Confessions and Lamentations (1995)
[indistinct radio chatter]
There you go.
Captain, you got a minute? Sure, what's up?
We've got a Markab transport almost ten hours overdue.
'I've been trying to raise her but she's not responding.'
So, I'd like to send a flight of Starfuries out to her last known position, see if there's a problem.
Better to be sure, I agree.
Good, I'll send out Zeta Squadron as soon as Lieutenant Keffer gets back.
I thought Zeta Squadron was on break.
It is, but some time ago Keffer saw or thought he saw something in hyperspace.
'A ship of some kind. Unknown configuration.'
'So he's been spending some of his free time looking for it.'
Tell Lieutenant Keffer to return to base.
I want all freelance expeditions curbed from now on.
His fighter is to be recharged and ready to go within the hour.
You could have just accepted my death certificate and saved yourself the trip.
It's station policy, all deaths have to be verified by station personnel even in cases of death by natural causes.
No contusions or abrasions. No sign of trauma.
He had been ill for some time.
His family is quite content with my diagnosis.
One might only wish that you would extend me the same courtesy.
We do have jurisdiction over our own kind, you know.
Yes, as you have reminded me three times already.
Look, Lazarenn, this is not about courtesy it's not about respect.
N-nobody knows Markab biology better than you.
A compliment? Ha-ha. I think I may faint.
Nevertheless, this is the fourth dead Markab in three days.
All by natural causes.
Now, statistically, this is way out of proportion.
Stephen, surely you're not suggesting foul play.
I'm not suggesting anything. I just want more information.
'Pending any other findings, I'll formally'
'accept your certificate of death.'
However, I do reserve the right to run a few tests just to be sure.
I'm gonna go wash up, then arrange for the deceased to be transferred to Medlab for a routine autopsy.
Something here doesn't add up, and unlike Mr. Garibaldi I don't like mysteries.
(male narrator) The Babylon Project was our last, best hope for peace.
A self-contained world, five miles long located in neutral territory.
A place of commerce and diplomacy for a quarter of a million humans and aliens.
A shining beacon in space all alone in the night.
It was the dawn of the Third Age of mankind.
The year the Great War came upon us all.
This is the story of the last of the Babylon stations.
The year is 2259.
The name of the place is Babylon 5.
There may not be a problem.
But we'd like you to check it out just in case.
What was her last position?
Sector 23, grid 230, by 9 by 40.
Cargo? Nothing major.
As far as we know.
The Kar'ti is a civilian transport.
It left the Markab Homeworld nine days ago.
I've linked her homing beacon on to your scanners so you shouldn't have a hard time finding her, good hunting.
Just one more thing.
The captain wants a moratorium on your little expeditions into hyperspace.
Come on, commander. It's on my own time.
That's not the issue.
Things are getting a little nuts around here right now.
You should know that better than anyone else.
There's something out there. Yes. There is.
There's something out here. There's also something in here.
The something in here is me giving you a direct order.
If there's some part of that sentence that you don't understand, lieutenant I'll be happy to explain it to you over the next four months.
We'll be watching Zeta Squadron go on missions without you.
Understood. We'll be back in a few hours.
Well, I have to say, it looks great.
Thank you, after you treated me to human-style food it seemed only fair to return the favor.
Lennier spent the last two days preparing the meal.
For a meal with such an honored guest there are rituals and traditions.
The food must be sanctified during each of the fifteen stages of cooking.
For instance, the spices must be blessed and a specific prayer spoken when they are used.
Each spice can only be used once of course, and in the correct order.
If an error is made, the entire meal must be abandoned and we must begin again from scratch.
So when do you sleep?
One does not sleep during the cooking.
It could lead to error.
So for two days, Lennier has not slept.
'In order to remain pure' he has taken only water and bread.
Well, I, uh, I mean, it smells great.
And, uh, I haven't eaten all day so I'm really looking forward to this.
What? What's wrong?
