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Old August 15 2009, 09:10 PM   #1
DigificWriter
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The aliens of Babylon 5 in the ST universe

Wasn't quite sure where to put this, since it deals with both Star Trek as well as the unrelated Sci-Fi series Babylon 5, but I was wondering something:
Even though the universe in which Babylon 5 is set is distinctly different from that of Star Trek, would there be places for the 4 primary alien races of B5's universe (the Centauri, the Narn, the Minbari, and the Vorlons) in ST's universe? If so, where would they come from, and how would they interact with the other alien races of the ST universe? What, if anything, would change about their socio-political structures and strategies? What about their technologies and the use thereof?
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Old August 15 2009, 10:51 PM   #2
Pemmer Harge
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Re: The aliens of Babylon 5 in the ST universe

I'm pretty sure that the Talaxians emerged when a Narn had a baby with (UK glam rocker) Noddy Holder.
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Old August 15 2009, 10:58 PM   #3
Pauln6
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Re: The aliens of Babylon 5 in the ST universe

Spookily this is exactly what I'm doing for a roleplaying game. Plus the key aliens from Farscape. No aliens of the week but an extensive set of varied and detailed alien governments. It's a bit tricky since B5 implies that Jump Gates allow further travel than conventional warp drive would, plus you have wormholes and borg warp conduits so the gloves are off if you are going to do an amalgam universe.

I intend to scale back Federation technology to TMP levels so the Minbari, Vorlons, Shadows, and Borg will be more powerful than Federation ships. You can even keep B5 itself.

Key players would include the United Federation of Planets, the Minbari Federation, The Centauri Republic, the Klingon Empire, the Romulan Empire, The League of Non-aligned Worlds, the Narn Regime, the Peacekeeper Territories, the Skarren Imperium, the Domnion, the Borg, and the Vorlon Empire, with various lesser players like the Orions, the Gorn, the Cardassian Union, and the Ferengi nibbling around the edges. All-powerful energy beings like the Q and the Organians would have to go, although I don't dislike the First Ones if they're just nibbling at the edges of our reality and the cold war between the Vorlons and the Shadows is great fun.

Technology is trickier. I'd probably scale back transporters so they aren't quite so versatile as the most important issue.

I've always hated the way Trek portrays its telepaths - Betazoids especially. B5 does a much better job of making them interesting. Psi Corps might be a bit too Fascist for the Federation, although we do have Section 31 so it's not too much of a stretch to have a slightly watered down version. Betazoids would need a complete re-vamp to be acceptable to me though most probably reversing their gift so they communicate rather than read minds automatically (a bit like Callie in Blake's 7)
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Old August 15 2009, 11:20 PM   #4
Anwar
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Re: The aliens of Babylon 5 in the ST universe

I dunno, in Trek entire species are telepathic while in B5 only select individuals are. That's the sticking point so the differences don't bother me.

I mean honestly, what are the Feds to do? Quarantine Vulcan and Betazed and/or force entire species to take telepathic dampeners even though they've done nothing but exist?
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Old August 15 2009, 11:30 PM   #5
Pauln6
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Re: The aliens of Babylon 5 in the ST universe

Anwar wrote: View Post
I dunno, in Trek entire species are telepathic while in B5 only select individuals are. That's the sticking point so the differences don't bother me.

I mean honestly, what are the Feds to do? Quarantine Vulcan and Betazed and/or force entire species to take telepathic dampeners even though they've done nothing but exist?
I was thinking more in terms of logistics. If the Federation has an entire race of telepaths that can read any mind (barring a few species) and in the case of betazoids, one that is culturally inclined to read minds without permission, it would make any kind of cold war really brief and the Shadow War really, REALLY brief. With Vulcans it isn't so bad. Their powers work largely through physical contact and it's a melding of minds, so the other party can also gain information. I think betazoids need to be reigned in or just abolished (I mean as a species, what can we really say about them - even after only one brief appearance I'm far more inclined to include Deltans instead).

Oh and the Federation does have telepaths like B5 - remember Miranda Jones? That kind of telepathy works story-wise. Betazoid telepathy as anything other than a method of communcation is rather annoying. Plus of course if a race of telepaths did exist and the Shadows knew of them, the Sacred Chalice if Riix would probably be all that was left of Betazed!

