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View Poll Results: Grade Lost Souls
Excellent 130 72.22%
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Average 12 6.67%
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Poor 2 1.11%
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Old July 6 2009, 02:15 AM   #601
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Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 3: Lost Souls - (SPOILERS)

I never really thought about it before but after reading the posts I am finding that I agree with most of what Sci said. Especially about the Federation realizing that they was nothing to do about the Borg, and coming to realize that they needed help. Because IMO this is baisically what they had to do with the Borg, get help, and as someone who's had medical issue that have recquired me to get help from others I can tell you that there is nothing wrong with that, and IMO anyone who says that there is is insulting people with disabilities (I'm on medication now so I only need help when it comes to one or two things, as long as I stay on the meds). IMO everyone cannot do everything, and eventually you will have to realize it. Hell, we're the stongest country in the world, and we need help when it comes to alot of international situations.

As for the Alpha/Beta quadrants being a worse place now, I have to dissagree again. Ok things might be worse in alot of ways right this moment, but they are already looking better for the Federation in the form of (since I don't know which of you guys have read ASD I'll put this in spoiler code)
. And they are also looking up for
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Old July 6 2009, 02:22 AM   #602
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Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 3: Lost Souls - (SPOILERS)

Sci wrote: View Post
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.
Of course you're right. There's a huge, huge difference between knowing your limits and not even trying. It's good to strive to achieve things, but if you run across something that you can't achieve no matter what, then it's just wasted energy to keep butting your head against that brick wall. And wasting energy on a futile goal is just as useless as wasting it by not trying in the first place. As with most things in life, the answer is not at the extremes but in the middle ground between them. Relentlessly directing all your energy at an unattainable goal is mere fanaticism. An effective use of energy includes an understanding of when not to exert it, when to save it for other, more constructive ends.

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.
Absolutely. Remember that the whole historical premise of Star Trek is that its idealistic future for Earth only came about in the wake of great suffering and despair. Things got so bad in the Eugenics Wars and WWIII that humans decided it was time to make a fundamental change in how they behaved. So things got better only after they got worse first. You can see a similar pattern in Vulcan history; it was the near-destruction of their civilization that led them to embrace logic and achieve two millennia of peace. Also, the Federation arose from the ashes of the Earth-Romulan War. ST is full of instances of optimistic futures arising in the wake of terrible destruction. It's woven into the tapestry of the Trek universe. Roddenberry believed we could build Utopia, but he was convinced we'd have to go through hell to get there (see also Genesis II/Planet Earth).



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.
She knows as much as a drone would know. Which is considerable compared to an outsider's knowledge, but hardly omniscient. And the events of Before Dishonor are not conjecture; within the context of the post-NEM TNG book line, they're historical fact. We know what can happen when Borg technology is deprived of its organic half, and we know it's potentially even worse than the intact Borg.

Besides, who's to say Seven of Nine thinks more clearly about the Borg than Picard does? She was a victim of them for far longer than he was, and she's long since outgrown her Stockholm Syndrome. Individual opinions don't trump documented evidence, because individuals can have any number of reasons for holding biased or distorted opinions.
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Old July 6 2009, 02:25 AM   #603
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Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 3: Lost Souls - (SPOILERS)

Trent Roman wrote: View Post
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.



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'.



Erratic does not mean permanently thus, or even unsucessful, as past encounters demonstrate.



Picard gets over nothing. The Caeliar fuck with his mind. That has nothing to do with Picard as a person.



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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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.



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.



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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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.



Quite aside from law being secondary to ethics, Pres. Bacco had already granted them permission to do whatever they needed to do.



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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Technically, that was before the order. And it didn't make sense then, either.



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.



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.



Which is a good thing--more time to come up with something else and save more lives.
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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.



Say what? Arrogant? Insenstive? Propaganda? Is this a Prime Directive criticism?



