Subject: Babylon 5 FAQ (C): Setting for season 1
   Date: 13 Dec 1997
   From: Babylon 5 FAQ 

Archive-name: tv/babylon-5/setting/season1
Frequency: bi-weekly
Last-modified: 20 March 1997

|  BABYLON 5 FAQ, part (C):         |
|  Setting for season #1            |
|                                   |
|  A guide for viewers who wish to  |
|  catch up to the events  leading  |
|  up to season 1, "Signs and Por-  |
|  tents."   This is the year 2258  |
|  in the opening credits.          |
|                                   |
|  This holds minor spoilers for    |
|  the pilot only, and descriptions |
|  of characters and settings for   |
|  season 1.                        |

There are SIX parts to the FAQ: (A) Information about B5; (B) News and Sched-
ule; (C), (D), (E), (F) are the settings for seasons 1, 2, 3, 4 respectively.

The latest version of all parts of the FAQ can be retrieved via anonymous ftp
at or via e-mail by sending a note to with any or all of these lines in the message body:
    send usenet/news.answers/tv/babylon-5/faq
    send usenet/news.answers/tv/babylon-5/news-schedule
    send usenet/news.answers/tv/babylon-5/setting/season1
    send usenet/news.answers/tv/babylon-5/setting/season2
    send usenet/news.answers/tv/babylon-5/setting/season3
    send usenet/news.answers/tv/babylon-5/setting/season4

WORLD WIDE WEB users should see
for the much more detailed "Lurker's Guide to Babylon 5"; the information
in this document is similar to the "Universe" section.

    Contents of this document
    1.  Introduction
    2.  The Setting of Babylon 5
    3.  The Major Players
    4.  The Characters
    5.  The Story So Far
    6.  Past and Current reference
    7.  Credits and Legalese


Subject: 1.  Introduction

    It was the dawn of the third age of mankind, ten years after the Earth/
    Minbari war.  The Babylon Project was a dream given form.  Its goal: to
    prevent another war by creating a place where humans and aliens could work
    out their differences peacefully.  It's a port of call - home away from
    home for diplomats, hustlers, entrepreneurs, and wanderers.  Humans and
    aliens wrapped in two million, five hundred thousand tons of spinning
    metal, all alone in the night.  It can be a dangerous place, but it's our
    last best hope for peace.  This is the story of the last of the Babylon
    stations.  The year is 2258.  The name of the place is Babylon 5.
        -- Commander Sinclair

    ####    Narration from the Pilot movie, "The Gathering":

    I was there at the dawn of the third age of mankind.  It began in the
    Earth year 2257 with the founding of the last of the Babylon stations,
    located deep in neutral space.  It was a port of call for refugees,
    smugglers, businessmen, diplomats and travellers from a hundred worlds.
    It could be a dangerous place, but we accepted the risks because Babylon 5
    was our last, best hope for peace.  Under the leadership of its final
    commander, Babylon 5 was a dream given form.  A dream of a galaxy without
    war, and species of different worlds could live, side by side in mutual
    respect.  A dream that was in danger as never before, by the arrival of
    one man on a mission of destruction.  Babylon 5 was the last of the
    Babylon stations.  This is its story.
        -- Centauri Ambassador Londo Mollari


Subject: 2.  The Setting of Babylon 5

A hundred years ago, humanity made contact with its first alien civilization
-- or more to the point, they made contact with us.  Before the arrival of the
Centauri, we were confined to our own solar system, forced to use slow sleeper
ships to explore the universe.  The Centauri gave us the stars, offered us the
use of their "jumpgates" -- portals into hyperspace -- and later, taught us to
make our own.  In exchange for this and other technologies, they asked only
for trinkets, novelties to sell back home.

In the eighty years that followed, humanity flexed its muscles, expanding
outward at a rapid pace.  When a group of less powerful races was attacked by
an invading army, Earth came to their aid, cementing its role as a major
galactic power, if a young, brash one.

The wave of euphoria came crashing down when humanity made contact with a
mysterious race called the Minbari.  The Earth-Minbari War began with a
misunderstanding, a human captain and a Minbari commander too quick on the
trigger.  Thanks to bad luck or something darker, our first meeting with the
Minbari resulted in the death of their supreme religious and political leader.
To the Minbari, what followed was a holy war, vengeance for the murder of
their spiritual leader.  Earth was no match for the technologically superior
Minbari, and they easily beat us back to our home planet.

