The Babylon Project

"I'm a doctor! My duty is to heal!"
"Then heal humans! Stephen, I know you're fascinated by these alien creatures, but they're a threat to humanity. And they always will be. Help your own kind!"
"Life is life, whether it's wrapped in skin, scales, or feathers! Now if you respected these beings instead of constantly trying to murder them, you'd appreciate that!"

Stephen and Richard Franklin

Stephen Franklin was Babylon 5's Chief Medical Officer from 2258 - 2262, having replaced Benjamin Kyle in the post. Franklin then went on to be Head of Xenobiological Research at Earth Dome, once again replacing Benjamin Kyle. Lillian Hobbs replaced him as CMO.


Early life[]

Stephen Franklin was born in Chicago, on Earth.[3] He was one of five children and the only son of General Richard Franklin, a highly decorated but quite strict career military officer. Stephen and his father had a somewhat icy relationship, though they shared a deep love for one another. Stephen would later remark it was especially difficult since his father was often away on dangerous assignments and the family never knew if they would see him again.[2]

During one such mission, Richard Franklin was captured by alien combatants. Severely injured, he was saved by an alien doctor. This inspired Stephen to go into medicine, and to always respect life, no matter how alien.[4]

When he was seventeen, Stephen left Earth for the first time with some friends on the Moon-Mars run. One of them decided to hide in an airlock, hoping to jump out and surprise them, but accidentally pushed the wrong button, blowing himself out into space. Stephen watched him gasping for air as he died. He also saw the body after it was pulled in. He was so unnerved by it that he would always become angry whenever anybody joked about "spacing" someone.[5]

While studying under Dr. Vance Hendricks at Harvard University, Stephen would tell Hendricks that he wanted his name to go down in history, alongside the likes of Fleming, Salk, Jenner and Takahashi.[6] Stephen also studied under Dr. Everett Jacobs for two years. Jacobs was a highly respected physician and expert on xeno-biology who had travelled extensively throughout the galaxy and when Stephen was having trouble with xenobiogenics, Jacobs was the only one who took the time to help him. The two would remain friends for many years.[7]

Early career[]

After his graduation, rather than serve a long internship Franklin decided to strike out on his own and see the galaxy, trading his services as a doctor for free passage on any ship that would have him. He spent three years in this endeavor, getting to meet many different alien species.[8] It was during this time that on a visit to Septis he first met Dr. Lazarenn, a Markab doctor.[9] and developed a taste for the Markab fruit drink Orcha[10]

On June 21, 2243, Franklin was hitch-hiking aboard the commercial trading ship Archimedes when they got word of an unknown alien ship had headed badly off course in hyperspace before emerging from the local jumpgate and crashed on Theta 49, a bronze tech world off of Beta Durani. Captain Bickford brought the Archimedes in to help, though in truth he was somewhat more interested in acquiring salvage than rendering aid, but agreed to allow Franklin to go down with the team. Though he found nothing useful they did find seven survivors who Stephen, based on their appearance, believed to be Minbari. The Minbari, whom Franklin observed appeared to range in age from the equivalent to four and sixty five Earth years old and while he was unable to understand their language, while speaking to one, they appeared to recognise the word "Minbari", confirming his earlier belief. Though he did the best he could, without even a basic knowledge of Minbari biology Stephen was unable to save any of them. Still eager to learn everything he could, Franklin talked Captain Bickford into allowing him to perform full autopsies, from which he gathered an extensive amount of medical data, making detailed notes on their DNA and biology.[11][12]

When the Earth-Minbari War broke out in 2245, he was commissioned in Earthforce. With the war going badly for Earth, in September 2247 he and other doctors were approached to turn over their notes on xenobiology. On September 13, rather than let his notes be used to create biogenetic weapons, he destroyed his notes before being approached by General Fontaine for information regarding the Minbari[8][11][13]. Arrested, he was kept in the stockade pending his acquiescence. Ultimately he was set free after volunteering for a secret mission to the Epsilon System, with Commander Sheridan and the Narn Ambassador G'Kar. The mission was a failure and after being briefly detainment by the Minbari, Franklin and Sheridan were returned to Earth space.[12]

Dr. Franklin remained in Earthforce after the War, despite the black mark against him as his knowledge of xenobiology put him at the forefront of the field.

