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Why only one ship?


Mike G

Why did Earth only send out one ship to search for a cure to the plague? Wouldn't it make more sense for Earth to send out as many ships as it could? I guess the story might not have been as exciting if other ships were out there looking for a cure also.
That's a good question. I don't know how many ships they had out there. And was it said that they were the only ship Earth sent out? Perhaps there are some ships from Mars or B5 out looking, too. You'd think Earth would have a bunch of ships "out there somewhere" and not on the planet when the Drakh attacked.

Good question.
In the Babylon 5 movie "A Call to Arms" (which was supposed to be shown before Crusade; JMS intended it that way.), The first two prototype Whitestar class destroyers were The Victory (ship #1), and the Excalibur (ship #2).

The Victory was destroyed when it rammed the control nexus of the Shadow Planetkiller at the Drakh battle at Earth in late December 2266/early January 2267. The Drakh then destroyed the shipyards on their way out (discussed at the end of "A Call to Arms").

Therefore, the Excalibur is the only one of that class that they could send out. They also have other ships out looking for a cure, but they're doing other duties as well (e.g. the Whitestars, preserving the peace). The Rangers are feeding leads to the Excalibur. This is mentioned many times in Crusade (e.g. The Needs of Earth, Appearances and Other Deceits, etc.)

Excalibur is the key ship that they sent out.
That makes more sense to me. In fact, I'd think there would be some private captains who might even have loved ones back on Earth who might be trying to find whatever they can.

Hmm, might have made an interesting episode having our crew meet up with one of them. If a series had ever been attempted. I mean really attempted.
The Rangers were looking for leads, but did not actually invesigate the leads.

I guess the Excalibur had to be "The last best hope".
The whole Excalibur mission was one part of a massive effort to find a cure. It was also an incredible long-shot. It was simultaneously the least-likely route to a cure, and the fastest if it succeeded. The hope is that it will stumble onto some abandonded First One world where information on a cure would be found, left over from some race that had dealt with the original Shadow plague. As a full-sized warship based in part on Vorlon technology it was the ship most likely to survive an attempt to trespass on such a planet, and it was staffed with the people best able to exploit any such discovery. No other ship would be able to boast such a concentration of talent as Excalibur, and it would be a waste to spread those people out over several ships. Gideon, Galen, Dureena, Max and Chambers between them were the best shot of finding, stealing, translating and adapting any data that was out there.


Other facts for consideration are that the navy of Earth took a major hit during the Drakh attack - how many ships and lives lost did they say? So resources aren't at the best and ... guess what? No more supplies, material, or personale are coming from Earth - probably one of the biggest or the biggest such supplier for the EA. So they have to rebuild and still keep other duties up - shipping, security patrols, transportation, etc. Some ships will have to remain in orbit around Earth to make sure no one tries to leave or land on the planet and other ships have to bulster borders since now would be a prime time for another race (or even some segment of Humanity) to try to take control of the wounded EA. So yeah they have other ships out there ... but things are stretched very thin.

Just remember, those are ships are on boring missions; fantastic events, great adventures, and plot progressive elements are attracted to the ship or station that has all the television cameras. /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif
I don't think Earth did that badly this time around? Shipwise, they seemed to hold their own quite well. I wonder how much effect the Warlocks had, seeing as the only Warlock we know definitely wouldn't behave oddly when confronted by shadowtech would be Ivanova's.

Anyway, the main threat to Earth wasn't the size of the Drakh fleet, it was their payload (to the best of peoples knowledge at the time this would only be the death cloud)

One thing I'm dying to know about the Warlocks is the fact that it was mentioned somewhere probably on the internet, that the Warlock program was already under way before Earth got gravimetrics from the Minbari and Centauri. Does this mean they had worked out a basic artificial gravity system minus rotating sections, or that gravity wasn't originally part of the warlock, or that they had plenty of ideas based on shadowtech?
I believe at the beginning of the first aired pilot (and second made) to "Crusade" - "Warzone" - when Gideon and Mattheson come out of hyperspace, they see a large debris of ships and I think the news broadcast we see somewhere in there (might have been before that or after, can't remember and tapes are currently borrowed out) talks of thousands (maybe more) dead and many ships destoryed. I think we've gathered from B5 that any large fleet engagement is quite destructive for at least one side, often both. Drakh ships aren't anything to laugh at and they did have hundreds (or more?) present. Plus I doubt the Drakh ships were the only ones caught inside the planet killer when it closed and launched its missles - the Excaliber barely got out and it's a very fast ship - though it was in fairly deep at the time. We only saw (as far as I know) Drakh ships getting blasted but that seems unlikely they were the only ones.

As far as the Warlocks, they had to have been in construction well before the end of the EA Civil War if Ivanova was given command of one right at the end of 2261; shakedown cruise implies it's pretty much ready to go ... and since it is seen in the short story in early 2262 it must have been. Since they were being built well before they got artificial gravity and yet their design was obviousily with that in mind, they must have thought they could get it from some where else. I think the online B5 tech manual (which is not cannon) says Clarke planned to use Shadowtech to give them AG but such wasn't going well - AG seems to be tricky tech, even years later with Vorlon and Minbari science, Humans still haven't perfected it with the first two white star destroyers. Of course Clarke's team might have figured it out but decided not to use it to keep their Shadowtech secrets hidden once the war was over and the Minbari were giving it. Explaining a high tech computer was one thing ... explaining where they got AG might have been another.

Hopefully we'll someday hear more about them and about Ivanova's ship.

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