Delenn (Mira Furlan) meets Shaal Mayan (Nancy Lee Graham), a Minbari poet who is a childhood friend, for a drink and conversation. The poet is there on the way to Earth as part of an alien poetry tour. Mayan retires to rest afterwards. In the corridor, she is stabbed in the stomach and branded on the forehead. A voice tells her to stay away from Earth.
Delenn confronts Commander Sinclair (Michael O’Hare) and Garibaldi (Jerry Doyle), and Sinclair promises to find the attacker. Later, Garibaldi reports to Sinclair that this is the sixth attack on an alien in two weeks. The brand left on Shaal Mayan’s forehead is the hallmark of Homeguard, a radical Xenophobe pro-Earth group. Sinclair will not tolerate this on Babylon Five. Narn ambassador G’Kar warns Sinclair that such an attack on a Narn would be met with bloody retribution. Garibaldi interviews Mayan but she remembers little. Doctor Franklin (Richard Biggs) offers to remove the brand, but she wants to keep it as a lesson.
Ivanova informs Garibaldi that a Centauri liner about to dock has two prisoners to hand over. She goes to pick up the pair of young Centauri, who demand to see Ambassador Cotto. Her name is called by Malcolm Biggs (Tristan Rogers) at Customs—someone from her past. The Centauris, Kiron Maray (Rodney Eastman) and Aria Tensus (Danica McKellar) meet with Vir Cotto, Kiron’s cousin, disappointed that he is not really an ambassador. Sinclair tells Londo that the pair were caught with stolen credit chips and reluctantly releases them into his custody.
Biggs tracks down Ivanova. They were lovers once. Ambassador Londo Mollari questions the two Centauri and finds that they are fleeing arranged marriages, as they wish to marry each other. Mollari explains they are going against a thousand years of tradition. He shows them a picture of his three arranged wives, whom he calls Pestilence, Famine, and Death. The pair will be sent home. Garibaldi questions someone named Roberts (Michael Paul Chan), found with a knife with blood on it. He denies the attack but favors Homeguard. Garibaldi will have the blood examined.
Sinclair visits Kosh in his quarters, who is not interested in what is going on, though as Sinclair explained to Ivanova, someone once tried to kill Kosh with a poison patch on his hand. They wonder how someone could get to his hand in his encounter suit and how much of that suit is necessary. The only two people to see inside were the previous doctor Bejamin Kyle and the previous telepath Lyta Alexander, who were both returned to Earth immediately afterwards.
Mollari calls out Vir over the young lovers, as he has received grief from the families, and orders Vir to make sure they are on the next transport to Centauri. Garibaldi has to release Roberts but keeps tabs on him. Ivanova has dinner with Biggs but tells him she does not regret the posting to Io, though it meant leaving him. He tells her he is moving his business to Babylon Five. In the gardens, Kiron and Arion are attacked, Vir finds them and they are rushed to Medlab. G’Kar causes a stir in the Central Corridor of Brown Sector, calling for aliens to take the law into their own hands. The riot squad shuts it down, though Roberts is attacked by two Drazi.
Ivanova leaves her date when Sinclair calls. Roberts is also in Medlab. Shaal Mayan pleads the case of the two lovers to Londo. He says they can live without love, and she asks, “Is that what you did?” He goes to the garden to think about his loveless life. Garibaldi shows Sinclair a recording of Biggs in Medlab, trying to recruit Roberts into Homeguard. Ivanova sees it as well. She is upset but will do her duty. Sinclair asks her to introduce him, undercover, to Biggs, and then invites him with Ivanova to his quarters. Biggs asks him to come and meet his friends.
At a meeting of the Babylon Five Advisory Council, Sinclair announces the investigation is over. The Council is angry. Kiron awakes in Medlab. Londo’s cousin will meet with him and foster both lovers at his estate, an honor which their families cannot refuse. That night, Sinclair and Ivanova are led by Biggs to Cargo Bay Five. The Homeguard are wearing camo suits under development by Earthforce. Garibaldi’s bug is jammed. In a few days, the four major ambassadors on Babylon Five are to be be assassinated. Sinclair agrees to help but he must pass a loyalty test. Shaar is brought in and he is ordered to kill her. But Security Forces are coming and Sinclair and Ivanova arrest the Homeguard. Delenn, G’Kar, and Shaar Mayan watch the Homeguard being taken aboard a ship for Earth. Biggs accosts Ivanova about her betrayal. She says many of the aliens here are more human than he is.
The story was written by D.C. Fontana, author of many SF stories and many Star Trek episodes. The War Prayer poem was written by Mark Twain in 1905, an anti-war piece intended to counter the witless rhetoric of war by pointing out that the enemy is human. The symbol branded on the Minbari victim’s forehead is the hermaphroditic symbol—a cross and an arrow on a circle—but probably supposed to be a symbol for Earth. If Londo’s ex-wives are supposed to be Pestilence, Famine, and Death, I suppose Londo himself is War. Lyta Alexander and Benjamin Kyle were assigned to Earth because the actors in the pilot were not available for the series itself. Later, Patricia Tallman became available and Lyta Alexander returned. Andrea Thompson left the series because her marriage to Jerry Doyle was deteriorating.