The Babylon Project

"I am a Ranger! We walk in the dark places no others will enter. We stand on the bridge, and no one may pass! We live for the One, we die for the One!"

Marcus to Neroon

Marcus Cole was a leading member of the Rangers and a key member of the Army of Light during the Second Shadow War.


Marcus Cole was born on the Arisia Mining Colony and raised far from Earth. He would spend most of his early life working for the family mining business on a succession of frontier colony worlds and mining colonies. During this time, he became a superbly skilled pilot.[1] One of these colonies was a Drazi colony at which Cole spent a year.[2] Here, Cole saw the effects of mixing Human and alien food when those less fortunate went through waste. This bad food caused Banta Flu, which was described as a sickness caused by consuming a fermented combination of human and alien food.[3]

During the Earth-Minbari War he was drafted into Earthforce and assigned to Earthforce Intelligence Gathering Division, he was said to have hated every minute of it. Though he never saw combat, he saw enough that even more than a decade later Minbari ships, for all their beauty still sent a chill down his spine. While he was away, the economic ramifications of the Minbari War had all but bankrupted the Cole Mining Company and though Marcus had no love for the mining profession, his sense of family duty drove him to agree to help his father get the ailing company back on firmer financial ground.[1]

As his father's health began to fail, he found he was taking on more and more responsibility. What was supposed to have been months turned into years, and by the time his father passed away, Marcus was already fully in charge of the company. Two years later, his mother also passed and with his brother off traveling, and refusing to enter the family business, Marcus was alone, but determined to carry on his parent's legacy.[1]

His younger brother, William, with whom Marcus had barely spoken since their mother's funeral, was one of the first humans to join the Rangers. He had been visiting Minbar when he was recruited by Ambassador Sinclair in February 2259. In July of that year, he arrived at the Arisia Colony on a Minbari cargo ship, much to his brother's surprise, and tried to convince Marcus to join and to ask permission to use Arisia as a listening post. Cole did not believe his brother's stories about the Shadows and was suspicious of what he saw as a Minbari cult, lead by Sinclair, whom he'd heard had "gone native".[1]

William later sent Marcus a warning about a Shadow attack planned for the colony. Marcus was not on the colony at the time, and returned just in time to see his brother die in the attack. Blaming himself for William's death, Marcus joined the Rangers to finish the work his brother had started.[4]

He traveled to Minbar and spent a year training with the Rangers. During that time he became fluent in one of the Minbari languages (the training required him to not only be able to speak the language but think in it as well).[5] He was also trained in the use of the Denn'bok, the Minbari fighting pike and traditional Ranger weapon, by Durhan himself.[6] The Rangers during that time were under the command of Jeffrey Sinclair. Marcus deeply respected Sinclair's abilities as a leader.[7] Sinclair gave Marcus a denn'bok intended for Catherine Sakai as a sign of thanks for his help. Part of the Ranger training included going through a Minbari Rebirth Ceremony. Despite this, Marcus skipped the ceremony.[8]


By the end of 2259, Marcus had been assigned to Zagros VII, a small colony of the Drazi Freehold where the Rangers had established an auxiliary training facility. Unfortunately, at the Shadows direction, the Centauri Republic attempted to annex the planet from the Drazi. They established a blockade of the planet that prevented any ships from leaving.

Marcus was able to slip through with the help of a Drazi pilot who was killed in the effort. He set course for Babylon 5, pressing his small shuttle's engine hard, in order to arrive there as quickly as possible. He went so far at to divert nearly all the life support power into the engines, causing him to collapse as soon as he reached the station. Though he was brought into Medlab, he recovered by the time he reached there and slipped out without anyone seeing him. He sent a message to Delenn, asking her to meet him in Downbelow (since he lacked any proper identification that would prove who he was). Delenn and her aide Lennier met him in a seedy tavern where he confirmed his identity. Once they leave, they are accosted by some thugs, but Marcus made short work of them.

