"This is Captain John Sheridan, Babylon 5. You are executing an illegal order in violation of the Earth Alliance Constitution. These orders have forced us to declare independence in order to ensure the safety of this station. We don't want a fight, but if you attempt to carry out these orders, we will defend ourselves. Come on, Captain, you must see that these orders are wrong. Leave while you still can."
- – John Sheridan, to Dexter Smith
"President Clark has violated the Earth Alliance Constitution by dissolving the Senate, declaring martial law, and personally ordering the bombing of civilian targets on the Mars colony. He is personally responsible for the deaths of hundreds of innocent people!"
- – John Sheridan
Early in 2260, evidence linking Earth Alliance President Morgan Clark to the assassination of his predecessor Luis Santiago becomes public. While the Earth Senate begins holding hearings to investigate, part of Ganymede Colony is destroyed by an unknown alien vessel. President Clark uses this incident to declare martial law throughout the entire Earth Alliance. Immediately after the declaration, he also issues an Executive order dissolving the Senate. Half the Senators are jailed while the other half flee or defiantly remain at their post. Earthforce experiences a similar split: Many ships defect under the leadership of General William Hague while many more remain loyal to Clark.
The provisional government on Mars, however, rejects the martial law decree. This prompts President Clark to order the bombing of civilian targets on the planet. In response, the Earth Alliance colonies of Orion VII and Proxima III declare independence until such time Clark is removed from power.
Fearing Babylon 5 may try to break away as well, President Clark orders a task force under the command of Captain Dexter Smith to seize control of the station and arrest the command staff. Word of this leaks out to Captain Sandra Hiroshi of the EAS Churchill, one of the rebelling ships, who warns the station and Major Ed Ryan, a recent arrival to Babylon 5 with the EAS Alexander. Ryan assumed command of the Alexander when General Hague was killed in an ambush.
"As of this moment, Babylon 5 is seceding from the Earth Alliance. We will remain an independent state until President Clark is removed from office."
- – John Sheridan
Utilizing the holographic technology of the Great Machine on Epsilon III, Captain John Sheridan announces that Babylon 5 will join with the Orion and Proxima colonies in declaring independence until such time that Clark is removed from office, listing Clark's crimes as justification. Several officers and crewmembers immediately leave their posts.
The station's security team had to be largely replaced with Narns after Sheridan purged all Nightwatch personnel (all loyal to Clark). The Narns were completely loyal to Sheridan, however. Major Ryan and Captain Hiroshi both wanted fugitives now too, decided to make their stand with Babylon 5.
Cmdr. Susan Ivanova took command of Zeta Wing, while Alpha Wing and Delta Wing also launched to protect the station. The other two Destroyers also launched their Starfury wings as soon as the enemy jumped into Babylon 5 space.
Captain Smith arrived with two Omega class destroyers, the EAS Agrippa and EAS Roanoke, two Hyperion class heavy cruisers, dozens of Starfuries, and a Breaching pod carrying Earthforce Marines. After Smith orders Babylon 5 and the other ships to surrender themselves immediately, Sheridan responds by accusing Smith of following illegal orders and refuses to surrender. When Smith breaks off communication, Sheridan activates the station's defense grid.
Captain Smith's task force opens fire first. The Rebels immediately respond. Cmdr. Ivanova leads the stations' Starfury wings in assaulting the Loyalist ships, hoping to occupy them long enough to allow the destroyers to take them down. They also engage in fierce dogfights with the enemy Starfuries.
The two Hyperion heavy cruisers do not last very long in the fighting. However, they absorb a great deal of the rebels' firepower, enabling the loyalists to inflict heavy damage to the EAS Churchill without significant damage to either of the two Loyalist destroyers. Indeed, the Roanoke initially does not seem to suffer any major hits of any kind.
When the Churchill takes a few more hits, the ship begins to lose control and fires erupt on all decks. In desperation, Captain Hiroshi has her ship ram the Roanoke, destroying both warships completely.
Security Chief Michael Garibaldi and his second, Zack Allan lead a team down to engage the Marines. The Narn comprising much of the B5 security forces zealously run past the choke point he sets up, prompting him to order the rest of his team to follow. The Marines burn through the hull and heavy fighting ensues. After heavy PPG fire, the fighting becomes closer and the two sides start battling hand-to-hand. Both sides do not hold back, resulting in heavy casualties to all involved, with even Garibaldi suffering injury.
Relief and Reinforcements
The battle continues to rage outside the station. Three Thunderbolt Starfuries attack C'n'C directly. While the station's defenses take them out, one crashes into the station, causing damage to C'n'C and injuring Captain Sheridan. Cmdr. Ivanova, meanwhile, is forced to eject when an out of control Starfury collides with her own fighter.
Major Ryan orders the Alexander, which has only suffered minor damage, to charge the Agrippa, firing with the main weapons at almost point blank range. Sheridan also orders the defense grid to concentrate its fire on the Agrippa. The combined firepower overwhelms the destroyer and it explodes before the crew can surrender.
The station, having endured major damage up to this point, could not endure much more fighting. While the Rebels catch their breath, however, a second task force loyal to Clark comes through the Jumpgate. Captain Drake, leading two more Omega class destroyers (EAS Nimrod and EAS Olympic) and one Hyperion class heavy cruiser, issues a second order for the station to surrender.
"Only one human captain has ever survived battle with a Minbari fleet. He is behind me; you are in front of me. If you value your lives, be somewhere else."
- – Delenn to Captain Drake
However, before Sheridan or Ryan can think to respond, the White Star and three Sharlin class Minbari warcruisers under the command of Ambassador Delenn jump into normal space, positioning themselves between the station and the Loyalist task force. Delenn announces that Babylon 5 is under the protection of the Minbari Federation and the Loyalist ships are to withdraw immediately or be destroyed. Captain Drake protests, threatening to engage the Minbari vessels, but Delenn warns him to do so will mean certain death.
Realizing that they are outnumbered and outgunned, Drake orders a retreat. Meanwhile on the station, there was still major fighting going on between station security and the EarthForce Marines. Eventually, around an hour later, the station security defeated the marines, thus bringing the battle to a close.
The victory of the rebel forces guaranteed the independence of Babylon 5 throughout both the Earth Alliance Civil War and the Second Shadow War. Babylon 5 took in most of the Starfury complement from the destroyed Churchill to replace forces lost during the battle. It is assumed the Alexander also took in Starfuries to replace losses.
With a direct assault on the station now blocked by the Minbari, Clark would approach the issue of Babylon 5 in a much more cautious manner, attempting to use Nightwatch terrorism, the manipulation of public opinion, xenophobic anti-alien propaganda, and economic sanctions to end the station's defiance. Meanwhile, the EAS Alexander and her crew left the station in order to rally together the surviving rebel ships, while Sheridan and his fellow officers would maintain the last bastion of full-fledged and independent resistance against Clark's regime until the the liberation of Proxima III one year later.
In the scene of the Earthforce Marine storming Babylon 5, they are wearing World War II era German “coal scuttle” helmets, an oblique reference to the Nazi/German Stormstroopers.