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ISN Anchor Desk - Value Judgements

The Babylon Project: Crusade

Value Judgements

By Fiona Avery

If it meant a possible cure to a plague which was killing everyone you know, would you make a deal with the Devil? That is the question Matthew Gideon is forced to answer in Fiona Avery's "Value Judgements."

Fiona has obviously done her homework on the Babylon 5 Universe. For those who have read the Psi Corps/Bester triology, tie-ins are everywhere, from Bester's trial during the telepath "crisis" to Sandoval Bey, Bester's teacher and mentor.

Her writing, as already seen in episodes such as "Well of Forever" is always superb. (see Quotes to see what I mean)

So, what is this story about, anyway?

The Rangers have found a planet which may hold a cure to the Drakh Plague back home. In order to get permission from the planet's government to land and perform the study. Gideon plays poker with the Governor, and we learn here that Gideon always wins at poker on Fridays.

Eilerson takes a team to teh archeological site; while there, two of his men are struck down by a mind blast.

Matheson confirms that it was a telepathic attack, but says there is no way he could open the lock the men were trying - he is a P6, and he suspects it would take at least a P10 to open it.

When Gideon plays poker with the Governor, he finds out there is a "dangerous" telepath named Al who lives in the colony.

Gideon, matheson, and Eilerson go to find this "Al," hoping to solicit his assistance in their quest, only to find "Al" is really Alfred Bester, a man wanted for war crimes during the Telepath Crisis.

Bester makes then a deal: Get him off planet and let him go on his merry way, and he'll help them.

Matheson argues that they can't do it: He is a heinous, terribly cruel person and should be locked away. Gideon, wrestling his own inner demons, agrees to Bester's demands.

Bester is able to open the passageway, letting Chambers, Dureena, and Eilerson into what at first appears to be a dead end.

There is a small waterfall, trickling down the rocks. Dureena points out that the water may be what they are looking for after all.

She is right. It is a miraculous medicine, left by an advanced race long ago as they were evolving to the next stage, beyond the need for bodies. (See River of Souls for a great example of this type of evolution.)

The water is not a cure to the plague, but does have excellent medicinal value, and may give them an extra six months.

Abiding by their deal, Gideon gets Bester offworld, then lets him out in space alone. As soon as the Excalibur departs, Bester is taken aboard one of the Psi Corps motherships, affectionately called a "Death Wagon."

All in all, this episode would have been the best Bester episode in all the Babylon universe. There are many revelations made here, and it ties in with the Bester triology beautifully.

With the lack of Crusade-related merchandise available, this treasure would make a welcome addition to any B5 collection for only $20, and you can order it directly from the author Fiona Avery on the Scripts From the Lot website. You can also find her other two Crusade scripts, and some other limited edition merchandise!