Last edited by Pauln6; August 15 2009 at 11:49 PM.
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Old August 16 2009, 12:05 AM   #6
DigificWriter
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Re: The aliens of Babylon 5 in the ST universe

Thanks for the suggestions, Pauln6. I was doing some thinking of my own, and here's what I came up with:

The Minbari
The Minbari have always struck me as being an amalgam of the Vulcan, Klingon, and Bajoran cultures, minus the over-the-top aggresivity and extreme emotional detatchment. Aside from the removal of the past aggresive history between them and Earth, they would be, IMO, one of the easiest B5 races to integrate into the ST universe, especially if you upped the tensions between the 3 castes of Minbari society.

The Centauri
Of all the B5 races, the Centauri are almost a tailor-made fit for the ST universe, as they sort of serve as a less aggressive and money-obsessed version of the Ferengi, with a little bit of the Klingons thrown in. If you upped the tensions between them and the Narn, you'd have a perfect socio-political climate, especially if you kept their 'wheedling' nature and established a quick alliance between them and the Federation/Starfleet.

The Narn
Of the four cultures, I'm actually the least familiar with the particulars of Narn society and politics, but, IMO, the easiest way to integrate them into the Trek universe would be to emphasize the antagonism between them and the Centauri, and make them a little bit technologically 'behind' than the other races.

The Vorlons
There's not much, IMO, that you need to do to the Vorlons to make them fit into the ST universe, save for creating some additions to their vast repositories of knowledge about the universe to include things like the Q, the Borg, etc. They also strike me as being kind of a cross between the Bajoran 'prophets' (aka the 'wormhole aliens') and the Tholians, minus the xenophobia.

In terms of technology, I like the idea of scaling back the usage of 'jump gates' so that they are only a Centauri technology, and one that serves the same purpose as the Iconian gateways (the tech could even be an 'offshoot' of the gateway tech, albeit less massive and powerful), and making the Narn less technologically advanced than the other races (although still spaceworthy enough to be a somewhat major power intergalactically).

The nature of the abilities of each race's telepaths would need to be altered a bit to conform to the way telepathy is handled in the ST universe, but I don't think that would have a major impact on their cultures.

Thoughts?
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Old August 16 2009, 04:03 AM   #7
Anwar
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Re: The aliens of Babylon 5 in the ST universe

Well, one idea a B5 fan and I had was that the Vulcans were a Vorlon experiment. Their teachings of logic and control as well as telepathic abilities were the result of Vorlon influence (though not a total success as they are still prone to creating emotional Vulcans and limited tactile telepathy). This would mean that the Romulans are actually closer to what the Vulcan race would've been without the Vorlons and thus they are ironically the "non-corrupted" Vulcans who should've been allowed to remain on their homeworld.
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Old August 16 2009, 12:02 PM   #8
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Re: The aliens of Babylon 5 in the ST universe

the The Vorlons - leave everybody alone as long as they're left alone, an extremely powerful but neutral/isolationist race, would easily crush everyone who piss them off (including Borg and Dominion)

The Minbari - in the beginning neither an ally nor an enemy, the religious caste would advocating closer ties to the Federation, while the warrior caste would oppose them, the Dominion War would finally lead to an alliance between the Federation and the Minbari

The Centauri - at first in the process of becoming a full Federation member, the application is then withdrawn after Cartagia becomes Emperor and the Centauri start to become increasingly imperialist, later on a potential Dominion ally

The Narn - in the beginning a new and expansionist power rivaling the Federation, minor skirmishes with Starfleet are commonplace, after their homeworld was briefly occupied by the Centauri (equivalent to Seasons 2 to 4 of B5) the Narn start to receive assistance from the Federation with the possibility that they'll eventually become a Federation member



Well, I pretty much substituted the Shadows with the Dominion here. A main difference is that the Vorlons don't get involved in the Dominion War. Why should they? After all, the Dominion is advocating order instead of chaos. So the Vorlons would consider the Dominion one of their favorite children. The Dominion should better never try to attack the Vorlons though.
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Old August 16 2009, 01:44 PM   #9
Pauln6
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Re: The aliens of Babylon 5 in the ST universe

DigificWriter wrote: View Post
Thanks for the suggestions, Pauln6. I was doing some thinking of my own, and here's what I came up with:

In terms of technology, I like the idea of scaling back the usage of 'jump gates' so that they are only a Centauri technology, and one that serves the same purpose as the Iconian gateways (the tech could even be an 'offshoot' of the gateway tech, albeit less massive and powerful), and making the Narn less technologically advanced than the other races (although still spaceworthy enough to be a somewhat major power intergalactically).

The nature of the abilities of each race's telepaths would need to be altered a bit to conform to the way telepathy is handled in the ST universe, but I don't think that would have a major impact on their cultures.

