From: STRACZYNSKI [Joe]
Subject: Since it is now January 1st, time...
Date: 12/31/1991 10:13:00 PM
: List :
Since it is now January 1st, time for another piece of information about
the B-5 storyline, which as mentioned will be parceled out one per month (and,
again, I'm talking about the *major* points, each of the main characters and
the backstory, though the plot of the movie will be kept confidential).
Here's an interesting bit of backstory.
The story of BABYLON 5 takes place in 2257. In 2236 or thereabouts, the
Earth Alliance made First Contact with a race known as the Minbari. They
were, at that time, only the second major civilization we'd encountered,
though we had certainly come across a number of non-aligned worlds and smaller
governments, one or two worlds each. The Minbari represent a *major* force on
every level, resources, technology, sheer number of worlds involved, on and
The Minbari are the oldest of the different alien civilizations, and
largely kept to themselves. Their interests were (and are) in attaining
perfection: physical, mental, spiritual, emotional. They answer to a Council
of Elders, whose pronouncements are considered law in an almost biblical
sense. Though deeply religious in their way, they have also pursued the ways
of technology, and as such they are easily the most advanced of the various
alliances. But they view technology as transitory, a means to an end rather
than an end in itself. Like Tom Bombadil in LORD OF THE RINGS, they can hold
the Ring of Technology but it has no hold over them.
And from 2236 until about 2247, we were at war with them.
The Earth/Minbari war began as a misunderstanding. The first time a
Terran ship encountered a Minbari starship, they studied each other closely.
The Minbari ship made a move that they thought would be considered non-
threatening. It wasn't. Even in the present of our story, no one is quite
sure who fired first. The Minbari ship was greater in power, but taken by
surprise, was destroyed, and the Earth ship limped back to base with tales of
a terrible new enemy. Minbari ships, arriving to investigate, were
interpreted to be the first wing of an invasion force by the base commander,
and ships were launched in response before receiving formal authorization from
The war put a great strain on the Minbari, who have always been strongly
divided between the religious caste, and the military caste, who were now
forced to work together. The religious caste were quietly opposed to the war,
but were generally vague about their reasons when asked.
The climax of the war was the Battle of the Line. Earth had all but lost
the war. In a last-ditch attempt to save Homeworld, every available ship left
in the armada was positioned around Earth itself. It was, everyone knew, a
suicide mission. And that's, indeed, how the Battle of the Line started out
In the course of that battle, a lone ship -- a one-man fighter with very
little in the way of armaments -- took several heavy hits. His instruments
failing, other ships blowing up all around him, he aimed his ship at the
nearest Minbari cruiser, deciding to ram it in the hopes of destroying at
least that one ship. He kept his ship on course for as long as he could hold
out. Then, abruptly, he blacked out.
When he awoke, he was still in his ship. Drifting. He fired up the
engines, ready to continue, only to discover two things: first, that he had
been out of it for a full 24 hours.
Second...the war was over.
And, incredibly, the Minbari had surrendered. On the very verge of
success in the war, they had rolled over and sued for peace. No one in the
Earth Alliance quite knew why, but they weren't about to debate the issue, and
accepted minimal compensation for the war.
Now, ten years later, the Earth Alliance is no closer to figuring out why
the Minbari surrendered. It is, in fact, one of the great puzzles of that
era, debated on a hundred different worlds. Only a few strange clues have
slipped out. One is that the military genius who led the Minbari into the war
committed suicide the day of the surrender, though it is unclear if his death
took place before or after the surrender. And the rift between the military
and religious castes apparently came to some sort of climax, with the
religious caste taking complete control. There are rumors of some sort of
religious vision, of a prophecy of great things, and a prophecy of complete
doom. But since almost nothing is known of Minbari religion, what this might
be, no one knows.
At the conclusion of the war, those Terrans who fought in the Battle of
the Line were proclaimed heroes. One of these men was Captain Jeffrey
Sinclair...the pilot who still cannot account for the 24 hours he was out of
contact with Earth Central.
Commander Jeffrey Sinclair has come far in the 10 years since the war.
He's had some rough times, but overall he's progressed. And he has at last
been given a major assignment, perhaps the most important job of his life,
concomitant with his promotion to Commander.
Jeffrey Sinclair is the Commander in charge of the Babylon 5 space
Although the station (and its prededessors, Babylons 1 through 4, which
were either destroyed (1, 2 and 3) or mysteriously vanished (4)) was always
intended as a sort of mini-U.N. as well as a free-port, with an Ambassador
from each different alien alliance present, the Minbari refused to name an
ambassador until the station commander was named first.
Shortly after Sinclair was named Commander, the Minbari assigned their first
ambassador to the station.
His name is Delenn. And he stays very close to Commander Sinclair.
Some say he is keeping a close eye on Sinclair.
Some say he is Sinclair's friend. And some say there may well be
something very lethal behind those unreadable Minbari eyes.
And there are quite a few others, including a shadow-group in the Earth
Alliance, who would very much like to know what happened during the 24 hours
that disappeared from Commander Sinclair's life.