The Babylon Project[]

In early 2258, Dr. Franklin was chosen to replace Dr. Benjamin Kyle as the Chief Medical Officer for Babylon 5. Stephen was thrilled at the opportunity, as the station was home to dozens of different alien races with dozens more coming through it all the time.[14]

Settling In[]

The day Franklin arrived, a strange alien ship drifted out of hyperspace near the station. It was brought aboard and a single alien of an unknown species was aboard. The alien was brought to Medlab unconscious. Dr. Franklin was amazed at how rapidly the alien healed. The alien woke up moments before a Lurker from Downbelow was brought in with a knife wound. The alien hinted that he could sense the death of the Lurker as imminent. Franklin was unable to save the victim. He alerts Cmdr. Sinclair that the alien has awoken. Sinclair has learned from Ambassador Delenn that the alien is a Soul Hunter, a nearly immortal race of beings that can acquire and "bottle" the soul of a person at death. Franklin dismisses this claim. Sinclair is skeptical, but orders the Soul Hunter to remain in the isolab. However, he escapes a few hours later and kidnaps Delenn. Sinclair is forced to kill the Soul Hunter in his rescue. Delenn was severely injured, but manages to recover in Medlab.[14]

A few weeks later, a dockworker is discovered dead of an apparent heart attack. Franklin does not find any immediate traces of foul play, but orders an autopsy just the same.

Dr. Franklin's former professor, Vance Hendricks, comes aboard this same day. He comes to Franklin with several ancient artifacts he acquired from ruins on Ikarra VII, explaining that he believes they will provide the breakthrough for organic technology. Dr. Franklin eagerly begins to help Dr. Hendricks investigate the artifacts, though he expresses some displeasure at the "grave robbing." Late that night, Franklin goes to the Medlab and finds that Hendricks' assistant, Nelson Drake, somehow merged with one of the artifacts. Drake mutters, "Protect" before shooting Franklin with an energy blast. Franklin is found unconscious, though is not badly injured. He insists on helping the command staff at locating and disabling Drake. Working with Hendricks, he unlocks some records from Ikarra VII that explain the artifacts transform a person into a living weapon. The weapons were intended to repel alien invaders, but they had been programmed by religious fanatics and military radicals that controlled the government. After repelling the invaders, the Weapons wiped out all life on the planet. Cmdr. Sinclair is able to use this information to disable the weapon without killing Drake.

During the investigation, Franklin found a small device used for cardiac stimulation among Drake's equipment. Realizing it can be used improperly to induce a heart attack, Dr. Franklin realizes Drake used it on the dead dockworker so they could smuggle the artifacts aboard. After being confronted by the evidence, Hendricks admits that they needed to bring the weapons aboard and diagnose them quickly because they are working for IPX, which serves partly as a front for a weapon development firm. Hendricks offers to cut Franklin in on a sale, but Franklin refuses and has his former professor arrested. Later, while Lt. Cmdr. Susan Ivanova meets him for a drink, they are approached by security who are under orders from Earthforce Special Intelligence to confiscate the artifacts.[6]

In the next few weeks, several prominent aliens are attacked by unknown assailants on the station. One of them is Shaal Mayan, a Minbari poet, who is stabbed in the abdomen and branded on the forehead. Though her injuries are severe, they are not life threatening. Franklin offers to remove the brand from her head, but she elects to keep it (as a lesson). Soon a pair of Centauri, Kiron Maray and Aria Tensus are attacked in the Zen Garden. Aria escapes unscathed, but Kiron is seriously wounded. The attacks begin to cause a backlash of anti-human sentiment, leading to dozens of minor assaults on humans. Thankfully, Kiron recovers and the perpetrators, members of a radical pro-Earth group Homeguard, are exposed and arrested.[15]

Cmdr. Sinclair disappears in the middle of the night. Security Chief Michael Garibaldi quickly organizes a search, believing Sinclair has been kidnapped. He is eventually found after he escapes confinement by two clandestine agents, Knight One and Knight Two, who had Sinclair hooked up to a virtual reality display to probe his thoughts. Knight One is killed and Knight Two is injured by the feedback of Sinclair breaking free from their machine. Dr. Franklin examines Knight Two before he is sent back to earth, concluding that the feedback caused critical damage to his memories, effectively giving him a permanent amnesia. Franklin gives Sinclair a clean bill of health.[8]

Franklin received an injured Dilgar arrival in MedLab who was attacked by Na'Toth. He initially did not recognize her species until Sinclair interrogated Na'Toth who recognized her as Jha'dur, an infamous war criminal. Franklin treated her and also studied a vial of unknown chemical retrieved from her belongings. Jha'dur woke up and objected to her belongings being studied, but did explain it was an universal anti-agapic. Dr. Franklin's limited tests on the serum seemed to confirm her claims. Franklin released her into custody of security, and, even though she wasn't put on trial, her transport to Earth was destroyed by the Vorlons.[16]

