Two men arrive on Babylon Five and study a picture of Commander Jeffrey Sinclair (Michael O’Hare). Meanwhile, some goons accost a security guard and remind him that he owes them money. The guard, Frank Benson (Joe Banks), is called to Sinclair’s office. Sinclair and Security Chief Michael Garibaldi (Jerry Doyle) confront Benson about his gambling, and Sinclair takes him off active duty while Garibaldi investigates. The two agents set up equipment in their quarters, one of them speaking of how difficult it is to smuggle aboard a power source, so he had to improvise. Benson, meanwhile, sneaks into a secure area.
In Medlab, Doctor Stephen Franklin (Richard Briggs) is examining Minbari Ambassador Delenn (Mira Furlan), relieved to finally have some baseline medical data on her species. She asks him about the Earth-Minbari War, and he recounts how Earthforce tried to get him to use his notes on Minbari physiology to construct a biogenic weapon. He destroyed his notes. He asks her the same question, but she smiles and brushes it off.
Benson meets with the two operatives, handing over the power source they need. They will pay him well, but he is upset when they will not get him transferred off the station. That night, Sinclair has a nightmare about the Battle of the Line. When he awakes, his computer is not functioning. He goes to headquarters, finds it deserted and offline, except an indication that there is only one person on the station. In the Central Corridor, he is confronted by a taunting voice. Knight Two (Christopher Neame) appears.
In the morning, Delenn tells Garibaldi that she was supposed to meet with Sinclair, but she cannot find him. Neither can he, and he sets off to investigate. Knight Two explains to Sinclair that he is hooked up to a Virtual Reality Cybernet, but he can still feel pain, which he demonstrates. Garibaldi finds Sinclair’s link in his quarters. Sinclair would never leave without it. Knight Two says he is there because his superiors do not believe Sinclair simply blacked out during the Battle of the Line while trying to ram a Minbari ship and cannot remember the 24 hours after that. Sinclair refuses to help, so Knight Two creates the image of Sinclair’s wingman Bill Mitchell (Justin Williams) who died on the Line. Knight Two calls him a traitor.
Garibaldi gathers Doctor Franklin and Lt. Commander Ivanova (Claudia Christian) to help and suggests sending maintenance bots outside the station in case there is a body drifting there. Delenn offers to help Ivanova as Benson overhears. Knight Two takes a break as Knight One (Judson Scott) alerts him to the search and guesses they will have about four hours. He orders Sinclair’s drug dosage increased, despite the danger of hallucinations and death.
Garibaldi’s aide informs him he has pulled everyone for the search, including Benson. When Garibaldi questions that, the aide says Benson has no debts anymore, and has in fact come into money. Checking it out, Garibaldi orders Benson brought in. Knight Two pushes Sinclair. He sees gray hooded figures striking him with an energy flash. Benson, worried, forces his way in, and Knight One kills him. His body is found drifting offside by the bots looking for Sinclair. Sinclair awakes and Knight Two theorizes that the Minbari recruited Sinclair as an operative.
Sinclair thinks the Minbari didn’t need to do anything like that because they could have conquered Earth easily at that point, but he remembers the words of a Minbari assassin: There is a hole in your mind. He begins to remember: While trying to ram the Minbari ship, his fighter was disabled and he was brought aboard by gray figures, one of which he unmasked as Delenn. He breaks free from the cybernet, causing a discharge that knocks out Knight Two, then knocks out Knight One as well and stumbles out with their weapon.
Delirious and hallucinating, he wanders into Downbelow, shouts at a security guard, seeing him as a gray hooded figure. Knight One, pursuing, kills the guard. There is a shootout between Sinclair and Knight One in the marketplace. Garibaldi arrives and Sinclair fires at him. Doctor Franklin calls Garibaldi and says he has found the cybernet device and Sinclair is probably under psychotropic drugs. Delenn approaches Sinclair. He says, “I know you” and shoots Knight One.
In Medlab, Sinclair is purged of the drugs. Knight Two has been sent to Earth in custody, but his memory has been damaged in the feedback from the machine. Later, Sinclair goes to Delenn’s quarters to thank her. She asks if he remembered anything and he says no. After he leaves, another Minbari comes in and says that if he does remember, he will have to be killed. She understands. Back in his quarters, Sinclair adds to his log that he remembers being interviewed by the Grey Council.
Knight Two was supposed to be played by Walter Koenig, but in 1993 he had a heart-attack. Straczynski promised to write a new character for him, which turned out to be Bester. Patrick McGoohan wanted to play the role but could not fit it into his schedule. Garibaldi reads a copy of Universe Today. All the headlines refer to events revealed elsewhere in the series. Jeffrey Sinclair was born on Mars Colony 3 May 2218. His suspicious blackout resulted in his lack of promotion later and led him to taking the job at Babylon Five. Straczynski pointed out that all the special effects in the series came out of a budget half that of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Straczynski was in fact offered the job of producing Star Trek: Enterprise earlier in his career but realized he would not be able to write as he pleased. In this episode, we get to see the Minbari ships, which are gorgeous. They remind me of the bone crests on the Minbari head. They not only resemble their creators, they are said to be living creatures, like the Vorlon ships.
The title is a reference to a description of the Battle of the Line: The sky was full of stars and every one an exploding ship. The battle involved 20,000 Earth ships. Less than 200 survived, meaning that the Minbari eliminated 99% of Earth’s defenses. The big question the masters of Knights One and Two want answered, not to mention the entire population of Earth, is: Why did the Minbari, with no opposition left, turn around and go home without conquering Earth? Of, course, a religious society would hardly think that was sporting, but we now see that the Grey Council found something important in Sinclair. Straczynski will give us many more questions before that one is answered.