Thoughts?
The Centauri found a Jump Gate in their system. Maybe they were the first younger race to explore the network (like Stargate SG1) and set themselves up to charge tolls (e.g. a cut of any discoveries) except for the Vorlons who, for obvious reasons would not acknowledge Centauri ownership. B5 could still exist as a hub for people wanting to explore areas of space close to a Gate outside the normal range of a warp vessel. You could even have a gate leading to the Uncharted territories of Farscape.

For gaming purposes it is more fun for a player to succeed in finding something out by stretching limited telepathy than it is to fail becase unlimited telepathy is arbitrarily reigned in for the sake of the plot. I favour the Blakes 7 approach to Betazoid telepathy. They can send messages but can normally only read the thoughts or receive messages of other Betazoids (or possibly people with whom they have a close reationship). Empathy is less of a problem so if they could sense emotions that would be ok, although I'd probably reserve that as a racial trait for Deltans, and only special Betazoids (effectively a receptive Betazoid empath could be the equivalent of a human telepath). Most telepaths of all races would have rather nebulous abilities, below the levels exhibited by Talia or Lyta. That would leave lots of scope for narrative but wouldn't allow telepathy to ruin a good plot on a regular basis.
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Old August 16 2009, 02:04 PM   #10
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Re: The aliens of Babylon 5 in the ST universe

Alien races in Trek often express a particularly exaggerated and stereotypical expression of one aspect of the human psyche. From this point of view, the role that the Minbari, Centauri, Narn and Vorlons filled on B5 has, to an extent, already been filled on ST by other races (not necessarily one race, but their particular characteristics are shared amongst several other races).

For example:

Minbari - in B5, we see a race that is somewhat older and wiser than humans, and certainly more aloof. Their society is highly ritualistic and disciplined. Although not identical (they don't suppress their emotions, for a start) they nonetheless fill a very similar role to ST's Vulcans, who are similarly an older, more considered, more disciplined and highly ritualistic society. You'd have trouble integrating the Minbari in to the ST universe without stepping on the dramatic role of the Vulcans.

Centauri - the Centauri are an imperialist culture, complete with political intrigue and backstabbing galore and the complicated power structures that go with it. I feel their role on ST is filled by the Cardassians, who reflect their quintessential property of being 'smooth political operators' and to a certain extent the Romulans, who are convinced of their own self-superiority, and to a smaller extent, the Klingons, for their imperial power structure of great houses and what goes with this. Again, you'd have trouble I think writing a decent Centauri story in the ST universe without simply duplicating these properties of these other races.

Narn - As a warrior race, seemingly prone to occasional uncontrolled bouts of aggression, the obvious counterpart in the ST universe is the Klingons. Narn society include ideas analogous to 'honour' (they seem to be very keen to keep their word), and like the Klingons, they seem to be a very spiritual people but perhaps in a way that other races don't quite 'get'. Their spiritual life is full of great leaders of the past and history passed on from generation to generation, much like Klingons, plus their ceremonies appear to contain a lot of chanting and candles (!).

Vorlons - Now, this is an interesting one. As the supreme 'God-race' of the Galaxy, their role in ST is normally filled by a God-of-the-week. Sometimes it's Q, sometimes it's the Metrons, or the Organians, or Nagilum, or the Cytherians, etc. The Vorlons teach us things about the human condition by showing us how silly and childish we can appear when viewed by an outsider, pushing us to demonstrate our 'human potential' by pushing us in the right direction and showing us that we can exceed ourselves.

B5 made the Vorlons interesting by having one race appear every week, rather than a succession of these kinds of beings. Hence, they might be the easiest and most interesting to integrate with the ST universe. The others would get old and tired very quickly, because most of what you'd want to do with them in a story has already been told by authors writing about races already present in the ST universe.

Just by tuppence, anyway.
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Old August 16 2009, 02:45 PM   #11
Pauln6
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Re: The aliens of Babylon 5 in the ST universe

Verteron wrote: View Post
Alien races in Trek often express a particularly exaggerated and stereotypical expression of one aspect of the human psyche. From this point of view, the role that the Minbari, Centauri, Narn and Vorlons filled on B5 has, to an extent, already been filled on ST by other races (not necessarily one race, but their particular characteristics are shared amongst several other races).

B5 made the Vorlons interesting by having one race appear every week, rather than a succession of these kinds of beings. Hence, they might be the easiest and most interesting to integrate with the ST universe. The others would get old and tired very quickly, because most of what you'd want to do with them in a story has already been told by authors writing about races already present in the ST universe.

