During a routine day on Babylon 5, Ivanova gets an urgent message from her old flight instructor, J. D. Ortega, asking to meet with her in the Alpha Wing ready room. However, when Ivanova arrives, she only sees one person leaving, and waits two hours before checking to see Ortega’s status on B5. To her horror, she discovers that he is a suspected terrorist. Then, while Ivanova is out responding to a distress signal from a transport being attacked by raiders, they find Ortega’s body stuffed into one of the flight lockers, poisoned, and a hastily scribbled note hidden within the ready room addressed to Ivanova: “hardwir”. Ivanova can’t puzzle out what this means; but she does discover a motive behind the increased raider attacks. Each transport was from Marsport, and was carrying morbidium, a metal used for plasma weapons.
Ivanova sends out a report, but the next day a group of special investigators arrive from Earthforce, taking over the investigation into Ortega’s death. After interrogating Ivanova they order that Sheridan either have her arrested or placed on restricted duties, due to having contact with a terrorist. The investigators Wallace, Miyoshi, and Khatib continue to push their agenda further and further, forcing Talia to constantly scan their suspects, while Garibaldi tries to surreptitiously investigate the connection between Ortega and another suspicious death, and Ivanova puts all her effort into stopping the raiders before they can act again.
This was a decent side story for Babylon 5. It was the type of storyline one would see in the series itself, and the characters acted like themselves (except for one bit where Ivanova gets drunk and nearly goes home with some random stranger, and is saved by Garibaldi’s Angry Big Brother act-I can’t see Ivanova actually doing this, frankly). This is set early in season 2, so Garibaldi is still a little on edge around Sheridan; and, whether deliberate or not, their interactions take on some of the tone that they had in season 4. If it was deliberate, it was good foreshadowing. We also got some tantalizing scraps for the main story arc with mentions of direct human interface with ships. *coughspiderscough*
Overall, it was a good book and fit well into the series storyline.