"A final refuge for dreams . . . and our last, best hope for peace."
- – Delenn, 2261
Babylon 5 was divided into six color-coded sectors: Blue, Red, Green, Brown, Grey and Yellow, the latter of which was not part of the rotating carousel. Each rotating sector was subdivided into 36 regions divided along 10-degree lines respective to the station core. Directions within the station were noted as spinward, retrograde, forward (toward the command sphere), and aft (toward the power plant).
The corridors of each segment carried stripes corresponding to the sector's color. This gave residents and visitors quick indication of their approximate location in the station. Most corridors also carried numbered placards on the walls at intersections, applying a level / area name to the location (i.e., "Blue-3", "Red-5", "Green-2", "Brown-57", "Grey-16").
- Blue Sector: Blue Sector comprised the forward segment of the rotating section and extended several kilometers aft to Red Sector, housing the maintenance and operational control centers, docking bays, customs, embarkation, the observation dome, the cobra bays and C&C as well as quarters for station personnel. Access to Blue Sector was mostly restricted to station personnel and official guests of the Earth Alliance.
- Red Sector: Red Sector was the largest of the station's rotating sections and served as the station's commercial area. Businesses such as hotels, casinos, bars, restaurants, the Zócalo, and conference areas could be found here. Medlab, Security headquarters, and the Judiciary were also located in Red Sector. Access to Red Sector was unrestricted.
- Green Sector: Green Sector, also known as the diplomatic sector, was restricted to diplomatic and command personnel. To accommodate the various diplomats and other guests, medlab facilities were also available in Green Sector. The presence of Green Sector could be ascertained outside the station via the bulge in the center of the carousel.
- Brown Sector: Brown sector houses the industrial work that support the life support and waste reclamation facilities. It is located at the rear of the station's rotating section. It is located aft of Green Sector and fore of Grey Sector. Originally, it was intended to be a secondary commercial area like Red Sector, but went unfinished in the rush to complete construction.
- Grey Sector: Grey Sector was the furthest section of the carousel aftward, just aft of Brown Sector. Atmosphere monitoring, the alpha power station, fabrication furnaces and maintenance facilities could be found here in the sector's 30 levels. Grey Sector's structure was incomplete due to budgetary restrictions. Due to the machinery, scans and communications were unreliable. Grey Sector access was restricted to command, security and maintenance personnel. Due to reports of missing persons and strange occurrences, Grey 17 was placed off-limits to all but security personnel.
- Yellow Sector: The single largest segment of the station, Yellow Sector consisted of all of the zero-gravity sections of the station. The main body was the spinal cargo facility which managed zero-g cargo transfers and held the bulk of the station's supplies. It also housed certain facilities such as variable gravity research labs and zero-g maintenance. Aft of the carousel, a 3 km long, tubular section contained the primary fusion core and fuel tanks. Yellow Sector connected to both Blue Sector and Gray Sector via the linkages that powered the station's rotation.
The Central Corridors are a series of multi-level public access ways that run around the station's circumference or linearly along its length and often serve as public areas and marketplaces. The Zócalo is situated in one such linear corridor.
Living quarters on Babylon 5 are divided up according to size, quality and function. Since space is at a premium on B5, larger quarters are correspondingly more expensive. The quarters in Blue Sector are reserved for station personnel, including the command staff, support workers, station services, pilots, dock workers and visiting VIPs from Earth. The size of the quarters assigned to EarthForce personnel is determined according rank and position. In 2259, Earth Central decided that since the station had been running at a deficit that the quarters assigned to Captain John Sheridan and Commander Susan Ivanova were larger than was required, (by 7 feet) and ordered them to either move to smaller quarters or start paying 30 Credits a week each in rent. After a brief stand-off, Sheridan eventually resolved the issue by deducting 60 credits per week from the station budget set aside to maintain combat readiness and applying it against the rent, on the grounds that he was not ready to fight without a decent night's sleep in his own bed.
Living quarters in Green Sector are generally reserved for Ambassadors, diplomatic personnel and visiting dignitaries and are paid for by their respective governments. Some non-diplomatic economy quarters in the are available to rent in the Alien Sector, for species that require alternate atmospheres.