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
At somepoint in everyones life,we realize a proble
that is beyond our innate ability to solve.The Caeliar intervening and having a greater technical ability than the Fed makes it deus ex machina no more than a motorist lending you jumper cables,though of course the stakes are different.The Federation had no means to ensure it's own survival in any case.
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Old July 6 2009, 05:47 PM   #604
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Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 3: Lost Souls - (SPOILERS)

Christopher wrote: View Post
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.
She knows as much as a drone would know. Which is considerable compared to an outsider's knowledge, but hardly omniscient. And the events of Before Dishonor are not conjecture; within the context of the post-NEM TNG book line, they're historical fact. We know what can happen when Borg technology is deprived of its organic half, and we know it's potentially even worse than the intact Borg.

Besides, who's to say Seven of Nine thinks more clearly about the Borg than Picard does? She was a victim of them for far longer than he was, and she's long since outgrown her Stockholm Syndrome. Individual opinions don't trump documented evidence, because individuals can have any number of reasons for holding biased or distorted opinions.
During Voyager, 7 of 9 was established several times as having the entire knowledge of the borg - in "Think Tank", for example. Even if this was a hyperbole - and nothing in the episode indicated it - she is an expert on the borg. Her opinion caries more weight than mine or yours - by far.

About "Before Dishonor" - in "Mere Mortals" it was established that the only way these standard borg could have the advanced nanite technology is by receiving the necessary information from the offshoot supercube borg. What happened with the superborg from "Before Dishonor" was a freak accident, something ridiculously improbable that won't happen again.
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Old July 6 2009, 06:12 PM   #605
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Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 3: Lost Souls - (SPOILERS)

ProtoAvatar wrote: View Post
During Voyager, 7 of 9 was established several times as having the entire knowledge of the borg - in "Think Tank", for example. Even if this was a hyperbole - and nothing in the episode indicated it - she is an expert on the borg. Her opinion caries more weight than mine or yours - by far.
Um, no, the opinions of a fictional character on fictional matters are always going to carry less weight than the opinions of one of the authors who controls what she thinks and what happens with that fictional matter she thinks about. To try to claim that a fictional character is more knowledgeable about a subject than her own writers is just absurd.

About "Before Dishonor" - in "Mere Mortals" it was established that the only way these standard borg could have the advanced nanite technology is by receiving the necessary information from the offshoot supercube borg.
I believe that what Christopher was saying was that the Borg Supercube from Resistance/Before Dishonor had developed that adaptation independently of the rest of the Collective, and that therefore even if it was unable to transmit that adaptation to the rest of the Collective, the rest of the Collective would have the same potential to undergo that adaptation that that cube had had.

What happened with the superborg from "Before Dishonor" was a freak accident, something ridiculously improbable that won't happen again.
You are literally just making stuff up now. Nothing about that was a "freak accident." It was an adaptation that that cube developed and that, therefore, any other cube could potentially develop independently.
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Old July 6 2009, 07:28 PM   #606
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Re: Star Trek: Destiny: Lost Souls - Discuss/Grade

Ben, I loved your review. Thank you for sharing. I have one spoiler question...

Does Dr. Bashir survive, where is he and who is he with by the end of the novel?

- Sheri
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Old July 6 2009, 07:40 PM   #607
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Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 3: Lost Souls - (SPOILERS)

Sci wrote: View Post
What happened with the superborg from "Before Dishonor" was a freak accident, something ridiculously improbable that won't happen again.
You are literally just making stuff up now. Nothing about that was a "freak accident." It was an adaptation that that cube developed and that, therefore, any other cube could potentially develop independently.
Indeed. As discussed on p. 100-101 of Before Dishonor, the circumstances that led the cube to adapt in this way were unprecedented, but the adaptation was a choice, not an accident. The technology of a Borg cube is sentient -- arguably more sentient than the drones, whose individual mental activity is suppressed. Starfleet's biases led them to assume that the deactivation of the Queen and the drones meant that the technology was inert, but that's not true. The Borg were as much technological as biological, and you don't defeat the Borg unless you defeat both halves. A thalaron weapon would neutralize the biological half of the Borg but leave the technology untouched, and that's not enough to make for a victory.

