Babylon 5: The Geometry of Shadows

Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.
Worstward Ho, Samuel Beckett

You know the trope. Young Trainee goes to Hidden Monastery in the Mountains (or functional equivalent) to learn Obscure Art. There follows a montage of action shots: Young Trainee attempting tasks, failing, being injured, nearly despairing, trying again, being tutored by Older Disciple, succeeding. There may be Interesting Music, gongs, or both. The Ascended Master will either look on in serene detachment or occasionally join the fray to demonstrate how effortless Obscure Art should be. Then when the real plot of the movie gets going, Young Trainee’s skills in Obscure Art play their part the final reckoning.

And there’s a sub-trope involving two trainees: the dark one and the light one. Sometimes the dark one finishes the training (Draco Malfoy); sometimes not (Jasper in A Wizard of Earthsea). In either case, the dark student’s fatal flaw, which will damage all future endeavors, also manifests itself during apprenticeship. That which the dark student tries goes awry; the lessons learned are the wrong ones. Not even an Ascended Master can make it right.

This episode is that montage, and the Obscure Art in question is authority. JMS has established most of the characters he needs for the conflict to come. But two of them—Ivanova and Londo—though the right people, are not yet ready for their roles. However quotable her inner misanthrope is, Ivanova is either going to have to get people to follow her or she is going to be a failure. And Londo’s slow-growing dreams of empire will bear no fruit without legitimacy, real or perceived.

One of the subplots is explicitly about Ivanova’s learning curve. As a result of her promotion to Commander, she’s given the task of dealing with the sudden upswing of violence among the Drazi. Every five years, the entire species divides into two groups, the Greens and the Purples, and fight. Traditionally, the violence stops when the opposition is unconscious, and the entire exercise ends when one side or the other has won an overall victory. Unfortunately, when enacted on a mixed-species space station, this particular Drazi tradition produces a good deal of collateral damage.

Ivanova tries a rational approach first: get everyone together and talk things out. She wants to find the basis of the conflict and solve it. It’s a nice, collaborative approach, fitting her mental image of how an EarthForce commander should act. But she’s doing katas, and this is the real thing: an un-discussible, baseless problem. The Drazi are fighting each other because of random assignment into the Green and the Purple sides1. Simply putting a purple sash on a green-sashed Drazi causes his former compatriots to attack him. In the melee, Ivanova is injured. (Cut to shot of pupil face-down on the training ground, face suffused with pain.)

The sensei comes in to refocus the student and test her resolve:

Ivanova: Not exactly an auspicious beginning to my diplomatic career.
Sheridan: We learn by doing, and in the process, you’re going to fall on your face a few times. Though I didn’t think you’d take it quite that literally. So. What’s your next move?
Ivanova: Other than sticking the Drazi into a ship and firing it into the sun?
Sheridan: Other than that, yes. On the other hand, look. You got pretty banged up there. If you want to give it a day or two…
Ivanova: No. No. I started this, and by God, I’m going to finish it. Getting them together to resolve their differences didn’t work, because they don’t have any differences to resolve. So maybe I’ve got to come at this from another angle. Maybe find a nonviolent way to structure the conflict so that nobody gets hurt.
Sheridan: Good! I agree, one hundred percent. So, keep me informed, and take care of that foot.
Ivanova: But don’t you want to be there?
Sheridan: I have absolute trust in your abilities, Commander. (walks away)
Ivanova: Well, that’s a hell of a thing to tell someone. Hah! No pressure.

But real events outpace the student. The Green Drazi have started killing the Purples. Ivanova’s second try at a meeting turns into an ambush. And the Greens, having begun with a small group, now expand their plan to cover all the Purple Drazi in the station. Impersonating her, they have told the 2,000-odd Purples on-station to gather in Brown sector; their intention is to space the lot of them. If she resists, they will start killing humans as well. And, rather than commanding the Drazi, she finds herself a prisoner.

This is when Older Student appears. Garibaldi is the classic senior journeyman with no ambition for mastery. He practices the Art effortlessly, but in pursuit of his own goals. People come up to him and ask him to give them orders.

Welch: Seriously, Chief, when you coming back? Everybody misses you. It’s just…you know, it ain’t been the same without you.

Garibaldi talks his way into the Green Drazi headquarters while they’re holding Ivanova prisoner. But he’s a classic Older Student, there to help Ivanova learn rather than to solve her problems himself. When she tries again, this time through research, he’s her mouthpiece but not her replacement.

