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Trek Literature "...Good words. That's where ideas begin."

View Poll Results: Grade Lost Souls
Excellent 130 72.22%
Above Average 35 19.44%
Average 12 6.67%
Below Average 1 0.56%
Poor 2 1.11%
Voters: 180. You may not vote on this poll

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Old July 5 2009, 11:54 PM   #586
ProtoAvatar
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Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 3: Lost Souls - (SPOILERS)

Deranged Nasat

Obviously, we view the "Destiny" trilogy differently.
Trent sumarised accurately my opinion about the books:

"It isn’t a quest story, or a mystery, or an epic, where characters are expected to solve the problems that confront them; no, this, to my disgust, is a story of deliverance. It’s more than the idea that Picard, Riker and so on don’t actively contribute to solving the problem: it’s that the problem is so huge that these mere mortals cannot possibly be expected to solve it in the first place, and must instead make recourse to a higher power, those gods of night, whose technological acumen borders on the divine, thanks to a half-human, half-‘divine’ messiah who sacrifices herself to the enemy."
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Old July 5 2009, 11:59 PM   #587
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Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 3: Lost Souls - (SPOILERS)

ProtoAvatar wrote: View Post
Deranged Nasat

Obviously, we view the "Destiny" trilogy differently.
Trent sumarised accurately my opinion about the books:

"It isn’t a quest story, or a mystery, or an epic, where characters are expected to solve the problems that confront them; no, this, to my disgust, is a story of deliverance. It’s more than the idea that Picard, Riker and so on don’t actively contribute to solving the problem: it’s that the problem is so huge that these mere mortals cannot possibly be expected to solve it in the first place, and must instead make recourse to a higher power, those gods of night, whose technological acumen borders on the divine, thanks to a half-human, half-‘divine’ messiah who sacrifices herself to the enemy."
I find your and Trent's views interesting, ProtoAvatar, and it is one I sympathise with as I have often expressed similar concerns with other fiction, and in the way our people tend to view things generally. However, while I'm sure this must be obvious by now , I didn't sense that in "Destiny" or in any Trek. If you did see it that way, I'm certainly not going to condemn your opinion, but, yes, I didn't have any problem with "Destiny"- I loved it.
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Old July 6 2009, 12:05 AM   #588
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Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 3: Lost Souls - (SPOILERS)

ProtoAvatar wrote: View Post
Deranged Nasat
Weren't you applauding Sci's speech about human imperfection, human limitation and human failure, depicted in "Destiny", opposed to the Caeliar's superiority - beings who easily solved a problem that was way beyond humanity's capabilities?
If you think that the point of my post was "human failure vs. Caeliar superiority," then you have a severe reading comprehension problem.

The point was not, "Humans fail and Caeliar are superior." The point was learning to accept your failures alongside your successes, your weaknesses alongside your strengths, your mortality alongside your life.

The same applies to the Caeliar. It took the Federation to make the Caeliar accept their own weaknesses as a culture. Only with Federation influence did the Caeliar learn to accept their own flaws, and then act to become a better, freer culture.

In other words -- neither one was superior or inferior. Both had to learn humility. The Federation had to learn that it was not capable of everything, and the Caeliar had to learn that they were not entitled to everything. The Caeliar had to learn that their values were no longer (if they had ever been) sufficient, and the Federation had to learn that its power had never been sufficient. Each gave what the other lacked.

Silvermosk3, Deranged Nasat
OK. Let's run some numbers. Initially, there were 7000+ cubes.
At least 7,461, actually, but the text implies there could be more.

3500/half were destroyed in Dax's plan.
We don't know that, actually. We know that the cubes attacking Vulcan, Qo'noS, Andor, Tellar, and Rigel were destroyed, and that an unknown number of other cubes were also destroyed. That's it.

Let's say 1500 remain.
The text of Lost Souls establishes rather firmly that a minimum of 4,000 cubes survived Hernandez's "hacking" of the Collective.

Page 346:

Reports from thousands of cubes dispersed throughout local space all relayed the same urgent message to the Borg Queen.
Page 381:

Exasperated, Dax replied, "You want a contingency plan for what to do after we're surrounded by more than four thousand Borg cubes?"
Page 387:

Choudhury looked at Worf. "Borg cubes are emerging from the subspace tunnels, sir--thousands of them. The entire armada."

"Split screen," Worf said. Kadohata adjusted the main viewer to show two images: Hernandez and Inyx on the right and, on the left, the arriving Borg armada surrounding Axion and blotting out the stars with their sheer numbers.
ProtoAvatar wrote: View Post
Let's say Picard manages to gather the majority of those cubes in one place - by sending fake omega particle readings or some other smart (for a change) plan
The Federation has no capacity to send such fake signals. You either have the Omega Molecule or you don't. If you do, Federation technology is so primitive as to severely risk the end of warp travel throughout the entirety of local space (hence the Omega Directive). Luring the cubes to one area requires the cooperation of the Caeliar, no matter what.

- and destroys them with the thalaron weapon.
It is exceedingly unlikely that they would manage to destroy the entire armada. Even if the Borg fleet suffered 90% casualty rates, that would leave 400 cubes left, and this after the Borg had adapted to transphasic torpedoes. Even only 400 cubes is more than enough to exterminate the Federation.

