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Galen, tech, and Crusade: Technomage trilogy spoilers


I just finished reading the third book of the technomage trilogy. In terms of writing, attention of detail, and overall structure, this is the best of the trilogies. The only reason I like the Centauri trilogy the most is simply because I find Centauri fascinating, and technomages seem a bit silly for me, like something out of a comic book. But this is only taste. These are fantastic TV tie-in books.


At the end of book, Galen achieves complete unity with the tech, accomplishing Blaylock's goal.

However, the Galen we see in Crusade doesn't really give off that impression. At the end of the book, Galen is not just another technomage, or even a great one. He becomes something truly special- possibly the greatest mage ever. In Crusade, he certainly is confident and powerful, but that's just typical mageacity (nice word I invented, no?).

In the episode with Alwyn, I would imagine his discovery would have at least been mentioned.

I know, I know, the book was written after the episodes were filmed. I was just wondering if this seemingly important aspect of Galen would have been addressed in Crusade, or even if it was and I missed it (I still don't think I've seen them all).

"You do not make history. You can only hope to survive it."

[This message has been edited by GKarsEye (edited January 08, 2002).]
You see that has always been the trick with adding on to an ever-evolving series, one with a big story arc.

*** I'll second your spoiler warning. SPOILERS MAY BE BELOW! ***

I agree, the points about Galen being very different at the end of the books, and the Galen in Crusade are different. For me it wasn't so much his joining with the tech, as it was that at the end of the books, he seems 'almost' at peace with the Universe. His discovery about the tech lead him to a new understanding of things. The Galen in Crusade was still very jaded and angry at the Universe over Isabell, which really doesn't jive with the end of the books.

The other thing I had trouble grappling with was the whole, destruction of the Eye thingy. Seeing as it was the core of the Shadows technology, it seems they would have trouble operating without it. Additionally mere DAYS after it was destroyed in the blast, Lyta and company visit Z'ha'dum to look for Sheridan and encounter the eye, as if it was never destroyed. Yea, people said there could be a backup system, but considering its components, that explaination never sat well with me either.

I guess bottom line, is that there will ALWAYS be small inconsistencies, and that we all have to accept them for what they are --- trivial. The bottom line about the books is we learned a LOT about the mages, their role in the way, their history, and it was a great story to be told.

'I don't believe in the no-win scenario' - JTK
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, arial">quote:</font><HR> The Galen in Crusade was still very jaded and angry at the Universe over Isabell, which really doesn't jive with the end of the books.

This is actually not something I see as an inconsistency. Before Galen's Big Revelation about the tech, he couldn't handle Isabelle's death (or Elric's, or anyone else). He didn't allow himself to grieve, to look the situation straight-on. While surpressing the tech and trying to control it, he supressed his emotions. At the end of the book, he realised that by truly joining with the tech, he wasn't an "agent of chaos," but an independant individual, albeit a powerful one. And, without the fear of constant destruction, he finally allowed himself to grieve, to deal with those he lost. In Crusade, Galen is someone who regrets and grieves his loss, like a "normal" person. The Galen from the books probably wouldn't even talk about it to Gideon.

The Eye thing is something I didn't even notice. I tend to gloss over the obvious sometimes. I'm such a doof.
I highly doubt the Eye that Lyta & co encountered was some backup or alternative defense. That would totally diminish the TV story. It had to be either:
1) The Eye rebuilt extremely quickly
2) An inconsistency

So is it really true that the outline for the books was written before the show, or are you just guessing?

"You do not make history. You can only hope to survive it."
That "seeming peace with the universe" may have not lasted long. Galen had only become at peace with some aspects of his life...

He no longer believed himself to be a tool. He no longer suspected that with each and every of his actions, he was unwillingly carrying out the will of the Shadows. He had regained control of himself and could decide freely. He could teach others the same, try to save their order from a premature end. He could, after a long while, face his problems and deal with them. The fact that some of the problems would be undefeatable became apparent later.

