WHAT ISNT IN HERE:
Char details, or spoilers (i.e. stuff not shown/published in U.K.)
WARNING: THIS MEANS THAT THIS DOC MAY HAVE SPOILERS FOR SOME COUNTRIES. THESE ARE NOT MARKED. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.
Story ideas etc.
(This is because it is a tech manual, small amounts of info on races is included, however, to aid in identification)
Hyper-Space: A different dimension/Universe, which maps large
distances in our universe to small distances in the different one,
allowing for interstellar travel without bypassing the photonic barrier.
Newtonian physics apply, so any inertia created while passing through
a gate remains upon entry/exit.
Accessed via a jump gate or point. Distorts transmissions that past through it greatly, giving communications a very limited range.
Major colour scheme is shades of red.
Trained telepaths rated P12 or better can aid navigation in Hyper-space by homing in on a targets thought emissions.
Ships of a certain size are capable of entering hyper-space without using a gate, with a large cost in energy. It has become common for these ships to construct gates after arriving in a new system, in order to save energy for future trips.
80% of the Galaxy is outside hyper space beacon range.
It is assumed that exposure to HS for periods longer than a few weeks is dangerous to cell/DNA structure.
RS to HS is a 1 to many phenomena, whereas HS to RS is a many to one phenomena.
(Zathras) ... once you come out of hyperspace past the galactic rim, all your points of reference are gone ...and you can't just "keep going" in a straight line in hyperspace. (JMS)
Tachyon Space: Maps distance travelled within it into a shift in time (but
not position) in the 'real' Universe. Impulses of energy and the time
distortions these create can do 'great harm', such as speeding up a
travellers personal time, resulting in death within a short time.
The exit is a gradual fade from Tachyon Space to real space, entry is by a
hole, edged with glowing blue/white energy, through which a picture of
the other time can be seen, broadcasts heard etc.
Once in the other time zone, care must be taken, powerful energy discharges can 'unstick' the traveller, sending them forwards or backwards along their time line, where they 'leap' into their future or past self.
Hyper-space Engines: The system of guidence computers and beacon trackers and the like that allow a ship to navigate in hyper-space using a pre-created Jump Gate or Point. Low power consumption means almost all ships, incl. fighters have this system fitted.
Jump point (or Vortex Generator): Entrance to Hyper space. Large
have a focusing system in orbit around them, four seven-mile long
These are free floating with a central computer controlling the position thrusters; these allow the brackets to re-position for larger than average ships and maintain a relative stationary position. The element Quantium-40 (a derivative of which is Duridium) is a vital component of jump gate construction. As a consequence of the amount of energy a jump gate produces, it takes a long time to shut one down and even longer to start it back up. Smaller, ship generated gates have no such orbital devices.
The point is unstable, and can be closed by a large energy discharge. Known as jump points when they are unfixed (i.e. generated by a ship) Detecting ships coming out of a jump gate is limited by time. While you can get the frequency identification of a ship a few minutes prior to its exiting hyper-space, much more information can be gained just as it begins to exit; like silhouette, mass, etc.
Jump gates (and points) are directional, a yellow gate for entry to hyperspace, and blue for exiting. Travel is not possible in the 'wrong' direction.
Jump points broadcast a signal in hyper space that is detectable for 1000km or so.
(See also X Jump Gates)
Jump Point Generator: allows a ship to create its own jump point from its location to hyper-space, without using a fixed entry/exit jump gate. Requires large amounts of power, and so only carried by larger ships. They also require a stable power source, or they malfunction, destroying the ship. They also require a recharge time before they can be reused. Once shut down, they need time to rebuild their energy levels before they can be resued.
NOTE: Advanced races (First Ones) don't need jump points or generators to enter hyper-space (Shadows- phase, or 'ripple', Sigma 957 Aliens- a 'hole', Vorlons are the exception to this. But they introduced the technology to the current races.
Beam weapon: As yet unidentified craft weapons, maybe plasma, ion, neutron or laser based, depending on the ship.
Missiles: Miscellaneous launched weapons (mines, missiles, remote controlled ships
etc. as applicable to size of ship.) Including:
Mass Driver: Propels mass from ship to the target. Banned by all-race agreement, but Centuri used them against the Narn home world, 'bombing them back to the stone age'.
