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Babylon 5 is a 23rd Centry Earth Alliance space station in neutral territory as well as the primary titular setting of the TV show Babylon 5 and the various related movie franchise.


Overview[]

Built ten years after the Earth-Minbari War, this was the last of the Babylon Stations. Two and a half million tons of spinning metal, all alone in the night; it was a dream given form and shape. A beacon of hope in the bleak darkness of cold and unforgiving void of space.

It's purpose was to serve as neutral territory, as a diplomatic station where ambassadors from all races and species, human and alien alike could come come together and work out their differences peacefully; as a free trading port for rare and unusual alien items to be purchased by the rich, the poor, and the desperate and gullible; and a temporary home away from home for weary travelers from hundreds of different worlds.

It was a dangerous place.

But it was also our last, best hope for peace.

In time however, this place would become something far greater. In the end, the destinies of entire planets and races would be shaped and redefined here.

Wars were fought to possess it and wars were fought to destroy everything that it stood for. History was created here and peace was forged here and it alternatively served as a meeting center for the League of Non-Aligned Worlds; as the battle fortress of the Armies of Light against the Shadows; and the founding center of the Interstellar Alliance.

The name of the place?

It was known as Babylon 5.

Babylon 5 station

Technical Specifications[]

  • CLASS: O'Neill-Type Cylindrical Rotating Space Habitat
  • OVERALL LENGTH: 8.0467 kilometers (26,400 feet or 5 miles)
  • OVERALL ROTATING SECTION DIAMETER: 840 meters (2,756 feet)
  • MASS: 9,100,000 metric tons
  • DISPLACEMENT: 2,500,000 metric tons
  • CREW COMPLEMENT: 6,500 Administration and Crew; 1,500 Dock Workers
  • POPULATION: 250,000 individuals (at maximum capacity)
  • SIGNIFICANT INHABITANTS: Londo Mollari, Vir Cotto, Delenn, Lennier, Kosh Naranek, G'Kar, Na'Toth, Lyta Alexander, Talia Winters, Ulkesh Naranek, Vizak, Brother Theo Ankises, Thomas Jordan, Neeoma Connally, Eduardo Delvientos
Bab5 StationBP BW

Babylon 5 Design Layout Schematics

Design Features[]

External Design Features[]

The largest human designed artificial space habitat at the time of its construction, Babylon 5 consisted of several hollow cylinders stacked together and connected by a series of interconnecting rings to an external load bearing support stanchion with two large "horns" at the very front. These horns framed the main docking port doors of the station that allowed ships to physically enter or exit the station as well as the main internal docking bays within the station itself.

Each of these cylinders rotated akin to a carousal with the external stanchion serving as a spinal support that remained "stationary". The external stanchion ran almost the entire length of the station and was attached at the rotating carousal rings of each cylinder (which also remained stationary) while allowing the rest of the cylinder to rotate freely.

The rotation of the cylinder provided centrifugal force on the inner side of the cylinder and generated artificial gravity for individuals standing on the internal surfaces while the central hollow part of the cylinder possessed little to none. As a result, the internal surfaces of each cylinder contained the habitable areas while the axis of the central part of the cylinder was a vast and almost empty space. Typically the outer hull of each cylinder was an armored shell of roughly 8 to 12 meters for atmospheric integrity and protection against penetration.

Certain cylinders rotated at different speeds and directions. These different rotational speeds allowed certain sections to have greater or lesser gravity gradients and also for stability in order to prevent gyroscopic forces from tearing the station apart.

The spinal support however did not possess any gravity and the two "horns" mounted on the front of this stanchion contained the zero-gravity docking bays for bulk cargo loading/unloading for large freighters. In addition, the zero-g conditions was used for automated manufactories.

Twelve gigantic hyper-communications panels were mounted near the aft section of the station, six on either side that linked Babylon 5 to the rest of the galaxy and provided encrypted communication channels for Earth Force personnel to Earth Dome and the various ambassadors to their worlds and governments.

Internal Design Features[]

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Babylon 5 Interior Cutaway Display

The interior of Babylon 5 was divided into 6 major sections that were color-coded for convenience; Blue, Red, Green, Grey, Brown, and Yellow. Each of these separate sectors were contained in a separate cylinder and were located on the inner surface of the cylinder itself.