A major crisis developed on several levels for Dr. Franklin when an alien couple, Tharg and M'Ola, brought their young son, Shon, to the station for medical treatment. Dr. Franklin determined that the boy had a life-threatening blockage in his lungs, but was easily treated with surgery. Tharg and M'Ola, however, revealed their religious beliefs forbade surgery. Franklin attempts to be understanding (chastising Dr. Maya Hernandez when she belittles their beliefs in front of them. He offers an alternative, a long shot that fails to work. He bets Hernandez a steak dinner (very expensive for Babylon 5) that he will be able to convince the couple. While he attempts this, Shon rests in Medlab. Franklin gives him a "piece of industrial goo" that he tells Shon is really a "gloppit egg" in need of care. As Shon's condition grows worse, Franklin grow more frustrated at his parents' refusal to consent. Finally, he declares that he is overriding their request, citing a responsibility to the child. The parents go to Sinclair, who is forced to step into the role as adviser for the child's best interests since their race does not have an ambassador. Sinclair meets with Shon personally and spends a few hours contemplating his decision. Ultimately, he orders Franklin to respect the family's religious convictions and not perform the surgery. Franklin agrees to comply, but that night secretly decides to proceed anyway. Dr. Hernandez agrees to help him. They successfully perform the surgery and Shon feels completely better. The following morning, however, his parents scorn him as soon as they realize what Franklin has done. They announce he has lost his soul and is not their son, leaving Shon crying bitterly in the Medlab.

An angered Sinclair threatens to have Franklin brought up on charges. However, his temper cools when they go to Medlab and find Tharg and M'Ola with their son, announcing they are about to leave on a journey together. Franklin briefly gloats, but Sinclair is not about to apologize. It all proves futile, however, when Franklin realizes by reviewing some more material on their race what they are going to do next. He rushes to where they are staying, only to arrive moments after mother and father have taken their son's life, claiming he was merely "an empty shell." Crushed by what has happened, he offers his resignation to Sinclair, but the commander decides not to accept it.[17]

President Luis Santiago announces he plans to come to the station as part of a tour of the Earth Alliance's outer territories. As the station prepares for his arrival, an explosion happens in one of the Cobra Bays. A worker, Nolan, is critically injured in the blast. Dr. Franklin is doubtful about his recovery. Major Lianna Kemmer, part of the President's security detail, comes aboard to help finalize the security details. Over Dr. Franklin's objections, she insists on reviving Nolan and questioning him. Nolan mutters about a bomb being the cause and also mentions Garibaldi's name. He dies a few minutes later, infuriating both Franklin and Sinclair. Garibaldi is relieved of duty since Kemmer suspects he planted the bomb. Garibaldi works on his own, proving his innocence and that Nolan (a member of Homeguard) himself actually planted the bomb.[18]

A woman named Mirriam Runningdear, a potential witness against a criminal operating out of Downbelow, is found dead, apparently the victim of a mindwipe. Franklin quickly concludes it was not caused artificially, but somehow organically. His investigation turns up evidence of a creature from the Centauri Republic, a Na'ka'leen Feeder. Ambassador Londo Mollari turns over all files on the creatures to Franklin, which proves Runningdear was a victim of the creature. Sinclair and station security manage to track down the creature on the station and kill it before it can claim any more victims.[19]

Later in the year, another kidnapping occurs. This one involves not only an alien but a dead one—a dead Minbari war hero, Bramner. The Minbari Star Riders Clan brought him to the station to lie in state. When some circumstantial evidence comes up implicating a group of pak'ma'ra, Garibaldi orders their stomachs pumped (as they are carrion eaters). Franklin gets the unpleasant job of performing this task, claiming afterwards he had to burn two lab coats as a result. Even so, no trace of Bramner was found in their stomach. Bramner's disappearance officially goes unsolved.

While it was going on, a young teenager named Alisa Beldon is brought to Medlab after collapsing in the Zocalo. Talia Winters, the station's commercial telepath, explains that Alisa experienced a "mind burst," an event when a previously latent telepath has their talent awaken. Dr. Franklin allows her to stay in Medlab while Winters and Ivanova work out what is going to happen to her (as she is not only a telepath but an orphan).[20]

The station begins to detect strange seismic anomalies from Epsilon 3, the planet the station orbits. Sinclair and Ivanova eventually journey down to the planet and discover a vast alien machine, centuries more advanced that Earth technology. They return to the station with Varn, an alien who was living in the "heart" of the Machine. Varn is apparently dying and is brought to Medlab, though there is little Dr. Franklin can do. He awakens when Ambassador Delenn and her former mentor, Draal, come to him in Medlab. Varn explains that he has lived in the Machine for five hundred years, but now he is near death. He explains that without an operator, the Machine is designed to start a chain reaction that will obliterate the planet (taking the station with it). The EAS Hyperion jumps in, sent by Earthforce as soon as they learned of the situation to seize the planet. This creates a standoff when an alien vessel arrives to seize custody of the planet. Varn is freed from Medlab by Delenn and Draal who head to the planet. Draal replaces Varn as the operator. He issues an edict forbidding anyone from coming to the planet. When the alien ship defies this order, he uses the planet's defenses to destroy them.[21]

The Quality of Mercy[]

Knowing that there were many Lurkers unable to afford proper medical treatment, Dr. Franklin establishes a free clinic in Downbelow. Ivanova approaches him about it, as officially it cannot be sanctioned by the station. She agrees to let him operate it anyway, however, agreeing that it is doing good for people in need.