Energy Mine: Operate as 20th century mines, but can be guided to target at high speed, releasing a disc of energy when detonated.
Cruiser: Medium sized ship. Sometimes used as ambassadors transport.
Fighter: one or two being fighter craft.
Mother: Home base for fighters. In addition to specifically mentioned weapons these probably carry 'weapons of mass destruction' (Fusion bombs, ion cannon, mass drivers, heavy energy weapons).
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Normal planetary gravity is simulated by rotating the station. Outward acceleration at the perimeter is approximately 9.8 m/s2 [1g]. The station does not have engines per se, although there are small thrusters used in maintaining it's location at the L5 point. It is located 160,000 km from where Babylon 4 used to be, and is 92,000km from the planet.
The station is defended by a low level defence grid, as well as several small weapon emplacements located beneath panels on the outer hull, and a complement of more than 48 Starfuries (both original and Thunder Bolt versions).
The "front" of the station consists of two docking bays, the first allowing small craft to enter along the 0g centreline, and be transferred to the appropriate bay, and the second dedicated to craft remaining in free fall. The forward section also contains the cobra bays for the fighters.
Other locations of interest include the Observation Dome, from where the station is run; the Zocalo, a shopping and entertainment district; and the Garden, an O'Neill style environment (cylinder with gardens, pools, cafes baseball etc. in it).
The station's main computer is based on crystalline human-alien hybrid
technology, and is capable of both written and voice input and output
in several languages. Integrated within its system is the Babcom
communications network, which handles intastation, ship-to-station, and long-
range Tachyon messages.
All the computer systems on the station are controlled via this centralised system. This system is subject to commands from terminals, and also the external communications feed, so Earth Alliance command could order the shutdown of life support for instance, although the access codes have now been changed. When the system was originally put on-line an artificial intelligence (or personality) was installed as part of the interface, but was later removed due to compatibility problems with the human staff. However, the personality (called Sparky) still surfaces from time to time.
All command crew and diplomatic staff have a 'Link' stuck to the back of their hand, which acts as a futuristic walkie talkie. These contain a tracking beacon. Earthforce personal links are bio-coded and can not be used by anyone except their correct owner. Any attempt to use someone else's link triggers a warning in C&C.
Main power is handled by the fusion generator at the tail of the station.
Internal co-ordinates are as follows. First a colour, denoting a ring of the station. Then one of, on average, 36 level numbers, and a letter denoting section. Hence the main corridor passes through blue 15 a for example.
A jump gate is located nearby with the Corridor being the standard approach vector to the station. Vessels straying off the Corridor's flight path are fined.
South, Back end North, Front end Radiator Fins | V Tachyon Emitter | /\ /\ /\ V || || || /\____________ _______ . __ _||_||_||//-------------\/--------\___/_____ |\______||______/ || || || | | | | \___/ \ ^ || || | ---------------| | | | |___ | | ||______||______\________________| |_____| | |___\___/ Docking Horns |/ || || || || \_____|_|/ |__|__/ || || || \/ \/ \/ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | Green | | | | | Docking bay | | | | section | | | | Cobra bays | | | | | | | Med lab/Iso lab | | | | | | Blue section | | | | the | Red section | | | +--Garden---+ | | Gray section | Brown section Fusion reactor (ASCII art by Richard Meikle)In the fore of the station is the zero-gravity docking bay entrance. Two docking horns frame the bay, to help guide and stabilise the huge bulk freighters. Once parked in front of the area, a freighter is offloaded, refuelled by the 'hose jockeys', and loaded up again.
The zero-g bays extent well into the middle of the station, just above red sector. Although the area is stationary, it as accessible from many parts of the habitable sections of the station.
Mounted above and between the docking horns is the Tachyon transmitter/receiver and the docking beacon.
