Earth Alliance (Babylon 5)

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The Earth Alliance is the name of a fictional alliance of the nations of Earth and off-world colonies in the television series Babylon 5. The transition of Earth government from a democratic, elected government to an authoritarian, militaristic one and back to a democracy again is a major theme of the series. It is considered one of the five major galactic diplomatic/military powers (Earth Alliance, Narn Regime, Minbari Federation, Centauri Republic and the Vorlon Empire) in the Babylon 5 pilot episode movie "The Gathering". They have separate seats at the head of the council chambers on the Babylon 5 station. The League of Non-Aligned Worlds sit in the general assembly section. The Vorlons departed from the galaxy along with the Shadows and the last few remaining First Ones, leaving the galaxy to the younger races.

Structure[edit]

The Earth Alliance is one of the galaxy's major powers, arguably the strongest of the younger races (the other being the Minbari federation) in the Babylon 5 universe. Besides Earth, the Alliance includes 23 colonies; some of the more prominent colonies are on Mars, Orion 7, and Proxima 3. One reason for humanity's rapid settlement of the galaxy is the use of long-range Explorer class starships that can build jumpgates; the jumpgates allow colony ships and supply vessels to easily move from one Earth colony to the next.

Aside from Babylon 5 itself, the most common human space stations mentioned in the B5 universe are wheel-shaped, Stanford torus design space stations. These stations rotate to produce pseudogravity. They appear to have a standardized design with few internal variations. The oft-mentioned "Io Station" that maintained the principal jumpgate into and out of Earth's Solar System is an example of one of these. Garibaldi also mentions one of these stations is "near Mars" in the episode TKO, one is seen orbiting Earth on one occasion and another was visibly destroyed when the Minbari followed the Earth ships back to their base at the start of the Earth-Minbari war.

Military[edit]

The military force of the Earth Alliance is called EarthForce. EarthForce has the largest military of any of the younger races with some estimates and hull markings on Earthships pointing to EarthForce having over 20,000 ships during the Babylon 5 timeframe. EarthForce is the only race to have ever created a "Super Soldier", which could move at incrediable speeds and crush others without effort. EarthForce is also the only race to ever have built, and sustain massive amounts of shadow technology. EarthForce created the Omega-Shadow hybrid in season 4, and later on, in the Crusade, EarthForce had built a full blown shadow ship that fired the shadow slicer death ray. EarthForce had ships so powerful due to many black-ops projects and gaining shadow technology, that Earth arguably built the strongest ships of any of the younger races: the Warlock class destroyer and the Shadow Hybrid seen in the Crusade.

It is separated into three sections:

  • Navy - all starship and space station crews come from this division. Navy officers and crew wear blue uniforms.
  • Marines - the ground forces of the Earth Alliance. They wear brown uniforms.
  • Security - the uniformed security forces found on Earth space stations. (It is unknown whether they serve on board starships.) Their uniforms are light gray in color.

EarthForce members may transfer between divisions - Dr. Stephen Franklin's father was a former Navy officer (he served as first officer on an Earth starship), but by the time we meet him, he is a Marine general ("GROPOS"). All three branches use a mixed rank system, incorporating Army and Navy style ranks.

Early development[edit]

The Earth Alliance was founded in 2085 by the countries of Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada, Ireland, the Netherlands, Japan, New Zealand, South Africa, and the United States in the aftermath of World War III to replace the ineffectual United Nations.[1] The founding nations also made a strong attempt to explore space by setting up bases on the moon and a colony on Mars by 2090.