These sectors were divided up into 36 regions, each region consisting of a 10-degree arc and were numbered; Blue 01 to Blue 36 and Red 01 to Red 36 for example. Directions within the station were referred to as spinward (the direction the cylinder was moving), retrograde (the opposite direction that the cylinder was moving), forward (towards the docking bays at the front end), and aft (towards the power plant at the rear end).

Bab5 Interiorspecs-0

Central Axis "The Core"

The central axis of each cylinder were referred to as "The Core" and were interconnected to each other via several longitudinal rails that ran almost the entire length of the station itself. This central axis zone was a section of extremely low-gravity and was used as the long range rail transit system that allowed travel between each of the cylinders via a series of high-speed monorails known as the "Core Shuttles". The monorails were subject to variable gravity as they traversed the length Babylon 5 and required its passengers to use hand rails, magnetic foot strips, and seat belts for safety. These monorails would dock at 15 monorail stations, several of which were set within each sector which allowed passengers to egress and descend to the "inner surface" via transport tubes similar to elevators. These transport tubes ran along the interior surface of Babylon 5. These tubes were for short-range transport only, allowing individuals to move both horizontally and vertically between the various different levels and regions of each sector.

Bab5 Blue-CandC

Command & Control (Blue Sector)

  • BLUE SECTOR: Composing of the forward section of the station, this area was referred to as the "Command Pod" due to the spherical shape of this section. This section housed Command & Control (C&C) as well as the main docking bays, the defense grid control center, and the dedicated cobra bays for the station's Starfury fighter complement. Blue Sector also boasted living quarters for the Earth Alliance officers and certain high ranking administration and station personnel. During the Shadow War, Blue Section was overhauled to contain the Strategic War Room where the overall military operations and planning were undertaken by the Army of Light. Due to the fact of the highly restricted nature of this sector, only station personnel were permitted access to this area and even the accredited ambassadors required permission to enter.
  • RED SECTOR: The commercial section of Babylon 5, this area contained the customs area as well as the embarkation and disembarkation lounges for arriving and departing individuals. It was estimated that on a daily basis, over 50 to 60 ships used it as a waypoint, nearly 95% of this traffic was purely civilian and over 200,000 individuals arrived and departed Babylon 5.
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The Zocalo (Red Sector)

Due to this enormous transient population, this sector is heavily dedicated for this purpose with short-term hotels and temporary guest living quarters; casinos; restaurants and bars; private conference rooms for business meetings; and larger rooms that can be rented for various ceremonial occasions. A number of other recreational areas and services were located here from virtual reality gaming rooms to even a botanical garden maze containing plant life from over 60 different worlds. The notorious shopping bazaar known as the "Zocalo" was located here as well as the Main Medical Section or "MedLab" as well as the Security Offices and Judiciary Hall were located in this habitat ring. Red Sector is one of the completely free sectors that anyone can access.

  • GREEN SECTOR: This cylinder earns its name due to the 12 square miles of hydroponic gardens which dominated this bio-habitat. The gardens doubled for producing renewable oxygen for the station personnel and food crops. The central sectional cylinder of Babylon 5, Green Sector also had the largest open central axis and was well known for its spectacular interior view. This sector was also known as the diplomatic quarters of the station for various ambassadors, their staff members, and hosting VIP dignitaries. Various meeting rooms, conference halls, and auditoriums were located in this section and were specially reserved for diplomats. The Council Chambers for the League of Non-Aligned Worlds and later the Interstellar Alliance were located in this area. Most of Green Sector was restricted to diplomatic personnel only. Approximately 42% of the station population, including visitors is alien but the majority could live in the standard oxygen/nitrogen mix. However, 14 known races had special life support requirements and had to make do with various life support equipment and breathing apparatuses in other parts of the station. For their comfort, Green Sector also has a special bio-habitat set aside known as the "Alien Zone" which has specialized gravity and atmospheric mixes such as methane. The "Zone" has quarters for short term visitors or long term residences such as the Vorlons' Ambassador.
  • BROWN SECTOR: Predominantly functioning as Babylon 5's industrial section. It houses the various life support equipment including the air compressors and water reclamation tanks of the station. Brown Sector also contains more spartan living quarters for both short-term guests or long-term residents as well for those who can't afford the more luxurious Red Sector facilities and tends to be home to a number of the poorer residents of the station such as the dock workers and support and maintenance personnel. There are other lesser amenities such as several dive bars, bargain market kiosks, and cheap restaurants scattered throughout this section as well as a free medical clinic and a chapel run by a Catholic Order of Trappist Monks. This region is also renowned for being a hotbed of criminal activity.
  • GREY SECTOR: The furthest habitable cylindrical section of the carousel with working gravity, heat, and air although it is usually kept at minimal levels. This area contains the waste processing facilities, the cooling sections for the fusion power plants, and storage spaces for maintenance and supplies. Grey Sector was actually never completed due to budget constraints and most of the unclaimed areas have became known as "Downbelow" by most station residents. The desperate and homeless known as 'lurkers' squat here and it is notorious by the more superstitious maintenance personnel for "strange noises and lights" and the occasional disappearance as the 'Babylon Triangle'.
  • YELLOW SECTOR: Yellow Sector is considered heavily restricted simply for safety reasons as it is extremely hazardous. Large areas are not pressurized or even have gravity. It consists mainly of a 3 kilometer (1.8 mile) long shaft at the very aft of the station itself but the external load bearing support stanchion is considered part of Yellow Sector as well. At the very end of this aft cylinder lies 8 fusion reactors and its accompanying deuterium fuel tanks and supporting machinery. The fusion reactors are mounted at the extreme end of the station and well away from most of the inhabited areas as a precautionary measure. Babylon 5's fusion reactors are capable of producing over 16,000 Terawatts for approximately 5 years without refueling and is capable of handling all of the station's energy needs. The external load bearing support stanchion contains variable gravity research labs, zero-g manufactories, and maintenance drone bays.