Below the zero-g docking bay, in the rotating section, is the docking bay
proper. All ships enter the station dead centre. An incoming ship surrenders
its shipboard computer to the Babylon 5 Command and Control, or C&C, located
directly beneath the bay entrance. While most pilots can easily match the
station's rotation, however the possibility of pilot error is far greater
than computer error. Unfortunately, certain cost-cutting measures in docking
hardware have lead to accidental loss of life and property. A ship is then
taken and lowered into one of many bays located toward the hull. The docking
areas are divided into sections, with the diplomatic and military bays
having restricted access.
Starfuries are housed in separate launch bays in cobra shaped projections along the round front of the station, hence their common name "Cobra Bays."
Set in the front of the station, beneath the entrance to the dock areas, is a window which looks into C&C. This can be covered with a set of blast doors, as can the docking entrance. C&C is located 1/3 of the way off the spin axis, and hence is a low gravity area (1/3g). The C&C main 'Window' is in fact, a huge slab of armor glass that can do multiple duty as a controllable filter and digital display device. The 'window' can be transparent when you want it to, and can also display video images from any source; thus, the C&C window can be looking out through the eye of a camera on the loading bay spines, through a camera mounted on the non-rotating spine, or from any camera-equipped spot on the station, including the Maint-Bots. The only time the view through the C&C "Window" seems to be spinning is when it's been switched to "Transparent Mode" or it is displaying the view seen from a camera mounted on a spinning part of the station. (Gharlane of Eddore)
The interior station is itself divided in to colour coded sectors.
Blue sector houses station administration and EA personnel quarters. Also in
Blue Sector are the Medlabs, staffed by highly trained xenobiologists to
tend to the ambassadors and Earth Force personnel. Medlab One is a small
facility exclusively used by the Medical Chief of Staff, Doctor Stephen
There are larger medical facilities, resembling proper hospitals, elsewhere on the station.
A recent addition to Blue Sector is the Strategic War Room, from which the war with the Shadows is monitored and directed.
Red Sector is relegated to business and diplomatic chambers.
Red Sector's highlight is the Zocalo. Hundreds of shops, stands, bars, restaurants, and clubs line the curved passageways, as does the EA postal services Post Office.
Aliens requiring alternate atmosphere/gravity to generally more common
oxy-nitro combinations live in the Alien Sector. While most aliens here
require special mixes, oxygen breathing aliens tend to gravitate here, away
from the overabundance of humans elsewhere. Ambassadors and their entourages
are housed in a separate part of Green Sector, with higher security.
The alien sector is not all blank corridors covered in noxious gasses, the Hanging Gardens houses various varieties of alien plant life suited to a methane-ammonia atmosphere. The Garden got its name from the various spheres of soils that hang suspended from the ceiling by thick chains. Most of the alien growths are phosphorescent.
The Dilgar War Memorial was erected here to commemorate the world and species that fell to the Dilgar.
Green sector contains high-security quarters for the various alien diplomats
(with adjustable environment quarters for ambassadors that require it).
The Vorlon quarters are number 8.
Unauthorised personnel are not admitted.
Both Grey and Brown Sectors were largely unfinished due to budgetary
Grey sector is infamous for the Babylon 5 Triangle -- an area around Grey 17 that leads an active imagination to believe the place is haunted.
Maintenance crews have reported strange lights, sounds and disappearances in the area.
There is a 'extra' level between the levels labelled Grey 16 and Grey 17, resulting in Grey sector having 'only' 29 levels. The real Grey 17 is inaccessible from normal routes, and is filled with junk, a rather nasty alien, and a mad cult.
All sectors (apart from those under the garden) have 95 levels.
The Service Collar is the name for the structure immediately behind the command and docking sphere at the head of the station. Immediately "south" of the collar is Customs and Disembarkation. Customs is a hundred-meter wide chamber running alongside the collar. While most employees are human, several aliens are employed using hardware translators.
The entire interior of the rotating cylinder is called the Garden. It's main purpose is to provide food and oxygen reclamation for the station. Most of the food grown here do not require seasonal changes, since there are no seasons in this artificial environment. Foods that do need seasonal variation are grown in separate hydroponic areas. In addition to necessary insects cultivated in the zoos below the "ground," birds are also in the Garden all of which are now used to the "new physics" of flying in this environment. No one is allowed to "camp out" on the interior anyone doing so is arrested for destroying precious crops. A small percentage of the 12 square miles of vegetation is used for recreation. Supporting the park plant life is twenty meters of dirt, under which are four levels of hydrobays, support systems, storage and silage units, water and oxygen reclamation units, chemical processors, farm equipment garages, and insect zoos. There is a train in the garden that runs around the circumference of the station. The garden is half a kilometer across.
