The Drakh are an alien race in the Babylon 5 universe. They were dark servants for the race of First Ones known as the Shadows. Though most other races assume the Drakh arose on some other world, they are actually the result of bio-genetic weaponry used on the Shadow Homeworld by the Vorlons during some ancient and forgotten Great War.
The Drakh species started out its existence as barely sentient reptiloids which eked out a sparse existence outside the great cities of the Shadows on Z'Ha'Dum. Approximately 750,000 years ago the Shadows were driven from Z'Ha'Dum once again, this time by the release of many bio-genetic weapons which wreaked havoc on the planet's environment. Many species died out completely and many more were mutated in strange and unusual ways. One of the few species to mutate in a beneficial manner were the creatures which would become the Drakh. Originally a mid-sized reptilian predator filling about the same ecological niche that the Velociraptor served on Earth during the Mesozoic Era, the pre-Drakh reptiloids were fierce creatures with relatively large brains, sharp teeth, lightning reflexes, and keen hunting instincts. In addition to these familiar predatorial traits, the pre-Drakh had something more. They possessed a rudimentary form of empathy which allowed them to predict how their prey would react to an attack just prior to the actual reaction. This allowed the pre-Drakh to counter the defensive tactics of their prey and, together with pack tactics reminiscent of Earth wolves, become the dominant non-sentient predator on Z'Ha'Dum.
The Shadows, with their constant wars and schemes to advance their cause rarely noticed the goings on of the life forms on their own world. Thus when the Vorlons finally roused themselves from their orderly intellectual coffins and struck at the Shadows in one of their great Millennial Wars no one paid the slightest bit of attention to the plight of the other indigenous species of Z'Ha'Dum.
The Vorlon assault was a particularly vicious one, utilizing a variety of bio-genetic plagues and diseases meant to shatter the genetic structure of the Shadows. Tailored specifically for the Shadow physiology these horrible bio-constructs had unpredictable effects on other life forms. Most died out-right. Some were altered into forms which could not survive but still lived, dooming them to slow and agonizing extinction. A very, very few were changed for the better. The species that would become the Drakh was one of these.
In the space of a few months 90% of the pre-Drakh population was wiped out by the runaway changes being wrought upon them. The 10% which survived were forever changed. Their already impressive predator's minds gained true sentience. Their sharp teeth and lightning reflexes became augmented to unprecedented levels. Their hunting instincts and empathic abilities were enhanced to the point that the surviving pre-Drakh established a group mind. In the absence of the Shadows, this new creature became the undisputed masters of Z'Ha'Dum within a century. Within a mere 1,500 years the Drakh civilization had advanced to the point of near-total control of the planet. Of course, the Drakh could not even begin to comprehend the great domed citadels of the Shadows. These they assumed to be the work of some long-gone precursor race. In a sense, they were right. They were left to their own devices for nearly 5,000 years during which time they developed technology on par with the cutting edge of Minbari technology. Their powerful intellects and inquisitive nature led them to incredible strides in technology and culture which would have eventually allowed them to become great powers if they had been left alone.
Then the Shadows began to return. At first annoyed with the new tenants on their homeworld, the Shadows soon decided that these reptilian creatures had potential as servants. Shattering the grand culture the Drakh had built themselves, the Shadows ruthlessly crushed the Drakh. Having little interest outside their own group mind, the Drakh had never gone beyond their home system. Their space fleet was negligible in size and was easily overwhelmed by the returning Shadow Battlecrabs. Effectively bombing the Drakh back to the stone age the Shadows set about the task of re-molding the Drakh into the useful and obedient tools the Shadows wanted. Setting themselves up as God-Kings to the Drakh, the Shadows neglected their schemes and wars for the next ten thousand years. During this time they molded the creatures into the perfect servant-warriors. Dispensing with the predator's teeth and claws of the creature's brute animal past, the Shadows enhanced their intellects still further.
Seeing their group mind as an unnecessary barrier to further psionic enhancement, the Shadows sundered the Drakh's group consciousness. Instead of having one another as a mental focus, the Drakh were genetically modified to rely on the Shadows for their selfworth and direction. They became perfectly pliable slaves to the Shadows, willing to follow any order up to and including instant voluntary suicide. Their incredible reflexes suffered as a result of this loss of initiative, however, leaving them no faster than their pre-sentient ancestors. Still, this was superior to most other early sentient species and was deemed acceptable by the Shadows.
The psionic abilities of the Drakh were increased tremendously, giving them the ability to cast mental illusions into the minds of other races, take physical control of another's body, communicate across great distances, read the mind of another like a book, and if necessary, shred the psyche of a foe leaving him a mindless vegetable. Added to this were impressive telekinetic abilities which, while limited in raw strength, had an extremely fine level of control. A Drakh could not pick up a 200 kilogram boulder and hurl it at a foe, but he could reach behind an opponent's armor, inside his skull, and squeeze his brain into pulp. Alternately, weights up to approximately 50 kilograms could be lifted and moved with incredible skill and accuracy. A Drakh swordmaster could wield his blade as well with his mind as with his hand and a well-trained warrior could present a field of telekinetic force around himself which would deflect many physical attacks. The Shadows created a caste system society for the Drakh which placed the Shadows themselves at the pinnacle of existence.
In the mythology created by the Shadows to explain the origins of the Drakh the Vorlons were cast as thought-stealing and soul-shattering demons who would twist the very fabric of life itself to achieve their ends. It was only a happy accident by these vile creatures that had allowed the Drakh to come into existence and act as servitors to the just and wise Shadows. The Shadows instilled a simultaneous loathing and fascination for bio-genetic weapons in the Drakh which has stayed with them to this day. While on the one hand the Drakh despise such weapons for warping them into things they were never meant to become, they are also drawn to such things as means to strike at their enemies in a kind of twisted retribution upon the entire Universe for what was once done to them. Oddly enough, it never occurs to them to question the fact that their masters, the Shadows, use such weapons themselves. This is likely due to the mental and genetic tailoring which renders the Drakh totally subservient to the Shadows.
Culturally the Drakh have an artificial society constructed by and for the advancement of the Shadows. Before the Shadows left for the Rim, every facet of Drakh society revolved around service to their dark gods. With the departure of the Shadows, many Drakh committed suicide, having lost their reason to live. Others rallied behind the Drakh leadership who claimed that if the Drakh continued the work of the Shadows and did not falter in their tasks that some day the Shadows would return to them and raise them up to godhood to stand alongside them. A tiny few, less than .001% of the population, went renegade. These sad souls search the universe for a new cause to serve. They do not wish to surrender to oblivion like their brethren who killed themselves, but feel betrayed and abandoned by their gods, the Shadows. As a result these few Drakh search for a new meaning for their lives. Lives which can be very long, indeed.
Within the Drakh species there are four major subspecies variants. The Priest Caste wields the most formidable psychic abilities, but are weaker than the other two subspecies. The Priests are also the only caste which can produce the dreaded Keepers. The second caste of Drakh are the Warriors. Large and swift, the Warriors possess limited psychic abilities, concentrating mainly on empathic combat predictions similar to what their pre-sentient ancestors used. They are also able to produce the most powerful telekinetic effects, being able to propel a 20 kilogram object at up to 500 kilometers per hour. Below the Warrior Castee are the Laborers which are the most creative of the Drakh, but the weakest psychically. This was a protective measure instilled by the Shadows to insure that they could never effectively revolt against the telekinetically more powerful Warriors or shield their thoughts from the telepathic powers of the Priests. At the very bottom of the Drakh hierarchy, are the Keepers. Totally non-sentient, the Keepers are little more than parasitic organic robots meant to render a victim completely subservient to the Drakh, and through them, to the Shadows. With the exception of the Keepers, all Drakh have a lifespan measured in tens of thousands of years. An average Drakh may expect to live to be 20,000 Earth Years old. A few rare Drakh have lived to be as much as 25,000 years old and one legendary Grand Inquisitor lived to be over 35,000 years old. Keepers, on the other hand, never live more than one century from the time of their attachment to a host until death. Death of a Keeper always means the death of its host.
Physically the Drakh are humanoid reptilians with three-fingered hands and an opposable thumb. They have heavy scales over their entire bodies, some of which are really larval Keepers on the Priest caste. They are uniformly stronger and faster than most of the younger races, though this varies by specific subspecies. When meeting a new species for the first time, the Drakh will often feign slow reflexes to lull the new race into a false sense of security. Though blindingly fast when necessary, Drakh usually restrain themselves and if captured, never exhibit their superior strength or reflexes so as not to tip the hand of the rest of their people. They are a warm-blooded species despite their reptilian forms, being comfortable in roughly the same temperature ranges as Humanity. The Drakh see further into the infrared portion of the EM spectrum than humans do, having "heat vision" roughly equivalent to a human utilizing thermal imaging goggles. Drakh bear live young and despite their tremendously long life span will grow to sexual maturity in a mere 75 to 80 years. Emotional and mental maturity follows soon after, with the average Drakh being considered a full adult by his 110th birthday. Intelligence varies by caste. An Average Priest will have a human-equivalent I.Q. of approximately 165-175. A typical warrior is slightly above human-average intelligence with the equivalent of an I.Q. of 120-130. All Laborers are geniuses, even among Drakh, having a human-equivalent 195 I.Q. At minimum. Laborer Drakh frequently go off the I.Q. scale altogether, with theoretical upper ranges of I.Q. 235 (The standard Intelligence Quotient scale only goes to 200 maximum).
The technology of the Drakh is, in many ways, the technology of the Shadows. While they do not understand many facets of Shadow technology, their Laborers have cracked the secrets of several of the lesser aspects of Shadow-Tech. These include highend cybernetics, bio-armored warships, and advanced weaponry centuries ahead of even the best Minbari weapons. Their infantry weapons have incredible ranges and have been observed completely destroying Earth Alliance shuttlecraft with only a few shots. Their ship-mounted weaponry is usually restricted to advanced fusion weaponry, though the Drakh did have a new class of super-dreadnought being designed before the last Great War which would have been significantly more powerful than even the Shadow Battlecrab. This was allowed by the Shadows since after over three-quarters of a million years of faithful servitude the Shadows were preparing to make the Drakh the vanguard of their future wars. Construction on this mighty warship never began, and its plans were stolen recently by a renegade Drakh.
The Government of the Drakh has changed little since the Shadows left for the Rim. They have been, and likely always will be, a militant theocracy which reveres the Shadows as gods. Every facet of Drakh life centers around the advancement of their god's agendas and the destruction of their god's foes. The few renegade Drakh have no unified government and are very much loners in the galaxy.
In many ways the military of the Drakh and the government of the Drakh are one and the same. Since their gods were so enamored with conflict and chaos, the Drakh culture was centered around their war fleets. To date the largest concentration of Drakh ships seen (by anyone who survived the experience) numbered slightly over fifty Raider ships with a trio of their immense two-mile long carrier ships in attendance. No one is certain where the Drakh base themselves or how large their fleets might actually be. Few of the renegade Drakh have volunteered such information, though the ones who have given estimates to the Allied Races have given truly terrifying numbers. If these renegades are to be believed the Drakh have a fleet fully one-third the size of the combined fleets of all the known races. If this is true, then it is only a matter of time before the Drakh launch a retributive strike against the races who caused their gods to leave them.
All Drakh are telepaths and telekinetics. The extent to which these abilities exist varies by subspecies. Priest Drakh are approximately equivalent to a P-12 telepath by the Psi Corp rating system. Due to their long lives, the average adult Drakh has a much greater level of skill and finesse than any human telepath could ever achieve. Telekinetically the Drakh Priest is much less powerful, being able to manipulate a maximum of 25 kilograms with any significant degree of control and being limited to no more than 10 kilograms of mass for fine manipulation. The telekinetic barrier that can be erected by a Drakh Priest would be sufficient to stop forces up to a heavy sword or axe blow or a low to mid caliber slugthrowing pistol. Drakh Warriors are much less capable telepathically, being roughly equivalent to a P-5 or P-6 in actual power. Again, due to their long lives they have the ability to acquire a level of skill and finesse with this ability far outstripping anything a human might achieve.
Telekinetically the Warriors can be terrifying foes. They can manipulate up to 50 kilograms and exert fine control over up to 20 kilograms. The telekinetic barrier of a Warrior is strong enough to deflect projectiles with the same force as a .50 caliber machinegun round. Unfortunately this does little good against PPG fire since the majority of the damage caused by a PPG is thermal, rather than kinetic. Laborers are the weakest of the Drakh subspecies in terms of telepathic and telekinetic ability. Their telepathic powers are roughly equivalent to a human P-3 or P-4 telepath, again with much greater skill and control. Their telekinetic abilities are similarly weak, being able to manipulate a maximum of a mere 10 kilograms and no more than 2 kilograms with fine control. This is of little concern to Laborers since this still allows them to manipulate small objects such as fiber optic cables with a delicacy and precision that no pair of hands could ever hope to match. Their telekinetic barriers are weak and ineffectual, being good for little more than keeping them dry in a heavy downpour or warding off annoying insects. Again, this is of little concern to the Laborers since they are almost never called upon to engage in combat and are rarely seen by anyone other than other Drakh.
Keepers are powerful telepathically, but in a very limited way. They are able to make themselves invisible by convincing all minds within visual range that they simply aren't there. This includes their current host who can only see them for brief instances upon waking or when stone-drunk. Keepers are unable to metabolize alcohol well and are thus easily put to sleep by strong drink. While asleep the Keeper has no control over its host, though this does the host little good since to kill the keeper one must also kill oneself. The other notable telepathic power Keepers have is that of acting as a telekinetic conduit between Priest-Caste Drakh and Keeper hosts. Through this conduit a Drakh Priest may exert its wishes upon the Keeper-Host as well as communicate with the Keeper-Host over great distances. In many ways, a Keeper is little more than an independent biological extension of the Priest. Keepers use their telekinetic abilities to attach themselves to their host, their limbs being much too frail to move their bodies without aid. Once attached the Keeper will use its powers to defend itself from harm as best it can, but being of limited intellect, rarely extends this protection to its host.