The government of the Earth Alliance is called EarthGov and is based in Geneva, Switzerland. The Earth Alliance is a representative liberal democracy for most of the series. Earthgov is regulated by the Earth Alliance Constitution, which bears a strong resemblance to the United States Constitution and the British Parliamentary form of government (the Westminster system). The Chief Executive of Earthgov is the President, who in turn has a Vice-President and other assistants called ministers. The legislature is called the Earth Senate, which consists of representatives from the Earth's nation-states. By 2122, the Earth Alliance had become the official governing body of humanity and Earth. However, some nations resisted joining the Earth Alliance, and they eventually resorted to violence to try to disrupt it. After San Diego was destroyed by a nuclear terrorist attack in 2150,[2] the Earth Alliance defeated all opposing nations in a brief war, and the Earth Alliance became a true global government. Although the Earth is united under this government, individual nation-states still exist in the Babylon 5 universe, and some nations still complain about Alliance policies, such as when the Interstellar Network News reported that Indonesia's government had complained it was not receiving its fair share of financial aid from Earthgov. ("A Voice in the Wilderness Part I")

Though scientists had discovered hyperspace, they still were unable to send large objects such as ships through. Thus the Earth Alliance began sending ships into space in which people had been put into stasis in the hopes of finding alien life. In 2156, a Centauri patrol fleet made contact with Earth after detecting the use of hyperspace to relay radio communications.

After making first contact with the Centauri, the Earth Alliance saw massive growth. With technology purchased from the Centauri (chiefly with artistic and cultural items), the Alliance was able to technologically advance hundreds of years in just a few decades. Humans began establishing footholds in other star systems. After the expansion brought Earth into conflict with a number of alien races, a military organization called EarthForce was created by the Alliance to protect Earth and her colonies from alien attack. In 2231, in response to pleas for help from the League of Non-Aligned Worlds, the Earth Alliance became a galactic superpower when it declared war on the Dilgar. The Dilgar were a warlike alien species, motivated by the impending destruction of their homeworld as it faced its star going nova. They brutally invaded and conquered numerous worlds, using aliens in sadistic medical and scientific experiments. Within a year of the Earth Alliance's entrance into the war the Dilgar were defeated, and Earth gained great influence among numerous alien governments (see Dilgar War).

After the Dilgar War, the Earth Alliance entered another round of expansion. However, in 2245 the Earth Alliance had a disastrous first contact with a reclusive alien race called the Minbari, resulting in the devastating Earth-Minbari War. The Minbari had been a space-faring race for at least a thousand years and wielded powerful technology, surpassing the capabilities and resources of the younger races at that time. The Minbari Sharlin Warcruisers possessed powerful "slicer" beams which could fire from a superior range, as well as an advanced form of stealth technology which prevented the Earth Alliance ships from achieving an automatic target lock, leaving only the option of an ineffective manual lock instead. EarthForce ships and soldiers fought bravely, but after two years of bloody fighting and heavy losses for the Earth Alliance (Some of the losses for the Minbari included 2 Sharlin Warcruisers, 3 Heavy Cruisers and an unknown amount of ground forces) the Minbari headed straight for Earth, bypassing the remaining colonies, and intending to let this war reach its genocidal conclusion. The final and most desperate battle of the war was the Battle of the Line, where the Minbari abruptly surrendered after they found Minbari and Human souls are linked. [3]

Rise of a Dictatorship[edit]

In the years after the Earth-Minbari War, the Earth Alliance began a massive effort to rebuild its military strength. Great emphasis was placed upon the development of new and improved weapons and warships. By 2257 a planetary defense grid protected the Earth; the defense grid consisted of orbital platforms armed with antiship missiles, particle-beam cannons, and plasma energy cannons. Additionally, larger and more powerful warships, such as the new Omega-class Destroyers, were built, and a new class of fighter was developed that was faster and better-armed than the older versions, and which could fly into a planetary atmosphere as well as space. The Earth Alliance also hoped to prevent another war by starting the Babylon Project. With help from the Minbari, the Earth Alliance planned to construct an enormous space station which would serve to create better understanding between humans and aliens, and would allow ambassadors from various galactic governments to peacefully debate their differences without resorting to war. The first three Babylon stations were sabotaged or destroyed by anti-alien terrorists from Earth. The Babylon 4 station was successfully built, but it mysteriously vanished just a few hours before coming on-line. Finally, the Babylon 5 station was built and opened in 2257 to interstellar commerce and diplomacy.

