The Battle of the Line
The following page is devoted to the events at the Battle of the Line
as recalled by Sinclair during his drug-influenced VR experience in
"And the Sky Full of Stars."
"Points of Departure."
- How did the Minbari appear out of nowhere? (see
- Why is Sinclair important to the Minbari?
- Why was he tortured?
- What was the talisman held up in front of him? (cf
"Legacies", Babylon Squared")
- All the Starfuries around Sinclair are destroyed with one, sometimes two
Minbari beams. However, a fighter spent several seconds on
Sinclair's tail and fired over twelve laser beams at him,
all of them missing.
- The only two Starfuries that suffered a damaging shot before being
destroyed were also the only two that made notable flight
maneuvers: Alpha-7, who was out in front, and Mitchell, who peeled
off after the attacking fighter and went on to shoot at a cruiser.
The Minbari may have been listening in on their ship-to-ship
chatter, deliberately damaging those two ships in the process of
determining which was the one they wanted.
- Once his squad had all been shot down, cruiser fire finally hit
Sinclair's Starfury, but it only damaged his engine strut. Cruiser
fire had earlier taken off the engine struts of his
comrades. After this, all enemy fire ceased. Clearly the Minbari
could have destroyed him then if they'd wanted.
- Conclusion: One fighter was sent to herd Sinclair away so
maximum-strength lasers could be used on his squad. A disabling
shot was then fired at his engine strut in preparation for taking
him aboard. Then Sinclair set up for his ram.
- Sinclair's squad took neither defensive nor offensive action when
Alpha-7, in advance of the rest, was destroyed by cruiser fire.
There was nothing for them to do but take note that enemy
transmissions were present and drift forward until visual contact
- When first spotted, the cruisers had already matched velocities
with the Starfuries and killed their engines. They were also
perfectly positioned so that pilots would have to attack into the
sun. This, with Sinclair's exclamation, "It's a trap!" definitely
paints the battle as an ambush. The means of hiding remains a
- Recall Sinclair's earlier accounts of his experience, he always
says "something passed in front of my eyes."
- A wisp of smoke is mentioned in the
Line synopsis. This effect is hard to catch without a
freeze-frame VCR, but once it's been identified it's impossible to
miss, even at normal speed. If it was something significant, then
Sinclair's change in expression and throwing up of arms may have
been in reaction to that rather than to the looming cruiser.
- The first Grey Council scene is
the only one Sinclair remembers out of order from the rest, and
comes right after he has been given a dangerously higher amount of
the mind- affecting drugs. The
second scene comes a while after the drugs were boosted, and he
remembers it in order with the rest of his experiences.
- The important elements of the first scene are all present in the
second: confronted by grey figures, shouted questions, getting
zapped. However, the zapping is incomprehensible in the first
scene: why dramatically appear to Sinclair only to knock him out
again immediately thereafter? In the second scene, there is a
clearer reason - he had just seen the face of a Council member.
- There are some details present in the first scene that were absent
or different in the second, but these differences are
insignificant: one-by-one lights, oddly echoing voices, being shot
in the chest rather than the back, and...
- ...Sinclair is in full uniform in the first scene. This is flatly
impossible, since a fighter pilot wouldn't wear much more than
scrubs underneath a flight suit. (In
"Believers", for example, Ivanova is seen putting her uniform
jacket back on after returning from a flight.) However, this is
exactly the kind of detail that people tend to fill in by
subconscious "guessing" when memories are incomplete.
- Sinclair suffered a mind-wipe during his experience on the cruiser.
He was examined and confronted by a group. Perhaps it was
necessary to prove to this group that the mind-wipe was effective.
- If this is correct, then the scene reads in the following way:
Sinclair is presented to the Grey Council. "What do you want? Why
are you doing this? Who are you?", he asks, obviously having
forgotten the answers to all these questions. He is now safe to
release. But wait, he's pulled the hood off of a Council member,
and even worse, he vaguely recognizes her! He's obviously on the
verge of remembering his experience, which won't do at all.
- Under this interpretation, Sinclair's re-use of exactly those
words, again at the sight of Delenn's face, would make her
certain that he was reliving that same experience of
- Alternately, it may be that
"I know you. I know who you are. I know you" was
not uttered by Sinclair at the Line, but rather he said it
within the VR experience when confronted with a face that he
now recognizes, while deep within a long-unseen memory.
- The CGI of this sequence is incredibly detailed and subtle. In
shots of Sinclair's face after the battle begins, exploding
Starfuries can be seen reflected in his visor. Starfury wreckage
haunts the edges of some scenes. Also, unlike normal B5 space
scenes, these images were deliberately crafted with much blurring
and streaking, to enhance the dreamlike feel.
- When Sinclair's Starfury tumbles, the number 20 is visible painted
on top. 20 is also the maximum number of Starfuries visible at any
one time during this sequence.
- The phrase "What do you want?", eerily repeated, occurs later in
the season. (cf "Signs and Portents")
- The triangle visible on Delenn's forehead is similar, though less
ornate, to the one on the forehead of the Councilman who appears in
her quarters at the end of the episode. (cf also
"Signs and Portents")
- Yeah, it was an off-the-cuff reference to General Billy Mitchell.
(Didn't really mean that much; just thought it wuz cool.)
- Also, check the readout on Sinclair's screen as he's trying to
engage the enemy. You'll see
"Negative Lock" popping up. One problem in fighting the
Minbari vessels is that they have a kind of stealth tech that makes
it very hard for our weapons to lock on.
- The CGI won't look as good in slow motion because we step-printed
them deliberately, in order to give them a more dream-like
appearance. For us, this wasn't about the ships, it was about one
of the men in the ship, which is why we kept him in sharp focus,
and went to step-printing whenever we went outside (and since we're
seeing this from his memory, clearly he wouldn't actually have
*seen* most of this, it's his *sense* of what happened). You'll
get plenty of clear CGI in "Signs and Portents."
Originally compiled by Matthew Ryan firstname.lastname@example.org