A Voice in the Wilderness (Babylon 5)

A Voice in the Wilderness (Babylon 5)

Infobox Television episode
Title = A Voice in the Wilderness
Series = Babylon 5

Caption =
Season = 1
Episode = 18 & 19
Airdate = 27 July 1994 (part 1)
3 August 1994 (part 2)
Production = 120 & 121
Writer = J. Michael Straczynski
Director = Janet Greek
Guests = Louis Turenne (Draal)
Curt Lowens (Varn)
Ron Canada (Captain Ellis Pierce)
Denise Gentile (Lise Hampton)
Episode list = List of "Babylon 5" episodes
Prev = Legacies
Next = Babylon Squared

"A Voice in the Wilderness" is a two-part episode from the first season of the science-fiction television series "Babylon 5".


Part One

The episode begins with a Minbari coming aboard Babylon 5 asking a guard to take him to Ambassador Delenn. In C&C, where Lt. Commander Ivanova tells Commander Sinclair that there have been some seismic activity on the planet, which is called Epsilon 3, the planet in which Babylon 5 is stationed above. She has authorized a geological team to take a shuttle down to the planet and to investigate the seismic eruptions. The scene then cuts to the central corridor where Talia Winters is pacing in front of the transport tube. When Sinclair arrives there, Talia complains that everytime she gets into the tube, Michael Garibaldi is always there, which Sinclair doesn't believe, until the transport tube arrives, with Garibaldi inside. Sinclair and Talia look creeped out and decide to take the stairs. As the ship gets within the atmosphere, a powerful beam from below the planet shoots out towards space. Knocking out a considerable amount of power from the shuttle and blanking out the controls on Babylon 5, the shuttle has fallen towards the planet, but has enough power to maintain a low orbit, but not enough to get out, so Ivanova sends a couple of Starfuries to tow them back to Babylon 5.

In the conference room, Commander Sinclair is mediating negotiations between Ambassadors Delenn and Londo Mollari when the incident with the shuttle occurs. Ivanova tells him that everyone is alright, but shaken. When the archeological team returns to Babylon 5, Ivanova meets with the head researcher, Dr. Tasaki, to find out what happened earlier. The doctor believes that the planet is uninhabited, which was the earlier belief, and that the seismic eruptions must have triggered an automatic defense mechanism. Surprisingly, Dr. Tasaki is ecstatic about going back down to the planet to investigate further.

Back in C&C, Ivanova informs Sinclair that the beam coming from the planet has diminished a little, but it isn't a beam, it's a signal. It's a series of regular signals repeated at specific intervals, but is unable to decipher them. Sinclair thinks that Dr. Tasaki's team should have an escort of Starfuries to make sure that the research team gets down to the planet safely. Then, Ivanova asks the Commander if they had heard anything from the Mars Colony. Usually, there's something about the colony in the EarthForce status reports, but the latest report doesn't mention anything, which means that they are conducting military exercises, which they would have known about, but Sinclair believes that it's nothing but a glitch in the system.

As Ambassador Delenn walks towards her quarters, she meets the Minbari from the beginning of the episode. It's Draal, Delenn's old mentor and friend. She is surprised of his sudden arrival at Babylon 5. Later, Sinclair is in his quarters watching the news when he finds out that there are riots going on in the Mars Colony, which has cut off all communications to the planet. The people on Mars are in an open revolt against the Earth-appointed provisional government and become independent. Fighting on the planet is intense and casualties are believed to be in the hundreds, if not in the thousands. The insurgents who are carrying out the revolt say the sand will run red with Earther blood. After Sinclair turns off the monitor, he hears a voice asking for help. When he turns around, a holographic image of an alien appears with a man saying Help me. Sinclair blinks again, thinking it's an illusion, and then the image disappears. The next morning, Ivanova meets Sinclair in the mess hall and they talk about the situation on Mars and about the situation on Epsilon 3, with the geological team ready to launch. Sinclair is sad about the situation there because he was born and grew up on Mars, but is worried about Garibaldi, since that was where he and Sinclair met before coming to Babylon 5. Back in Delenn's quarters, Delenn and Draal are catching up on old memories, but Delenn wants to know why Draal has come so far from Minbar to Babylon 5. Draal confesses that he is unhappy with his life. He feels that now he has spent his life on Minbar, he wants to go to the stars and see the universe, before the end, before he goes to the sea.

