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

View Poll Results: How would you rate Zero Sum Game?
Outstanding 38 22.22%
Above Average 78 45.61%
Average 45 26.32%
Below Average 8 4.68%
Poor 2 1.17%
Voters: 171. You may not vote on this poll

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Old January 1 2011, 11:18 PM   #496
kkozoriz1
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Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

And in Bashier's case, they were right. They just needed the right bait. Originally they were going after his head appealing to his sense of duty. They finally succeeded once they lowered the target by about three feet.
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Old January 1 2011, 11:37 PM   #497
flemm
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Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

Christopher wrote: View Post
I think S31 would be interested in recruiting anyone they think can serve their agendas.
Certainly Section 31 would plausibly be ready to use and manipulate pretty much anyone in any way they saw fit to achieve their ends, but as far as recruiting someone into their actual organisation, they would need to put a priority on loyalty to their cause.

We can assert this without accepting that their cause is moral. And of course, this process of indoctrination can be understood as a form of corruption. It is distinct, however, from other types of corruption. For example, it's safe it say that Section might hire mercenaries, but wouldn't normally induct them into their organisation, especially if they continued their mercenary activities, because they wouldn't be loyal to the cause: their loyalites could be bought, thus compromising Section 31. Similarly, they probably wouldn't be too interested in recruiting a Starfleet officer whose ethics and loyalties change according to his current choice of girlfriend, because such an individual wouldn't likely be fiercely loyal to Section 31's cause. Just as a practical issue, it would be stupid to recruit a lot of agents whose loyalties vacillate all the time. Since Section 31 has survived for a long time without being compromised, it stands to reason that they must be pretty careful as far as recruitment is concerned.

What flandry84 is getting at, as I understand it, is that Section 31's manipulation of Bashir seems to make him less appealing as an actual agent (whereas Section 31 has been very interested in recruiting him in the past, in part because of his loyalty to the Federation and the strength of his ethical convictions).

I don't have a strong opinion on this personally, since I'm not especially familiar with how Section 31 has been portrayed in the Trek novel-verse, but I can see why flandry84 might point this out on the basis of how Section 31 was portrayed in the original DS9 tv series.

For example, in Inquisition, Sloan puts Bashir through a sort of intense stress test to see if he is willing to consider betraying the Federation. It's only after Bashir passes this test that Sloan extends the offer to join Section 31. Similarly, I could imagine another Section 31 virtual reality test involving a femme fatale attempting to seduce the potential candidate into compromising his loyalties.

Last edited by flemm; January 2 2011 at 12:11 AM.
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Old January 2 2011, 01:03 AM   #498
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Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

flemm wrote: View Post
Certainly Section 31 would plausibly be ready to use and manipulate pretty much anyone in any way they saw fit to achieve their ends, but as far as recruiting someone into their actual organisation, they would need to put a priority on loyalty to their cause.

We can assert this without accepting that their cause is moral. And of course, this process of indoctrination can be understood as a form of corruption. It is distinct, however, from other types of corruption. For example, it's safe it say that Section might hire mercenaries, but wouldn't normally induct them into their organisation, especially if they continued their mercenary activities, because they wouldn't be loyal to the cause: their loyalites could be bought, thus compromising Section 31. Similarly, they probably wouldn't be too interested in recruiting a Starfleet officer whose ethics and loyalties change according to his current choice of girlfriend, because such an individual wouldn't likely be fiercely loyal to Section 31's cause. Just as a practical issue, it would be stupid to recruit a lot of agents whose loyalties vacillate all the time.
But corruption doesn't automatically mean a loss of loyalty. It depends on what kind of loyalty you're talking about. Is it loyalty to one's nation or loyalty to one's values? It's very easy to corrupt the latter in the name of the former. Look at the corruption we've seen in the US government in recent decades. The people behind Iran-Contra and Guantanamo Bay no doubt believed they were acting out of loyalty to the US and its survival, but they were willing to employ corrupt methods in service to that loyalty. They believed that the ends justified immoral means.

So I'm not talking about lack of loyalty at all here. I'm talking about the compromise of principles. Corrupting Bashir doesn't mean making him stop caring about the Federation. It means making him change his mind about how far he'll go to defend the Federation -- making him willing to use his patriotism as an excuse for compromising his other principles.
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Old January 2 2011, 01:11 AM   #499
flemm
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Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

Christopher wrote: View Post
But corruption doesn't automatically mean a loss of loyalty. It depends on what kind of loyalty you're talking about.
Or what type of corruption. This was the source of the original disagreement. It did not seem to me that Flandry84 was arguing that Section 31's indoctrination (as seen in, for example, Inquisition) could not be construed as a form of corruption, but rather that it is distinct from the type of corruption on display in ZSG.

"Make him love you and then we will have him." is a long way from Sloan's argument that Section 31's activities are necessary to protect the Federation and therefore compatible with Bashir's loyalties.

