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Episode B6: Trial
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hobgoblin



Joined: 26 Apr 2005
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2005 5:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A previous war crime massacre, mentioned also in Seek-Locate-Destroy. He was suspended from duty pending the investigation when he is first introduced but granted his command once more by Servalan to specifically hunt down Blake. When he fails to do so and Blake outwits him, he is an embarrassment to the President and thus becomes a major liability to Servalan. She is determined to have him silenced (legally) so that she is not indicted in the subsequent Blake inquiry. Dead men don't testify...
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thunda



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PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2005 5:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

hobgoblin wrote:
A previous war crime massacre, mentioned also in Seek-Locate-Destroy. He was suspended from duty pending the investigation when he is first introduced but granted his command once more by Servalan to specifically hunt down Blake. When he fails to do so and Blake outwits him, he is an embarrassment to the President and thus becomes a major liability to Servalan. She is determined to have him silenced (legally) so that she is not indicted in the subsequent Blake inquiry. Dead men don't testify...

Thanks.I had to rewatch Seek-Locate-Destroy,I was under the impression that when Servalan said she was satisfied Travis acted properly and that his rank and authority were returned,that meant the charges were dropped.
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jdarwent



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PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2005 2:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The massacre of civilians mentioned in Seek-Locate-Destroy was on the planet Auros - this is the one that Servalan was satisfied that he had acted properly.

The massacre that Travis was put of trial for in 'Trial' was on the planet Serkasta.

Two different massacres - one he was 'cleared' of - one he was put on trial for.
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Janov Seldon



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PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2005 11:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't agree with the excuse or explanation given by Travis for his orders to have the civilians massacred, that it was all down to his training.

Blake says in S-L-D that he and his cohorts surrendered immediately but Travis ordered them to be gunned down (as he does with Avalon's people later). Killing people who are surrendering isn't generally taught at Officer Training college (unless you're a member of the Waffen SS or the Imperial Japanese Army).

As an excuse goes, it's good, but not good enough. There has to be something else that triggered it, something in his past, before he was shot by Blake as he was ruthless enough then.
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hobgoblin



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PostPosted: Fri Oct 07, 2005 12:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Who is to say the Terran Federation is not as bad as the Waffen SS?

Regarding the theory of two different massacres, I think the change of names was just a script writing oversight!
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thunda



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PostPosted: Fri Oct 07, 2005 6:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Janov Seldon wrote:
I don't agree with the excuse or explanation given by Travis for his orders to have the civilians massacred, that it was all down to his training.

Blake says in S-L-D that he and his cohorts surrendered immediately but Travis ordered them to be gunned down (as he does with Avalon's people later). Killing people who are surrendering isn't generally taught at Officer Training college (unless you're a member of the Waffen SS or the Imperial Japanese Army).

As an excuse goes, it's good, but not good enough. There has to be something else that triggered it, something in his past, before he was shot by Blake as he was ruthless enough then.

I tend to agree with Travis about a field officer having to rely on his instincts and react instantly.His real learning begins when he is on the battlefield,not in school.The trial was so brief they never gave specifics on what happened or what led up to the shooting but from the way Par was talking,I believe it had something to do with the protection of his men (which is an officer's first duty).

The Federation is run by hypocrites,they have been killing unarmed people since the first episode,and now they get squemish?

Unarmed people always get killed when there's a war.

I'm assuming this massacre took place after the Blake massacre since Blake said he only had 30 followers at the time.
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thunda



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PostPosted: Sat Oct 08, 2005 3:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Janov Seldon wrote:


Blake says in S-L-D that he and his cohorts surrendered immediately but Travis ordered them to be gunned down (as he does with Avalon's people later). Killing people who are surrendering isn't generally taught at Officer Training college (unless you're a member of the Waffen SS or the Imperial Japanese Army).

As an excuse goes, it's good, but not good enough. There has to be something else that triggered it, something in his past, before he was shot by Blake as he was ruthless enough then.

From what I understand,the Blake encounter happened early in Travis' career,which probably set the tone for his later decisions.As for why he fired on Blake's people,well we only heard Blake's version and I'm not so sure he can be trusted to give an honest account.
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Janov Seldon



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PostPosted: Mon Oct 10, 2005 8:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, but how early in Travis career? It's pretty obvious that he's a career soldier so he must have enlisted/been drafted when he was about 18 and he looks to be about 40, certainly over 35 (how old was Stephen Greif when he got the part?). Given two years training, that makes him about 21. The massacre that Travis and Blake talk about in S-L-D is about five years previously, so Travis is about 33. That gives him about ten years to become a ruthless killer.

