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Old September 24th 19, 20:54   #11
Springer
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Re: Severed Dreams Questions

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Originally Posted by KoshFan View Post

What's more, there's an excellent chance we already know the first Shadow agent on Minbar: Deathwalker herself. It's long been suspected the Dilgar were in contact with the Shadows. She might have been the conduit for Shadow influence. And moreover, if she got onto the planet without being noticed, others could be brought in, too -- although almost certainly not without inside help, as Deathwalker had.
How would that work with the timeline though? The crew of the Icarus awoke the Shadows in 2256/57, the Dilgar War was the 2230s, and Deathwalker developed her anti-agapic serum and took shelter with the Wind Swords presumably not long after. I guess she could have been working with the Drakh, but what would be the Drakh's motivation if the Shadows were sleeping? (For that matter, why did it take the crew of the Icarus to wake up the Shadows, and not the Drakh?)

Though there is something in the back of my mind saying that the Shadows were already awake before the Icarus. Maybe I got that from one of the novels? Or have I imagined it?\

Another question: it seems highly suspicious that the Dilgar's star went supernova so soon after the war. Perhaps it wasn't a purely natural event, like the Sun being destroyed in The Deconstruction of Falling Stars?
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Old September 25th 19, 00:10   #12
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Re: Severed Dreams Questions

I have long thought that the very idea of the Shadows being asleep, or by some accounts elsewhere, thus needing to 'return to Z'ha'dum, was vague. Probably because it was written to be vague. JMS has stated that when you define something, you kill it.



Here's what he wrote (B5historyman posted the links under the thread 'The Wind Swords') about the Dilgar, the Shadows, and the Kosh assassination plot:


August 1, 1997

Joe posted this early this morning... I figured there'd be a real
interest for this one here...

********************

Sigh...look, if this is *really* going to be an issue, and I guess
I'm going to have to deal with this sooner or later....
In any book or script, there's the list of things you know you have
to hit along the way, and the thing you'd like to hit if you have time
and circumstance. Kind of like visiting a big city. You may know you
have to go by the Natural History Museum, the Civil War Memorial, and a
few other places, and if you have time, places A, B and C. This thread
falls under the latter category.
It doesn't need to be known to accept the sequence of actions as
shown in the pilot and series, and there was never really a chance to get
into it. But if you *have* to know....
Deathwalker was sheltered by the Wind Swords, the same radical
military caste clan responsible for the attempt on Kosh. Deathwalker
was one of the Dilgar, who spread chaos and destruction in the course of
their war, wiping out whole worlds.
Survival of the fittest. Sound familiar?
Though the Shadows were still "sleeping," their servants were still
out and about, doing a lot of their work. There was a Dilgar/Shadow
connection in this way... and if anyone's going to know how to poison a
Vorlon, it's a Shadow. This information would've gotten to the Wind
Swords through Deathwalker during her years of protection by them, and
when they decided to sabotage B5 and undermine the whole thing, why not
use this to turn the Vorlons against the whole operation? (Since only
the Shadows would have this information, and if they could make it
appear that Sinclair was responsible, that would mean Sinclair = Shadow
agent, and that, as they say, is that... though that's one reason why
they wanted or would have preferred to bring him back to Vorlon to check
this out more carefully.)
Remember that direct conflict and violence between the Vorlons and
the Shadows was prohibited by their agreements...they could act only
through intermediaries (until Kosh took it to a new level and all the
gloves came off).
The only problem with the above is fitting it into an episode a
year or two after the fact and having it not look like a mass of
exposition tacked on. You can't just go, "Oh, by the way, you remember
when...."
It was the sort of thing I couldn't work into an episode that long
afterward, and always figured it was okay to leave that one tiny little
corner unexplained in detail, though I felt there was enough there to
hang together without it. But there was always a logic behind it.
jms


I disagree with his reasoning for never returning to this subject, I have faith that he could have included it in another story and made it interesting and satisfying. His extraordinary flexibility in reworking the Babylon 4 storyline proved this, and it came together beautifully. A Minbari defector coming to the station to spill the story on what really happened after Deathwalker arrived on Minbar, with the Wind Swords hot on his heels and ready to attack Babylon 5, for instance. The way JMS left it dangling after The Gathering makes it seem like everyone just stopped paying attention. Don't people talk about major events that have happened in their lives? 'Do you guys remember when the Vorlon fleet showed up and almost destroyed the station and killed us all? Wow, that was quite a day, really exciting, I think there was an explosion, too, the station spun off its axis and I hit my funny bone on a bulkhead, ouch! Whatever happened with that, what was the story with that Minbari assassin?' And then Stan's dad from South Park shows up and says 'Huh? I don't know, he moved away or something,' and drops the subject. The Gathering was not one of my favorite B5 projects, partly because it feels incomplete. But digging into the assassination plot has made it more interesting for me. Once again, important things in B5 happening behind the scenes.



The Dilgar star going nova could be artificial, the Drakh covering their tracks, or punishing the Dilgar for their failure. Or it could have been a natural event, an opportunity seized upon by the Drakh (or whomever) to force the Dilgar into action, in this case an aggressive war against the League worlds. 'If you don't launch a war against your neighbors, you will all die. We know the way.' The Shadows and their servants certainly knew a thing or two about leverage.


Oh, I miss it so.



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Old September 25th 19, 03:55   #13
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Re: Severed Dreams Questions

Love the discussion. Just a quick note on the Dilgar Supernova. I think another possibility could be that they caused it themselves. We know Deathwalker was into radical experimentation. What if one of her ideas for a weapon did something to their sun? Just putting it out there, but my favorite idea might be the Drakh doing it as punishment or to cover their tracks.
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Old September 25th 19, 21:36   #14
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Re: Severed Dreams Questions

I was just remembering Deathwalker's performance, Sarah Douglas was terrific. How imperious, cruel, bloody-minded and sure she was. Predatory, remorseless. Talia Winters was like that as well, once her Control personality was activated in Divided Loyalties. Both of them were elegant and near-rabid at once. Talia was shown being fed into a large Shadow tech machine on Mars in the comic, along with many other subjects, probably telepaths, at a base seemingly run by Psi Corps. A Shadow warship hovers above them all the while. Maybe the Shadows' servants used this technology to turn ordinary Dilgar into monsters, as they did with Talia, to better serve their nefarious needs?

The level of support the Dilgar received from Shadow agents is totally unknown. They could have facilitated Deathwalker's escape from justice at the hands of Earthforce or the League worlds. If they did, it would indicate that her survival was important to them, to their ongoing mission, spreading war and chaos, survival of the fittest. No other Dilgar are known to have survived their star going nova, no other traces of their civilization are known to remain, just her, and whatever tech she took with her. And that seems to be the point, to get that tech, ‘terrible weapons,’ as Lennier said, into the hands of the Wind Swords. They later offered that tech to the Grey Council for use against Earth during the war. We do not know if they accepted, or if they used (or studied) any of that tech, during the war or afterward. That the Minbari never handed her over to the League worlds for trial looks pretty awful, and suspicious. The Grey Council might be hiding more than their shame, they might be hiding the arsenal they got from Deathwalker. It might be quite significant. That’s the sort of detail they would not share with a diplomatic attache like Lennier, there would be no need for him to know, no benefit in his sharing that information.

