The Babylon Project was our last, best hope for peace. It failed.
But, in the Year of the Shadow War, it became something greater: our last, best hope… for victory. The year is 2260. The place: Babylon 5. – Commander Ivanova
Babylon 5 has failed in its mission. War has erupted, and is quickly pulling all the major races in.
The Earth Alliance is in charge of the station and the surrounding space. The corrupt administration of the EA, led by President Clark, has connections to the sinister activities of the Psi Corps, a government agency that tracks and trains human telepaths and increasingly seems to be running the government rather than serving it. An Orwellian agency called Night Watch is stifling any signs of dissent, carting people off to be reeducated if they don’t cooperate. Earth has taken a questionable stance by allying itself with the expansionist Centauri Empire, hoping to save its own skin by allowing the Centauri to roll unhindered over the lesser races Earth once saved. Babylon 5’s commander, Captain Sheridan (pictured here,) along with a small group, is working to covertly wrestle control away from the current administration, bolstered by evidence that President Clark was directly involved in the assassination of his predecessor.
The Centauri Republic, only months ago a fading empire, is currently on an expansionist path. A deal with unknown forces enabled Ambassador Londo Mollari (pictured) to regain some of their past glory. It seems only a matter of time, though, before the deal runs its course and the Centauri find out its price. In terms of appearance, Centauri appear human at first glance, though that’s deceptive. Women shave their heads; men wear their hair in fans, with length indicating social standing. The Centauri Emperor is a puppet, completely under the thumb of several royal houses who have risen to ascendancy with Londo’s help.
Once a major power, the Narn Regime has been recently conquered in a brutal assault by the Centauri, especially humiliating since they were unwilling subjects of the Centauri Republic of old. Former ambassador G’Kar, one of the few who knows that the Centauri aren’t working alone, leads a resistance movement from Babylon 5, but his chances of reclaiming his homeworld seem slim. Narns have a reptilian appearance and are easily provoked. The strict new rules imposed by the Centauri (including the death of the killer’s family if any Narn kills any Centauri) have forced them to move carefully.
Once an adversary of Earth, the Minbari Federation has continued to show interest and friendship with humanity, though how long that will remain the case is uncertain. The balance of power in the Minbari ruling body, the Grey Council, has shifted in favor of the warrior caste, many of whom are none too happy about the surrender to Earth twelve years earlier. (Only the Council and a few outsiders know that the war was ended when the Council discovered that some humans carry Minbari souls.) The Minbari have been a major power for well over a millenium, and were instrumental in the defeat of the Shadows when they last rose up a thousand years ago.
Very little is known about the Vorlon Empire. The Vorlons are an ancient race, the last remaining member of a group of elder races known as the First Ones who ruled the galaxy millions of years ago. The Vorlons have visited the lesser races for eons, possibly manipulating many of them for their own purposes. The fact that Vorlons appear as holy figures of legend to the few onlookers who see them outside their encounter suits — different figures to different observers, no less — seems to support that. The Vorlons are ancient adversaries of the Shadows, and it’s to help wage war against them one last time that the Vorlons remained behind when the other First Ones went away. They are able to project images into people’s minds, no doubt part of the reason for their subjective appearance.
The Shadows are a dark power, ancient beyond even the Vorlons. They have fought fierce wars against the First Ones across millions of years. The last Great War against the Shadows was ten thousand years ago; after that, perhaps thinking the Shadows destroyed, most of the First Ones departed. A thousand years ago the Shadows rose again, and were defeated by an alliance of the few remaining First Ones and others, including the Minbari. Now, with no First Ones other than the Vorlons to oppose them, their victory seems certain; what their ultimate goals are, nobody knows, except perhaps their human representative, Morden (pictured.) The Shadows generally choose to make themselves invisible, though some can sense their presence anyway.
The Rangers are an underground “army of light” formed to gather information and perform covert operations in the war against the Shadows. Organized with the help of Delenn, Sinclair (former Babylon 5 commander and current Earth ambassador to Minbar) and Sheridan, the Rangers have pledged their lives to fight the coming darkness. Rangers are identified by a pin which depicts elements of human and Minbari appearance.
Babylon 5’s original mission of peace may have failed, but it has become something greater: a chance for victory. The alliances formed against the Shadows are recent, though, and the players may not be ready to win the war. Meanwhile, the Earth goverment back home seems to have its own agenda, and will likely not be of any help in the fight against the darkness.