Matters of heart are not forgotten easily. If they can be forgotten at all. Galen could finally live like Isabelle would have wished him to live... but he would still miss her. He would still feel guilt and blame the universe for being cruel and unjust.

Secondly, many of the mages would provide a disappointment. Due to great differences between spell languages, many would have enormous trouble learning how to connect to the tech below the Shadow commands. Some would remain unable...

...and some would fight, scheme and act irresponsibly even after releasing themselves of the Shadow programming. Mages are ordinary beings -- and have a capability for conflict quite comparable to the Humans, Drazi, Minbari, Centauri, Narn and others. Ironically, mages might split up *after* the Shadows have stopped their meddling. Neither would all of them take the role of helpers and teachers. Some would forget their time as a non-mage and believe themselves superior. Some would refuse to help others even after the threat has gone. Galen would not be at peace with such developments.

The Drakh would turn up and start collecting remains of Shadowtech, hoping to become the new Shadows. Sharing the attitude that "like can fight like" they would gladly challenge the technomages, try to destroy or control them. The Drakh may have a powerful lure, possessing part of the key to creating new mages.

The galaxy would have trouble maintaining peace even with the Shadows gone. Soon after the end of the Earth civil war would come the Minbari civil war, the devastation of Centauri Prime. Skirmishes among League worlds would quickly restart, with the new Interstellar Alliance barely able control them. Then, the Drakh would get really confident after finding a Shadow planetkiller. Only a year after avoiding destruction, Earth would split up again to fight the telepath war.

How can you be at peace when the galaxy around you barely stays together? As recommended by Isabelle, Galen tried to help others to transcend themselves.

He must have been more than mildly pissed off seeing how little he could do, and how large a portion of other technomages refused to do anything.

[This message has been edited by Lennier (edited January 08, 2002).]
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, arial">quote:</font><HR>It had to be either:
1) The Eye rebuilt extremely quickly
2) An inconsistency<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

The Eye required none of the Shadows to operate it. It was an automatic system, relieving them of the duty of micromanaging little things.

I suspect that when the Eye failed, there was simply a temporary loss of control in all Shadow systems. Exploiting the fact that their enemy was blind for a moment, the Vorlons quietly launched their fleets and started preparing for full war.

Meanwhile, the Shadows made quick preparations for switching back to the old system. They took personal control of what was happening. The technology for powerful telepathic transmissions was obviously already there, or could be assembled quickly.

What was gone was the extremely powerful system of automatic coordination. They would have to switch back to manual control. They would immediately use all available communications systems to grab control of the fleets -- before these would become free agents of chaos.

While some would try to prevent the fleets from becoming free or destroying themselves (a Shadow vessel without commands may easily choose to destroy everything in sight, including another Shadow vessel) others would head out to take short-range personal control over fleets. Seeing the Vorlon movements, some would go and start building planetkillers. And some would stay, rebuilding or working on even more powerful weapons.

Eventually, after being relieved of holding the fleet together, one or several Shadows would stay in charge of planetary defense, taking over the tasks of the Eye. Their telepathic weapons would have plenty of power in the immediate surroundings of Z'ha'dum, but they would lack the attention needed to notice details.

They would immediately detect the White Star. Seeing the crew as something of possible value, they would force them to land. At the very least, they would get the current leader of the Alliance, an interesting insight into Vorlon technology and modified telepaths, a high-ranking officer from Babylon 5 and numerous other people.

But even if they would scan the minds of the individuals trying to find Sheridan, they would not learn of the failsafe. Given the Minbari way of doing things, Lennier would have simply set it and said nothing. Delenn, Lyta and Susan would not know of it. Lacking the massive processing power, filtering ability and attention of the Eye, the Shadow controlling the crew would have to limit its attention. It would direct the crew, but not bother with their thoughts. It might get distracted by a curious ship, a being between two species or a Vorlon telepath. Either way, it would not notice stray thoughts from a person not drawing attention. And after triggering the failsafe, the ship would accept no more commands - not before getting back into hyperspace.