Starfleet has slipstream drive - when it comes to crossing intergalactic distances, it's the only way to fly, baby!.
And it's only able to adapt a small number of ships to use them.

In 100 years,
An unrealistically optimistic assessment of how much time the Federation would have before the Borg returned.

thousands/tens of thousands of convoys will be send beyond the milky way - carrying tens of BILLIONS of refugees. The alpha/beta civilizations will survive.
No, it would collapse because civilizations can't survive on ships. It would lead to billions of people dying in the process of the migration, it would disrupt entire societies, it would decimate any society that has unique planetary environment requirements, and then the ships would be trapped for thousands of years between the stars. And the Borg would keep coming. They'd just find the slipstream technology and assimilate that.

"Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly hugely mindbogglingly big it is." - That goes double for intergalactic distances. The borg can have as many cubes as they want. They will never find all the convoys. Not even close.
Even if we grant you that -- what then? You have these convoys of refugee ships trapped in the intergalactic void. What kind of life would that be? What makes you think that they'd be able to survive? Where would they get new energy? How would they cope with trying to perpetuate their cultures under those conditions?

The entire concept is absurd on its face. You try evacuating, say, the entire Republic of Austria onboard ocean-bound ships, force those ships to stay at sea forever, and see how well Austrian society survives.

We know many species ascend into beings made of pure thought, pure energy - incredibly powerfull beings. Sooner or later, humanity or another alpha/beta species will manage this performance.
Don't be absurd. Evolution is not a pre-determined course, and there's no guarantee that humanity (or its allies) would survive long enough trapped in the intergalactic void to achieve that feat even if it's possible.
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Old July 6 2009, 12:07 AM   #589
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Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 3: Lost Souls - (SPOILERS)

Sci wrote: View Post
ProtoAvatar wrote: View Post
Christopher wrote: View Post

It wouldn't take them anywhere near that long. Voyager's original 70-year estimate was from the very farthest edge of the Delta Quadrant, 75,000 light-years away from the Federation. Borg territory extends much closer to the Federation, as close as 30,000 light-years, and Star Charts shows an offshoot section of Borg space even closer, a mere 5,000 or so light-years away (this might be the source of the Borg supercube from Resistance/Before Dishonor). And even the Borg's conventional warp drive is probably more powerful and efficient than Starfleet warp drive. So even without the subspace tunnels, they were probably within 15 or 20 years of invading the Federation.
Not according to "Mere Mortals" and an alarmed 7 of 9:

"She pulled him backward, off balance. Borg assimilation tubules extended from the steely implant still grafted to her left hand as she pressed her fingertips against his jugular. The tubules hovered above his skin but did not penetrate it—yet.
Around her and the admiral, the combat operations center became deathly quiet.
“If you do not escape beyond the Borg’s reach, you will never be safe,” she said, all but hissing the words into the trembling man’s ear. “They know where you are, and they are now committed to your annihilation. Even if you collapse the subspace tunnels, they can still reach you by normal warp travel. It may take them decades. Perhaps even a century. But they will come. And when they do, your civilization will be eradicated. All that you have built, all that you have labored to preserve, will be erased from history. You cannot stop them, ever. As long as they exist, you will never be free.”
She's being generous in assuming that the Federation would have a century to demonstrate that even with a huge amount of lead time, they'd still be doomed. There's no reason to think that the Federation actually has a century.
7 of 9 was trying to alarm the admiralty, to shake them out of their overconfidence.
You find
"If you destroy the tunnels, the borg will be here in a century"
more alarming that
"If you destroy the tunnels, the borg will be here in 15 years?"

Well - I guess we'll have to agree to disagree on this point.
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Old July 6 2009, 12:09 AM   #590
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Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 3: Lost Souls - (SPOILERS)

Sci wrote: View Post
Trent, while I understand what you're saying, I thoroughly disagree with some of the values that underlie your evaluation of the trilogy.
Well, I did conceed ideology played a role here.

The Borg invasion didn't constitute failure, because failure implies that there was ever a real possibility of success on the primary characters' own merits. But the Borg have always been so powerful as to render our heroes powerless when faced with power of such magnitude.
Of course it's a failure, whether they were being set up to fail or just failed of their own ineptitude. The Borg are powerful, yes, that is part and parcel of the threat they represent (although a lesser part, I would argue, compared to their culture--after all, one could easily whip up an enemy with even bigger and more numerous ships, but that doesn't make it better than the Borg). The Borg are the steamrollers of the Trek universe, but the point of the story is that the heroes overcome the otherwise insurmountable odds. Nothing looked like it could stop the Borg when they attacked Earth the first time, tearing through the fleet at Wolf 359... but they were stopped, through intelligence, creativity and one man's refusal to surrender himself--not a lack of recognition for what he had become, a slave to the Collective, but a refusal to complacently accept that fate for himself. "First Contact", and again the seemingly unstoppable horde's advance is halted. "Scorpion", "Dark Frontier", "Endgame", "Regeneration"... the Borg have been defeated a number of times, which is, after all, what's prompted all those complaints that they were defanged. The Borg have numbers and technology on their side, but they also have cultural lacunas that can and have been exploited (and indeed, in the better portions of the trilogy, were: their reliance on the queen, their obsession with the Omega particle). Don't tell me they couldn't be stopped, because I don't believe it.

