- – John Sheridan, Liberation of Earth
The Earth Alliance Resistance was a resistance movement against the dictatorial regime of Morgan Clark. It was composed by several of the Earth Alliance colonies, members of Earthforce loyal to democracy, as well as civilian supporters. The resistance was an initiative of General William Hague in response to the increasingly authoritarian changes of the Clark administration and was brought into the open after the declaration of martial law throughout Earth Alliance territories and the bombing of civilian targets on Mars.
Tragedy at Io
At the beginning of the year 2259, President Luis Santiago was on a tour of the Earth Alliance aboard Earthforce One. Sometime before it arrived at Io, his Vice-President Morgan Clark disembarked due to what was stated at the time as a mild flu. At the same time on Babylon 5, its security chief Michael Garibaldi got wind of an assassination plot against the president. Despite being shot in the back by his XO, he managed to warn Babylon 5's Commander Jeffrey Sinclair. Unfortunately the station was unable to get through to Earthforce One due to jamming. As Earthforce One approaches Io, its fusion reactor malfunctioned and it explodes, killing President Santiago and the rest of the crew.
A Conspiracy of Light
Shortly afterwards, Sinclair was reassigned to the position of the Earth Alliance's ambassador to Minbar with his replacement being John Sheridan. Sheridan received his orders from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General William Hague. In addition to his official orders to take command of Babylon 5, Sheridan was secretly asked by Hague to look into the backgrounds of the command staff and personnel to determine whether they were truly loyal to the Earth Alliance.
Over several months Sheridan witnessed events and consulted with the command staff, forming suspicions in his own mind that Santiago's death wasn't genuinely an accident. After Hague unofficially arrived to debrief Sheridan, both decided to bring in Babylon 5's command staff, and figure out the true cause for Santiago's death, and to prevent the Earth Alliance from disintergrating into a dictatorship.
Their first break came when they rescued President Clark's personal physician Dr. Everett Jacobs, who carried proof that Clark was in perfect health when he departed Earthforce One. With assistance from the Vorlon ambassador Kosh, the Babylon 5 command staff smuggled Jacobs to safety.
However things turned grim as 2259 ended: Nightwatch began to establish itself on the station and the Earth Alliance began to turn inward, for example being the signing of a non-aggression pact with the Centauri.
In the early months of 2260, Ivanova was using the Great Machine on Epsilon III to search for the First Ones when she stumbled onto footage recording a meeting between Clark and Morden, a known human agent of the Shadows, that proved that Clark was involved in assassinating his predecessor. After Draal copied the recording, Ivanova forwarded it to the rest of the Babylon 5 command staff who then sent it to Hague. Once the information was released into the public, it created a firestorm. Clark and his supporters stating that the recording was pure alien propaganda designed to discredit him.
Night of the Long Knives
Using the attack on Ganymede by an unknown alien ship as an excuse, Clark declared Martial Law throughout the Earth Alliance. Earthforce troops stormed the Senate and most opposition there was quickly subdued with only a few senators managing to escape. ISN was also stormed as well with its reporters and other employees rounded up and jailed. Most of the population on Earth accepted the new laws as they cut down crime to nearly zero. Hague, offworld at the time, quickly attempted to rally a counterstrike to stop Clark. Unfortunately only a few Omega class destroyers joined his ship, the EAS Alexander. They were forced to engage Earthforce units loyal to Clark at the Io jumpgate and barely escaped. Eventually most of the ships that immediately joined the EAS Alexander were hunted down and destroyed.
Babylon 5 was also ordered to implement martial law, with Nightwatch replacing Security. Fortunately the command staff, with the help of G'Kar and the indirect assistance of Earthforce General Smits, managed to arrest the Nightwatch personnel and temporarily repeal the order declaring Martial law.
Mars protested the martial law order. In response, Clark began bombing civilian targets on Mars, driving Proxima III and Orion VII to secede from the Earth Alliance in protest. In response, Clark sent Earthforce units to secure all colonies and military installations.
The EAS Alexander managed to reach the safety of Babylon 5. Unfortunately, Hague was killed when EAS Clarkstown ambushed the Alexander at Orion VII. Later they were joined by the EAS Churchill, under Captain Sandra Hiroshi. She brought warning that Earthforce units loyal to Clark were on their way to commandeer the station. Deciding between arrest and resistance, Sheridan and the rest of the Babylon 5 command staff chose to take a stand against Clark. The loyalist ships soon arrived and, receiving no surrender from the station or renegade ships, opened fire, beginning the Battle for B5 Independence. The station and rebel ships defeated the task force but took heavy losses, including the Churchill with all hands. Another loyalist task force arrived as reinforcements but were blocked when Ambassador Delenn intervened with several Sharlin-class warcruisers, declaring the station under Minbari protection. Babylon 5 maintained independent standing in the ensuing months, and Sheridan later added defensive support from many in the League of Non-Aligned Worlds, making a direct assault on the station politically unfavorable.
So Clark is forced to take another approach. He remade ISN into a propaganda machine to legitimize his dictatorship and discredit the Babylon 5 and its inhabitants in the eyes of the Earth Alliance. Clark also ordered the station blockaded; any Earth ship crew caught bringing anything in or out of Babylon 5 would be imprisoned. As Babylon 5 was primarily concerned with the Shadow War at the time, the propaganda campaign was largely ignored until the war ended, though Sheridan did find ways to obtain unfiltered news from home in the interim.
After the Shadow War ended, Clark was no longer able to obtain Shadow support, so he stepped up the campaign and began staging attacks meant to discredit the station. Owing the station a favor for saving telepaths from the Shadows last year, Alfred Bester passed information on one of these attacks, allowing Ivanova to disrupt the ambush and inject doubt into Clark's campaign. Still, the propaganda continued and gained intensity. Babylon 5 was cast more and more as a renegade currying support from the alien races so as to take over the Earth Alliance.