Then, without explanation, as their ships closed in on Earth and wiped out our
last desperate defenses, the Minbari halted their advance and surrendered.
Only an elite few knew why.

The Babylon Project was conceived in the aftermath of the war.  Modeled after
the United Nations, it would be a meeting place, neutral ground where the
powers could meet and work out their differences peacefully.

The first three Babylon stations were sabotaged in mid-construction.  The
fourth was completed, but just as it was about to go online, it vanished
without a trace.  The Earth government would have stopped there, but some of
the alien governments, seeing the value of a meeting ground, offered financial
assistance for the construction of a fifth station.  Naturally, there were
strings attached.

Babylon 5 is the story of the last of the Babylon stations, the last hope for
a galaxy without war.  It begins in the year 2257 with the opening of the
Babylon 5 station.

 + + + + +

Season 1 opens almost a year after the station went on-line.   Things have
functioned surprisingly smoothly, considering the fate of the station's


Subject: 3.  The Major Players

========    a. The Earth Alliance

The Earth Alliance, headquartered in Geneva, is in charge of the station and
the surrounding space.  It is led by President Luis Santiago, a
forward-looking politician who values Earth's participation in Babylon 5
tremendously.  Of special note is a branch of the Earth government called
Psi-Corps, responsible for the tracking and training of human telepaths.  The
EA appointed Commander Jeffrey Sinclair to command Babylon 5, although the
installation of such a low-ranked officer made more than a few people upset.

========    b. The Minbari Federation

Earth's former adversary, the Minbari Federation, was the major alien
contributor to the construction of Babylon 5.  An old, highly spiritual race,
Minbari are humanoid with exterior bone crests on their heads.  The Minbari
are ruled by a body known as the Grey Council, three members from each of the
three castes of Minbari society.  The reason behind the sudden Minbari
surrender at the climax of the Earth-Minbari War is a closely guarded secret,
but what isn't a secret is that the warrior caste was none too pleased about
the order; even today, it is a source of tension within Minbari society.

========    c. The Centauri Republic

The Centauri were the first aliens encountered by humanity.  Physically, they
look nearly identical to humans, and in fact the Centauri initially claimed
that Earth was a lost colony (a claim they later retracted after humans
discovered that the similarities weren't so great after all.)  Centauri women
are bald; men wear their hair in peacock-style fans whose length indicates the
wearer's social standing.  The Centauri Republic is a fading empire, slowly
losing control of its member worlds, a decline much like that of the British

========    d. The Narn Regime

Among those formerly under Centauri domination are the Narn, a
reptilian-looking race who fought off their oppressors in a century-long war
of attrition.  Now the Narn Regime is building its military up, trying to
settle the score through an aggressive expansionist policy.  Most Narn would
like nothing better than to see the Centauri wiped from the face of the
universe, and from all appearances, they'll shortly be in a position to get
their wish.

========    e. The Vorlon Empire

The final major government represented on Babylon 5 is the Vorlon Empire.  The
Vorlons are shrouded in mystery.  Even though their ambassador is on the
station, nobody knows what they look like; they dress in bulky encounter
suits.  Whether the suits are there to keep a noxious atmosphere in or prying
eyes out is a matter of some debate.  The Vorlons are an extremely powerful
race; no expedition into their space has been heard from again.  They seem to
have had dealings with the Minbari in the past, though neither the Minbari nor
the Vorlons care to discuss the matter.

========    f. The League of Non-Aligned Worlds

Each of the five races has an ambassador on the Babylon 5 Advisory Council,
something like the UN Security Council.  In addition, a number of smaller
governments are members of the League of Non-Aligned Worlds, which is also
represented on the Council.  This group is generally sympathetic to Earth,
largely because Earth stepped in to save many of them from invasion by a
hostile race (now extinct) twenty years ago.


Subject: 4.  The Characters

========    a. Main Cast (appearing in most episodes throughout the season)

i. Humans


The commander of Babylon 5 and representative of the Earth Alliance.  A
survivor of the climactic Battle of the Line at the end of the Earth-Minbari
War, Sinclair sometimes yearns for his days as a hotshot fighter pilot, and
partially for that reason, he's given to taking unnecessary personal risks.
He's uncomfortable in his position and in fact isn't entirely sure why he was
given command of such a major post and made a high-level diplomat; his stiff
demeanor is perhaps due to a fear that he isn't up to the job he's been given.
He is also haunted by suspicions that something happened to him during a
24-hour blackout during the final moments of the Earth-Minbari war.  Sinclair
was born on Mars Colony and is 39 years old.

