Disaster strikes an old friend of Captain Sheridan. Dr. Franklin offers
nutritional advice to some reluctant patients.
Russ Tamblyn as Capt. Maynard.
Miguel A. Nuñez, Jr. as Orwell.
P5 Rating: 7.34
Production number: 204
Original air date: November 23, 1994
Written by D.C. Fontana
Directed by Jim Johnston
- Captain Maynard's footwear.
- Sheridan's first commander, on Earth-Mars patrol duty, was Jack
Maynard, who Sheridan admired greatly. "I thought he knew
everything," Sheridan says. "He did, too."
- The Earth Alliance has a small fleet of huge Explorer-class ships that
travel out on the rim of known space, mapping new systems and
installing new jump gates. More specialized scout ships follow later
to perform detailed or specific surveys of these newly opened
- The Explorer ships, which are considered choice commands, can
also repair jumpgates.
- Navigation in hyperspace involves locking onto jumpgate signals.
There seem to be no natural reference points in hyperspace, so
a ship must keep its own internal navigation references or lock
onto the signals of nearby gates or it will become lost. Until this
episode, no ship lost in hyperspace had ever been rescued.
- Minbari society is built upon a strict caste structure and obedience
to superiors within that caste structure. Delenn has challanged
that organization, and the Minbari are beginning to react.
- Is something living in hyperspace? (This isn't a new
question; it was the subject of a front-page Universe Today story in
"And the Sky Full of Stars.")
- Why does Delenn feel she is more "one of us" now than she's ever been?
Is it because she views humans and Minbari as joined, and she feels
she's a part of both halves?
- How does hyperspace work in the B5 universe?
- The appearance of his friend and mentor Jack Maynard suddenly throws
Sheridan's new duties aboard Babylon 5 into contrast with his training
and experience, kindling a strong sense of dissatisfaction with the job.
"I've been beached," he says. This is sure to crop up again in the future.
Despite his newfound energy at the end of the episode, what Captain
Maynard said is still true; being a governor and a diplomat isn't what
Sheridan trained or even wished for. If he's itching for action when a
crisis comes up, that might cause him to look less thoroughly for peaceful
solutions than someone like Sinclair might.
- Delenn's transformation is something that's clearly a mystery to the
general Minbari population, suggesting that it is either unprecedented
or so rare as to be unheard-of. Yet she seemed to know what she was
doing, as did at least some of the Grey Council. The Council is
likely harboring many secrets that aren't simple matters of
religion and spirituality; what other technologies do they possess
that the Minbari public knows nothing about?
- Jumpgates act as locator beacons in hyperspace, providing a three
dimensional homing signal detectable for a thousand kilometers or so
there. To be useful in the featureless and chaotic void of hyperspace
it would have to provide both a relative and an absolute reference much
like a VOR does for aircraft. If the beacon can respond to ship data
requests, then range data and traffic information could also be transmitted
to the approaching (or departing) ship. Just how this works is not explained.
- Hyperspace is a featureless place, yet it has currents and eddies that
corrospond to gravity in normal space. Sheridan says, "We know
there is a drift in hyperspace that can pull a ship down the gravitational
incline." Gravity works in hyperspace, though apparently not in quite
the same way that it works in real space. Electromagnetic waves
also propogate in hyperspace, but become distorted rapidly over
distance in a random and variable way. Jumpgate beacons are, therefore,
very short range -- more like lighthouses in hyperspace -- and communications
with ships in hyperspace is possible only when the vessel is near a jumpgate.
- What looks like a great deal of hand-waving over the Cortez accident
can be explained upon close examination of the circumstances. The
timeline of the accident seems to be:
- Cortez enters the jumpgate.
- Cortez exits the jumppoint in hyperspace and attempts a restart of her
primary power system. The fusion reactor restart fails, and the power
system spikes, producing a powerful electro-magnetic pulse (and presumably
a sizable radiation pulse) which takes out some systems aboard Cortez,
including main propulsion, navigation, and some computer systems. Cortez
is now adrift.
- Many hours later Cortez gets some main power back and systems running.
Captain Maynard, after getting a damage report that tells him that nav won't
be back up for 48 hours, puts up a distress call, which is received (barely) by B5.
At this point Cortez is under power, but without reference points the best they
can do is hold station against the pull of a nearby gravity well.
- B5 receives the distress signal, and Captain Sheridan decides to make a rescue
attempt. Cortez is effectively just "offshore" in hyperspace, and despite Ivonova's
misgivings he feels they stand a chance of recovering her. Five fighters are
launched into hyperspace by B5, and they form up on a line facing down the local
gravity well at 1000km intervals.
- The fighters set up the search pattern, with Cdr. Galus (fighter group commander)
and Lt. Keffer together at the far end. This puts them about 4000km away from B5.
- A shadow ship enters hyperspace almost on top of Galus, colliding with and
destroying his fighter. It also rams Keffer's Star Fury, but only knocks out some
systems (comms, nav, and propulsion).
Keffer begins firing (presumably on internal references) in the direction of Galus's
last position. Cortez figures it out, and at about the same time Keffer's fighter
gets communications back online. Rather than risk losing a good bearing back
to the jumpgate, Keffer tells Captain Maynard to take Cortez directly back to
the gate, leaving him behind in his unmaneuverable Star Fury. He is unable
to keep station and will drift, eventually losing any reference back to B5.