I suppose the whole issue is encapsulated in your objection to the bit at the end where T'Lana accepts what she cannot change. You object to this because to you, it equals submission to failure, a celebration of impotence. I see it fundamentally differently. Accepting what you cannot change is not the same thing as submission -- it is the act of a responsible adult who has learned to accept that there are limits to his/her power and authority, that they are not the center of the universe, and that this face should not prevent them from finding happiness in life.
Most certainly it is submission, or, as you call it yourself, surrender. There is a difference between recognizing one's limitations and accepting them. The former is mere pragmatism, being realistic; the second is passivity, acquiescence, defeatism. I recognize that if I jump off this cliff I will fall to my death; that is my limitation as a human being who cannot fly and whose body is broken by high falls. But I don't need to accept that I can, therefore, never jump off this cliff; eventually, innovation provides me with the parachute or other means by which my human limitations are overcome by my other qualities. Hell, we just passed the fortieth anniversary of the Stonewall Riots--can you imagine if, as you suggested, people were to meekly accept the status quo because it seems impossible to change? Never mind civil rights, we'd probably still be worshipping god-kings on a flat Earth. Recognizing one's limitations is a good thing, because it enables one to know where progress is needed, to look beyond them, and yes, keeps one within relative safety (although whether that safety is worth the limitation can vary). Accepting it, though, is just allowing oneself to become subservient to it, a slave to ease. If we don't strive for something better, if we just accept what is as unchangeable... then what are we but a blight upon this world? What makes humanity great, was makes it worthwhile despite all its problems, is this very refusal to accept limitations, to struggle, to strive, to eventually break through and overcome, and Star Trek has always placed that human spirit at the forefront of its valuations. "All Good Things", surely one of the best, more exemplary episodes, has this to say about limitations:

Q: "We wanted to see if you had the ability to expand your mind and your horizons. And for one brief moment, you did."
Picard: "When I realized the paradox."
Q: "Exactly. For that one fraction of a second, you were open to options you had never considered. That is the exploration that awaits you. Not mapping stars and studying nebulae, but charting the unknown possibilities of existence."

Or, more succintly:

Picard: "(...) the sky's the limit."

Now that is inspiring, not navel-gazing on one's own mortality.

That T'Lana was able to accept her own imminent death was a sign of great growth and maturity; she went from a borderline clinical narcissist incapable of accepting the idea of not having the right or ability to control other people, to a person able to look her own inevitable death in the face without falling into despair.
T'Lana was a dunce with no sense of what was appropriate to her situation, and meekly standing there as death rolled in was contemptible. I am reminded of Chewbacca, one of the first big characters to be killed in a tie-in: he died fighting, saving others, and as the moon of Sernpidal came crashing down upon him, tearing the world asunder, he didn't just sit there and pick at his nails, he howled his defiance to the last. There was no changing his fate, but damned if he was going to go out pusillanimously.

Or, closer to home, take Riker in Sky's the Limit (there's that expression again ), more specifically in 'Til Death. He was presented with the apparent inevitabilily of his death, told by Crusher there was nothing to be done except sit there and accept what would happen... and after some soul-searching, the never-say-die Riker we know and love comes to the fore, saying "Fuck this lying around--I'm going out fighting, making a difference". That's the attitude I admire. (Incidently, thinking of that anthology now, I feel it did such a better job capturing the characters; not just Riker, but the rest of the TNG crew.) Hell, even Arnold Rimmer knees Death in the groin.

Or, as Dylan Thomas might say: "Do not go gentle into that good night / Rage, rage against the dying of the light."

"And what's interesting is that if you look at the career of Picard, and the rather distinguished and successful captain and commanding officer that he is during all the years that we saw him on screen, all the moments of his greatest failures as a commanding officer seem to be linked to the Borg. (...) Picard reflecting on this, in the moment of final breakdown. In the climax of the book, he reflects in one brief passage on, every time he's faced them, he's failed."
I take issue with this. Picard has been wounded, certainly, but he has not failed--at least, not until the TNG-R decided to turn him into such a pathetic specimen. Yes, the Borg ripped a chunk out of their ass in the initial encounter, but that was hardly his fault, it was Q's. Yes, he was victimized by the Borg, but that wasn't his failure; indeed, Picard manages to overcome assimilation to speak to Data and contribute to the overall solution. In "I, Borg", which I notice wasn't on this list, Picard confronts his hatred for the Borg embodied in Hugh and overcomes it, with the help of his friends. In "First Contact", Picard confronts his lingering sense of vulnerability to the Borg that compells him to senseless aggression, and he overcomes it, with the help of Lily (which is a beautiful and resonant moment, really, when he quotes Moby Dick: Picard the warrior is tamed by Picard the scholar). Picard is no superman, he has, as I've said, been wounded and compromised by the Borg, but he has always found strength in himself and in his connection to others to overcome and defeat the Borg, physically and psychologically. Here? He persists, contemptibly, in behaving like a martinet, a nincompoop and ultimately a blubbering wreck.