As there are rituals to follow in preparing a meal of this nature, there are other rituals we must observe in eating the meal.
Otherwise, the food is no longer sanctified and, um, Lennier must begin all over again.
Well, we certainly wouldn't want that, would we?
Um, what do I do?
You hand me your bowl and I hand you mine
'in a gesture of welcoming.'
And-and then, we offer a portion of our meal to the one who prepared it
'as a gesture of thankfulness.'
(Delenn) 'It is then tradition for the guest' to set aside one piece of flarn in the memory of Valen in the place that is set aside for his return.
Uh, and the flarn would be..
The green. Oh.
Yes. Yes. Yeah.
Well? We may eat now.
With the right hand.
We must now wait for a few moments before eating again.
In between, we meditate upon food.
(male #1) 'There she is.'
This is Starfury Squadron to Kar'ti, do you receive?
Kar'ti, I repeat, this is Zeta Squadron dispatched from Babylon 5 to investigate your situation.
Do you require assistance?
I'm going in for a closer look.
Hang back till I've checked her out.
(male #2) 'Roger, Zeta One.'
Computer, are we close enough for a more detailed scan of the Kar'ti?
How many are aboard?
'Registering no life signs'
'aboard the target vessel.'
Check again, there are supposed to be over 200 Markabs on board that thing.
'Confirmed. Detecting 200 life forms.'
But you said..
But not life signs.
'All 203 of them, they're all dead?'
Medlab 2, this is Dr. Franklin.
Have the bodies of those three dead Markabs been sent back to their Homeworld yet?
(male #3) 'No, doctor, we just finished processing the paperwork.'
Good. Get them up here to Medlab 1, stat.
'Is there a problem?'
I don't know.
(male #1) Zeta One to Babylon Control.
(female #1) 'This is Babylon Control, go ahead, Zeta One.'
We're bringing the transport in for inspection.
Recommend full medical team.
'And you better let the captain know.'
'I've got an ugly feeling about this.'
In the memory of the Nine and the One..
What? You were..
You were asleep.
No. No, I wasn't.
I, I-I-I was meditating.
The sound you were making is part of human meditation?
[chuckles] I don't snore.
We've got a problem in Bay 14, captain.
I think you better get over there.
I'm sorry. It's alright.
The ritual of the meal was concluded some moments before you began, uh, meditating.
Oh. Well, uh, thank you once again for your invitation.
We must do it again.
Yes. Of-of course.
[speaking in foreign language]
What's the problem?
The ship you have commandeered is Markab property.
I cannot allow your people inside.
Oh. Well, this ship was found floating dead in space.
Now we have to have-- We have a right to privacy.
You mean, the right to hide the truth.
What the hell did you think you were doing?
Doctor-- I need some privacy here.
Dr. Franklin. Stephen.
You don't want us to board that ship because you suspect the same thing that I do.
(Franklin) 'We've had four dead Markab'
'in the past three days.'
Dr. Lazarenn has certified them all death by natural causes.
Nothing jumped out about them in a cursory autopsy so I let it go.
But I just finished a more detailed examination of the bodies.
They were all killed by some kind of plague or infectious disease that was brought onto the station by your people.
'Now, I want to know how terminal and how contagious.'
It is 100 percent terminal.
And 100 percent contagious.
(Franklin) 'Damn it, Lazarenn, what were you thinking?'
Did you really think that you could keep this a secret?
Well, then, why didn't you say something?
This plague is spreading to your people like wild fire.
It is not something we talk about.
The disease only appeared once before.
'On a small island on our world, noted for certain excesses.'
'When it was struck down, the rest of my people believed' it was a punishment by the Gods for their lack of morality.
They even named the disease after the island devastated by it...Drafa.
Why didn't it spread?
They were isolated by weather for nearly a year.
And by the time anybody got out to the island the disease had wiped out the population.
'There was no one left alive to spread it to the new arrivals' and we assumed that the disease dead-ended at that point.
Lazarenn, you are a doctor.