Armaments[]

Bab 5 PointDefense Grid Arms

Babylon 5's Point Defense Grid

Originally, Babylon 5 relied heavily on its status as a diplomatic station and neutral territory for protection. It did possess a defense grid of rapid firing interceptor cannons which were designed to unleash bursts of energy set for a maximum dispersion pattern. These interceptors were intended to destroy incoming hostile missiles primarily and were intended for self-defense.

It's main offensive punch lay in 3 squadrons of Earth Alliance's primary attack fighter, the Starfury. The Starfury is considered to be one of the premiere space superiority fighters in the Galaxy and only surpassed by the Minbari Nial-Class Fighters.

In 2259, as a result of numerous conflicts that the station had suffered from as well as rising political tensions, Earth Alliance made a comprehensive and systematic upgrade of the defensive systems of Babylon 5 to include twin particle array cannons, pulse cannons, and heavy plasma cannons. This enabled the station to not only be able to defend itself from attacks from capital class warships but destroy them. During that same year, shortly before he was assassinated, President Luis Santiago secretly upgraded the station's Starfury fighter squadrons to the latest and most proficient models available as well as increasing its standing numbers to 4 squadrons of fighters with a combined total of 48 fighters.

The Epsilon Eridani System[]

Galactically, the Epsilon Eridani System is approximately 10.67 light years from Earth and by coincidence, spatially located nearly equidistantly from Earth, Narn, and Centauri Prime. The exact location of the Minbar and the Vorlon Homeworld are unknown, both however control vast sectors of space that are within close proximity to this region. The Vorlon Homeworld is reputed to be within a 96 hour transit time via hyperspace while Narn is approximately 44 hours away, Centauri Prime is 48 hours away, and Earth is a 36 hours transit trip away.

In addition to being roughly centrally located between the Great Powers of this era; Epsilon Eridani was unclaimed by any system nor was it possessed of any appreciable exploitable resources. For this reason, it was chosen by Earth Alliance to serve as the system for the Babylon Stations. Epsilon Eridani has one star, Euphrates; a K2 type star also known as an orange dwarf star.

Babylon 5 is located in orbit around the third planet of the Epsilon Eridani which was originally assumed to be of absolutely no interest, geologically stable, and uninhabited. It wasn't until 2258, well after the station was built and established that it was belatedly discovered that all three assumptions were completely false. Epsilon Eridani III is home to an ancient device known as "The Great Machine" that requires a sentient being to help maintain its functions.

The Great Machine[]

Constructed sometime around Earth date 1758 A.D. by a highly advanced and unidentified alien race and was hidden to prevent it from being misused. The Great Machine consists of a vast array of networked complexes hidden beneath the surface of Epsilon Eridani III, the vast majority of which have never been seen. A brief sensor scan of some of the complex indicates that it has over 1,000 advanced fusion reactors, some of which are mammoth in scope and over 10 miles in width.

