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

View Poll Results: How would you rate Zero Sum Game?
Outstanding 39 22.41%
Above Average 78 44.83%
Average 47 27.01%
Below Average 8 4.60%
Poor 2 1.15%
Voters: 174. You may not vote on this poll

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Old December 23 2010, 10:37 AM   #466
ProtoAvatar
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Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

Sci wrote: View Post
ProtoAvatar wrote: View Post
About the necessity of Bracco's recovery misssion:
Christopher is being FAR to optimistic in saying that the Typhon Pact merely wants to 'outcompete' the Federation.

The Typhon Pact is out for blood:
Bracco likened the situation to the klingon cold war from the previous century - and the klingons were definitely NOT trying to only 'outcompete' the Federation.

Top starfleet admirals/federation president advisers called the situation a cold war that didn't turn into a hot one only because the Typhon Pact without slipstream is NOT confident that it can defeat a starfleet with slipstream.

Once the Typhon Pact gained slipstream, though, the enormous losses the Federation suffered when the borg utterly crushed it would make this newly 'second rate' power incapable of winning a war with the Pact - as per SI analysis.
And the Typhon Pact would need no provocation to start a war it's confident it can win - the Federation escalating things or not wouldn't matter in the least.

Bracco had ample justification for ordering the mission, for deeming it 'necessary'.
An eminently valid point. Even if the Typhon Pact weren't out to engage the Federation in direct military conflict, the very possession of slipstream technology gives them the ability to do so, and President Bacco would be remiss in her duty to protect the Federation if she did not order Starfleet or the Federation Security Agency (apparently the Federation's version of the Central Intelligence Agency) to find a way to get the technology out of their hands.
In context, the Pact stealing slipstream was a prelude to hot war - justifying Bracco's actions.
Even out of context, the Pact's actions gave Bracco the right to a proportional response.

But make no mistake - "if the Typhon Pact weren't out to engage the Federation in direct military conflict"* then Bracco would have NO JUSTIFICATION to order an espionage/sabotage mission.

A country most definitely does NOT have the right to go about sabotaging other countries' R&D projects just because these projects "give them the ability" "to engage the former in direct military conflict".


*Of course, as a result, the pact's behaviour would be far less provocative/belicose - the pact would not have sabotaged the federate rebuilding efforts in 'A singular destiny' or blown up a federation shipyard in ZSG, etc, etc.
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Old December 23 2010, 04:10 PM   #467
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Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

Sci wrote: View Post
Normally, I'd agree. But I think the thing to remember is just how fundamentally different the Federation's position is in the wake of the Borg Invasion. They have a giant dead zone in the middle of their space, and they have billions upon billions of refugees they have to take care of, and they have to find some way to maintain national security when they're surrounded by powers that are either hostile or out to compete with them for limited resources. And if they lose that competition, 1., who knows what a Typhon-Pact-dominated quadrant would look like?, and 2., how many Federates would die because the UFP can't expand to the uninhabited worlds it needs to house them?

The Federation is already a second-rate power. The real danger is being reduced to a third-rate power -- to being so out-competed that they're rendered helpless. If it were 2380 and the Borg had never come, I'd be right there with you. But post-Invasion, the Federation is too weak and the rest of the galaxy too politically unstable not to at least try to maintain a monopoly on slipstream technology.

The real question to my mind is not the morality of the mission objective so much as the morality of the means used to achieve that objective (i.e., the killing of Breen civilians).
A valid counterargument. I agree that the Federation is in a vulnerable spot and needs to be on its guard. But compromising its principles in the name of self-interest is a dangerous path to go down. The Federation gained its strength in the first place by being decent and honorable, by being a nation that others would trust and want to cooperate with, even join. It won't rebuild itself by adopting a siege mentality and turning on anyone it perceives as a threat. It will just isolate itself, and strengthen the Typhon Pact's argument that the Federation is dangerous.


Sci wrote: View Post
Remember, there's a difference between what the characters are doing and what the narrative is saying about what the characters are doing.

For all that Bashir crossed a moral line, the narrative doesn't seem to be necessarily saying this was a good thing. After all, it's portrayed as the key to the longstanding villains, Section 31, and their plan to gain control of Bashir. And let's not forget that ENT: The Good That Men Do made it clear that by the early 25th Century, the Federation is in another golden age.

I'm not convinced that the arc of some Federation citizens compromising Federation values is one that the narrative is saying is okay. It could well be that the point is that this is a BAD thing. We'll see.
Oh, of course. I think that's self-evident from how Thot Keer was portrayed. If Dave had been presenting Bashir and Sarina's mission as an unambiguously good and heroic thing, then it follows that the Breen in charge of the slipstream project would've been painted as a monster who needed to be destroyed. But on the contrary, he was perhaps the most sympathetic character in the whole book, a decent man who was trying to do something he believed would help his people, and who looked with horror on the violence committed by the Federation spies. The book was challenging the reader to question the morality of its protagonists' actions, not trying to persuade them into blind endorsement thereof.