You know as well as I do that diseases they can go dormant for years or centuries.
They can mutate, they can come back at you out of nowhere.
Now, why weren't preparations made?
Over time, it became more than just a disease. It became..
I don't know, a legend.
A, a specter used to frighten children into behaving
"Be good, or the dark angel will bring you the curse of Drafa."
Only the immoral would ever be touched by it.
...the first new case of Drafa was detected nearly a year ago.
'The family was so scandalized by it' they lied about what killed him.
By then, several of them had become infected.
Because they believed that they were moral they were sure they would not be touched.
So they started to go out amongst the people.
And the disease began to spread.
'Each new infection was accompanied by silence and fear' and the assumption that they were immune.
What about the ship?
Rumors about the new outbreak of Drafa had gotten out and some of my people believed it was a judgment against our world and decided to get out before it was too late.
They have escaped to all of our colonies carrying the disease everywhere, even here.
Look, if you knew about this a year ago why didn't you come to me?
Why, why did you try to block our examination of the ship?
We could have helped. Because I was forbidden!
Because we were ordered to remain silent.
Our leaders were afraid the people would take the disease as a sign from the Gods that we had fallen from grace.
They were afraid, they would be voted out for attacking the public good.
They were afraid.
They were afraid of everything.
Some of us have been working to find a cure without enough money or resources.
They don't even want to talk about it as if the very subject makes them dirty!
Listen, in all the work you've done is there any indication as to whether or not the disease is infectious beyond your own species?
I don't know, Stephen.
May the Gods forgive me.
I do not know.
Papa, mama sent me to find you.
You are very late for food, and she is very upset.
She says for you to come home at once.
Papa? Wake up.
(Franklin) 'The next 24 hours are absolutely critical' if we're going to control the spread of this disease.
Dr. Lazarenn says the incubation period can last several weeks or just a few days.
Until then, it's absolutely invisible.
Once symptoms appear, the patient expires inside 24 hours.
And there's no cure? No, not yet.
Now, the problem is, between the time the disease shows up and termination, you've only got a few hours.
And you can't work up a model of how a disease works if you can't follow it over time.
Do you know how far this thing has spread?
Until we know otherwise, we have to assume the entire Markab community has been infected.
What about everybody else? That's the big question.
Is the disease contagious outside their species?
And if so, is it transmitted through air, touch bodily fluids or some other means?
If it's physically transmitted we might have a chance at containment.
'If it's airborne, given that all the air in here is recycled'
'the entire station might be infected.'
Well, doctor, it's your jurisdiction.
What's the plan?
I want every Markab on this station brought in for a complete physical examination.
Whoa, whoa, doc, they'll scream bloody murder they'll say that we're implying they're immoral--
We have to know how far this thing has spread.
And more importantly, we have to find someone who is infected before the disease becomes terminal so we can follow its progress.
What kind of symptomology are we looking for?
Chronic dizziness. Acute sore throat. Low blood pressure.
Swelling of the lymph nodes and surface glands.
It's all in my report.
Now, once this disease comes out of dormancy it heads straight for the central nervous system where somehow it, it starts shutting down the neural pathways that control respiration and heartbeat.
Then, inside 24 hours, paralysis and death.
Commander Ivanova, I'm hereby issuing an executive order placing Babylon 5 under quarantine.
Incoming ships will be diverted elsewhere.
No ships will be allowed to leave until we determine just how far this disease is likely to spread.
Are we gonna tell people why they can't leave?
I don't think we have a choice.
What about segregating the Markabs from the rest of the general population?
No, no, no, no, if the disease is airborne then moving them into a different part of the station is not going to solve the problem.
All the air is recycled.
If it turns out that the disease is not transmissible to other species then confining them to one area will only speed-up the infection among the Markab community without good reason.
On the other hand, when word gets out that we've got the next best thing to the Black Death roaming on the station it's gonna scare everybody.
When people get scared they start looking for scapegoats.
If we can keep the Markabs all together in one place my people can protect them.