The Great Machine is designed to be entirely self contained and completely self sufficient fortress-city. It is highly automated although it does require a small staff to handle certain maintenance and repair functions. It is also defended by a series of enormous ground-to-air missiles and gigantic particle slicer beams capable of wiping out entire fleets of ships in a single shot. It also contains enormous databanks filled with knowledge and technological secrets as well as the capability to manufacture them. The Great Machine was responsible for creating time stabilizers, triluminaries, and chrysalis devices that can genetically alter a human into a Minbari-hybrid and vice versa. It is believed but cannot be confirmed that the builders of the Great Machine were one of the ancient First Ones akin to the Vorlons and the Shadows.

Bab5 greatmachine-draal

Draal in the Heart of the Great Machine

As a safeguard against anyone misusing it, the Great Machine requires a sentient mind to help regulate its massive energy reactors. Without one, it will become increasingly unstable and eventually self-destruct. The Custodian of the Great Machine is physically and mentally linked to it in a special chamber at the heart of the Machine itself.

The Great Machine has advanced medical equipment and augmentation devices that allow it to rejuvenate, repair, and maintain the Custodian's physical condition and lifespan far in excess of its ordinary projected norms. For instance; the predecessor to the current Custodian, Varn served for over 500 years as the Custodian before the Great Machine could no longer extend his life any further.

The Minbari known as Draal is the current Custodian of the Great Machine and has demonstrated the capacity to use the equipment to project his mind across space and time, even a holographic image of himself. His predecessor was capable of augmenting temporal rifts, enlarging them to a point where one rift swallowed up Babylon 4, resulting in its mysterious disappearance in 2254.

The Great Machine remains an enigma and off limits. The Babylon 5 Council consisting of Earth, Narn, Centauri, Minbari, and Vorlon Ambassadors were entrusted (through enlightened self-interest) that no one would disturb it or try to violate its territory in order to gain its technological secrets.

Draal and the Great Machine did play a major role in the Shadow War, secretly assisting Babylon 5 against the Shadows.

The Jump Gate[]

Bab5 Jump-Gate opening

The Jump Gate Opens

Epsilon Eridani is also home to a Jump Gate which is based upon an ancient device that allows FTL travel by creating a rift into the otherdimension known as "hyperspace". Hyperspace is the predominant form of faster than light travel and is utilized by numerous alien races and species. It requires enormous power to create these rifts into hyperspace and only the most advanced capital ships have the capacity do do so. The majority of other vessels instead rely on an interstellar network of Jump Gates and prepositioned hyperspace navigational beacons.

Babylon 5 manages the Jump Gate traffic which is a key reason for the economic stability of the station as it allows interstellar commerce and trade. Every transit fee and toll contributes to the overall maintenance and operating expenses of the station which proved significant when the station briefly was forced to become an independent entity and forced to be self-sustaining without Earth Force financial grants.

History[]

In 2245, Earth Force Captain Michael Jankowski was ordered to perform an investigative survey of the Minbari borders, he inadvertently made First Contact the the reclusive race. By chance, one of the Minbari cruisers that he ran across happened to be carrying the Grey Council, the ruling caste of the Minbari race. Although given strict orders not to do anything that could be perceived as hostile; the arrogant Jankowski closed in to try and gain a detailed sensor profile of the Minbari, convinced that his initiative would win him accolades and awards from Earthforce Command.

Curious over the humans' behavior and having never met one before; Dukhat, the beloved leader of the Grey Council decided to attempt peaceful contact. As a result of his orders, the cruisers immediately opened their gun ports but did not charge them, an old custom by the Minbari Warrior Caste to show their strength and also respect to the approaching ships by approaching them openly and unarmed.

Bab5 Dukhat-death

The Shot Heard Around the Galaxy

It ended in absolute disaster. The enormous power of the Minbari's ships overwhelmed Earthforce's rudimentary sensors causing massive static and overloading electronics. Jankowski panicked, believing that the Minbari were attacking via some secret weapon and at the last second before his sensors failed, saw that the Minbari's gunports were open (although he was unaware that they were uncharged).

Convinced that the Minbari were about to launch an attack, Jankowski struck first. His pointblank strike only lightly damaged the Minbari cruisers; but it was enough that it resulted in mortally injuring Dukhat. Outraged by the attack and grief stricken by the loss of their beloved leader, the Minbari launched a war that brought the entire Earth Alliance to their knees that could be traced back to a fatal misunderstanding.