Later on, Garibaldi is talking to an EarthForce official trying to get a signal to Mars, which he has been trying to do all day. Unfortunately, all communications to the colony are cut off, except for authorized personnel. Garibaldi is furious about it since he's a security officer with clearance ultraviolet alpha and is not considered to be authorized personnel. Garibaldi leaves his quarters trying to figure out how to get a channel to Mars. At the docking bay, Ivanova is briefing the research team on the mission to the planet. Babylon 5 will provide Starfuries to provide escort to the shuttle as it enters the planet's atmosphere and conducts a low-altitude scan of the surface of Epsilon 3 and not to take any risks. Ivanova then notifies Sinclair, who is with Ambassador Mollari, who wants to know that if they find anything down on the planet, they would let him know, which the commander sternly refuses. Afterwards, the shuttle leaves Babylon 5 and proceeds towards the planet as the Starfuries are launched and providing escort. In the departure gates, Talia is finishing a business deal with some aliens when Garibaldi finds her and asks for her help. She's reluctant at first, but after Garibaldi tells her of his life on Mars two years ago, specifically a relationship he had with a woman named Lise Hampton, she agrees to help him. Garibaldi asks her if she can get a channel to the Mars Colony through a Psi Corps research center on the colony, which surprises Talia that he knows about it since that center is supposed to be classified.

As the research team enters Episilon 3's atmosphere, the shuttle picks up something heading towards them very fast. It turns out that there are three missiles coming from the planet heading towards the shuttle. Taking evasive action, the shuttle manages to dodge two of the missiles, but the third missile hits the shuttle's aft stabilizers. Three more missiles coming from the planet are launched towards the shuttle trying to finish them off, but from Babylon 5, Ivanova orders the Starfuries to fire towards the planet in a wide angle firing pattern to throw off the targeting systems on the missiles so that it won't be able to lock-on. Firing the last of their engines, the shuttle manages to get out of the atmosphere.

In a meeting with the Commander and Ivanova, Dr. Tasaki shows them that the initial scans of the planet indicated that there were no life forms or any automatic systems on the surface of the planet or up to 2 miles below the surface. The doctor then shows them an image of the planet, which shows them a large crack on the surface, which was most likely caused by the quakes happening on the planet. Within that crack, the scanners picked up a fisher, which was most likely made artificially, but that was where the missiles came from, which was 5 miles within the planet's surface, indicating that there was something very valuable down there that would require a heave defense system. Ivanova and Sinclair believe that they should go down there themselves to see if it presents itself as a threat to station security.

In the Zocalo, Garibaldi is sitting at the bar drinking water, when Londo sees him in his depressed state and tries to cheer him up, which works for Garibaldi in lifting his spirits up by telling him a story about when he was young and one day while at a dance club, he was also depressed like how Garibaldi was, when he noticed the dancer leaning down over the stage looking into his eyes and saying whatever it is, it can't be that bad. Then she kissed him on the forehead and then he married her that very same day. But, unfortunately, she had a voice that could curdle fresh milk. As Londo leaves the area into a corridor, he seems something. It's the same image that Sinclair had seen earlier, the same message repeating asking for help. Commander Sinclair and Ivanova and a flight of Starfuries head down to the planet. As the shuttle enters the planet's atmosphere, the planet's defense network launches missiles towards them. Sinclair orders the Starfuries to fire in the same pattern as they had done earlier to throw off the missiles and prevent them from locking on to the shuttle. As the shuttle enters the fisher, the scanners pick up an opening, definitely artificial. It's a landing grid and the shuttle proceeds to enter it. When the ship docks, Ivanova and Sinclair conduct an environmental scan and big up large amounts of carbon dioxide, which means that they would need breathers, but don't pick up any life signs. Back on Babylon 5, Talia tries to get a relay channel established between Babylon 5 and the Mars Colony through the Psi Corps research center there, but the Psi Corps representative speaking with Talia is unhappy that someone outside the Corps knows about the center and believes that he only wants this connection so that he can prove that the center exists, but they are willing to find out if her name is on the wounded list. They find a system of tunnels that have booby traps. Once they get past the traps, they find a long bridge surrounded by machines as tall as buildings.

