The Shadows History
LOCATION: Sector 900 - The Rim
AGE: 9 billion years +
TEMPERATURE: 12 degrees Celsius
MASS: 1.18 g
When humanity was little more than intelligent rat sized mammals scurrying between rocks, the Shadows walked the universe like gods. The Shadows were one of the first races to achieve sentience in our galaxy and their culture prospered for tens of thousands of years.
Little is known about what the Shadows were like in ancient times. Some records indicate that the Shadows first achieved Hyperspace capability as far back as 100 million BC, maybe earlier. Around this time the Shadows also became a major galactic power, exploring the universe and making contact with alien races. The first of these races was that of the being Lorien, whose race was the first of the First Ones.
The Shadows waged many wars with other ancient powers that included the Vorlons, Walkers and many more. The reasons for these wars are unknown, but some theorize the Shadows attacked out of fear of the telepathic talents of their enemies. Available data suggests it took the combined might of all the other races to keep the Shadows at bay. Records of the last Great War between these titans occurred some ten thousand years ago. In this war the Shadows were defeated, but not destroyed. Retreating to their adopted home Z'Ha'Dum, the Shadows enjoyed thousands of years of peace with their neighbours
For reasons that are still unclear, many of the First Ones decided that they had out-grown this corner of the universe. Many younger races had sprouted up on thousands of worlds and the First Ones realized that in order for these new sentients to succeed, the ancient races would have to move on. Thus many of the First Ones moved beyond the Galactic Rim, to explore the vast emptiness between galaxies. Several of the First ones decided to stay behind and shepherd the younger races until they were fit to control their own destiny. The primary care takers were the Vorlons and surpassingly enough, the Shadows.
The Vorlons and Shadows had distinctly different views on how to shepherd their charges. The Vorlons believed in order, while the Shadows believed in controlled chaos; that only through conflict could a race move up the evolutionary ladder. Though their opinions were dramatically different, the Shadows and the Vorlons agreed to not interfere in the way the other race influenced the races they guarded over.
Unfortunately, as often happens, someone decided that their way was the right way. Whether it was the Shadows or Vorlons who started the conflict is still unknown, but one side began to interfere with the races being cared for by the other. Thus war broke out and, to prove the other wrong, the Vorlon and Shadows pitted their charges against one another in a contest of ideology. Thus the Shadow wars began.
On many occasions the Shadows were driven off, neither the Shadows or the Vorlons point of view ever being confirmed or disproved. Approximately one thousand years ago, the Shadows once again began to mobilize their forces in preparation for another war. Vorlons and the remaining Ancient races attempted to deal with the Shadow threat as best they could. Unfortunately, spurned by their siblings, the remaining First Ones refused to become involved. Those who did become involved in the conflict, like the Walkers of Sigma 957, would leave the conflict embittered and feeling betrayed by both the Shadows and the Vorlons. In the end, it would be the younger races that would decide the fate of the Galaxy.
The Vorlons, with allies among the Minbari and several other of the other younger races, defeated the Shadows and drove them back to Z'Ha'Dum. Their victory came with a heavy price however, as only a few races, which included the Minbari, survived the galactic conflict. While the Shadows had lost the war of arms, they had succeeded in achieving victory in the fact that their philosophy had been more greatly accepted than the Vorlons. Following their military defeat, the Shadows realized that the Vorlons were attempting to destroy any and all evidence of their existence, hoping that by forgetting the Shadows the younger races would also forget their message. Fearing the Vorlons might even consider attempting to destroy what remained of the Shadows military forces, the Shadows hid their war fleet deep beneath the earth of thousands of planets, scattered across the cosmos. In the 2250s, Earth scientists discovered that the Shadows had buried several of their vessels in the Sol System. At this time humanity had almost no record of the Shadows having ever been to earth, save misinterpreted paintings of angels and demons fighting over mid-evil Europe. Thus, when an archaeological team unearthed a Shadow warship on Mars in 2253, they were more than a little surprised.
After uncovering the Shadow vessel, the organic ship began transmitting a distress signal. Three days later another Shadow vessel arrived, finished cutting their sister ship free and re-activated it. Unfortunate for humanity however, the research team was able to plant a homing device on the Shadow vessel before it left the Sol system.
After reviewing data from a long-range probe sent to investigate where the Shadow vessel had gone, Earthforce discovered the existence of a long dead planet on the outer most rim of explored space. Determined to find out more about the Shadows, high-ranking members of the Earth Alliance commissioned an expedition to the world of the Shadows, Z'Ha'Dum.
