After Sheridan rebelled against Earth government, Earth will cut off all forms of support to Babylon 5 station. No money, no food supplies, no military supplies, no medical supplies, nothing. How can he, as a government servant, run a big station without any form of taxpayer support from Big Brother? He is going to face a rebellion of his own if he does not pay his staff on time. It is natural to expect that some Babylon staff will send money back to Earth home to support their family. Nobody works for free, particularly in risky jobs inside Babylon 5.

Babylon 5 is not Star Trek DS9 where you have replicators to produce free food. So, how is Babylon 5 going to survive without food? These are practical matters which I wonder how Sheridan can solve. Strangely, I have never heard Sheridan mention about these practical problems like food and money which are going to be top of my mind if I am in the same predicament. Money is still very much a practical matter in the world of Babylon 5, unlike Star Trek.

  • Well, most of the inhabitants are aliens. I'd guess their food comes from off-world
    – Valorum
    Commented Oct 25, 2017 at 8:21
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    Without the means to leave the station and return to Earth, I'd guess that the station personnel were working for free, at least until they sorted out other forms of income.
    – Valorum
    Commented Oct 25, 2017 at 8:22
  • I don't expect the aliens are going to share their food free of charge with the humans given that there are so many humans on Babylon 5. May not be enough to share around even if all the aliens are as kind as Delenn. I expect most aliens to be as calculative as Londo.
    – user486818
    Commented Oct 25, 2017 at 8:22
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    The station is an essential component in international commerce, funded by dozens of alien races. Losing Earth support was probably a big blow to their income, but not a crippling one.
    – Valorum
    Commented Oct 25, 2017 at 8:23
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    If you never heard it, then there are some episodes that you have missed. That was definitely a plot point.
    – JdeBP
    Commented Oct 25, 2017 at 9:28

2 Answers 2


This was addressed in B5: Racing Mars. In short, they have some supplies and financial reserves, sufficient to allow them to set up alternative supply routes. They also mention growing food in the garden that runs along the centre of Green and Blue Sector.

Sheridan: I've been going over these reports trying to figure out how we're going to get along with all our supply shipments from Earth cut off by the embargo.

We've got two, maybe three months of reserves. Then we are going to run out of things. Small things at first, then more important things. Something breaks, we may not be able to fix it. And you can forget the spare parts for the fighters.

Ivanova: We can go black market if we have to.

Ultimately they blackmail the various smugglers who operate out of B5 into bringing in food and medicine from Earth-controlled space.

Ivanova: Instead of the usual destructive crap you guys bring in I want you to start transporting useful things. Those food items that we can't grow here, medicines we can't fabricate spare parts for fighters and shuttles and other ships.

In B5: Thirdspace they set up an additional line of supply to Earth space via Interplanetary Expeditions.

Sheridan: Thanks to the blockade, we're running short of supplies around here. Spare parts, certain foods we can't grow...

Trent: And you want us to break the blockade and bring you whatever supplies you need.

Sheridan: If you're going to work here, you may as well bring lunch. I'm just trying to make sure you bring enough for everybody...

Finance-wise, there's a big push to become financially self-sufficient, largely by encouraging free trade and charging ships for docking and repair.

Sheridan: It'll take a long time to get the level of trade back to where it was before we broke away from Earth. Right now, we need the docking fees more than ever, but we can't catch a break.

In the same episode, the various non-aligned worlds sign the Babylon Treaty, aimed at improving the station's accessibility (and safety) as a neutral port. There may have been some element of financial transfer involved.

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    Don't forget the rent on the Post Office in "A Late Delivery from Avalon". (-:
    – JdeBP
    Commented Oct 25, 2017 at 9:35
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    @JdeBP - Every credit helps.
    – Valorum
    Commented Oct 25, 2017 at 9:41
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    Sadly, Sheridan and the ambassadors wouldn’t swallow their pride and admit that selling teddy bears and Londo Mollari action figures could have helped pay for the operating costs. Commented Oct 25, 2017 at 18:25
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    I'm pretty sure the Minbari started offering a lot of support, but I'm not sure exactly at what point in the show that started.
    – Omegacron
    Commented Oct 26, 2017 at 3:17

This is not an exhaustive list, but here are some ways in which Babylon 5 could have been supported:

  • B5 is "a centre for commerce and diplomacy". Docking fees, tolls, and taxes would have raised revenue. Probably EarthGov encouraged this, to avoid B5 becoming a drain on Earth Alliance taxpayers.

  • B5 probably grows a significant amount of its own food. We can see fields on the interior of the cylinder. There are occasional references to products from the station's hydroponic gardens (such as Ivanova's clandestine coffee plants). Indeed, it would be foolish not to grow crops, given the logistical challenges of importing all food and other consumables for 250,000 inhabitants.

  • The Minbari are described as having funded the construction of B5 for their own reasons, on condition that Sinclair was made its first commander. It's likely this support continued in some form after the breakaway from Earth.

  • Black market: The episode Racing Mars addresses the difficulty of getting replacement parts after the breakaway. Sheridan and Ivanova recruit smugglers to fill the gap.

To answer some specific issues in the question:

He is going to face a rebellion of his own if he does not pay his staff on time.

B5 is pretty vague as to how money works on an interstellar scale. But there are references to alien currencies, such as Centauri ducats. For all we know, Sheridan is issuing his own station credits pegged to the ducat or some other hard currency.

It is natural to expect that some Babylon staff will send money back to Earth home to support their family.

We can assume official banking channels between B5 and the Earth Alliance have been cut. But it's possible station personnel were able to route funds to and from Earth through the Grand Commercial Bank of the Centauri Republic (for a price, of course).

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    Minor nitpick: the support may have been financial, but I think the Minbari support that was 'paid' for by getting final veto on the commander was political rather than purely financial.
    – RonLugge
    Commented Oct 25, 2017 at 16:44

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