It was the dawn of the third age of mankind, ten years after the Earth/Minbari war. 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 Sinclair
With the completion of the last of the Babylon stations in 2257, the galaxy is enjoying a fragile peace. Babylon 5 is functioning as planned, defusing disputes among the five major governments and acting as a hub for interstellar commerce and communication.
The Earth Alliance, headquartered in Geneva, is in charge of the station and the surrounding space. It is led by President Luis Santiago, a forward-looking politician who values Earth’s participation in Babylon 5 tremendously. Of special note is a branch of the Earth government called Psi-Corps, responsible for the tracking and training of human telepaths. Pictured here is Jeffrey Sinclair, commander of Babylon 5.
Earth’s former adversary, the Minbari Federation, was the major alien contributor to the construction of Babylon 5. An old, highly spiritual race, Minbari are humanoid with exterior bone crests on their heads. The Minbari are ruled by a body known as the Grey Council, three members from each of the three castes of Minbari society. The reason behind the sudden Minbari surrender at the climax of the Earth-Minbari War is a closely-guarded secret, but what isn’t a secret is that the warrior caste was none too pleased about the order; even today, it is a source of tension within Minbari society.
The Centauri were the first aliens encountered by humanity. Physically, they look nearly identical to humans, and in fact the Centauri initially claimed that Earth was a lost colony (a claim they later retracted after humans discovered that the similarities weren’t so great after all.) Centauri women are bald; men wear their hair in peacock-style fans whose length indicates the wearer’s social standing. The Centauri Republic is a fading empire, slowly losing control of its member worlds, a decline much like that of the British Empire.
Among those formerly under Centauri domination are the Narn, a reptilian-looking race who fought off their oppressors in a century-long war of attrition. Now the Narn Regime is building its military up, trying to settle the score through an aggressive expansionist policy. Most Narn would like nothing better than to see the Centauri wiped from the face of the universe, and from all appearances, they’ll shortly be in a position to get their wish.
The final major government represented on Babylon 5 is the Vorlon Empire. The Vorlons are shrouded in mystery. Even though their ambassador is on the station, nobody knows what they look like; they dress in bulky encounter suits. Whether the suits are there to keep a noxious atmosphere in or prying eyes out is a matter of some debate. The Vorlons are an extremely powerful race; no expedition into their space has been heard from again. They seem to have had dealings with the Minbari in the past, though neither the Minbari nor the Vorlons care to discuss the matter.
Each of the five races has an ambassador on the Babylon 5 Advisory Council, something like the UN Security Council. In addition, a number of smaller governments are members of the League of Non-Aligned Worlds, which is also represented on the Council. This group is generally sympathetic to Earth, largely because Earth stepped in to save many of them from invasion by a hostile race (now extinct.)
The peace is most often threatened by aggressive behavior on the part of the Narn, or by lingering tensions between Earth and the Minbari warrior caste, a sizable fraction of which wouldn’t mind a rematch. And there are enduring mysteries to set everyone on edge: the reasons behind the Minbari surrender and the sudden disappearance of Babylon 4, the nature and motives of the Vorlons, the hint of dark forces moving behind the scenes in the Earth government.