[This message has been edited by Lennier (edited January 08, 2002).]
Inconsistancys are going to occur no matter what. The episode of Crusade with Alwyn is full of them. Galen deduces that it is Alwyn on Regula 4, but Galen should be well aware that Regula 4 is Alwyn's place of power. Along the same line Alwyn explains to Galen how he had lived among those people for 12 years I believe,having gone their when the rest of the mages fled. According to the trilogy, Regula 4 was Alwyn's place of power and he was there long before the mages went into hiding. These are just a few, and while they are fun to find and point out, don't take them too seriously, and don't let them ruin the B5 experience.

Excellent post Lennier!!! My head was nodding the whole time I read it.

I too look forward to story details on the conflict between the Drakh and the Mages. And oh yes, I believe the Drakh could have vital pieces of how to create the tech. If they had all the knowledge required to make tech, however, I wonder if they would make it for themselves? I suppose someone could make some case for not doing so as some kind of respect/obedience to the Shadows...if they'd wanted us to have it they would have given it to us. Personally, if I were Drakh, I would absolutely make tech for the Drakh!!!

Perhaps the Drakh have the knowledge of the RF signals to disable the tech.

All usage of the RF signals in the mage novels to disable tech was static...not mobile. I wonder why? Is it a design/physics limitation? Or, are there other factors, such as the signals would interfere with other Shadow technology.

I do not believe the Centauri trilogy provided evidence that Drakh do not have the technology to disable mages.

Lennier, do you recall if there is mention of a Drakh homeworld? Someone, somewhere posted something to that effect. It seems reasonable to me because I don't believe the Drakh were involved in the Shadow war a thousand years earlier. Consequently, their home world probably wasn't wiped out in that Shadow War. It could have been wiped out afterwards. Given the size of the galaxy and the ongoing discovery of new races, I think it highly likely that the Drakh homeworld exists, alive and well, post the final Shadow war.

I really, really hope that we get stories on Galen and the other mages battling it out with the Drakh!!! I want to see Galen use his Shadow ship to kick ass. And as someone suggested before elsewhere, use his ship to mislead, fool, con the Drakh on some daring direction of misdirection/deceit.

I want more conflict with the Shadow minions. Well, there goes my Shadow programming again. Two, three, five, seven, eleven, thirteen, seventeen, nineteen, twenty-three, twenty-nine, etc.

It never ends; it only changes!
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, arial">quote:</font><HR>Lennier, do you recall if there is mention of a Drakh homeworld? Someone, somewhere posted something to that effect.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

People have pointed out arguments in favour and against the idea, but as far as I know there is only one mention of a Drakh homeworld, in "Lines of Communication".

Discussing the possibility of an alliance with the Minbari, the Drakh emissary tells Delenn that they have lost their homeworld. Delenn asks if their planet had a name, but the Drakh translation device simply tranlates it as "home".

Therefore I suspect that they considered Z'ha'dum their homeworld. Their original home must have been elsewhere, but they must have either lost, abandoned or forgotten it long ago.

[This message has been edited by Lennier (edited January 08, 2002).]
Spoilers for Crusade (including unproduced scripts), the Technomage books and the Centauri books present here. You've been warned.

Crusade came out first, the Technomage and Centauri books later, BUT the outlines for these books (outlines written by JMS) existed before Crusade was put out there (as I understand it.)

I think the books went a little outside JMS' vision (as any book written by any author based upon the outline of another writer would). If Crusade had gone on for a full 5 years I think we would have seen quite a bit of information about the technomage shadow-ish tech and about Galen's special relationship with the tech. One unproduced script (I think the final episode of season 1 of Crusade) would have involved the revelation to Gideon that the technomages used Shadowtech.

Some things to note regarding timing:

The technomage novels end between late 2260 and early 2261. At the end of these novels the technomages have lost the ability to create new technomages.