"Downbelow" is a term used to describe the unused parts of the station where the homeless, or Lurkers, eke out a living. Trapped on station for various reasons, most die here unknown and unrememberd.
A monorail runs the length of the station, along the axis of rotation, hence it is in a zero-g environment, and so is known as the Zero-G Train.
The hull of Babylon 5 is a double hull to provide an extra layer of protection from micrometor strikes and internal explosions. This leaves a crawl space between the two hulls.
The rotating sections are mounted on electro-magnetic bearings.
B5 communicates with earth via a faster than light link able to carry many
live video feeds to and from B5. This FTL link also allows real-time video
communication with other races homeworlds and ships.
B5 is orbited by unmanned maintenance robots (Maint-Bots).
These have colour vision, the feed from which may be patched into the B5 video network.
B5 also has video cameras (Monitors) that can be sent to automatically film an area. The video recorders are made of an extremely ultralight material, new alloys that in total weigh less than an ounce; it has a visible (and audible) air propulsion system, a high speed fan with a stabiliser/gyroscope that keeps it steady, and moves it forward. (JMS)
The main power source is a fusion reactor, mounted at the rear of the station. This can be reached, for maintaince purposes, by the Zero-G Train, or via a large set of doors set into the hull. Inside these there is a large open space, with the reactor wall forming one wall of this space.
The floors are linked via 'transport tubes' that take the form of lifts, which move radily (that is, from the centre line outwards to the hull).
Update to B5 Weapons Grid
A visiting platoon of Ground Pounders installed an enhanced Defence Grid for the B5 station. The updated specs are as follows:
Each area (such as green-2 or whatever) is split into segments. These
segments can be isolated from each other in the event of fire, flood or
vacuum. This is achieved by having a transparent door slide down and seal off
the area. The door has strips of the zones colour, and small flashing
red lights set into it.
In the docking and other areas close to vacuum these are stronger, made out of a beryllium alloy. They are highly resistant to PPG fire, the rebounds being a grave danger to the firer !
Instead of creating new forms and processes in the construction of the Babylon stations, the Earth Alliance altered established mass production. For example, Exploration vessels are nearly five miles long and its rotating section as wide. Production lines required only a minimal alteration to construct sections of the hull and the rotational interface. The pieces were jumped from the stardocks to Epsilon Eridani and assembled. Materials from Sol system's asteroid belt and minerals found in the Tigris system were used. In the case of Babylon 4, some of the materials used were the salvageable remains of Babylon 1 through 3 (see also Humen Technology).
Beings entering Babylon 5 are given a credit chit. Any currency held by the being is converted to current Earth-value credits according to the currency exchange rate. The credit chit contains the being's name, ID, additional personal information, including genetic anti-forgery information, and the current amount of credits the being currently has in the Babylon 5 central computer (the chit is also tied to a being's IdentiCard). Employees of the station have their salaries tied into the chit. It is used as a debit card. Each purchase or transfer runs down the total amount of credits until a deposit is made.
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Like most advanced aliens, the ships have an organic look and are composed
of a large number of interlocked pentagons.
The skin of these are made of a shimmering oily black substance able to withstand the rigors of space and hyper-space travel. The skin is extremely versatile; able to be in a rigid, flexible, or fluid state seemingly at will. It appears to bond easily with other vessels having similar "skin." Carbon-based lifeforms, not properly prepared, die immediately upon touching this substance. Being organic in design, damage to the ship acts as it would a living being (for example: severing a spine on the Shadow vessel will put the Shadow vessel in shock or anger, depending on its mental state and "personality.")
'When it flies past you, its like a scream in your mind'.
'Once they target you they never stop, never slow down, never give up. until they have destroyed you- they are nearly invincible'
The mother ship, at least, creates a characteristic trail of neutrinos as it moves through hyper-space. This trail, if found, can be used to find the ship.
