"Who are you?"
- – The Vorlon question
Biology[edit | edit source]
When in the presence of other races, Vorlons often wear encounter suits. As such, few people have ever seen what a Vorlon actually looks like. Since Vorlons are capable of surviving in an oxygen atmosphere, the suits are used entirely to hide their appearance. Apart from allowing them to hide their appearance, encounter suits allow Vorlons to navigate the environment more easily, interact with others, and conduct business as necessary.
Vorlon encounter suits are equipped with a language translation device that transforms their unique language into a more common tongue. The Vorlon speech sounds like a sequence of overlapping musical tones, chirps and chimes. The physiological mechanism they have to make this sound is unknown.
A Vorlon's true appearance is that of a bioluminescent, partly translucent, radially symmetrical, multi-tentacled creature, loosely resembling Earth octopuses. Though they may appear insubstantial, they are in fact physical life-forms.
Due to their tampering with the development of many of the galaxy's younger species, Vorlons have appeared in the guise of divine beings, although their appearance can vary greatly depending on the species and individual's own history and mythology. This mass yet individualized hallucination is accomplished by way of actively projecting a telepathic image, which when used on a great number of people requires a significant effort for a Vorlon and can be a great strain. To most beings, this image takes the form of a being of light from their own cultural mythology. Some examples include the "Angels" and "Shalako spirits" of Earth cultures, Dro'shalla from the Drazi Kri Maru faith, G'Lan for Narns, and Valeria from Minbari mythology. One of the reasons for encounter suits is to prevent a Vorlon from being seen directly and requiring this kind of telepathic projection.
The interpersonal sociology of the Vorlons seems to be dependent on their telepathy. All Vorlons appear to be connected telepathically, though to what extent their thoughts are shared or hidden remains a mystery. Vorlons who have their own ships also have a telepathic connection with those vessels. Very soon after the death of Kosh Naranek, the Vorlon High Command was aware of the tragedy. It is unknown whether they were made aware because of some telepathic bond or whether they were contacted by Kosh's ship who would have known immediately of its master's demise. The true extent of a Vorlon's telepathic abilities are unknown; however, it has been known to have a strong influence when a person's mind is in an altered state, such as sleeping, dreaming, exhausted or in a heightened state of awareness. It is for this reason that their presence is often associated with visions and dream imagery.
Vorlons are known to have lived incredibly long lives. At the time of his death in 2260, Kosh was among the older members of the species, and was old enough to have known Valen , meaning he was at least a thousand years old. likely more than a million. Vorlons have demonstrated telekinetic abilities, including self-propelled flight in a standard gravity environment.
History[edit | edit source]
"The Vorlons have been to Earth. The Vorlons have been everywhere. The Vorlons are."
Distant Past[edit | edit source]
The Vorlons were among the first races in the galaxy to attain sentience and become space-faring creatures. In the distant past, the Vorlons attempted a grand experiment into reaching a higher plane of existence where the souls existed and all life was founded. To accomplish this, they poured all their knowledge into creating a gateway to this dimension. After activating the gate, the vortex into Thirdspace was formed and the aliens within that realm came pouring out, intent on destroying all other forms of life. After much hardship, the Vorlons finally managed to push the enemy back, but one of the gateways was lost in Hyperspace where it was hidden from the Vorlons. They would encode some of their servants with an automated message to warn the younger races of the threat from the inhabitants of Thirdspace.
Over 10,000 years ago[edit | edit source]
Over the millennia that followed, many of the First Ones moved out beyond the Galactic Rim to explore and to allow the younger species to evolve on their own. The Vorlons were one of the races chosen to stay behind, to help with the guidance and development of the younger races. The other main race that stayed was the Shadows. Although both races shared the same goal, they had wildly opposing philosophies of how species should grow and evolve. The Shadows believed that strength and growth came through conflict, and so they would start wars throughout the galaxy with the notion that those who survived would be stronger and better. The Vorlons believed in strength and growth through order and discipline, not chaos. Though they tried to work together for a time, this philosophical difference led to bitterness between the two races for countless millennia, eventually escalating into all-out war.
Both the Vorlons and the Shadows began enlisting younger races to fight on their side. Eventually, the Vorlons and Shadows had so many servants that they would rarely have to face each other in open combat, preferring to use younger races as their pawns. After seeing the weakness the Shadows had against telepaths, the Vorlons began seeding the ability among the younger races in order to use them as weapons in the coming Shadow Wars.
