The Babylon Project

The last of the Ikarran war machines

"They didn't feed you facts, they fed you propaganda! They programmed you with standards of genetic purity no-one could match - not even your own people!"

Jeffrey Sinclair

The Ikarran War Machines were bio-mechanoid weapons developed by the Ikarrans. Their initial purpose was to protect the people of Ikarra VII from those who were "impure", but no Ikarran was "pure" by the nonsensical, fascistic parameters they were programmed with, so they ended up destroying the civilization.[1]


The central core of the war machine is a pod-like object with several articulated pincers. These pincers lock onto the flesh of the host and initiate the transformation process. The epidermis is reconfigured into a kind of flexible armor that can repel almost any damage. The bones and muscles are replaced by bio-mechanical actuators that provide the user with superhuman strength, capable of tearing apart sheet metal with its bare hands. The left arm reconfigures entirely into a kind of energy-discharge weapon that can cause burns, explosions, and even disrupt a target's molecular structure. The body contains a kind of organic power core that gradually builds up a charge necessary to power the main weapon. It is said that the machine only chooses an assassin, like Nelson Drake.

If the core is destroyed or removed from the host, the body's natural systems kick back in, reversing the transformation process. This is a much faster reconfiguration than the initial transformation process.[1]


A thousand years ago, the people of Ikarra VII suffered a series of alien invasions. Using left over Shadow tech they constructed a series of weapons to defend themselves. They were afraid of "impure" Ikarrans - and by extension, other races - that would lead to the downfall of their culture. A group of scientists, led by Tu'lar, built a series of thirteen symbiotic weapon systems that could turn its host into a walking tank with the firepower to destroy entire cities. To ensure that the weapons were entirely devoted to their cause, Tu'lar imprinted them with his own neural pattern.

The first twelve were activated and bonded to their hosts. They set about their task of defending all "pure" Ikarrans. The problem arose from the fact that the definition of "purity" had been set forth by a group of religious leaders and zealots, resulting in a nonsensical and unscientific definition that no Ikarran could conform to. The war machines began exterminating any Ikarran with the slightest genetic or idealistic deviation from the norms they proscribed. Eventually, they managed to wipe out the entire civilization. With no one left to protect and no one to care for them, the machines shut down and were destroyed due to neglect over the course of a thousand years.[1]

Babylon 5 Incident[]

During an archaeological dig, Dr. Vance Hendricks and his associate, Nelson Drake, stumbled upon a cache of artifacts hidden underground that managed to escape the destruction. This included the war machine's core unit. The dig was originally funded by IPX, but they were just a cover for the Earthforce Bio-weapons Division, intent on finding military applications for the technology. Rather than deliver them directly to his supporters, Dr. Hendricks went to Babylon 5 to secure the assistance of the only man he felt could help them, Dr. Stephen Franklin.

While Dr. Hendricks spun a story for Stephen to get him on-board with the project, Nelson was working to get the items smuggled past customs. A security guard who was quick on the up-take realized what they were up to, so Nelson used a portable cardiac stimulator to kill the guard and make it look like a heart attack. Hendricks and Franklin got to work, eager to analyze all of the bio-mechanical artifacts. The war machine sensed a killer's instinct within Nelson and began exerting a kind of telepathic influence on him, slowly initiating the transformation process.

Nelson was slowly robbed of his humanity, until he finally bonded directly with the war machine core unit, fully transforming him into a cyber-organic weapon. Driven by the machine's singular drive to protect, he began attacking anyone he saw as a threat, which would mean absolutely anyone. After each use of the main weapon, the war machine increased in power. While the first blast was only sufficient to knock out Dr. Franklin and cause minor burns, later blasts were sufficient to vaporize a body and eventually burn through the station's deck plating. Each blast almost doubled in power, which meant the war machine would soon be strong enough to burn straight through to the reactor core and destroy the station.

Commander Jeffrey Sinclair and Chief Michael Garibaldi went after the device. Meanwhile, Dr. Franklin dove into the research of the scientists who created the device, discovering the history of Tu'lar and the twelve war machines that destroyed the Ikarran civilization. The commander utilized this knowledge to his advantage and went straight for the machine's personality core; he called it by its name and went so far as to make it mad. While the war machine hunted him through the station's abandoned corridors leading to the docking bay, the commander told the war machine to look into the mind of its host, Nelson, to see the world of Ikarra VII as it looked now. The machine realized what its fellow weapons had done and, after begging the Great Maker to forgive them, it removed the core unit and crushed it, destroying itself. Nelson turned back to normal and the crisis was averted. The machine later was confiscated by the Earthfoce Bio-Weapons Division to study it.[1]


The Babylon 5 Scripts of J. Michael Straczynski Volume 1, in his introduction to the Infection script, Straczynski confirms that the Ikarrans used left over Shadow tech in the construction of their war machines.