In Londo's quarters, Delenn introduces Mollari to Draal while taking him on a tour of the station. In C&C, Garibaldi is trying to establish a connection to the shuttle to get in touch with the Commander and find out what's happening on Epsilon 3, but they are unsuccessful. Talia enters and asks to speak with Garibaldi outside C&C. She tells him that the Psi Corps is displeased at his knowledge of the center and are unwilling to establish a connection to the Mars Colony, but they were willing to search for Lise's name on the survivor's list, but her name wasn't on it, which means that something has happened to her, but Garibaldi believes that she's still alive. Then, Garibaldi finds out that they have successfully managed to get a connection to the Commander, who tells Garibaldi about their discovery below the planet's surface, but they pick up seismic activity in the area, it's a big quake, which causes the ceiling to cave in and preventing Sinclair and Ivanova from returning to their shuttle. They then continue the other way when they see the image of the man earlier, who points them to a certain direction. They then discover a room where they see the alien hooked up to a machine. The alien then wakes up and tells them that if they don't help him, everyone will die. Ivanova and Sinclair then take the alien out of the machine and take him to Babylon 5. As that is happening, the station picks up a ship coming through the jumpgate, it's a big one.

Part Two

Recounting the events of the last part, Babylon 5 detecting seismic activity on the planet they are orbiting. The name of the planet is Epsilon 3. A research team sent to investigate the disturbances are hit by an intense power surge, which turns out to be a beacon sending out repeated signals and repeated intervals. While that's happening, the command staff learns of violence on Mars as insurgents, who are trying to create an independent Mars government, stage an open revolt, with Garibaldi desperate to get a connection to the colony to find out about his girlfriend, Lise Hampton. Draal, an old friend and teacher to Ambassador Delenn arrives on Babylon 5. After Sinclair and Ivanova make it down to the planet below, they find a bridge surrounded by machines that are as tall as buildings. They then find an alien hooked up to a machine who asks them for help otherwise the whole planet will blow up, taking Babylon 5 with it. They then take the alien out of the machine and to Babylon 5, as a big ship comes through the jumpgate, it's an Earth Alliance heavy cruiser.

Capt. Pierce, the commanding officer of the Earth Alliance heavy cruiser Hyperion, demands to speak to Commander Sinclair and to assume control of the situation concerning the discovery made on Epsilon 3. In Medlab, Dr. Franklin has managed to stabilize the alien's condition, but doesn't know what he is or where he came from. Sinclair then gets a message from Ivanova saying that Captain Pierce has boarded the station and is in the briefing room. When Sinclair asks Pierce the reason for his sudden arrival, Pierce tells him that he and his ship were headed to the Vegan outpost when they received orders from EarthForce Command to come to Babylon 5 on the authority from the Office of Planetary Security to assume control. They know what Sinclair found on Epsilon 3 could be a whole knew level of technology that could be used for military gains. Since Epsilon 3 is in neutral space, other alien governments might try to take the technology from them. Earth wants to show the other governments that they get first dibs on the technology and to prevent anyone else from sending down a team to the planet to exploit the automatic systems of the planet for their own use. Basically, they want a show of force to disencourage other races from sending their own ships to the area.

As Garibaldi is watching the news about the violence happening on Mars, he hears some humans talking proudly of the EarthForce military making gains in taking back areas that were under the control of the rebels on Mars. Garibaldi, hearing this, gets mad and hits of the human's head on to the table. Sinclair is in his quarters taking with Sen. Hidoshi wondering if Capt. Pierce's mission goes against the authority that Sinclair was solely given by the President, having final jurisdiction over the sector. Sinclair claims that unless told by the President himself, he is still in command of the sector and has final say on any matter. Sen. Hidoshi tries to compromise by getting Sinclair to share the authority with Pierce, which Sinclair strongly objects to, with Hidoshi hanging up on him when Sinclair gets a message from Ivanova.

