According to the episode “Pressure Point”, 30 years before the series, the Federation central computer known as “Control”; the massive computer banks that controlled deep space computer flight coordination, global climate control on Federation worlds, and communications relays; was relocated to a planet orbiting an uncharted white dwarf where it would not be easily found. (“Countdown”, “Star One”)
The empty “Control” complex was left on Earth to serve as a target for resistance groups. The new control center, named Star One, was protected in a number of ways. It was placed in the outer edge of the Milky Way Galaxy where the star density was low so that it could not be found accidentally. Servalan had knowledge of its location purged from the Federation ranks shortly before the beginning of the series. (“Gambit”, “Star One”)
A small crew elected to stay on Star One to devote their lives to maintaining the machines. They were rigorously conditioned against betrayal.
In the episode “Star One”, Orac speculated that an unstated time before the series (but presumably before the location of Star One was erased), a scout ship from the nearby Andromeda Galaxy had appeared. To protect the Galaxy, an Antimatter minefield was slowly placed between Star One and Andromeda as well as at other strategic points in the Galaxy. The logic of this precaution is debatable. Having traveled 2 million light years, an invasion force could simply have gone around and approached the planet by the same path as Liberator.
The quest to find Star One comprised a large part of the second series, with Roj Blake traveling all over the Galaxy to find the location and deliver a decisive crippling blow to the corrupt Terran Federation. It also served, according to script editor Chris Boucher, as a way to edge Blake into a more fanatical direction, willing to perhaps kill thousands in his quest to destroy the Federation.
An unexpected storyline twist was revealed in the second series finale. When the Liberator crew arrived at Star One, they found that the Federation crew had been almost completely replaced by jellyfish-like aliens who were using morphing techniques to look human. It turned out that when Space Commander Travis had discovered the location of Star One, he revealed this information to an alien invasion fleet from the nearby Andromeda galaxy. They had sabotaged Star One, disrupting the entire Federation, and a massed an invasion fleet just outside the defence zone. Vengeful and possibly insane, Travis returned to deactivate the defence zone personally, a “final act” against a humanity he now hated.
The aliens used Star One to create chaos throughout the Federation. Spaceships would crash into each other and severe weather conditions on many planets led to death and destruction. Supreme Commander Servalan took advantage of this in order to depose the President and seize power.
Jenna Stannis and Blake independently decided to fight alongside the Federation against the external threat. Jenna had Orac alert the Terran Federation Space Command’s strategy computers to the danger in Blake’s name, passing along coordinates to Star One. When Servalan received Jenna’s message she believed it and ordered a “Red One Mobilization”, sending every ship in the vast Federation fleet to Star One from across the Galaxy.
Blake, Cally, and Kerr Avon fought off the Andromedans and killed Travis, but not before one defence zone was deactivated. Blake ordered his crew to stop the sabotage of Star One so that humanity would have it to fight with. But 1 bomb went off killing the last of the human crew and damaging part of the station.
Wounded by Travis, Blake asked Avon to fight against the Andromedan fleet until the Federation navy arrived. Avon agreed and the Liberator stood alone against a 600 ship fleet sailing through the hole in the defence zones, with the nearest Federation units roughly 1 hour away at maximum speed. The battle cruiser Newton was the first Federation ship to engage the aliens.
The beginning of the battle between the Liberator and the Andromedan fleet constituted the second series finale.
The history of the Intergalactic War is uncertain. No canonical narrative was ever given. Only highlights were shown in the third series premiere episode “Aftermath” and hints of the battle were given by characters throughout the third season. What is known, principally from the episode “Aftermath” is that:
- A large battle took place near Sarran, which would presumably be far removed from the isolated Star One where the war began. (“Aftermath”)
- At least 3 major battles took place near the planet Obsidian. (“Volcano”)
- 80% of the Federation fleet. (“Aftermath”)
- Most of the Fifth Legion. The survivors landed on Sardos. (“Moloch”)
- Servalan’s flagship and Escort Group 9. (“Aftermath”)
- Star One was reported destroyed by Battle Commander Squadron 6. (“Aftermath”)
- The Andromedan fleet of around 600 ships. (“Aftermath”)
- The Federation flagship. (“Aftermath”)
- The majority of the Federation’s heavy cruisers.
- At least 1 Andromeda alien ship was captured. (“Children of Auron”) (“Moloch”)
- Ionic beams and ionic reefs were created that wreaked havoc with a ship’s electrical systems. (“Children of Auron”)
- The Andromedans, at one point, used biological weapons against humanity, an act that would imply a protracted conflict. According to Ginka the aliens engaged in pathogen warfare at one stage in the conflict. (“Children of Auron”)
- The genetic engineering experiments on Bucol-2 were developed further during the War, but abandoned before the war ended. The scientists, except Justin, were shot down by an enemy gunship as they were leaving the planet. (“Animals”)
- The Liberator was severely damaged and had to be abandoned late in the fighting. (“Aftermath”)
- The remaining 20% of the Federation fleet was scattered halfway across the galaxy. (“Aftermath”)
- There were at least 2 major revolts on Earth. (“Rumours of Death”)
- There were several mutinies by renegade military units. (“Volcano”, “Children of Auron”, “Moloch”)
- The series did make clear that the Federation prevailed but at staggering cost in ships and men. A Federation officer stated that the only reason they won at all was because they outnumbered the Andromedans. (“Aftermath”)
- The survivors faced other dangers, such as hostile natives and an organ bank stocking up its reserves from the survivors. (“Aftermath”) (“Powerplay”).
- The war lasted long enough for many independent ships, such as Del Tarrant’s, to get involved in the fighting. (“Powerplay”)
In “Aftermath”, Avon said, “It’s difficult to maintain a military dictatorship when you’ve lost most of the military.” The third series would show a severely weakened Terran Federation. Servalan had to buy her way off Chenga in “Powerplay”. Servalan would be deposed as President by the fourth series and the Federation would only start building its power back when new mind-controlling drugs such as Pylene-50 were introduced. (“Traitor”)
It was Tarrant’s opinion that the remnant left after the War was the Federation in name only. Disunity and anarchy persisted for a long time although President Servalan was able to reorganise and consolidate her power base relatively quickly. However she faced numerous challenges to her authority from renegade units and her administration. Alpha grade citizens such as Anna Grant (Bartolomew, Sula) and the commander of the Fifth Legion both declared their intention to rule the Federation. (“Rumours of Death”) (“Moloch”)
Space Command took longer to recover, and a considerable time after the War the Federation was still assessed as lacking the military strength for conventional military conquest, relying instead on the Pacification Programme to expand its territory.
Impact on the SeriesEdit
After 2 seasons of focused attacks against the Terran Federation, the pyrrhic victory at Star One shifted the tone of the series. It became more focused on stand-alone science-fiction adventures with Servalan and the Federation reduced to recurring villains. Toward the end of the fourth series, the Federation was rebuilding its power (“Traitor”) with Avon attempting to organise resistance (“Warlord”).
The war also saw a large turnover in the cast, with Blake, Jenna and Travis departing the show, Dayna Mellanby and Del Tarrant joining and Avon taking over the lead role, a point emphasised by his being the primary character in “Aftermath”.
The war was possibly the single most important event in the “Blake’s 7” series, shifting the series emphasis and seeing the largest turnover in the cast. In the fictional universe of the series, it was also a singular event, severely curtailing the power of the Terran Federation.