"I am a Ranger."
"We walk in the dark places no others will enter."
"We stand on the bridge, and no one may pass."
"We live for the One, we die for the One"
- – Anla'Shok credo
The Anla'Shok are an elite fighting force, originally founded by Valen during the First Shadow War to stand apart from the feuding Warrior Clans of the age. In Valen's words, they were to be "a military group dedicated to nothing less than preserving the future and all life. Even our enemy's life, if possible." The word "Anla'Shok", is loosely translated into English as Rangers.
The Anla'Shok were founded on Minbar by Valen during the First Shadow War, shortly after the formation of the Grey Council. As the council was formed to unify the Minbari government, the Anla'Shok was formed to unify the Minbari military. Until that point each of the military clans had its own fighting force and they would constantly argue over tactics, strategy and leadership, causing as much harm to the war effort as the technological superiority of the enemy. Tensions even escalated to the point where fighting broke out between some of the clans.
When Valen formed the Rangers, he ensured it was made up of warriors from all the clans of the Warrior Caste and all were trained in the customs and tradition drawn from all clans, but made into a new form, unique to the Anla'Shok. Most importantly of all, each Anla'shok would no longer swear allegiance to fight for their clan but to the Entil'Zha and fight only on his behalf.
For the next several years, Valen personally led the Anla'Shok and all of the allied worlds against the Shadows until their defeat. In the process, the Rangers became the most efficient and deadly fighting force the galaxy has ever seen. However Valen saw the danger in this and knew that once their enemy was defeated, the Anla'Shok could grow dissatisfied and restless and in the event that the wrong person might become Entil'Zha, the Rangers could turn into a force for conquest and power.
"In Valen's name!"
- – Ranger oaths
With the end of the Shadow War, Valen, not wanting the Minbari Warriors to lose the unifying symbol that the Anla'Shok had become and revert to their old ways of disharmony and infighting, re-tasked the Rangers with a new mission; to become sentries and watchers, looking for the signs and collecting information quietly on Minbar, from returning travelers and friendly sources on other worlds, watching and waiting for the day when the Shadows would return. With that Valen left the Rangers and Minbar with his family, never to be seen again and for the next thousand years, the Rangers did as Valen instructed and kept the tradition of the Rangers alive.
Over the centuries, their numbers, resources and influence would dwindle until they were little more than a few old men, dealing in whispers and rumors. When the time that Valen said the Shadows would begin moving again was upon them, the Grey Council had become complacent after a millennium of peace and stability and few of its members truly believed in the prophecies of Valen, some even going so far as mocking the Anla'Shok and secretly considered them to be an obsolete embarrassment and were carried only out of a sense of tradition and their debt to Valen.
The Second Shadow WarEdit
"This prophecy also said that the Anla-Shok will arise."
"They will be ready and they will be instrumental in the next great war."
The Third Age and BeyondEdit
With the formation of the Interstellar Alliance at the end of 2261, the Anla'Shok became the means to create the peace; patrolling the borders of member worlds and making sure that if one race planned to attack the other, all would know about it.
In 2266, following the Drakh attack on Earth and their release of a bio-genetic plague, ISA President Sheridan tasked the Anla'Shok with searching the galaxy for a cure and coordinating with the new starship Excalibur to follow up on anything they find.
Following the Second Earth Alliance Civil War and subsequent Great Burn of 2762, the Anla'Shok infiltrated the now devastated Earth, with its civilisation reduced to a pre-technological, technophobic state. Rather than attempt to openly rebuild, they instead worked in secret for centuries, helping to slowly rebuild and reintroduce technology before eventually taking Earth's people back to the stars.
Leadership, Ranks and TitlesEdit
"Anla'Shok" and later the English equivalent "Ranger" are also used as a simple honorific to refer to anyone who has completed Ranger training.
Title originally held by Valen when he formed the Anla'Shok. The exact meaning is unknown, but believed to have been derived from Vorlon. Subsequent leaders of the Anla'Shok after Valen took on the title of Anla'Shok Na, this was to honor the memory of Valen. This tradition continued for 900 years until Jenimer requested that Jeffrey Sinclair take on the title and reunite Entil'Zha with Anla'shok Na.
- Persons known to have held this position: -
- (Circa 1260 - Circa 1360) Valen
- (Circa 1360 - 2259) UNOCCUPIED
- (2259 - 2260) Jeffrey Sinclair
- (2260 - 2279) Delenn
- (2279 - 2281) John Sheridan
The title given to the current leader of the Anla'shok in the time after Valen, until the title "Entil'Zha" was reintroduced for Jeffery Sinclair, as a fulfillment of Valen's prophecy. Literally means "Ranger One". 
