This is the continuation of our fictional letter (reviewing each film and episode of Babylon 5) that I receive each week from Ranger Mayann.
Here is her fifth report:
Nih sakh sh’lekk, sleem wa, Greetings from Tuzanor:
In this fifth report, still in your Earth year 2258, the second year of operation of the station, Ambassador G’kar and Ambassador Mollari, with the mediation of Commander Sinclair, have been dancing around the issue of an important treaty for some time, telling enough untruths to make the head of your poor human telepath, paid to monitor the negotiations, spin with unease.
As talks around the Euphrates sector, indeed, possibly named for a key civilization on your world, falter, the two ambassadors mutual fondness of drink, of which we Minbari cannot partake, and romance, with which we Minbari are well acquainted, showed that Narn and Centauri were more alike than they wished to think.
At this same time, Lieutenant Commander Ivanova was learning that Mr. Garibaldi was a better sniffer of electronic truth than she might have first imagined. Her tale of Russian fighter pilots and gremlins did not stop the relentless comic from catching her in a sadly needed, yet still unauthorized misuse of station resources.
While then still new to the station, Vir Koto had his first taste of ambassadorial authority, if for only a few hours. In contrast, another Centauri experienced the consequences of lack of any authority, and what that could lead to for the powerless from their world. Despite having the love of an ambassador.
As Commander Sinclair learned more about the resident telepath, Talia Winters, his two closest subordinates were coming to know each other as opponents in a game of ‘catch Lt. Gremlin‘ accessing the communication system. At the same time, a powerless woman is forced to access the system on behalf of her power hungry master. A saddening balance of abuse for good, and abuse for ill. Neither abuse of the system ought to have been made necessary. Only the solidarity among the less powerful prevented this incident from turning into an even greater tragedy for both parties.
This incident is an important introduction to the importance of appearances and of saving of face for the overly prideful Centauri, and it further shows that human telepaths had free will to decide to help other human beings, despite the power of your Psycorps, which ran their lives without mercy, for a time. It also brings into sharp focus the lengths to which those who abuse the vulnerable will go to gain power, including lies, theft, and even murder, if permitted.
Knowing the station and those who frequented it were what allowed then Commander Sinclair to apply some of that wisdom which he would later use in full measure, upon becoming…
Sadly, even the oppressed run out of the solidarity that could save them, and the ruthless find strong arms with out conscience to do their ill bidding.
Fortunately, there is always a way around such problems, if we are willing to find creative solutions and act with courage to protect the vulnerable. And to forgive the broken of heart, when they are people of honor.
From the city of Tuzanor, on Minbar
Earth year 2278,
Addendum to her report, by Shira: My personal view of this episode is that while it is important for characterizing all of the main players, it really shows the power relations within the Centauri Republic-turned-empire. This will be very important later on. I am grateful to Ranger Mayann for including these issues in her report.
I also really enjoyed seeing how poor G’kar has to put up with his new attaché’s disgust with the dancing ‘establishment’ in sharp contrast to his own liking for it, and especially the glee with which Londo watches all of this. It is fun to watch G’kar’s own ambition being used against him, in the end, to ‘save the honor of the Centauri Republic’ and his almost (but at this point, not quite, as far as he knows, anyway) arch-enemy Londo’s career! 🙂 At this point in the series, he seems to be setting up to become the villain, and it looking back on it, will be … ok, no spoiling!
This is also a great episode from a human rights point of view, highlighting as it did, back in the 90s, the problem of sex-trafficking and showing how a woman can be coerced even when it is not obvious that that is the case, at first glance, anyway.
I also love the cat and mouse game between Garibaldi and Ivanova, with her never outright lying, but knowing that she is not being entirely truthful, either, and too proud to ask for permission to use the Gold Channels, even though Commander Sinclair would surely have authorized her use of that limited resource to talk with her dying father. Garibaldi’s tact and empathy in dealing with her, once he had proof, was the highest example of kindness and even of humility, as he let her save face, and keep her honor clean. The final bit of seeing her at last drop her pride to accept ‘that drink, some other time’ is almost like the moment in Harry Potter when Hermione lies to Professor McGonagal to save Harry and Ron from punishment: a turning point where the habitual behavior of a character changes, revealing that a key lesson has just been learned and acted upon with a new ‘self’ being born in that moment. Or perhaps I go too far?
That was part 5 of Ranger Mayann’s letter on the history of the Babylon Project. It can be seen from another point of view by watching the Babylon 5 Season 1, Episode 3: Born to the Purple, which I highly recommend.
Ranger Mayann’s fourth report, from last week, can be read here.
1.) Share your thoughts on inheritance and power, if you will.
2.) Share your first imaginings about how to change such cycles, if you like.
3.) Share your thoughts on how we Human Beings might start to build a more fully inclusive society for all of us, and how something like Babylon 5 could help that process.
4.) Write a story, post or tweet that uses these thoughts.
Dear Readers, ideas on learning, especially multiple #LanguageLearning, on-going education and empathy-building, to #EndPoverty, #EndHomelessness, #EndMoneyBail & achieve freedom for All HumanKind?
Support our key #PublicDomainInfrastructure & #StopSmoking for CCOVID-19:
2. #ProBono legal aid and Education,
3. #UniversalHealthCare, and
4. good #publictransport
Read, Write -one can add Stayed on Freedom’s Call via this GoodReads button:
Nih sakh sh’lekk, sleem wa.