Garibaldi: Going somewhere? Hey, guess what? It looks like the Purple Drazi bought that story of yours about one big fight to the death. They’re waiting for you in Brown 29. Now, I can’t let you space them, as appealing as that idea sounds at the moment, but we do have another solution. As long as they’re all together in one place like that, we’re going to keep them there for a while.
Green Drazi Leader: How long?
Garibaldi: Just a few days. Ivanova checked the data files on your people, and it turns out this stupid contest of yours lasts just one cycle. The Drazi week is six Earth days, so, in four days…
Green Drazi: (laughter)
Ivanova: What? What’s so funny?
Green Drazi Leader: Cycle not Drazi week. Cycle is Drazi year. One Drazi year equal 1.2 human years. Can you keep Purple Drazi that long, Earther? This is our way. You can do nothing.

Try four is arguing.

Ivanova: Don’t you understand? This is insane. It doesn’t make any sense to go around killing each other over a piece of cloth.
Green Drazi Leader: You do same, yes? For flag, for honor?
Ivanova: That’s different.
Green Drazi Leader: Is it?
Ivanova: Yes. Our flags at least mean something. It’s not as arbitrary as yanking a color out of a box. I mean, you’re fighting and dying over a stupid piece of cloth. (takes leader’s cloth) Look, there’s nothing special about it. It’s not patriotic. It has nothing but this stupid little star in the middle of it.

Now, at the end of her training montage, Ivanova discovers the secret of leadership. She seizes the Green leader’s sash and he suddenly snaps to attention. Tony Robbins or Steven Covey would probably explain that this is because authority is a thing to be taken rather than given, but I disagree. I think the secret is what it always is in these stories: be yourself. For Ivanova, that means lose your temper and grab something dramatic to make your point.

Green Drazi Leader: Who takes green is Green, and follows Green Leader. Who takes cloth for Green Leader is Green Leader. Greens follow Green Leader.
Ivanova: Wait a minute. You’re saying that because I’m holding this right now, I’m Green Leader? But I’m human.
Green Drazi Leader: Rules of combat older than contact with other races. Did not mention aliens. Rules change…caught up in committee. Not come through yet.
Ivanova: Yeah, Bureaucracy. Tell me about it. Well. What do you know? All right. Greens follow Green Leader, hm? Green Leader says we’re all going down to the quartermaster’s office. I’m sure there will be some dye hanging around, and those of you not spending the next two months in the brig for assaulting an Earth Alliance officer are going to look absolutely gorgeous in purple.

By contrast, the dark student of this episode—Londo—fails abjectly. His approach to acquiring authority is less to take it than to steal it: trick the technomages into meeting with him, spoof their endorsement, and thus enhance his reputation at home. First he sends Vir2 to get an appointment with them. When that fails, he tries to use Sheridan to force a meeting that he can secretly film. He tries to pilfer authority like a pickpocket, just as his power over himself is being drained away by the Shadows.

Because I retain some affection for Londo, I’m willing to theorize that he fails because he’s not acting according to his true nature. He may think he’s subtle, manipulative, and ruthless, but in comparison to the forces beginning to control him, he’s laughably transparent and marshmallow-soft. His strengths lie elsewhere: he is at his best as a lover or a friend, and in the simple power of overt action. My memory of his story arc is that he is at his most commanding when he plays to these strengths.

No Training Montage is complete without the sensei, showing us how it’s done. In this episode, it’s Sheridan, not only mentoring Ivanova, but effortlessly winning Garibaldi over. Compare this quote from the very beginning of the show:

Garibaldi: Besides…I don’t know about this guy. I keep thinking about how everybody and his brother wanted Sinclair out of here. And now, all of a sudden, this change in command. Sinclair, I could trust. This guy? I don’t know.

With this one at the end:

Sheridan: Oh, and Mr Garibaldi—
Garibaldi: Michael.
Sheridan: Michael. I’m glad you agreed to stay on.

