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Supposedly the (ancient) builders of the first jump gates are unknown. The Vorlons are ancient, and keep many secrets from the younger races. We know the Vorlons have built de novo jumpgate technology in the form of the Thirdspace artifact.

The ships of the various First Ones each have a unique entry/exit to/from hyperspace (first seen with the Walkers in Mind War, but most conspicuously with the Shadows' "phasing" in & out of hyperspace), yet Vorlon ships' jump points match those of jumpgates.

This suggests that the jumpgates were built with the same technology as Vorlon ships use, i.e., by the Vorlons, right?

  • I can't find info if it means before the first ones and they existed or first created but I though out of them it would be lorien's race. But I don't think there is cannon to back this. – Dreamwalker May 31 '17 at 7:25
  • Although the Vorlons have used hyperspace for eons, the B5 Wiki -- I don't have a quote from the original material -- sets the construction of the first known jumpgates very recently, at 4800 BC. That's after the last big war 10,000 years ago, around the time the Vorlons started engineering primitive species into telepathic bioweapons. A transportation network like that, so simple that even the primitives can use, makes an excellent weapons deployment system. – Gaultheria May 31 '17 at 8:09
  • In s5e18 (The Fall of Centauri Prime), when Delenn and Lennier are drifting in a heavily damaged white star, Delenn says "maybe we'll find a million year old jump gate left behind by the first ones". Not much, but it's the only relevant quote I can recall. – Ian Thompson May 31 '17 at 9:03
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Nobody knows who built the first jumpgates, but the current gate network is a modern invention.

The Vorlon building the Thirdspace artifact and having similar vortexes to jumpgate tech doesn't really hold up against anything. There are dozens of races just visiting B5 that use very similar technology to create very similar vortexes, and it is unlikely that any one of them created jumpgates. The Vorlon do have the advantage of being old enough to do it - but so do an unknown number of First One races. Current methods of entering and exiting hyperspace among those races may look different - but even among Vorlon and Shadows, tech progresses and is advanced, and we don't know if that's the way they always did it.

Gate design doesn't even really shed much light on the originators to begin with. We know from The Long Dark that jumpgates are like any other piece of machinery - they wear out, break down, or otherwise need to be repaired or replaced. So there's no telling if modern jumpgates operate in the same way that ancient gates do, or whether we can tell anything from vortex similarity. We do see occasionally different gate designs (there's a 3-rail gate in operation near Z'ha'dum, as opposed to the 4-rail design most often seen), but we can't say for sure whether those are recent or ancient constructions.

There is one gate in the expanded materials (Armies of Light and Dark from the Legions of Fire trilogy) with a confirmed 1,000 year old construction date minimum, built by Shadows and later buried on a dead world. At most it confirms special cases are possible, as the gate creates a point-to-point wormhole-type course through hyperspace to another gate. Whether it operates normally otherwise cannot be said, as it is only described open while still planetbound, and from the view of characters on the ground mostly looks like a vaccum-sucking dark hole straight to hell. It's destroyed shortly after.

So between average wear and tear, the sheer size of the possibility pool, and the lack of any good archeological examples, we don't know who first built jumpgates at this point.


Keying off of @Gaultheria's wiki link, I dug into To Dream in the City of Sorrows, one of the tie-in novels that's been stated to be mostly canon. It follows Sinclair and related characters after he leaves Babylon 5. While describing one of Catherine Sakai's exploration missions, the text diverges into a long infodump on the origins of an ancient jumpgate system.

She would be exiting hyperspace into normal space through one of the oldest jump gates ever found. Universal Terraform had estimated it at some six thousand years old. Though all the original jump gates had been built to last for millennia, they could be quirky and unpredictable in operation and she was poised to be the first Human ever to go through this particular one.
...
Nobody knew anything about the alien species who had built the original network of jump gates other than what the gates themselves revealed. The aliens had been highly advanced, and were extraordinary engineers. They had built the first gates maybe as early as seven thousand years before, and had apparently flourished as an interstellar civilization for some four to five thousand years after that – then vanished, leaving only their gates behind. No trace of their civilization beyond the gates had ever been found.

It continues on in that vein for a bit - to sum up, various races tried to explore the ancient gate network, but the original gates had no beacons so most of those ships were lost. This heralded the modern gate network as the original gates were reverse-engineered, replacements were made, and the beacon system established to allow safe transit. Humanity became spaceworthy right around the same time (the Centauri were looking for suckers... er, customers for their part of the network). Old gates, as shown, are still occasionally found and added on, but no one ever mapped the whole thing.

This does not explicitly rule out the Vorlon, but presumably what archaeology has been done on the ancient jumpgates would be able to match the tech to what little is known of Vorlon society, and nothing of the sort is shown.

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    +1; the Vorlon are to the older races - the ones that already left Lorien behind - as we are to them; children. It's unlikely they were the first to do anything. – gowenfawr May 31 '17 at 11:45
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    This is a good, as canon as it probably gets answer. It might be worth adding (maybe) that, from a more speculative side of things, the Vorlons have been known to 'help' the younger races. The jump gate network may well have been built by people who had Vorlon help, just as the White Stars were built with Vorlon help. That would explain why Vorlon jumps and younger race jumps look similar, while all the other First Ones' jumps look completely different. – Dranon Jun 2 '17 at 19:54
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No. The Vorlons were confirmed to use organic technology in season's 2 "Hunter, Prey" and the jump gates are anything but organic. While it's good reason to think the Vorlons built the jump gate (and the jump gate network) given that they have the ability to build jump gates a la Thirdspace, it's more logical that the jump gate network was built by the First One species.

The First Born were the first to achieve sentience in the galaxy, and the first to explore the galaxy [and beyond the Rim]. As the pioneers of space, it's logical that their pioneering efforts bore the jump gate network.

Additionally, when Sheridan returns from Z'ha'dum with Lorien, Lorien's ship, like the Vorlons, utilized conventional jump-point vortexes, as it traveled through the Epsilon III's jump gate ("The Summoning"). Lorien already has shown that he can travel non-corporeally ("Into the Fire"), so it's likely that the ship he used was from a time prior to the First Born evolving to energy beings. As such, it's far more likely that the First Born built the jump gate network, which, when the other First Ones came into being and achieved space sentience, examined the gate network and either adapted to the technology (conventional jump point vortexes) or expanded on the technology (phasing like the Shadows or creating "lightning jump points" like the Walkers).

  • Don't forget though that the vorlons NOW use organic tech (like the alliance...aka white stars,...). In the past tehy could have used normal tech like everyone else (the third dimension jump gate was not organic as far as I remember as example there). – Thomas Jun 25 '17 at 7:17

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