The Babylon Project
Development of the Babylon stations:
After being on the verge of extermination, humanity was shaken to the core after the Earth-Minbari War. In its aftermath, the Babylon Project was conceived by Earth President Louis Santiago in 2249. Modeled after the long disbanded United Nations, it was designed to be a meeting place on neutral ground where the galaxy's powers could meet and work out their differences peacefully. Its founders though the name "Babylon" appropriate, since it too was a central location for business, commerce, and trading; a place where varied people came together. No one thought that the history of ancient Babylon would repeat itself. A sector of space was located that was more or less the central point between the five major galactic governments (Centauri, Human, Minbari, Narn, and Vorlon) and appraised to be worthless. Epsilon Eridani, twenty-five light years from Earth, was agreed by all to be neutral territory. The project was proposed to the Earth Senate by David Indiri (New Delhi, Indonesian Consortium) who also pushed it through. The Babylon Project was begun later 2249.
Not everyone in the galaxy agreed with such forward thinking. Many within the Alliance believed it was a naive and pointless waste of time, many and resources, and great opposition to the idea the Humans create closer ties with aliens. Babylon 1 (called Babylon Station) was destroyed during construction when its infrastructure collapsed. Babylon 2 was sabotaged during construction and construction was abandoned. Babylon 3 was irreparably damaged during mid-construction by an explosion and construction was abandoned. The destruction of the first three so early in construction was not much a financial loss. With stepped up security measures, the Earth Alliance designed the largest structure humankind ever made: Babylon 4. Twenty-four hours after construction was finalized, Babylon 4 disappeared. Earth Alliance was ready to give up, until the Minbari and Centauri, seeing the value of a meeting ground, agreed to partially fund one final station, Babylon 5. Although the alien governments were co-sponsors, Earth Alliance remained the owner and operator of the facility. The Babylon 5 resolution barely passed through Earth's Senate, and the funding for the station was cut down to bare operating expenses. Any ideas for a Babylon 6 are immediately derided.
The Babylon 5 Senate Oversight Committee is responsible for keeping B5 financially self-sufficient. In 2259, the Committee suggested increasing the rent for the (by comparison) luxurious rooms of the Captain and Commander of the station by 30 credits a week. and placing a merchandising store on the station. By the time Babylon 5 was completed, the fervor that followed the Earth-Minbari War had declined. When Babylon 5 came online in March 2257, only 30% polled were not in favor of the station. By September, 2259, that figure had risen to 41% as humans became more concerned with problems in their own territories over interstellar politics. By April 2260 Babylon 5 had failed that mission and declared its independence from the corrupt Earth Alliance. It then became the galaxy's last, best hope for victory against a seemingly invincible enemy.
Babylon 5 as a Monumental place
One of the main functions of the Babylon space stations was that of a free port. Since it was located at a central point between empires, the station could benefit greatly from the fees generated by commercial traffic. Most of the huge transports (some over a mile long) that would come to the station were never meant to operate in an atmosphere. Goods carried by such deep-space vessels are transferred to atmosphere-capable shuttles for transport to planetary bases. But a planetary base would be unfeasible considering the amount of traffic coming through, only a space station would suffice. Instead of wasting time, fuel, and credits to haul goods down to a planet and back up for transfer to another ship, a space station would allow transports to park alongside the station and load/unload its cargo in zero gravity.
Instead of creating new forms and processes in the construction of the Babylon stations, the Earth Alliance altered established mass production. For example, Explorer-class vessels are nearly five miles long and its rotating section as wide. Production lines required only a minimal alteration to construct sections of the hull and the rotational interface. The pieces were jumped from established stardocks to Epsilon Eridani and assembled. Materials from Sol system's asteroid belt and minerals found in the Tigris system were used. In the case of Babylon 4, some of the materials used were the salvageable remains of Babylons 1 through 3.
Babylon 1 was constructed approximately three hours flight time from the planet Euphrates in Sector 14. Each station was constructed in relatively the same area. When Babylon 4 disappeared, Earth Alliance decided to construct the final station, Babylon 5, in orbit around the local planet.
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