While working the clinic, Franklin hears stories about another unauthorized clinic operating in Downbelow. He investigates and meets Dr. Laura Rosen, who apparently heals people with the use of a strange Alien Healing Machine. Living with her is her adult daughter, Janice Rosen, who is defensive of Franklin's intrusion into her mother's practice. At first, Franklin dismisses her claims that the machine can heal people, but his own examinations of her patients prove they have in fact been healed. He also learns Dr. Rosen was an actual practitioner on Earth but had her license suspended several years before. Going to her again, she explains that she bought the machine from a trader who discovered it. It was used as a means of capital punishment, as it drains the life force from one sentient being and transfers it to another. She explains that she discovered how to use it in small, non-fatal doses. She also explains she has Lake's Syndrome, a terminal and very painful condition that leaves her with only a few more years to live. Dr. Franklin agrees to not oppose her clinic, but insists she come to Medlab on a weekly basis for checkups.

Meanwhile, a man named Karl Mueller is convicted of multiple murders and sentenced to the Death of Personality. Dr. Franklin is unhappy when he is informed he will have to be the one to monitor Mueller during the procedure. He is also annoyed when Garibaldi suggests something more lethal should be slipped into the sedatives. However, Mueller escapes into Downbelow. Learning that he was injured by a PPG shot, Franklin worries he might make his way to Rosen. Going to her clinic, he finds Mueller there, holding Rosen and her daughter hostage and forcing her to use the Healing Machine. When Franklin distracts him, Rosen reverses the output of the machine, killing him and healing her of Lake's Syndrome. After she is cleared of any wrongdoing, she announces she and Janice are leaving the station. Before they go, Laura turns over the machine to Dr. Franklin for safe keeping and further study.[22]

Unknown to any of the staff, Franklin also used his free clinic as a front for an "underground railroad" of rogue human telepaths. Years before, Franklin was brought into an movement of doctors who had become aware of the serious human rights abuses committed by the Psi Corps against telepaths. The underground railroad quietly smuggled telepaths away from the Psi Corps' control.[23]

As the year neared an end, events on the station did not quiet down. An informant working for Garibaldi is brought to Medlab, fatally injured by a stab wound. He dies on the operating table from blood loss. On New Year's Eve, Garibaldi himself is brought into Medlab, seriously injured by a PPG shot to the back. Before he is taken into surgery, Garibaldi grabs Sinclair (who had come down as soon as he heard) and whispers that the President is going to be killed at the transfer point at Io. Sinclair is too late to intervene, however, and Earthforce One explodes in orbit over Io in what is officially labeled as an accident. Vice President Morgan Clark is sworn in as the new President of the Earth Alliance. After hours of operating, Franklin manages to stabilize Garibaldi, though he is still comatose and in critical condition.[24]

Rising Tensions[]

A few days into the new year, Cmdr. Sinclair was reassigned as the first human ambassador to Minbar. He was replaced by Captain John Sheridan, a controversial decision protested by the Minbari. Captain Sheridan arrived almost a week after Sinclair was recalled. He immediately had to defuse a tense situation with a rogue Minbari warship, the Trigati, but luckily was able to do so without starting a war. Garibaldi, meanwhile, remained in stable condition, but was stil in a coma.[25]

A few days later, Franklin approached the captain, explaining about the Alien Healing Machine he recovered from Dr. Rosen. He requested permission to use the device, and the captain reluctantly agreed. Franklin intended to use the machine on himself, but before he could start Sheridan arrived in Medlab and asked to be the one plugged in. Franklin conceded that it was risk one person using it, so they decided to each use it in shifts. The Machine successfully revives Garibaldi from his coma. Stephen explains to Garibaldi that President Santiago was dead and that Sinclair had been replaced with Sheridan.

A few hours later, Dr. Franklin is called by Lennier to Delenn's quarters. Delenn had entered into a kind of cocoon the day Garibaldi was shot. She had now emerged and Lennier asked him to check on her in the privacy of the room. Delenn's transformation was still in its final stages and her skin was covered by a hard, extra layer. Franklin was baffled, but the transformation completed itself without his aid. Delenn had become a Minbair-Human hybrid, complete with hair.