Voice of the Resistance
Sheridan realized at some point Earth may use such lies to justify another attack on the station, so a countermeasure was needed. The Voice of the Resistance was a Babylon 5 stellarcast that ran from May to November 2261 with Commander Susan Ivanova acting as the lead anchor. Its main function was to combat the propaganda that was being put out by ISN. VOR gained much of its information from ships and personnel who defected to the rebellion, as well as from the network of contacts that the rebellion used. Once the broadcasts started half of the outer colonies still aligned with Earth also began sending in valuable news.
No Surrender, No Retreat
Finally, the Clark regime committed an atrocity so reprehensible that the Resistance was forced to respond more directly. A transport ship coming from Proxima III brought with it footage of two Clark-loyal Earthforce destroyers (the Heracles and Pollux) mercilessly destroying a convoy of refugee ships trying to leave the planet. 10,000 innocent civilians died in the unprovoked attack, prompting Sheridan to go on the offensive. After securing neutrality from the alien races, he began his liberation campaign. Commanding the White Star fleet and a complement of Starfuries, he confronted the blockade around Proxima III and offered each of the six destroyers a choice: leave now in peace, fight, or defect. During the ensuing Battle of Proxima III, the four "neutral" members of the blockade did not take aggressive action: one left, the rest defected. The Clark-loyal Pollux was destroyed when a White Star collided with it while the crew of the Heracles mutinied before it could be destroyed. Its new commander surrendered and chose to remove it from the rest of the conflict.
In the meantime, independent business interests were concerned about Sheridan's campaign; they knew Clark was employing the Psi Corps in his regime, and they feared Clark might turn the telepaths loose if pressed. With the assistance of Michael Garibaldi, they lured Sheridan to Mars where he was captured. Unknown to them, Alfred Bester had been using Garibaldi as a mole to infiltrate the group (which had known anti-telepath leanings). Psi Corps eventually raided and put down the secret resistance. Among those killed was prominent Mars tycoon William Edgars. Garibaldi was then used to trap and capture Sheridan.
With Sheridan's capture, Commander Ivanova assumed Fleet Command. With the campaign under way and news of the liberation of Proxima being broadcast through the Voice of the Resistance, the Resistance built momentum. Beta IX was soon liberated as well, and more Earth ships began to join the resistance.
On Babylon 5 the alien races, led by Ambassadors Londo Mollari and G'Kar, reacted to Sheridan's capture and voluntarily voted to engage in a show of solidarity by allying with the rebellion and committing a reserve force to the campaign.
Knowing the resistance would soon turn their attention to Mars, Clark decided to play a trump card. He deployed the new Advanced Omega class destroyers to Sector 300 to ambush the rebel fleet. Unknown to the Resistance, these ships were augmented with the Shadow's organic armor and power technology, making them lethal against the rebel force. Fortunately, a defector relayed this news to the Resistance, and Ivanova chose to spring the ambush with the more-capable White Star fleet. A gruesome battle ensued, but the White Stars managed to destroy all the advanced destroyers. However, they took heavy casualties: the most prominent of which being Ivanova herself, fatally injured towards the end of the battle.
Clark had Sheridan kept on Mars where he was tortured and interrogated in an effort to make him defect; he resisted and was eventually freed by the Mars Resistance with help from Garibaldi, who had been freed of Bester's control. With their help, Sheridan initiated a plan he'd devised to liberate Mars with minimal casualties.
Clark chose to have General Robert Lefcourt head the defensive force aboard the EAS Apollo. As one of Sheridan's teachers, he was aware of his techniques and was able to recognize some of Sheridan's diversions; however, the diversions drew his attention away from Sheridan's real weapons: Shadow-altered telepaths he had the Resistance load into 30 of the loyalist ships. These telepaths hacked the ships' computers, stranding them in space and severely weakening the defensive force. Resuming command of the fleet aboard the EAS Agamemnon, Sheridan successfully neutralized them with minimal losses on either side.
With Earth's defense neutralized and Mars secure, the fleet immediately proceeded to the final battle: the Liberation of Earth. Receiving the news of Sheridan's arrival, the Earth-side Resistance finally took action. Led by Senator Crosby, they moved to confront President Clark. Clark, however, realizing the game was ending, enacted his final vengeance. Before taking his own life, Clark initiated a "Scorched Earth" plan, turning the Planetary defense grid toward the planet with the intent of decimating Earth and its population. Hearing this news from Crosby, Sheridan ordered all forces to destroy the Defense Grid and called in his alien reserves. Eventually, some of the loyalist forces from Mars (including Lefcourt himself) regained control of their ships and joined the battle at the last minute, helping to prevent Earth from being devastated.
With that, the Earth Alliance Civil War ended. Sheridan voluntarily surrendered after the battle and negotiated with the Earth Senate (through Senator Susanna Luchenko, who assumed Presidency of the Earth Alliance) concerning the fate of himself and the rest of the rebel forces. In exchange for his voluntary resignation from Earthforce, Luchenko offered amnesty for everyone else. Unknown to her the alien races, under the leadership of Delenn, chose to dissolve the League of Non-Aligned Worlds and united under a new Interstellar Alliance. Delenn announced this just after Sheridan's resignation and invited Earth to join.
As a condition of joining the ISA and gaining access to critical technologies like artificial gravity, Earth was required to recognize the independence of Mars, fulfilling Sheridan's promise to the Mars Resistance. Earth would continue to harass Mars through legal channels for the ensuring year, but the ISA offered Mars independent channels to help strengthen its standing.