LT. COMMANDER SUSAN IVANOVA                 Claudia Christian

Second in command and in charge of the day-to-day operations of Babylon 5,
Ivanova is an ambitious career officer.  She can be quirky or pessimistic at
times, but she has a dry sense of humor that shows itself in the rare moments
she is able to relax among others.  Born in St. Petersburg, Russia, and raised
abroad on Earth, she has a strong dislike for the Psi-Corps, whose
legally-mandated drug treatments drove her mother to suicide after it was
discovered her mother was a latent telepath.  She is new on the station and
often buries herself in her work; her friends are few and her family is all
but gone.


In charge of security on Babylon 5.  He has a troubled past, bouncing from
position to position and trying to overcome alcoholism.  He was picked by
Sinclair for the job; the two worked together in the past.  Sinclair knew that
Garibaldi would be persistent, not willing to give in to political pressures
-- in Sinclair's words, "a pain in the ass."  Garibaldi is something of a
smart-aleck, always ready to crack a joke, but given to bouts of self-doubt
and introspection when nobody's looking.  His rank is "Chief Warrant Officer."

DR. STEPHEN FRANKLIN                        Richard Biggs

Dedicated and assured, a specialist in xenobiology (alien biology,) and in
charge of Medlab on Babylon 5.  His background is mainly in experimental
medicine, so his bedside manner is occasionally not what it should be.  His
strong sense of personal morality is at times in conflict with his duties as
the chief medical provider for aliens from hundreds of worlds and cultures,
some of whom view his obligations rather differently.  In his middle thirties
now, he spent years hitchhiking through space, offering his doctoral services
in exchange for the opportunity to examine new life forms.

TALIA WINTERS                               Andrea Thompson

Babylon 5's resident telepath, on her first solo assignment, with level 5 psi
rating, bound by the rules and regulations of the Psi Corps.  She sells her
telepathic services to businessmen, and occasionally assists Sinclair in
negotiations.  Talia was raised and trained by the Psi Corps, meaning that
that organization is her family.

ii. Ambassadors

AMBASSADOR LONDO MOLLARI                    Peter Jurasik

The representative of the Centauri Republic.  Londo views Babylon 5's mission
as something of a sham, with limited chance of helping his people regain their
lost glory and sense of purpose.  His assignment on Babylon 5 is not
considered an important position, in spite of the high status that his regalia
and high-standing hair would indicate.  A war hero in his younger days, he has
since grown decadent and indulgent.  Londo can often be found in one of the
station's bars or casinos, drinking himself to oblivion.  He has a biting,
cynical sense of humor.  Perhaps his only real friend is Garibaldi, who
understands something of what Londo has been through.

AMBASSADOR DELENN                           Mira Furlan

Represents the Minbari Federation.  Delenn is a member of the highest Minbari
governmental body, the Grey Council, and why she's masquerading as a lowly
ambassador is one of the ongoing mysteries of Babylon 5.  A member of the
religious caste, Delenn's belief in fate and destiny is often evident.  She is
fascinated by humans and tries to learn all about them; some say she is
suspiciously watchful of Commander Sinclair.

AMBASSADOR G'KAR                            Andreas Katsulas

The representative of the Narn Regime rose to his position in part thanks to
his wife's renown as a hero of the revolutionary war against the Centauri, but
his own ambition and ability are more than equal to the job.  G'Kar will waste
no opportunity to turn a situation to the Narns' advantage, even if it means
antagonizing everyone else on the station.  He takes pride in his position and
himself, a pride perhaps bordering on arrogance at times.  G'Kar would like
nothing better than to see the Centauri, and Londo in particular, pay dearly
for their brutal occupation of Narn.