And what was the unique, unprecedented circumstance that made the supercube in BD choose to adapt in this way? In the Janeway Queen's own words, it was humiliated by its continued defeat at human hands. Probably a melodramatic way of describing their state of mind, but perhaps a more objective term is desperation. The mindset that drove the main Borg Collective to launch its full-scale assault on the Federation was similar: they'd gone beyond seeing the Federation as an annoyance and had recognized it as a serious threat. If the Federation had been able to use a weapon that neutralized all the Borg drones on over 4000 cubes, then it's not unreasonable to think that the surviving technological sentience of those cubes would experience the same sense of desperation, humiliation, whatever, and would make the same choice. After all, the incentive would be much the same.
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Old July 6 2009, 08:28 PM   #608
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Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 3: Lost Souls - (SPOILERS)

Christopher wrote: View Post
As discussed on p. 100-101 of Before Dishonor, the circumstances that led the cube to adapt in this way were unprecedented, but the adaptation was a choice, not an accident. The technology of a Borg cube is sentient -- arguably more sentient than the drones, whose individual mental activity is suppressed. Starfleet's biases led them to assume that the deactivation of the Queen and the drones meant that the technology was inert, but that's not true. The Borg were as much technological as biological, and you don't defeat the Borg unless you defeat both halves. A thalaron weapon would neutralize the biological half of the Borg but leave the technology untouched, and that's not enough to make for a victory.

And what was the unique, unprecedented circumstance that made the supercube in BD choose to adapt in this way? In the Janeway Queen's own words, it was humiliated by its continued defeat at human hands. Probably a melodramatic way of describing their state of mind, but perhaps a more objective term is desperation. The mindset that drove the main Borg Collective to launch its full-scale assault on the Federation was similar: they'd gone beyond seeing the Federation as an annoyance and had recognized it as a serious threat. If the Federation had been able to use a weapon that neutralized all the Borg drones on over 4000 cubes, then it's not unreasonable to think that the surviving technological sentience of those cubes would experience the same sense of desperation, humiliation, whatever, and would make the same choice. After all, the incentive would be much the same.
If the borg had the capability to create grey goo that can eat planets in minuts, they would have used that capability before "before dishonor". They never used it - they don't know how to make it.

You say that, in order for the borg to adapt this grey goo, they need to be desperate, humiliated. This happened many times to the borg before.
Species 8472 destroyed far more than 4000 cubes - almost destroyed the entire collective - and the bord didn't create their grey goo, despite their desperation.
"Destiny"'s own "children of the storm" destroyed hundreds of thousands of borg cubes - and the borg did't gain the superpowered ability from "before dishonor".
And there were undoubtedly many other off-screen instances when the borg lost badly - and they never adapted their grey goo.

You may say that another requirement for this adaptation is the death of all drones on a cube and the survival of the cube.
Considering the borg's redundant tech and the many conflicts they fought (some of which they lost), it's extremely improbable that such a situation never occured before (in a losing battle). And yet, the borg never developed the unstoppable grey goo.

What happened in "before dishonor" was practically impossible, it was a freak accident. It was like Enterprise D gaining sentience out of the blue and creating a space baby - something never before seen, that will never be seen again.
Either that, or, in the entire borg history, there was never a situation that fulfilled the simple requirements necessary for the creation of "before dishonor"'s grey goo - which is ridiculously improbable.
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Old July 6 2009, 08:49 PM   #609
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Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 3: Lost Souls - (SPOILERS)

ProtoAvatar wrote: View Post
If the borg had the capability to create grey goo that can eat planets in minuts, they would have used that capability before "before dishonor".
Says who? You? I'll be sure to take your PhD in Borg Studies more seriously next time we talk.

Right now, I have the capability to alter my body's metabolism so that I become very, very muscular, if I so choose. Heck, if I chose, I could become a body builder -- physically adapting my body in a way I never have before.

Or, alternately, I'm interested in Spanish history and literature. I've never done it before, but, in theory, I could choose to learn Spanish to such proficiency that I could read Cervantes's Don Quixote in the original Spanish. After all, it's just a matter of developing a new mental adaptation (learning Spanish).

It's true, I don't have the ability to do enter a body building competition or to read Cervantes now. But it's only a matter of realizing the potential that I have and developing the adaptations needed to accomplish those goals.

By your logic, the fact that I have not done so must mean I am physically incapable of it. After all, the Borg have never tried to assimilate by absorbing physical matter before; therefore the Borg must be incapable of it.

It's an incredibly irrational syllogism based upon false premises, though. The Borg are by nature a force that adapts all the time. Therefore, they should logically often be developing capabilities they never possessed before. It does not stand to reason therefore that those capabilities were never potential capabilities beforehand -- just that they had not adapted themselves to accomplish those tasks beforehand.

<SNIP> [Instances where the Borg have lost without developing the absorption technology]
Yes. And I've had trouble lifting things before without choosing to become a body builder. By your logic, I must therefore be physically incapable of becoming a body builder.

There's no accounting for innovation and creativity. When it happens, it just happens. And canon has implied that the Borg have trouble being creative (Janeway believed that they just don't do it); it's not unreasonable to think that they don't tend to use sentient creativity because its appearance is unreliable, but that they still have moments of innovation or insight ungleaned from other species. And certainly if there's one thing that Destiny should teach us, it's that the Borg cannot be relied upon to follow previous behavior patterns on all situations; they are, like any other sentient intelligence, capable of altering their behavior.

In any event:

The point is not that the cubes, denuded of their drones, will certainly develop the absorption adaptation. The point is that it is a very real, and very serious risk, and the negative potential consequences would be of such severity that they would outweigh the positive potential consequences.
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Old July 6 2009, 09:07 PM   #610
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Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 3: Lost Souls - (SPOILERS)

Sci wrote: View Post
In other words -- neither one was superior or inferior. (...) It is a story of deliverance -- of mutual deliverance. (...) It's not the interaction of gods and man, superior and inferior. It's the interaction of equals
You and I read this story very differently. I think the religious allusions were amply clear, and the positions into which the characters were slotted put the Caeliar in the role of the deity--albeit a Miltonic deity, as I've said, assholes. I also think you vastly overestimate the impact the Federation had on the Caeliar. Hernandez convinced a slight majority of of the gestalt to reach out and touch someone for a change. The rest was, in their own way, the Borg, who served as a dark mirror for their own entropy and dubious morality.

Christopher wrote: View Post
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.
Not saying I disagree, but one of the first things the 'awakened' Borg cube did was seek out organic components (Janeway and her team) to incorporate into itself and eventually turn Janeway into a queen. The Borg may be able to survive for a time without their organic components, but they are clearly compelled to seek such nonetheless.

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.
Picard never did propose it as a means of victory; he was well aware of the possibility that it was something they had already assimilated and wouldn't work, and must have known that even if he managed to cripple this invasion fleet, the Borg would have adapted the next time they showed up. The thalaron weapon was a tactic, like duplicating the queen, useful mainly because this was a circumstance where there would actually be so many Borg at one place at one time. If, as you say, Picard had just wanted to hurt them, then he would have been eager to develop the weapon; yet he was relunctant, doing so only because he felt compelled by necessity, and he looked at it as a failsafe should the Caeliar fail or worse, the Borg assimilate the Caeliar. Not the attitude of the raging maniac you paint him out to be. As for La Forge--if that's what he thought, then perhaps he should have said it instead of whining about Data's memory.

Deranged Nasat wrote: View Post
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.
Ah, true; you make a valid point. There is a strain of passivity present in Vulcan culture, a take it slow attitude, a tendency not to fight back when they think the odds of winning aren't good. We saw it in ENT, where T'Pol and other Vulcans had not just accepted their limitations when it came to things like time travel, they had elevated such to the level of dogma and took offence when others proposed that those limits were, in fact, not so insurmountable as others had proposedd. Since T'Lana was, in many ways, a retro-Vulcan, a throwback to the ENT-era, I suppose it is appropriate that she shares some of their fatalism and 'you can't change it so don't even try' attitude.


Deranged Nasat wrote: View Post
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.
Hollow and meaningless.

Sci wrote: View Post
If I am understanding them correctly -- and if I'm not, please feel free to correct me -- Trent (...) think[s] that accepting one's limitations is the same thing as submitting to them and never working to improve yourself,
Submitting, yes. Never working to improve oneself, probably not--accepting a limitation is saying that it is unsurmountable, but there are plenty of things which mustn't seem insurmountable and thus fair game for improvement, no? Heck, sometimes that happens without even our meaning to do so. But I do think that the ideal ought to be working for betterment, and not allowing oneself to be cowed by difficulty.

that accepting your own death is disrespectable
Depends on the circumstances. Murder is one of those which should never be accepted.

and that heroes should always be the direct agents who solve their own problems.
Yes. Otherwise they are not heroes.

And Trent in particular cannot believe that there can be hope for a better future in the face of extreme suffering;
Not never, just unlikely. There certainly have been anecdotal instances of people who experience suffering, rebel against it and go own to better themselves and their surroundings in reaction to it. We like to believe that these things are 'character building experiences', as every asshole who exercise cruelty for its own sake will claim. But the truth of the matter is people exposed to suffering and trauma as victims are simply more likely to carry on that suffering and trauma themselves when they become actors; violence begets violence.

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.
Piffle. I understand myself quite well. And it seems to me that a person who challenges themselves despite thinking they will fail is likelier to develop--sometimes in unexpected ways--than one who merely seeks such where they already know they can find it.

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.
There appears to be some confusion. I am not an optimist. I defend it here because I believe it was something integral to the setting, something which is lost in the transformation of Trek into a universe of darkness and devastation. I, myself, tend to be more of a cynic. I do like to think that humanity gradually--slowly, painfully--improves itself, but I don't see a society of the kind that Trek shows us humanity as having achieved to be particularly likely. But I don't need to believe that to enjoy the setting, because it is a work of fiction; a better humanity, an admirable Federation, is surely as much part of the Trek mythos as warp drives and transporters. This is something I think those who insist on strict realism miss, on their instance that anything other than twentieth-century humans transposed into a futuristic setting as a falsehood; that science-fiction can be social as well as technological. The Federation's near-utopia was a fascinating exercise, because elsewhere the future is dystopian, or else what one thought was utopia is inevitably revealed to be terrible reality concealed under a superficiality pleasant cloak. The Federation was bright and working, and the Trek setting generally like a shiny bauble amidst grittier speculations. Now that bauble has been swept from the shelf and made to shatter; you might try to glue it together again, but I can't see it regaining its former glory.

And the Europe that exists today is a better Europe than ever was built before World War II.
I've talked about this before, but I'd like to point out something else: Europe (and Japan) post-WWII developed the way it did in no small part because of the massive cash infusion of the Marshal Plan and because of the ideology of the Cold War, circumstances not easily duplicable. You are correct that conflict can produce a better society, but I would say that is the exception rather than the rule; most wars simply bring about more suffering, trauma, resentment and violence in their wake. Most devastated areas will not have a wealthy patron to build them back up, and while they may spawn individual acts of courage will more likely bring about widespread poverty, misery, sickness and death. We like to believe that everything we've gone through, including our wars, have been for the better (just look at how many alt. history stories there is about something we 'thought' was bad turning out to be worse if it hadn't happened), because we don't want to admit that all that suffering and loss has been in vain. Yet, most of the time, it is. Conflict itself does not bring about better societies, and most of the time not even the opportunity for such (if it did, places like Somalia should be paradise on Earth by this point).

Anyway, this is basically a difference in fundamental premises about how one views life. I don't think they're reconcilable.
Quite possibly.

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.
With all due respect, but isn't that most every other sci-fi universe out there? Why wreck this one, too, for what is readily available elsewhere? Genuine utopian fiction (or rather, near-utopian) is a rarer breed of animal, and for those of us who like to watch it, another specimen has just died to fadish realism and darkness. It was the unique setting that had drawn me to Trek, bright and humanistic, and now, with Destiny and Abrams' Product, it's... just like everybody else.