When Franklin returns to Medlab, he finds the weakened Garibaldi attempting to leave on his own. The man who shot him had been captured and he insisted on questioning him, as it had turned out to be his own second in command. Knowing Garibaldi was too stubborn to follow his orders to stay put, Franklin decided to help him walk to the holding center. After the interrogation, Garibaldi returned to Medlab. He confided his suspicions to Franklin and Ivanova regarding a link between his Aide and Psi Corps. Recalling that Psi Corps had endorsed then Vice President Morgan Clark, Garibaldi wonders how far the conspiracy might have gone—especially since Clark left Earthforce One hours before it exploded complaining of the flu.[26]

Franklin had Garibaldi back to Medlab over the next few days, ensuring he was recovering on schedule. Physically, Michael was progressing fine, but he seriously doubted his abilities. Franklin had his hands full, however, with dozens of injuries all over the station. A kind of civil war had broken out among the Drazi, prompting them to split into two factions and fight each other. Susan Ivanova (recently promoted to full commander) had her leg broken in one such outburst. Garibaldi eventually decides to take back his job. Franklin joins Sheridan and Ivanova in throwing him a "welcome back" dinner.[27]

Concerned with the health of the senior staff (particularly Ivanova's broken leg and Garibaldi's continued recovery), Franklin insists on putting all three of them on a "food plan." This pleases none of them, and he has to keep his eye on them to ensure they are being faithful to it. He also continues to monitor Delenn, unsure of what side effects her transformation might have with it. She lets slip a conversation she overheard where Garibaldi was discussing Bagna Cauda. Knowing the ingredients were hard to come by, Franklin tracks down Garibaldi's delivery man and confronts Michael himself. Garibaldi explains that once a year he always bakes the dish in honor of his father, who had been dead for some time. Franklin relents to Garibaldi's wish and even joins him for dinner.[28]

"Cause of death was organ failure...they're missing."

A few weeks into the year, an ancient Earth sleeper chip, the Copernicus, drifted into Babylon 5 space. The command staff went aboard and found a pair of sleeper tubes. While one tube contained a corpse, the passenger of the other was still alive. She is taken to Medlab and revived. Franklin learns her name is Mariah Cirrus. The dead passenger was her husband, Will. Unfortunately, Ivanova's investigation of the sleeper ship reveals the second tube should not have failed. Dr. Franklin's autopsy of the cadaver reveals he died of organ failure—specifically, the organs are missing. Garibaldi immediately suspects Maria Cirrus, but Franklin is doubtful. Maria denies knowing anything about his death. Stephen decides to give her a tour of the station. She feints after meeting G'Kar and Franklin brings her to his quarters. Overcome with grief and emotions, Maria tries to kiss Stephen, but he resists the advance, feeling it inappropriate. While she rests in his quarters, a body is discovered in Downbelow, the manner of death being the same that killed Will. Garibaldi explains that he recently arrested a lurker named Amis who claims a "soldier of darkness" was aboard the ship. Michael explains that Amis was the lone survivor of a deep space outpost during the Earth-Minbari War and is claiming the same force that wiped out his squad is now on the station.

"Why don't we take this a day at a time?"

Franklin finds Maria on the ship, thoughtful over all that has happened to her. She admits to nightmares about a vicious creature. She also claims she may be able to sense where it is on the station. Garibaldi asks her to help him track it down and save Amis, who took off after it. Franklin insists on going with them. While they are able to track down the monster, it nearly overwhelms them. Once back up arrives, however, the creature is slain. Amis is rescued and recovers in Medlab. Maria thanks Stephen for his help and lets him know she is returning to Earth.[29]

"Do you mind if I make a personal observation?"

Londo Mollari prepares a lavish party for the 30th anniversary of his Ascension Day. He has his three wives come to the station for the occasion and invites the senior staff. However, during the party, one of the gifts given to him turns out to be booby trapped and poisons Mollari. Franklin quickly gets to work on him in Medlab. The poison causes his blood to metabolize exponentially. Franklin explains to Sheridan that a blood transfusion could save him, but unfortunately they do not have enough of his blood type on hand and Centauri blood cannot be synthesized the way human blood can. Luckily, one of his wives, Timov, comes to Franklin privately and discloses she has the same blood type. She agrees to let him draw her blood for the transfusion, but makes him promise not to reveal to Londo who the donor was. Franklin eagerly agrees and gets started. The transfusion is successful and Londo makes a full recovery.[30]


"Back on Earth I heard things: the kind of things you're not supposed to hear about. Genetic manipulation, breeding telepaths against their will, so called "relocation camps" for rogue telepaths that were little more than concentration camps."

Dr. Franklin

Midway through March, Earthforce announced that Sheridan and Ivanova needed to start paying rent due to their lavish quarters. Sheridan refused, explaining to Franklin that he will not be intimidated by them. Franklin doubts his chances for backing them down, offering to let Sheridan sleep on an extra cot he had requisitioned for "medical purposes."

"As a doctor, I'm honor bound to help these people."

The same day, Psi Cop Alfred Bester returned to the station, explaining that he had recently learned about the underground railroad funneling rogue telepaths through the station and was there to end it, not knowing about Franklin's involvement. However before Franklin could act, several of the rogues attempted to assassinate Bester in the Zocalo. When they failed, they grabbed Talia Winters and dragged her into Downbelow. Approaching Franklin, the rogues ask him to bring Sheridan to meet them. Franklin goes to see the captain and explains that "the leader" of the railroad contacted him and wants to meet Sheridan alone. Franklin goes just ahead of Sheridan and once there, reveals that he is in fact the leader. He explains that he set up the outfit the previous year and that he is one of many doctors who have been helping rogues escape Psi Corps, citing personal atrocities committed against uncooperative members of the Corps. Talia reveals herself at this point to believe them and stands with the Rogues. When Bester finds their location, the collective strength of the telepaths are able to create a false set of images in Bester's mind: he believes Talia betrays the rogues and helps him shoot them all, cutting off the link forever. Afterwards, Franklin agrees that despite no one being killed, the station can no longer serve as a hub for rouges. He is confident, however, that others will pick up where he left off.[23]

In June 2259, the Emperor of the Centauri Republic announces his intention to visit the station. Sheridan has the entire command staff ready for his arrival and plans a major reception. Once aboard, the Emperor briefly takes Franklin aside and asks him (out of mere curiosity) a few question about the Vorlons, though Franklin is forced to admit he knows little. The reception is cut short, however, when the Emperor suffers a major heart attack and collapses. He is taken to Medlab, but the outlook is grim. His aides request he be transferred to his battle cruiser, but Franklin insists that moving him might only make the situation worse. As he lays in Medlab, the Emperor asks Franklin to deliver a message to G'Kar, a message he had intended to deliver in person.

Franklin goes directly to G'Kar's quarters and delivers the message: it was an apology, for all the crimes committed by the Centauri against the Narn. The Emperor hoped the hatred and fighting between them could finally come to an end. G'Kar is taken aback, never having suspected this was the Emperor's intention. Unfortunately, factions within the Republic use the Emperor's impending death to launch a full scale assault on a Narn colony, sparking the Narn-Centauri War. The Emperor dies in Medlab shortly thereafter, his mission a failure.[31]


In June 2259, Stephen's father, Gen. Richard Franklin arrives at Babylon 5 with 25,000 Earthforce Marines, ostensibly relief troops headed back to Io. As had happened many times before, Stephen tries reaching out to his father, only to wind up frustrated and angry. Stephen accuses his father of being a xenophobic "murderer" and storms out. While discussing the subject with Susan, Stephen admits how hard it has always been for the two of them to get along—despite how much they genuinely love one another. Susan tacitly admits that Franklin and the Marines are not bound for Io but rather an alien world for a dangerous mission. Stephen and Richard finally manage to reconcile before he ships out, both promising to remain more in touch.

Richard's mission, Operation Sudden Death, is a success, though there are a high number of Earthforce casualties. Stephen is relieved to see his father alive and well reporting over ISN from the front lines.[2]

The Narn-Centauri War[]

With the outbreak of full scale war between the Narn Regime and the Centauri Republic, Babylon 5 becomes a haven for thousands of refugees fleeing the bloodshed.

With the Centauri quickly seizing the momentum of the war, most of the refugees are Narns, many of whom arrive badly wounded. The heavy numbers begin to take their toll on Franklin. Susan has to order him to take a break during a week of back-to-back shifts. Stephen admits he is not only physically exhausted, but spiritually drained as well. To make matters worse, scattered fighting begins to break out on the station as well, leading to at least one Centauri being murdered.[32]

Hunters and Their Prey[]

Several weeks into the War, Captain Sheridan is abducted by a previously unknown alien race while on patrol. Only one member of his escort makes it back to the station, Lt. Carlos Ramirez, but he is suffering greatly from radiation poisoning from his damaged fighter. Franklin is unable to save Ramirez, a friend with whom he had that very same day made a bet over the World Series. Ramirez's death was not in vain, however, as the information from his fighter enabled the EAS Agamemnon track down the alien ship (with some help from the Minbari. Sheridan and a Narn named Ta'Lon are the only survivors, but both make a full recovery after being treated in Medlab.

