Earth Alliance Civil War
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The Earth Alliance Civil War is an armed conflict in the Babylon 5 series, in which Earth Alliance President Morgan Clark dissolves the Earth Senate and orders martial law throughout the Earth Alliance worlds. It formed a major element of the show in Seasons 3 and 4 with its aftermath being dealt with in Season 5.
Uncovering a Conspiracy and Clark's Declaration of Martial Law
EarthForce's Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General William Hague, had suspected for a long time that President Clark had been involved in the death of his predecessor, President Luis Santiago. To uncover the truth behind the mysterious explosion of EarthForce One and Santiago's death, Hague had started a covert counter-conspiracy that included Captain John Sheridan. General Hague realized that Sheridan was a perfect leader for the counter-conspiracy, as based on his record from the Earth-Minbari War Clark considered Sheridan to be a hard-line anti-alien soldier. However, what Clark failed to realize - and Hague did realize - was that Sheridan was by nature a truth-seeker and considered aliens to be potential allies. Sheridan eventually persuaded the Babylon 5 command staff officers to join the counter-conspiracy.
A year after Clark's ascension to the presidency, Hague and Sheridan's "Conspiracy of Light" began to uncover the truth behind President Santiago's death. Clark's personal doctor gave testimony to Babylon 5 personnel that, contrary to Clark's claims that he wasn't onboard EarthForce One when it exploded due to having the flu, Clark was in fact in perfect health. Additionally, Babylon 5 Commander Susan Ivanova was able to discover and record testimony from then Vice-President Clark stating that he was aware of Santiago's impending death, and smiling over the fact that he would soon be President. When the Earth Senate - armed with this new evidence - began to hold public hearings into Santiago's death, President Clark acted quickly. Citing the destruction of an Earth Alliance base on Ganymede, which he falsely pinned on the then-unknown White Star (see "Messages from Earth"), President Clark declared martial law throughout the Earth Alliance. EarthForce troops stormed the Senate building to put a stop to the impeachment hearings, then stormed the offices of the EarthForce Chiefs of Staff who weren't loyal to Clark. Military patrols were then put on the streets in every major Earth city. In a final show of public resistance, the Interstellar Network News (ISN) attempted to reveal information about Clark's conspiracy to assassinate Santiago on the air, but before they could do so ISN's headquarters and studio were attacked and seized by EarthForce commandos, and the ISN journalists critical of Clark were arrested and/or killed. ISN eventually returned, but under the strict control of Clark's government, and became little more than a mouthpiece for pro-Clark propaganda.
Hague's Coup and Colonial Secession
Before he could be captured, General Hague attempted an unsuccessful counter-insurgency. With five Omega class destroyers Hague tried to escape Earth's solar system at the Io Jump Gate transfer point at Jupiter. However, they were intercepted by Earth warships loyal to Clark's regime. In the ensuing battle Hague's own flagship, the EAS Alexander, was able to escape. During the following days all five Omega class destroyers siding with Hague were hunted down and destroyed.
Meanwhile, the colonial governor of Mars publicly stated that he would defy Clark's executive order and not implement martial law. In retaliation, President Clark ordered the full scale carpet bombing of civilian population centers on Mars. Other outer colonies, such as Orion 7 and Proxima 3 seceded from the Earth Alliance in protest, and declared themselves to be independent, sovereign polities. Soon EarthForce vessels loyal to Clark achieved space superiority over Orion 7 and Proxima 3, which they blockaded in an effort to starve both colonies into surrendering. Earthforce also occupied Mars after the colonial government surrendered following the bombings by EarthForce fighters. However, the Mars Resistance continued to fight Clark's forces through hit-and-run guerilla warfare tactics, and Clark's loyalists never had more than a tenuous control over the Mars colony. Within a few weeks, Babylon 5 had become the only Earth Alliance colony or base that President Clark did not control directly. In a bid to take control of Babylon 5 Clark ordered his "Nightwatch" forces on the station to arrest the station's command staff who were critical of him, but Captain Sheridan lured the entire Nightwatch organization on Babylon 5 into a trap; they were placed under house arrest.