1,000 years ago[edit | edit source]
1,000 years before the dawn of the Third Age of Mankind, the Vorlons fought the Shadows in the Last Great Shadow War. . While the Shadows had slept, though, the Servants of the Light had been watching and waiting. This war was not as destructive as previous ones because the Shadows moved to reestablish themselves too quickly and were recognized and stopped by a coalition of Vorlons, Minbari, and others. According to Delenn, that was the last time the First Ones openly walked among the younger races. The Shadows were eventually defeated, but not destroyed. They went into hibernation for thousands of years and patiently awaited another opportunity to strike.
The Final Shadow War[edit | edit source]
The Shadows began awakening from their hibernation in the late 2250s and started collecting their ships and supplies and gathering allies. In 2258, the conflict between the two sides began anew, though secretly at first. Once they had gathered enough allies, though, the Shadows began to strike openly at seemingly random targets. Whole worlds that had been associated with the Vorlons were being destroyed by the Death Clouds. Conversely, after the death of the Vorlon Ambassador Kosh Naranek and John Sheridan's trip to Z'ha'dum, the Vorlons became convinced that the only way to stop the war was to destroy all the planets that had been touched by the Shadows. Neither faction would strike directly at the other, however. They were content with destroying one another's support systems, but the Shadows' and Vorlons' fleets rarely engaged one another. The Vorlon High Command also replaced Kosh with a new ambassador, Ulkesh.
Finally, the Army of Light discovered the Shadows' strategy. They were herding the frightened races of the galaxy toward one particular system in space where they would soon strike hard and wipe out all the Vorlons' allies in one grand sweep. Meanwhile, the Vorlons continued to destroy planets where the Shadows had influence and Centauri Prime was quickly falling under their sights. In the nick of time, the Vorlon Planet Killer was called away to the Coriana System. Captain Sheridan and the Army of Light had trapped the Shadows, the Vorlons, and all the remaining First Ones in a crucible where they would be forced to confront one another. The conflict between these giants ended at Coriana VI, when the younger races - led by Captain Sheridan and Delenn - confronted the First Ones with the fact that they were no longer shepherds, but hindrances to the advancement of those they had sought to help. It was from there that the Vorlons, the Shadows, and all the remaining First Ones departed beyond the rim of our galaxy.
The Vorlon Legacy[edit | edit source]
Though the Vorlons themselves had left the galaxy, their technology and their legacy remained. After the end of the final Shadow War, several races sent expeditions to the Vorlon homeworld in an attempt to get their hands on any technology that had been left behind. These expeditions were never heard from again, destroyed by an automated defense system before they even got close to the planet. When this was mentioned to Lyta Alexander, she replied that the Vorlon homeworld was off limits until the younger races were ready - which would be in about a million years.
Elements of Vorlon tech have been put to use by the Interstellar Alliance. The White Star fleet was built with Vorlon technology that had been interwoven with the Minbari hardware, under the supervision of Ulkesh Naranek. The Alliance continued to use and develop Vorlon technology on the new destroyer class White Star prototypes Excalibur and Victory. The main guns and the energy refracting skin of the ships were both derived from Vorlon tech. By 2271, the Alliance had managed to adapt Vorlon jumpdrive technology for use on the new Valen class cruiser, allowing the ship to access Quantum space even through standard jumpgates.
In the year 1,002,261, Humans and Minbari were finally allowed entry into Vorlon space. Many humans relocated to the Vorlon homeworld, renaming it "New Earth" following Earth's destruction when Sol was induced to go nova by parties unknown.
References[edit | edit source]
- The Coming of Shadows
- JMS post on CIS - 12/2/1996 5:48:00 AM
- Matters of Honor
- The Fall of Night
- Interludes and Examinations
- JMS post on CIS - 2/10/1996 10:32:00 AM
- Falling Toward Apotheosis
- Thirdspace (movie)
- In the Shadow of Z'ha'dum
- To Dream in the City of Sorrows
- A Call to Arms
- Babylon 5: The Lost Tales
- The Deconstruction of Falling Stars
|First Born · Vorlon · Shadow · Walkers of Sigma-957 · Thirdspace Aliens · The Hand · Asmodeus' race|
|Minbari · Centauri · Human/Neanderthal · Narn · Dilgar · Drakh|
|Drazi · Brakiri/J/Lai · Gaim · pak'ma'ra · Abbai · Yolu · Hyach/Hyach-do · Markab · Llort · Grome · Hurr · Cascor · Balosian · Onteen · Iksha · Vree|