and Anderson pilot the two experimental ships into the battlefield.  They take on the Planet Killer while EarthForce fend off the Drakh ships - and, finding a weak point in the superstructure, Anderson sacrifices himself by ramming the Victory into the machine.  But, before the Drakh are finally defeated, they release a spray onto the Earth: "poisoning the well"; a biogenetic plague that will completely decimate the Earth's population within five years.  Sheridan decides that the Excalibur, now the only ship of its kind, shall become a research vessel to try and find a cure for the Drakh virus.

Notes:  The first episode of Crusade, War Zone, takes place directly after the events in this movie.  Sheridan first suggested the construction of the new warships - retro-engineered White Stars, mixing Vorlon, Minbari and now Human technology - in Movements of Fire and Shadow.  The Techno-mages, an Order that uses science to appear as magic, are introduced in The Geometry of Shadows; Galen's back-story is told in the Passing of the Techno-mages series of novels.  Both Galen and Dureena Nafeel return as regular characters in the spin-off series, Crusade.  The Interstellar Alliance is celebrating its fifth anniversary (Rising Star, No Compromise), and mention is made of the Telepath War having recently ended (see Rising Star).  The Shadow Planet Killer was seen in action in The Long Night and Into the Fire; the origin of the Planet Killer seen here is shown in the novels The Long Night of Centauri Prime and Armies of Light and Dark.  The Drakh were introduced in Lines of Communication and were behind the downfall of the Centauri Empire in Season Five (as seen in In the Kingdom of the Blind and after).

This telemovie was originally titled The Eve of Destruction.

A Call to Arms Novelization by Robert Sheckley.

The music of this telemovie was composed by Evan H. Chen, the first Babylon 5 episode since the pilot not to be scored by Christopher Franke.  Chen also does the music for the Crusade series.

Main Cast: Bruce Boxleitner (President John Sheridan); Jerry Doyle (Michael Garibaldi); Tracy Scoggins (Captain Elizabeth Lochley); Jeff Conaway (Security Chief Zack Allen); Peter Woodward (Galen); Carrie Dobro (Dureena Nafeel); Tony Todd (Captain Leonard Anderson); Tony Maggio (Samuel Drake).

Tony Todd has appeared in Star Trek: The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine as Worf's brother Kurn.  He also appeared as the older Jake Sisko in the Deep Space Nine episode The Visitor, and as a Hirogen in the Star Trek: Voyager episode, Prey.

Wayne Alexander also appeared as a Drakh - among other roles he played Lorien, and Marjean Holden (Dr Chambers from Crusade) appeared as an Earthforce officer.

The Gathering / In the Beginning / Thirdspace / River of Souls / A Call to Arms