Ranger (Babylon 5)
The Ranger order was created by Valen during the First Shadow War. When the three castes refused to work with him to defeat the Shadows, Valen went outside the caste system to organize a group of warriors who refuse to retreat from battle under any circumstances. The name of these warriors, Anla-shok is a Minbari term meaning "The Application of Force."
|“||We are Rangers.
We walk in the dark places no others will enter.
We stand on the bridge, and no one may pass.
We engage in battle, we do not retreat.
We live for the One, we die for the One.
After the First Shadow War, the Rangers became dormant, waiting for the prophesied second Shadow War that Valen warned of. Their status in government declined over the centuries as Warrior Caste members of the Grey Council grew to doubt the validity of the prophecy. By the time of the predicted return of the Shadows, the organization had become seriously undermanned and underfunded.
In this dormant state, Rangers were led by the Anla-shok Na or Ranger One. When Jeffrey Sinclair took leadership of the Rangers while he was ambassador on Minbar, he took Valen's title of Entil'Zha or "The One Who Creates The Future." This was because Sinclair carried the soul of Valen. After Sinclair travelled to the past permanently (and actually became Valen), Delenn became the new Ranger One.
When the Earth-Minbari War broke out, Lenonn (the leader of the Rangers at the time) attempted to reach a peaceful settlement to the conflict, with the help of the Narn Regime, but was killed when a Centauri sneak attack hit the meeting after they mistook it for a weapons transfer between the Narns and Humans.
After the war's conclusion, the Rangers were largely dormant, but were soon reorganized and strengthened as evidence of the Shadows' reappearance became obvious in certain circles.
When the Shadows finally made first openly aggressive acts, the force swung into action under the command of Jeffrey Sinclair (Known as The One who was), who shared his authority with Delenn (The One who is), and John Sheridan (The One who will be), and became a central part of the opposing alliance. The fact that there were effectively 3 commanders of the Anla'Shok, until Sinclair went back to the past to fulfill his role as Valen, was explained by Zathras to be due to the Minbari's reverence for the number 3. After Sinclair left, Delenn was selected as the new Entil'zha, despite brief opposition from the warrior caste, who felt that a warrior should lead as the Rangers were a military organization, with Sheridan as her second and primary battle commander. Once the Shadow War ended, Sheridan stepped down from his role with the rangers except for a brief period at the beginning of the Earth civil war.
Following the formation of the Interstellar Alliance, the Rangers became the preeminent peacekeeping force in known space and would still be existent one million years in the future after the humans and probably the Minbari became beings like the First Ones.
- After the second Shadow War and the creation of Interstellar Alliance, many races were admitted who were previously forbidden from joining.
- The badge of their office is their black and grey robes that include a large pin that has a large green crystal in the center, which is surrounded by a human and a Minbari at either side with the crystal symbolizing the Future or Isil'zha. This is a recent style, however. The original badge used had a pair of Minbari hands holding the gem, but the two heads design was chosen to symbolize the unity of the two races. According to the book To Dream in the City of Sorrows, which is considered canon, the crystal is partly created by the blood of human and Minbari, and is highly prized by its bearer.
- Their preferred weapon in close quarters is the Minbari Fighting Pike, also known as the Denn'Bok. It is quite compact and easy to carry, but can open up to be a formidable weapon. The weapon is not dependent on an energy source, unlike the PPG pistols carried by Earthforce personnel. It takes a great deal of training and skill to use the weapon in an effective and in a relatively safe manner. Most weapons are quite old - the pike Marcus Cole carried was at least 700 years old. As the weapon is handed down from generation to generation, production of new pikes is rather limited. Because of the effort to keep the fighting pikes from falling into the wrong hands, they can fetch a considerable price on the black market.
- Their main space vehicles are the White Stars, medium sized starships that are made up of combined Minbari and Vorlon technology to produce a superior small fighting ship.
- Prior to the inclusion of races from the former Non-Aligned worlds, the ranger training regime had been unchanged for a thousand years, with Humans undertaking the same training as Minbari. Some of the non-aligned races were not able to undertake this training, and some refused portions of it on cultural grounds, such as the Pak'Mara refusing to learn any language other than their own. After some brief issues, the training was made more flexible, so that different races could serve in the capacity they were best able to.