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Old July 6 2009, 01:27 AM   #600
Trent Roman
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Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 3: Lost Souls - (SPOILERS)

Dang. You people type fast, has anybody told you that? EDIT: Holy crap, there's a whole 'nother page. Uh... I'll get back to you for the rest of this later.

Sci wrote: View Post
Of course they tried. They tried everything that they could that didn't violate their own set of ethics. But everything that they tried didn't work, and at a certain point you either confront your own powerlessness and accept it or you don't and find yourself using methods that violate your own ethics.
It would be fairer to say that they tried on occasion; there was, after all, that great bit in the middle of the book. But they also spent large swathes of the trilogy not doing anything, just sitting around and contributing nothing--Picard especially.

(Yes, I agree that claiming the thalaron weapon is inherently immoral makes little sense, but that prohibition was introduced by the canon. Sometimes, one has to accept that another culture will have moral prohibitions that make little sense to one
Eh? When was this? Thalaron weaponry was only just introduced in Nemesis. I'm all for allowing fictional universes the integrity of their own moral system--I've argued for that point when people try to change the Prime Directive, for instance, into something more in keeping with our contemporary sense of ethics that says no, you should let people die from an earthquake or flood just because they're not as technologically advanced. But I don't see that this is the case here. It's sort of like nuclear weapons. I and probably others feel a certain amount of disgust for the concept; they are, after all, weapons of mass destruction, a looming threat of annihilation, and often wind up in the hands of people I wouldn't trust with a pea-shooter; and of course, no one can forget the horrors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. There have been multiple attempts to ban them, which I find myself sympathetic too. Yet if tomorrow it were discovered that an asteroid was heading towards Earth, but that it could be deflected/destroyed with nukes, I wouldn't say "Oh, well, I guess we should just sit here and die because I don't want to deal with nukes." That's ridiculous. Certainly Picard and many others may have contempt for weapons of mass destruction--as well they should. That doesn't mean that use of the technology becomes unthinkable.

-- and that when the point of the story is to not lose your ethical integrity in the face of imminent death, it's really besides the point why this or that is regarded as unethical.)
No, it's critical to the internal logic of the story that if you're going to introduce a potential solution and then discard it, there should be a good reason for doing so and not 'it makes me sad because of Data'.

Now, I'll accept as a valid complaint that Picard didn't seem to be willing to try any of Capt. Dax's tactics against the Borg -- and I'd then point out that the point of that is that he was not behaving like he should have been, because he is so erratic when it comes to the Borg.
Erratic does not mean permanently thus, or even unsucessful, as past encounters demonstrate.

It is once Picard confronts and accepts his failures with regards to the Borg that he gets over that.
Picard gets over nothing. The Caeliar fuck with his mind. That has nothing to do with Picard as a person.

which is, I'd remind you, exactly what Sisko did to the Prophets in "The Sacrifice of Angels."
That was pretty bad, too; a clear deus ex machina. The Prophets intervening into the metaphysical battle between Sisko and Dukat to rescue their emissary is fine, because that's their domain, but in "Sacrifice of Angels" suddenly the higher power messes with what was a secular conflict, which is a complete cop-out.
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Deranged Nasat wrote: View Post
First, I apologise as I know this was directed at Sci, but I must object to the idea that the Trek universe is a darker place thanks to "Destiny". First, trillions of Borg drones have now been liberated from slavery and restored to their individuality, while the newly expanded Caeliar Gestalt is apparently going to travel the universe working for peace. This is surely a good thing. 63 Billion dead is terrible, but trillions more have now gotten their lives back.
From a galactic perspective that may be true, but Star Trek was never about the trillions of enslaved Borg. It was about the Federation and Starfleet. That something good happened on the other side of the galaxy does not change the clear change in tone towards darkness and negativity in a devastated Federation and Starfleet.

As for deadly force when necessary, deadly force does not necessarily equate to "building outlawed genocidal superweapons that will lead to war with the Romulans and Klingons even if it works, and disrespects Data's memory either way".
Law is secondary to ethics, and the ethics in this case permitted it. As for war with the Romulans and Klingons, it's sheer nuttery to worry about possible side-effects like that when the consequences of inaction would mean the extinction of the Federation, the Romulans and the Klingons. As for Data's memory--I don't give a shit, and I rather doubt he'd be thrilled to have billions put at risk in his name.

With all respect, if you are ever (essentially) raped and enslaved, then your oppressors swarm in and begin annihalating your entire civilization, would you want me to label you an "incompetant crybaby" if you break down?
If it's my job to stop them? Yes. If billions of people are depending on me doing my job for their survival, I don't have the luxury of indulging in my personal traumas.
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Sci wrote: View Post
It did no such thing; the "gods" were following the will of the Humans, if anything.
Absolutely not. The Caeliar knew what was happening, and refused to intervene until shown their own responsiblity for the Borg. If they had been following the will of humans, you'd think they would have stuck around to help repair the damage.

They also swore not to issue or obey illegal orders. By their culture, using thalaron weapons would constitute an illegal order -- which would be, y'know, a betrayal of the Federation and its values.
Quite aside from law being secondary to ethics, Pres. Bacco had already granted them permission to do whatever they needed to do.