- Persons known to have held this position: -
- (Circa 1260 - Circa 1360) Valen 
- (Circa 1360 - unknown) Unknown 
- (unknown - 2246) Lenonn 
- (2247 - 2259) Turval 
- (2259 - 2260) Jeffrey Sinclair , 
- (2260 - 2279) Delenn 
- (2279 - 2281) John Sheridan 
- (2281 - 2345) Susan Ivanova 
Essentially means "teacher" or "Sensei".
- Example: Sech Turval
The Anla'Shok equivalent of a Captain.
- Example: Shok-na David Martel
The Anla'Shok equivalent of a First officer.
- Example: Shok-nali Dulann
"Anla'Shok" and later the English equivalent "Ranger" are also used as a simple, interchangeable honorific to refer to anyone who has completed Ranger training.
- Some persons known to have held this position: -
Before an individual completes their training, they are referred to as a "trainee". The Minbari equivalent of this term is unknown.
The Anla'Shok were originally a purely Minbari organization, with its members made up of only those born into or called to the Warrior Caste. Like most Minbari cultural institutions, the Anla'Shok conformed to societal norms and had no members of the Worker Caste, though the caste still made ships and weapons for them, and no dealings with the Religious Caste at all, although the leader of the Anla'Shok was known to seek counsel from its members.
When Jeffrey Sinclair became the new Entil'Zha in 2259, he did so on the condition that along with allowing humans to join that members from all three Minbari castes also be allowed to join. This was a condition that many Warriors refused to accept, causing many long serving Rangers to resign under orders from their military clans.
With the Minbari membership of the Anla'Shok diminished by the long decline of support for the organization on Minbar, half or more of the Rangers of 2259-2261 were human, and many of the remaining Minbari were of the Religious Caste. Over time, this was overcome and Minbari warriors would again join the ranks of the Rangers, as would those of the Worker Caste. Following the founding of the Interstellar Alliance, membership became open to all Alliance Members, and within a year, there were Ranger trainees from Abbai IV (Abbai), Zhabar (Drazi), Pa'ri (Yolu), and even Pak'ma (pak'ma'ra). This forced centuries-old Anla'Shok training programs to adapt and evolve, to which many Minbari Anla'Shok - being a very conservative and traditionalist race - were opposed, especially for those among the Warrior Caste.
Unlike the early Human recruits, it took some years before the new alien recruits were fully assimilated into the Anla'Shok, with some help and counsel from Entil'Zha Delenn. It wasn't until 2265 that Anla'Shok Tirk and Anla'Shok Na'Feel - each the first recruits from Zhabar and Narn, respectively - were given a shipboard assignment and then only at the insistence of Shok-na Martel.
Emblem & UniformEdit
To identify each other, members of the Anla'Shok wear a decorative, metal pin on the left breast. It bears two figures on the left and right, whose hands and feet join around a green jewel in the center. This jewel is known as isil'zha and loosely translates to English as "the future." Originally, the figures on either side were Minbari. After Jeffrey Sinclair became Entil'Zha in 2259 and membership in the Rangers became open to humanity, the figures became one Minbari and one human, symbolizing the unification of these two races - who were recently at war - unifying to stand against the ancient enemy.
As with all other things in Minbari society, a special ceremony is observed when the metal of the pin is forged. After forging, the white-hot emblem is cooled in three bowls. The first is a type of holy water, used in a number of Minbari ceremonies, and the other two are said to be bowls of blood: one of Minbari blood, and one of human blood.
The typical uniform worn by Rangers is made to resemble the robes worn by Entil'Zha Valen, the Minbari who founded the order. It consists of a dark-colored tunic and robes. The colors are muted but not so dark as to make them noticeable by contrast.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 To Dream in the City of Sorrows
- ↑ In Valen's Name
- ↑ Rising Star
- ↑ A Call to Arms
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 The Deconstruction of Falling Stars
- ↑ War Without End
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 In the Beginning
- ↑ In Darkness Find Me
- ↑ Points of Departure
- ↑ Grey 17 Is Missing
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 Sleeping in Light
- ↑ Lennier was referred to as "Ranger Trainee Lennier" by Captain Enrique Montoya
- ↑ Matters of Honor
- ↑ 14.0 14.1 Learning Curve
- ↑ The Legend of the Rangers
- ↑ A Late Delivery from Avalon