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Old July 29 2012, 10:00 PM   #667
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Re: TP: Zero Sum Game by David Mack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
But again--this leads to the question of the Tal Shiar falling into incompetence, due to "turmoil", occurring for one reason or another. What in the Bird's name would drag the agency into such a situation?
No intelligence agency is perfect, and even the KGB and CIA in real life have had major, major screwups.

Simply put, the idea that the Tal Shiar wouldn't, at some point, have a huge failure of this sort is itself unrealistic. There is no such thing as the perfectly competent espionage chess master.

And to Sci's admission that the Tzenkethi are not master chess-players, with infallable plans.
"Admission" is a strange word to use there, since it's essentially been my contention that there is no such thing as a master chess player with infallible plans. At some point, the Tzenkethi will no doubt screw up just as badly as the Tal Shiar, Obsidian Order, Section 31, and others have.

Frankly, everyone...fallability also means this: it is absurd to shrug off the idea that said plans will be exposed. That likelyhood increases, when plans backfire.
It's possible, sure. But given the sequence of events presented in Rough Beasts of Empire, it's unlikely. There is no evidence whatsoever that anyone other than the Tzenkethi themselves know of their role in the death of Ta'Aura.

Finally--once again, Kammemor is in a far better position to dominate the Pact than Tal'Aura, being a "nice" leader. Subtlety is a far more effective means of domination than overtness.
At the end of the day, the things that could allow Romulus to dominate the Typhon Pact -- its size, its wealth, its population, its advanced military technology -- are not things the Tzenkethi can control, and they know it. One way or the other, Romulus will inevitably lead the Pact. Could Kamemor hypothetically change her mind? Sure. Could a new praetor come along who thinks more like you're describing? Yes. These are not things the Tzenkethi can control. What they could do was try to manipulate events so that the scenario you're describing was less likely to occur in the foreseeable future.

That's why the Tzenkethi wanted Kamemor in the Hall of State: They knew that, soft power or not, she wouldn't do what you're describing in the first place. She'll lead, sure -- but her style is to be first among equals, not the alpha of the pack. It's not in her nature to dominate, be it through the stick or the carrot.

Again, sure, unforeseen events could thwart their manipulations. But they worked out the best compromise they could of bringing about stability the Romulan space while making overt Romulan domination of the Pact an unlikely policy. There's no guarantee it'll hold, but it's holding for now, and that's really all anyone on Ab-Tzenketh can realistically aim for.
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