Humanism only goes so far -- at some point, humanism has to meet up with the fact of human imperfection and human limitation. (...) The fact of human imperfection and weakness, the fact that even good people fail, was downplayed or disregarded.
I don't know what kind of humanism you've been reading, but there's nothing in humanism about ignoring human imperfection and weakness, or even that humanity is inherently good. There is a recognition that overcoming these problems will be difficult, will require hard work and helping each other up: it's about the affirming the possibility of a better humanity and better environment. So, for instance, saying that there was no possibility of beating back the Borg is distinctly un-humanistic. (As Spock would say: "There are always... possibilities.") As for the characters not failing as often (and I'd argue it's less that they didn't fail, so much as they typically managed to recognize and correct the error by the end of the episode)... well, it is fiction, not reality, and the definition of a hero is a person who comes through when the chips are down, in extremis. Someone who, at the moment of crisis, runs off to cower in the holodeck is more like those satirical 'heros' you often see in animation, and not a person deserving of respect.

The Borg Invasion is not merely about an invasion. It is about facing one's own imminent death. That's why the Borg kill rather than assimilate -- not because the intent of the trilogy is to un-do all of the hope and optimism of the Trekverse, but because the mere assimilation of the Federation (which canon has rendered so easy to un-do as to no longer feel threatening) would not allow for the point of the story, which is learning to face the fact of one's own imminent death and to accept it.
Yet it does undo the hope and optimism of the universe, two-fold, by destroying the setting and by affirming impotency. A story about facing one's own death might work as a one-off novel, I don't know, but shouldn't be the theme of the biggest event to hit the universe... pretty much ever, and redefining it as one of death and despair. As you say, the Borg didn't assimilate anymore because, with this ending, it would have meant the possibility of betterment, which death denies. (Although, speaking only for myself here, I personally find the prospect of slavery to the Collective far more frightening than death.)

It is the refusal to accept their own mortality (in the form of imprisonment) that led the MACOs to perpetuate mass murder upon the Caeliar. It is the refusal to accept his own mortality that has consistently caused Picard to screw up in dealing with the Borg, to the point of being willing to use a thalaron weapon in violation of his principles. It is the refusal to accept her own mortality that leads Sedin to decide to disregard the rights of others and create the first Borg.
There are fates worse than death, I agree--Foyle found it, though he never recognized it, and Sedin found it as well; and there are times when death is preferable to a life of suffering or villainy. But where these characters failed was not in their will to live or to be free (is the desire for freedom also immature, in your opinion?); where they erred was in the methods they choose, in believing that the ends justified the means. In being pragmatic instead of hopeful. (And there was nothing ethically wrong with Picard's plan to create the thalaron weapon as a failsafe.)

And, again, I don't think that the story's attempt at a hopeful ending is uncalled for or dishonest. Because the other point of it is, the Federation will recover. It will rebuild. Its citizens will build a better Federation
I find that hard to believe. Dozens of billions are dead, entire planets (including Risa) have been eradicated, the infrastructure is in ruins, and every citizen now carries civilization-level trauma. They can try to rebuild (or I hope they will, anyway), but it will never be the same, never be as good--let alone better. How can it, when there is so much less?

It was through contact with Hernandez, who tries to live her long life by the values of United Earth and the Federation, that the Caeliar come to realize how much they have erred, and to realize the necessity of destroying the controlling intelligence of the Collective and redeeming its slaves into freedom.
It wasn't contact with Hernadez--she had been amongst them for centuries and they were still the same priggish assholes. It was contact with the Borg, the experience of their suffering, and the realization of their responsibility, that the Caeliar finally chose to act. Hernandez enabled this, but it's wrong to say she made converts out of the Caeliar.

It's Federation ideals that save the day.
No, magically advanced technology saved the day by making the Borg vanish in a flash of light. The Federation wasn't even able to save itself, which, if anything, is condemnatory of its ideals as leading to extinction.

Fictitiously yours, Trent Roman
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Old July 6 2009, 12:10 AM   #591
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Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 3: Lost Souls - (SPOILERS)

Sci wrote: View Post
you have a severe reading comprehension problem.
First you call me a racist, now insults?
If you want to be taken seriously, be more civilized.
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Old July 6 2009, 12:10 AM   #592
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Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 3: Lost Souls - (SPOILERS)

ProtoAvatar wrote: View Post
, quoting Trent Roman:
"It isn’t a quest story, or a mystery, or an epic, where characters are expected to solve the problems that confront them; no, this, to my disgust, is a story of deliverance."
Yes, it is. It is a story of deliverance -- of mutual deliverance. The Caeliar deliver the Federation from the hands of the Borg, and the Federation delivers the Caeliar from the oppression of their own stagnant, dogmatic culture. Both sides give the other what they lack in order to survive.