Just by tuppence, anyway.
This is true to a lesser extent but, for example, there is plenty of scope for interesting stories featuring Vulcans and Minbari - the politics and approach of each species is completely different. Plus there are many details about the members of the League of Non-aligned worlds (Gaim, pak'ma'ra, Drazi, Brakiri, Vree, Markab etc) that could be fuel for stories.

I've always been annoyed at Trek's tendency to have cool aliens in the background and then giving us another bump-head in the main plot. It was only really the latter seasons of Enterprise that gave Andorians and Tellarites a chance and I've loved Andorians ever since they appeared. It was an untapped mine and they totally blew it. No Andorians in the new Trek either. Fools! An almost entire absence of Orions was strange too.

If you mix and match I think you can get a large number of well-rounded races. You might get three or four with a suitable mentality for a plot but that will keep people guessing.

I don't see Vorlons on a level with the Q. They are simply at the upper level of technology beyond the Federation. So they are effectivley untouchable but not all powerful. The tendency of the Shadows to use re-programmed spies and the Vorlons general inscrutability could mean that a cold war plot involving any Trek or B5 races could run and run.
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Old August 16 2009, 03:00 PM   #12
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Re: The aliens of Babylon 5 in the ST universe

It seems to me like you could make it work, allow the two universes to co-exist in some capacity but that it would be too much trouble.

I don't think either universe needs the addition.
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Old August 16 2009, 05:58 PM   #13
DigificWriter
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Re: The aliens of Babylon 5 in the ST universe

Now that this discussion is underway, I'm going to share the 'impetus' behind my initial question. For some reason, I've always been fascinated with the idea of sort of taking other established sci-fi universes or stories and sort of integrating or retelling said stories as part of the Star Trek universe. I tried this once with B5 several years ago and wasn't ever able to make things work to my satisfaction, but the idea's always sort of intrigued me, and a few days ago I hit on the idea of trying to revisit the idea by taking the basic concepts and ideas for B5 and transplanting them into the new timeline created by the events of 'Star Trek', with the basic idea being that, in the aftermath of the destruction of Vulcan, a new home is found for the survivors in a vast and previously unexplored and uncharted region of space which is already home to the Minbari, Centauri, Vorlons, and Narn, with the Babylon 5 station being constructed as a 'support point' for the new Vulcan colony, as well as a sort of 'beacon' to the four races already inhabiting the sector (kind of like Starbase Vanguard, in a way), with conflict coming into play in the form of the Shadows and their allies.
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Old August 16 2009, 09:34 PM   #14
Anwar
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Re: The aliens of Babylon 5 in the ST universe

Well, in some cases this could call for a race fusion. The Bajoran/Narn situation with the Cardassian/Centauri would call for comparisons with the difference that the Bajorans aren't out to become galactic conquerors themselves in the aftermath of occupation.

Perhaps the Dominion are a Vorlon manipulation in and of themselves? The Founders said they formed the Dominion in response to extermination attempts on them, perhaps by the Vorlons who were afraid of their power?

The Klingons also share similarities with the Narn in that they got their spacefaring tech from occupiers (the Hurq).
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Old August 17 2009, 02:55 AM   #15
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Re: The aliens of Babylon 5 in the ST universe

Pauln6 wrote: View Post
I was thinking more in terms of logistics. If the Federation has an entire race of telepaths that can read any mind (barring a few species) and in the case of betazoids, one that is culturally inclined to read minds without permission, it would make any kind of cold war really brief and the Shadow War really, REALLY brief.
Uh, no, Betazoids do not read minds, they HEAR minds. And they only hear surface thoughts. To go deeper, especially to the private, would require an active deeper scan, and among Betazoids this is as reprehensible as it would be among us, and culturally and legally extremely DISINCLINED to do so.

Oh and the Federation does have telepaths like B5 - remember Miranda Jones? That kind of telepathy works story-wise. Betazoid telepathy as anything other than a method of communcation is rather annoying. Plus of course if a race of telepaths did exist and the Shadows knew of them, the Sacred Chalice if Riix would probably be all that was left of Betazed!
What makes you think Vorlons, Organians, Metrons and the like would allow the Shadows to annihilate the Betazoids.

It's more likely that if such a super telepathic race popped up, the Shadows would modify their ships so they are no longer susceptible than that the Betazoids get wiped out. Hell, the Vorlons implanted telepath genes in young species, whose to say it isn't Betazoid genes they used?
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