Sci wrote: View Post
I think the presumption that any mission Section 31 undertakes must automatically be immoral is highly irrational. Mind you, I think Section 31 has no right to exist on any level, but that doesn't mean that anything Section 31 does is automatically evil. That's Reductio ad Hitlerum, a logical fallacy. You might as well say, "Hitler was a vegetarian. Anything Hitler did was wrong. Therefore, vegetarianism is wrong!"
That's what's so insidious about Section 31. They're good at convincing people -- first and foremost themselves -- that what they do is for the good of the Federation, that their noble ends justify their immoral means. So the things S31 does usually are good and moral... in their professed goals. The problem is that their methods are usually corrupt and the positive goals are usually just an excuse for their pursuit of power and control. So Hitler isn't the right analogy here, since he was actively endorsing xenophobia and imperialism, catering to the worst impulses of his followers.


And, no, there's no evidence that Section 31 was behind anything other than taking advantage of the opportunity this mission provided to plant Douglas in Bashir's life in order to start manipulating him. There is no evidence at all that Section 31 planned, ordered, or otherwise controlled the operation. More than likely, Douglas is just an S.I. operative who also works for Section 31 but keeps that a secret from S.I. (as that seems to be their standard operating procedure for field agents).
Exactly. This was an SI mission all the way, but S31 piggybacked its own long-term agenda. That's how they operate -- they don't initiate major actions so much as they infiltrate and co-opt them, subtly bending them to serve their interests. They wouldn't be very good at staying secret otherwise.


ProtoAvatar wrote: View Post
About the necessity of Bracco's recovery misssion:
Christopher is being FAR to optimistic in saying that the Typhon Pact merely wants to 'outcompete' the Federation.

The Typhon Pact is out for blood:
Bracco likened the situation to the klingon cold war from the previous century - and the klingons were definitely NOT trying to only 'outcompete' the Federation.
I think it depends on what portion of the Typhon Pact you're talking about. It would be a mistake to assume the Pact is in any way unified in its goals or mentality. Yes, there are factions within it that are out for blood, but there are also factions within it that are more interested in a fair competition. After all, the Federation is not the center of the universe. It's not the only priority these nations have. They have their own domestic issues to worry about (for instance, the Gorn's breeding-world problems, the Romulans' lack of good farming worlds, the Kinshaya's lack of a home planet altogether), and there are sure to be people in the Pact governments with enough sense to realize that a war would just distract from solving those critical problems.

In such a situation, if the Federation adopts a hostile posture toward the Pact, it'll just give the hardliners within the Pact more ammunition to win people over and will frighten the undecideds into siding with the hawks, and that will make war more likely. But if the Federation tries to cultivate good relations with the more moderate factions within the Pact, it will weaken the hawks' position.


Sci wrote: View Post
An eminently valid point. Even if the Typhon Pact weren't out to engage the Federation in direct military conflict, the very possession of slipstream technology gives them the ability to do so, and President Bacco would be remiss in her duty to protect the Federation if she did not order Starfleet or the Federation Security Agency (apparently the Federation's version of the Central Intelligence Agency) to find a way to get the technology out of their hands.
I think it would make more sense to share slipstream freely with everybody, so everyone's on a level playing field. Sure, maybe that would rob the UFP of its special advantage, but if all that special advantage does is make enemies, then what good is it? And it's not like they'd be able to keep the secret indefinitely anyway. Sooner or later, slipstream will become widely available. And the UFP would generate more goodwill in the long run by being the ones who gave that technology to everyone else rather than being the ones who selfishly hoarded it.
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Old December 26 2010, 04:07 AM   #468
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Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

Well, I quite liked this book, It's by David Mack which is always a good sign, I think he's the one writer who "gets" Trek.

The main selling point for me was that Sarina Douglas came back, and she was one of my favorite guest characters, and I liked the way in which she was used. It's funny because I rewatched her DS9 episode a few weeks back and thought she'd be a good addition to Trek-Lit

Another good thing is learning more about Breen culture, and what the breen are all about, and the ending left a lot of possibilities open.

I give the book an 8/10, It worked well considering it had a lot of restraints on it due to being part of an over-arcing story, and had a lot of very good points.
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Old December 27 2010, 12:42 AM   #469
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Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

^ Very good points. At the time of the original airing, the story premise behind "Chrysalis" did seem a bit ill-timed. It was also a welcome distraction from the Dominion War arc bringing Trek back to its roots of exploring the human condition as was well done in TOS. Having watched "Requiem for Methuselah" not too long ago, I thought that Sarina was Julian's Rayna Kapec only with a less tragic ending.

I've taken an interest in some of the recent work of the actress who played Sarina. I was utterly flabbergasted by how she took on Bill O'Reilly in the summer of '09. That might have been mirrored in how Sarina put Jack in his place early on in ZSG (though I may draw the wrath of Ares again).

But going to ZSG, some want to complain that Bashir was acting too much out of character. But as you said, Mack is one author who truly gets Trek. With that in mind, DS9 was the most serialized of the Trek series, so no hero is one-dimensionally good and no villain is one-dimensionally evil.
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Old December 28 2010, 04:59 PM   #470
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Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

I thought it was a good read. It does make me want Aventine novels though.
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Old December 30 2010, 03:18 AM   #471
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Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

Deranged Nasat wrote: View Post
I'm terrified Andor's going to pull out and that'll be the big shock of the series.
That has been my guess as well.
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Old December 30 2010, 03:22 AM   #472
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Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

If Paths of Disharmony was written by David Mack instead of Dayton Ward all the Andorians would end up dead.
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Old January 1 2011, 12:29 AM   #473
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Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

I've just finished ZSG so apologies if I'm late to the party.
If I'm being honest I've gotta say I found the book distinctly average...sorry.
Again as in the Desiny books there seems to be a movement abroad to make starfleet to look as unprofessional andwell..un-military as possible.The extraordinary lapses of security surrounding the initial "break in"were badenough but when the Klingon ambassador can tell the federation president details of an SI "black op"in Breen territory well.....

The whole "empty nest"feeling surrounding DS9 convinces me that the 5 year jump was an enormous error but what do I know,I'm just a customer.

BTW,an organization like S31 would argue that they wouldn't want an operative (like Bashir)capable of being,like some have said here,corrupted.
No,they need to make him a "true believer".
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Old January 1 2011, 12:44 AM   #474
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Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

flandry84 wrote: View Post
BTW,an organization like S31 would argue that they wouldn't want an operative (like Bashir)capable of being,like some have said here,corrupted.
No,they need to make him a "true believer".
But that's a contradiction in terms. Joining S31 means being corrupted -- by them. S31 is an intrinsically corrupt organization. Corrupting people, compromising them, is their modus operandi.
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Old January 1 2011, 12:59 AM   #475
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Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

People like these (and they exist in every government)see themselves as the purest of the pure,the only ones so convinced of their mission that they are willing to sacrifice everything,their lives,their morals to protect whatever system they pledge allegiance to. That is the key to understanding Section 31 or the CIA or KGB or whoever.

And they would argue that anyone who can be corrupted one way can be corrupted another.
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Old January 1 2011, 01:31 AM   #476
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Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

Section 31 is not the CIA or the KGB. Those are state-sanctioned intelligence agencies operating under the supervision of their governments. I'll never understand why people keep making the mistake of using that analogy. Section 31 is not an intelligence agency. Starfleet Intelligence is the Federation equivalent of the CIA. Section 31 is a rogue organization operating outside the law and answering to no one. Maybe at the beginning, their intentions were good, but after 200 years with no accountability, the only things they truly protect are their own interests and their own secrecy. They have no allegiance to anything but their own power. They may use the security of the Federation as their excuse for wielding that power in defiance of law and morality, but make no mistake, they are closer to the Mafia than the CIA. They are a force of corruption by their very nature.
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Old January 1 2011, 01:41 AM   #477
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Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

Nonetheless,the mindset remains the same.Luther Sloan didn't consider himself a villain did he?No,he believed himself a patriot...actually,in his death he proved himself right.


And if you think any intelligence service doesn't consider itself above the law or above what they would consider transitory elected office holders then that is a little naive.
I don't want to derail this thread any further.
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Old January 1 2011, 01:56 AM   #478
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Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

flandry84 wrote: View Post
And if you think any intelligence service doesn't consider itself above the law or above what they would consider transitory elected office holders then that is a little naive.
That is not what I said. Even if they consider themselves above the law, the fact is that they are still accountable to somebody, and so if they push too far, they can be reined in.

And the point is that the Federation equivalent of the CIA is Starfleet Intelligence, not Section 31. Section 31 is not an officially empowered government agency, it is an extralegal conspiracy within the government and the military. So equating it with the CIA is simply an invalid analogy, like equating a band of mercenaries with the US Army, or equating Greenpeace with the EPA. I'm not addressing a point of ethics but a point of simple definition. Section 31 is not the Federation's intelligence service. Talking about it as an equivalent of the CIA is simply an error of fact, even aside from any ethical issues.
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Old January 1 2011, 03:38 AM   #479
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Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

However, when the U.S. uses mercenaries such as Blackwater, they functionally are the making them the military. This empowering them than keeping them at arm's length is just to keep your hands clean to the casual observer.

Starfleet has known about Section 31 since the time of Archer. Kirk knew about them accoring to the novels as did Picard and Janeway. You'd actually be hard prtessed to find someone who didn't know about them. Starfleet is averting their eyes and going "la la la can't see you".
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Old January 1 2011, 07:36 AM   #480
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Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

Just finished the book (always late to the party) and really enjoyed it. Not easy to put my finger on why, but it doesn't matter so much as I liked it.

It was great to get a well-built glimpse into the Breen. It really felt like it worked with what we know of them from TV. This exploration of them is definitely part of my "personal canon" (oxymoron be damned) of Trek.

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