It's a change of culture, not an ascension to a higher plane. The Caeliar are as saved by the Federation as the Federation is by the Caeliar.
What? Are you kidding me? The Caeliar are massively above the Federation, and Hernandez' immigration, as you call it, is achetypically the half-divine messiah joining with the full divinity.
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Sci wrote: View Post
And yet her Secretary of Defense refused to use the weapon.
Technically, that was before the order. And it didn't make sense then, either.

And despite what George W. Bush might have you think, Presidents do not have carte blanche to issue any order they want, even in time of war. The President has no more right to issue an illegal order than does a ship's captain. An illegal order is an illegal order no matter where it comes from.
Law and ethics are different things. There have been many laws that were unethical and should not have been followed, just as there are many cases were the ethical thing to do was also the illegal one. In this case, Picard was justified.

And then in 70 to 100 years, you're facing the destruction of the Federation again when the Collective's even larger armada reaches local space, and this time the Borg will have adapted to the thalaron weapon.
No doubt. But 70-100 years is a lot more time to create new weapons, new tactics, to--worse comes to worse--actually try and evacuate the Federation altogether, although I'm still not sure how tenable that is. Every week is an opportunity for a reversal; every planet spared is a million and more minds that can be put towards solving the problems.

Silversmok3 wrote: View Post
See,we do know what would happen:with the Thaleron weapon Starfleet has 3 days to anihilation instead of 12 hours.
Which is a good thing--more time to come up with something else and save more lives.
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Sci wrote: View Post
As for the above... That doesn't make the Trekverse darker, that makes the stories that take place in local space darker. Why is it that if the Borg assimilate or exterminate a civilization in the Delta Quadrant off-screen, that doesn't make the Trekverse a darker place, but it does if it happens to "our" characters? That's a bit of a Federation-centric POV.
I'm sorry, but this doesn't make sense. Our entry into the universe has always been the Federation and Starfleet. That's the central focus of the storytelling. And now, because they've been devastated, that focus turns darker. It's all well and good that the rest of the Borg have been liberated, but it's sort of like Wesley becoming a Traveler: we never hear about it, so nothing comes of it. It has no impact. This isn't a real place, after all; it's a fictional setting, and that setting has become darker.

It certainly makes the situation for the Federation darker. But it's also an opportunity to rebuild a Federation that's much less arrogant, much more sensitive to cultures that do not exist in states of abundance, much less prone to believe in its own propaganda about how much more "evolved" it is than other cultures.
Say what? Arrogant? Insenstive? Propaganda? Is this a Prime Directive criticism?

The immensity of the Federation's loss should not be understated. But by the same token, it's a mistake to say that that trauma alone defines the Federation and its future now. It's like Europe after World War II -- yes, Europe was left in ruins, heavily dependent on foreign aid, with 42 million dead. That's horrible and the tragedy of it cannot be over-stated. But by the same token, Europe rebuilt. And I don't think a reasonable person can look at Europe today and say that the Europe that grew out of the darkness of World War II is not a better, more moral, more peaceful Europe than existed before. Even in the wake of the most horrific war in human history, there was reason for hope -- and that hope grew and flowered into the beacon of democracy and prosperity that is the European Union and its member states. Europe after World War II was darker than Europe before, certainly. But it's a much brighter Europe that grew out of World War II and the Cold War than ever existed before.
That's not a bad analogy, but the comparison strains at several levels. First of all, WWII was not a war of annihilation (except for the Jews--and, indeed, the trauma of the Holocaust has become an unalienable part of that culture and the basis for the nation of Israel); here, entire cultures have been lost--something that can never be rebuilt, lost forever. And Europe, before the wars, were deeply flawed societies, so the war, while terrible, also provided an opportunity to change for the better. They learned to reject war (at least amongst each other), to embrace democracy; and out of the war came the overthrow of dangerous philosophies, technical achievements and the strengthening of alliances. The only thing you can say the same for when it comes to the Federation is the alliances with the Klingons, IRS and others. It already rejected war as a policy, it didn't entertain fascist philosophies, was democratic, was pluralistic, was prosperous, was technologically advanced... basically, it was a near-utopia, so there's nowhere to go as a society but down. Apart from those alliances, nothing constructive came of this invasion; there simply wasn't the time. And, of course, we're talking about change over decades--the fiction is very much in the present, and that present is a darker one, and one that I can't see enabling much opportunities for progress compared to what was already there.

There's nothing particularly god-like about the Caeliar other than mere physical power -- but if we hold them to be gods, we'd have to do the same for the Q, or the Metrons, or the Organians.
The point isn't that the Caeliar are literally gods. Clearly they have a technological basis to their civilization, however ancient and powerful. It is the role they play in the structure of the deliverance story--the higher power that comes in to save everyone at the end.

If this is salvation, it is mutual salvation.
Are you kidding me? This isn't remotely proportional. You're speaking as though this was an interaction of equals, when the power is clearly, disproportionately on the Caeliar's side, and their role in the story is clearly disproportionate to the impact any of the characters have.

Fictitiously yours, Trent Roman
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