AMBASSADOR KOSH NARANEK                     Ardwight Chamberlain (translation)
                                            Chris Franke (voice effects)
                                            Jeffrey Willerth (in the suit)
                                            and animatronics

Even less is known about Ambassador Kosh than about his race.  He arrived on
the station in 2257 and was promptly the victim of a complex assassination
plot involving the Minbari and others.  He is rarely seen in council meetings,
claiming that "we take no interest in the affairs of others," and Vorlons'
reasons for coming to Babylon 5 at all are unknown.  Kosh communicates through
a complex sequence of musical tones, translated into English by a device on
his encounter suit.  When he speaks, his words are few and sound cryptic, but
often have a strange truth to them.  Kosh's quarters are filled with a dense
atmosphere of methane and other gases; whether he needs it or is using it to
make himself less accessible is an open question.  Even when he's receiving
visitors there, Kosh wears his suit.

========    b. Supporting Characters (also in the opening credits)

iii. Ambassador assistants

LENNIER                                     Bill Mumy

Delenn's aide, fresh out of a monastery on the Minbari homeworld.  He's
something of an innocent abroad, perhaps the one person on Babylon 5 without a
hidden agenda or a knife waiting to stab someone in the back.  He reveres
Delenn, whom only he knows of her high stature back home; to him she's a holy
figure.  First appears in "The Parliament of Dreams."

VIR COTTO                                   Stephen Furst

Diplomatic Attache to Ambassador Londo.  Timid, unsure of himself, at times he
seems little more than someone for Londo to throw things at.  However, he is
the only one to know what Londo is going through as difficult times approach.

NA'TOTH                                     Caitlin Brown

A female Narn, assistant to G'Kar.  Though she appeared on the scene in
somewhat dubious circumstances, she is fiercely loyal to G'Kar.  She prefers
the direct approach rather than G'Kar's subterfuge and deception.  First
appears in "The Parliament of Dreams."

========    c. Recurring and Past Characters

|  This section  lists  characters  |
|  that are seen from time to time  |
|  on Babylon 5.   Characters that  |
|  have appeared in the past,  and  |
|  may have some relevance  to the  |
|  current season, are listed here  |
|  as  well,  to provide  context.  |
|  This  includes characters  from  |
|  the pilot that are no longer on  |
|  the series.                      |

ALFRED BESTER                               Walter Koenig

A Psi-Cop, one of an elite unit of the Psi Corps whose function is to track
down rogue telepaths, among other things.  Perhaps in part because of his P12
psi rating -- more than twice as high as Talia's -- he seems to have risen to
a position of some importance in the Corps.  Bester ruthlessly pursues his
agenda, which most of the time is the same as the Corps'.  First appears in
"Mind War."

MORDEN                                      Ed Wasser

A human who spent a while on the rim, and seems to have made contact with the
mysterious race, known only as the shadows.  His aid to Londo has put the
ambassador in a difficult situation.  First appears in "Signs and Portents."

CATHERINE SAKAI                             Julia Nickson

She works for an Earth company that surveys asteroids and planets for mineral
exploitation.  Runs the survey ship Skydancer.  She and Sinclair have had an
on-again, off-again romantic relationship over the past decade.  First appears
in "The Parliament of Dreams."

JACK                                        Macaulay Bruton

Garibaldi's assistant, whom Garibaldi has taken under his wing.  Friendly, and
seems a bit naive.  First appears in "Mind War."

LOU WELCH                                   David Crowley

One of Garibaldi's lieutenants.  First appears in "Survivors."

N'GRATH                                     (animatronics)

An insect-like non-humanoid alien, a sort of underworld boss, who can arrange
or fix things for a price.  First appears in "Soul Hunter."

SENATOR HIDOSHI                             Aki Aleong

A member of the Senate committee overseeing Babylon 5.  Senator Hidoshi is
often the one to deliver unpleasant government orders to Sinclair, though he
seems personally to agree with Sinclair much of the time.  First appears in

LYTA ALEXANDER                              Patricia Tallman

Babylon 5's first commercial telepath, rating P5, in her early thirties or
late twenties.  She was transferred off the station shortly after examining
Kosh, presumably due to her newfound knowledge of the Vorlons.  First appears
in "The Gathering."

LAUREL TAKASHIMA                            Tamilyn Tomita

Originally the second in command of Babylon 5 (cf "The Gathering"), Takashima
was reassigned, and has not been heard from since.  She was raised on Earth,
and had worked with Sinclair on Mars.

CAROLYN SYKES                               Blaire Baron

Sinclair's former romantic interest; she owned a trader ship that passed
through Babylon 5 from time to time.  She left Sinclair because he wasn't
willing to give up his command to travel with her.

