The Babylon Project

The Markab were a sentient species and one of the Younger Races. They were members of the League of Non-Aligned Worlds before they were wiped out by the Drafa Plague in 2259.


A bipedal humanoid, Markab can be distinguished from other races by their distinctive patterns of darkened indentations over the top of their heads and their flat, nose-less faces. Like humans Markab have five fingered hands. Their hairless skin comes in several shades between pink and grey.

Like humans, Markab can breathe in an oxygen/nitrogen atmosphere. They were also approximately human sized.

The Markab neural system utilized specialized chemicals produced by their yellow blood cells which would bio-chemically translate electrochemical impulses from neuron to neuron across the synaptic gap, similar in function to the pak'ma'ra's green cells.[1]

Society & Culture[]

The Markab were an intensely religious people with deep-set religious rites and moral concepts, which at times seemed a little fanatical. These rites include high days of fasting which at times led to trouble, due to their people frequently trying to break it and priests catching them.[2] Other rites are the use of psychotropic drugs to enhance their religious experience; however these experiences can cause them to lose control.[3] They also have a legendary story of the ancient island of Drafa whose people were struck down by their excesses and immorality. This story was told to them as children and they were reminded about it as adults. In reality, this was a deadly plague, named after the island, that wiped out the entire population, but the people came to believe that only the "immoral" would die of it.[1] On a lesser note, the Markab had a root-like something that they sold which resembled a ginger root. Michael Garibaldi, who bought one on a whim, said the translator translated it as either an aphrodisiac or a floor wax, but its actual use in ritual or otherwise was never fully explored.[4]


The Markab had a strict moral code, fearing that immorality would bring down the wrath of the gods. Such was the taboo surrounding immorality, or even implied immorality, that whole families could be scandalized and labelled as "unclean." It was even believed possible that associating with the immoral could somehow contaminate an otherwise moral person. It was this cultural trait that would ultimately doom the species in 2260, as during the second outbreak of the Drafa Plague (a disease culturally synonymous with moral impurity), families with members struck down by the infection would remain silent to avoid scandal.  Believing themselves to be moral and thus immune, they mixed freely with the population and accelerated the infection. By the time the scale of the problem came to the Markab Confederacy's attention most of the damage had already been done, though it was further compound by an unwillingness to even discuss the infection, lest the very subject make them dirty.[1]


When Babylon 5 was created in 2257, they were one of the races to contribute to it. They were represented in the League of Non-Aligned Worlds and had a permanent seat on the advisory council. Their voice and influence must have been important, since a representative of theirs was shown with a speaker of the League in a meeting with Jeffrey Sinclair in 2258, discussing the cooling of tensions between the League and Earth over the Deathwalker affair,[5] which at the time seemed to be a major diplomatic crisis.


In 2259 the Drafa Plague, after nearly a year of quietly spreading, finally came to a head on their homeworld and abroad. Only on Babylon 5 did the disease come into full focus with the help of Dr. Stephen Franklin and his staff and the assistance of a relatively open-minded Markab physician, Dr. Lazarenn. Despite their best efforts and without assistance from the local Markab who refused to even talk about the illness, the plague consumed the Markab species. The plague was prevented from spreading among the alien population with a serum developed by Franklin and based on input provided by Lazarenn before his own death, but it was too late. All Markab perished everywhere, save for some in isolated areas. This effectively ended the power of the species, although they did not actually go extinct. However, it was stated too few of them were left to replenish the race, so their future extinction was inevitable.[1]

In the months following the Markab holocaust, members of other races began stripping the remains of the Markab civilization bare and salvaging derelict ships, many of which would find their way into the possession of the Gaim Intelligence.[6] During a secret mission to Zagros VII, John Sheridan lured a Shadow vessel to Sector 47 and used the Markab jumpgate to destroy it, obliterating the jumpgate in the process and thus preventing further looting and plundering of the former homeworld.[7]

Glossary of Markab Terminology[]

  • Drafa: An isolated island on Septis whose population fell prey to a plague and were wiped out, giving rise to superstitions including the "Dark Angel of Drafa."
  • Galot: Square metal coin in a variety of colors that was used as currency.
  • Glantii: Septis solar cycle equivalent to 0.75 Earth years.
  • Orcha Juice: a citrus-like fruit drink.[8]
  • Venda: A type of fruit that is the main ingredient in "Orcha juice."[9]

Notable Individuals[]

Behind the Scenes[]

  • The word Markab may be a real word referring to the following: a group of stars,[10] a word derived from Arabic,[11] and a name for a space civilization in Scientology,[12] which Straczynski insists was not a reference in any way.[13][14][15]
  • There is speculation in-universe and out of universe of the Shadows or one of their allies instigating the death of the Markab, by purposely disseminating the ancient virus and knowing that it would lead to their deaths. The reason for this was that they had begun to suspect their return.[16] Another idea is that the Drafa Plague was really a Shadow bioengineered weapon all along.[17]


Other Sources[]