Friday 31 August, 2012

The Aliens of Babylon 5


G'kar Delenn

A list of the alien species featured in the science fiction TV show Babylon 5


The science fiction TV show Babylon 5 may have had a small budget, but it nevertheless managed to deliver a wide and varied array of alien characters. Of course, there’s more to creating an interesting alien species than a few wrinkly rubber masks. The aliens of Babylon 5 all had their own distinct characters and fascinatingly unique cultures. While the show rarely took the time to explore these cultures fully, the diversity of aliens in the show was one of Babylon 5‘s greatest assets.

Here’s a list of the alien species featured in Babylon 5 and its spin-off series and films…

Abbai - Babylon 5

Abbai

The Abbai are a peaceful matriarchal society who were once a powerful voice within the League of Non-Aligned Worlds, an organization they helped create.

The Abbai have pink skin and small fins atop their heads.

Brakiri - Babylon 5Brakiri Sydicracy

The Brakiri are bipedal humanoids. They can be identified by their large cleaved foreheads, cheek ridges and large nostrils. The Brakiri are naturally nocturnal, but they are quite comfortable conducting their business during daylight hours.

Brakiri society is corporate in nature, and its government has been criticized for placing business interests above those of the people. While the Brakiri home-world, Brakir, has become affluent and influential as a result of successful interstellar banking and trade, an increasing poverty gap, widespread corruption and organized crime continue to mar its reputation.

Centauri - Babylon 5Centauri Republic

Centauri may appear to be physically identical to humans, but they differ from us in two significant ways. Firstly, they have different sexual organs. The male of the species possesses six tentacles emanating from his midriff, while the female has six receptive orifices located either side of the spine. Centauri also have two hearts. The second heart serves to filter the blood, much like the human kidneys (Centauri have no kidneys).

Centauri society is driven by tradition, and both family honor and personal honor are considered to be very important. While they claim to be a republic, the Centauri government is essentially a feudal monarchy in which the Emperor wields absolute power.

The Centauri Empire once stretched over a huge region of space and enslaved many other species, including some members of the League of Non-Aligned Worlds, but its sphere of influence has since declined considerably.

Dilgar - Babylon 5Dilgar

The Dilgar were an aggressive species who considered themselves to be superior to all other races. When they discovered that their sun was about to go supernova, the Dilgar began a brutal campaign of territorial expansion, conquering and enslaving many other species (particularly those in the League of Non-Aligned Worlds). With the help of the Earth Alliance, the Dilgar were eventually defeated, and the species was all but wiped out when their sun went supernova.

The Dilgar have pointy ears and cat-like eyes.

Drakh - Babylon 5Drakh Entire

The Drakh were once servants of the Shadows but came into their own when their masters traveled ‘beyond the rim’. When the Shadow home-world, Z’ha’dum, was destroyed, the Drakh took what technology they could and set out to find a new home, hoping that they might one day become as powerful as the Shadows. Many chose to settle on Centauri Prime.

The Drakh are able to communicate with each other telepathically over large distances. The shared consciousness that results from this telepathic communion is known as the Drakh Entire.

Drazi - Babylon 5Drazi Freehold

The Drazi are somewhat reptilian in appearance, have thick skulls, and have large scales or plates on their foreheads. In the spin-off series Crusade, they are said to be hermaphrodites. They have a small pouch in their armpits. While this is often used by Drazi smugglers, it is actually a reproductive area.

The Drazi are somewhat aggressive in nature, and they have been known to attack other minor species, but as members of the League of Non-Aligned Worlds they are usually on the defensive.

Every five years, the Drazi randomly divide themselves into two factions and engage in a violent civil war. There is no reason for this conflict whatsoever, other than tradition.

Enphili

A primitive and peaceful race whose homeworld is near the border of Drazi space. For years they were oppressed by raiders (working in co-operation with the Drazi) until the Interstellar Alliance came to their aid.

Gaim - Babylon 5Gaim Hives

The Gaim are an insectoid race and are ruled by a federation of five hive queens. Their name is a tribute to author Neil Gaimon.

The Gaim we see wandering the halls of Babylon 5 are not physically representative of the Gaim species in general, but are instead an ambassadorial cast, bred for interaction with humanoid species. Even so, the Gaim ambassadors are very distinct from other species in the galaxy; they require special environmental suits to survive in a nitrogen/oxygen atmosphere (they are most likely methane breathers) and can only communicate via a translation device.

The Hand

The hand are an ancient race said to be over a million years old. They were established as the antagonists in the planned Babylon 5 spin-off series Babylon 5: The Legend of the Rangers, but their species was not shown on screen in the pilot episode.

Hyach - Babylon 5Hyach

The Hyach are a humanoid race with lumpy bald heads. Their society appears to be somewhat matriarchal (with females as the dominant sex) and is most certainly a gerontocracy, being led by a council of elders composed of the longest living members of the species.

The Hyach once shared their world with a sub-species known as the Hyach-do, but the Hyach-do were wiped out centuries ago in an act of global genocide. With the Hyach birth-rate declining, it has become clear that in killing the Hyach-do, the Hyach have removed a vital part of their gene pool, and may now become extinct themselves as a result.

Llort - Babylon 5Llort

The Llort were members of the League of Non-Aligned Worlds, fought in the Shadow War, and later joined the Interstellar Alliance. They are saurian in appearance and have thickly armored skulls.

Markab - Babylon 5Markab

The Markab were a highly superstitious and religious species who were members of the League of Non-Aligned Worlds. The species is thought to have become extinct in 2259 due to an outbreak of the Drafa Plague, although there may still be some surviving members on isolated colonies or ships.

Minbari - Babylon 5Minbari Federation

The Minbari were already an advanced civilization when humanity was young, and have been a space-faring civilization for over a thousand years. They were the primary military force in the previous Shadow War which took place roughly around the Earth year 1260 A.D.

The Minbari Federation is a caste society. Its people are divided into worker, warrior, and religious castes. The Minbari are driven by tradition and spirituality, and are led by the secretive Grey Council, which consists of nine members, originally three representatives from each of the three castes. The council was disbanded by Ambassador Delenn as part of an effort to fight the Shadows. She later reorganized it, giving the Worker Caste a substantial increase of power and influence (they had previously been caught in the middle of the power struggle between the Warrior and Religious castes).

Minbari are humanoid, but they poses superior strength to humans. They are bald, with gray bony crests across the back of their heads.

The first encounter between Minbari and Humans was a disaster – a misunderstanding led to Earth ships firing on Minbari ships, killing their leader Dukhat and precipitating the Earth-Minbari War. Shortly before reaching Earth, the Minbari surrendered and retreated. At the time, the official reason for this withdrawal was unknown.

The Minbari do not believe in any individual god or gods. Instead, they believe that the universe itself is sentient and that it “broke itself into pieces to study every aspect of its being”.

Narn - Babylon 5Narn Regime

Although they appear reptilian, the Narn are actually a marsupial species who’s males carry thier young in a pouch. The Narn have tough, leathery skin, marked with patches of red and black, and are completely bald.

Narn culture is somewhat conservative and traditionalist. There is little distinction in Narn culture between the act of worship and the art of war, with Narns still declaring traditional blood-oaths. The leading religion is that of G’Quan.

For one hundred years the Narn were slaves to the Centauri Republic. During this period their homeworld was strip-mined and its resources depleted, turning it from a lush jungle world into the barren red planet we know today. The Narn eventually forced the Centauri from their world in a brutal war. They established their own government, the Kha’Ri, in the city of G’Khamazad. Ever since its formation, the Regime has been obsessed with building a military force capable of exacting revenge upon the Centauri.

Onteen

The Onteen are oviparous humanoids, meaning that they lay eggs. The Onteen are extremely religious and consider themselves to be superior to other species in that they are the chosen of God. Their religion centers around the worship of the “Great Egg” and prohibits any puncturing of the flesh, even in the case of life-saving surgery.