Sheridan does a master’s turn at a specific kind of claim to authority: winning a convert. It’s a different task than Ivanova or Londo faces, but it’s clearly the same art. And Sheridan’s tricks and tactics are all on the surface. There are no conversations we don’t see, but he doesn’t need them. He lays the entire lesson out in one single speech, covering three steps:

  1. Acknowledge the other person’s position, even if it’s awkward.

    Sheridan: Good to see you on your feet. I talked to Dr. Franklin. He says you can come back to work any time you want. What do you say?
    Garibaldi: I don’t know. I don’t know if I’m ready to come back, or if you want me to come back. Maybe it would be easier on everybody if I just resigned and moved on.
    Sheridan: Probably. The universe doesn’t give you any points for doing things that are easy…

  2. Explain your decision

    …Your record is colorful, to say the least. But everything I’ve heard suggests that you know this station better than anyone else. I’d be foolish to throw away a valuable resource without at least trying to work together. I need someone I can trust running security. I’d like it to be you…

  3. Give the other guy the space to make his choice

    …Now if you decide you’d rather be someplace else, I’ll understand. I’ll hold your job open as long as I can. Don’t take too long, OK?

In addition to the leadership dojo, there are the usual crop of interesting and prophetic quotes in this episode.

  • Vir, being correct while Londo fails to listen:

    Londo: Vir, do you believe in fate?
    Vir: Well, actually, I believe there are currents in the universe, eddies and tides that pull us one way or the other. Some we have to fight, some we have to embrace. Unfortunately, the currents we have to fight look exactly like the currents we have to embrace! The currents we think are the ones that are going to make us stronger? They’re the ones that are going to destroy us. And the ones that we think are going to destroy us? They’re the ones that are going to make us stronger. Now, the other currents—
    Londo: VIR! Yes or no!
    Vir: Yes. You know, somewhat. Why?

  • Have I mentioned that I adore Vir? I adore Vir.

    Elric: You don’t frighten easily.
    Vir: I work for Ambassador Mollari. After a while, nothing bothers you.

  • A vexing misquote. Did no one think to go back to the source text?

    Elric: There is an old saying. Do not try the patience of wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger.

  • This sums up the technomages for me: pretentious, but quotable.

    Sheridan: If we went back in time a thousand years and tried to explain this place to people, they could only accept it in terms of magic.3
    Elric: Then perhaps it is magic. The magic of the human heart, focused and made manifest by technology. Every day you here create greater miracles than a burning bush.
    Sheridan: Maybe. But God was there first, and he didn’t need solar batteries and a fusion reactor to do it.
    Elric: Perhaps. Perhaps not. It is within that ambiguity that my brothers and I exist. We are dreamers, shapers, singers and makers. We study the mysteries of laser and circuit, crystal and scanner, holographic demons and invocations and equations. These are the tools we employ, and we know many things.
    Sheridan: Such as?
    Elric: The true secrets. The important things. Fourteen words to make someone fall in love with you forever. Seven words to make them go without pain. How to say goodbye to a friend who is dying. How to be poor. How to be rich. How to rediscover dreams in a world that has stolen them. That is why we are going away. To preserve that knowledge.
    Sheridan: From what?
    Elric: There is a storm coming, a black and terrible storm. We would not have our knowledge lost or used to ill purpose. From this place, we will launch ourselves into the stars. With luck, you will never see our kind again in your lifetime. I know you have your orders, Captain, Detain us if you wish. I cannot tell you where we are going. I can only ask you to trust us.

  • This is what happens when you try to force prophecy:

    Londo: I wanted to thank you for your amusing little gift. It took me two hours to repair the damage to my quarters, and I don’t think the smell will go away for days. Now, if I may ask, does this torment end when you leave, or am I going to spend the rest of my life paying for one little mistake?
    Elric: I’m afraid you’re going to have to spend the rest of your life paying for your mistakes . Not this one, of course; it’s trivial. I have withdrawn the spell. But there will be others.
    Londo: What are you talking about?
    Elric: You are touched by darkness, ambassador, I see it as a blemish. It will grow with time. I could warn you of course, but you would not listen. I could kill you, but someone would take your place. So I do the only thing I can. I go. Oh, I believe it was an endorsement you wanted. A word or two, a picture, to send to the folks back home, confirming that you have a destiny before you.
    Londo: Yes, it was just a thought, nothing more.
    Elric: Well, take this, for what little it will profit you. As I look at you, Ambassador Mollari, I see a great hand, reaching out of the stars. The hand is your hand. And I hear sounds…the sounds of billions of people calling your name.
    Londo: My followers?
    Elric: Your victims.