However, despite the successful opening of Babylon 5, trouble was brewing within the Earth Alliance. A growing number of people within Earthgov - including high-level politicians, generals, and members of PsiCorps - became determined to sabotage the Babylon Project. These people were deeply suspicious of alien races (especially the Minbari) and wanted Earth to become more isolationist and xenophobic. Eventually this group was aided by a mysterious man named Morden, who spoke for an ancient and extremely powerful alien race known only as the Shadows. With Morden's help and encouragement, a group of Earthgov officials, led by Vice-President Morgan Clark, conspired to assassinate Luis Santiago, the President of the Earth Alliance. In 2258 Santiago was brutally assassinated with his staff and crew in an "accidental" explosion of his starship, EarthForce One, and Vice-President Clark assumed the Presidency.[4] Clark had abandoned a goodwill tour and left EarthForce One with an alleged viral infection. Once secure in office, Clark secretly but steadily put his loyal followers in positions to control EarthForce and EarthGov. He also began turning the Earth Alliance into a fascist, Orwellian military state, organizing groups such as "Nightwatch", a para-military police force, to spy on "disloyal" humans. He also renamed several Earthgov agencies, so that the Ministry of Defense became the "Ministry of Peace", and the Ministry of Information became the "Ministry of Truth" (apparently as a homage to the Novel Nineteen Eighty-Four). However, the Chairman of the EarthForce Joint Chiefs of Staff, General William Hague, suspected foul play in Santiago's death. He covertly formed his own network to uncover the truth. ("All Alone in the Night") If Clark was implicated, Hague planned to present his evidence to the Earth Senate to have Clark impeached and removed from office. One of the members of Hague's network was Captain John Sheridan, a hero of the Earth-Minbari war and the commander of Babylon 5. Sheridan eventually brought the rest of Babylon 5's command staff into the network, and together they slowly but steadily accumulated evidence implicating Clark in Santiago's death. ("Hunter, Prey", "Voices of Authority")

In 2260 Commander Susan Ivanova, B5's executive officer, uncovered solid proof that Clark had planned and participated in President Santiago's death. When this evidence was presented to the Earth Senate, Clark suddenly declared martial law and suspended the Earth Alliance Constitution, using an attack on an EarthForce research facility as cause to enact such orders. Now a dictator in all but name, Clark disbanded the Earth Senate, placed military troops in charge of all the Earth's major cities, crushed any open opposition, and seized control of the news media, such as the Interstellar Network News. He used the news media to spread propaganda supporting his views and to broadcast the lie that he declared martial law to prevent aliens from taking control of the Earth. Such traditional rights as freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and free elections were all abolished by Clark.

However, a resistance movement quickly developed. Led by General Hague, a number of EarthForce warships refused to obey Clark's orders and started a rebellion. Several Earth colonies, such as Mars, refused to carry out Clark's martial law orders; EarthForce ships loyal to Clark then bombed Mars and attacked any colony which resisted Clark's rule. Two major Earth colonies, Proxima 3 and Orion 7, seceded from the Earth Alliance; they were joined by Babylon 5. This led Clark to send a sizable fleet of warships loyal to him to seize control of Babylon 5 and arrest its command staff. However, Captain Sheridan joined with the rebel Earth warships EAS Churchill and EAS Alexander, and Minbari warships, to defeat the attacking Earth fleet and force them to retreat. ("Severed Dreams") Babylon 5 then became an independent state, and was cut off from the Earth Alliance for the next two years. However, the Civil War quickly took a backseat to the second Shadow War, and Babylon 5's command staff paid little attention to events in the Earth Alliance until that epic conflict was over.