It's not the interaction of gods and man, superior and inferior. It's the interaction of equals.
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Old July 6 2009, 12:12 AM   #593
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Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 3: Lost Souls - (SPOILERS)

ProtoAvatar wrote: View Post
Sci wrote: View Post
you have a severe reading comprehension problem.
First you call me a racist, now insults?
If you want to be taken seriously, be more civilized.
Don't misrepresent my words and I won't insult you for it.
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Old July 6 2009, 12:13 AM   #594
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Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 3: Lost Souls - (SPOILERS)

Deranged Nasat wrote: View Post
ProtoAvatar wrote: View Post
Deranged Nasat

Obviously, we view the "Destiny" trilogy differently.
Trent sumarised accurately my opinion about the books:

"It isn’t a quest story, or a mystery, or an epic, where characters are expected to solve the problems that confront them; no, this, to my disgust, is a story of deliverance. It’s more than the idea that Picard, Riker and so on don’t actively contribute to solving the problem: it’s that the problem is so huge that these mere mortals cannot possibly be expected to solve it in the first place, and must instead make recourse to a higher power, those gods of night, whose technological acumen borders on the divine, thanks to a half-human, half-‘divine’ messiah who sacrifices herself to the enemy."
I find your and Trent's views interesting, ProtoAvatar, and it is one I sympathise with as I have often expressed similar concerns with other fiction, and in the way our people tend to view things generally. However, while I'm sure this must be obvious by now , I didn't sense that in "Destiny" or in any Trek. If you did see it that way, I'm certainly not going to condemn your opinion, but, yes, I didn't have any problem with "Destiny"- I loved it.
Don't misunderstand me - I liked much from the destiny trilogy.
It's just that this humans=second class citizens theme I mentioned left a sour taste in my mouth.
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Old July 6 2009, 12:24 AM   #595
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Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 3: Lost Souls - (SPOILERS)

I question ProtoAvatar's assumption that a thalaron weapon would even work on the Borg. NEM established that thalaron radiation only affects organic matter. When the Romulan council was assassinated, their bodies turned to dust but their clothes and the council chamber itself remained intact.

Now, yes, the Borg do, as a rule, depend on a mix of biology and technology. But we've seen what can happen when a Borg cube is stripped of all its organic drones. As shown in Before Dishonor, the contingency plan for such a cube is (at least potentially) to switch its nanotechnology into a more aggressive, virulent mode that "absorbs" and converts all matter it contacts. Given that precedent, I'd say that using a thalaron weapon to kill the Borg's organic half would be a suicidal move, because it would probably end up making the Borg cubes even more destructive.

I think what ProtoAvatar is missing is that the thalaron weapon never had any serious prospect of bringing victory over the Borg. Proposing it was a desperation move. Intellectually, Picard knew he had no chance of stopping the Borg with a thalaron weapon, but he wanted to hurt them, to get in one last parting shot before the end. It was a childish attempt to lash out in hatred and rage, not a legitimate victory strategy. That, as much as anything else, was why Geordi was against it -- because it was simply not a valid solution.
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Old July 6 2009, 12:24 AM   #596
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Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 3: Lost Souls - (SPOILERS)

Trent Roman wrote: View Post
T'Lana was a dunce with no sense of what was appropriate to her situation, and meekly standing there as death rolled in was contemptible. I am reminded of Chewbacca, one of the first big characters to be killed in a tie-in: he died fighting, saving others, and as the moon of Sernpidal came crashing down upon him, tearing the world asunder, he didn't just sit there and pick at his nails, he howled his defiance to the last. There was no changing his fate, but damned if he was going to go out pusillanimously.

Or, closer to home, take Riker in Sky's the Limit (there's that expression again ), more specifically in 'Til Death. He was presented with the apparent inevitabilily of his death, told by Crusher there was nothing to be done except sit there and accept what would happen... and after some soul-searching, the never-say-die Riker we know and love comes to the fore, saying "Fuck this lying around--I'm going out fighting, making a difference". That's the attitude I admire. (Incidently, thinking of that anthology now, I feel it did such a better job capturing the characters; not just Riker, but the rest of the TNG crew.) Hell, even Arnold Rimmer knees Death in the groin.

Or, as Dylan Thomas might say: "Do not go gentle into that good night / Rage, rage against the dying of the light."
Well, for one thing T'Lana is Vulcan. In her culture, she would shame herself if she spent her last moments roaring defiance or showing any extreme emotion. Instead, she analyzed the situation, concluded death was inevitable, and stoicly accepted it. She died Vulcan, true to her culture.


Trent Roman wrote: View Post
I take issue with this. Picard has been wounded, certainly, but he has not failed--at least, not until the TNG-R decided to turn him into such a pathetic specimen. Yes, the Borg ripped a chunk out of their ass in the initial encounter, but that was hardly his fault, it was Q's. Yes, he was victimized by the Borg, but that wasn't his failure; indeed, Picard manages to overcome assimilation to speak to Data and contribute to the overall solution. In "I, Borg", which I notice wasn't on this list, Picard confronts his hatred for the Borg embodied in Hugh and overcomes it, with the help of his friends. In "First Contact", Picard confronts his lingering sense of vulnerability to the Borg that compells him to senseless aggression, and he overcomes it, with the help of Lily (which is a beautiful and resonant moment, really, when he quotes Moby Dick: Picard the warrior is tamed by Picard the scholar). Picard is no superman, he has, as I've said, been wounded and compromised by the Borg, but he has always found strength in himself and in his connection to others to overcome and defeat the Borg, physically and psychologically. Here? He persists, contemptibly, in behaving like a martinet, a nincompoop and ultimately a blubbering wreck.
Top repeat an earlier comment, and with respect: If you were essentially raped and enslaved, and your oppressors then swarmed in and began annihalating your entire civilization, you might have a breakdown too. Anyone might. What's contemptable about it?