    1. I have a lot of problems with the fairly simple-minded portrayal of the Drazi in this episode. Their customs are shallow and silly; their language use is deliberately primitive, and their discovery of genocide feels weirdly unsophisticated. Their culture Other for the sake of Having an Other: classic cardboard.
      But the guy who plays the Green Leader subverts this with his nuanced, clever portrayal. He’s hard to argue with, he has a sense of irony, and he has substantial personal charisma. One wonders what he does in their community the other four years, and how rare it must be that the leader’s scarf falls to such a one on a regular basis. (Or maybe all Drazi are like that, when liberated with the marks of mastery? There might be lessons here I can’t fathom, as a human.)
    2. Vir shows a lot of character in this episode. He’s braver in the face of the Technomages than Londo is, more perceptive about the greater shape of the problem they face, and generally shows the growing moral clarity that will make him one of the great treasures of the series over time.
    3. obClarke

    The next writeup will cover A Distant Star

    Index of Babylon 5 posts

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24 Responses to Babylon 5: The Geometry of Shadows

  1. Marc Mielke says:

    Yay! Another B5 post! The Technomages were one of those things that worked really well as a one-off, but not so much as a regular thing. The spin-off Crusade had a technomage as a regular character, and the actor who played him was quite good, but the character was still annoying and kind of dragged the series down a bit.

  2. Mark @1:

    Yeah, I was traveling on business for about half of the last month, which really cut into my writing time.

    The Technomages struck me as one of those one-offs that could grow into something more interesting, but only if they got more philosophical and technological depth. Philosophical, because they need weaknesses and a bit more complexity for other characters to engage with. Technological, because right now what we see is a bunch of illusion and a bunch of incomprehensible stuff, with nothing in between that we can understand and be challenged by.

    I think I saw one episode of Crusade, but it didn’t light me on fire. I gather from your comment that integrating the Technomage into the mix was a weakness.

  3. Jules says:

    This reminds me: I had been meaning to scan these episodes as you were writing about them for LOTR references and parallels. I note you’ve called one out in the misquote above (I suspect it’s a misquote because the original quote doesn’t quite fit to the context; nobody was really meddling in the technomages’ affairs), and I wonder if it’s the first, or if I’ve missed some in previous episodes. I know there are a lot more to come.

    I suppose Lennier’s comments about a great enemy returning in Points of Departure shadow a few lines from LOTR:

    “But last night I told you of Sauron the Great, the Dark Lord. The rumours that you have heard are true: he has indeed arisen again and left his hold in Mirkwood and returned to his ancient fastness in the Dark Tower of Mordor. That name even you hobbits have heard of, like a shadow on the borders of old stories. Always after a defeat and a respite, the Shadow takes another shape and grows again.”

    “I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.

    “So do I,” said Gandalf, ‘and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given, us. And already, Frodo, our time is beginning to look black. The Enemy is fast becoming very strong. His plans are far from ripe, I think, but they are ripening. We shall be hard put to it. We should be very hard put to it, even if it were not for this dreadful chance.”

    There are later episodes with conversations even more like this one, though, and Lennier’s half-hearted remarks about a great enemy are perhaps only vaguely reminiscent of it.

  4. Jules says:

    The other one: was Z’ha’dum named in Revelations? I’ve always suspected that its name’s reminiscence to Khazad-dum is quite intentional. Particularly as gur fgbelyvar bs Furevqna whzcvat vagb gur terng cvg gurer fb pybfryl cnenyyryf Tnaqnys’f snyy juvyr svtugvat gur Onyebt.

  5. Jules:

    I don’t recall any other LOTR quotes in the episodes thus far, and I was raised on the books, so I suspect I would notice. Tolkien’s cadences are markedly different than JMS’s, of course, which helps.

    I’ll watch the series with LOTR echoes in mind, but we’re missing some key characters and groups. I can’t see either the Narn or the Centauri as the Dwarves, though I will grant the Minbari some Elvishness. There is no Elrond, though perhaps elements of G’Kar’s story head that way; I can’t recall a Denethor or a Théoden. The theme of a great darkness coming is certainly reminiscent, but there are many, many stories that use that theme.

    I recall reading that JMS was asked whether Z’ha’dum was a reference to Khazad-Dûm, and denies it. Whether that makes it untrue or unconscious I do not know.

  6. Serge Broom says:

    “Crusade” didn’t light my fire either, so much so that I kept referring to it as “Croissant”. Best episode was the one in which the ship meets a hyperspace creature that tries to hump it.

  7. Jacque says:

    Little bit of background trivia: I don’t recall if it was the whole Drazi sub-story, or just the fight scene in the conference room, but at least the latter was inspired/necessitated by the fact that Claudia Christian actually broke her foot just before shooting began on that episode. (Playing with her dog in the back yard, as I recall.)