Marcus explained to Delenn, then to station commander Captain John Sheridan and his second, Susan Ivanova, about the blockade. He explained that the Rangers had the means to lift it but required a crew. Sheridan agreed to help. Marcus led Sheridan, Ivanova, Delenn, and Lennier to the White Star, the prototype vessel of new Minbari warship utilizing Vorlon technology. With Sheridan commanding the vessel, they soon arrived at Zagross 7. They destroyed the defense satellites maintaining the blockade, though no Centauri ships were in orbit. A Shadow Vessel soon jumped in and attacked. They withdrew into hyperspace, but the enemy followed. They made for the Jumpgate in the dead Markab system where they open a joump point within the gate. The resulting explosion destroyed the Shadow vessel. [4]

Marcus' new assignment was Babylon 5 . He began to coordinate a network of spies and informants relating news of the Shadows and their movements. He also served as a liaison for the command staff when they needed to take the White Star on a mission and Lennier was unavailable since most of the crew does not speak English.

One of the first of such assignments was when Susan Ivanova, using the Great Machine on Epsilon III, located traces of the First Ones at Sigma 957. With the captain delayed by a Ministry of Peace official, Susan was tasked with seeking out the First Ones and trying to recruit them into the Army of Light. She immediately took a prickly attitude to Marcus's cheerfulness, going so far as to tell him he is not authorized to speak to her about her personal life, which made him laugh. They successfully make contact with the Walkers of Sigma-957, though at first they are not interested in helping. Susan was able to manipulate them, however, and they agreed to be there when the time came.[5]

Marcus befriended Dr. Stephen Franklin, working with him in Downbelow. Marcus demonstrated a depth of kindness to the Lurkers, particularly an elderly man named Duncan who was a particular friend. When Duncan disappeared suddenly, Marcus immediately suspected something was terribly wrong. Unfortunately, Security Chief Michael Garibaldi did not believe there was enough evidence to warrant a search. Marcus then tricked Stephen into helping him. They entered Duncan's quarters to find a tunnel trhough the wall leading into an abandoned part of Downbelow. There they are captured by a band of humans who had been bonded to strange aliens known as Vindrizi. Duncan was there, and explained that the aliens hade a symbiotic relationship with their hosts. They asked that Marcus and Stephen not interfere, but the two men were unconvinced the hosts were volunteers.

While they planned an escape, Marcus questioned Stephen about Ivanova, asking why she was so standoffish. Stephen suggested he just give her time. Then Stephen was brought out of the cell they were being held in to operate one of the hosts. After he was taken, Marcus managed to escape, recover his pike, and send an emergency call to C'n'C before going after Franklin. He managed to force a standoff, where Duncan agreed to let his symbiont remove itself from him to prove their benevolence. Once accomplished, unfortunately, Duncan could not join again, which saddened him since he felt being joined gave his life some purpose for the first time. He resolved to leave the station and to try and find some of the wonders he remembered from when he was joined.

The next day, Ivanova tossed a bouquet of synth roses at Marcus, mistakenly thinking he had sent them to her, and he mistakes the gesture, delighted to think she might be warming up to him.[2]

Working with Marcus and his contacts, Garibaldi learned about a woman named Dr. Kirkish who had evidence of a Shadow vessel present on Mars several years earlier. Marcus arranged for her to be brought to the station in secret. The Shadows, however, learned of her arrival and attempted to have her murdered by agents of their own. Marcus defended her successfully and delivered her safely to the command crew. In addition to relating that a Shadow vessel had been found by IPX on Mars, she explained another such vessel was discovered on Ganymede recently and would soon be "awakened." Sheridan announced that he and Delenn would take the White Star to the Sol System to destroy the ship while still dormant. Marcus was surprised when Sheridan elected to do it himself instead of assigning him to do it. He stayed behind and tried to assist Ivanova, who is upset and concerned by Sheridan's prospects. She told Marcus she blamedhim for the situation, but then admitted that it was only because she felt powerless and had "no one else to blame."

