Thursday, October 23, 2014

Third Age Thursday 6

"It was the dawn of the third age of mankind, ten years after the Earth-Minbari War. The Babylon Project was a dream given form. Its goal: to prevent another war by creating a place where humans and aliens could work out their differences peacefully. It's a port of call, home away from home for diplomats, hustlers, entrepreneurs, and wanderers. Humans and aliens wrapped in two million, five hundred thousand tons of spinning metal, all alone in the night."   - Jeffrey Sinclair

Welcome back to Third Age Thursdayan ongoing feature here at Unfettered Brilliance! These posts are written to keep you up to date on the writing and publication of Dreams Given Form: The Unofficial Companion to the Universe of Babylon 5. Please feel free to comment, re-post, tweet, plus-one, pin, and use all sorts of other ways to pass along the news that a comprehensive Babylon 5 book is in the works with publication ETA sometime in 2016. I enjoy writing these posts, but this one is just - different.

Yesterday, a gunman shot a soldier guarding Canada's National War Memorial and then grimly continued his rampage inside Parliament before being shot dead by Kevin Vickers, the Sergeant-at-Arms of the House of Commons. As I'm writing this, there is much that remains unknown - was the gunman working alone? Was this horrible attack motivated by religious fervor? Is this tied to the killing of another Canadian soldier in Quebec earlier this week? And what's "normal" going to look like for my neighbors to the North after this?

I'm sad, and my heart is heavy, so at first, I just wasn't even going to write a "Third Age Thursday" for this week. But then it occurred to me that actually, Babylon 5 has dealt with these issues, albeit in a fictional universe. In fact, isn't that one of the notions that first caught our attention - JMS's attention to detail in creating a universe that wasn't like ours, yet was similar enough that we recognized the battles, both internal and external, that we saw playing out? War, espionage, distrust, terrorism, even a simple desire to get one over on the next guy - we've seen all of this on Babylon 5.

Faced with the events of today, I don't know what Sinclair would do. Or Sheridan. Or Garibaldi. I'm pretty sure Ivanova would threaten to rip someone's head off and make sure they saw their own twitching body before she drop-kicked the head out an airlock. As for the nonhumans - well, I'm pretty sure Kosh would say something cryptic. Vir would dither and Londo would shout. Delenn would light a candle and shake some chimes while intoning solemn blank verse and G'Kar would sell arms to both sides. (Well, early G'Kar would.) 

I hate to say it (truly), but I think Bester might have some useful ideas right about now.

Humans. We often don't want justice nearly as much as we crave the coppery taste of revenge. It's a desire that can cause us to go on vendettas, begin multi-generational feuds, and sacrifice our own values. We'll eat our own entrails just to make sure the other rat bastard doesn't get away with it.

Be careful, Canada. My country's never been the same since 9/11 and not all of the changes we've made in the name of security have been worthy exchanges. Step lightly and look around before you act.  Please.

My heart mourns with yours for this senseless loss of life. I'm so, so sorry. 

The Pittsburgh Penguins played the Philadelphia Flyers Wednesday in Pittsburgh. Obviously, neither one is a Canadian hockey team but tragedy can sometimes overcome such pitiful differences. And yes, O, Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

No comments: