The Babylon 5 Station
"The Babylon Project was a dream given form. Its goal: to prevent another war by creating a place where humans and aliens could work out their differences peacefully. It's a port of call, home away from home for diplomats, hustlers, entrepreneurs and wanderers. Humans and aliens wrapped in two million, five hundred thousand tons of spinning metal .. all alone in the night. It can be a dangerous place, but it's our last, best hope for peace. This is the story of the last of the Babylon stations. The year is 2258. The name of the place is Babylon 5."
- Commander Jeffrey Sinclair: Season One Opening Monologue.
The Alien Ambassadors aboard Babylon 5.
From left to right: Ambassador Kosh of the Vorlon Empire, Ambassador G'Kar of the Narn Regime, Ambassador Delenn of the Minbari Federation, Ambassador Londo Mollari of the Centauri Republic, Minbari Diplomatic Attache Lennier, Centauri Diplomatic Attache Vir Cotto.
The Babylon Project was launched by the Earth Alliance President Luis Santiago in 2249 following the conclusion of the Earth-Minbari War, which had started when the Earth Alliance's first contact with the Minbari had gone disastrously wrong, The aim of the Project was to create a location where alien races could meet and solve their differences peacefully and above all avoid another war. The Babylon Project was dogged with setbacks - the construction of the first three stations was abandoned, and Babylon 4 mysteriously disappeared 24 hours after becoming operational. The Earth Alliance then decided to build Babylon 5 as cheaply as possible. Even then, it could not afford the station's construction on its own, and needed the backing of the Minbari Federation, as well as contribution from the Centauri. To help pay for Babylon 5's maintenance, every visitor pays a fee on boarding the station and all staff have to pay rent which is deducted from their wages. Another source of income from Babylon 5 comes from those who use its local jumpgate.
Babylon 5 was built in a region of neutral space, the Euphrates sector, at Grid Epsilon 470/18/22 in the orbit of the planet Epsilon 3. It was established as a free port for diplomacy, trade and commerce, and run by Earth Alliance staff. Babylon 5 went online in 2256 and in 2257 it became fully operational. In 2256, many of EarthForce's finest officers were considered for the position of commander of Babylon 5. However, the Minbari Federation rejected all of their choices, and insisted that Commander Jeffrey Sinclair was granted the position. The station's commanding officer represents the Earth Alliance on Babylon 5's Advisory Council, leaving the first officer to supervise the station's day to day operations. Most of the time, the commander acts autonomously, but is occasionally given direct instructions from the Earth Alliance. The commander has the authority to seal off the station and can grant the station's security chief full diplomatic access.Babylon 5 is five miles long and weighs 2.5 million tonnes. It can house a quarter of a million inhabitants at a time and is normally visited by between 50 and 60 ships a day. About 58% of Babylon 5's population is human, whilst the alien races account for the remaining 42%. As an Earth Alliance space station, English is the primary language spoken aboard Babylon 5. While most diplomats and many visiting members of the alien race learn the language, some rely on translators.
The station is divided into separated colour-coded sections, most of which spin to create different levels of artificial gravity. Red Sector houses the station's commercial and leisure activities. These include Zocalo, which is Babylon 5's market place, the Zen Garden, the maze and the hydroponic gardens, as well as various hotel suites, casinos and bars.
Blue Sector is the focus of station operations and contains the Observation Dome, Command and Control, Medlabs, Docking bays and Customs area. Green Sector includes the Ambassadorial wing and can be accessed by station personnel only, whilst the non-rotating Yellow Sector houses the zero gravity bays and the fusion engines. Grey Sector is industrial. The Alien Sector contains 14 alternate atmospheres, in order to sustain every possible form of alien life aboard Babylon 5. DownBelow is the name for the station's undeveloped area and is home to the lurkers - people who come to Babylon 5 searching for new lives and new jobs, but instead find themselves homeless, unemployed and lacking the funds to return home. In case of attack, Babylon 5 is equipped with a defence grid, blast doors and squadrons of starfuries.When the defence grid was upgraded in 2259, the station became strong enough to battle a warcruiser.
Babylon 5 attracted representatives from all six of the major galactic powers - Earth Alliance, Minbari Federation, Centauri Republic, Narn Regime, Vorlon Empire and League of Non-Aligned Worlds.
The Babylon 5 Advisory Council is the focus of all diplomatic activity aboard Babylon 5. In 2257, the four ambassadors on the permanent Babylon 5 Advisory Council, (Delenn of the Minbari Federation, Londo Mollari of the Centauri Republic, G'Kar of the Narn Regime and Earth's Commander Jeffrey Sinclair) - were joined by Kosh, a representative of the powerful Vorlon race.
The Vorlons' origins and their appearance were mysterious, and Kosh remained permanently hidden behind an encounter suit. Each member of the Council has an equal vote. The representatives of the League of Non-Aligned Worlds also participate in the diplomatic functions of the Babylon 5 Station. If the Council is deadlocked, then the League of Non-Aligned Worlds has the deciding vote.
Although the station managed to last longer than anyone expected, opposition to Babylon 5 steadily increased on Earth. An ISN poll in March 2257 suggested that 30% of the planet's population were against the time, money and effort devoted to the station. By September 2259, that figure had risen to 41%
When the Narn-Centauri war broke out in 2259, it was widely recognised as the beginning of the end for Babylon 5's peace-keeping mission. However in 2260, the station assumed a greater function as the last best hope for victory in the war against the Shadows, and with martial law declared on Earth, and the situation under Clark becoming ever more desperate, Babylon 5 breaks away from the Earth Alliance. At the end of 2261, with the death of Clark and the restoration of democracy, Babylon 5 rejoins the Earth Alliance, and becomes the temporary headquarters for the new Interstellar Alliance until the permanent facilities could be built on Minbar at Tuzanor. The Station continues to exist for another 20 years - longer than almost anyone thought was possible - but it eventually becomes redundant, and is decommissioned and destroyed in 2281.