Trent Roman wrote: View Post
I find that hard to believe. Dozens of billions are dead, entire planets (including Risa) have been eradicated, the infrastructure is in ruins, and every citizen now carries civilization-level trauma. They can try to rebuild (or I hope they will, anyway), but it will never be the same, never be as good--let alone better. How can it, when there is so much less?
It will rebuild, and it can be as good or better. The entirety of explored space has just had it finally pushed into their heads that unity is preferable to xenophobic mistrust. Compassion for the traumatized and reflection on what was lost can re-affirm the ties between citizens and cultures, create the foundation of a stronger Federation. Yes, Risa, Coridan, Deneva, Pandril, Yridia etc are irreplacable, but the Federation has a final duty to do them: ensure that life goes on and the galaxy prospers, to (if you'll forgive my becoming poetic) commemorate them.
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Old July 6 2009, 12:35 AM   #597
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Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 3: Lost Souls - (SPOILERS)

What this boils down to is a fundamental difference in values.

If I am understanding them correctly -- and if I'm not, please feel free to correct me -- Trent and ProtoAvatar think that accepting one's limitations is the same thing as submitting to them and never working to improve yourself, that accepting your own death is disrespectable, and that heroes should always be the direct agents who solve their own problems. And Trent in particular cannot believe that there can be hope for a better future in the face of extreme suffering; there is no hope if there is no Utopia.

I would argue that that view of life is both unrealistic and one that would, if one adopts it in real life, would prevent most people from finding real growth or real happiness. I would argue that it is a philosophy that would, inadvertently, lead, if adopted en masse by society, to ethnocentrism and blindness to one's own failings. I would argue that accepting your limitations is not the same thing as submitting to them and allowing them to rule your life, because I would argue that if you do not accept your limitations, you will never truly understand yourself -- and therefore will never know which parts of your nature can be changed to become stronger.

As for the question of how there can be hope in the face of such despair... Trent, I'm not trying to insult you, but I really question how you can claim to believe in the idea of hope for a better future if the fact that people suffer can so completely undo your belief that life can improve. How is it genuine optimism if there is no hope for a better future just because bad things, of whatever magnitude, have happened? I would argue that genuine optimism means cultivating an attitude of hope independent of circumstance -- means recognizing that all conditions are temporary and no conditions are permanent, and that therefore conditions can be changed for the better, even when those conditions seem overwhelming.

(As a side note, I find it amusing that Trent criticizes the Destiny trilogy for being so destructive as to render all hope for the future dead at the same time that Sxottlan criticizes the violence for being insufficiently meaningful because, in essence, he doesn't care about the planets destroy and and, "I shrug, thinking everything will be rebuilt in short order.")


Again, I point to Europe. It would have been very easy to look at post-World War II Europe and imagine that life would never get better, that Europe was doomed to become a land of poverty and suffering forever. And, indeed, had Europeans and their allies made other choices, it could have been. But they refused to accept that. They refused to allow the worst detestation in human history to lead to them to think they could not build a better future.

And the Europe that exists today is a better Europe than ever was built before World War II.

Anyway, this is basically a difference in fundamental premises about how one views life. I don't think they're reconcilable. Some people want Utopia, and others want something closer to home.

I want something closer to home. I welcome the changes that the Destiny trilogy have brought to the Trekverse. I like seeing a galaxy that more closely resembles our own world, and a Federation that more closely resembles our societies. Not because I want to see that the worst of us continues into the future, but because I find stories about men and women facing problems similar to our own, who nonetheless triumph over those problems in ways that we do not in real life -- without being somehow fundamentally "superior" to us or "better than" us or fitting our ridiculous and dishonest concept of "heroes" -- to be far more inspirational than the story of someone raised in Utopia who never faces any real problems.

The story of Jesus doesn't resonate with people because they think he was perfect (a few fundamentalists aside). The story of Jesus resonates with people because he was tempted, because he went through the Garden of Gethsemane and was weak -- yet still achieved something in spite of his weakness.

So it is with the Trekverse. That's why I find a story like Reap the Whirlwind or Destiny are more meaningful than one where Our Heroes Triumph Because of They Never Give Up (TM). I've seen that story before. It's old and cliched and it's dishonest.

But that's just how I view the world, and I could be as wrong as I think Trent is.
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Old July 6 2009, 12:39 AM   #598
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Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 3: Lost Souls - (SPOILERS)

Christopher wrote: View Post
I question ProtoAvatar's assumption that a thalaron weapon would even work on the Borg.
It's not my assumption. It's 7 of 9's - who knows more about the borg than me, you or any other real person can ever hope to find out. She wouldn't have proposed an useless weapon.
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Old July 6 2009, 12:47 AM   #599
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Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 3: Lost Souls - (SPOILERS)

ProtoAvatar wrote: View Post
Christopher wrote: View Post
I question ProtoAvatar's assumption that a thalaron weapon would even work on the Borg.
It's not my assumption. It's 7 of 9's - who knows more about the borg than me, you or any other real person can ever hope to find out.
Um, actually, she only knows what the authors decide she knows, and the true nature of the Borg is whatever the authors decide it is.