DR. BENJAMIN KYLE                           Johnny Sekka

Formerly Babylon 5's chief physician and xenobiologist.  African, in his
fifties, with a subtle sense of humor.  After treating -- and seeing --
Ambassador Kosh, he was recalled to Earthdome.


Subject: 5.  The Story So Far

|  This section contains  spoilers  |
|  for the pilot movie of  Babylon  |
|  5.  It contains no spoilers for  |
|  this or subsequent seasons.      |

Season one opens after the station has been operational after nearly a year,
much longer than the odds would have predicted.  In "The Gathering" (the pilot
movie), Ambassador Kosh, the last ambassador to arrive, was poisoned
immediately upon arrival.  Sinclair was framed by a radical member of the
Minbari warrior caste.  In saving Kosh, B5's doctor and resident telepath saw
Kosh under his encounter suit; they were transferred back to Earth shortly
afterward.  Babylon 5's second in command, Takashima, was replaced by Lt.
Commander Ivanova.


Subject: 6.  Past and Current Episode Reference

|  This section contains brief de-  |
|  scriptions  of episodes  up to,  |
|  and including, the current sea-  |
|  son.   These entries do contain  |
|  minor spoilers, enough to iden-  |
|  tify the episode title based on  |
|  its storyline.                   |

Pilot Movie

* The Gathering
  Sinclair is framed for the poisoning of Ambassador Kosh.

Season One: "Signs and Portents"

* Midnight on the Firing Line
  Narn agents attack a Centauri Agricultural colony.

* Soul Hunter
  An alien arrives on the station to collect and save people's souls.

* Born to the Purple
  Londo's secrets are in danger of being stolen by a beautiful Centauri slave.

* Infection
  A biotechnological fighting creature is unleashed on the station.

* The Parliament of Dreams
  G'Kar is in danger of assassination during a week of religious festivals.

* Mind War
  A renegade telepath is pursued by Psi Cops; Sakai explores a distant planet.

* The War Prayer
  Homeguard anarchists attack aliens; young lovers are counseled by Londo.

* And the Sky Full of Stars
  Sinclair is forced to relive his experience on the Battle of the Line.

* Deathwalker
  A war criminal has discovered the secret to immortality.

* Believers
  Franklin struggles with saving a child against against religious beliefs.

* Survivors
  After a disaster, Garibaldi is on the run and slips back into alcoholism.

* By Any Means Necessary
  Babylon 5 dock workers are on strike; Londo interferes with Narn religion.

* Signs and Portents
  As raiders attack B5, a man is asking strange questions of the ambassadors.

  Ivanova sits shiva for her father; Garibaldi's friend takes on the champ.

* Grail
  A man in search of the Holy Grail visits B5; Lurker attacks link to Kosh.

* Eyes
  Sinclair is accused of wrongdoing by an Internal Investigations officer.

* Legacies
  A Minbari war hero's body is gone; a young telepath must choose her future.

* A Voice in the Wilderness I
* A Voice in the Wilderness II
  The planet below shows signs of activity; an Earth Ship is sent to assist.

* Babylon Squared
  The long-missing Babylon 4 mysteriously re-appears; Delenn gets a big offer.

* The Quality of Mercy
  Franklin investigates a medical clinic; Talia enters the mind of a killer.

* Chrysalis
  Garibaldi uncovers a plot to kill the president; Delenn begins a change.


Subject: 7. Credits and Legalese

This text file may be distributed online, in complete or excerpted form, as
long as acknowledgement is made to the authors, and the URL of the current
version of this file is indicated. (see top of document.)

The Babylon 5 Frequently Asked Questions List part (C) is Copyright 1996-97 by
Dan Wood and Steven Grimm.  Acknowledgement is made to J. Michael Straczynski,
previous FAQ maintainer Lee Whiteside and to excerpted contributions from the
Babylon 5 online libraries.

Currently maintained by Dan Wood (
Comments, suggestions, etc. are always appreciated.

This text file was edited on QUED/M text editor running on a Macintosh.

If you maintain an online B5 service, I can send you each FAQ update.  I don't
have the resources to send updates to individuals, so please don't ask.

Dan Wood           <*>                  "Change the world before                      someone else does it for you."                    -- J. Michael Straczynski

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