Minbari Mondays, In The Beginning, and Introductions

This is a fictional letter (reviewing each film and episode of Babylon 5) that I received from an equally fictional time portal, based on the planet of Epsilon 3, around which the Babylon stations will be in orbit.

Yes, I said will be.

A lady born on another planet, and in another time, on the other side of our galaxy has been asked to send these reports in a rather long letter to her past, about our (fictional) future. Don’t ask how, just yet, please. Some of this may not quite make sense at first, but if you stick with us, I believe that all will become clear shortly. Here is her letter:

 

Greetings: Nih sakh sh’lekk, sleem wa. 

It means, “I am your friend in peace.”

My name is Mayann.

Originally from the Minbari religious caste, I am now Anla’Shok, or what you Humans call a Ranger.  I shall explain both of these institutions in my next report, adjoining it to this letter each week.  Let me begin by framing the history of the Babylon stations, as it was framed by the late Centauri emperor Mollari II, shortly before his death earlier this year.  I leave you this letter, do not ask how, from your Earth year 2278, and for me, this is history.

This history begins thirty five of your years ago, in your year 2243, when you first made contact with my people, the Minbari. 

  A young Centauri boy (and his quiet sister) demanded to be told a story.   Within this story are wrapped the stories of many heroic deeds, and several tragedies, of which you will learn as these letters reach you from Minbar.  Nearly all revolve around one major question, and around where, within themselves or within their own stories, each person who “loved, fought, and died” in answer to that question, reached for an answer.  Recalling that question twenty years later, the ailing emperor obliged the boy, and his sister, with this story, which I now report to you. 

He told the children that he met with some Humans, thirty five Earth years earlier, who wished to know more about us, the Minbari.   He saw them right away for what they were: arrogant men.  Mollari tried to warn them.  He even quoted one of your Earth sayings, as he told the children this story:  “Pride goeth before a fall.” 

His warning to the Humans was in vain.  In their “stumbling around,” these arrogant men did indeed, as he had feared, awaken “the sleeping dragon” – they woke us, drove us mad, and you nearly all died because of it.

A terrible war began, which the head of The Rangers, as you call us, attempted to stop.  You see, we knew that another, even more terrible war was coming, and that we were not prepared. 

So, as the Rangers were to be needed before the great War prophesied long ago, the leader of our order, Intilza Lenon, demanded to see our supreme leaders, The Gray Council. That body is constituted a bit differently now, but then, as now,  governs all of Minbar and her colonies. At that time the great Delenn was a novice to the council, while President Sheridan, then just a young officer, was serving as a member of your Earth Force. 

Our forces met purely by accident.   Another arrogant Human captain assumed that he knew enough about our technology.  He was wrong.   Our own warrior caste assumed that you Humans, represented by this arrogant man, knew enough about our customs and traditions. They were also wrong.

The sum of these two errors was much needless pain and death.

 As Emperor Mollari put it, “With the death of their leader Ducat, ” we “began a holy war … in which the human race ends with the current generation. “

The greatest tragedy of all is that much of this suffering and death could have been avoided.  But the emperor, then a young Centauri, had his orders.

Mollari was then charged with preventing any cooperation between the Narn, a people you will learn more about later, and you Human beings. You Humans, we did not know, were the key.  Kosh the Good,  later appointed to be Vorlon ambassador, may their memory last long,   then simply an emissary, tried to warn us. 

But, in our anger and our grief, we could not listen. 

So, Intilza Lenon and Satai Delenn, at that point fully initiated into the Gray Council, arranged to have the Narns broker a meeting with you Humans. 

Dr. Steven Franklin was then a renegade member of your Earth Force, having refused to hand over his notes on our biology and thus earned himself a seat in your punishment cells, while then Commander Sheridan sadly masterminded the destruction of our flagship The Black Star. Though he did so to save the lives of his crew, we Minbari still mourn her destruction.  Due to this action, and to Dr. Franklin’s previous contact with us, they and the blessed G’kar, who was then a Narn weapons liaison to your Earth Force, met to try to form a peace agreement.

 Dr. Franklin, Commander Sheridan, and G’kar gathered to negotiate an end to our holy war with Intilza Lennon.  It was Mollari’s order that destroyed their last chance for peace.

Then the war grew worse and everything changed. For emperor Mollari, the courage displayed by you Humans in the very face of death itself was magnificent.  For us, it was mere annoyance.

  Nonetheless, your Earth president’s desperate plea for her pilots to step in “one last time, to hold the line against the night” moved even many Minbari to question the rightness of taking our war to its logical end. 

Each time I think of that historic moment of pain, and of anger, though I was not there, I again shed tears for both of our races.