Technomage 'initiates' first appear in the Centurai Trilogy between 2265 and 2267, presumably closer to 2267 than 2265.

Crusade (the series) takes place in 2267.

Put these together and you'll realize that the technomages appear to have discovered a new means of creating new technomages between 2261 and 2267 (at the latest). If you consider that there is a training period with a chrysalis before being inserted with the tech and that the initiates don't appear to be using chrysalis devices in the Centauri novels, you see the discovery probably took place between 2261 and 2264ish - the 'dead period' between the end of the Babylon 5 main series (minus SiL) and a Call to Arms, though this is not a certainty by any means.

Speculation: JMS wrote the outlines for these novels and started producing them before Crusade was yanked. He knew roughly when the novels would hit the streets. He may have intended to have the knowledge revealed in the novels to match and expand upon revelations revealed in Crusade. We can see some of this in the interplay between Galen's activities in Crusade and his activities in the Centauri novels. I think JMS was involved enough in the novels to make sure that they didn't contradict anything he intended for the Babylon 5 universe or the storyline of Crusade should it be picked up by Scifi (somethat that stiff technically *could* happen, but is unlikely considering Scifi selected to pursue a new series instead of picking Crusade up and continuing it).

I think that many of the issues regarding technomages would have been dealt with in the second season (and beyond) of Crusade including 'flash backs' explaining how the technomages rediscovered a means of generating shadow tech after the fall of the shadows. We have been told that a cure to the Drakh plague would have been discovered far earlier than the end of the series, but that other storylines (some resulting from the discovery of the cure) would work their way into the center of the series, much as the storylines in Babylon 5 evolved from a tale of a space station seeking people between the races evoled into takes of the Shadow Wars, the tale of the Earth Civil War and the tales of the start of Sheridan's Alliance - none of which were clearly present at the start of Babylon 5, but all existed in hints and mysteries by the end of Season 1 (Morden's appearance, the assassination of the President, etc ...)

Just some facts and speculations to keep our interest primed.

The views expressed in this posting do not reflect in a mirror.
Regarding the Eye's destruction and the reappearance of the Eye 'a few days later' when Lyta, Delenn, Ivanova, etc ... come to Z'hadum: Do you rememeber how quickly the Shadows were able to build their world destroying technology in the Centauri Novels? Their technology is millions of years more advanced than anything we know of or can imagine. It seems compleyely reasonable to me that they'd be able to repair/restore/rebuild anything they needed to rebuild in a short period of time. Alternitavely, the force that gets at Lyta/etc ... may be an alternative defense system.

The views expressed in this posting do not reflect in a mirror.
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, arial">quote:</font><HR>Technomage 'initiates' first appear in the Centurai Trilogy between 2265 and 2267, presumably closer to 2267 than 2265.

They weren't initiates. Gwynn, Kane and Finian were initiated the same time as Galen (Gwynn and Kane are even mentioned, in passing, in the Technomage books).

They are referred to in the Centauri trilogy as "cloister-mages", i.e. young mages who had spent all their full mage time 'cloistered' away in the hiding place, hence they had little actual experience and their skills weren't on par with a full mage.

"Isn't the universe an amazing place? I wouldn't live anywhere else." - G'Kar, B5: Rangers
Kribu's Lounge | kribu@ranger.b5lr.com
A couple notes:

When Delenn, Lyta and Susan visited Z'Ha'Dum, that was Not the Eye they encountered.
It was a Shadow! The real Thing.
That is what their "Energy state" looks like.

As far as Galen being "bitter" in Crusade, he still has every right to be. Isobel is still dead, he hasn't been able to fulfill his last promise to her.

And the majority of the technomages are Still in their hiding place, even though the Shadows have been gone for 5 years.
Evidently they don't have any desire to go up against the Drakh, either.
And lord only knows what sort of crap Galen has had to put up with from the Council during that time.