And since Christopher is one of those authors....
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Old July 6 2009, 01:27 AM   #600
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Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 3: Lost Souls - (SPOILERS)

Dang. You people type fast, has anybody told you that? EDIT: Holy crap, there's a whole 'nother page. Uh... I'll get back to you for the rest of this later.

Sci wrote: View Post
Of course they tried. They tried everything that they could that didn't violate their own set of ethics. But everything that they tried didn't work, and at a certain point you either confront your own powerlessness and accept it or you don't and find yourself using methods that violate your own ethics.
It would be fairer to say that they tried on occasion; there was, after all, that great bit in the middle of the book. But they also spent large swathes of the trilogy not doing anything, just sitting around and contributing nothing--Picard especially.

(Yes, I agree that claiming the thalaron weapon is inherently immoral makes little sense, but that prohibition was introduced by the canon. Sometimes, one has to accept that another culture will have moral prohibitions that make little sense to one
Eh? When was this? Thalaron weaponry was only just introduced in Nemesis. I'm all for allowing fictional universes the integrity of their own moral system--I've argued for that point when people try to change the Prime Directive, for instance, into something more in keeping with our contemporary sense of ethics that says no, you should let people die from an earthquake or flood just because they're not as technologically advanced. But I don't see that this is the case here. It's sort of like nuclear weapons. I and probably others feel a certain amount of disgust for the concept; they are, after all, weapons of mass destruction, a looming threat of annihilation, and often wind up in the hands of people I wouldn't trust with a pea-shooter; and of course, no one can forget the horrors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. There have been multiple attempts to ban them, which I find myself sympathetic too. Yet if tomorrow it were discovered that an asteroid was heading towards Earth, but that it could be deflected/destroyed with nukes, I wouldn't say "Oh, well, I guess we should just sit here and die because I don't want to deal with nukes." That's ridiculous. Certainly Picard and many others may have contempt for weapons of mass destruction--as well they should. That doesn't mean that use of the technology becomes unthinkable.

-- and that when the point of the story is to not lose your ethical integrity in the face of imminent death, it's really besides the point why this or that is regarded as unethical.)
No, it's critical to the internal logic of the story that if you're going to introduce a potential solution and then discard it, there should be a good reason for doing so and not 'it makes me sad because of Data'.

Now, I'll accept as a valid complaint that Picard didn't seem to be willing to try any of Capt. Dax's tactics against the Borg -- and I'd then point out that the point of that is that he was not behaving like he should have been, because he is so erratic when it comes to the Borg.
Erratic does not mean permanently thus, or even unsucessful, as past encounters demonstrate.

It is once Picard confronts and accepts his failures with regards to the Borg that he gets over that.
Picard gets over nothing. The Caeliar fuck with his mind. That has nothing to do with Picard as a person.

which is, I'd remind you, exactly what Sisko did to the Prophets in "The Sacrifice of Angels."
That was pretty bad, too; a clear deus ex machina. The Prophets intervening into the metaphysical battle between Sisko and Dukat to rescue their emissary is fine, because that's their domain, but in "Sacrifice of Angels" suddenly the higher power messes with what was a secular conflict, which is a complete cop-out.
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Deranged Nasat wrote: View Post
First, I apologise as I know this was directed at Sci, but I must object to the idea that the Trek universe is a darker place thanks to "Destiny". First, trillions of Borg drones have now been liberated from slavery and restored to their individuality, while the newly expanded Caeliar Gestalt is apparently going to travel the universe working for peace. This is surely a good thing. 63 Billion dead is terrible, but trillions more have now gotten their lives back.
From a galactic perspective that may be true, but Star Trek was never about the trillions of enslaved Borg. It was about the Federation and Starfleet. That something good happened on the other side of the galaxy does not change the clear change in tone towards darkness and negativity in a devastated Federation and Starfleet.

As for deadly force when necessary, deadly force does not necessarily equate to "building outlawed genocidal superweapons that will lead to war with the Romulans and Klingons even if it works, and disrespects Data's memory either way".
Law is secondary to ethics, and the ethics in this case permitted it. As for war with the Romulans and Klingons, it's sheer nuttery to worry about possible side-effects like that when the consequences of inaction would mean the extinction of the Federation, the Romulans and the Klingons. As for Data's memory--I don't give a shit, and I rather doubt he'd be thrilled to have billions put at risk in his name.

With all respect, if you are ever (essentially) raped and enslaved, then your oppressors swarm in and begin annihalating your entire civilization, would you want me to label you an "incompetant crybaby" if you break down?
If it's my job to stop them? Yes. If billions of people are depending on me doing my job for their survival, I don't have the luxury of indulging in my personal traumas.
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Sci wrote: View Post
It did no such thing; the "gods" were following the will of the Humans, if anything.
Absolutely not. The Caeliar knew what was happening, and refused to intervene until shown their own responsiblity for the Borg. If they had been following the will of humans, you'd think they would have stuck around to help repair the damage.