What triggered it? What set him on the dark path? I've got my own ideas, but keeping tight lipped.
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thunda



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PostPosted: Mon Oct 10, 2005 9:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Janov Seldon wrote:
Yes, but how early in Travis career? It's pretty obvious that he's a career soldier so he must have enlisted/been drafted when he was about 18 and he looks to be about 40, certainly over 35 (how old was Stephen Greif when he got the part?). Given two years training, that makes him about 21. The massacre that Travis and Blake talk about in S-L-D is about five years previously, so Travis is about 33. That gives him about ten years to become a ruthless killer.

What triggered it? What set him on the dark path? I've got my own ideas, but keeping tight lipped.

Well,I'm not sure when the Blake incidentoccurred,but it was early in his career as well.I believe Blake messing up his hand and face is what led to the Serkasta massacre.He was never charged in the Blake incident,so either he was acting within his orders or Blake's account is inaccurate.His injury may have caused him to adopte a "take no chances" attitude in his future campaigns.I still have some questions about the Serkasta incident,though.Par said "We just did the shooting",did he mean firearms? 1,417 seems like alot to gun down.Travis implies he had to react quickly,was he being attacked? Was this a rebellion? A riot? Did he think they were armed? Did they have hostages? Lots of unanswered questions,the trial should have been longer.
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Janov Seldon



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PostPosted: Tue Oct 11, 2005 1:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zerkasta probably was a riot. Par doesn't say how many troopers were under Travis' command at the time but I'd say at least 200 would be about right for riot control (look at the numbers of coppers used for riot control during the may day riots in london over the past few years). 200 troopers kicking off with just standard Federation rifles would be able to take out over a thousand without much difficulty fairly quickly, provided that they had all points covered and I would think that an officer of Travis' capability and experience would do this. Psychotic he may be but he's a sound military officer when it comes to his tactics. Travis is more likely simplifying the situation for the court.

I think the incident with Blake shooting off his armed tipped him further into psychosis, but he was ruthless enough before that. My own thoughts (as part of the backstory in my PGP) is that Servalan turned a blind eye where certain officers were concerned. Those that got results were promoted provided that they didn't go too far, those who had reservations (ie morals and scruples) over the crackdowns were sidelined. When her pets went too far and endangered her position they were dealt with.

in addition, I'd say quite a lot of the Federation military were unhappy with the situation. Jarvik resigned his commision, Rai in S-L-D said he wouldn't serve with Travis and was expressing the feelings of many others. Again, harking back to Nation's source material, just look at the antipathy held by the Wehrmacht towards the SS.
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hobgoblin



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PostPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2005 1:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have always found the "drink" scene a little ambiguous. Has Thania actually laced the alcohol with a sedative to keep Travis quiet, even after Servalan warned her that she wanted the trial to appear absolutely legitimate? Travis does drink some but he is aware of the plot and waiting for Thania to return. Was she just trying to settle his nerves?

Is Par part of Thania's plot or is he just doing this as a genuinely kind gesture? From his line about "not wasting officers" to Thania it seems he is genuinely grateful to Travis.

Is Travis' "some of us weren't hypocrites" line respectful to Par or not? is he respecting Par for refusing to let him go as he sees it as his duty to guard the prisoner or is he indicting Par for being a hypocrite? After all, par won't let him go now but earlier he had no qualms about smuggling the drink in.

I love the ambiguity in Boucher's scripts normally but this is a little too vague. Can anyone clarify for me, please?
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boroboy



Joined: 28 Dec 2005
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2005 1:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think the drink is contaminated, trooper Par tastes it an pronounces it to be "good stuff", although he could simply be mistaken. Par's part in this is really abiguous - but I think that he is not working with Thania - he took the drink to Travis a favour for an officer who took good care of his troopers. In other words Thania is simply using him without his knowledge. I have no idea why Thania wants him to drink though given Servelan's instructions - the only thing I can think of is that Thania wants to calm Travis down in the courtroom using the drink despite her instructions from Servelan - i.e., this is Thania trying to exert her own direction on the proceedings.

Trooper Par makes the comment about Travis looking after his troopers when knee deep in slime and lazers. This implies that the troopers were used in combat under Travis in situations that were not just against unarmed civilians, rather they are well armed rebels, or possibly soldiers from planets under Federation conquest.

As for the confusion of different massacres - the Federation is an expensionist paramilitary society who want to impose their version of "order" everywhere. This means there were plenty of opportunities for massacres.

Lastly, Travis *is* being respectuful to Par with his commment about not being a hypocrite because, even with the commend station under attack, and their particular section being in peril, Par stays at his post and tries to carry out his duty - including restraining Travis. Also (although Travis does not know about this particular discussion with Thania - he may, however, have had this discussion with him before in their professional connection) Par's discussion with Thanis where he says that he "just did the shooting" is another indication that Par is not a hypocrite. He know *exactly* how the Federation operations to maintain and expand control he has been at the sharp end of it and does not pretent that it was anything else. This comment about "just doing the shooting" is particularly fascinating as a general comment on militaristic control - in that you need to have troopers who will "obey without question" (unless you have enough mutoids ) even if they have to shoot unarmed civilians. The military requires this sort of absolute obedience/compliance in its troopers. This also shows the differences between those at the trooper level and those in charge. Trooper Par is perfectly upfront about what happened - it is the upper officer class who want to pretend that these things do not happen and it is they who are the hypocrites. Travis knows this too - and this is also part of his comment to Par.