In Red and Brown Sectors living quarters are available to rent for station visitors and vary from the small and spartan economy sized which contain little more than a bed, table and chair to the modest but well furnished business which comes with Babcom and data net access and entertainment terminals. The luxury class quarters are the finest and by extension the most expensive suites on Babylon 5 and come with a full range of amenities including a water (or racial equivalent) shower.
Downbelow is a term used for the various undeveloped areas of the station, mostly in the lower levels, near the outer hull, around the waste recycling system, the air compressors, and the water reclamation facility. It is one of the most unpleasant areas of the station and is home to the station's homeless underclass, known as Lurkers.
Hazardous Materials Storage Facility Edit
A small facility for the storage of hazardous materials orbited Epsilon III, at a safe distance from the station's orbit.
Station Economy Edit
Babylon 5 had, for the most part, its own self-sustained economy. While the station was granted a military and operations budget during the years it was attached to the Earth Alliance, it generated almost all of its own revenue, which covered operating expenses. This fact became central when the station broke away from Earth and was no longer entitled to a budget of any kind. After the station became a free state of its own, the station imposed docking fees on visiting ships to offset expenses. Additionally, the station depended increasingly on trade and commerce from outside sources to generate revenue. A substantial source of income for the station was the rent paid both by individuals for their living quarters and by businesses for the spaces they utilized to conduct commerce. Other sources of revenue included, but were not limited to, money paid by persons undergoing treatment in Medlab and the fees paid to have visiting ships serviced or repaired.
Core Shuttle & Monorail Edit
Long distance, rapid transit on B5 is provided by use of the core shuttles and the monorails. The core shuttles run the length of the station's habitable areas, along the central axis and as such operated in a low/zero-gravity environment requiring passengers to make use of hand rails, mag-strips, seat-belts, and foot-straps.
Transport Tubes Edit
The transport tubes offer short to mid-distance transportation and are used mostly to move between levels.
Babylon 5 was built to support around 250,000 humans and aliens, though most were often in transit to and from various worlds, many others actually lived and worked on the station. In addition to Earthforce personnel, there were over 5000 technical staff in addition to medical support, environmental personnel, the Ambassadors and diplomatic staff from nearly two dozen races and over 1000 Docker's Guild workers. From the beginnings of the Earth Alliance Civil War onwards, the security team of Babylon 5 consisted of both humans and Narns, as several Narns enlisted to replace those security personnel who had joined the Nightwatch.
- Command Staff
- Diplomatic Staff
"Babylon 5 was the last of the Babylon stations. There would never be another."
"It changed the future, and it changed us."
"It taught us that we have to create the future or others will do it for us."
"It showed us that we have to care for one another because if we don't, who will?"
"And that true strength sometimes comes from the most unlikely places."
"Mostly, though, I think it gave us hope that there can always be new beginnings. Even for people like us."
After the destruction of the first three Babylon stations and the disappearance of Babylon 4, The Earth Alliance cut funding to the Babylon Project. Due to these cuts, the construction of Babylon 5 was underfunded and was completed with the aid and sponsorship of the Minbari Federation and to a lesser extent, the Centauri Republic. As a result, the Minbari government received final veto on the person appointed by the Earth Alliance to run Babylon 5.
Unlike the earlier Babylon stations, Babylon 5 was immobile. Therefore, it was constructed in the L5 point in orbit around planet Epsilon III near Epsilon Eridani, positioned near the local jumpgate where it could serve as both trade station and strategic command post.
Babylon 5 came online on March 9 2256 under the command of Jeffrey Sinclair. The choice of commanding officer was met with a small amount of skepticism, especially after the deal with the Minbari came to light. A poll made by ISN at the time showed only 30% of people asked were in favour of it. By September 2259, it had risen to 40%. Lloyd's of London placed the odds of Babylon 5 surviving at 500 to 1; Las Vegas, 350 to 1; New Vegas, 200 to 1. By 2259, the odds had changed: Lloyd's of London, 250 to 1; Las Vegas, 200 to 1; New Vegas, 5 to 1.
During 2256, the station brought on its primary command staff from Earthforce, consisting of:
- Lt.Cmdr. Laurel Takashima - Executive Officer
- Dr. Benjamin Kyle - Chief-of-Staff of the Medlab Facility
- CWO Michael Garibaldi - Chief of Station Security
The initial members of the Babylon 5 Advisory Council, ambassadors from the governments that supported the Babylon Project, came aboard as well: Delenn of the Minbari Federation, Londo Mollari of the Centauri Republic, and G'Kar of the Narn Regime. Other diplomats from the League of Non-Aligned Worlds joined in short order. With a quorum of the representative governments, the Advisory Council and the League were able to establish the station as a diplomatic post.
In early 2257, the station welcomed aboard the last member of the Babylon 5 Advisory Council, Ambassador Kosh Naranek. The station's neutrality became immediately endangered when the ambassador was attacked and poisoned in the docking bay, with all signs pointing to Commander Sinclair as the culprit. Both the Advisory Council and the League of Non-Aligned Worlds, spurred on by Ambassador G'Kar, convened a special session to determine if the commander should be extradited for trial. In the end, the culprit was outed as a rogue member of the Minbari Warrior Caste, intent on disrupting the peace process, though his motives remained a mystery after his death. With the Council and League assembled, Babylon 5 got down to work as a diplomatic forum where all spacefaring races could meet in neutral territory.
Change in PersonnelEdit
Later that year, Dr. Kyle was recalled to Earthdome following his experience treating Ambassador Kosh to take up a new post as head of Xenobiological Research. Shortly before the end of the year, Lt. Cmdr. Takishima stepped down as executive officer, and Lt. Cmdr. Susan Ivanova took her place. The station's first commercial telepath, Lyta Alexander, was also replaced, with the new telepath, Talia Winters, arriving just after the new year.
2258 began with raider attacks in the area around B5-controlled space. Investigations by station personnel discovered the raiders being supported by the Narn Regime. This was echoed aboard by a growing feud between Ambassadors G'Kar and Mollari.
A week later, B5 experienced a first contact scenario when the first Soul Hunter encountered by Earthforce came through the jumpgate. This set off a chain of events wherein the species that had experience with the hunters began abandoning the station en masse, and Commander Sinclair was barely in time to save the life - and the soul - of Ambassador Delenn. This was far from the first close call the station had, as an Ikarran War Machine began stomping through the levels, intent on eradicating all that was "impure", and a rogue telepath came to the station while in the process of evolving into a being of pure energy. The station quickly earned a reputation for attracting trouble.
Sinclair's role as commander of B5 attracted trouble of its own. A pair of special agents came to the station, intent on using cyber-web interrogation techniques to extract information from the commander about what happened to him at the Battle of the Line. Later in the year, an officer of Earthforce Internal Affairs came to B5 to investigate the commander and his staff, all as a thinly-veiled attempt to remove Sinclair from command in his way of revenge for being passed over for command. Sinclair was not alone in being the center of trouble, as when Security Chief Michael Garibaldi was implicated in an attempted assassination of President Luis Santiago and briefly became a fugitive from station security and the president's chief-of-security.
Even so, the station's role as a diplomatic forum stayed at the forefront. Despite occasional scuffles between local forces - as well as a few ambassadors - important documents were signed by opposing sides. These included the Euphrates Treaty, the key piece of diplomatic documentation that dominated the year's events. In an effort to foster better understanding between humans and aliens, the Earth Alliance sponsored a week-long festival on the station, wherein each race was encouraged to display their dominant spiritual beliefs such that they could be experienced by others. These included both a Minbari Rebirth Ceremony - a solemn event that represents the sacrifice of the self to pursue an existence of service to life itself - and a Centauri celebratory feast - a far more boisterous and hedonistic affair - to mark their victory millennia ago against the other sentient race that evolved on their planet, the Xon. In an effort to showcase Earth's religious beliefs, Commander Sinclair invited many representatives from all of Earth's manifold religions to the station to meet the ambassadors.
The relations between ambassadors frayed from time to time, such as during the Deathwalker affair. The war criminal, Jha'dur, came to Babylon 5 to meet with G'Kar and share her discovery: an anti-aging medicine. After being attacked in the docking bay, a fight broke out that threatened to shatter the station's neutrality; several members of the Advisory Council had reasons to conduct Jha'dur to their respective homeworlds to receive and research her drug, while the League wished to see her tried, convicted, and executed for her war crimes during the Dilgar War. In the end, the matter was settled for them as Jha'dur's ship was destroyed by a Vorlon cruiser as it left the station.
By the end of the year, strange events began taking place, starting with a mysterious man who went around asking all of the ambassadors one simple question: "What do you want?" Mysteries piled on top of mysteries as signals began coming from Epsilon III - a planet once thought to be a dead world - revealing a city-sized machine below the planet's surface. An old friend of Delenn traveled down to the planet to take up custody of the machine, where he claimed it would remain untouched until the time was right. A few weeks later, a temporal rift opened in Sector 14, and Commander Sinclair and Chief Garibaldi traveled through it to discover it led four years into the past to the day Babylon 4 disappeared from that area of space.
These strange events culminated with a series of tragic events on New Year's Eve. Ambassador Delenn was frozen into a cocoon of some sort, but little attention was payed as the command staff was busy with problems of their own. Chief Garibaldi uncovered evidence of a conspiracy to assassinate the president, and he ended up shot in the back for his trouble. Commander Sinclair tried to inform Earthforce, but was unable to due to jamming. The crew of Babylon 5 watched in horror as the president's ship, Earthforce One, exploded above the transfer point on Io.
After the death of President Santiago, Commander Sinclair was recalled to Earthdome. A few days later, he was replaced by Captain John Sheridan, the late president's choice to succeed Sinclair. While outwardly his role was to take up military-governorship of the station, secretly he was part of a conspiracy to uncover the truth of what really happened to Santiago and the implications it has for the safety of the Earth Alliance.
The station eventually broke away from the Earth Alliance, joining with Proxima III and Orion VII in protest of the bombing of civilian targets on the Mars colony, successfully repelling two carrier groups and gaining protection from the Minbari Federation. Later that year it would increasingly become the centre of interstellar politics and the alliance command centre for the war against the Shadows and later the Vorlons. The station would remain independent through the Earth Alliance Civil War and even following the fall of the Clark regime when the newly formed Interstellar Alliance formally purchased B5 from the Earth Alliance.
Even after ISA President Sheridan moved his headquarters to Tuzanor on Minbar, B5 continued to be a hotbed for trade and diplomacy, though by the time the ISA handed the station back into Earth hands in 2276 the station had become largely redundant. In 2281, after almost 25 years of operation, the now practically deserted station was shut down and demolished to prevent it from becoming a navigational hazard.
Behind the ScenesEdit
While working as an animator at Foundation Imaging, Adam "Mojo" Lebowitz stated that the station rotates once every 1800 frames, adding that the speed was selected during the pilot to match the size of the station. This converts to 60 seconds given the NTSC frame rate of 30 fps. More recently, Ron Thornton elaborated that B5 is one mile in diameter "at the floor surface of the centrifuge", which can be combined with the rate of rotation to yield 0.9 G, exactly as noted in the Babylon Project roleplaying game. However, this also means that the entire station is closer to eleven miles in length, not five as commonly reported. Thornton explained that the five-mile length referred only to the centrifuge, while the "docking and command sphere, and power section at the rear, make it a lot longer." Nevertheless, Netter Digital Animation was expected to use 8,454.1 meters (about five and a quarter miles), as shown in the set of size comparison charts prepared by Timothy M. M. Earls.
- ↑ Babylon 5 Security Manual
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 A Race Through Dark Places
- ↑ TKO
- ↑ Moments of Transition
- ↑ Interludes and Examinations
- ↑ JMS post on GENIE - 2/2/1995
- ↑ Seen after the opening credits in The Illusion of Truth
- ↑ JMS Post
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 The Gathering
- ↑ The Fall of Night
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 And Now For a Word
- ↑ By Any Means Necessary
- ↑ Divided Loyalties
- ↑ Point of No Return
- ↑ Signs and Portents
- ↑ Infection
- ↑ Eyes
- ↑ Severed Dreams
- ↑ Into the Fire
- ↑ Rising Star
- ↑ Sleeping in Light
- ↑ Adam "Mojo" Lebowitz clarifies the B5 rotation rate
- ↑ Ron Thornton explains the size of the station
- ↑ Netter Digital size charts at ISN News