The night after his return, Sheridan calls Franklin, Garibaldi, and Ivanova to his quarters. He lets them all know that he is part of a group seeking to learn the truth about President Santiago's death, even if that means going up against President Clark himself. Stephen, along with the others, eagerly agrees to stand by his captain.[33]

Not long afterward, a priority alert comes in alleging that Franklin's old teacher, Dr. Everett Jacobs, has committed treason by stealing valuable information from the Office of the President—and that he is headed for Babylon 5. An Earthforce Special Intelligence agent, Derek Cranston, arrives to track down Jacobs. Franklin refuses to believe his old mentor would commit treason. His instincts prove correct when Garibaldi privately alerts him that the information Jacobs has is in regards to President Clark himself—specifically, that Clark faked the illness that kept him off Earthforce One when it exploded. Franklin and Garibaldi go undercover into Downbelow to try and find Jacobs before Cranston's operatives can. When Franklin recognizes a watch belonging to Jacobs attempting to be pawned off by a Lurker, Garibaldi is able to strong arm information that Jacobs has been captured by a thug named Max who is hoping to sell him back to Earthforce. Jacobs is rescued from Max (though Garibaldi suffers minor injuries) and he is slipped away to Sheridan's quarters. Jacobs has a Data crystal containing records of all his examinations of Clark. Sheridan convinces Ambassador Kosh to hide Jacobs in his ship until after Cranston leaves (convinced Jacobs was never aboard). Jacobs is then slipped away to the "underground" being lead by General William Hague.[7]

The Narn-Centauri conflict eventually reaches the very outskirts of the station itself, with a brief firefight lasting outside the station. This occurs even while ISN is attempting to do a special report on the station itself. Franklin initially is too busy with the many injured and dying to deal with reporters, but during a lull in the chaos agrees to do a brief segment.[5]

Sheridan, despite the advice of his doctor and his security chief, keeps causing additional problems for the doctor (mostly more amusing than annoying).

The first is when he encounters a dead Markab in Downbelow that posthumously lunges for him. Immediately afterward, Sheridan begins experiences strange hallucinations, but Franklin is unable to provide a physical explanation. Hours later, Sheridan heads out alone in a Starfury for Sector 14, prompting Garibaldi to pursue him. Once back on the station, Sheridan reveals that he had been briefly possessed by some strange gaseous or energy lifeform that had been possessing the Markab. It separated from Sheridan as he got near Sector 14. Franklin is delighted at the thought of a sentient being so completely different than anything encountered before.[34]

The second incident involves a strange man named Morden whom Sheridan detains for questions regarding the destruction of the Icarus, the ship his wife was on when it disappeared (and was presumed destroyed). Sheridan tricks Talia Winters into passing close to Morden. The experience briefly puts her in shock. She is unable to explain what happened exactly, only that she felt something dark and terrible as Morden went by. In spite of the reaction, Franklin advises the captain that his interest is bordering on obsession. He reminds Sheridan that whatever happens, he is not alone. Sheridan later releases Morden from custody without providing an immediate explanation.[35]

A Doctor's Worst Nightmare[]

Later in the year, Franklin is alarmed when five Markabs die suddenly within a few days of each other. All five are certified "death by natural causes" by Dr. Lazarenn, an old friend of Franklin's who has since taken up residence on the station. Not convinced by Lazarenn's declarations, Franklin insists on performing an autopsy on the deceased. He is alarmed to learn that all five died via a deadly plague. He confronts Lazarenn about his findings in front of Captain Sheridan. Lazarenn confirms the existence of the plague, Drafa, explaining that is 100% contagious and 100% lethal—though he does not know if any other species are subject to its effects. He then explains that the disease had a reputation for only wiping out the immoral on his homeworld, therefore a campaign of fear and silence has been carried out even while the disease has spread to all places where the Markabs live.

Sheridan orders an immediate quarantine of the station while Franklin orchestrates efforts to find a cure. Unfortunately, since the disease kills its victims within hours of infection, there is little time for him to study its progression in a live host. Intermittent violence breaks out all over the station as fear of the disease spreads. The Markab Ambassador, Fashar, insists that all 2,000 or more Markabs on the station withdraw to an isolated location. He believes that by isolating themselves and repenting, they will be spared. Franklin confirms the disease is airborne, which means (since all the air is recycled) that the entire station is contaminated.

