Soul Hunter (Babylon 5)
Soul Hunters are an alien race that feature in Babylon 5.
The Soul Hunters were a mysterious race whose origins were unknown by the younger races though they quickly developed a fearsome reputation as beings that could steal the souls of others. (Episode: Soul Hunter) During their history, there were only three times where they engaged in massive efforts to collect the rare souls of entire planets. These were considered magnificent efforts made by their order. Another such noted event occurred thousands of years ago when they felt that the inhabitants of the distant planet of Ralga were going to collectively die as a people. This advanced people who chose not to leave their home were noted for being the greatest in the cosmos as they consisted of philosophers, poets and artists that needed to be saved. The souls of a billion minds were saved in this effort and encased in a single orb to be placed in a whisper gallery on an isolated world. Unknown to the Soul Hunters, the inhabitants of the Ralga sphere were not dying but rather evolving into a race of energy beings and simply shedding their bodies which was what the alien race had sensed. Thus, they entrapped the people of Ralga unjustly within a sphere where over the course of a thousand years they were slowly driven mad in their imprisonment but unable to do anything about their fate. (Movie: River of Souls) One Soul Hunter were known to had visited Earth at some point in the past where he had learnt to speak the human language. The Minbari were one race that suffered from the attention of the Soul Hunters but they were only able to save a few of that species. Among the rarest was the Minbari leader Dukhat at the on-set of the Earth-Minbari War where they failed to acquire as the Minbari created a wall of bodies to repel the Soul Hunters. (Episode: Soul Hunter) Dukhat's death was the only occasion when the Soul Hunters failed in their mission when the Minbari repelled their efforts to claim his soul. (Movie: River of Souls)
The Soul Hunter charged with the task of acquiring the soul became unbalanced and failed in the gathering of other souls. This individual went renegade where he hastened the death of special individuals in order to harvest their souls. He became a renegade to the rest of the Soul Hunters who sought to capture him but he managed to escape where the latest encounter left his vessel damaged. This damaged Soul Hunter ship emerged from the Babylon 5 Jumpgate in 2258 where it threatened to collide with the station until it was stopped from collision by Jeffrey Sinclair. The vessel was grappled to the station where the pilot was taken to medical to recover. This Soul Hunter was creating unrest on the station through his presence alone where he escaped after encountering Ambassador Delenn. Another Soul Hunter emerged revealing that the previous one at Babylon 5 was in fact a criminal who had gone mad with the desire to forcibly take the souls of the living who now intended to steal Delenn's. Delenn was saved whilst the renegade Soul Hunter's was accidently taken into a soul container. Commander Jeffrey Sinclair told the other Soul Hunter to depart and that the rest of his order were not welcome in Babylon 5. (Episode: Soul Hunter)
This species were a race of humanoids that had their own atmosphere but could also process oxygen. (Episode: Soul Hunter) The abilities of this alien race were able to sense the moment of passing and were drawn to death as a result. One of their noted abilities was the capacity to cause other sentient beings to be rendered unconscious and in a sleeping state as a means of incapacitating them. In terms of nutritional requirements, all these needs were provided by their vessels and a Soul Hunter was able to function for several days before returning to their ship to feed. Soul Hunters had a long lifespan with four thousand year old members being considered young among their order. (Movie: River of Souls) They were said to be immortal creatures who were able to survive the passage of time. Soul Hunters had the power to steal a person's soul at the very instant of death that would be added to their collection. (Episode: Soul Hunter)
Members of this species were said to be drawn to death. (Episode: Soul Hunter) Their order claimed that they sought to defeat death and save souls from the oblivion of the passing of the physical form. The order of the Soul Hunters was disciplined and directive with them claiming that they did not make mistakes. This was because they claimed that there was no afterlife and that the soul only faced oblivion upon the death of the body. Such a mission was typically done for the rare souls namely those of poets, philosophers, artists and leaders. Members of their order were taught to go wherever the spirit needed them to go for their task. In these encounters, a Soul Hunter never harmed another unless it was necessary as to hurt them was to damage their souls. Sometimes, they took the souls of prisoners in order to interrogate them for information. They were worthy to carry on the mission but the immortality they gave others was denied to them. When united and determined, there was no means of stopping the Soul Hunters from accomplishing their goals. (Movie: River of Souls) They resented any assertion that they were steals as they saw themselves as preservers who acted for the greater good. (Episode: Soul Hunter)
Only special souls such as leaders, thinkers, poets, dreamers and even blessed lunatics. Once taken, the souls were enshrined and worshipped where through conversation they learnt from them. The loss of these souls and failure by the Soul Hunter in acquiring them was said to be a disgrace to their order. However, the order of the Soul Hunters did not deliberately hasten the death of the living being in order to take their soul as this was against their tenets. Those that did so were typically mentally unbalanced criminals that were sought and imprisoned. Soul Hunters were noted for holding a interest in the acquisition of particular classes of Minbari for their collection. Some did not like the Minbari who they considered to be a pale bloodless race and when looked into their eyes one only saw infinities of mirrors as well as reflection. The Minbari despised the Soul Hunters who they referred to in their language as Shagh-Toth who held them as thieves whilst the other races were known to leave the area in fear. Soul Hunters had their own language which they would chant as part of a meditative rite. (Episode: Soul Hunter)
Those souls of sufficient value that were taken were added into the collection of the Soul Hunters. (Episode: Soul Hunter) Such souls were stored in great whisper galleries where they communed with one another and kept themselves company. Within these great halls, the souls were preserved across the ages with the Soul Hunter's seeking to continue their existence in this state. On certain occasions, their kind would speak to the souls and they would speak to one another. Beyond this contact, their order rarely spoke to anyone and conversation with other species was similarly a rare experience. They were universally feared and hated by other races which they believed was because they did not share the Soul's Hunters noble mission. As they were rarely welcomed, their vessels were perfected to be able to attach to the hulls of ships and burn their way through in order to force their own means of entry. (Movie: River of Souls)
Souls were placed within spherical hand-held containers that glowed with a yellow light of the essence of a sentient being inside. Machines were built that were able to project an energy effect at others that took the soul from a body and placed it within the container. A peaceful death meant the soul was undamaged and led to a clean transfer to the receptacle. Soul Hunters were equally capable of ripping the soul from the body forcibly but this damaged the soul. (Episode: Soul Hunter)
- In the non-canon Darkness and Light Source book by Mongoose Publishing, the RPG stated that the Soul Hunters were an artificial race created by the First Ones known as the Mindriders who built them to allow Lorien's dying people known as the Speakers to continue their existence. This was because the Speakers had become a dying race but this option was rejected and the Soul Hunters were abandoned.
- Babylon 5: