Carnivorous reptiles, the Soldiers of Darkness are one of the largest known sapient species, standing at a towering 5–6 meters (16–20 ft). When not invisible their skin color is a mix of pale shades of pink with dark brown/red coloration around the jaws.
Like their Shadow masters, Soldiers have the ability to become invisible, although whether this is due to technology or an inherent natural ability was never stated. The Soldiers have also been described as being able to travel directly through walls.
This species also possesses extremely thick or armored skin as the individual that arrived on Babylon 5 in 2259 was highly resistant to PPG blasts, which chief of security Michael Garibaldi likened to no more than a bee sting. However, Captain John Sheridan realised that while one sting may only be an annoyance, a hundred of them can still be lethal.
Parasitic in nature, this species slowly feeds on the internal organs of living creatures, eventually draining them of all their biomass and leaving their victims as desiccated husks. One average human male was reduced to a mere 85 pounds (39 kg) in weight by the time one had stopped feeding on him.
They also appear to be able to control their metabolism and go for decades with little food. If the availability of food is limited, they may also drain their victims slowly, keeping them alive as long as possible so they can continue to feed. As a last resort, Soldiers can also go into periods of extended hibernation lasting several years.
Dark Soldiers also have a unique variation of telepathy, similar to the Lumati, where they can form a link between themselves and another individual. Unlike the mutual, two-way link formed between a pair of Lumati, however, a Soldier can only create a telepathic link during the violent act of feeding and the bond is almost entirely one way; a Soldier can read its victim's mind, and see and hear through their eyes and ears, but not vice versa. This ability allows them to use any surviving victims as scouts and spies without the victim ever realising they are doing it.
The closest he victim gets to benefiting from this link is a mild ability to sense the Soldier's presence, even at a distance. It is unclear if this link enables the survivor to sense any Soldier or only the one that originally fed upon them.
Society & Culture
"We set up camp in old ruins of some kind. As far as we knew, it was a dead world. It came in the night, during a storm. We heard nothing, saw nothing...It came right through the walls, like a hot wind. The first man died, just meters from me -- never even screamed. We ran... we ran. For a second, I thought I lost it, and then I saw it. Standing in the middle of a ball of lightning. It looked like it had come straight from hell."
- – An eye witness account of an attack by a Soldier of Darkness - circa 2246
Nothing is known about their homeworld, their society or their government. This race is very secretive by nature to the point where even their name "the Soldiers of Darkness" was given to them by the other races as their actual, self-ascribed, name is unknown.
However, they appear to have an extremely violent culture, viewing all other races as inferior and only fit to be kept as livestock. The sole exception appears to be the Shadows, with whom they have close ties, having aided them loyally and without question in at least two wars.
Like many races in the galaxy, the Soldiers of Darkness were apparently visited in the ancient past by the Vorlons, who genetically manipulated this species to create a population of telepaths, as they did on countless other worlds. But like the Abbai and the Lumati, this species failed to produce viable "weapons grade" telepaths, as the Psi ability manifested mostly as the ability to form a parasitic link between an individual and his prey.
At some point, around or even prior to the Earth Year 1260, this species began working with (or more likely, for) the Shadows, mostly as soldiers and guards, hence the name given to them by the
other races they subsequently encountered. They are known to have participated in the first Shadow War one thousand years ago, and later took part in the subsequent occupations of both Narn and Septis, as both the Markab and the Narn have records of their existence.
During the latter half of the war the Shadows sent battalions of Soldiers to wipe out all the Narn telepaths. The genocide was successful, although the victory ultimately proved pyrrhic as G'Quan, the last surviving Narn telepath, with the help of the Vorlons, eventually drove both the Dark Soldiers and their masters from Narn, never to return.
Following the end of the First Shadow war, the Dark Soldiers went into self-imposed seclusion. Many races, such as the Centauri, would subsequently consider this species to be entirely fictional, the stuff of "good ghost stories". The first confirmed sighting of a member of this species in centuries was during the Earth-Minbari war, when a Human intelligence-gathering unit, sent to spy on a Minbari base on an uninhabited moon, unwittingly awoke an individual who had been hibernating on that world.
That Soldier proceeded to affect the minds of the soldiers stationed there, killing them one by one, until only one soldier was left. The massacre was later blamed on the Minbari, with stories about the Dark Soldiers once again dismissed as madness brought on by post-traumatic stress.
In the runup to the Second Shadow War, just prior to 2258, the Soldiers of Darkness became increasingly active again, with large numbers heading for Z'ha'dum in order to answer the Shadows' call to arms once more. While moving quietly hoping to go unnoticed by the galaxy at large, many passed through the normally quiet, backwater planet, Zafran VIII, alongside other servants of the Shadows, their presence being noted by the techno-mage Burell.
One individual, almost certainly the same one responsible for the massacre at the Minbari listening outpost, tried to hitch a ride on a hijacked Human sleeper ship. However, while the Soldier was able to board the ship and program a new destination into its computer, it was apparently unaware that the ship - the Copernicus - was also programmed to alter course should it detect any signals, and as a result the ship automatically altered course mid-journey and headed for Babylon 5.
Once aboard the station the Soldier proceeded to kill several individuals before being tracked down first by Amis, and later by Maria, Franklin and Security chief Garibaldi. After it was lured into the open in Brown Sector, captain Sheridan ordered a full tactical team to fire upon the creature dozens of times until it was eventually overwhelmed and killed.
What became of the species after the Shadows left the galaxy with the remainder of the First Ones is unknown. While Lyta Alexander triggered Z'ha'dum's self-destruct mechanism, there was enough time for an evacuation, so they presumably escaped alongside the other races who had been in service to the Shadows.
However, they (along with the Wurt and Streib) apparently chose to quietly return to their own worlds as none were present on Centauri Prime during the Drakh and Surgeons occupation, and they also appeared to have played no part in the 2266 attack on Earth.
Victims fed upon by Soldiers
- "Soldiers of Darkness" is the name applied to this species by the enemies of the Shadows. Their actual name is unknown.
|Arnassian • Caretakers • Delgashi • Divloda • Enphili • Faranian • Fen • Golian • Hive Mind Bacteria • Kaitay • Kinbotal • Kulan's race • Kurlin • Lorkan • Lumati • Merla • Mind-altering aliens • Mipasian • Moradi • N'Grath's Race • Na'ka'leen • Nimue • Norsai • Orion • Ralgan • Riar • Scout fleet race • Servitors • Sh'lassen • Shoggren • Soom • Soul Hunter • Streib • Tak'cha • Tikar • Tokati • Tzillari • Vindrizi • Vinzini • Visitors • Wychad|
|Shadow Servant Races|
|Keeper • Shadow Surgeons • Sleeper • Soldier of Darkness • Wurt|
|Extinct and Nearly-Extinct Races|
|Belan's race • Ceti • Daltron • Dureena's race • Ikarran • Original Lorkan • Taratimude • Varn's Race • Xon|
|Alacan • Cauralline • Cthulhin • Deneth • Froon • Krish • Mitoc • Morellian • Thrantallil • Throxtil • T'llin • Tuchanq • Ylinn|