The climactic battle of the Earth-Minbari War, when all available Earthforce ships were assigned to "hold the line" around Earth against the approaching Minbari forces. The Earthforce vessels were nearly completely defeated when the Minbari captured Lt. Jeffrey Sinclair, a fighter pilot. Upon examination by the Grey Council, it was determined that he carried a Minbari soul. As a result, the Minbari surrendered unconditionally to Earth.

KNIGHT TWO: You agreed to work for them. You and God knows how many other people.

JEFFREY SINCLAIR: You're insane. I never betrayed Earth.

KNIGHT TWO: If you don't remember what happened, how can you be sure you weren't a traitor?

SINCLAIR: That's enough! You talk about the war. You talk about Mitchell and the rest, but you didn't know them. They were my friends. For years afterwards, whenever I saw a Minbari, I had to fight the urge to strangle them with my bare hands. We were outnumbered and outgunned, we never had a chance. You say we could have won, but you weren't there. You didn't see them. When I looked at those ships, I didn't just see my death, I saw the death of the whole damn human race.

KNIGHT TWO: Then why did they surrender?!

SINCLAIR: I don't know. Maybe the universe blinked, maybe God changed his mind, all I know is that we got a second chance.

At the conclusion of the Earth-Minbari war, the Minbari Federation stood on the brink of victory. They decided to skip over Mars and attack Earth directly. As their fleet prepared to attack, the president of the Earth Alliance gave an impassioned speech (found here) asking all available ships and pilots to make one last stand against the Minbari—for every ten minutes they were able to hold off the final assault on Earth, several hundred civilians could be evacuated into neutral space. This fight—drawing a line against the darkness—became known as the Battle of the Line.

Thousands of Earth ships—the few remaining military vessels alongside countless frigates, transports, medical ships, cargo freighters, and privately owned vessels—stood together ready for a hopeless battle, for they were sure to be completely wiped out by the vastly superior Minbari force. Among the Line was Jeffrey Sinclair, an EarthForce pilot who had been an Earth defense fighter for much of the war.

His Starfury squadron was doing a reconnaissance flight near the Moon when the Minbari jumped out of hyperspace and began their attack. Sinclair saw his entire squad wiped out in a matter of seconds, and he initiated a suicidal attempt to ram one of the Minbari cruisers with his Starfury. Moments from impact, the cruiser locked on to Sinclair's fighter with a tractor beam; Sinclair was brought aboard the Minbari flagship.

One of the members of the Grey Council, Delenn, wished to interrogate one of the Earth fighters prior to the conquest of Earth—while secretly looking for a way to end the war without destroying humanity.

She found one.

While interrogating Sinclair with the triluminary (a sacred Minbari artifact), it was found that the human had a Minbari soul—and not just any soul, but the soul of Valen himself. Minbari souls had been disappearing for a thousand years without explanation, and now it appeared as if they were being reborn into human bodies.

Remembering one of the sacred rules set down by Valen—Minbari do not harm other Minbari—Delenn ordered the warrior caste to surrender in order to avoid harming the Minbari souls. The reason for the surrender was kept secret from everyone outside the Grey Council for over a decade, leading to wild speculation on both sides as to what exactly transpired at the Battle of the Line.

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