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Profile Overview

Magnus Blackwood

Human man

Character Information

Rank & Address

Commodore Blackwood


Director, Institute for the History of Starfleet Warfare
Avalon Fleet Yards


Magnus Blackwood




The director of the Institute of the History of Starfleet Warfare, Commodore Blackwood is one of Starfleet’s premier historians and researchers. Known to be an eccentric, Blackwood has remained an administrator, researcher, or teacher for most of his career, and turned away from a promising position at Starfleet Command to take on the IHSW.


Early Life and Career

Magnus Blackwood was born on Earth to historian parents, and took very few opportunities in his life to do anything but follow in their footsteps. A bright and capable child with an insatiable love for reading and history, he was brought up in and around the oldest and most respected academic institutes in the Federation. Moving around so often only encouraged him to his bookishness, but it also instilled in him a certain thoughtful, solitary streak that could manifest in bouts of melancholia. His parents assumed it was for this reason that he, though making it clear his ambition was to follow the path of archaeology, chose to join Starfleet; they would wryly say to each other he had embraced the call of the void.

Despite being more bookish than practical, Blackwood did well at the Academy, but was forced to accept the judgement of his instructors and superiors when they discouraged him from immediately proceeding to postgraduate study. Starfleet expected him to be a practical scholar, and that years of fieldwork would help him decide where to apply himself in the future. He took on initial postings as an archaeology and anthropology officer on a starship, expecting to serve only a couple of years before returning.

The mistake came, by his accordance, when he let his heart rule over his head. On his first assignment, Blackwood met Aurelia Locke, a brilliant young engineer, and fell head-over-heels for her. While she was committed to staying in space, he urged her to return to Earth with him so he could continue his studies. He was successful only when she fell pregnant and allowed herself to be convinced that a starship was no place for a family.

Growing Expertise

Back on Earth, Blackwood could continue his studies. He was granted permission as a serving officer to pursue his PhD at the University of Oxford, and began to apply civilian historiography with Starfleet principles and resources. But this commitment to his work did not carry over to his family life. Even when his son Edmund was born, Blackwood was an absent father and partner, distracted by his work more often than not. While he and Aurelia stayed together for some years until she finally took their son and left, he determined that he was too solitary for close bonds, and became a lifelong bachelor once the relationship was over.

Though he had been a xenoarchaeologist, he made enough connections while studying back on Earth to be picked up by Starfleet Command in the aftermath of Wolf 359. The nascent Borg threat had shaken Command to the core, and led to massive policy overhauls and an eventual increase in militarisation. As an historian, Blackwood was selected to study and analyse past Starfleet conflicts to learn what the organisation needed to change if it was to survive this likely danger.

This developing expertise on the militarisation of Starfleet proved a double-edged sword. Not long after came the conflicts with the Klingon Empire and the looming tensions that would become the Dominion War. Blackwood found himself posted back to a starship, despite his own wishes, as one of the most knowledgeable figures in Starfleet on how the organisation had executed war in the past. Now he was expected to execute it in the present.

Under no circumstances would Starfleet let him return to classrooms and libraries for study. Blackwood was the epitome of the reluctant soldier, but he was as much of a soldier as any other officer. He lost more than a few years of his dreams to the war; he lost friends from both his ship and his Academy class, mentors, and a boyfriend before peace was declared. At that point, his wish to return to scholarship became an insistence.


Although Blackwood had intended on abandoning military history forever, he came out of the Dominion War so shaken by it that he needed to understand it. He continued developing his expertise in military history, insisting Starfleet turn its keen and scrutinising scientific eye back on itself. Though returned to his role as a policy advisor on Earth, he also wrote a book on the causes of the Earth-Romulan War and received significant pushback from Starfleet historians for his criticism of Earth’s role.

But this scholarship also gave him a footing in Romulan history and culture, and the Star Empire’s political upheaval in what would transpire to be the run-up to the Romulan Supernova demanded Starfleet’s attention. He moved from policy advice to development and was on the ground at several of the Romulan Refugee Relocation Hubs whose construction, he had insisted to his superiors, was an untenable response to the crisis. Romulan pride would not allow it.

He was not motivated by compassion so much as his studied observations. If the Federation’s neighbours fell to desolation, culturally, personally, or spiritually, Blackwood’s belief was that this tended to result in war. But his words fell on deaf ears after the Attack on Mars, the Federation moving to wholly internal matters.

Back to Earth

Blackwood was offered and dolefully accepted a post as a lecturer at Starfleet Academy. The Dominion War and the Romulan catastrophe had kicked the fight out of him, and he lost faith in the idea of his study of the past changing the future. He spent years teaching cadets about Starfleet history, about historiography and archaeology, and in this time, particularly carved out his reputation as an eccentric recluse. He had little to do with other faculty members, kept to his offices in England rather San Francisco as much as possible, and spent more time with select students whose talent caught his attention than anyone else. Even those relationships of mentorship were often ruined when his deep-rooted cynicism eventually clashed with the idealism of young cadets. They almost all pulled away from him once they realised he not only did not expect them to affect the galaxy with their knowledge but disdained the mere thought of doing so.

He continued his study of Federation history and wrote about it extensively. Unable to fully stop himself from turning his critical eye from the past to the future, Blackwood began to conceptualise new conflicts that would beset the Federation, including a potential breakdown of the union as its inward turn merely allowed grievances to fester. He would occasionally send letters on the topic to members of the admiralty he had worked with over the decades, but rarely received a response.

In the mid-2390s, one admiral replied. Concerned about Blackwood’s vision of a civil war, he asked the professor what could avert such a crisis. ‘I can conceive of only two scenarios that might change the currents that threaten to pull us under, one imaginable, the other far more likely,’ Blackwood wrote dolefully in response. ‘The likelihood is simple: war with a foreign power, for little unites quarrelling family so strongly as an external threat. But I fear the damage we have done to our Federation is so mighty that this threat must be existential to stir us from our rot-ridden slumber.’ When asked by the admiral what the unimaginable scenario would be, for he could hardly think of anything worse, Blackwood took three more letters before he eventually explained: ‘Far simpler, and far beyond us: we must remember who we are.’ Against his better judgement, Blackwood joined a policy think-tank alongside his work at the Academy, conceptualising what shape this future war with a foreign power might take. It was work he could do without feeling the crippling helplessness that had driven him from such policy work in the past. After all, it was simply about predicting and documenting the Federation’s fall even further from grace.


In 2399, the unimaginable happened. Starfleet’s confrontation with the Romulan Free State at Coppelius uncovered the truth of the Attack on Mars. The synth ban was lifted, and the Federation, realising the depths of the mistake that had turned it from the rest of the galaxy, began policy reform to return to its past principles. This renaissance included not only policy and political changes but an expansion of scientific research operations.

Blackwood could hardly believe it, but it was difficult for him to argue with action. Months after Coppelius, he was offered a new posting, far away from turgid teaching or a cynical policy think-tank: to take up leadership of an historical research institute in the Avalon System. Here, he could lead multiple projects studying Starfleet’s historic wars and conflicts as he had his whole life. But rather than focusing on planning for threats or scholarly navel-gazing, the institute was to look for factors that had precipitated conflict, including Starfleet’s own culpability, and make recommendations to avoid history repeating itself.

While this suited Blackwood perfectly, his acceptance was less enthusiastic than it might have been due to one condition: get therapy.