    Saw her some while later at a con; apparently filming that scene in the conference room was particularly nerve-wracking, as she didn’t want anybody, or any fast motion, anywhere near her foot.

  8. Slybrarian says:

    Jacque, as I remember the story, Claudia Christian actually broke her ankle during the fight scene in the conference room. They had to rewrite the later parts of the episode because of it. I might be wrong, though, as I thought I’d read that on the Lurker’s Guide but can’t find it there, other than the bits about rewriting parts due to the injury.

  9. Fade Manley says:

    Slightly tangentially, one of the reasons why I deeply love Vir–at least in the first four seasons, as I haven’t seen the fifth at all–is that he’s portrayed as an interesting protagonist-level character with his own goals and beliefs and what not, and not exclusively as a comic figure…while not being a leader.

    Because fiction loves leaders. Leaders make things happen. Leaders multiply the effects of their decisions by having other people follow them, so they’re great for telling big Important stories and epics that end up affecting large numbers of people. But this often turns into a quiet sort of implication that in the end, only leaders really matter. A good follower is an NPC, a tertiary character, an extension or tool of the protagonists.

    Which is, I think, an insidious sort of message, if a hell of a lot less insidious than many other common messages of popular American fiction. It’s like the college I applied to that wanted me to write an essay on why I, personally, was an excellent leader, and the importance of being one. Implied: if you’re not a leader, why are you even trying to go to college?

    But we can’t all be leaders. Everyone trying to be in charge works less well the more people you get, and the more people you get, the less it works to have people in charge of different areas/at different times. At a certain point, for a functional society, you really need people who are followers, but followers who think critically about who they’re following, and why, and if they want to keep doing that anymore.

    Vir’s the kind of guy who’s a follower. And as the series go on, he becomes a better follower: better able to interpret the orders he’s given in useful and complex ways, better at challenging the orders he thinks are wrong, better at responding intelligently and rapidly when things happen that aren’t covered by those orders. He’s one of my favorite characters on Babylon 5–in some moods, my favorite of all of them–precisely because of this. In a series that spends a great deal of time building up models of leadership, with hundreds and thousands of people as voiceless NPCs who just do what the leaders tell them, it’s nice to have a voiced, proactive follower as well.

  10. Mary Aileen says:

    Fade Manley (9): That’s an excellent point about Vir. I’d say Lennier also fits that description at least somewhat.

  11. TexAnne says:

    Fade, Mary Aileen: I’m too fried to express what I’m thinking of (and I think they both happen in S5 anyway, Fade, sorry…) but they each have a moment of “holy sh1t, did he really just do that?” They’re both heartbreaking, but for opposite reasons. Vir’s comes from his steady follower-dom; he’s right there when he’s needed. But (with hindsight, and without having seen the show in many years) Lennier was a follower with ambition–like when he fixed Garibaldi’s motorcycle. He does the “faith manages” miracle, too, of course, which worked out happily…but his “oh god Lennier please don’t” thing happens because he isn’t content.

    I don’t know. I think I’m right about the general idea, but I’m displeased with my expression of it. Refinements and clarifications will be greeted with glad cries.

  12. Fade Manley says:

    Not having seen season 5, I can’t really comment on their critical moments… But I am reminded that Lennier also does following well, at least in the parts that I’ve seen. If anything, he seems to err a little on the side of unquestioning following, and does seem to be at his strongest when he’s willing to question the rules and orders. (Though I may be projecting my own preferences, there.) And I do love Lennier dearly; Vir remains more memorable to me partly because he’s so darn…cuddly.

    I’d like to attend a lecture Lennier was giving. I’d like to go have drinks with Vir, or maybe play a round of miniature golf with him.

  13. TexAnne @11:

    I haven’t rewatched S5 yet, so I’m working from memory here, but I never thought of Lennier’s failure in relation to leadership or following. I thought it was simply that he had never felt love, or jealousy, before, not with the force he experienced them then. So he had no tools to deal with them. And when he broke, he broke all the way.

    Then he didn’t know what to do with his failure, because that’s another thing he’d never faced before. Leaving was the only thing he could think to do.

  14. Fade @9:

    I think you have a handle on a really important thing there. It’s a given in technology circles that if you’re good at your techie work, someone will eventually haul you into a leadership position where you can’t do that work anymore. I say this as someone who has run out of professional options that do not include learning to become a leader myself.