Earth Civil War[edit]

After the second Shadow War ended, Captain Sheridan turned his attention to overthrowing President Clark and liberating Earth and its colonies. A key turning point came when warships were ordered by Clark to lay siege to the rebellious Proxima 3 colony to keep it within the Earth Alliance. When warships loyal to Clark attacked and killed 10,000 innocent civilians trying to escape, Sheridan took his highly advanced White Star fleet to save the colony. In a brief but brutal battle, Sheridan's White Stars disabled or destroyed several Omega class destroyers; but his victory was mainly due to the fact that he convinced several (more than half) of the EarthForce destroyers present at the battle to switch to Sheridan's side. Sheridan and the White Star he was in was seconds away from being destroyed by a hostile EarthForce Omega class destroyer that had a complete lock on his White Star, but the Captain was removed from firing control by the crew just seconds before the EarthForce Omega could open fire on Sheridan's ship, thus saving Sheridan's and Maruc's life. After liberating Proxima 3, Sheridan's fleet began to move towards Earth.

As they traveled they steadily picked up an increasing number of EarthForce destroyers and cruisers whose crews could no longer support Clark and his fascist regime. However, many EarthForce vessels remained loyal to Clark, and as a result numerous battles took place, resulting in the destruction of many White Stars and several lost battles for Sheridan and his White-Star fleet. Sheridan said he had lost a few battles fighting Clark, but was "damn sure not to tell anyone about it". The battles between Earthforce ships and the White Star fleet were always a disaster for both sides, but in the end, Sheridan was the victor after most battles because he was able to convince many EarthForce ships to join his side. In an effort to undermine Sheridan's supporters on Earth, Clark began to spread propaganda that Sheridan was under sinister alien (especially Minbari) influence. To discourage EarthForce crews from defecting to Sheridan, the crews were told that Sheridan killed all humans found aboard captured Earth ships and replaced them with Minbari crews.

In such an event, one captain quickly dispelled those propaganda, calling it a "load of crap". As Sheridan's forces neared Earth's solar system, Clark unleashed his secret weapon - a squadron of six (6) Omega-Class Destroyers which had been upgraded with Shadow technology consisting of Shadow bio-armor and Shadow particle beams (colored blue/green) which had the capability of destroying a White Star in a single shot. All of the Omega-X destroyers were BELIEVED to be destroyed (but not confirmed) in a very fierce battle by a large squadron of White Stars (over 20 White Stars took place in this battle) under Commander Susan Ivanova, but most of the White Stars were either destroyed or suffered severe damage as well. Ivanova's ship was badly damaged and she was severely injured. Sheridan was captured by EarthForce in a trap and tortured in an Earthgov facility on Mars, but was eventually rescued by the "Free Mars" rebel movement; he subsequently recovered and returned to his fleet.

He then approached Mars with a massive armada of White Stars, EarthForce vessels that had defected to him, and a large number of warships from various alien governments who had joined him in a show of support. Sheridan and his fleet was almost certain to lose facing such a massive EarthForce fleet of Omega class ships (33 Omega Class ships plus the Earth Defense grid which had massive anti-ship capabilities). However, Sheridan had a trick up his sleeve, and had already secretly slipped Shadow-modified telepaths onboard 30 of the EarthForce Omegas loyal to Clark; several of these telepaths merged with the destroyers' computer systems and disabled them, the unaffected destroyers quickly being disabled by the rebel fleet. This way, Sheridan defeated the loyalist fleet without being forced to destroy any of the ships, saving the lives of the crews and pilots on both sides, keeping Earth's military capabilities intact and avoiding a defeat right at the end of the war. The Omega-Class destroyers loyal to Clark were led by General Lefcourt, a close friend of Sheridan who had served as his mentor at the EarthForce Academy. Sheridan then led his fleet to Earth itself, where the only thing left protecting Earth was the Earth defense grid (as the 33 Omega class destroyers were still disabled). The Earth defense grid opened fire and destroyed many of the ships being led by Sheridan. While this intense battle took place above Earth people inside Earthdome marched to Clarks office to place the president under arrest, but before they could reach him Clark committed suicide, choosing death over being taken prisoner by Earthgov personnel.