Because, trust me, this is gonna get real ugly, real fast.
No, there are still too many variables, too many unknowns.
I need answers, doctor, and as fast as you can get them to me.
You better cancel all leaves for security personnel.
I've got a hunch you're gonna need them.
(male announcer) Repeating our announcement no ship will be allowed to depart Babylon 5 until further notice.
Please address all questions to the appropriate station personnel.
Please return to your quarters until the quarantine is lifted.
It's just for some tests, that's all. This way, please.
(female #2) 'Next.'
Alright, that'll do it. Thank you.
We've got another one.
Captain Sheridan, this is an outrage.
I will not have my people treated in this fashion.
Poked, prodded, accused-- Ambassador Fashar--
You are spreading hysteria and fear about my people that is totally unwarranted.
On top of that, you're disgracing good and decent people by implying they're unclean, immoral--
No one said anything of the kind.
(Fashar) 'That is the absolute implication.'
How do I know this isn't a conspiracy on the part of your world to destroy my people?
'For all I know, this disease was planted' in our drinking water, our food.
None of this happened until we began coming here.
Perhaps, it is your own immorality that has contaminated us.
So we will fix this by removing ourselves from your immorality.
Captain. Just a minute, doctor.
This can't wait. You can't leave the station.
We are gathering together in an isolation zone
'away from others, away from outsiders.'
We will stay, and pray, and repent.
And when we come out, we alone will survive.
If you do that, you'll just end up spreading the disease among your own people that much faster.
I refuse to listen to this. You have been warned.
Stay away from us.
(Garibaldi) 'Well, looks like they just made the decision' about quarantine for you.
Yeah, for all the wrong reasons. What is it, doctor?
You better get down to Brown 17, captain. You too, Garibaldi.
First, our tests confirm the disease is airborne.
We have to assume it's all over the station.
Second, I found a dead Pak'ma'ra. No signs of violence.
Is it the plague?
Won't know until we do an autopsy.
But I wanted to warn you the disease may be spreading into the general population.
Yes. Yes, inside. Hurry.
It's for the best, trust me.
We are the pure.
If we believe, then the Dark Angel of Drafa will pass over us.
'Hurry, inside now. Everyone inside!'
(Franklin) 'We need to start a full autopsy' before the body goes further into rigor mortis.
We're instituting full biohazard routines but I'll still need you to go in and..
What? What is it?
I'll go in, you stay out here and monitor the readouts.
(Lazarenn) 'I have a better idea.'
I have the most experience with the disease.
I will go into the Isolab and perform the autopsy.
Doctor Lazarenn, if you--
'And once finished'
I will stay inside.
The Isolab is hermetically sealed.
If I am contaminated it will not get through the air lock.
It will give me a chance to do some good, Stephen.
Give me that much.
Let's get to work, shall we?
(Ivanova) 'And we've had three more incidents of violence'
'against Markabs in the past two hours.'
'It's getting ugly out there, captain.'
Some of the more extreme human and alien groups say that they've found a solution to the problem.
Wipe out the Markabs, you wipe out the problem.
Seems we've heard that before.
How's their quarantine going?
Four thousand out of the estimated five thousand resident Markabs have entered the isolation zone.
'The rest of them either haven't been found yet'
'or they're hiding, afraid to take the trip' which of course puts them in danger if they're found by the others.
Hmm. Tell Garibaldi to take some of his people off the search teams and put them on patrol.
Any violence is to be stopped immediately.
Will do. Try to get some sleep, captain.
I'll take first watch and have someone wake you in four hours.
Hmm. C & C out.
(John) 'Yeah, come in.'
Captain, I'm sorry to disturb you at this time.
No, no, no. No, no. It's-it's alright.
I doubt I'd be able to sleep anyway.
Yeah, what can I do for you?
I have been monitoring the situation and, uh, I would like to make a request.
Ambassador, we can't let anyone off this station--
I would like to be allowed into the isolation zone.
