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Why did the Shadows eliminate the Narn psychics?

Science Fiction & Fantasy Asked by Asmor on August 21, 2020

In Babylon 5, G’kar says that there are no Narn psychics because the Shadows killed them a thousand years ago during the last war. Their stated reason for doing this is that the Shadows’ ships are vulnerable to psychics.

However, it’s established that the reason the Shadows cause all the strife in the first place is to create war and conflict in order to purge the weak, accelerating evolution for the victorious.

It seems strange then that the Shadows would specifically target more powerful, more highly evolved bloodlines such as those of the Narn psychics.

So why did the Shadows kill them?

3 Answers

In addition to @anyaMairead's answer, there's another factor.

It seems strange then that the Shadows would specifically target more powerful, more highly evolved bloodlines such as those of the Narn psychics.

Through several of the stories - notably the Psi Corp trilogy plotted by J. Michael Straczynski and written by J Gregory Keyes, as well as some stories in the official Babylon 5 magazine - it's made clear that Telepaths are not a natural development through evolution. In one of the Babylon 5 magazine stories, the premise is that a telepathic species would have no need to develop speech or weapons, and would be stalled in their technological development.

Rather, telepaths are the result of some pretty high handed bio-engineering on the part of the Vorlons, seeking to develop living weapons to use against the Shadows. For humans, they breed abducted people for specific traits over several hundred years. These traits were then reintroduced into the earth based human gene pool in the early 22nd century, around the time of Lyta Alexander's grandmother (see Dark Genesis: The Birth of the Psi Corps). The Vorlons have interfered in this kind of way in many species - including the Narn and the Centauri.

I've always understood that the reason the Narn telepaths were wiped out by the Shadows was that they were essentially Vorlon tech, and therefore a threat.

Correct answer by Bevan on August 21, 2020

Because they fought back;

"Then did the darkness come to Narn until it was driven out by G'Quan and the last of the surviving mindwalkers..."– Book of G'Quan.

The Shadows don't tolerate resistance, if they hadn't been at war, and apparently in need of a base I would think they would have done a lot worse, the phrase "planet buster" comes to mind.

Answered by Ash on August 21, 2020

The Narns weren't actually very advanced at the time the Shadows occupied their world - they were nothing more than farmers under several scattered governments at the time of the first Centauri occupation, and that was in the early 2100s (G'Kar says that the Centauri left in 2209 in "And Now For A Word", and the occupation lasted about 100 years). When the Occupation began, the Narns had little-to-no space travel and viewed the Centauri as akin to gods.

So when the Shadows came to Narn during the first Shadow war, it must've seemed like the perfect place to use as a base: the Narns were far too technologically inferior to pose a material threat, and the people were superstitious enough to put any of their actions down to a type of god-being - including actions taken to get rid of the telepaths.

Of course, once the people as a whole realized what was happening, and they found out that telepaths could be used against the Shadows, they took advantage of that fact. G'Kar's reading from the Book of G'Quan in (I believe) "Ship of Tears" says that the very last of the Narn telepaths died driving the Shadows off Narn. So those that weren't killed died protecting the non-telepaths on the homeworld.

Answered by larissa on August 21, 2020

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