One craft was excavated on Mars, and another of Ganymede.
Only current non-First One ship that stands a chance against it is the White Star (see section XII- White Star)
Shadow vessels are vulnerable to telepathic interference. At a cost of great strain a P5 or better can scramble and upset their central operating system, rendering them 'harmless'. In this state several ships can surround and attack easily.
Vulnerable to sustained, very high energy, continuous beam weapons, such as those carried on the White Star and Narn Cruisers, and by Vorlon ships. One White Star, with all energy diverted to forward weapons and a Narn heavy cruiser, or two normal strength White Star forward cannons and a Narn heavy cruiser is sufficient to explode a 'Crab in 5 seconds.
All Shadow ships can 'warble' into and out of hyperspace. Shadow Ships require a weapons lock, which can be detected.
FIGHTER Shaped like a fat starfish.
PROBE Shaped like a cross between a Battle crab, with long curving 'fingers', and a Berserker probe. Stronger than fighters, but not as much as a Ship or Crab, they can withstand the loss of 2 or 3 spines long enough to ram the offending ship.
MOTHER AND CRUISER Shaped like a many legged spider.
The Mother is 2-3 miles across, the cruiser about 600 meters in width
(spine to spine). Composed of
organic technology the Mother requires a sentient being to operate as
its Core. The Core must be properly prepared for insertion. If it is not,
the result is a confused, disoriented, and insane ship. Although merged
with the ship, the Core can be removed with great difficulty and with
permanent mental damage to the Core. The Core is neither pilot nor
passenger, it is a ready-made thought matrix. An organic unit can process
information faster than most computer systems and reacts faster when
formulating strategy. It is much easier and faster to temper an existing
brain than manufacture a complex computer.
The Mothers are two-tiered with the lower part housing the weapons. The upper tier houses a wing of approximately seventy-five fighters, with a possible total complement of two-hundred fighters.
As for defensive systems, the Shadow Ship can absorb destructive energy, but at the cost of great pain. Many smaller hits, as from many fighters, appear to confuse the ship, to the point where it does not return fire.
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SHIP A huge ship, unsymetrical. Equipped with a torture chamber where captured aliens are forced to fight, and are experimented upon.
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SHIP Structured from 5-6 spheres, linked by symmetrical sets of four triangles.
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FIGHTER Flat and rounded.
HEAVY FIGHTER Chunkier version of fighters. Better amoured / weaponed.
DREADNAUGHT Looks like two heavy fighters join base to base by a bridge.
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BLOCKADE MINES Squat cylinder, with two cannons revolving around
Assumed to be remotely controlled or automatic. Inaccurate, we have only seen them once, but most shots missed, and it was also commented that they were 'beginning to get [the] range', implying they can not fire straight away upon a target.
FIGHTER Crescent shaped, thin and 'spacialdynamic'
CRUISER Cross shaped
MOTHER Like two cruisers joined side by side
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Rings The Minbari have been observed using small rings to great effect. One such ring was observed increasing the local gravity a whole order of magnitude. Careful observation indicates the presence of a small silvery discoloration on the ring finger of the Minbari ambassador, probably some form of cybernetic interface. Thus the rings most probably act merely as transmission devices to much larger units. It is therefore postulated that the devices are only usable in certain areas, in this case the quarters of the Minbari ambassador.
FIGHTER Y shaped, like Chigs from Space: Above and Beyond.
FLYER (Equivalent to Cruiser/Shuttle) Flat, with upright fins at corners.
MOTHER 300m long, 200 M tons, shaped like an angel
In the centre of Minbari cruisers there is the Tactical Centre. Over head a large inverted mushroom hangs. A full 360 degree view is offered here, and communication to any ship in range is as easy as speaking to it. Displays on offer range from tactical maps to camera images.
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Four fuel cells mounted on the inboard trailing edge of each wing.
Thrust is vectored using a system of 8 flaps mounted behind the engines.
Launch rail attach points can be seen on the underside.
Long range scanners can detect objects up to 2 hours flight time away, and mix passive and active systems, and feature a multi-level active amp.
4.4 m long, 1 pilot. Thrust glows bluw-white. Seems not to have evolved much since the Earth-Minbari war.
