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Old June 25 2014, 06:56 PM   #133
Deranged Nasat
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Re: LE: One Constant Star by David R. George III Review Thread (Spoile

Enterprise1701 wrote: View Post
Deranged Nasat wrote: View Post
hbquikcomjamesl wrote: View Post
Am I the only one who, when Tenger's backstory was given, wondered how it fits in with Orion "slave" women being the real rulers of their society?
Some of the books, e.g. Rise of the Federation series, have gone into that in more depth and suggested (logically, I think) that the degree of pheromonal allure differs from Orion to Orion, so that while some females are powerful and seductive enough pheromone-wise that they become de facto rulers of their society, others aren't (and the women who are guard their control jealously, at that). The commoner woman isn't anything special. I suppose that might also contribute to the desire among some Orion women to be as beautiful and alluring as possible, even through artificial means - it would be, perhaps, part and parcel of seeking to better yourself economically in the super-capitalist Orion system?
Just think about it. Do you suppose Gaila from Star Trek 2009 would ever be allowed to set foot on Starfleet grounds if it were known that she can influence any average humanoid male?
I have wondered how the Federation deals with that sort of thing, actually. The complexities must be headache-inducing; the balance between inclusion and protection of individual liberties difficult to determine, the legal protections for both the citizen in question and those around them potentially difficult to mutually respect. Things could get ugly, or at least hurtful. For example, Elas is (or was, alas, since the Borg destroyed it) a member of the Federation, and at least some Elasian females can make males, Elasian or not, single-mindedly focused on their needs and desires through natural chemical means. Since simple physical contact with the tears can apparently be enough, I imagine it would cause quite the dilemma. Would Human parents want their sons attending school with Elasian girls? I can picture some nasty disagreements arising from that, and some very big problems. Would these hypothetical parents' resistance be viewed as correct, sympathetic and necessary, or as hyperbolic bigotry (even akin to, for example, "I don't want no nigger in my daughter's class, they can't be trusted!") I mean, I'd imagine the UFP would generally be a place where most people are fairly reasonable, but being generally reasonable doesn't mean easy answers.

What about Betazoid telepathic talents (which some might view as inherently an affront to a non-Betazoid's privacy or dignity), or Pahkwa-thanh venom (and Pahkwa-thanh instinct to taste things in order to learn about them); in short, anything that is biologically inherent to a species that would be difficult to control or restrict but which would be seen as imposing on other citizens were it to be used, even if in those societies the use is second-nature, or simply nature? We know that Betazoid concepts of courtesy and correct conduct frown on uninvited scans, and of course the Pahkwa-thanh obviously abide by that tricky, obscure "it shall be a criminal offence for a citizen to consume another" law even if they would happily eat that dolphin otherwise, but the dilemma still remains.

I imagine UFP citizens are thick-skinned at least, if not outright embracing of most differences and generally accepting, but we know there are some boundaries. The Deltans have their Oath of Celibacy of course (while serving in Starfleet, at least - has it ever been confirmed if Deltans working in other Federation agencies take it? Or the Deltan-on-the-non-Dhei-street?); Shelby in New Frontier insisted that Gleau the Selelvian agree to something similar (back when she still mostly thought his impositions through The Knack were generally innocent, even if she was beginning to suspect otherwise - and, again, he was a Starfleet officer not an ordinary citizen). Is an Orion with full-on pheromones allowed within the UFP? She can't consciously control it, after all, so even if she considered their use to affect others completely immoral and never wanted to take advantage (not common, I'd imagine, since it's literally completely natural to them and people influence each other through subtle means all the time - where is the line drawn? "You used your charisma at me! Guards, arrest him!") would she be required by law to take drugs to shut the ability off if she wanted to even set foot in the UFP? Must she be less than herself to enter?

(This also makes me think of the sub-plot in Myriad Universes: Places of Exile involving the Casciron species, who are required by Vostigye Union law to surrender their natural poison glands and stingers before being accepted as refugees; the story features some heated disagreements between Casciron religious figures/general protestors and the Vostigye establishment - the law says no weapons, and poison stings are classified as a natural weapon, so off they come)

And that's just when a given female Orion of the ruling lineages is an outsider seeking to enter the UFP. What happens when an Orion girl, a UFP citizen, reaches puberty? Is she tested for how strong her pheromones are, to ensure she doesn't naturally and unknowingly impose on others? Where is the line drawn if so? Is she legally required due to her species to take certain medical treatments? Very thorny, I'm sure many would agree; even if species isn't mentioned anywhere in the legalese, it's obviously still more-or-less central to the issue. Would Orion citizens accept being in turn imposed on, as though (they might argue) they are inherently under suspicion or seen as criminal, immoral or naturally "unsafe" (particularly when being from a species that clearly has a number of unpleasant stereotypes to work against anyway)? "My daughter's done nothing wrong, but she's singled out and treated like a criminal!" VS "I'm not having my son around an Orion who hasn't been tested and made to take the right level of pheromone suppressant; what about his rights and protections?" "We're being singled out as suspicious" VS "we're talking about biology, this isn't your character being disparaged", etc, etc.

I'm reminded now of the Psi Corps from Babylon Five, and if anyone is familiar with that franchise they'll know the trouble the Earth Alliance had with its policy on telepaths. Held apart and singled out because they were required by law to register and either join the Corps or take "sleeper" drugs that often had troubling side-effects.

How, I wonder, does it work?

Even if it generally works smoothly, sooner or later some individual will raise a stink.
We are all the sum of our tears. Too little and the ground is not fertile, and nothing can grow there. Too much, and the best of us is washed away.
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