(...) to be far more inspirational than the story of someone raised in Utopia who never faces any real problems.
Well then, why stop here? Why not have Earth destroyed too? Why not have more of the crew die, the Enterprise lanced by weapons which wipe out half their number, including the main characters? Why not more worlds devastated, until the Federation itself collapses? Why not have failure on such a scope that the characters become a ragtag band of rebels on the lam from the massive power that is the Borg? Why not Picard alone, crushed, kept in a cage by the Queen for her own amusement, the last non-Borg in the galaxy? That's problems for you. I wonder, would you actually like to see this, or do you find some of these extreme? If you do find it extreme, then it implies a tipping point, and to understand my perspective, you need only understand that my tipping point has been reached and passed.

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.
Please. The story of Christ isn't popular because it's somehow humane (it isn't), it's popular because it's a get out of death and guilt free card, a fable that promises complete happiness in the passivity of an afterlife, attainable simply through submission.

Fictitiously yours, Trent Roman
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Old July 6 2009, 09:16 PM   #611
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Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 3: Lost Souls - (SPOILERS)

Please. The story of Christ isn't popular because it's somehow humane (it isn't), it's popular because it's a get out of death and guilt free card, a fable that promises complete happiness in the passivity of an afterlife, attainable simply through submission.
If that's really what you think, Trent, then I can assure you that you do not understand Christians or their beliefs one bit. You are well describing fundamentalists, extremists, people who exploit their religion to justify cruelty. You are not well describing the majority of Christians -- and certainly not my family, who are mostly Christian.

And I say that as an Atheist who's gotten into more than a few arguments with Christians, including family, about the validity of their faith. Whatever I may think of it, though, most of them hold their religion on the basis of a fundamental altruism -- ETA: and a fundamental sense of responsibility (often manifested as guilt and a desire to somehow right the wrongs they have committed) for their actions, end edit -- you aren't accounting for, and many who hold it are motivated by it to try to change the world for the better -- a behavioral paradigm far gone from your claim it promotes passivity. To claim that the story is popular because it promotes, in essence, irresponsibility and passivity is demonstrably false.
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Old July 6 2009, 09:36 PM   #612
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Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 3: Lost Souls - (SPOILERS)

ProtoAvatar wrote: View Post
If the borg had the capability to create grey goo that can eat planets in minuts, they would have used that capability before "before dishonor".
Not really. The Borg don't anticipate new problems. They can only react to those problems and invent solutions as the need arises. There are any number of potentials the Borg had that they failed to utilize because the possibility never occurred to them. This is something we've known about them since the very beginning, so it shouldn't be that hard to recognize.


The point is not that the cubes, denuded of their drones, will certainly develop the absorption adaptation. The point is that it is a very real, and very serious risk, and the negative potential consequences would be of such severity that they would outweigh the positive potential consequences.
Indeed. The point, more fundamentally, is that it's naive to assume that a thalaron weapon would undoubtedly be successful at defeating the Borg. Even if the "denuded" cubes didn't develop that particular adaptation a second time, they would still be sentient technology driven by an imperative to destroy the Federation, so it is illogical to assume they would be rendered harmless. They might develop a different adaptation that would enable them to continue attacking the Federation.

If there's one thing the books leading up to (and including) Destiny demonstrated, it's that you can't assume you know the Borg's limits. Every time it was believed they were defeated, they came back. Assuming that finding another thing to shoot at them would magically solve the problem forevermore is failing to learn the lesson of the prior sequence of events: that you can't beat the Borg with weapons. No matter what weapon you throw at them, they will always adapt. That's what they do. The only way to achieve a meaningful victory over the Borg was to change the very nature of the Borg.