Sheridan's mission was a success and he and Delenn return safely to the station. Marcus successfully managed to cheer Susan up by explaining "where he fits" in the scheme of things using the Ottoman Empire as a model, making her laugh. Unfortunately, minutes later ISN announced that President Clark declared Martial law for the entire Earth Alliance.[9]


"I'm sorry, would you prefer ferrets?"

Following the declaration, Clark dissolved the Earth Senate, arresting half the Senators, and even opening fire on the building itself. He also ordered the bombings of civilian targets on Mars when the government there refused to implement the martial law order. As a result, Proxima III and Orion VII declared independence from the Earth Alliance. Babylon 5 follows suit, securing said independence in the Battle For B5 Independence.[10]

Reconciling the Past[]

Marcus was pleased with the newly declared independence of the station, never having been a fan of the Earth Alliance anyway. But when Delenn explained that she wished to conduct a Minbari Rebirth Ceremony, Marcus immediately claimed he had no interest in the ceremony and excused himself. Delenn asked Marcus why he has an aversion to the ceremony, he told her that he skipped the one required during his training and did not want to partake in this one because part of the ceremony involved giving up something and Marcus declared he had nothing left to give up. Delenn pointed out that he carried a great deal of guilt over surviving when the rest of the colony was destroyed.

Moments later, Delenn and the Minbari captain were kidnapped by renegade Nightwatch agents loyal to Clark. Marcus blamed himself for not being there to stop it. The kidnappers sent a ransom message to the command staff, killing one of the Minbari. Enraged, Marcus went to Downbelow to find a lead. He picked a fight in a bar, resulting in him knocking out everyone in the place. Lennier found him there, explaining he was carrying out Delenn's wishes for the Rebirth ceremony. Lennier confessed that he secretly loved Delenn. Marcus was surprised, but Lennier explained he did not consider it a romantic love but something "nobler." They were interrupted when one of the bar patrons awakens. Leaning on him again, Marcus was able to get some evidence that helped the crew locate and rescue the hostages.[8]

Several weeks later, a strange man claiming to be the legendary King Arthur came aboard the station. Marcus convinced the man to go to Medlab to be checked out by Dr. Franklin. He explained the situation to the command staff and proposed the man may be genuine. He pointed out that the Vorlons have been visiting Earth for centuries and are known to have taken at least one person and preserved him through the centuries. When Arthur escapes from Medlab, Marcus tracked him to Downbelow, learning that he had run into G'Kar and the two of them solved one crime and prevented another. Dr. Franklin, however, learned that the man was really David McIntyre, a former Earthforce officer who was a gunner on the EAS Prometheus, the ship that touched off the Earth-Minbari War. Marcus begged Dr. Franklin not to tell McIntyre this fact, explaining it would be better for him to believe he is Arthur. Franklin beiong Franklin, told Arthur anyway, explaining who he was and that he has been carrying around the guilt about the entire war for years. They thought that before his breakdown, he might have been going to apologize to Delenn. Delenn met with him briefly and he remembered his real identity. G'Kar then saw to it that McIntyre leaft to work with the Narn Resistance.[3]

Making History[]

By September, 2260, the Shadows began attacking openly. After convincing the Vorlons to engage a Shadow fleet to boost morale, Sheridan was able to unite most of the other races to stand against them. The Rangers began to work more openly, no longer needing secrecry in which to operate.[11]

Cole became part of the mission to move Babylon 4 back in time. While discussing with Sheridan in the War Room, he was surprised to see Jeffrey Sinclair arrive unannounced. Delenn was not surprised to see him, however, and insisted Sheridan, Ivanova, and Cole come with her and Sinclair aboard the White Star. There, Cole learned of Delenn's plan: their destination of Sector 14, an area of space where Babylon 4 had disappeared and reappeared, and mission of bringing it to the past for use in the First Shadow War. He was fitted with a time stabilizer from Zathras to deal with the effects of the time rift.