I've spoken with Ambassador Fashar and he's willing to allow us entry.
They're in pain.
Minbari are taught that at such a time the afflicted should be ministered to, comforted.
They're not your own people, Delenn.
I didn't know that similarity was required for the exercise of compassion.
They are afraid.
We wish to do what little we can.
Lennier has asked to accompany me.
Delenn, I cannot allow this-- I understand the risk.
If the disease is limited only to the Markab we should do all we can.
But if it's not, then we must give comfort because very soon, we will require it ourselves.
You will be exposing yourself to massive contamination.
If I let you into that isolation zone..
...I can't let you out again.
I'll tell security to let you through.
'Don't look away, captain.'
'All life is transitory.'
We all come together in the same place at the end of time.
If I don't see you again here..
'...I will see you in a little while' in the place where no shadows fall.
When I do see you again..
...call me John.
It's all your fault! What did you do, huh?
Why did you bring this here?
You messed me up! You messed us all up!
Hey, leave him alone!
Don't. What, are you on his side, uh?
Shut up! Come on, get out.
Let's go! Move it!
Get out of here and maybe I'll let you leave with your ribs intact.
Big threat, we're all gonna die anyway.
You should get some sleep.
Can't. Too much to do.
That's your third stim tonight.
Too much isn't good for you.
If we don't figure this out it's really not gonna matter, now is it?
Any more news on the Pak'ma'ra tests?
Security reports finding the bodies of a dozen of your people.
The plague is spreading fast.
And the violence?
So far they've got it under control.
And everyone's looking for someone to blame.
'Same old story.'
Black Death, AIDS, Chalmers Syndrome.
Millions die and no one remembers the lessons we've learned.
What was this, uh, Black Death?
'Well, it hit Earth around the middle of the 14th Century.'
Before it was finished, it wiped out three quarters of the European population.
They said the same things too.
It was punishment from God for our immorality.
'Some blamed the Jews and the lepers for poisoning the wells' and others said the plague was sent by the devil.
And since cats were supposed to be the devil's familiars they were killed by the millions.
But cats were the only means of controlling the real source of the plague, the rats and the fleas that went with them.
So all they were doing was helping the plague spread even faster.
But that does seem to be the rule, doesn't it?
Analyze the problem, choose whichever strategy makes least sense and then do it.
Lazarenn? I'm diz-dizzy.
Well, that seems to..
'I-I felt my throat sore a few minutes ago.'
Stephen, you wanted to examine someone in the early stages of the infection.
I think you should run some tests.
Are you alright? I can't find my mama.
Then we will find her for you.
She has separated from her mother.
Please find her.
What is her name?
There's a definite increase in respiration of A cells.
Yellow blood cell count?
Five hundred per thousand and dropping.
Neural transmission efficiency?
Down 15 percent.
Alright, cross reference the two and see if they're dropping at the same rate, maybe the drop in the cells is causing the neural pathways to degrade.
Give me ten minutes. No, you've got five minutes.
(Lazarenn) 'There's a strange tingling in my fingers..'
...and an odd sense of euphoria.
Check the brain stim for any unusual activity.
Stephen, I was trying to remember how we first met.
It seems like ages ago.
Oh, yes. It was back home and you were on layover.
You were hitchhiking on starships then.
You were very funny.
'Everything to you is a problem to be solved'
'a test to be passed.'
But you know, Stephen sometimes the test is not to find the answer it's to see how you react when you realize there is no answer.
Doctor. We just got the results of the Pak'ma'ra autopsy.
It's the plague. It jumped species.
Alright, Mitch, Tasabe, you take Simms down to Medlab 2.
You take apart that Pak'ma'ra inch by inch.
There's got to be a reason why they fell sick before the humans or the varns or anybody else.
Now, that similarity maybe what we need to crack this thing.
Now, go. Move.
But don't you understand what this means?
It means, we have more information than we had five minutes ago.
And if we're gonna beat this thing we need all the information we can get.