In the year 2257 the IPX research vessel Icarus, under the command of the famed xenoarchaeologists Chang, set out to find and make first contact with the Shadows, no matter the cost. The mission team knew precious little about their mission, and nothing of Chang and Earthforces ulterior motives for going to Z'Ha'Dum. All they were told was, they were about to make the discovery of the millennium!
Several weeks later, the Icarus landed on Z'Ha'Dum. Upon their arrival, the Shadows and their minions captured the crew. The Shadows had known of the Human probe sent after them, anxious to use the race of Valen to achieve final victory over the Vorlons. The imprisoned humans were given a simple choice: serve the Shadows or suffer a fate worse than death. A small number of the Icarus crew, including the young, recently widowed scientist Morden, chose to serve the Shadows.
As the other members of the Icarus crew were taken to be dealt their fate, several escaped back to the Icarus, only to be shot down while attempting to lift off. The survivors who had not reached the ship, were turned into weapon components for the Shadows warships. Thus the long drive to bring anarchy to the universe began anew. Soon the Shadows and their trawls began approaching alien races, offering their services to them and asking them a simple question, What do you want? Many refused, many did not. Among the races who ultimately, and unwitting sided with the Shadows, were the Centauri Republic and the Earth Alliance.
Slowly the Shadows began to manipulate the other races into going to war with each other, as they consolidated their resources. The Vorlons were, of course, aware of the Shadows actions but found they were powerless to stop them, else risk violating the long standing rules of the war which both races had set down eons before.
As the new Shadow war slowly approached its climax, it seemed that the Shadows were winning. Everywhere throughout the cosmos, anarchy reigned. The Earth Alliance was gripped in civil war, the Minbari divided, Narn defeated, and the Centauri were attacking every race in site. Every power in the galaxy seemed to be at war, too occupied with their own conflicts to listen to the Vorlons. Slowly the Shadows began to achieve the victory they had always wanted proof that they were right and the Vorlons were wrong. On the earth station Babylon 5 however, the Vorlons began to influence races into working together. This effort was spear headed by Captain John J. Sheridan of the Earth Alliance. Still, their efforts were too little too late, and the Shadows began to move openly, striking at targets in the League of Non-Aligned worlds.
This would come to be the Shadows downfall, as it provided the alien powers with a reason to work together. Unfortunately this reason was not as compelling as fear, no force among the younger races able to stand a chance against the Shadow war machine. On the behest of John Sheridan, Vorlon ambassador Kosh ordered a Vorlon fleet to attack the Shadows. For the first time in centuries the ancient powers waged war upon each other openly. The Shadow forces were defeated, but at a terrible cost, for the Vorlons had violated their treaty with the Shadows an all targets were now fair game. In a strike of retribution, the Shadows executed ambassador Kosh. This was the first Vorlon death in ten thousand years.
The war continued to go badly for all parties among the younger races. Then, with help from ancient scriptures from the Narn profit book of GQuan, the Army of Light uncovered the Shadows only true weakness telepaths.
Thus, at the battle of "Sector 83" the Army of Light ambushed the Shadows. Using telepaths Sheridan’s forces were able to bring down the shields and disrupt their targeting systems of Shadow warships, which used living beings as their central processor. Despite this hindrance, the Army of Light lost three ships for every Shadow vessel they succeeded in destroying. Knowing that they were at a point where all could be won or lost with a single gesture of fates hand, the Shadows baited John Sheridan to Z'Ha'Dum. Knowing it was a trap, Sheridan detonated his Whitestar along with two 500-megaton bombs on the Shadows capital city.
The war paused, suddenly and abruptly. The Vorlons quickly realized that they were loosing both the war of weapons and the war of ideology. Thus the Vorlons began destroying entire worlds to stop the spread of the Shadows teachings. The Shadows replied to the Vorlons treaty by attacking and destroying Vorlon worlds.
By this time John Sheridan and Lorien, the first of the First Ones, had returned to Babylon 5. Now understanding what was really going on, Sheridan massed his forces at Koreana Vi and arranged for both the Shadows and the Vorlons to be there. In one final battle the truth was revealed. The entire galaxy learned of the ideological war of the Shadows and Vorlons and, armed with this knowledge refused to fight.
Finally, after eons of warfare, the younger races decided the battle of ideas that the Shadows and Vorlons had been waging since before recorded time they decided not to choose. Having proven that they were now ready to lead their own lives without help or guidance from the ancient races, the Shadows, Vorlons and all the First Ones left our galaxy, never to return.
The Shadows legacy lives on however. With the destruction of Z'Ha'Dum, those beings that had faithfully served the Shadows down through the centuries found themselves homeless. Now these thralls seek to become masters of chaos themselves. Thus, the legacy of the Shadows live on.