So the thalaron weapon was not a magic bullet. It was just another false hope. Santayana said that the definition of insanity is repeating the same action and expecting different results. By acknowledging the failure of brute force and finding a better option, the heroes of Destiny took the sane course. They rose above repeating the same endless conflict with the Borg and found a whole new paradigm for dealing with them, one that finally resolved the problem once and for all. I don't see how that can be seen as an undesirable outcome.
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Old July 6 2009, 09:45 PM   #613
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Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 3: Lost Souls - (SPOILERS)

Sci wrote: View Post
If that's really what you think, Trent, then I can assure you that you do not understand Christians or their beliefs one bit. You are well describing fundamentalists, extremists, people who exploit their religion to justify cruelty. You are not well describing the majority of Christians -- and certainly not my family, who are mostly Christian.
I spent years under the thumb of Christianity, attempted indoctrinations into local communities of the faithful, received religious 'education' until I graduated high school (which they weren't legally supposed to do, not that they care), and I know more about the faith than the average adherent per those knowledge-testing polls they run from time to time. I've had the insider's perspective (no choice there), as well as sociological and anthropological study later on. The attitude you describe is one I find often amongst theologians, poverty activists (or similar causes), some clergy (particularly the younger ones) or just believers who have given it much thought--the intellectual part of the community--but it isn't the attitude of the average butt in the pew. They want, simply, relief from the fear of death, and deliverance from their 'sins'. (EDIT: Well, there's also in-group psychology and desire for community, but that doesn't relate to the theology, as it works for any belief system and even secular counterparts). If that's an 'extremist' position, then there sure are a lot of extremists out there.

(And, er... this is getting somewhat off-topic...)

Fictitiously yours, Trent Roman
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Old July 6 2009, 10:02 PM   #614
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Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 3: Lost Souls - (SPOILERS)

Christopher
I never said the thalaron weapon would certainly work against the borg. I said it had a good chance of working - of delaying or stopping the borg.

It's possible that the borg assimilated the weapon previously. It's possible that they will adapt in some way - although, between 7 of 9's reccomendation and the many opportunities the borg wasted, the risk of them developing grey goo is minimal.
But there is also a very good chance that the weapon will work.

What Santayana/Picard/La Forge did was give up without even trying - it's possible the weapon won't work, so we won't use it. A defeatist attitude - one justified by a moral argument with holls so big that the entire borg fleet could fly through.

What Santayana/Picard/La Forge did was start praying to some gods for deliverance - because they lacked the will and the creativity to even try to solve the problem themselves. That contradicts star trek's spirit - its fundamental humanism.

P.S.
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ProtoAvatar wrote: View Post
If the borg had the capability to create grey goo that can eat planets in minuts, they would have used that capability before "before dishonor".
Not really. The Borg don't anticipate new problems. They can only react to those problems and invent solutions as the need arises. There are any number of potentials the Borg had that they failed to utilize because the possibility never occurred to them. This is something we've known about them since the very beginning, so it shouldn't be that hard to recognize.
So you're admitting that the specs for the grey goo were not in the collective's data banks.

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Old July 6 2009, 10:31 PM   #615
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Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 3: Lost Souls - (SPOILERS)

Christopher wrote: View Post
Santayana said that the definition of insanity is repeating the same action and expecting different results. By acknowledging the failure of brute force and finding a better option, the heroes of Destiny took the sane course. They rose above repeating the same endless conflict with the Borg and found a whole new paradigm for dealing with them, one that finally resolved the problem once and for all. I don't see how that can be seen as an undesirable outcome.
Because, apparently, the main characters of a story should never ask for help, because then they aren't "heroes."

And if they get help, then that renders them subservient to the people who help them.

Trent Roman wrote:
Sci wrote:
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.
With all due respect, but isn't that most every other sci-fi universe out there?
No, it's actually more like a return to the Star Trek of the TOS era: A more realistic universe, but with an underlying optimism lacking in most every other sci-fi universe out there.

Why wreck this one, too, for what is readily available elsewhere?
Because it's not wrecking it. Trek was actually wrecked when Roddenberry tried to Utopianize it in TNG; this is more a restoration of Trek to its best and strongest form, the completion of a task undertaken, arguably, by DS9.

