- – 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 reforms 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 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 gets wind of an assassination plot against the president. Despite being shot in the back by his XO, he manages to warn Babylon 5's commander Jeffery Sinclair. Unfortunately the station is unable to get through to Earthforce One due to jamming. As Earthforce One approaches Io, its fusion reactor malfunctions and it explodes, killing President Santiago, and the rest of the crew.
A Conspiracy of Light
Shortly afterwards, Sinclair is reassigned to the position of the Earth Alliance's ambassador to Minbar with his replacement being John Sheridan. Sheridan receives his orders from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of the General Staff, William Hague. In addition to his official orders to take command of Babylon 5, Sheridan is 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.
Several months pass in which Sheridan witnesses events and consults with the command staff that form suspicions in his own mind that Santiago's death wasn't officially an accident. After Hague unofficially arrives to debrief Sheridan, both decide to bring in Babylon 5's command staff and beging to figure out the true cause for Santiago's death and to prevent the Earth Alliance from disintergrating into a dictatorship.
Their first break comes when they rescue 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 smuggle Jacobs to safety.
However things turn grim as 2259 ends as Nightwatch begins to establish itself on the station and the Earth Alliance begins to turn inward with one instance 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 3 to search for any additional First Ones when she stumbles onto a footage and recording between Clark and Morden, a known human agent of the Shadows, that proves that Clark was responsible for the assassination of his predecessor. After Draal makes copies of the recording, Ivanova forwards the information to the rest of the Babylon 5 command staff who then send it to Hague. Once the information is released into the public, it creates a firestorm with 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, (in reality the White Star), as an excuse, Clark declares Martial Law throughout the Earth Alliance. Earthforce troops storm the Senate and most opposition there is quickly subdued with only a few senators managing to escape. ISN is also stormed as well with its reporters and other employees rounded up and thrown into jail. Most of the population on Earth accept the new laws as it cuts down crime to nearly zero. Hague, who is offworld at the time, quickly attempts to rally a counterstrike to stop Clark. Unfortunately only a few Omega class destroyers join his ship, the EAS Alexander. They are forced to engage Earthforce units loyal to Clark at the Io jumpgate and barely manage to escape. Eventually most of the ships that immediately join the EAS Alexander are hunted down and destroyed.
Babylon 5 is also ordered to put martial law into effect with Nightwatch running security. Fortunately, the command staff, with the help of G'kar and the indirect assistance of Earthforce General Smiths, manage to arrest the Nightwatch personnel and temporarily repeal the order declaring Martial law.
Meanwhile, Mars protests the martial law order. In response, Clark begins bombing civilian targets on Mars which drives Proxima III and Orion VII to protest and eventually secede from the Earth Alliance. As a result, Clark sends Earthforce units to secure all colonies and military installations.
The EAS Alexander manages to reach the safety of Babylon 5. Unfortunately, Hague is killed during a firefight between the Alexander and the EAS Clarkstown at Orion VII. Later they are joined by the EAS Churchill, under Captain Sandra Hiroshi. She immediately warns that Earthforce units loyal to Clark are on their way to the station. Deciding that they have had enough, Sheridan and the rest of the Babylon 5 command staff decide to take a stand against Clark. The loyalist ships soon arrive and, receiving no surrender from the station or renegade ships, open fire, beginning the Battle for B5 Independence. The station and rebel ships defeat the task force but take heavy losses, including the Churchhill with all hands. Another loyalist task force arrives as reinforcements but are blocked when Ambassador Delenn intervenes with several Sharlin-class warcruisers, declaring the station under Minbari protection. Babylon 5 maintains independent standing in the ensuing months, and Sheridan would later add 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 has ISN remade into a propaganda machine to try and discredit the station and its inhabitants in the eyes of the Earth Alliance. Clark also ordered the station blockaded; any Earth ship 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 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, 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 being cast more and more as a renegade: currying support from the alien races so as to launch a campaign 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, the network having been co-opted and turned into a mouthpiece for the Clark administration. 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 and 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. 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.
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 will be turning their attention to Mars soon, 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, critically 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 Resistance finally took action. Led by Senator Crosby, they moved to confront President Clark. Clark, however, realizing the game was ending, enacted a final act of 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 the planet and its population. Hearing this news from Crosby, Sheridan orders all forces to destroy the Defense Grid and calling 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, Earth offered amnesty for everyone else. Unknown to them, the alien races, under the leadership of Delenn, chose to dissolve the League of Non-Aligned Worlds and instead unite 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 forced 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.