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

View Poll Results: Rate Rough Beasts Of Empire
Outstanding 36 25.35%
Above Average 59 41.55%
Average 25 17.61%
Below Average 13 9.15%
Poor 9 6.34%
Voters: 142. You may not vote on this poll

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Old February 28 2011, 03:04 PM   #361
rfmcdpei
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Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
^Well, as I said, no one out in the open would know. I would imagine, just as Koval and Sloan has a sort of "understanding" as to the actions of each others' orginization, so the cloak-and-dagger world of espionage has a different sort of "understanding".
But how would Section 31 know?

It's difficult enough for Western intelligence to penetrate North Korea, and North Korea is a human culture on Earth only diverged from another Korean culture within the lifetime of people now alive. How is Section 31 supposed to penetrate deep behind the facades of at least one highly xenophobic culture and determine the successful execution of a very subtle assassination/political engineering plot ordered by the Tzenketh Autarch?

It's possible, sure. It's also far from inevitable that Section 31 gets confirmatory proof.

Further, the reaction of the Romulans, if Section 31 got that proof and if this proof was communicated to the Romulans, is unpredictable. Hollow Men suggests that at least some Romulans recognized Sisko's role in the plot to maneuver the RSE into the Dominion War and didn't mind, thinking that he proved the Federation could do what needed to be done and not minding the hit against Vreenak. Who is to say that not a few Romulans, while being unhappy, might appreciate the role that the Tzenkethi played in getting rid of the violent ones?

Basically, as 31 frequently engages in Machiavellian manipulation of events--more so than SI and FSA--they know what to look for. The deeper you go in the netherworld of espionage, the more you see and understand.
Or the greater the number of shadows you're fencing off.

Frankly, on that note, I would imagine the Tal Shiar, had Koval still been alive, would have seen the Tzenkethi plot comming. Sela...I'm not so sure.
Agreed, here. Rebuilding the Tal Shi'ar is going to be an issue.
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Old February 28 2011, 04:47 PM   #362
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Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

I profoundly doubt that Section 31 is anywhere near as powerful or widespread as it likes to think it is. Contrary to the absurd fantasies of fiction, the bigger a conspiracy is, the more inevitable its exposure becomes, because there are more opportunities for things to go wrong, more lines of communication to be intercepted, more people who could have second thoughts or be co-opted, etc. The idea of a vast, all-powerful, pervasive conspiracy that nobody knows about is a contradiction in terms. The only way Section 31 could've lasted as long as it has and stayed as well-hidden as it has is by being small and limiting its activities.

So the tendency of some fans to assume that S31 has its talons in every single intelligence operation or ethically questionable action in Federation history is one that should be resisted. The problem with conspiracy theories is that they're based on the lack of evidence for a conspiracy. When you're imagining an unknown menace, your imagination tends to run away and picture it as something huge and supernatural and unbeatable. Usually, if there's any real threat underlying the conspiracy theory at all, then the facts would show it's much less powerful, competent, and expansive and far more vulnerable.
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Old March 1 2011, 01:54 AM   #363
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Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

I think fans also forget that Starfleet has it's own normal intelligence agency. Section 31 gets tossed in way too much. Sloan has told us that it operates outside of Starfleet to protect the Federation's best interests. I would surmise that it would only take on operations it deems to be the upmost threat to the Federation. Not just any old run of the mill intelligence op. That's not the impression of Section 31 that I get.
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Old March 1 2011, 03:26 AM   #364
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Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

Christopher wrote: View Post
I profoundly doubt that Section 31 is anywhere near as powerful or widespread as it likes to think it is. Contrary to the absurd fantasies of fiction, the bigger a conspiracy is, the more inevitable its exposure becomes, because there are more opportunities for things to go wrong, more lines of communication to be intercepted, more people who could have second thoughts or be co-opted, etc. The idea of a vast, all-powerful, pervasive conspiracy that nobody knows about is a contradiction in terms. The only way Section 31 could've lasted as long as it has and stayed as well-hidden as it has is by being small and limiting its activities.
And it's worth noting that, by the early 24th century, Section 31 has become entirely public, its archives free for Sisko and Nog to peruse. Something gave, fatally.
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Old March 1 2011, 04:33 AM   #365
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Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

25th Century.
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Old March 1 2011, 04:38 AM   #366
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Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

JD wrote: View Post
25th Century.
Thanks!
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Old March 1 2011, 06:39 AM   #367
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Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

rfmcdpei wrote: View Post
Christopher wrote: View Post
I profoundly doubt that Section 31 is anywhere near as powerful or widespread as it likes to think it is. Contrary to the absurd fantasies of fiction, the bigger a conspiracy is, the more inevitable its exposure becomes, because there are more opportunities for things to go wrong, more lines of communication to be intercepted, more people who could have second thoughts or be co-opted, etc. The idea of a vast, all-powerful, pervasive conspiracy that nobody knows about is a contradiction in terms. The only way Section 31 could've lasted as long as it has and stayed as well-hidden as it has is by being small and limiting its activities.
And it's worth noting that, by the early 24th century, Section 31 has become entirely public, its archives free for Sisko and Nog to peruse. Something gave, fatally.
As far as we know. Frankly...I'm not entirely convinced that Secion 31 was somehow 100% rounded up.

The less competent divisions, certainly (as I said, the less competent ones are the more visible ones). The others...who's to say the more competent branches didn't simply go further underground? Even Jake wasn't sure if they were all gone for good....