CRUISER Functional. Rotating mid-section.
Breaching Pods: A small, limited mobility, transport vessel. Equipped with 4 corner mounted cluster pods, egg shaped body. Carries a large number of troops from the assault ship to the target vessel, where it seals its self on to the hull, and cuts an opening for the troops. Raiders: Small one or two man attack fighters. Similar in shape to Cylon attack ships, they present a very small front/back profile. Assumed to have a limited range, and so must operate from a near-by base. Assumed beam weapons. Not very effective in combat, half a dozen or so were wiped out by two star furies. Most vunrable on their wings. Atmosphere able. Raider Base: A chunky squat life support and engine blocked mounted 'behind' a large wheel like structure that the Raiders dock to. Able to open its own jump point. All explosives manufactured in the Earth Alliance are laced with special chemical codes to allow them to be traced to a particular buyer/batch.
The security forces of Babylon 5, unlike the civilian population, are allowed to carry weaponry in the line of duty. The standard issue weapon is the PPG, a small hand-held weapon which ionises small quantities of hydrogen or helium gas, and suspends the resultant product in a magnetic bottle, which is then released by a moving electric charge. The bottle decays, resulting in an energy discharge.
Most likely, the Identicards are an outgrowth of the "smart" cards of the twentieth century, acting as a combination driver's licence, credit card. passport, and medical file. A crystalline memory module, similar to the ones used in the main computer could hold medical information, account balances, immigration status, and possibly even a small personal calendar ala the PDA's introduced in the late 1980's. The technology is simple, but requires a merger of data networks difficult to un-bureaucratize.
Dust, an addictive manufactured drug, allows non-telepaths of several races to probe the minds of others, experiencing all the victim's memories and thoughts in the space of a few minutes. Unfortunately, this leaves the victims unconscious, and telepathic victims never recover. The more often Dust is taken, the more is required to achieve the effect the next time. Dust was originally developed, and is apparently still being produced, by Psi Corps in an attempt to induce permanent telepathy in normal humans; the experiment has been a failure so far.
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FIGHTER + CRUISER (Fighters are smaller version of Mother ships) Egg shaped, with four tendrils extending forward from the point. Vorlon Cruisers are 60 m in length.
SHUTTLE Like fighter, but elongated.
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Each jump point, when viewed from hyper-space, can be thought of as a
lighthouse, sending out a signal to guide ships to it.
Once in hyperspace, you can ride the navigational beams between beacons, and by corrolating the beacons, know where you have to come out.
Ships lock on to this beam to prevent themselves from becoming lost. If the signal is lost, there is little hope of re-establishing contact, and the ship must attempt to carry on its course on internal gyroscopic measurements only.
This is a high risk manoeuvre, and many ships have been lost without trace in hyper-space.
Aside from simply destabilising the point by firing on it or whatever, there
is another way to use a point as a weapon. If one Gate is opened in another
Gate, the competing energies are impossible to control and the whole thing
explodes. However opening a jump point onto a jump point is impossible due
to the hideous amount of energy required. However, if a convient jump gate
is to hand, a jump point can be opened within that instead, the effect is
the same. (JMS)
The energy released is huge, and expands rapidly.
The Babylon 5 Jump Gate is able to be told to reject certain ships, presumably on the basis of mass / shape etc. This may not be a common feature, but a function of the generation system used.
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Narn fighters seem to carry PPG style weapons.
A Narn cruiser fires both Particle beam and PPG type weapons.
Centauri Fighters fire a PPG-like weapon only the blasts are red while Narn
Fighters and Star Furies have white blasts.
Centauri Cruisers have similar red blast weapons. However, Instead of being PPG's they could be ion Cannons (G'Kar mentioned twice that Centauries used ion cannons).
Centauri Blockade Mines fire orange elongated shots.
Both Minbari Fighters and Warships have Green Particle beam-style weapons (the Narn's and the Agamemnon fired red particle beams). The Warships have larger ones.
Note: I use the word "like" because there is no concrete proof that the
weapons are Particle Beams or PPG's.