This raises some interesting issues about Blake and is crew. They never think twice about killing troopers - but get more circumspect when dealing with Travis/Servelan and others. Surely if Travis "doesn't matter enough to kill" then the rationale for killing troopers is even weaker. The parallel is that like th upper echelons of the Federation administration and military, Blake and his "alpha" crew are similarly hypocritical. Even the class exception - Vila - gets less squeamish as the the show goes on. Basically Blake is a hypocritical murderer - that's why he will not succeed because he is not different enough from those he wishes to destroy/replace. It could be argued that he is just reacting to Federation violence with his own violence (and Blake knows better than anyone that passive resistance is futile against the federation) and that he does not target civilians and that his actions are therefore OK. But this just brings me back to teh question: So why not fill Servelan or Travis at his multiple opportunities? I *think* his hypocrisy is showing.
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hobgoblin



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PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2005 5:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Boroboy, and welcome to this site. Thanks for your response.

Perhaps Thania's motive was that she was more afraid of Travis doing something unpredictable and thus incurring Servalan's wrath that way.

I strongly agree with your comments about Par. Military organisations do need people who are prepared to blindly follow order in order to operate. If there were to be independent thought or moral questioning, every army int he world would have collapsed by now. You may be interested in reading of Stanley Milgram's famous experiments, if you are not already aware of these. Have a look around the internet for some information on his research.

As for your comments as to Blake being a hypocrite for not taking an opportunity to kill Travis and the other leaders, I agree. Blake kills those who are "just folowing orders" without any hesitation yet he is reluctant to eliminate those giving the instructions. Perhaps you would like to read my post "Blake the Betrayer" under the general discussion forum, as we discuss a little more of Roj's dubious ethics in there.
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hobgoblin



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PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2005 5:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here is a good link to Milgram's tests for those interested in learning the psychology behind the blind obedience of the Trooper Pars of this world:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milgram_experiment
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boroboy



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PostPosted: Fri Dec 30, 2005 9:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hobgoblin - thanks for the link. The results are scary - but it seems tlike that's how humans behave. Civil wars are a good exampl eof this where folks who wre previously neighbours have no problems behavin barbarically to each other. The recent serb/croat civil wars have been spectacularly nasty.
Back to the Federation.... Do you think the armed services were professionals or included conscripts (at least at the trooper level)? My guess is the latter - which then brings up issues of national service. Did Blake, Avon and Jenna learn how to shoot striaghter than any other troopers in national service, did they buy their way out, or were they exempt as alphas, or possibly exempt due to education???
Travis indicates on many occasions that he is in the military for life - so he is a proffessional. We don't hear about htis from any troopers POV do we?
Overall - I favour the idea that military staff are NOT conscripted becasue the federation always seesm significantly short of manpower - that is why they use widespread drugging of populations - all the way from the first episode through Sleer's pylene 50 pacifiaction programs in series 4. The federations far flung empire leaves them thin on the ground and this is what allows for so much rebellion in the "outer planets". In Rumours of death it has reached the point where even Earth is borderline under federation control. In ROD the rebellion does not seem to have taken over anything other than Servelan's headquarters, and the rebels seem pretty confident that they didn't need to succeed in multiple places all over earth - to control transportation and communication lonks for example. This indicates that the rest of earth is poorly defended by federation troops - otherwise how could the rebels hope to be successful. It is possible that they just wanted to replace those at the top (mainly servelan) and keep the military complex in place and so didn't have any plan to attack them under any circumstances. However, Hob (Anna G's second in command) implies that he and his men don't want to just have a new figurehead - but want a completet system change. This backs up my first remark that the rest of earth must not be strongly defended and that the federation military is drastically understaffed.
This understaffing almost certainly leads to the use of mutoids - whose ability to obey without question is pretty handy. However - mutoids don't seem like they would work well in the fluidity if field combat where rapidly changing circumstances require creativity. As for the source of mutoids - we have very little to go on. Travis and Kieras conversation in Duel isn't very enlightening - it is unclear if Kiera committed some crime - in which case we might think that mutoids come from criminals - or if she volunteered (perhaps she was depressed and volunteering as a mutoid is an option rather than just suicide?)
This whole understaffing issue seems problematic to me becasue we are talking about a society where absolute control of citizens is what the administration (and later Servelan's military government) are all about. I would have thought that they could have conscripted a bigger standing army. I think the answer may simply be lack of people. In other words the fraction of earths population in teh military might be quite large - but it just is not enough people to maintain a far flung federation.
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