In the Air Tonight (Star Trek: TOS/Blake's 7 vid)

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Title: In the Air Tonight
Creator: T'Rhys
Date: 1994
Format: digital vid
Fandom: Star Trek/Blake's 7

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In the Air Tonight by T'Rhys was the first computer vid of slash fandom and it premiered in 1994 at the Virgule vid show. Created out of stone tools and bear claws before modern computers really had the speed, the RAM, or the storage capacity for video editing, T'Rhys created an complete Star Trek/Blake's 7 crossover narrative. One notable effect was the insertion of the Liberator into the Enterprise bridge's viewscreen. Because of the low RAM of computers at that time, it took three days to render each three-second effect clip.[1]

The Story

The USS Enterprise and the Liberator encounter each other while traveling through space. In the Blake's 7 universe, the "Federation" is an evil tyrannical and corrupter empire. In the Star Trek universe, the Federation is a peaceful alliance of planets focusing on exploration. Avon kills Spock planetside which leads Captain Kirk to hunt the Liberator and destroy it in turn in revenge. Then, mourning the loss of his lover, Captain Kirk destroys the Enterprise along with his crew.

Some fans have interpreted the vid as a meta commentary on Star Trek and Blake's 7 fandom tensions. At the time when both shows were popular many Star Trek fans resented Blake's 7 for pulling fans away from their community. In turn, Blake's 7 fans resented Star Trek fans for viewing them as interlopers.[2]


To the amazement of the audience at the VirguleCon II (1994) vidshow, T'Rhys created a constructed reality vid that:

"actually included clips that showed the Enterprise crew looking through their view screen at the Blake's 7 ship, The Liberator! More than that, all of the technical wizardry was placed in support of a fabulously over-the-top slash narrative: Avon shoots and kills Spock, and Kirk, driven mad through his pain, presses the self-destruct on the Enterprise and kills them all.

The vid was too long (done to a dance-extended mix of an already long song), and the pixelation was almost painful to watch, and none of that mattered to the cheering crowd.

It would be five years or more before computer vids were the norm at convention vid shows. T'Rhys was way before her time." [3]

In 1994, Nicole V. posted the following review of the vid to the Virgule-L mailing list. It is reposted here with permission:

"The best thing happened at the Virgule music vids. I was watching 'In the Air tonight' done for TOS, and realizing that the almost slo-mo like jerkiness in the images wasn't a special effect of a video machine, but that it was DIGITIZED, that the images had COME THRU A COMPUTER...not video tape to video tape. I was impressed. And then, on the old Enterprise's view screen, right there in space an time, WAS THE LIBERATOR. AND IT MOVED. My heart nearly stopped. The vid was a true 'constructed reality', Avon shooting and smiling, Spock dying, Kirk revenging himself in a space battle in which the Liberator fires and hits the Enterprise, and is itself destroyed. I had to stop watching at that point, and nearly missed the Enterprise disintegrate. The vid was fucking incredible."



  1. ^ source: Deejay's personal recollections of conversations with the vidder at the Escapade conventions in the 1990s, recounted at Vividcon on August 11, 2012.
  2. ^ Morgan Dawn's personal notes of discussions at the 2012 Vividcon (accessed Jan 15, 2014) quoted with permission.
  3. ^ Source: Sandy Herrold, post to the Vidder mailing list, date unknown, quoted with permission.