In that moment, as Humanity saw it’s own destruction, Satai Delenn, was still seeking some way to end the war.  In that desperate moment, she was told by the blessed Kosh that “the truth points to itself.”

She first began, dimly, to understand this when she saw how bravely you Humans fought, even though you knew you could not harm our ships. Satai Delenn then, I believe, came to more fully understand Kosh’s words upon seeing how the triluminary, our most ancient and revered relic, given to us by Valen himself, reacted. That most holy relic showed a key commonality between you Human beings and we Minbari that, had it become generally known, might have destroyed the very fabric of both of our societies. 

Thus was born the famous question which would obsess everyone for the next many years as the late Emperor Mollari put it: “why did the Minbari surrender at The Battle of The Line, on the very eve of their victory?”

And that surrender by our forces allowed your Earth president to put her proposal for The Babylon Project in to motion, to choose life, and to build a place where we could all begin to work toward building peace.

But the story, as the dying emperor tells it, ends incorrectly, if I may be so bold as to venture my poor opinion.

 Emperor Mollari claimed that President Sheridan ran the Interstellar Alliance, with Delenn  ever at his side.  Yet the emperor was away, isolated on Centauri Prime, far from the seat of the Alliance. He could not know that in reality, it was  Intilza Delenn, and then Intilza Ivanova, who served after her as head of the Anla’Shok, having been too young to join your Earth Force during the Earth-Minbari war, who has always been the true Heart of the Interstellar Alliance, with President Sheridan in fact helping her to manage the Anla’Shok.  Together, they both lead my Order, help the Gray Council govern Minbar, and also manage the affairs of the Interstellar Alliance. They have always been equals, and yet, was it not Intilza Delenn who was The Shining Star, and the creator of the Alliance?

One last thing, an answer to a question put to me by one of your fellow Human beings:  As to whether or not Humans may yet join the Anla’Shok:

I am afraid that the common good, for you Human Beings, may need to become more fully inclusive for all of you before the Rangers can accept citizens of Earth back into our Order.

From Tuzanor, on Minbar

Earth year 2278,

Anla’Shok Mayann

That was part 1 of Ranger Mayann’s letter: her first report on the history of the Babylon Project, which can be seen from another point of view (as told by Emperor Mollari II) by watching the Babylon 5 film In The Beginning, which I highly recommend.  

  I chose to review this film before the first episode of B5 because Season 1 is so hard to put up with, for so many newcomers to the series, that I wanted to give them a reason to hope!

🙂

  Yes, Babylon 5 does get better, and this film is the proof!   🙂

  Here is  The Gathering, aka the Pilot for season 1 of B5, and it is the next part of our letter from Ranger M.

-Shira

Action Items:

1.) Did this  first review make sense?

2.) Share your thoughts on this Babylon 5 film.

 

Dear Readers, ideas on learning, especially multiple #LanguageLearning, on-going education and empathy-building, to #EndPoverty, #EndHomelessness,  #EndMoneyBail & achieve freedom for All HumanKind?

***************** 

Click here to read, if you like:

Narrative and Prose Nonfiction,     

Holistic High School Lessons,

           or Historical Fiction Serial Stories

 

Shira

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73 thoughts on “Minbari Mondays, In The Beginning, and Introductions

  1. I haven’t watched the movies in years, although I have a faint remembrance of the scene of Emperor Mollari surrounded by Centauri children. I generally think it was better to watch this after viewing the series, despite the time period of the story.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think I agree, now that I’ve written the review! 🙂 I really love this film, but thinking on it more, I suspect that the Lurker got it a bit wrong: true that it takes place first, but I had a really hard time ‘spot explaining’ the characters without giving too much away.
      But I love this film so much, I just couldn’t help myself! 🙂 I had to review it first! 🙂
      I hope that the review coming in the form of a report from a Ranger makes it fresh enough for those who may have recently seen the film, yet doesn’t ‘spoil’ anything for those who have not yet seen it.
      I really wanted to get the idea of ‘hard orders’ across, since that seems to be the main theme of this film, although I also had a hard time picking out a main theme.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. 🙂 He is definitely my favorite Ranger, as well! Come to think of it, how many Rangers do we see in the series? Lenier, I guess is the first, though we don’t actually see him as such until season 5, but I think the first Rangers we see are in -oops, ok, I’ll wait until I get there! 🙂
          Yes, Marcus is definitely the epitome of their Order.

