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Old December 5 2012, 12:46 PM   #111
Deranged Nasat
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Re: TNG: Silent Weapons by David Mack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

I don't disagree with you, Scout101, when it comes to the plan being foolish due to too many moving parts and the sheer amount of waste it involves - in terms of resources, opportunities, etc. However, given that the Breen characters themselves were constantly pointing out the illogic of the scheme and the benefits of alternative plans, I think the novel was intended to demonstrate the problematic politics of the Breen; the failures in their chosen mode of operation, their governmental system and its abuses. In that regard, I suppose I see it as a continuation of Zero Sum Game, an argument for how screwed up the Breen system is compared to what they have potential to be. I think the real point of the story isn't about the plot itself but about the perils of powerful leaders having free reign to indulge their whims. Just as so many real nations have had their potential - for good or ill - wasted because their system lets obsessive and ill-sighted people settle into positions of unquestioned influence.

It wouldn't be the first time a leader gets it into their head that a convoluted scheme wasting money, lives and resources is justified because they've decided it is, and commits to a course of action that drags whole nations down when they had every opportunity to rise. If anything, I think the novel does a good job of showing how bad things are in the Confederacy, when a leader can squander opportunities for success the way Brex did. As you say, many of the sub-plans were intelligent operations that would bring achievable results, even spectacular victories, but because Brex and Tran were focused unduly on the great wormhole prize, they threw it all away. They insisted they were aiming to make the Breen Confederacy the leading nation of known space, but in fact they were pi**ing away every advantage and resource their people had in pursuit of a wild gamble. And the lower-ranking Breen can't do anything but go along with it, because whenever they raise objections or try to speak sense, they're told "You are not privy to the leader's great vision, stop second-guessing and perform your appointed tasks".

Although there is a slight silver lining, I guess, in that the Domo isn't an absolute dictator and can be removed by the Confederate Congress if they've had enough of him - as of course they have by novel's end.

I guess what I'm saying is that I read the Breen parts of the book not as "The Breen pursue galactic dominance" but as "The Breen could have achieved their victory were their leaders not ruining it all by over-reaching and failing to use what they had effectively''
"Did you know that there is a million bucks hidden in the house next door?"
"But there is no house next door."
"No? Then let's go build one!"

Last edited by Deranged Nasat; December 5 2012 at 01:11 PM.
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