They also swore not to issue or obey illegal orders. By their culture, using thalaron weapons would constitute an illegal order -- which would be, y'know, a betrayal of the Federation and its values.
Quite aside from law being secondary to ethics, Pres. Bacco had already granted them permission to do whatever they needed to do.

It's a change of culture, not an ascension to a higher plane. The Caeliar are as saved by the Federation as the Federation is by the Caeliar.
What? Are you kidding me? The Caeliar are massively above the Federation, and Hernandez' immigration, as you call it, is achetypically the half-divine messiah joining with the full divinity.
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Sci wrote: View Post
And yet her Secretary of Defense refused to use the weapon.
Technically, that was before the order. And it didn't make sense then, either.

And despite what George W. Bush might have you think, Presidents do not have carte blanche to issue any order they want, even in time of war. The President has no more right to issue an illegal order than does a ship's captain. An illegal order is an illegal order no matter where it comes from.
Law and ethics are different things. There have been many laws that were unethical and should not have been followed, just as there are many cases were the ethical thing to do was also the illegal one. In this case, Picard was justified.

And then in 70 to 100 years, you're facing the destruction of the Federation again when the Collective's even larger armada reaches local space, and this time the Borg will have adapted to the thalaron weapon.
No doubt. But 70-100 years is a lot more time to create new weapons, new tactics, to--worse comes to worse--actually try and evacuate the Federation altogether, although I'm still not sure how tenable that is. Every week is an opportunity for a reversal; every planet spared is a million and more minds that can be put towards solving the problems.

Silversmok3 wrote: View Post
See,we do know what would happen:with the Thaleron weapon Starfleet has 3 days to anihilation instead of 12 hours.
Which is a good thing--more time to come up with something else and save more lives.
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Sci wrote: View Post
As for the above... That doesn't make the Trekverse darker, that makes the stories that take place in local space darker. Why is it that if the Borg assimilate or exterminate a civilization in the Delta Quadrant off-screen, that doesn't make the Trekverse a darker place, but it does if it happens to "our" characters? That's a bit of a Federation-centric POV.
I'm sorry, but this doesn't make sense. Our entry into the universe has always been the Federation and Starfleet. That's the central focus of the storytelling. And now, because they've been devastated, that focus turns darker. It's all well and good that the rest of the Borg have been liberated, but it's sort of like Wesley becoming a Traveler: we never hear about it, so nothing comes of it. It has no impact. This isn't a real place, after all; it's a fictional setting, and that setting has become darker.

It certainly makes the situation for the Federation darker. But it's also an opportunity to rebuild a Federation that's much less arrogant, much more sensitive to cultures that do not exist in states of abundance, much less prone to believe in its own propaganda about how much more "evolved" it is than other cultures.
Say what? Arrogant? Insenstive? Propaganda? Is this a Prime Directive criticism?

The immensity of the Federation's loss should not be understated. But by the same token, it's a mistake to say that that trauma alone defines the Federation and its future now. It's like Europe after World War II -- yes, Europe was left in ruins, heavily dependent on foreign aid, with 42 million dead. That's horrible and the tragedy of it cannot be over-stated. But by the same token, Europe rebuilt. And I don't think a reasonable person can look at Europe today and say that the Europe that grew out of the darkness of World War II is not a better, more moral, more peaceful Europe than existed before. Even in the wake of the most horrific war in human history, there was reason for hope -- and that hope grew and flowered into the beacon of democracy and prosperity that is the European Union and its member states. Europe after World War II was darker than Europe before, certainly. But it's a much brighter Europe that grew out of World War II and the Cold War than ever existed before.
That's not a bad analogy, but the comparison strains at several levels. First of all, WWII was not a war of annihilation (except for the Jews--and, indeed, the trauma of the Holocaust has become an unalienable part of that culture and the basis for the nation of Israel); here, entire cultures have been lost--something that can never be rebuilt, lost forever. And Europe, before the wars, were deeply flawed societies, so the war, while terrible, also provided an opportunity to change for the better. They learned to reject war (at least amongst each other), to embrace democracy; and out of the war came the overthrow of dangerous philosophies, technical achievements and the strengthening of alliances. The only thing you can say the same for when it comes to the Federation is the alliances with the Klingons, IRS and others. It already rejected war as a policy, it didn't entertain fascist philosophies, was democratic, was pluralistic, was prosperous, was technologically advanced... basically, it was a near-utopia, so there's nowhere to go as a society but down. Apart from those alliances, nothing constructive came of this invasion; there simply wasn't the time. And, of course, we're talking about change over decades--the fiction is very much in the present, and that present is a darker one, and one that I can't see enabling much opportunities for progress compared to what was already there.

There's nothing particularly god-like about the Caeliar other than mere physical power -- but if we hold them to be gods, we'd have to do the same for the Q, or the Metrons, or the Organians.
The point isn't that the Caeliar are literally gods. Clearly they have a technological basis to their civilization, however ancient and powerful. It is the role they play in the structure of the deliverance story--the higher power that comes in to save everyone at the end.

If this is salvation, it is mutual salvation.
Are you kidding me? This isn't remotely proportional. You're speaking as though this was an interaction of equals, when the power is clearly, disproportionately on the Caeliar's side, and their role in the story is clearly disproportionate to the impact any of the characters have.

Fictitiously yours, Trent Roman
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