In C&C, Ivanova tells him that a flight of ships departed from the Hyperion were heading down to the planet below when they were attacked by the defense systems of the planet. When Sinclair gets Capt. Pierce on the line, he tells him that ships trying to enter the planet below would never make it unless they had an encoded jamming device, which Pierce demands that they give it over to him, in which Sinclair tells him that it's being repaired and cuts the connection. Ivanova then tells him that they don't have a jamming device, which Sinclair says that he was bluffing to Capt. Pierce to discourage him from sending down any more ships to the planet for a while. Ivanova tells Sinclair that the other thing she wanted to tell him was that there has been an increase in the seismic activity in the planet below. It started at the same time the Hyperion sent ships down there, but that they are not natural quakes as before, they are a chain reaction of fusion reactors below Epsilon 3 that are at least 5-10 miles long, and are heading for critical mass, which will break the planet apart from the inside until it explodes. Based on the readings, the planet's fusion reactors will hit critical in 48 hours and blow up the planet and take Babylon 5 with it, but it'll take at least 3-5 days for the station to evacuate everyone, including most of the command staff. The surprising fact about it is that all this started after Sinclair and Ivanova brought the alien from Epsilon 3, without anyone to control the machine, the system will keep running on automatic until it self-destructs. Sinclair decides to give another 12 hours to try to find a solution to the situation, but if that fails, then they will evacuate the station.

After Ivanova leaves Sinclair's office, she runs into Mollari who demands to know if the rumors that they have found someone in the planet below and brought him to Babylon 5 are true. Ivanova tells him that these rumors aren't true. Mollari demands that he knows everything that's going on, since the Centauri Republic gave a substantial amount of money towards the construction of the station. Ivanova then tells him what's really going on, boom, boom boom boom, boom boom, BOOM, and leaves. In Medlab, it seems the alien from the planet below is in pain. As Delenn and Draal are walking towards Delenn's quarters, Draal hears a voice calling his name and proceeds with Delenn to follow the voice and find out where it's coming from.

In Garibaldi's quarters, Sinclair comes in and speaks to Garibaldi about a few things. The first thing is about the incident in the Zocalo between him and the guy who he banged his head on the table. They could have filed a complaint, but have decided not to. Sinclair wants him to keep his cool because of the intense situation going on with Epsilon 3 heading towards destruction. Garibaldi apologizes to Sinclair and tells him that because of the violence on Mars, and him feeling helpless over whether or not Lise is alright or not, he just snapped and promises never to do it again. The other thing that Sinclair wanted to tell him is that in the event of an evacuation, some of the command staff will have to stay with the station to coordinate the evacuation, he knows that Ivanova would want to stay, but Sinclair feels that she has her whole career ahead of her and wants Garibaldi to make sure that she gets on the last shuttle out before the end.

Back in Medlab, Draal and Delenn see the alien in isolation, and Draal says that was where the voice was coming from. They then proceed into the Isolab when the alien comes to and talks to Draal. The alien tells him that the planet will explode if anyone tries to land down on Epsilon 3. In C&C, Ivanova tells Sinclair that the alien is awake and can confirm their information about the planet blowing up if anyone sends any ships down to the planet. She then tells him that the Hyperion is preparing to send down another team to the planet after they have found out that the station doesn't have a jamming device to get past the planet's defenses. Sinclair then gets Pierce on the line telling him not to send any ships down to the planet otherwise it'll blow up, but Pierce doesn't believe him. Sinclair then activates the station's defense grid and targets the Hyperion, which then cancels the launch and doesn't send any more ships down. A ship then comes through the jumpgate and launches two beams, one to Babylon 5 and the other to the Hyperion. It's a scanning beam, they are accessing their language files. They then get a message from the ship and the alien looks like the same race as the alien that they found on the planet below. They are the last group of the race, searching the galaxy for 500 years to find this planet and stake a claim to it. It orders Babylon 5 and the Hyperion to surrender and to leave, or to be destroyed, and gives them ten hours to comply. Before that station can send a reply to the aliens, the Hyperion comes through and tells the aliens that this sector is under Earth jurisdiction and that they have no right to take over the planet, they have 9 hours to leave the area or be destroyed.

Sinclair and Ivanova then proceed down to Medlab to talk to the alien to find out if the planet really does belong to the group of aliens. The alien, who gives his name as Varn, tells them that the group of aliens that are here, are outcasts, a militant faction of their race that were banished from their planet, and trying to claim Epsilon 3 as their own, which Babylon 5 must not allow.

Arc significance

* The planet Babylon 5 orbits is called Epsilon III, and is not as dead as it appears.
* Introduces the Great Machine.
* Introduces the character of Draal.
* Introduces the character of Lise Hampton.
* The revolution on Mars begins.

Production details

External links

* A Voice in the Wilderness [http://www.midwinter.com/lurk/guide/018.html Part 1] and [http://www.midwinter.com/lurk/guide/019.html Part 2] at "The Lurker's Guide to Babylon 5"

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