Before killing himself, Clark turned the planetary defense grid towards the Earth's surface, enacting a "Scorched Earth" policy. To prevent the planet from being devastated, Sheridan's fleet destroyed the defense grid before any damage was done to the planet. Sheridan's ship Agamemnon was saved from destruction in the battle by General Lefcourt's destroyer Apollo which had just arrived from Mars. With Clark's death, Senator Susanna Luchenko of the Russian Consortium was named the new Earth Alliance President. In a prior agreement with the Free Mars movement, Sheridan convinced President Luchenko to grant Mars its independence. With Clark's downfall, martial law was ended and democracy and the Earth Alliance Constitution were restored.

Interstellar Alliance Membership[edit]

President Luchenko and the newly reformed democratic government of the Earth Alliance joined the Interstellar Alliance in 2262 not long after its initial formation by John Sheridan and Delenn.[5] The deal was that Earth would join if she allowed Mars' independence and withdrew all troops from the rebellious colonies that wished to remain independent after the civil war and Earth would receive artificial gravity technology from the Minbari upon entrance to the Alliance. By 2267 Earth had gained enough access to advanced technology to take part in a joint research and development program with the Minbari for a large scale tactical warship. The results were the Warlock class destroyer and the Victory class destroyer. The Victory class was fitted with highly advanced weapon and armor technologies and even a Vorlon primary weapon and Minbari stealth technology. The ship was over 2 miles long and highly maneuverable.[6]

The actual status of Mars's independence isn't entirely clear: during the series Crusade it is described as "an independent member of the Earth Alliance".

In that year the Drakh attacked Earth, but their attack failed and their forces destroyed. However the Drakh were successful in starting a serious plague that would kill all humans on Earth within 5 years if not stopped. The Alliance then loaned out the use of the surviving Victory class prototype the IAS Excalibur to the Earth Alliance to help find a cure to the plague.

After Earth defeated the Drakh, it is believed that EarthForce gained even more technology from the many destroyed Drakh ships and the floating debris.

At the end of season four of Babylon 5 it was shown that Earth remained a member of the Interstellar Alliance (ISA) for 500 years after its initial membership. However, Earth was on the brink of another civil war. Two camps had arisen, one supporting continued membership in the ISA and the Politdivision, opposing it. A hologram of Michael Garibaldi recorded the Politdivision's war plan, and broadcast it to the ISA and the pro-ISA faction. This early warning of a pre-emptive strike and the ensuing conflict resulted in the Politdivision's destruction and the devastation of Earth, known as 'The Great Burn'. In the aftermath, civilisation fell back into something akin to the Middle Ages. The ISA sent Human Rangers to slowly and covertly rebuild Earth, under the guise of the rediscovery of old technologies, thus rebuilding confidence as well as the civilisation. One million years after the foundation of the ISA, an Anla'shok (Ranger) is seen collecting the last of the records of Earth's history, proving that Earth did rejoin the Alliance.[7] It was also shown that humanity had evolved into energy-based beings possessing technology similar in nature to the long vanished Vorlons, but their appearance is akin to the effect for Lorien.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Graw, Bruce & Glass, Robert (2000). Babylon 5 Wars Rules Compendium, 2nd Edition. Agents of Gaming, Dayton, Ohio. ISBN 0-9700628-3-4.
  2. ^ "Guide page: "And the Sky Full of Stars"". Retrieved 2006-10-19. 
  3. ^ Johnson-Smith pp221
  4. ^ Philipp pp55
  5. ^ Babylon 5 episode "Rising Star"
  6. ^ Babylon 5 movie "A Call to Arms".Crusade
  7. ^ Babylon 5 episode "The Deconstruction of Falling Stars"

Bibliography[edit]

  • Kneis, Philipp The Emancipation of the Soul: Memes of Destiny in American Mythological Television Peter Lang. September 2010. ISBN 978-3-631-60817-3
  • Johnson-Smith, Jan. American science fiction tv: Star Trek, Stargate and beyond The New Press. 2004. ISBN 978-1-86064-882-3