In the episode Chrysalis, the Centauri and the Narn are in dispute over a territory in space called Quadrant 37. The Shadows' messenger boy Morden offers to help resolve this dispute in favor of the Centauri- Londo need only tell his superiors that he "will take care of it". Despite his fears that "They'll think I'm drunk- or insane," Londo sends the message- soon afterward the Shadows obliterate the Narn forces garrisoned at Quadrant 37 in a sneak attack.

What I'm asking is- had Londo given in to his fears and decided against sending the message, would the Shadows have hit Quadrant 37 anyway? Might they have approached another Noble Centauri with their "devil's deal"?

1 Answer 1


Yes and no. Quadrant 37 specifically - possibly not - but something similar would have happened.

The Shadows wanted to start causing chaos - their philosophy of promoting change and growth through conflict. This was made explicit in Into the Fire in season 4:

"It is the cycle," Lennier explains to her. "It is the force of history itself. You cannot win against that. We have embraced it. We've helped it along, by creating conflict. Weak races die. Strong races are made even stronger. Evolution must be served. There is no other way."

They were looking for both a race and an individual that they could manipulate to promote this a couple of episodes prior to Chrysalis in Signs and Portents, where Morden was asking the question "What do you want?" Londo gave an acceptable answer, but other responses would also have done, if they indicated the individual would be open to manipulation, as per JMS comments:

There would have been more than one answer that would have sufficed, but one answer was better than all the rest. Just the right mix of resentment, nostalgia, ambition, frustration and a sense of displaced destiny. Londo was hitting all those cylinders when he answered Morden's question.

The Shadows were not going to give up if Londo didn't succumb to temptation. They would have either continued to push him, or found someone else to work with, and the same or a similar attack would have happened.

  • 4
    They did find someone else to work with - in "Matters of Honor" they contacted another Centauri, Lord Refa, to arrange some matters for them. Later in "Ceremonies of Light and Dark" Refa describes the Shadows as "the key to my eventual rise to the throne", indicating that like Londo, he had decided to cooperate with them for power.
    – Cadence
    Apr 19, 2023 at 12:34

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