Meanwhile, security finds a dead Pak'ma'ra, apparently a victim of the same plague. Franklin prepares to do an autopsy, but Lazarenn insists on doing it himself in the Isolab. Following the autopsy (which confirms the disease "jumped" species), Lazarenn realizes that he himself has been infected. This allows Franklin to chart the disease in Lazarenn and discover how it works. The disease is only susceptible to species that use specialized cells to transmit neurological signals (which does not include Humans, Minbari, Centauri, or Narn). Franklin's discovery comes moments after Lazarenn passes away. Franklin quickly makes up a vaccine that should counter the plague—but unfortunately, by this time, all of the Markabs on the station (and everywhere else) have died from the deadly disease. The vaccine is able to halt the mutation and progression of it into other species (thus possibly saving the Pak'ma'ra).[9]

The Close of a Bloody Year[]

Near the end of the year, Lyta Alexander, a rogue telepath, arrives on the station from Mars. She awakens in Medlab while Franklin is conducting an examination of her and nearly attacks him. Later, while convened with Franklin, Sheridan, Ivanova, and Garibaldi, Lyta explains that the Psi Corps has programed someone on the station with a sleeper alternate personality. Once a telepathic codeword is sent to that person, the sleeper personality awakens, destroying the old personality (while retaining their memories). After discovering it is no one on the command staff, Lyta uncovers that Talia Winters was in fact the carrier. Talia's personality is destroyed as the "control" personality asserts itself. Psi Corps immediately recalls Talia to Earth and the station must reluctantly let her go. Franklin worries about what ramifications this will have, since Talia knew all about the telepathic underground railroad, but Garibaldi remembers that Kosh may have a hidden ace up his sleeve regarding Talia.[36]

The Narn-Centauri War finally ends with the surrender of the Narn Regime to the Centauri Republic following days of brutal bombardment of Narn itself. Most of the members of the Narn government are arrested and subsequently executed, but G'Kar is granted sanctuary on Babylon 5. While the number of Narn refugees slows, now they are merely fleeing occupation instead of open war. Most are just as in need of medical attention as during the worst fighting of the war.[37]

By the end of December, the station is again the sight of open conflict. A Narn heavy cruiser is assisted by the station (who refuse to turn it over to the Centauri) prompting a Centauri battleship to attack the station. The Narn ship escapes and the Centauri one is destroyed. Since Earth is preparing to sign a Non-Aggression Treaty with the Centauri, they insist Sheridan apologize. Before he is able, a pair of Centauri extremists attempt to murder him with a bomb. Sheridan is saved by a "being of light" that resembles an angel. While this is taken as a good sign by most of the residents of the station, it is overshadowed by the Centauri escalating their aggression against a half dozen of their neighboring states.[38]

A Growing Problem[]

Character Chronology[]

  • 2220: Born to Richard Franklin in Chicago, Earth.
  • 2230: Richard Franklin is held prisoner for almost two months, kept alive only because of the enemy's doctor. Stephen knows that he wants to one day become a doctor. Shortly after, his father leaves again as Earth enters the Dilgar War.
  • 2237: First trip away from Earth on the Moon-Mars run. Witnesses his friend accidentally spacing himself. Later tells his father he intends to be a doctor rather than serve in Earthforce and enrolls in Harvard Medical School. He studies alien history, anatomy and culture under Doctor Vance Hendricks.
  • 2238: Takes a field trip out to the San Diego nuclear wasteland.
  • 2240: While Stephen is struggling with xenobiogenics, Doctor Everett Jacobs takes time out to help.
  • 2242: Graduates from Harvard. Decides to start hitch-hiking on starships, trading his service as ship's doctor for free passage. Visits Septis where he befriends Markab Doctor Lazarenn.
  • 2243: While on Beta Durani, a Minbari ship goes down. Unfamiliar with their race, Stephen is unable to save them, though he manages to learn something of their language, physiology and culture. Following an autopsy, he takes detailed notes on their biology and DNA.
  • 2245: With the outbreak of the Earth-Minbari War, Stephen returns home and enlists in Earthforce and is granted the rank of Lieutenant.
  • 2247: Stephen burns his notes on Minbari biology rather than turn them over to Earthforce's Bio-genetic Warfare Division and is placed under arrest and imprisoned for withholding information while his house and office are searched. Later allowed out of the stockade to assist in a secret peace mission in the Epsilon system.
  • 2258 - 2262: Serves as Chief Medical Officer of Babylon 5, replacing Dr. Benjamin Kyle. Holds the rank of Lieutenant Commander.
  • 2262 - 2271: Accepts an offer from Dr. Kyle to take over his position as Head of Xenobiological Research at Earthdome
  • 2271: With the plague gone and the quarantine lifted, Stephen takes personal time out as head of Xenobiological Research. Purchasing a small explorer ship with his life savings, he leaves Babylon 5 and goes on an expedition to the Rim with G'Kar.
  • 2281: Now a General and back at his old position as Head of Xenobiological Research at Earthdome, Stephen attends a last dinner with friends before Sheridan goes to the sea. He later also attends the decommissioning of Babylon 5 before returning to Earthdome.
  • Date Unknown: Dies while exploring a distant alien world.[39]


TV/DVD Movies
Signs and Portents
The Coming of Shadows
Point of No Return
No Surrender, No Retreat
Wheel of Fire