After winning a fierce battle with pursuing EarthForce warships, Hague's flagship, the EAS Alexander, stopped at Babylon 5 for repairs; Captain Sheridan had promised to give the ship's crew "humanitarian aid", despite orders from Clark's government to capture and/or destroy the Alexander. Unfortunately, General Hague had been killed in the previous battle, and Major Ryan had assumed command. While meeting with Ryan to discuss the situation back on Earth, the EAS Churchill, another Hague-loyal Omega-class destroyer, arrived at B5. The Churchill's Captain, Sandra Hiroshi, brought news that a large Clark-loyal EarthForce fleet was headed for Babylon 5, with orders to arrest the entire command staff and place the station under martial law. Sheridan feared that Babylon 5 was under attack because he had given aid to the Alexander, but Hiroshi informed the command staff that the Clark-loyal fleet was given its orders even before the Alexander had arrived at the station. Sheridan and his command staff then made the decision to fight the invading EarthForce fleet; both Hiroshi and Major Ryan agreed to assist Babylon 5 and returned to their ships to prepare them for battle. In a public transmission, Sheridan announced Babylon 5 had declared its independence from the Earth Alliance and was joining with the former Earth Alliance colonies of Orion 7 and Proxima 3. Sheridan stated that Babylon 5 was seceding to "function as an independent state until President Clark is removed from office".
An EarthForce fleet including two Omega class destroyers, the Agrippa and Roanoke, many wings of Starfuries, and a force of EarthForce Marines, headed for Babylon 5. Their mission was to capture the station, arrest the command staff, and place the station under the control of Nightwatch, Clark's fascist-style police force. In the resulting battle the EAS Churchill suffered severe damage and, with fires raging out of control on its decks, Captain Hiroshi rammed the enemy warship Roanoke, destroying both ships. The Alexander suffered moderate damage but was able to fire its forward particle-beam cannons at the destroyer Agrippe, heavily damaging it. On Babylon 5 itself the Marines loyal to Clark boarded the station and engaged in a brutal struggle with B5 Security forces led by Security Chief Michael Garibaldi, who was injured in the fighting. The Narn on the station aided the B5 security forces and proved crucial in defeating the Marines and stopping the invasion. Babylon 5's command center suffered damage during the battle when an enemy fighter was destroyed immediately outside the center's blast doors. The stations' defense grid fired the final volleys to destroy the Agrippe. Just when the battle seemed to be over, a new fleet of EarthForce warships poured out of hyperspace and headed towards the station, and at this point defeat for the anti-Clark forces appeared inevitable. However, three Minbari warcruisers and the White Star, led by Ambassador Delenn, suddenly left hyperspace directly above Babylon 5. Ambassador Delenn threatened to destroy any Earthforce ships that tried to attack Babylon 5; the pro-Clark forces then retreated. Having survived this assault, Babylon 5 would become the bastion of human and alien opposition to Clark's increasingly fascist regime on Earth.
With the exception of an unsuccessful attempt by remaining "Nightwatch" personnel to seize control of Babylon 5 a few weeks after the initial battle, there was relatively little fighting between the Earth Alliance and Babylon 5 for the remainder of 2260. This was primarily due to the Shadow War, and to Babylon 5's primary role in fighting the Shadows and their allies. With Babylon 5's resources committed to stopping the Shadows (and ultimately the Vorlons as well), neither Sheridan nor any of President Clark's other opponents were able to devote much time to trying to overthrow him. Clark also refrained from further direct attacks on Babylon 5, not only because the Minbari were protecting the station, but also to the fact that he was preoccupied with consolidating his power and control over Earth and its various colonies. Additionally, given the covert alliance between Clark's government and the Shadows, Clark may well have expected the vastly superior Shadows to simply destroy Sheridan and Babylon 5 for him. However, the underground resistance movement to Clark actually grew during this period, despite receiving relatively little help from Babylon 5. The colonies of Orion 7 and Proxima 3 continued to resist Clark's forces and remained independent, although by the end of 2260 the Proxima 3 colony was close to surrendering due to starvation. On Earth and Mars political, religious, and even some military leaders remained privately opposed to many of Clark's actions, and in space Major Ryan and the Alexander quietly located other EarthForce warships who were opposed to Clark's dictatorship. When the Shadow War ended, these forces would prove to be valuable allies in Sheridan's attempt to overthrow Clark.
