Grey Council

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The Grey Council is the governing body of the Minbari Federation in the Babylon 5 fictional universe.


Early History and Structure

Founded by Valen 1,000 years before the Shadow War, the Grey Council was made of three representatives from each of the three castes - Worker, Warrior, and Religious - for a total of nine individuals. From time to time, there was also an additional person who served as a leader in order to guide for the council. It's not known for sure if this person had a vote or not in the council. Council members were chosen by a majority of the members.

For about 1,000 years, the Grey Council ruled over nearly every aspect of Minbari life. The council usually met on board a Sharlin class Minbari cruiser.

Earth - Minbari War

Up until the mid 2240's, the council was led by Dukhat. Dukhat died during a disastrous first contact with humans. The Minbari gunports were open - which was a gesture of respect. An Earth Captain with a reputation for recklessness misinterpreted the gesture as hostility and attacked the Grey Council's ship. Dukhat suffered fatal injuries in the attack.

The Grey Council then declared war on humanity. Over the next two years, the Minbari scored one victory after another. They engaged in a final assault at Earth that became known as the Battle of the Line. During this battle, they captured Jeffrey Sinclair. During the council's interrogation of Sinclair, the council found him to have the soul of Valen. This led them to believe that Minbari souls were being reborn in Human bodies. In order to keep from harming their own souls, they stopped the war against the humans.

However, the Grey Council felt that neither Minbari or Humans were ready for this truth. At the direction of the Religious Caste Sinclair's memories of the interrogation was erased, and the Warrior caste Generals were told to surrender but not told why. This resulted in a rift forming between the Religious and Warrior Castes, which later resulted in a brief civil war between the two castes.

Aftermath of the Earth-Minbari War

When the fifth and final Babylon station - Babylon 5 - was built, the Minbari provided support for construction on the grounds that they got to choose the commander. The Grey Council used this to have Sinclair selected as the Commander of the station. Council member Delenn became the Minbari Ambassador to the station in order to remain close to Sinclair.

In 2259 Delenn was recalled to lead the Grey Council. Delenn felt that she should remain on Babylon 5. She asked the council to reconsider their decision, which they did. She returned to the station.

In 2260 Sinclair was reassigned to be the first Ambassador to Minbar. Later in 2260 Delenn was removed from the Grey Council. She was replaced by Neroon - a member of the warrior caste. This led to four warriors on the council, a break from the balance of the past.

Shadow War and the Aftermath

As the Shadow War engulfed the galaxy, the council as a whole took a wait and see approach to the situation. In 2261, President Clark of Earth declared martial law on Earth, the colonies, and outposts. In response to this and other recent events - such as wars among members of the League of Non-Aligned Worlds and the fall of Narn - the Grey Council said, "The problems of others are not our concern."

Delenn was angered when she heard of the council's response, and felt that the council's unwillingness to act was jeopardizing their chances of winning the war. Delenn went to the council and chastised them for their response. In accordance with Valen's prophecy, she broke the council. When Delenn walked out of the council chambers, five of the nine members went with her. It's not documented who remained behind, it's often assumed that these were members of the Warrior caste.

Once the council was broken, the Minbari people were focused on winning the Shadow War. The disagreements between the castes were put aside during the conflict.

After the war was over, a vacuum of power began to grow. The rift between the Religious and the Warriors continued to grow, and soon became a full blown crisis. On Minbar, in one city that sat on the edge of the southern polar cap, those of the warrior caste who lived in the city evicted the religious caste members from the city. Those Minbari were forced to walk across the polar region to another city, and many of them died from hunger and exposure. The warriors also stopped honoring agreements that the religious caste had made on behalf of the Minbari people with other species. Delenn became aware of the crisis, and returned home to Minbar.

Eventually the rift erupted into a brief civil war between the two castes. Delenn surrendered the Religious caste to the Warriors. She then went into the Starfire Wheel. This tool was used to choose leaders in the time before Valen. The Wheel directed energy into a circle. Eventually it would consume those who stood in the circle. Those who were not meant to lead would leave the circle before it consumed them, and the caste that the consumed candidate belonged to would assume rulership. The Warrior leader joined Delenn in the circle, but he could not stand the energy and jumped out. Delenn nearly died in the circle, but was saved by Neroon, who underwent a deathbed conversion to the Religious caste before the Wheel consumed him.

The New Grey Council

After Delenn had endured the Starfire Wheel, she rebuilt the Grey Council to lead the Minbari people. Again, nine individuals were called forth to serve on this council.

However, the makeup of the council was changed. Instead of three from each caste, Delenn changed the structure. Five from the Worker caste were called. Two members each from the Religious and Warrior caste were called to serve on the council. Delenn did this to give the Worker caste a majority voice among the Minbari people - who she felt were ignored for far too long. When presenting the new Grey Council, Delenn said that religion and war had to exist in the service of the people, not the other way around.

The one additional spot for the leader was reserved by Delenn in memory of Neroon. She said that the spot was reserved for The One that was to come. After that, she left the council floor to give them the opportunity to lead the Minbari people.

Delenn later convinced the Grey Council to participate in a joint Earth-Minbari project to construct a destroyer-class White Star vessel. Eventually this cooperation resulted in the creation of the Victory-class destroyers.


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