"Hidden Agendas" Review
"Hidden Agendas" is the first Babylon 5 short story to appear in The Official Babylon 5 Magazine. It is written by J. Michael Straczynski.
When Claudia Christian left the cast of Babylon 5, the character of Susan Ivanova was written out of the show. A hasty addition to the end of "Rising Star" indicates that she has been given command of one of the first Warlock class destroyers.
"Hidden Agendas" brings Captain Ivanova back to Babylon 5 sooner than anyone expected. She requires President Sheridan's unique perspective to help her solve a problem she is having with her ship, the Titans. Ivanova's return takes place very shortly after the beginning of Season Five. The two time references place it less than a month after Lochley takes command of Babylon 5 and six days after Byron arrives on the station.
This story deals with one of Babylon 5's main themes and in particular the main theme of Season Five: consequences and aftermath. The Shadow War and the Earth Civil War have both been won, but that doesn't mean everything is cleaned up into neat little packages. While President Sheridan is dealing with the political and military vacuums left by these two wars and the Narn-Centauri War, Ivanova is dealing with a similar problem on a smaller scale. Much as modern warfare leaves battlefields strewn with landmines, the First Ones left advanced technologies behind when they went Beyond the Rim. Witness Lyta Alexander and the Drakh.
This story shows what Earth Force has realistically done with the technologies that it has acquired. We also learn what has happened to Ulkesh's ship after the Vorlon ambassador was killed.
In addition to reunions with her former crewmates, Captain Ivanova meets Captain Lochley for the first time. This is handled in an understated manner.
The Babylon 5 Magazine ran a reader poll to determine the subject of this story, and the winner was "old Babylon 5 crew during the five year arc". Straczynski pushes this boundary to its limits by giving us Ivanova during Season Five, and it is greatly appreciated. It's wonderful to see Ivanova in action again, and the opening is left for a possible future story.