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Badlands runabout

The plasma storms of the Badlands

You may be looking for the two books titled Star Trek: The Badlands

The "Badlands" was a region of space located in Sector 04-70 of the Alpha Quadrant. A segment of the border between the United Federation of Planets and the Cardassian Union was located in this region. The Badlands were known for intense plasma storms and gravitational anomalies. For that reason, it was commonly avoided by most interstellar traffic. (DS9: "The Maquis, Part I")


During the Cardassian occupation of Bajor, the Bajoran Resistance frequently used the Badlands as a refuge from Cardassian patrols. Because of the severely limited sensor ranges in the area, the Bajorans used echolocation techniques to navigate and detect other ships. (DS9: "Starship Down")

Because of its strategic location inside the Demilitarized Zone between Cardassian and Federation space, the Badlands became a favorite hiding place and staging area for the Maquis during their insurrection against Cardassian control from 2370 to 2373.

In their first major operations, the Maquis took the kidnapped Gul Dukat to a class M asteroid in the Badlands. (DS9: "The Maquis, Part I") When Thomas Riker and a Maquis cell hijacked the USS Defiant from Deep Space 9 in 2371, they piloted the Defiant to the Badlands to rendezvous with other Maquis attack ships prior to launching an assault on Cardassian space. (DS9: "Defiant")


The Cardassian Galor-class warship Vetar in the Badlands

Around stardate 48300, the Caretaker abducted several starships from the Badlands, including a Maquis raider piloted by Chakotay, and the Federation starship USS Voyager, which had been sent to track Chakotay. (VOY: "Caretaker") A Cardassian Galor-class warship was also abducted from the Badlands around the same time. (VOY: "The Voyager Conspiracy")

Bajoran trader Razka Karn also hid out in the Badlands when the Tholians were pursuing him for some unscrupulous "business" practices. (DS9: "Indiscretion") Kasidy Yates's freighter route between Bajor and Dreon VII often took her close to the Badlands as well. (DS9: "For the Cause")

In the mirror universe, the Badlands were also used as a staging area by the Terran Rebellion before their capture of Terok Nor in 2372. (DS9: "Through the Looking Glass")

After the Maquis learned that he had informed Starfleet of Michael Eddington's location, Cing'ta was marooned on a "particularly nasty" planet in the Badlands. (DS9: "For the Uniform")

Badlands map

A map showing the location of the Badlands relative to Deep Space 9 and the Demilitarized Zone.

When the Cardassian Union was annexed by the Dominion in 2373, (DS9: "By Inferno's Light") the remaining Maquis cells that managed to escape the Jem'Hadar took shelter on Athos IV, an abandoned mining colony on the edge of the Badlands. The Maquis sent a disguised distress signal, coded as a confirmation of the launch of a missile strike against Cardassia Prime, to send word to Michael Eddington that the Maquis remnant had survived. Those few survivors were rescued by Starfleet a short time later. (DS9: "Blaze of Glory")

The Badlands remained a strategic location during the Dominion War from 2373 to 2375. Fleet movements in the region required additional escorts to guard against ambushes from inside the plasma storms. (DS9: "Waltz") In 2375, the IKS Koraga was destroyed by the Jem'Hadar near the edge of the Badlands. (DS9: "Penumbra")


Background informationEdit

The Badlands were conceived during the development of Star Trek: Voyager – to be precise, at some point amid a stretch of two or three days, from 8 or 9 August to 10 August 1993. On the 10th, Jeri Taylor noted, "We posit 'Badlands,' a turbulent area of space where some ships have been lost (some of them might crop up during the series). But it's a hiding place for our bad guys [meaning the crew of Chakotay's Maquis raider], who think they're invulnerable." In notes Taylor dated 17 August 1993, the Badlands were likened to the Bermuda Triangle. It was stated, in a beat outline for VOY premiere "Caretaker", that ships traversing the Badlands had to "maneuver through holes." (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, pp. 186, 190 & 231) In the first draft script for "Caretaker", the Badlands are described as "a huge flailing plasma storm with electromagnetic flares whipping out dangerously like tentacles."

One of the first visual ideas for the Badlands involved a fiery effect. "There were always supposed to be these whirling fires inside the Badlands," explained Gary Hutzel. However, these elements didn't make it to the screen when the region made its first appearance, in "Caretaker". (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 457) In that installment, the Badlands were represented entirely with CGI. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 285) This effects work wasn't entirely satisfactory, though. "No one really liked them," noted Hutzel. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 420)

From a scientific perspective, using the name "Badlands" for a certain region of space was somewhat realistic. Andre Bormanis stated, "I don't know if that term has ever been used specifically with respect to some astronomical phenomenon, but one could imagine regions of space that would be extremely inhospitable to human exploration. We see things like this in images that come from telescopes, like the Hubble, all the time, regions of space where you have fierce stellar winds [for instance] [....] So, there are some really extraordinary regions in space that one would be a little bit reckless or foolhardy to fly a spaceship through, even something that has the kind of shielding and engine technology that we've proposed on Star Trek. And again, it's easy to imagine that, someday when there's interstellar travel and they're navigating some of these regions of space, that they might call some particular nebula complex or some place where there are these fierce stellar winds a 'Badlands' kind of a region." ("Real Science with Andre Bormanis", VOY Season 1 DVD special features)

When the Badlands reappeared in DS9: "For the Uniform", the DS9 visual effects team depicted the Badlands with a new look. "They'd been reworked a couple times," remembered Gary Hutzel, "but when it fell upon me to do the Badlands for this episode I decided to throw out everything that had been done and start over." The redesign of the roiling plasma fields involved several steps. First, Hutzel's group of VFX artists layed out a twenty-foot-square piece of black velvet on the floor of Image G. They then climbed up into catwalks at the facility, which were eighteen feet above ground, and pails of liquid nitrogen were poured from the high catwalks down on the velvet. "It splattered real good," commented Hutzel, grinning. "We needed that much force to get the violence of the effect." As the liquid nitrogen landed on the velvet, it was filmed at 120 frames per second. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 420)

After the Badlands were redesigned for their depiction in "For the Uniform", "The producers began asking, 'Where's our pillars of fire?'" relayed Gary Hutzel. Therefore calling on the help of Gary Monak, Hutzel requested that he create a fiery pillar. Beginning to do so, Monak crafted a box that, at its bottom, had a powerful fan which could create a vortex. "The boxes were over eight feet tall and we made a couple different kinds to experiment with," recalled Monak. "The most effective one was an octagonal box made out of drywall that had been painted black. We left one side of the octagon off and filmed through that opening. Once we shot some nitrogen in there and got it rotating in a counter-clockwise direction, we injected fire with a propane burner. The heat made the flame rise so we got this finger of fire going. The hotter we made it, the higher the flame would rise in the box." Once the fiery pillar was filmed, it was an easy task for Hutzel to combine that element with the other Badlands footage he'd already created. The resultant flame effect made its debut in DS9: "Blaze of Glory". (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 457)

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