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Old January 28 2014, 05:08 AM   #289
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Re: TF: A Ceremony of Losses by David Mack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Rowan Sjet wrote: View Post
That seems to have been why the Federation didn't just offer the relevant sections of the Taurus Meta-Genome back in 2383, under the Bacco administration. By the time of The Fall, it appears that the Federation had only just determined that somebody was withholding the Tholian data from the Andorian Science Institute when Bashir's subterfuge was detected.
This was something I was wondering about while reading this book, that Ishan gets all the crap about withholding the information needed to create a cure (and rightfully so) but no explanation of what the Bacco administration was doing to help these past three years. I guess if they thought the Andorians had all they needed it may have been a case of, "Why bother?"
Exactly. So far as the Bacco Administration knew, the Tholians had already given the Andorians everything they could possibly need for the Science Institute to come up with a cure.

I just re-read the relevant passages from A Ceremony of Losses(Chapters Five and Sixteen); as near as I can tell, nobody in the Federation outside of Bashir figured out that the ch'Fortua administration was keeping any of the Meta-Genome data from the Science Institute until after Bashir and company had already developed the cure; one of Bashir's co-conspirators figured it out after Bashir had already talked to Ishan. At no point in Bashir's conversation with Ishan did he share his suspicion that ch'Fortua was withholding any info from the Science Institute.

When the Andorian issue had come up earlier in the book for the Ishan administration, Ishan's advisers seem to have been prompted to discuss it with him as a result of the combination of: 1. Ishan's pre-existing decision to institute a Federation embargo of Andor for domestic political purposes; 2. media attention over Shar's arrest; and 3. the presence of Typhon Pact representatives courting the Andorians for membership in the Pact.

Further, remember: Ishan found out that Bashir was working on the Meta-Genome because a Starfleet Intelligence agent figured out that Bashir had been called to DS9 by Ambassador Quark; she knew that the Ferengi government had been acting as a diplomatic backchannel for their contacts on Andor, and that Bashir had convened a medical research summit of genetic experts. Ergo, she put two and two together and hypothesized that Bashir and company were working on the fertility crisis with Meta-Genome data -- data she seems to have assumed would have come from the Tholians via the Andorians, rather than realizing it had come from Starfleet archives via Section 31.

So as near as I can tell, the Ishan administration (and, therefore, the Bacco administration before it) never realized that the ch'Fortua administration was keeping any info from the Science Institute. And by the time that Bashir had developed the curse, Ishan's reasons for keeping the cure from the Andorians were all about not wanting to reward secession or appear politically weak, with a secondary concern over Bashir's having accessed Meta-Genome data that he feared could have been stolen and used by Federation enemies.

So in other words -- it is not that Ishan gets crap for withholding information the Andorians needed to create a cure; it's that Ishan gets crap for withholding the cure itself, already delivered into his hands by Bashir had he wanted it.

Jarvisimo wrote: View Post
Rowan Sjet wrote: View Post
That seems to have been why the Federation didn't just offer the relevant sections of the Taurus Meta-Genome back in 2383, under the Bacco administration. By the time of The Fall, it appears that the Federation had only just determined that somebody was withholding the Tholian data from the Andorian Science Institute when Bashir's subterfuge was detected.
This was something I was wondering about while reading this book, that Ishan gets all the crap about withholding the information needed to create a cure (and rightfully so) but no explanation of what the Bacco administration was doing to help these past three years. I guess if they thought the Andorians had all they needed it may have been a case of, "Why bother?"
A fair point! But as Bacco's death follows JFK, the eulogisation of an assassinated leader like him can whitewash his failings (such as Cuba). For Bacco it would be the fact that, with regards to Andor, she was no better than Ishan over the Shedai date - except that, apparently, Ishan was going to give the relevant data anyway.
I'm afraid, as I just outlined above, that this would not be an accurate summary. As I said before, neither the Bacco administration nor the Ishan administration ever realized the ch'Fortua administration was keeping any Meta-Genome data from the Science Institute. When Councillor Cort Enaren of Betazed proposed sharing Federation data on the Genome with the Andorians, he proposed doing so in order to attempt to pre-empt the Tholians, not because anyone knew that data was being kept from the Institute.

The idea seems not to have been proposed during Bacco's days because the Bacco administration had thought the Andorians had all the data they needed, and because they had not, y'know, instituted a unilateral trade embargo on the planet for no damn good reason -- and had not thereby given the Typhon Pact an opening to press the Andorians to join it, thereby prompting Ishan's meeting over Andor in Chapter Five. Enaren was proposing a way to cut off the Typhon Pact's overtures after Ishan's actions had prompted those overtures.

Meanwhile, it's important to remember that Ishan seemingly did not realize that the Andorians needed immediate help to find the cure or else go over a population tipping point -- but that he was alerted to this fact during his conversation with Bashir. If Ishan did not know this, Bacco did not either. Which would make Ishan's decision not to share the data in Chapter Five foolish, but not a deliberate attempt to risk extinction in an attempt to gain political advantage (because, again, so far as he knew, it was not an immediate crisis, and the Andorians already had all the data they needed)... but upon being alerted to the Andorians' status as a species on the brink in Chapter Sixteen, this means he was now deliberately risking the species's extinction in order to gain political advantage. Any plans he may have had to "eventually" give the Andorians the cure after the election are thereby immediately morally invalidated; it's the equivalent of telling someone who needs to be taken to the hospital immediately that you'll take her there after you stop and get a cheeseburger.

So, yeah, did Bacco make a bad decision by not immediately sharing Federation data with the Andorians? Yes. But her decision was not motivated by selfish political considerations -- it was motivated by an inability to understand the immediate necessity of the data, and by ignorance of ch'Fortua's holding the Tholian data secret. The most damning decision Ishan makes is not in Chapter Five, when he shares Bacco's erroneous understanding of the Andorian situation; the most damning decision he makes is in Chapter Sixteen, when he knows that the Andorians need the cure immediately to avoid extinction and that the cure is in his hands to deliver right away, courtesy of Bashir. It is in Chapter Sixteen that his initial vindictive decision not to reward Andor for seceding becomes a deliberate decision to risk the extinction of an entire species for political gain.
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