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Old May 8th 07, 00:49   #11
vacantlook
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Re: The Techno-mages trilogy - answers & spoilers

Welcome to the board Pinky Narfanek; you've got a wicked screenname!!
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Old May 8th 07, 01:16   #12
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Re: The Techno-mages trilogy - answers & spoilers

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I can't believe it. I posted a detailed reply to 90% of this post, and it's gone. Argh!!!!
I've seen that effect, and it's annoying. I think it happens when one composes a post for long (long enough for the HTTP session to expire). As a precaution, when posting something long, I select+copy all text before I submit the post.

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Since the mage tech was grown partly from the mage's own DNA, that would be impossible unless you were also going to freeze the mages for use in the future.
Wow, and I had entirely forgotten that detail. Sure enough, that would speak very strongly in favour of a continuous supply of implants from their makers.

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No, the Drakh were flunkies, workers, drones. Any agreement would have been with the Shadows themselves.
Initial agreement, likely. Subsequent delivery of goods, seems however contrary to their secretive nature. Getting stuff delivered "as previously agreed" from a fellow humanoid like a Drakh, would be far less thought-provoking for technomage representatives in the deal (some of whom may not have known what they were messing with, or even known the cost of producing implants) than getting deliveries by invisible bugs from a clearly very different technical level.

The latter might cause people to ask questions, and Shadows don't seem too fond of others asking questions about them. They seem to prefer if others focus on what they really want.

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No, it's not. Burrell discovered a transceiver at the base of her spine, and experimented with sending it signals and in doing so, permanently screwed up more and more of her own tech. All mages had that same transceiver.
Another thing I had forgotten. Probably because it seemed so very unlikely that none would use it to defend themselves.

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Shadows did not incorporate their tech. into their own bodies. They used others for that purpose. That was for lower beings, not themselves. The trouble was when their weapons, the mages turned on them. Otherwise, they'd have been able to deflect Galens Spells of Destruction like Elizar did (for awhile).
In that question, I've always tended to gravitate towards a somewhat different conclusion, since even invisibility (not to speak of ability to switch material state) is a lot to ask from any biology. I've always thought that Shadows themselves were not fully biological creatures anymore... and suspected that somewhere along the path, they merged with technology. It seems a convenient explanation for them considering it a path others should follow.

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They don't dematerialize. They cloak. Remember when they were in Morden's cell? They didn't drift through the floor. They stood on the floor while invisible to the human eye.
Indeed, they sure seemed to stand on the floor. Yet how to explain the difficult problem of Shadow-sized creatures getting in and out of compartments through narrow, humanoid-sized doors - sometimes apparently several of such creatures, during insanely short time, while a door would be very likely blocked by a humanoid, or already closing behind one?

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I guess they're just really good at not bumping into beings who can't see them. (The comical aspects abound here.)
Comical aspects on the necessities of Shadow lifestyle on B5 do indeed strike heavy here. But to me, the level of comedy they would have to endure bursts all meters, and suggests one of two explanations:

a) these critters are fast as lightning, and can perform calculations / movements in a split second which humanoids take many, many seconds to carry out

b) and potentially, unless in addition to being extremely quick, they can somehow decrease their profile to fit through narrow spaces, they seem to have a way of going through walls

I tend to think option B must be true. Not only are Shadows fairly sizable personally, but a warrior creature of their making, which snuck on the ship Copernicus, seems to have accomplished: 1) ambush of Earth soldiers on the moon through whatever cover they had or took 2) getting aboard Copernicus without making a hull breach 3) getting off the moon to somehow reach Copernicus to start with and 4) managing to walk around B5 without apparent need to clear way.

I think the only way to explain that is ability to go (at least somewhat) immaterial, or at least ability to switch back and forth between hyperspace and normal space. If one manages that, standing on the floor, instead of halfway through it, for a conversation partner's convenience, would be a technicality.

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Remember when Londo had his two palace guards shoot Morden's two Shadows? They were invisible, but the Centauri PPG rifles killed them.
Another thing which seems to invoke a contradiction. If they were fast enough and alert enough to casually dash through a closing door sized twice smaller than them, in triplicate too... and casually avoid anything which could lead to their detection...

...then I suspect their perspective must have been seeing palace guards *slowly* raise guns, *slowly* point guns at them, and *slowly* depress the triggers, after which projectiles started, at *modest* speed, floating towards them. If those were the same creatures, and not taking drugs, I'd imagine the palace guards would have got their heads handed to Londo before blinking an eye.

If oppositely, they aren't extremely fast, but do go through matter, the question arises whether they can also "go through" an incoming projectile or a whole explosion unharmed. If they can "go through" multiple wavelengths of light undetected, can they also become transparent to multiple wavelengths of IR and gamma photons? Or a volley of neutrons, which are only particles too, albeit with standing mass? Or a volley of plasma, which is only particles - just particles with electrical charge.

And that would raise the question of whether Londo's guards actually got them, whether Sheridan's PPG shots really mattered to them... and last of all, whether the nuclear blast really mattered to them either.

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That was the Eye, which was shadowtech, not the Shadows themselves.
It certainly could have been the Eye. If one assumes they were quick to rebuild it. And they didn't seem casually telepathic on other occasions... except once before, when Ivanova was exploring space with the Great Machine, and once later, when they entered a telepathic conversation with Delenn at the battle of Coriana 6.