The Civil War escalates
When the ancient Shadows left known space in late 2260, President Clark lost his primary support. Realizing that he was suddenly vulnerable, Clark launched a detailed programme to eliminate Babylon 5 as a threat. Clark placed Babylon 5 off-limits to all Earth shipping; his goal was to destroy the station's economy. He also stepped up his propaganda campaign against Captain Sheridan and Babylon 5. ISN began airing bogus stories claiming that the station was actually under alien rule, and an ISN reporter came to the station and filmed a documentary which made it appear that Sheridan was under the control of sinister aliens (such as Ambassador Delenn and the Minbari) bent on enslaving humanity. Clark also launched PsiCorps on a covert campaign to undermine support for the station. In one move an elite PsiCorps fighter squadron were ordered to destroy a patrol of EarthForce fighters; the attack would be blamed on Babylon 5. However, Sheridan was aided by spies within Clark's own regime; one of these spies, the PsiCop Bester, informed Sheridan of Clark's plan and Babylon 5 fighters led by Commander Susan Ivanova destroyed the PsiCorps fighters and saved the fighter patrol.
In response, Sheridan stepped up the station's efforts to overthrow Clark. He allied with the Mars Resistance, and he engaged in "black market" deals to get needed equipment through Clark's blockade of the station. Sheridan also arranged for the White Star Fleet to patrol the borders of alien powers, thus gaining their goodwill for the next phase of his operation to overthrow Clark. Furthermore, using Epsilon 3's advanced communications technology, Babylon 5 began broadcasting a counter-propaganda media campaign, "The Voice of The Resistance," to rally anti-Clark supporters and to provide an alternative to ISN and other Clark-controlled media outlets.
The First Victory: Liberating Proxima III
In August 2261 Clark dramatically escalated the conflict when he ordered the massacre of more than 10,000 civilians trying to escape the starving Proxima colony. The colonists were crammed into unarmed civilian starliners, but they were ruthlessly attacked and destroyed by warships loyal to Clark. Realizing that he could wait no longer, Sheridan called a meeting of the various alien governments on Babylon 5, it was held on September 2, 2261. At the meeting Sheridan declared his intention to remove Clark from office, beginning with the Proxima 3 colony. He told the alien ambassadors that, if they wanted the White Star fleet to continue to patrol their borders and protect alien shipping, their governments would have to declare their treaties with the Earth Alliance "null and void", and they would have to be neutral in the coming war between Sheridan and Clark's forces. The Narn and Minbari delegations supported this action. The White Star fleet and several Starfury fighter wings then prepared to jump to Proxima 3.
A total of six Omega class destroyers had been positioned around the planet. Together they could prevent any ship from leaving or landing on the planet, and they had driven the colony close to starvation and surrender. Sheridan's plan was to surround the Destroyers with his technologically-superior White Star warships and force them to surrender or face destruction. However, things did not go as planned, and when Captain Trevor Hall of the Heracles, the flagship of Clark's armada, opened fire, a brief but fierce battle erupted. In the battle the Destroyer Pollux exploded when a damaged White Star collided with it, and the Heracles suffered heavy damage and surrendered only when Captain Hall was removed from command by his first officer. Sheridan's White Star and several other White Stars were damaged in the battle, and many Starfury fighters on both sides were destroyed. Sheridan gave the surviving captains three choices, he would offer these same three choices to other Earth ships loyal to Clark: first, they could return to Earth and continue to fight with Clark; second, they could stay and defend Proxima 3 and other Earth colonies from future attacks; and three, they could join Sheridan and other rebel Earth warships and liberate Earth. Two Earth Destroyers agreed to join Sheridan with another also choosing to defect but holding back to defend Proxima 3 from Clark. With their help and those of other anti-Clark warships led by the Alexander, Sheridan began his offensive against Clark's forces.
Proxima III and the Earth Alliance Civil War
Though vastly superior in technology the White Star Fleet was massively outnumbered by the Earth forces and Sheridian made every effort to bring EA ships over to his side. By the end dozens of destroyers would side with him with many more (presumably) standing down and staying out of the fight. By the last battle Clark mustered thirty-five Omega class destroyers, the most human ships that had ever been gathered in one fleet since the Battle of the Line.
Over the next several weeks, Sheridan's forces began a systematic campaign against Clark's forces. Even though Sheridan was furious over the killing of innocent civilians, he took great care not to kill EarthForce personnel unless left with no choice. Large numbers of EarthForce personnel defected to Sheridan's cause. Eventually, Sheridan was lured to Mars when his father had been captured by Clark's forces. Sheridan himself was captured and tortured for over a week, but refused to be broken. Eventually Sheridan was rescued by Michael Garibaldi, Lyta Alexander and Dr. Stephen Franklin and returned to the fleet. In his absence, command of the fleet fell to his second-in-command, Commander Ivanova, despite her junior rank when compared to other officers in the rebel fleet.