BTW--Chris, Star Trek IS an "absurd fantasy of fiction". Not necessarily a bad thing.
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Old March 1 2011, 04:30 PM   #368
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Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
As far as we know. Frankly...I'm not entirely convinced that Secion 31 was somehow 100% rounded up.
Why? Why couldn't it be wrecked as thoroughly as the Organisation de l'armée secrète?
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Old March 1 2011, 05:05 PM   #369
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Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

^He's just buying into the myth of conspiracies as somehow all-powerful and unstoppable. Conspiracy theories are self-reinforcing because they interpret absence of evidence as proof of the conspiracy's power to conceal itself, so people who buy into such thinking can never be convinced that a conspiracy is absent or defeated. Which I suppose can make them into effective fictional villains, in the same sense as an unkillable horror-franchise monster like Dracula or Freddy Krueger, though of course it has no more grounding in reality.
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Old March 1 2011, 06:38 PM   #370
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Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

^"He's just buying into the myth..."?

Chris...is it really necessary to be so, to be blunt, patronizing?

Remember, in my full post, I just pointed out that Star Trek is a work of fiction. In fiction, we think outside the box, and allow for possibilities which are arguably absurd and unrealistic, due to the premises we are given.

IF there were such a conspiracy (or, more appropriately, secret organization), and IF it was able to be stay in power for 200 years (which, BTW, one might call equally unrealistic and mythical)--

And IF such an organization is de-centralized, as "Extreme Measures" indicates...

Then is it not rational to allow for the possibility that it was not completely taken down? With respect, Chris, I think you're taking a lot of things for granted.
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Old March 1 2011, 06:58 PM   #371
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Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

Personally, I would have no trouble believing Section 31 allowed all those records to be released, and the public to find out about the organization, let agents and operations get revealed, and then let people think the organization has been abolished.
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Old March 1 2011, 07:45 PM   #372
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Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

Valeris wrote: View Post
Personally, I would have no trouble believing Section 31 allowed all those records to be released, and the public to find out about the organization, let agents and operations get revealed, and then let people think the organization has been abolished.
Sounds about right. Assuming Section 31 was in on the Khitomer Conspiracy, then they just let people like Admiral Cartwright and Valeris take the fall. Or they just let Admiral Pressman and others take the fall for getting caught experimenting with an illegal phasing cloak.

Perhaps Daniels is a member of a 31st century version of Section 31. At least, that's the theory on YouTube and the premise of a fan fiction series outlined on the Expanded Universe wiki.
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Old March 1 2011, 08:16 PM   #373
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Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

Typical paranoid thinking. Oooh, the conspiracy is all-powerful and smarter than everyone and they've fooled us all, oooh! Rubbish. No conspiracy lasts forever. No secret can be kept forever. Maybe a finite group of people can remain committed to a finite secret agenda for a particular length of time, but eventually people will retire or die off and be replaced, circumstances will change, mistakes will be made, and either the original agenda will be exposed or the people who cared about preserving it will be replaced by people with different goals -- or simply with less competence at keeping secrets.

Heck, usually whenever there's a change of leadership in a government or organization, the first thing the new folks do is try to make a fresh start, to clean house, perhaps even to make a name for themselves by openly cleaning out the corruption and mistakes of the old regime. It's naive to treat a conspiracy as some kind of self-sustaining perpetual-motion machine that can remain unaltered in its agenda and power even when all the people who were originally behind it have retired or died. The only reason most imagined conspiracies like the Kennedy assassination never get uncovered is because they never existed in the first place. Real conspiracies like Watergate and Iran-Contra tend to come out within a few years. Because it's really not that easy to keep a secret in a democratic government with a free press. If anyone is doing something sneaky and unethical and illegal, it's a cinch that their political opposition would gladly expose it and get them thrown out of office, and that the press would gladly investigate it because it's an irresistibly hot story. The only thing that would get all those people to play along with keeping the secret is national security. And even then, there would eventually have to come a time when the security needs had passed. It's only in locked-down dictatorships that detrimental secrets can be kept from the people for a long time.

So if anything, it's implausible that Section 31 even still exists at all in the 24th century. Any remotely realistic portrayal would've had them exposed about a hundred times more quickly. The only way I can buy S31 continuing to exist is if they've been mostly inactive over Federation history. I always figured they stay pretty much dormant in peacetime and only become active in times of major crisis like the Dominion War. But the past few years have been so fraught with one crisis after another that S31 has become a lot more active, and that just makes it all the more inevitable that they'll be exposed.
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Old March 1 2011, 08:54 PM   #374
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Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

Christopher wrote: View Post
Typical paranoid thinking. Oooh, the conspiracy is all-powerful and smarter than everyone and they've fooled us all, oooh!
Chris...with all respect, is that really necessary, to mock and straw-man like that? Surely we can have a debate on this without making it personal. Sheesh!
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Old March 1 2011, 10:10 PM   #375
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Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
Remember, in my full post, I just pointed out that Star Trek is a work of fiction. In fiction, we think outside the box, and allow for possibilities which are arguably absurd and unrealistic, due to the premises we are given.
Certain of the premises of Star Trek are fantastical, wish-fulfillment of one kind or another: faster-than-light travel, interbreeding with other sophont species, and the like.

That doesn't mean that all of the premises have to be. This is particularly the case when, the background assumptions of remarkable technological possibilities aside, the characters and societies of the time seem to be organized on principles recognizable in our own. There's no sign of the massive organizational or psychological changes necessary to permit indefinitely enduring and powerful conspiratorial networks.
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