The White Star fires purple elongated blasts from the pods, and white elongated blasts from somewhere near the front. Also on the front is rapid fire pulsed green energy weapon (Fusion cannon).
Vorlon mothers energise a ball of yellow/green energy in the nexus of their
tendrils. From here a beam of energy is release.
Vorlon cruisers have some form of large scale energy weapon as well, which can be modulated, and act as a 'net' for larger vessels.
Vorlon fighters have yellow/green sparks of energy from their tendrils' nexus.
Shadow fighters fire white balls of energy, and pulse as they fire.
Shadow probes fire elongated purple blasts, looking like mini versions of the Shadow ships main weapon. Battle Crabs, Cruisers and Mothers have a continuos pinky-purple ray.
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The Great Machine is controlled by the Heart - a control room where the Custodian is bodily hooked up to the machine. The machine itself chooses who may control it. Once installed, the Great Machine's operations are tied to the life signs of the Custodian. By entering the Machine, the Custodian's life is greatly extended, mostly by rejuvenating the physiology of the individual. The previous Custodian was the member of an unknown race named Varn who described that by being the Heart you "see all the futures, hear all the songs, and touch the edge of the universe with [one's] thoughts." The Heart allows anyone hooked into the Machine access to an "Ethernet." The Ether Interface allows a being to travel along the paths woven between all lifeforms. Within the Ether, time and space are irrelevant. Travelling the pathways can bring the traveller to the past, present, and future, allowing the Custodian to see into distant worlds and to gain greater understanding of the universe. A race of aliens live inside, acting as caretakers.
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The Babylon 5 universe seems to behave according to the Copenhagen interpretation of Quantum Physics, with a number of 'ghost' futures co-existing until a choice is made which makes one of them 'real'. Messages may be passed 'backwards' from these ghost realities, though not forward from 'now' to the 'future'.
Time travel is possible in both directions, but at great strain, and cost in terms of energy. So far the only thing to do this feat is the Great Machine, however it seems likely that the Vorlons, Shadows, Sigma 957 and other First Ones have this technology, as do the Minbari to some small degree.
Much as 3.5" inch disks are the common storage media world-wide today, so data crystals are the common inter-race storage medium. Shaped like a very small (2cm) long transparent crystal they can store large amounts of data. As with disks this can be anything from text, to video, to sound, even personalities can be encoded.
The data is encoded as a pattern of refracting light, and the crystal altered to produce this pattern when illuminated.
These low-intelligence probes were sent out by the hundreds by an unknown race. They have no crew or weapons. Their seamless hull suggests they are (at least partially) organic ships. The probes are programmed to seek out intelligent life.
Once a suitable subject is found, the probe transmits alphabet and language codes (in all possibility not even the tongue of the Berserkers). If the subject figures out the code within a set amount of time, the probe transmits a series of over 600 questions relating to physics, quantum mechanics, molecular biology, genetics, and other advanced sciences. In return for correct answers, the probe promises to give the subject cures for every known disease, improved jump gate data and other advanced technology; if the subject fails to answer correctly, the probe will self-destruct with the force of 500 thousand megatons.
The subjects have twenty-four hours to respond. Unknown to the victims, the probe will detonate if the correct answers are given, failure to answer will prompt the probe to move on to another target.
In the event that the probe queries beings living on a planet, the blast is generally sufficient to wreak havoc with most incoming and outgoing communication systems (also further damaging the planet's ecosystem by throwing up a dust curtain) giving the Berserkers enough time to send more probe ships and finish the job.
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I retain the copyright on all original parts, 3rd party articles are credited where known, and (c) remains with author unless stated otherwise.
Where to get a new copy of this document, or the update file (order of usefulness):-
Please note: Manual will soon aquire more pictures, but
will remain as a single file untill the end of season 5, when it
will be split. The update will stay as text only.
Please also note: This document is not in anyway officially endorsed by JMS, Warner Brothers or anyone else involved in anyway with the B5 TV show. However, as this is a copyrighted document, I'd like to be informed if it is used by anyone in an official capacity, or is distributed beyond the realms of E-Mail, the Internet and BBS's (such as magazine disks, PD/Shareware, CD-ROM etc.). Please also keep this file together with the update.