After the crew made it to 2254 and destroyed the Shadow ships there to blow up the station, Cole accompanied Ivanova onto the station to help get equipment into place.[7] While Ivanova located an access panel, Cole supposed it was the "worst time to be discovered," so he jumped up to the ceiling to use Ivanova as a distraction in order to subdue two of the station's crew. Ivanova finished simulating a hull breach to evacuate the area. Cole and Ivanova brought equipment to the right spot, witnessing Sheridan's time-jumps during. Zathras had a plan to draw Sheridan back, but Cole was skeptical. It did work, though, as Sheridan appeared.

After the chaos of jumping forward in time prematurely and the B4 crew evacuating, the station is finally pulled fully into the time rift and everyone gathers in C'n'C. There, Cole confronted Sinclair about keeping the whole truth from them. He correctly guessed that the station would require a navigator to take it back into the distant past and, whoever it is, would not be returning. Sinclair and Delenn confirmed his suspicion. Cole then offered to be the one to do it, but Sinclair revealed he would be going. Cole and the others reluctantly conceded and realized Sinclair's destiny was ultimately to literally become the Minbari religious figure Valen.[12]



With Sinclair in the past, the Rangers needed a new leader. Delenn was chosen as the natural successor and an installation ceremony was prepared aboard Babylon 5. Just prior to the ceremony, Lennier came to Marcus and warned that Delenn's life was in danger from Neroon, a Minbari warrior who believed Delenn was out to become ruler of their people. Despite Lennier's caution that he should not fight the skilled warrior directly, Marcus chose to engage Neroon in a fierce one-on-one battle—a battle where he invoked the Minbari ritual called Denn-shah. Despite losing, he earned Neroon's respect for his willingness to give his life for Delenn while he, a Minbari, had been fully prepared to kill one of his own. Neroon let Marcus live and did not disrupt the ceremony. After it was over, Neroon visited Marcus and they parted in friendship.[6]

Near the end of 2260, Sheridan and Delenn managed to figure out a pattern in the Shadows' attacks and planned a counterattack. The attack required a single ship sent in as a scout to relay when the Shadows arrived to a fleet waiting in hyperspace. Marcus and Ivanova were assigned to the task aboard the White Star. They waited for the better part of a day, taking various shifts. During this time, Marcus shared some more insights on his training, though he could not bring himself to share his feelings for her openly. Eventually, they detected a Shadow scout vessel and engaged it. Though they destroyed it, the White Star's engines were temporarily disabled—just as a massive fleet of Shadow ships arrived. The White Star called in the fleet and joined in the Battle of Sector 83. Though the Alliance suffered heavy losses, they were able to claim a victory.[13]

At the end of December, Sheridan took the White Star to Z'ha'dum and disappeared.[14] The Shadows immediately halted their attacks, causing the Alliance to start to unravel. Rumors quickly came in that Sheridan, after going to the surface of the planet, caused the White Star to crash into the Shadow's largest city, detonating a pair of thermonuclear bombs on impact.[15]

In the beginning of 2261, Michael Garibaldi, on patrol in a Starfury the day Sheridan went to Z'ha'dum, disappeared mysteriously along with his ship. G'Kar decided to try and track him down. Figuring that G'Kar would need some help, Marcus decided to go after G'Kar. He found him in a seedy bar on a remote planet, where he had to save G'Kar during a bar brawl. After escaping the place, Marcus explained to G'Kar how he had followed him. Marcus personally interrogated G'Kar's contact and obtained some information regarding Garibaldi. G'Kar was grateful, but insisted on going on alone, following his own leads. He asked Marcus to return to Babylon 5 and use the stations resources to pursue alternative leads. Marcus reluctantly complied. G'Kar was captured by the Centauri not long afterward.[16]


Extreme measures.

Cole and Ivanova took part in the devastating battle at Sector 300 during the Earth Alliance Civil War. Ivanova's command was shattered, and she was also mortally wounded. Marcus left his post with no other thought than that she should live and broke into Franklin's files, where he found the report on the alien tech that could siphon the life energy from one person into another. He hooked himself up to the machine and passed all of his life energy to Susan so that she might live. He whispered that he loved her, and she regained consciousness as he lost consciousness. This is how they were found.

With no hope of revival, the Minbari enclosed his body in a cryo tube where he would remain in cryonic suspension for the next three centuries.

Life Beyond Death[]


Marcus Cole remained on indefinite cryonic hold for almost 300 years.

In 2560, an expedition to the Rim discovered the ruins of the alien civilization that had produced the Energy Transfer Device and at last found the information that would enable Alliance doctors to revive Marcus Cole. Marcus, awaking to a world he no longer knew and surrounded by monuments to friends long dead, embarked on a scheme that would reunite him with his lost love, Susan Ivanova.

Using the fortune that had been kept in a trust fund for him since his body's arrival on Minbar, Marcus first purchased a small, jump-capable Flyer and traveled to the Neural Archives on Sirius IX. With the help of a local Drazi, Farn, he broke in and stole a copy of the Data crystal on which a neural imprint of Ivanova had been stored. Next, he traveled to a small medical research station in the Brakiri Syndicracy, where a doctor, Quijana, was hiding from Earth Alliance authorities for his illegal work with the Human genome. After providing the doctor with the neural image and a genetic sample in the form of a single hair found on his Ranger uniform after he emerged from cryo, Marcus paid Dr. Quijana a considerable sum to grow a clone to full maturity, with the neural imprint taken up until the point where she was injured at the Battle of Sector 300. He then traveled to Mars, where he would spend the next 32 years in cryosleep at Ever-Dream Enterprises, where he met D. Garibaldi, a sixth-generation descendant of Michael Garibaldi and a dead ringer for his distant ancestor. In 2593, awakening once again, Marcus was greeted by Garibaldi - now the company's operations VP and a few weeks from retirement. Returning to Brakiri space, Marcus collected a matured and imprinted Susan from Quijana's son and took her to Chryn III.

After she awakened, Marcus explained that they had been shot down by Raiders and crashed on this planet while en route to Babylon 5 to celebrate the end of the War; but with the ship and its distress beacon destroyed, they were stranded with no way of contacting the others. Susan agreed that the best thing to do was find food and shelter and settle in for the duration. The ultimate fate of the two is uncertain.[17]


  • There is some confusion as to the timetable of Marcus' early time among the Rangers. At one point he mentioned living on Minbar for almost a year and that his brother joined the Rangers about six months before him, though in To Dream in the City of Sorrows the Anla'Shok do not even begin recruiting until early February 2259, which would mean Marcus would have joined some time around late July, early August and from his first appearance it's known that he would have been on the Drazi Colony Zagros VII since at least late December 2259. So at most he was on Minbar for five months.
  • This can be slightly compounded by his statement in "A Late Delivery from Avalon" that he'd spent a year living on a Drazi Colony. He clearly can't be referring to Zagros VII since he couldn't have been there for more than a few weeks and again according to To Dream in the City of Sorrows he had been living the Arisia III Mining Colony since he returned from the Minbari War. The novel does say however that before his family company settles at Arisia, they had been moving through a succession of mining colonies and frontier worlds. So this year would have been at some point before he was drafted into Earthforce as a very young man.

Behind The Scenes[]

  • A scene that was shot but ultimately cut from the final edit of the episode ("Atonement") featured an additional conversation between Franklin and Marcus on a White Star while en route to Mars. The conversation revealed how Marcus' literacy and familiarity of the works of Dickens, Shakespeare, Carroll and others (as seen in "Exogenesis") stems from his childhood when his mother insisted on keeping them on the house computer as the only other reading material on the mining colony were technical manuals. The scene was ultimately removed as the Director's cut ran 4 minutes over.[18]