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Sure, they designed and probably built the Eye, and maybe it highly amplified their control abilities, but it seemed that strictly by themselves, sans their tech, they weren't capable of much, except invisibility and attacking an outnumbered Vorlon (another energy being) who wasn't going to defend itself (lest B5 be damaged or destroyed).
It seems indeed that Kosh chose not to fight, and likely because of unwillingness to neither leave nor destroy the station. However, it seems excess to assume that Shadows were in their casual state when attacking it. Contrarily, it would seem a logical expectation that they'd have extensive preparation, just in case Kosh decided to change its mind, and there would be a full-blown battle inside a breaking Babylon 5.

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It seemed to me that the Shadows did not value the individual Shadows. In that way (among others), they were the opposite of the Vorlons.
I think your assessment is right. They probably didn't value each other very highly. But their own hide, they did seem to value, for they didn't seem to fight their battles personally either.

Last edited by puzzle; May 8th 07 at 01:42.
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Old May 8th 07, 23:57   #13
KoshN
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Re: The Techno-mages trilogy - answers & spoilers

Nice avatar, BTW. Did you design it?


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Originally Posted by Pinky Narfanek View Post
The Shadows have shown some sort of telepathic ability (or at least the ability to force themselves into another's mind and take direct and deliberate control) and were probably insanely powerful in that regard.
I'm drawing a blank. When have Shadow sentients shown this ability? In the B5 TV show, they've communicated with Morden through their chirps. I guess he probably has some sort of shadowtech translator in his brain, allowing him to understand them. We've seen The Eye have a telepathic ability, but I don't think we've ever seen Shadow sentients exhibit it.

In the Technomage trilogy, we've seen Shadows control Drakh, telepathically.



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Originally Posted by Pinky Narfanek View Post
I prefer to think of them as having some sort of "collision avoidance" system that urges folks to move to one side in order to let them pass and then blank the impulse from memory.

It may not even be a consious ability or it could be another piece of bio-tech.
Not bad. I could accept that.
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Old May 9th 07, 01:03   #14
KoshN
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Re: The Techno-mages trilogy - answers & spoilers

Quote:
Originally Posted by puzzle View Post
Initial agreement, likely. Subsequent delivery of goods, seems however contrary to their secretive nature. Getting stuff delivered "as previously agreed" from a fellow humanoid like a Drakh, would be far less thought-provoking for technomage representatives in the deal (some of whom may not have known what they were messing with, or even known the cost of producing implants) than getting deliveries by invisible bugs from a clearly very different technical level.
"Casting Shadows" p. 126: Galen was under the impression that The Circle made the tech. So, to see Drakh delivering it, would probably raise some questions.


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Originally Posted by puzzle View Post
Another thing I had forgotten. Probably because it seemed so very unlikely that none would use it to defend themselves.


In that question, I've always tended to gravitate towards a somewhat different conclusion, since even invisibility (not to speak of ability to switch material state) is a lot to ask from any biology. I've always thought that Shadows themselves were not fully biological creatures anymore... and suspected that somewhere along the path, they merged with technology. It seems a convenient explanation for them considering it a path others should follow.
Hmm, that reminds me. The Shadows are energy beings like the Vorlons. The physical form we see, is their version of an encounter suit (See the beginning of "Invoking Darkness" when the three Shadows attack Kosh.), and that could be tech, which could be capable of invisibility. The Shadow version of the encounter suit doesn't seem anywhere near as tough as the Vorlon encounter suit (Remember what it took to destroy Ulkesh's encounter suit?).


Quote:
Originally Posted by puzzle View Post
Indeed, they sure seemed to stand on the floor. Yet how to explain the difficult problem of Shadow-sized creatures getting in and out of compartments through narrow, humanoid-sized doors - sometimes apparently several of such creatures, during insanely short time, while a door would be very likely blocked by a humanoid, or already closing behind one?
Pinky Narfanek has a good explanation.


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Originally Posted by puzzle View Post
And they didn't seem casually telepathic on other occasions... except once before, when Ivanova was exploring space with the Great Machine,
That was also The Eye.


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Originally Posted by puzzle View Post
and once later, when they entered a telepathic conversation with Delenn at the battle of Coriana 6.
And how much of that was Lorien? (I suspect it was 99.9% Lorien.)


Quote:
Originally Posted by puzzle View Post
It seems indeed that Kosh chose not to fight, and likely because of unwillingness to neither leave nor destroy the station. However, it seems excess to assume that Shadows were in their casual state when attacking it.
Casual state? They attacked Kosh directly, energy being vs. energy being. Remember the ropes of light? That was the Shadow sentient's natural form (like the Vorlon's squid-like form seen when Ulkesh emerged from his encountersuit and fought with B5 Security, the last piece of Kosh, Sheridan and Lorien.).
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Max Eilerson: "The story of my life. I finally find a city like this, intact, deserted for ten thousand years. Probably contains hundreds of patents that I could exploit and I'm going to die. I can appreciate dramatic irony as much as the next person, but this is pushing it a bit."

Last edited by KoshN; May 9th 07 at 13:18. Reason: missing right parenthesis
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Old May 9th 07, 02:49   #15
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Re: The Techno-mages trilogy - answers & spoilers

Eyes, Eyes, damn my eyes!



It's sometimes tough to tell, to my eyes anyway, just what is what in B5.
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