    Stephen Furst, who played Vir, describes him as “Jiminy Cricket,” which is both fair and unfair. He is certainly one of the consciences of the show, and particularly Londo’s conscience. But he does more than advise; his wonderful conversation with Morden is really the triumph of the non-leader. (The fact that he gets his wish is even better.)

  15. SteveG says:

    And the fact that he enjoys having gotten his wish, even more so. If only the major characters had made requests that they could enjoy on receipt… well, that would rather alter the story, wouldn’t it?

  16. OtterB says:

    Fade @9 and Abi @14 I have not watched B5, which puts me at a distinct disadvantage in discussing the issue within that context, but I also think this is an important issue. I really like to read about people who are NOT the primary leader, at least not in a political or organizational sense, but are not whiny and despairing either. Perhaps the sidekick, perhaps not even that. In parallel, in romantic suspense I like the heroes who are NOT the alpha males. I think it must be hard to make those characters interesting because there aren’t very many of them.

    This connects in my head to the personalities involved in project management. Not sure of my source here – does “The Mythical Man-Month” actually refer to a Heinlein story as one way of organizing a team? – and it’s probably mixed with other things anyway. But you need a technical leader whose expertise is recognized by the group and an administrative leader who keeps things running smoothly and everyone pulling in the same direction; you need an inside leader who rallies the troops and an outside leader who represents you to connecting groups. On a small project that might be all one person, but on a large project it’s likely to divide, and the person leading in any one respect may or may not be the person the organization chart says is the “manager”.

    No reason to think starships and space stations will be any different.

  17. Paul A. says:

    Slybrarian @ #8:

    No, it was Jerry Doyle (Garibaldi) who got his arm broken on camera during filming of season three.

    Jacque’s right, Claudia Christian broke her ankle doing something else, leading to this episode being tweaked. (The Drazi subplot was already in the episode, and was much the same apart from the obvious.)

  18. Paul A. says:

    Abi @ 14:

    Do you know about The Peter Principle? It’s a book by Dr Laurence Peter exploring the idea that, when promotion is the default reward for doing a job well, what you end up with is an organization full of people doing jobs badly because they got promoted out of the position that suited them into one that didn’t.

  19. Paul A @18:

    I’m aware of the concept; unfortunately, naming it hasn’t seemed to make it go away.

    The problem, I think, is that the people who decide the career paths are managers, and people whose self-worth is tied up in the idea that their decision to go into management was a good one. I’m seeing a gradual recognition that this is not the path that everyone wants to follow, but very rarely does that seem to translate into enough viable career paths that allow one to stay techie. (I stand at precisely that fork in the road right now, personally, though I do appear to enjoy leading people and may yet survive the transition to management.)

  20. OtterB @16:

    you need a technical leader whose expertise is recognized by the group and an administrative leader who keeps things running smoothly and everyone pulling in the same direction; you need an inside leader who rallies the troops and an outside leader who represents you to connecting groups.

    Interesting way of looking at the division of roles. I like it.

    In Agile software development (as my department practices it), we do have the split between the technical leader and the administrative leader (scrum master). For us, at least, the tech lead also is the outside leader, while the scrum master does the inside leadership.

    I’ve never worked in this kind of context before. It’s interesting seeing those roles split out; I think it’s more effective than a single point of leadership. But I would say that, because I am yet another pole of power, neither tech nor admin, neither inside nor outside. (I am Quality. Hi. Pleased to meet you.)

  21. Serge Broom says:

    Abi @ 19… I for one would welcome Manager Abi.

  22. Lylassandra says:

    @19: My father has spent the last umpteen years turning down promotions at work because he didn’t want to leave the streets for a desk job, which hasn’t been easy or made him a favorite at work. (They think of him as a grumpy, sticky-wheel dinosaur…) Every once in a while he feels a need to apologize to us for turning down a better salary. It is probably not surprising that his favorite character on B5 was Garibaldi.

  23. OtterB says:

    Abi @20 (I am Quality. Hi. Pleased to meet you.)

    Better than I am Quality. ‘Lo. Pleased to meet you.

    Thinking some more about this … it should also be said that if the roles aren’t combined in one person, then the people who carry them need to collaborate effectively. They might well disagree on tactics and even on strategy, but they should agree on vision.

    Quality is and odd role, in some respects. My current work, program evaluation, is somewhat the same. You need to be inside enough to know what’s going on, but outside enough to be able and willing to point out when the emperor isn’t wearing any clothes.

  24. Pingback: B5 Rewatch: S2E03 "The Geometry of Shadows" | ***Dave Does the Blog

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