Clark planned to trap Sheridan's forces with advanced model destroyers which had been fitted with Shadow technology, but the plans were revealed to Ivanova by defecting EarthForce officers. Commander Ivanova took the White Stars and proceeded to the ambush site to engage the destroyers. Although her own ship was destroyed and Ivanova severely wounded, her forces were victorious and the advanced EarthForce ships were destroyed.
Mars and Earth
With the majority of Earthforce either allied with Sheridan or otherwise destroyed or incapacitated (or unwilling to get involved), the rebels coordinated with the Martian resistance to defeat Clark's remaining forces in orbit over Mars with the liberated Sheridan resuming his role as Commander.
In the Battle of Mars, a fleet of 30 Omega-class destroyers, commanded by General Robert Lefcourt, was deployed as a last-ditch effort to fend off Sheridan. The Martian resistance smuggled many Shadow-altered telepaths onto their vessels, which when activated disabled 20 out of the 30 destroyers without firing a shot, with the remaining ships easily being overwhelmed and disabled by Sheridan's White Stars.
Finally, the resistance on Earth had the support they needed. Senator Crosby led a group of people to Clark's office with the intention of placing him under arrest. Realizing that he would soon be captured, Clark committed suicide with a PPG. In one last vindictive act, he turned the planetary defense grid back on to Earth, leaving a note with the words "Scorched Earth" as the only clue to his intentions. Apart from the pulse and projectile weapons installed on each platform, the particle beam weapons alone on the platforms had the capability to destroy 40% of the planet's surface. Sheridan and his forces, now supported by a coalition fleet of alien ships led by the Minbari Federation, Centauri Republic, and the Narn Regime, quickly moved to destroy the platforms. Her weapons disabled, EAS Agamemnon was about to ram the last platform when Lefcourt's flagship, the EAS Apollo, arrived to engage and destroy the last platform.
Aftermath and Political Fallout
After Clark's suicide, Susanna Luchenko of the Russian Consortium was named President. Former ISN reporters were freed, and returned almost immediately to their jobs. ISN was no longer the new order's propaganda arm. President Luchenko announced that the justice department would prosecute those who had committed crimes during Clark's reign of terror. After Sheridan turned himself in, he was offered a choice to either resign his commission with Earthforce, or be brought to a court-martial on charges of mutiny, insurrection among other charges, where he would most certainly be convicted. He agreed to resign after Luchenko offered amnesty to those who had followed Sheridan and only if she had done so in writing. Once Sheridan got her to agree to put the amnesty in writing, he announced that he would be resigning his commission as an EarthForce officer, wearing his EarthForce dress uniform in the process. He was soon elected President of the newly formed Interstellar Alliance.
After the end of hostilities, in exchange for the Mars Resistance's aid, Sheridan secured Mars' independence. Earth did interfere with this however and even six years later it was hard for Mars born to find employment, while Earth tried to freeze out native Mars currency and documentation.
Sheridan was never very popular on Earth after this and six years later still found himself suffering from people "remembering the last time he brought a fleet to Earthspace". One hundred years later a group of researchers heavily criticized him and this may have been part of their issues with him.
A few officers loyal to Clark escaped the hearings, with one trying to murder Sheridan a few weeks later in a stolen Starfury, only to be stopped by Garibaldi and killed by the station's defence grid.
The question of what side officers were on and why they did it came up occasionally. Elizebeth Lockley remained loyal to the regime during the war (though it seems unlikely that she was involved in any atrocities given her later posting). Many officers felt that it was not the role of the military to dictate policy though many ships refused to obey illegal orders (only two ships fired on civilians at Proxima). General Lefcourt conceded that a soldier should never take up arms against his own government, no matter how justified the action might be. Six years later Captain Anderson and his crew would lament that they had a chance to join Sheridian and did not take it, this was part of the reason they helped Sheridan steal the Victory class destroyers as they want to be on the winning side of this coming conflict.
Though the Shadow-backed Psi Corps faction that had been aiding Clark fell, Sheridan expected Bester to go on moving his people into places of power, this led to the Telepath war a few years later.