ATTN: JMS <spoilers for #406>

B5JMS Poster b5jms-owner at
Sun Feb 9 06:12:17 EST 1997

Subject: ATTN: JMS <spoilers for #406>
 No. | DATE        |  FROM
s  1: Feb  8, 1997: gharlane at (Gharlane of Eddore)
*  2: Feb  9, 1997: jmsatb5 at (Jms at B5)


From: gharlane at (Gharlane of Eddore)
Lines: 108


Considering the Question Sheridan Should Not Have Asked....

>  #: 646065 S6/Babylon 5: Spoilers
>     06-Feb-97  23:39:07
> Sb: #645938-The Long Night
>      He asked if Ericsson was married because, if he was, that was a 
> call that Sheridan would have to make, over Stellarcom or in person,
> to notify her that her husband was dead.  And, for Sheridan, I suppose
> there was a tinge of relief, knowing that at least he wouldn't be
> creating a widow as well as ordering Ericsson to do what was necessary.
>                            jms

This assertion is as patently ridiculous as Sheridan's line concerning

Active-duty military personnel on combat missions *expect* the possibility
of death, and they and their families are prepared for it.  Ericsson
*VOLUNTEERED* to do his job when he signed on.  His marital status
has *nothing* to do with his job performance, and asking about it 
during a mission briefing, in front of that much staff, is INSULTING.

Most senior commanders are fully aware of personal details concerning 
the personnel under their command, and although the vast size of the
AOL Armada and its fast growth may have made acquaintanceship impossible,
Sheridan should have had a data pop-up (the equivalent of our 
present-day "201 file") at his fingertips; if you *had* to deal 
with Ericsson's marital status, it should have been via Sheridan taking
a quick glance down at a small screen, with Ericsson's face and data,
including "unmarried," on the screen.

It is *incredibly* gauche and bad for morale to ask one of your men if
he's married; the presumption is always that you *know* about him, 
because he's one of your people, and you care about him.  Good military
commanders try to be aware of personal details concerning all the 
people under their command, and look out for them.   Even if Sheridan
didn't know Ericsson's marital status, he would *NEVER* ask such a 
question on an open link in front of both their staffs;  the very
asking of the question presumes the unimportance of the OTHER 
crew members on Ericsson's ship, and their relationships; and it
is tantamount to an announcement that Sheridan didn't care enough
to find out in a way less painful than reminding Ericsson.
It is a slap in the face, unthinking and uncaring, and not the 
behavior of a competent senior command officer.

This dialog was cruel, unmilitary, unthinking, and very poorly 

On a lesser note, Sheridan's gratuitous line concerning shifting 
codes in the transmission was crude and poorly couched.   The 
implication that a verbal announcement needs to be made concerning
secure military communication encryption is mind-boggling; *NO*
communication should have been going out without several layers
of constantly-shifting encryption, and it should be automatically
presumed that encryption is in place at all times for any military
commo in that period.   *IF* for some reason you wanted to enforce
this concept by referencing it in dialog, you should have used that
line-time for something *ACTIVE*, not a bald statement....

"Implement fourth-order encryption, please."

....and a brief stutter on the screen as the crypto gear at the far
end synchs in with the added encryption layer.


Incidentally, that was one great-looking episode.   Looked to me
like you had more FX work in there than the average "STAR WARS"
movie, and the temporary (I'm presuming "temporary.") stabilization
of the Centauri plotlines was a nice fulfillment of a character-
disposal option we'd been hoping for, for quite a long time.

If you happen to bring that actor back as an alien at some point,
*please* let his character's name be "Pike."   *grin*


From: jmsatb5 at (Jms at B5)
Lines: 37

Ghar...your comments are well and good and have nothing to do with

First, the Rangers situation is not a typical military situation.  They
are primarily from Minbar, both in terms of actual Minbari and humans
trained there.  They are specifically under Delenn's charge, with Sheridan
*sharing* that authority.  He did not know Ericsson because they're a
large bunch to whom he has not been introduced, and likely they don't have
very large records on them.  This is a *de facto* army, not a *de jure* (I
hope I spelled that right) army...there ain't a lot of paperwork on the

Second, it was Delenn who sent for this particular White Star, more for
its strategic location...which Sheridan used because it was closest to the
goal.  Your observation is like saying that General Patton should know
*instantly* about every soldier on the line in battle, however distant he
is.  Which is simply absurd.  Watch some old WW2 footage someday...there's
General MacArthur walking among some troops..."What's your name, son? 
Where are you from?"  By your lights, he should have known that.  

Third, re: the encryption notice...of *course* they're all
encrypted...what Sheridan said was "we're RE-encrypting this message EVERY
THREE SECONDS, so be sure to have your system keep up."  That's an
escalation in layers of encryption so elaborate and involved that it makes
the system actually slow down.

Before you start flaming, I suggest you stop and consider what you're
saying some time, and that there may be other elements at work beyond just
what you THINK should be the case.


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