Following the end of the Earth-Minbari War in 2247, the Earth Alliance launched the Babylon Project the following year; its aim to create a truly neutral space station where anyone and everyone would be welcome to come and air their grievances and disputes. And to prevent another genocidal mistake. Proclaimed to be "our last, best hope for peace", the first three Babylon Stations were destroyed via construction disasters or sabotage and Babylon 4 vanished mysteriously just twenty-four hours after commissioning in 2254.

The high costs and failures of the previous stations, accompanied by increasing xenophobia of the general public of Earth Alliance had dropped favorable public opinion of constructing another station to barely 30% approval. Even Lloyd's of London set odds of the station's survival as being only 500 to 1 although it diminished to 250 to 1 after the end of it's first year of operation.

Bablyon 5 however was completed only through the strong unwavering support of Earth President Luis Santiago who managed to push the project through and resorted to accepting tremendous financial assistance by the Minbari Federation and some technological resources provided by the Centauri Republic in exchange for future political favors that the fifth and final station was completed.

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Babylon 5 Under Construction

It did come with a cost however. The final station was much smaller than the previous ones and also considerably simplified. Further, cuts to funding resulted in certain sections of the station being left incomplete. Construction was completed at the Lagrange Point of Epsilon Eridani III which was located in neutral space and roughly equidistant from all of the five major political powers at that time; Earth Alliance, the Centauri Republic, the Minbari Federation, the Narn Regime, and the Vorlon Empire. Babylon 5 subsequently came online on March 9, 2256 with relatively little fanfare but the events surrounding this isolated station would come to change and shape the very galaxy for decades to come.

Numerous highly prestigious Earth Force officers were considered for the post of station commander but in the end, the Minbari has a result of their financial assistance had the right of final veto refused to choose any but Commander Jeffrey Sinclair, a survivor of the Battle of the Line during the Earth-Minbari War. Sinclair thus became the first Station Commander of Babylon 5 and oversaw it for two years.

In 2259, Sinclair was recalled to Earth in order to serve as its ambassador to the Minbari Federation and Captain John Sheridan was appointed as the new Station Commander by Earth Alliance President Morgan Clark. Clark deliberately chose Sheridan as a provocative insult to the Minbari Federation and believed that Sheridan would take a belligerent hardline against alien influences. He would be sorely disappointed as Sheridan would turn out to be fair, tolerant, and open minded; not to mention the biggest rebellious influence against his Presidency.

Roughly a year later, it was publicly revealed that the current Earth President Morgan Clark had arranged the assassination of his predecessor, Luis Santiago; Clark declared martial law and seized dictatorial control over Earth Alliance. To cement his authority, Clark proceeded to bomb the rebellious Mars Colony into compliance. As a result, on April 14, 2260 Sheridan decided to secede from the Earth Alliance, transforming Babylon 5 into an independent political entity whose neutrality was first guaranteed by the Minbari Federation and subsequently, the League of Non-Aligned Worlds.

Following the voluntary exile of the Shadows and Vorlons from the Galaxy, Sheridan led a combined military force against Earth to arrest Clark for war crimes. Clark chose suicide over capture, ending the Earth Civil War. Subsequently, the Minbari Federation along with the Narn Regime, the Centuari Rebublic, and the League of Non-Aligned Worlds established the Interstellar Alliance and named John Sheridan as its first President. One of Sheridan's first acts was to buy Babylon 5 from Earth Alliance, officially taking possession of the station and used it as ISA capital in 2262. Babylon 5 however was still operated and run by Earthforce and Colonel Elizabeth Lochley was appointed as Station Commander. Lochley would run the station far longer than her predecessors and would serve as its commander for over a decade.

Bab5 Finale-Explodes

B5's Explosive End

A more permanent capital was ultimately established on Tuzanor on the Minbari Homeworld but Babylon 5 continued to serve as the main diplomatic station and trading port for ISA and Earth Alliance for over a decade.

In 2276, the Interstellar Alliance gifted Babylon 5 to Earth Alliance.

In 2281, Babylon 5 was considered largely redundant having been replaced by much more advanced and modern facilities. It was ultimately decommissioned having fulfilled its original purpose by Earth Alliance and was left in the hands of a small skeleton staff and caretaker crew. Shortly afterwards, it was declared as a potential threat to interstellar navigation and the deserted station was destroyed. It's legacy however would live on.

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