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What is "Civil War"? (Originally written January 25th, 1996)

      You are holding in your hand Book One of the saga that is known as “Civil War”, although the war doesn’t actually start until Book Two...

Tuesday, 2 November 2021

What is "Civil War"? (Originally written January 25th, 1996)


    You are holding in your hand Book One of the saga that is known as “Civil War”, although the war doesn’t actually start until Book Two. However, that is not the point. The reason for the war starting is chronicled in this volume.

    But first, something else - the reason for writing this story. A couple of years ago I began to think that the Star Trek universe seemed a little too perfect, because everyone seemed to get on famously. This was, of course, Gene Roddenberry’s dream, of man living in harmony with each other. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking The Great Bird of the Galaxy in any way, because if it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be writing this piece now, but things always seemed too perfect.

    Shortly afterwards the satellite station U.K. Gold began showing Blake’s 7, a series I had heard a great deal about but had never seen. The premise was simple, a band of freedom fighters fighting against a tyrannical power, the Federation. After watching a few episodes I began to think of how I could integrate these characters into this universe I had created.

    My first idea was the perennial favourite, the mirror universe, used in Classic Star Trek and later revived for Deep Space Nine. The story would have been one of the U.S.S. Valkyrie entering a mirror universe and encountering Blake and the Liberator crew. After seeing the second DS9 instalment of this saga I began to think that Blake et al would have fitted perfectly with the Terran Rebellion against the Alliance.

    But that wouldn’t have solved a problem. The Babylon 5 universe was far from perfect, and since I had moved Babylon 5 a hundred years into the future I began to think “why should my universe be so perfect?”

    Then it hit me. I came up with the idea. Using the main villain of the Blake’s 7 universe I could turn my universe upside down, on it’s head, by having the Federation become a tyrannical power, forming alliances with other evil powers in the galaxy and having characters like Picard, Sisko, Sheridan and Blake fight for what they believed was right.

    But one thing stood in the way - President James Watt, the nearly immortal hero of this universe. Because of the way I had written him I couldn’t have him turn evil overnight as it were. Instead I had to get rid of him somehow. I had to find a way of getting rid of Watt and installing Servalan as Federation President, where she could slowly undermine everything the Federation stood for, form alliances with evil, mighty powers such as the Sontarrans, the Dominion and the Galactic Empire, and become virtual ruler of the universe, forcing the likes of Picard, Sisko, Sheridan and Blake to fight for what they believed in - freedom.

    And so it began. Taking a Babylon 5 story which would have been Commander Jeffrey Sinclair’s swansong on the station, and taking another Babylon 5 story, the “Civil War” sage began. Because of very welcome work commitments the first part of the saga has taken over a year to write. Before I found work the first part would have probably been completed in about six months. However, beggars can’t be choosers, and I’m grateful for the work I have now. 

    This saga will probably span many more volumes, as more and more characters, places and situations come into this universe. In fact it may not even be finished when the next millennium starts!

Julian Radbourne
25th January, 1996.

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