          Liked by 1 person

      1. Finally found your post. This, ironically the subject of some discussion our site today, should really be watched after Londo is made emperor which is the last 5 episodes of the show. That said, the movies are of varying quality. I’m reminded of the 4 Sherlock Holmes novels – they are longer, but are tougher to read than the short stories. They have merit but are not as good as the short stories, overall.
        I like where you ended the most recent one with your thoughts on the episode. The breakdown is fine, but I prefer to know your thoughts on aspects of it. Nevertheless, I love the format as a letter from a ranger! Looking forward to reading more of these.
        ML

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Coolness, thank you for popping over here, ML!
          🙂
          (wrt Holmes, I may have to go back to my GR reviews and have a look, but I remember seeing a review that also said that the short stories were better, but personally I seem to recall enjoying the novels more, with the exception of a couple of the stories, like Yellow Face. Clearly it is time for me to read them all again! 🙂
          )
          Thank you: I am really glad that you like my evolving format! At first, I couldn’t quite see how to fit in my own opinions with that of the character (Ranger Mayann) that I was creating, and she sort of took all of my energy in those first reviews, but now, as you point out, I think that I can add an addendum to each “report” at the end, especially as we get beyond the character and back-story building episodes.
          I think that I did add my own opinion of the pilot and the 1st episode in the comments, but I see that that is not an effective way to get my own thoughts in there.
          Will try to update those posts when I’m a bit less tired.
          Stay safe,
          -Shira

          Like

        2. In complete honesty, it was. I’ve been to your site 3 times and saw nothing B5 related and it wasn’t fair that you are so involved with Roger and I, and I was doing nothing to support you, so I did a (Ctrl+F) to and typed Babylon into the search. If found the side bar, and I clicked that way. I will try to make it a point to follow each Monday coming up. ML

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Oh! Thank you, ML! I hadn’t realized how hidden posts can become until I tried to scroll down and find the most recent Monday post, and saw that it was too old to show up, unless you’re in the Reader. Ok, I will create a page in the top Menu just for the B5 reviews…
            Thank you for letting me know this!!
            Be Right Back…

            Like

          2. Ok, now, if you are not in the Reader, you should see my new page Babylon 5 reviews, at the top (or in the top Menu, if you’re using the app).
            Please let me know if that helps, and thanks again for letting me know.
            Stay safe,
            -Shira

            Like

            1. 🙂

              I wasn’t, at first. I saw a few episodes with some geeky friends, an it was just ok. But then I saw it again with a devout Church of England friend (lives in Chingford, London), who insisted that it’s all about faith and redemption, and saw it in an entirely new light. Not her light, but still, many lessons can be drawn from each episode, which you miss if you’re just watching the space ships.

              Liked by 1 person

            2. I admit it: I really only enjoy reading, or especially writing, by myself. I’m not much of a film/video person (oh, wait: I love watching Lupin, Hakan: Muhafiz, and even La Casa De Papel, but especially El Ministerio del Tiempo, by myself, though with EMdT, I often find myself wishing to have someone watching there with me who ‘got’ the historical references!).

              Ok, must get back to editing!!
              🙂

              Liked by 1 person

            3. Oh yes, it’s always nicer to watch things with someone, but when you can’t avoid being on your own, it’s lovely to watch loved fictional characters, they cheer you up and keep you company, and you can lose yourself in their adventures. Voyager is THE BEST tv. 😀 Can’t recommend it highly enough.

              Liked by 2 people

            4. Ah, ok, that’s one less hurdle to jump: I must finish Do Better manifesto, and at least get a rough draft done for Who By Fire, and if I still have access to Netflix then, I shall watch it! Have you reviewed it anywhere, Violet?

              Liked by 1 person

            5. Oh. Having a review of yours to respond to would make it much easier. The thing is, for me, that most American accents irritate me to no end. Even shows set in other countries with American main characters tend to annoy me. I think that the fact that really mostly only a couple of characters have entirely US accents (ok, Ivanova most of the time has a flat American accent, but it’s tolerably muted by her attempts to put on a bit of a Russian front most of the time). English, even UK, draws me back to a place I dislike, which is probably why it takes shows in languages I am not completely comfortable in for me to relax. Even Mexican spanish is too easy, not to mention the fact that most of those shows deal with drugs, which I despise. French is almost getting to be too easy, and shows out of Madrid tend to be interesting enough that I can relax, though Castillian Spanish is also becoming too easy to pull me out of my own thoughts. Even though I was introduced to B5 up in Boston, which is already a remove away from my ‘hometown’ as people like to say, of DC, I think that the fact that I got into it while spending holidays with Rosamund in Chingford made the difference (and her enthusiasm for the show was positively catching!). And, it’s not really until Season 3, when Marcus arrives, that I actually begin to really love the show (ok, G’Kar has a couple of monologues in S2, but he is Greek, sorry, the actor was Greek, and that accent comes through just enough not to set my teeth on edge, as most American accents tend to do).
              Ok, back to work.
              xx

              Liked by 2 people

            6. According to my birth certificate, but there have been ppl who wondered if there hadn’t “been a mix-up with a visiting European couple at the hospital when you were born…” as segregation had just ended there!
              🙂

              Yup, I’m as American as it gets: Black, with lots of AmerIndian blood, but I keep being called ‘unpatriotic’ (especially since abt 2004) for critiquing my government! But my childhood will not let me rest until I have done some thing useful to correct this problem of ours in this desperately ill country of mine, despite the fact that memories of my fellow Americans’ voices grate upon me constantly. This is why I prefer to be somewhere else.

              Like

        1. Oops! Sorry, I didn’t realize that you’d not yet seen the first episode of Season 1. Most people insist on starting with the Pilot, aka The Gathering, which I hate, so I reviewed it in order, but started with the film In The Beginning to set a frame around it, and let people know that it does get better!
          🙂
          I’ve now updated this post to say that explicitly, and to clean up some of the end of post stuff.
          Thank you!!
          S.

          Liked by 1 person

      1. No, I haven’t got to your reviews yet, the letter from the ranger is a lot to take in on its own. I thought the first episode of B5 was like the quality of a school play – the hair is very off-putting 😀 but I knew it must improve because it has such a huge following. So I researched “does Babylon 5 get better?” and found loads of people asking the same question. The response they received was – YES IT DOES! KEEP GOING! So I will 😀 xxx One thing I liked though, was the discussion between the telepath and the other woman about how telepaths were forced to choose prison, regulation, or medication. That’s the first time I’ve seen a science fiction look realistically at how a society would try to control people which it saw as a threat. Very moving and tragic and conceivable.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Exactly!
          And keep an eye on Talia (the telepath)…
          That moment, I believe, is what hooked me from the start: being forced to bow to stupidity, as Londo feels he is, being force to work for a jerk, as poor Vir does, and then being forced to hide your essence, as Lt. Cmdr Ivanova’s mother was, and raging against a system that traps both telepaths and normals: brilliance, in my humble opinion.

          Liked by 1 person

            1. Oh, interesting. Episode 1 we’ve already discussed, and episode 2 was an interesting take on different perspectives about souls and the afterlife. Two well-intentioned cultures, one believing they need to preserve the soul (in captivity) or it will be lost; the other believing the soul should be free to enjoy the afterlife. There are no bad guys really. Just different perspectives 😀
              Aren’t they mostly American voices?

              Liked by 1 person

            2. Um, well, yes, they are, in episode 2, mostly American voices, which is probably why I hate this episode so much!
              🙂
              But I love your take on it: both antagonists feel they are saving souls from a profoundly bad end. But I must disagree: the 1st/main Soul Hunter has no right to kill people in order to get the souls he wants. That, even he recognizes on some level, and his Order certainly recognizes this. But yes, the Order vs. Minbari belief, certainly just diff. pov.

              I’m going to copy this to the correct post, if that’s ok?

              Liked by 2 people

            3. Yes, of course I agree he shouldn’t be killing people, I just meant he meant well. His motivation was not evil. He is what I would call a true believer. Unlike the millions of people who claim to believe in ‘a better place’ after death, but then they still take utmost care to avoid it.

              Liked by 1 person

        1. Oh, no! I very poorly titled this post!! The second year of the station is where Season 1 opens!

          The pilot is set in the year 2257, and Midnight on the Firing Line, Season 1, ep. 1, is set the next year, in 2258! Sorry: I’ll change the post title right now!

          Liked by 1 person

            1. No worries, it needed updating, anyway! Didn’t take but a second, and I’m letting Do Better rest, now, as I pray to every forgotten god in the useless pantheon to bring me Beta Readers!

              🙂

              Liked by 1 person

        2. D’oh!
          Wow, thank you, Violet! I feel like a complete idiot when it comes to writing for other people: I always seem to take it for granted that “the reader is (NOT) in your head” and forget to provide crucial information! Thank you so much for pointing that out!

          *another -face palm- to my forehead*

          🙂
          Shira

          Liked by 1 person

  2. If the future of humankind lies in our look to the skies to resolve our warlike ways, ,it seems evident from this story that because of caste and other differences , this task to find mutual understanding faces a great deal of difficulty.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Of course it does: that’s why Project Do Better starts Phase I with an emphasis on learning in various ways, like languages, to build empathy, while working on health care and libraries, which both depend on public transit, to build community and essential infrastructure at the same time. It’s a complex problem that will take a great deal of collaboration to solve.

      Liked by 1 person

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