Even if the mages know Exactly how the tech is made (Galen did find out a Lot about it on Z'Ha'Dum), they are unlikely to do so.
What Galen discovered is that the Tech is made by altering (taking over) someone's Central Nervous System with the ShadowTech and then Removing it to be reprogrammed and implanted in a Mage.
Even the worst of them would balk at having to commit Murder to create new mages.

The most likely thing for them to be doing is trying to find a way to create a New version of the tech that Doesn't require someone to die.
I doubt they will have succeeded yet.
First, a bunch of them have to make the same breakthrough Galen did, then they have to learn Everything about the Current tech.
Considering the level of complexity the Shadow tech represents, that is going to take a Long time.
And, until the Mages Understand the Current Tech, they can't create a replacement.

If they had solved That problem, it would also allow Galen to unravel the secrets of the plague, something he Can't do.
If Galen had the cure, he'd hand it over.

Do not ascribe your own motivations to others:
At best, it will break your heart.
At worst, it will get you dead."
I too think that Lyta, Delenn, and Ivanova were facing Shadows at Z'Hadum rather than a rebuilt/back-up 'Eye'. Although, I could accept the 'Eye' as an explanation.

Generally, I think the Shadows could do just about anything...if they CHOSE. With Sheridan's Whitestar and Galen's actions causing so much destruction, I believe the Shadows chose to be more directly involved in their planetary and galactic defense, fearing the Vorlons and others would move decisively against them.

But, this begs one question. If the Shadows were either able to install a back-up 'Eye' or assume the role of the 'Eye' themselves, what was actually changed such that the Vorlons felt an 'unexpected door had been opened'. The simplest explanation is that the Vorlon's concluded that the Shadows would be distracted and in disarray and perhaps that there may be other reasons as to why they wouldn't be able to manage their resources across the galaxy as effectively as before the Whitestar exploded. This would enable the Vorlons to take more aggressive actions with less risk than before.

Also, as the Vorlons did not directly attack Z'Hadum and as far as we know the Shadows did not attack Vorlon homeworlds (only Vorlon influenced planets) that the ancient rules of engagement were still in effect. This means that there were still limitations as to what sort of weapons could be used by either and what targets would be selected.

So, the Shadow's proxy resources, the younger races, were especially vulnerable.

However, when Kosh had the Vorlons directly engage Shadow ships, that pissed off the Shadows because it was a violation of the ancient rules of engagement, some kind of direct confrontation violation. Or was this a violation? Because when the Vorlons were destroying planets that was clearly direct involvement. The Shadows responded in kind by destroying planets. One wonders, however, if this was done under the direct control of Shadows or Drakh, considerng that we learn from the Centauri trilogy that the Drakh are not only aware of Shadow planet killers but how to use ('hell they may have built them for all I know'). If the Drakh were using the planet killers at the direction of the Shadows then the Shadows were not in violation of the ancient rules of engagement as the Vorlons may have been.

What's fairly clear to me about this 'Eye' versus Shadows filling in for the 'Eye', however, is that we do not explicitly know what it was that they encountered. As far as I know, we're all engaged in speculation and supposition.

It never ends; it only changes!
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, arial">quote:</font><HR> When Delenn, Lyta and Susan visited Z'Ha'Dum, that was Not the Eye they encountered.
It was a Shadow! The real Thing.
That is what their "Energy state" looks like.

All throughout the Lurkers Guide on this episode it is referred to as 'The Eye'.

Lyta even says 'in her telepathic state'

"They heard us. They know we are here. The eye .. is looking for us."

If the Eye is looking for them, then it stands to reason it exists at the time of the episode.

'I don't believe in the no-win scenario' - JTK
Didn't Ivanova also say that she encountered the same thing when she was in the Great Machine? If so, then this has to be the Eye. It also makes sense dramatically: the Eye was introduced in an earlier episode, and now we meet it in person. Classic JMS style.

Anyway, what Lyta said is enough to tell us that it was, indeed, the Eye. Besides, we can't go around changing the show to reflect what was written in the books. If there is an inconsistency, so be it. It's fine.