- About 24 hours later (more or less -- it seems like the next night, end of shift
in C&C, about midnight) Keffer is running out of oxygen--but his Star Fury has
succeeded in getting his thruster systems back online. Shortly after that he
spots another shadow ship, and using that as a reference point he navigates
back to the jumpgate and returns to B5.
- This may not have been as much of a crisis as it seemed to be. Cortez, given its
stated function of running about on the rim, must carry its own jumppoint
generator. The problem was the lack of main power. Since it has already been
stated that opening a jumppoint takes a great deal of energy, the size of the
Cortez fusion plant would therefore be determined by the power requirements
for creating the jumppoint. With only partial main power, she was unable to do so.
But given the size of the ship and its presumed independence, it is possible that
Cortez could have repaired her main power plant herself, and then opened a
jumpgate of her own. This possibility explains why Captain Maynard didn't broadcast a
mayday immediately following the accident -- he assumed they could get Cortez
out of trouble themselves. It was only after he received the damage report
detailing the slow recovery of main power and the long repair time for navigation
that he decided to call for assistance.
- This episode further delineates the technological capabilities of
the Shadows, though not explicitly. They use the same hyperspace
the major races do. (As opposed to, for example, the Sigma 957
who appeared to use something different.)
- Though the Shadows presumably noticed the Starfuries and the Cortez
and realized they could be seen as well, they took no action against
the human ships. This is somewhat in contrast to their apparent
desire to remain undetected. Several explanations are possible.
Perhaps the Shadow ship was in a hurry; perhaps its weapons aren't
functional in hyperspace; or, most intriguing, perhaps it realized
that the ships were from Earth and chose to leave them alone for
- Captain Maynard has seen a shadow ship in the past, though he didn't
recognize it as such, and now Lt. Keffer has seen one as well.
- Garibaldi's special dinner:
Bagna Cauda (from Jeff Smith's -The Frugal Gourmet-)
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 lb. butter (1 stick) - not margarine!
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
6 anchovy fillets, mashed
Heat oil and butter together in top of double boiler. In a small
skillet cook the garlic in a bit of this oil until soft. Add the
anchovies, and cook till the fish turns into a paste, about 5 min. Mix
this paste with the hot oil and butter. Transfer to a chafing dish or
fondue pot to keep warm on the table (it congeals as it cools.)
- The Egyptian blessing: "God be between you and harm, in
all the empty places where you must walk." This blessing was
quoted by creative consultant Harlan Ellison in his short story,
"Paladin of the Lost Hour."
- Delenn's speech about "starstuff" is very similar to a section of
Carl Sagan's Cosmos, as well as a section of the play
The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds.
- (unverified) As the Cortez exits the jumpgate, its hull numbers
can be read, "14286." Later, when Sheridan grants clearance for
it to leave, its number is stated as "C199."
- To be filed under the heading of, "What I does, I takes the rap for;
what I does not, I doesn't take the rap for," when we discussed the
hyperspace accident in our production meetings, Jim -- our director --
asked if he could so some fratzing and sparking, some fire...I said I
did not *want* huge gouts of flame, just a few small sparks, fine, a
bit of smoke from components burned out, fine...and that day I was
over in the other facility overseeing a mixdown of the audio...and
guess what he did in my absence? Yup.
- So many questions about hyperspace came up over the last year or so
that we figured they should be addressed; be assured, we're staying
as clear of technobabble as ever, despite my Spousal Overunit's
absolute and unshakeable conviction that *everything* is, at its
root, a math problem.
- To get in and out of hyperspace you have to know where you are and
where you're going, otherwise you'll come out even *more* lost,
hundreds of light years from home; you jump in, and you're even
further gone now.
- Once in hyperspace, you can ride the navigational beams
between beacons (narrow beam stuff, to cut through the interference,
as noted in "Distant Star"), and by corrolating the beacons, know where
you have to come out.
That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
- And the Cortez might've been able to locate some stars, but any fix
on its position would only have been within a few light-years, not
nearly precise enough for their purposes. They'd still be lost.
- Should a ship have been named after Cortez, considering what
effect his arrival had on the native Americans?
If Cortez had NOT landed in northern Mexico, do you think it would
have remained undiscovered until now?
Fact #1: somebody was bound to discover the Americas.
Fact #2: any sufficiently advanced civilization or culture will
inevitably attempt to exploit any civilization or culture not
sufficiently advanced to fight back on a level playing field.
Blaming explorers for exploring has always seemed to me really kind
of silly; do people *really* think that if Columbus hadn't landed
here, it'd be 1994 and we still wouldn't know the world was round and
that this continent was here? It doesn't matter who discovered it,
the same result would've come. Somebody had to discover it sooner
- Did the Cortez spin to produce gravity?
Yes, it rotated to create its gravity, as you can
see quite clearly in the episode.
- (He coughs and speaks in his Executive Producer Voice:) "I *LIKE* the
opening title sequence."
Now...onto other matters.
We re-mixed the narration and music today in the titles, and it's a LOT
better. I slightly shifted the placement of some of the lines, and
Bruce's rendition is very nice. Really carries the weight. Look for
it to appear starting in episode #4.
- Actually, we just redid the narration with Bruce yesterday, and it's
MUCH better. We'll be able to get it in starting in episode #4.
While we were at it, btw, we took the opportunity to re-do the
faceplate shot in the main title sequence. It was fine, but it
could've been better. Now it is. Expect it around the same time as
the new VO.
Originally compiled by Dave Zimmerman