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In Babylon 5 Season 1 Episode 3, "Born to the Purple", Ambassador Londo Mollari enters into a short-lived relationship with Adira, who ends up stealing a copy of his private files and running away. She unexpectedly flees her master Trakis as well, whereupon Trakis comes to see Londo and tells him she has betrayed them both. After a short conversation, Trakis surreptitiously puts something small and silvery on Londo's back before leaving.

What exactly is this item? Is it a tracker, a microphone, or something else?

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It's an audio bug.

Trakis is shown listening to it as he negotiates with N'grath (scene starts at 31:26 on my DVD copy). The audio conversation they are listening to is Sinclair and Londo bribing the girls at the Dark Star club for clues as to Adira's whereabouts. The last bit of the audio of that scene comes over the link, telling everyone that Adira's friend lives in Brown 6. Trakis immediately uses this to hire goons from N'grath to slow down Londo and pick up Adira before they can, at which point they're forced to come up with Talia as a backup plan.

This does cause a small plot hole, as Londo and Sinclair do arrange Talia's assistance without tipping him off, and he expresses surprise and caution to G'kar when she shows up to "monitor" their negotiations. The bug is never shown to be found; it visibly cloaks itself as soon as it's on Londo, so we can't rely on spying it later. I've seen it mentioned that Londo and Sinclair did something to prevent Trakis from knowing, but there's nothing to support this in the episode, other than Trakis being surprised by Talia. I think it's more likely, given Trakis puts the receiver away as soon as he gets Adira's location, that he simply wasn't listening 24/7. Londo does point out he can harm her if they come at him directly, and the goons harassing them backed off as soon as the job was done, so he may have assumed he had control of the situation as soon as he had Adira.

  • Thanks, I'll rewatch that section to confirm this. But if it was an audio bug, how come Trakis didn't also hear all Londo's later conversations, e.g. when they were talking about using Talia? Was the bug ever removed from Londo? – Rand al'Thor Feb 6 '17 at 23:16
  • @Randal'Thor Midwinter notes that as well, and implies something clever was done offscreen, but honestly he's shown just putting the receiver away after he gets what he needs, and my thought is he probably just wasn't listening 24/7. Want that added? – Radhil Feb 6 '17 at 23:21
  • That would make a nice addition, thanks. (This was the main reason I was unsure about the whole thing, otherwise an audio bug would have been a clear answer.) Also, I'm new to B5 - who's Midwinter? – Rand al'Thor Feb 6 '17 at 23:23
  • @Randal'Thor The Lurker's Guide to Babylon 5 is hosted at midwinter.com and is probably the most complete fan resource on the web for B5, has a bunch of creator postings from when he discussed the episodes on Usenet too, I tend to refer back to it when I'm feeling forgetful. – Radhil Feb 6 '17 at 23:26
  • @Randal'Thor and there ya go. – Radhil Feb 6 '17 at 23:44

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