But I do wonder what Deathwalker’s introduction to the Wind Swords was like, and who, if anyone, made that happen? This was well before the Earth-Minbari War, so their fanaticism certainly wasn't against humans, whom they had never met and never fought. But fanaticism can be useful, and possibly redirected by master manipulators. Perhaps the Shadow agents were already in contact with the Wind Swords, and had arranged for a bed to be made on Minbar for her once she needed a new home. It doesn’t seem very likely that Deathwalker just showed up alone at the Minbari homeworld with a ship full of weapons of mass destruction, introduced herself (the galaxy’s most infamous war criminal) to a clan of fanatical and probably xenophobic warriors, and asked for sanctuary. That would be a good way to get killed. I think she had an invitation, or an arrangement in place, before she arrived, and was welcomed with open arms. Perhaps the Shadow agents were already using influence with the Wind Swords or others on Minbar, and were thus responsible for the Minbari refusing to push back against the Dilgar during their brutal invasion and occupation of League systems. This huge campaign included mass enslavement, horrific medical experiments, genocide, and according to JMS, ‘wiping out whole worlds.’ This operation would require large amounts of powerful weaponry, some of which was then gifted to the Wind Swords, and perhaps passed on to the Grey Council. Would this be Dilgar tech, or Drakh, or Shadow tech? Those seem the likely candidates. Keep in mind that the Shadows were content to either allow Earth to find and develop their warship technology, or they just handed it over. And in the Legions of Fire novels, the Drakh covertly provide new weapons tech to the Centauri Prime Minister, fully intending for it to be incorporated into Centauri warships. Covertly sharing advanced weapons tech with younger races has been part of the Shadows’ modus operendi all along.

Are the League worlds weak during the series because they were never powerful relative to the major races, or because they have not yet recovered from the violence inflicted upon them by the Dilgar 30 years before? The Narn and their worlds were similarly devastated by the Centauri in the series, taking generations to recover. The parallels between the Dilgar and the Centauri seem pretty clear, both were advanced races targeted by Shadow agents and influence operations, and nudged into launching aggressive wars against other races. The Dilgar and Centauri were blamed for their aggression, not the Shadows or their agents, they remained insulated. But we really know very little about the Dilgar, their invasion of the League worlds, or much else about them. There was only one mention of them after Deathwalker aired, a quick line from In the Beginning, which told us nothing.

There is more to know about this story we love, hiding in the background. Will we ever get to see it? I know, the TV rights and so forth are tied up with Warner Bros. Outlines, notes, anything? It seems such a waste for it all to languish in JMS’ archives.

Raw Shark

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Hedronn

“Perhaps it is time to start.”
Kalain
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Old October 2nd 19, 15:24   #15
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Re: Severed Dreams Questions

A quick brief comment. Don't forget before the Earth / MInbari war began the Minbari were very reclusive and didn't really do much with other races. I had a whole argument that was against Jha'Dur seeking out the Minbari for sanctuary, but then I realized it actually makes sense that she would. Here was the race that stayed out of the war. Here was the reclusive race whom most feared due to their superior technology. She demonstrated that she wished to be with those who had power so it makes sense that she would hold the Minbari in high regard and wish to join them as well as believe she had something to offer them. Clearly she would not want her projects to fall into the hands of those races who defeated her own race so why not go to the race who stayed out of the fight even if it might mean they kill you. I still feel the Drahk had to facilitate the meeting or something based on the idea she wouldn't want to be executed for entering Minbari space or something.
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Old October 3rd 19, 03:09   #16
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Re: Severed Dreams Questions

It's also worth noting that while the Minbari were reclusive, I don't think we know that they were uniformly xenophobic. Everything we know about them is filtered through the war, and that's not necessarily representative. The telepath girl (Alisa?) was going to be okay there, at least, so it's quite possible the Religious caste was actually in the habit of taking in refugees. Jha'Dur might have played on that long enough to find the kind of warriors she was looking for.
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Old October 4th 19, 00:28   #17
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Re: Severed Dreams Questions

I think the xenophobia and concerns about 'purity' were limited to Minbari warriors. The Religious Caste tended to be more tolerant and enlightened. Keep in mind, JMS has said the Minbari are like the Japanese. Their society has its Samurai culture devoted to the study of warfare, and their more Shinto-like religious counterparts. And the unspeaking Worker Caste in between.