Genuine utopian fiction (or rather, near-utopian) is a rarer breed of animal,
Because Utopia is a lie. It's a fundamentally dishonest portrayal of humanity and its potential; for Utopia to function, it would have to be a dictatorship. There is no Utopia and never will be, and the pseudo-Utopian elements of Trek always gave the Federation a very sinister and dishonest edge.

ProtoAvatar wrote: View Post
So you're admitting that the specs for the grey goo were not in the collective's data banks.
No one was claiming that the specs were in the Collective's database. The claim that Christopher and I made was that if one cube, denuded of drones, could adapt to its situation by inventing the absorptive technology, all cubes have the potential to adapt in that manner.

Christopher then went on to point out that even if that particular adaptation is not utilized, the controlling artificial intelligence of the cubes remain, and the cubes remain capable of operating and of exterminating the Federation as they had previously been doing whilst crewed, which I hadn't considered. The thalaron weapon would quite literally be useless -- it wouldn't even delay the extermination of the Federation.

Trent Roman wrote: View Post
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.
I also think you vastly overestimate the impact the Federation had on the Caeliar. Hernandez convinced a slight majority of of the gestalt to reach out and touch someone for a change.
From pages 405-407 of Lost Souls:

Then it was time to open themselves to the sentient minds they had set free, which they welcomed into the gestalt. IT was a decision motivated partly by mercy; after all that Sedín's victims had endured, in light of all they had lost, the Quorum concurred that the gestalt had an obligation to alleviate their suffering and offer them a safe haven, a new beginning.

A more honest accounting of the situation demanded that the Caeliar admit the truth, however: They needed the emancipated drones as much as the drones needed them.

Hernandez had persuaded the gestalt to aid her by appealing to its own sense of self-interest. Standing before them only a short time earlier, she had argued her point with passion.

"Your obsession with privacy is killing you," she'd said. "You made these catom bodies of yours, and you figured you'd live forever in your invulnerable cities, on your invisible planet. You never thought about what would happen if you had to procreate. It never occurred to you that your whole world could get shot out from under you and take ninety-eight percent of your people with it. Well, it did. And the law of averages says this won't be the last time something bad happens to you.

"How many more losses can you take and still be a civilization? What if another accident happens? Or a new, stronger enemy finds you? The Cataclysm nearly exterminated you. Haven't you ever stopped to consider that all your efforts on the Great Work will be lost if you die out?

"If you want to explore the universe, you'll need strength, and the best place to find that is in numbers. I don't know if there's any way for you to get back the ability to reproduce, but it's not too late for you to learn how to share. You need to bring non-Caeliar into the gestalt. You need to teach others about the Great Work--before it's too late."

Her proclamation had provoked a schism in the Quorum and sent shockwaves of indignation through the gestalt. The debate had been swift and bitter, but in the end, it had fallen to Ordemo Nordal to persuade the majority that Hernandez was right. It was time to expand the gestalt or accept that it was doomed only to diminish from this moment forward. The Quorum and the gestalt had to choose between evolution and extinction.

In the end, it proved not so difficult a choice, after all.

As the gestalt embraced the freed and bewildered drones in its protection, Inyx appreciated at last how right Hernandez had been. The Caeliar had granted to the Borg all it had sought for millennia: nearly unlimited power, a step closer to perfection, and the secrets of Particle 010. In return, the legions of drones who flocked into the warm sanctuary of the gestalt had given the Caeliar what they had most desperately needed: strength, adaptability, and diversity. In one grand gesture, the Caeliar had become a polyglot society with an immense capacity for incorporating new ideas, new technologies, and new species.

For the Borg, it was the end of aeons of futile searching.

For the Caeliar, it was the end of an age of stagnation.

The lost children had come home. The gestalt felt whole.
By spreading to the Caeliar the values of diversity, of sharing knowledge, of equality, of mutual partnership -- by spreading to the Caeliar Federation values -- Hernandez saved the Caeliar from extinction.
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