That's probably fine as a creative choice as far as I'm concerned, but it suggests that Section 31 has given up on trying to convince Bashir to join their cause wholeheartedly and begun to simply attempt to erode his ability to stand up for his own ethical convictions. To destroy him, rather than convert him. That is perhaps another way of looking at it. To use him as a tool rather than recruit him as an agent. That was already the case in Inter Arma to a great extent, so as I say, I'm not objecting, simply pointing out what I see as a substantive point that flandry84 was making.

Last edited by flemm; January 2 2011 at 01:28 AM.
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Old January 2 2011, 02:33 AM   #500
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Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

flemm wrote: View Post
"Make him love you and then we will have him." is a long way from Sloan's argument that Section 31's activities are necessary to protect the Federation and therefore compatible with Bashir's loyalties.
I don't see the incompatibility. Bashir didn't accept that argument from Sloan, but he could accept the same argument if it came from someone he loved and respected, because then he'd have a greater incentive to take it seriously. The love is the means to get past his resistance to the other idea.

And that's what we actually saw in ZSG. He loved Sarina, so when she expressed ideas he would normally have found reprehensible, he found a way to rationalize things and convince himself that she had good reason for making the choices she did. And that opened the door to him making some of the same choices.
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Old January 2 2011, 03:34 AM   #501
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Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

flemm wrote: View Post
What flandry84 is getting at, as I understand it, is that Section 31's manipulation of Bashir seems to make him less appealing as an actual agent (whereas Section 31 has been very interested in recruiting him in the past, in part because of his loyalty to the Federation and the strength of his ethical convictions).
Even if 31 manages to convince Bashir of the rightness of their methods by having someone he loves, respects, and trusts advance their views rather than a shifty guy who drugged him and kidnapped him in his sleep, if they have any brains at all, they aren't going to be printing him up a membership card or sending the tailor the measurements for his leather jacket. Bashir could be setting up false-flag attacks and poisoning entire species in defense of the Federation with a smile on his face and a song and his heart, but there'd still be enough bad blood with the entity Section 31 that he'd never accept them, even if he'd embraced the ideals of Section 31.

So he's never going to be a full-fledged "agent" of Section 31, with his own little cell and whatnot, even if everything goes according to plan. He'll certainly start getting a lot more highly classified missions from SFI offers that have suspiciously incomplete backgrounds which include "by any means necessary" orders, though.
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Old January 2 2011, 03:42 AM   #502
kkozoriz1
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Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

For his sake I hope Vaughn doesn't need surgery and he's done something to tick off Section 31. He'll never make it off the table.
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Old January 2 2011, 04:05 AM   #503
flemm
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Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

David cgc wrote: View Post
So he's never going to be a full-fledged "agent" of Section 31, with his own little cell and whatnot, even if everything goes according to plan. He'll certainly start getting a lot more highly classified missions from SFI offers that have suspiciously incomplete backgrounds which include "by any means necessary" orders, though.
I think that's probably accurate, yeah.
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Old January 3 2011, 12:40 AM   #504
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Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

Thank you Flemm.

The absolute last word Section 31 would use to describe themselves is corrupt.Why?

Because they believe(with all their being)that they are in the right.
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Old January 3 2011, 12:52 AM   #505
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Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

What does how they describe themselves have to do with the truth of the situation? As I already pointed out, plenty of corrupt people don't think of themselves as corrupt, because they find ways to rationalize their corruption as necessary or acceptable. Just like all the jerks who think it isn't a crime to pirate e-books or music torrents. Most people who do wrong don't actually believe they're doing wrong.
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Old January 3 2011, 01:42 AM   #506
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Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

/\Depends on whose truth of the situation you mean,I suppose.
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Old January 3 2011, 01:55 AM   #507
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Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

flandry84 wrote: View Post
/\Depends on whose truth of the situation you mean,I suppose.
That's a useless standard. If truth is treated as subjective or situational -- let alone if you allow every individual to determine the righteousness of their own acts -- then any evil act can be justified. By Stalin's or Mao's "truth of the situation," their purges and mass executions were righteous acts. By Torquemada's "truth of the situation," torturing and killing people who didn't share his religious doctrines was a holy responsibility. There have to be more objective standards of right and wrong. People's actions have to be held accountable by the standards of others, by the standards of society as a whole, not just by their own rationalizations for their own actions.
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Old January 3 2011, 10:32 AM   #508
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Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

This thread is off-topic. It contains spoilers that are not contained in spoiler codes. The topic does not have (spoilers) in it so there should be no out-in-the-open spoilers. But for those reading this thread who have yet to read Zero Sum Game I want to thank you for spoiling it for them.
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Old January 3 2011, 11:07 AM   #509
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Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

A solid and brisk thriller. I liked the overall story. However, beyond a good chunk of the development of the Breen, there were many details I just simply did not like.
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Old January 3 2011, 01:54 PM   #510
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Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

JWolf wrote: View Post
This thread is off-topic. It contains spoilers that are not contained in spoiler codes. The topic does not have (spoilers) in it so there should be no out-in-the-open spoilers. But for those reading this thread who have yet to read Zero Sum Game I want to thank you for spoiling it for them.
It is a given that the review thread for a novel will contain spoilers for that novel. And the thread title makes it clear that it's a review thread.
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