Now, I want a complete biogenic comparison of these two groups in an hour or by God, you're gonna have something the hell of a lot worse than the plague to worry about.
Now, move! I want answers!
Has he found mama yet?
No, not yet.
But he will. Don't be afraid.
I can't help it. I'm sorry.
No, don't be sorry. It happens to us all.
When I was a child I once visited the city with my family and became separated from my parents.
The more I looked for them the more lost I became.
The streets became smaller, narrower, darker.
I was so afraid.
Then I found myself in an old temple and I thought, I will wait here.
I will be safe here, and they will come.
They will come for me.
Not at first.
The temple was cold and deserted.
I fell asleep.
When I woke up, there was someone standing over me.
He looked down and smiled and...my fear went away.
He stood there, bright against the darkness and said that I was going to be alright.
That if I believed then my parents will come for me.
He said, "I will not allow harm to come to my little ones here in my great house."
Just then, the door opened and my parents came running in.
I was worried about you.
[automated] 'Negative reaction.'
Adjust RNA sequence to match level-one codes.
[automated] 'Negative reaction.'
Cross-analyze Markab yellow blood cells with Pak'ma'ra green cells.
[automated] 'Stand by.'
Save your strength, Lazarenn.
The yellow cells could be..
Could be what? Could be..
What? 'I'm sorry, old friend.'
I, I don't think I can stay any longer.
Will you give my love to..
[automated] 'Cross-analysis between Markab yellow cells'
'and Pak'ma'ra green cells complete.'
The brain gives orders to the body through a complex chain of electrochemical relays.
An electrical impulse runs the length of a neuron and stops at a break called the synaptic gap.
The electrical impulse is translated into biochemical form which jumps across the gap to the next neuron over and over again until the information reaches its destination.
Now, I assumed that the disease was attacking the nerve itself.
But there was never any damage.
What it was actually doing was neutralizing the chemicals in the synaptic gap.
In other words an order comes from the brain to the gap but the chemicals that are supposed to relay the information to the next neuron don't work anymore.
Exactly. The heart's not ordered to pump.
The lungs aren't ordered to breathe..
...the body dies.
Have you developed a profile of who's most prone to being infected?
The risk is confined races that use specialized cells to manufacture the chemicals used in neural relays.
'In Markabs, the chemical is produced by the yellow cells.'
'In the Pak'ma'ra, it's the green cells.'
Now, those are the ones targeted by the disease.
Now, fortunately, our bodies don't work that way.
But given the chance, the disease could mutate into something that could affect us all, if we don't stop it now.
So, what do we do?
Well, we can't destroy the disease but we can artificially stimulate yellow and green cell production with a series of regular injections.
Now, those who receive the injections, over time will produce stronger cells that are capable of withstanding the disease.
All my data shows it should work.
Should? You haven't tested it yet?
There wasn't time.
I've prepared enough for 500 doses to start but we will have to hurry.
Any reply to our message yet? No, sir.
Open it up.
Lennier, is there anyone? Anyone at all?
No. No one.
You are to be congratulated for finding a way to stop the plague from spreading further.
Well, any thanks is more properly directed to Dr. Franklin.
We dodged the bullet this time.
What happens next time? What happens?
What happens is that we honor the memory of those who are no longer with us by using what we have learned to save others.
To exercise faith and patience and charity.
To reach out to those who are afraid.
If we can do that, then their passing will have had meaning and we will grow from it.
I hope so.
Medical ships dispatched to the Markab Homeworld have confirmed the death toll.
The entire planetary population has been wiped out by the plague.
Over two billion dead in addition to another two or three million on other colonies and outposts.
Although it is expected that some Markabs may have survived on isolated colonies for all intents and purposes the Markab civilization has been destroyed.
'We've also received reports of widespread destruction'
'from fires tearing through the dead cities.'
Hey, what do you call two billion dead Markabs?
News. News gives me the creeps.
You know, I heard it was the Vorlons that poisoned that place.
'You know how they are.'