I am gearing up to watch Deathwalker again. I now think it will be most useful to regard this episode as a follow-up to The Gathering. But this didn't really jump out at me until I started thinking more about The Gathering, and the hidden motive for the assassination plot, which JMS only explained years later in an online forum. Apart from our main Minbari characters Delenn and Lennier, our first two instances of exposure to that race both involved the Wind Swords, and the storylines are even similar. In The Gathering they sent one of their own warriors to Babylon 5 to assassinate Kosh, sabotage the peace process, and create chaos. In Deathwalker, they sent their agent Jha'Dur (or ally, or friend, or teacher, or client?) to Babylon 5 to get her anti-agapic drug into the hands of the Narn and perhaps others. As Jha'Dur herself describes it, this would result in violence and chaos across the galaxy. This is quite a pattern to establish early on in the series, before we meet Neroon and the Star Riders clan, before Draal arrives and we learn about the Great Machine. What is missing, of course, is any follow-up to these stories, any further news, revelations or appearances involving the Wind Swords. But they were established right out of the gate as a major source of trouble in the galaxy, and they keep aiming directly at Babylon 5 with destructive intent. At first, they didn't succeed, and so they tried again. Deathwalker is a unique episode, sometimes seeming like a stand-alone story, but other times seeming like a serious arc story, with much to say about the ugly and unsettled nature of galactic history. I'm curious what else I'll pick up on the next viewing.



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Old October 8th 19, 04:23   #18
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Re: Severed Dreams Questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Raw Shark View Post
I am gearing up to watch Deathwalker again. I now think it will be most useful to regard this episode as a follow-up to The Gathering. But this didn't really jump out at me until I started thinking more about The Gathering, and the hidden motive for the assassination plot, which JMS only explained years later in an online forum. Apart from our main Minbari characters Delenn and Lennier, our first two instances of exposure to that race both involved the Wind Swords, and the storylines are even similar. In The Gathering they sent one of their own warriors to Babylon 5 to assassinate Kosh, sabotage the peace process, and create chaos. In Deathwalker, they sent their agent Jha'Dur (or ally, or friend, or teacher, or client?) to Babylon 5 to get her anti-agapic drug into the hands of the Narn and perhaps others. As Jha'Dur herself describes it, this would result in violence and chaos across the galaxy. This is quite a pattern to establish early on in the series, before we meet Neroon and the Star Riders clan, before Draal arrives and we learn about the Great Machine. What is missing, of course, is any follow-up to these stories, any further news, revelations or appearances involving the Wind Swords. But they were established right out of the gate as a major source of trouble in the galaxy, and they keep aiming directly at Babylon 5 with destructive intent. At first, they didn't succeed, and so they tried again. Deathwalker is a unique episode, sometimes seeming like a stand-alone story, but other times seeming like a serious arc story, with much to say about the ugly and unsettled nature of galactic history. I'm curious what else I'll pick up on the next viewing.



Raw Shark


"Understanding is a three-edged sword."
Ambassador Kosh, Deathwalker
Definitely one of my favorite B5 episodes. I sooooooooooo wish there was more of the story. I love the ending, but at the same time I wish it hadn't happened so that she could have become some sort of mysterious fixture in the series.
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Old October 8th 19, 16:14   #19
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Re: Severed Dreams Questions

The impression I had was that the Wind Swords would have remained a fixture on the show had Michael O'Hare not left and the storyline not been altered. I think the Wind Swords would have been leading the attack on the station that Garibaldi saw in his flash forward? In that way, Deathwalker (and the The Gathering) are like glimpses of the arc that never was.

I need to dig out my volume 15 of the script books and check in there. Anyone have a copy handy, does it say anything about the Wind Swords in the original arc?
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Old October 14th 19, 19:01   #20
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Re: Severed Dreams Questions

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Originally Posted by Springer View Post
I need to dig out my volume 15 of the script books and check in there. Anyone have a copy handy, does it say anything about the Wind Swords in the original arc?
Nothing specific to the Wind Swords, only the Warrior Caste:

Quote:
At the same time, the Minbari military caste — growing ever
more worried about the way this is going — stage a coup and take
control from the Grey Council. They order the exile of all
Council members, the death of Sinclair and Delenn, and a
resumption of hostilities against Earth.
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