As I have been doing too much of lately, I agree with Recoil.

"You do not make history. You can only hope to survive it."
The backup Eye may not be as powerful as the main Eye. Also, its operator will not have as much experience.

The real world equivalent of the destruction of the Shadow Eye is the destruction of the Pentagon, by the third plane, on September 11th. Before nightfall the US had the backup strategic headquarters up and running. The military campaign against Afghanistan was underway whilst they were still cleaning up the mess in the Pentagon.

I would therefor expect the Shadows to have a backup Eye in operation within the month it took Lyta, Delenn and Ivanova to arrive.

Andrew Swallow
How does Lyta know its the "Eye"? I ask that because when characters in a story make conclusions and suppositions, they're always subject to error or misinterpretation.

Did the "Eye" introduce itself to Lyta? Hi Lyta; I'm the "Eye". Or, maybe Lyta learned of the existance of the "Eye" from the Vorlons and she inferred that what she was perceiving at Z'Hadum was the "Eye".

I'm not a lawyer, a scientiest, and no longer an engineer. However, I am always trying to identify assumptions and premises so that they can be tested.

Frankly, I don't care much whether it is the "Eye" back up again or if Shadows are filling in temporarily.



It never ends; it only changes!
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, arial">quote:</font><HR>How does Lyta know its the "Eye"? <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

The Vorlons programmed or trained her to know a lot about Shadow tech. Remember how she identified the control pods that the Drazi were stealing? She was supposed to be the ultimate Vorlon weapon.

"You do not make history. You can only hope to survive it."
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, arial">quote:</font><HR> jms comments about "Voices of Authority":
Yes, those were Shadow eyes; and it was probably a raven on the poster.

Can the machine see everywhere, or can it be blocked?
No, Varn's people aren't first ones... and the machine can be blocked.

My sense was that basically Ivanova jumped onto the wrong path as she fled... the Shadows were in proximity, and she ended up briefly on their path, which took her to the interception of the transmission.

jms comments about "The Hour of the Wolf"

And yes, this season I was noticing that eyes have become a predominant image, from Lyta to the shadows to Lorien to some stuff coming in the next few episodes... funny, how this stuff creeps up on you.

Check out "Voices of Authority." You've seen those eyes before.

The eyes were a projection of a shadow face, as you can note in the main title.

Any connection between the Shadows speaking with a father's voice and Kosh appearing to Sheridan as his dad?
I figured that they would both tend to use a patriarchal influence, which would tie into so many races having that system.

So, if JMS says they were Shadows, I'll take his word for it.
After all, He was There.

Do not ascribe your own motivations to others:
At best, it will break your heart.
At worst, it will get you dead."
He didnt say they were shadows, he said they were a PROJECTION of a Shadow face. Wouldn't it follow that this 'Eye' which seems to be the core of Shadow technology represent itself in the appearance of its creators, the Shadows? Im not going to really get into a big debate here, because people can believe what they want to, and a large percentage of B5 is all about peoples interpretations of events and beliefs. But there is probably a good reason that Lyta referred to it as 'The Eye' in the episode. It was telling her what it was. From what was in the Mage books that follows. And no, I dont buy into the whole 'backup Eye' stuff. That was all conjured up by B5 fans after reading the Mage books and discovering the same discrepancy as I saw as well.

My OPINION: There is no 'backup Eye' it was merely an oversight/inconsistency with a TV episode JMS wrote, and a trilogy that an outside author wrote from an OUTLINE (which doesnt contain every specific detail) that JMS wrote. Stuff like this happens, and it really isnt a big deal. What is important is that

a) B5 was a great story
b) The mage trilogy was a great story as well

If the two dont mesh %100, Im not one to nitpick, Im more than willing to write it off as a minor inconsistency and enjoy both for what they were.

'I don't believe in the no-win scenario' - JTK

[This message has been edited by Recoil (edited January 09, 2002).]

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