Pak'ma'ra - Babylon 5Pak’ma’ra

The Pak’ma’ra are strange, squid-faced semi-humanoids. They are carrion eaters and prefer to eat food that is partially decayed. They refuse to speak any language other than their own.

shadows - Babylon 5Shadows

The spider-like Shadows were the ultimate force of evil in the galaxy until their departure in 2261. They are one of the oldest known races, and one of the least understood. Through several thousand years of history, the Shadows have visited other worlds, spreading their anarchistic philosophy and promoting violence and conflict. This, they believed, was their way of helping younger races grow and develop.

The Shadows are known to have hibernated for large periods of time on their home-world, Z’ha’dum. Keeping a low profile, they were able to influence other species, build alliances, and construct vast military forces without the threat of retaliation. Once every thousand years, the Shadows came out of hiding to engage in vast wars of aggression and extermination. This was part of their philosophy of promoting the strong while ‘weeding out’ the weak.

The Shadows were one of the most powerful races in the galaxy, along with the Vorlons, untill they were politely asked to leave by John Sheridan.

Little is known of the Shadows’ biology, only that they are invisible to the human eye, have an exoskeletal structure, and communicate through high-pitched squeaks at the upper-range of human hearing.

Soul Hunter - Babylon 5Soul Hunters

Soul hunters have the ability to sense when an individual is about to die. They can then capture the soul of the individual at the moment of death, preserving it forever. They travel the galaxy in search of new souls to add to their collection, preserving only the souls of those who have led valuable lives; artists, philosophers and great leaders.

Soul Hunters are usually solitary and nomadic. Little is known of their culture or their origins.

Streibs

The Streibs are short, big-headed aliens who like to abduct members of other races for the purpose of medical experimentation.

Thirdspace Aliens

The Thirdspace Aliens are large, tentacled aliens who serve as the antagonists in the Babylon 5 TV movie Thirdspace. They attacked Babylon 5 after its crew accidentally opened an ancient inter-dimensional portal built by the Vorlons.

Vendrizi

The Vendrizi are a symbiotic life form that join with a host by attaching themselves to the spine. They were created by an unknown civilization, possibly in another galaxy. Their purpose was to become living recording devices, collecting the memories of various hosts in the joining process.

Vorlon - Babylon 5Vorlon Empire

The Vorlons are an ancient and mysterious race. They are one of the eldest races to communicate with the ‘younger races’, but do so very rarely.

Little is known about the Vorlons. While in the presence of others, they conceal themselves inside what they call “encounter suits”. While it may appear as though this suit is necessary for a Vorlon to survive in our atmosphere, Vorlons can actually survive in almost any atmosphere – the suit is simply a disguise.

Over thousands of years, the Vorlons have visited many worlds and influenced the cultural development of the species that live there. This interference usually serves to impose the Vorlons’ philosophy of order, obedience, and personal reflection upon certain populations, countering the opposing philosophy of their ancient enemy, the Shadows. In addition, the Vorlons have used genetic manipulation to alter the evolution of many species, creating telepaths to be used as weapons against the Shadows.

Vorlons are believed to be beings of pure energy. They are able to detach parts of themselves and implant them into the minds of others.

Vree - Babylon 5Vree

The Vree are a race of gangly, bug-eyed aliens who once abducted humans from Earth to be experimented upon. Their ships are saucer-shaped. They have since ceased their experiments on humans and joined with them in the League of Non-Aligned Worlds. With the formation of an inter-species court on Babylon 5, some humans attempted to sue the Vree for the abduction of thier ancestors several hundred years previously.

Zander

A race of humanoids similar in appearance to the Onteen and the Enphili. They became extinct during the Shadow War, their planet falling victim to the Shadow planet killer.


Zener

The Zener were big headed, long fingered aliens who similar in appearance to the Vree and the Streibs. They were servants of the Shadows, and they were later seen assisting the Drakh.

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