Thread: Section 31...
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Old February 15 2013, 04:46 PM   #80
Pavonis
Commodore
 
Re: Section 31...

Sci wrote: View Post
Pavonis wrote: View Post
We both know that behind the scenes stuff isn't the same as onscreen material. Canonically, the connection between Harris and Sloane is extremely thin.
Oh, come off it. The characters on ENT might as well have turned to the camera and winked every time they called it "your Section."

Section 31 is not just Sloan, and it's been around for a long time. Deal with it.
I understand the direction that writers and producers have taken Section 31 now - that it can be blamed for pretty much every sinister action taken in the name of defending the UFP. It's a great way to put bad guys among the good guys without sullying the good guys.

But, looking at what was definitively established about "Section 31" in DS9, it could've easily have gone in a completely different direction. Section 31 could've been portrayed as a recently developed conspiracy of a small group of officers that justified their actions with the wording of Article 14, Section 31. There was no need for it to be a conspiracy across centuries.

What was established about Section 31? Only that Bashir was kidnapped by someone calling himself Sloan who threw our dear doctor into a holodeck simulation while trying to evaluate him, to determine whether he was a Dominion spy or Section 31 material, or possibly both. The only person wearing the leather duds of Section 31 that appeared outside the holodeck was Sloan.

After returning to DS9, Bashir told Sisko about his experience. Sisko asked Starfleet Command about this "Section 31", and received no definitive answer from them, no confirmation nor denial of their existence.

The next time we see Sloan, he's alone again, recruiting Bashir to diagnose a Romulan at a conference. Blah blah blah - we all know the episode.

Canonically, every time Section 31 pops up, only Sloan is there to act in its name. The only proof of Section 31's entire existence is Sloan. That's pretty thin evidence. Even reading Luther's mind isn't proof enough of a larger organization, since Sloan was able to fool Bashir and O'Brien into thinking they were in the real world for some time. I'm not certain that Sloan would be an open book even with a "mind probe" rummaging through his brain. Spock was able to defeat a Klingon "mind sifter"; am I to believe that only Spock could be so disciplined as to defeat mechanical mind-reading? And really, how much did Bashir "read" about Section 31 while in Sloan's mind? Anything Bashir found was put there by Sloan to distract the doctor from finding the cure to Odo's disease. Sloan could've and would've "thought" anything to keep Bashir distracted, including something like "Section 31 put a mole in the President's Cabinet". What proof of a mole in the Cabinet would there be, other than Sloan's claim? I submit that the claim of a mole in Section 31 would be only as strong as the similar claim that Section 31 had a member of the senior staff of DS9 among their members.

While there is an "Article 14, Section 31" in the Starfleet charter, what does it say? Probably something like some rules or regulations can be "bent" in times of emergency. I can see some people taking that to justify extreme actions in dangerous times, sure. But a sustained existence across centuries?

A perfectly justifiable alternative take on Section 31 could've had them as an Earth organization that was acting in Earth's "best interests" during the 22nd century, but one that disintegrated in the late 22nd century, only for the name to be borrowed by a new cabal of officers worried about the increasing number of threats to the Federation encountered in the 2360s and 2370s. They could take the name, and claim existence for 300 years, making them seem more mysterious and powerful (what with being "undetected" for over a hundred years because they didn't exist) than they really were.

I'm of the belief that Sloan was the only S31 operative, that he made it up, and that he "claimed" a larger organization by duping or blackmailing people to work for him the way he did with Bashir and Ross. It fits the canon facts just as well, while being far more plausible.
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