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

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Old January 3 2013, 12:40 AM   #31
T'Bonz
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Re: Greatest Alpha Quadrant Conflicts?

Sorry for my absence. I was traveling on NYE and took off yesterday.

Stop the petty spat or I will warn. We all have better things to do than to read this. Take it private or end it.
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Old January 3 2013, 09:43 PM   #32
captcalhoun
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Re: Greatest Alpha Quadrant Conflicts?

if you want to talk about horrific at-timelines, what about the KRAD Myriad Universes contribution wherein the Dominion War was far more destructive and killed most of the main cast members?
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Old January 4 2013, 07:09 AM   #33
RPJOB
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Re: Greatest Alpha Quadrant Conflicts?

Earth also fought a series of four wars against the Kzinti. According the The Infinite Vulcan, there's still a rivalry if not open hostilities between Earth and Kzin.
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Old January 6 2013, 09:34 PM   #34
tomswift2002
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Re: Greatest Alpha Quadrant Conflicts?

How about the Brikar-Federation War from the late 2350's?
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Old January 7 2013, 05:40 AM   #35
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Re: Greatest Alpha Quadrant Conflicts?

Sci wrote: View Post
As far as the claim that the novels are depicting the Federation as facing too many violent crises...

For the record, TNG and DSN very firmly established that between 2293 and 2369, the Federation:
  • Was the victim of the Tomed Incident, in which thousands of lives were lost and in which the Romulans were involved (TNG: "The Neutral Zone," "The Defector," "The Pegasus")
  • Was embroiled in a series of border wars with the Cardassian Union that lasted decades, ending only in 2367 (TNG: "The Wounded," "Journey's End," "Chains of Command," et al)
  • Was embroiled in a war with the Tzenkethi Coalition (DSN: "The Adversary")
  • Suffered an attack from the Tholian Assembly that destroyed a Federation Starbase in 2353 (TNG: "The Icarus Factor")
  • Suffered a breakdown in relations with the Klingon Empire that would have resulted in a Federation-Klingon war were it not for the sacrifice of the Enterprise-C to protect Narendra III
  • Was attacked on several occasions by the Ferengi Alliance, both before and after official first contact (TNG: "The Battle," et al)
  • Found itself embroiled in a new cold war with the Romulans (TNG: "The Neutral Zone," "The Defector," "Face of the Enemy," et al)
  • Was targeted for assimilation by the Borg Collective (TNG: "The Best of Both Worlds")
  • Became involved in the Klingon Civil War (TNG: "Redemption")

Mind you, this is just what's established in the canon for the TNG era.
This is something I've found interesting in pondering Federation history, and the general logistics of running an intersteller state that spans 8,000 lightyears. That's an absolutely humongous space (a fact which I am understanding even better these days, now that I've started playing around with Celestia; thank you, Christopher, for mentioning them in your annotations!).

It seems to me that the Dominion War was surely the exception rather than the rule in terms of scale of Federation wars. DS9 showed us fleets of overall 100 ships during the war. But recall how many ships they sent to intercept Borg cubes during their first two incursions into Sector 001: fewer than half that. And that was considered to be a sizable fleet.

It seems to me that most of the conflicts you list, Sci, were probably relatively minor conflicts in terms of an 8,000 ly state. All you need is three or four starships at a time on the Cardassian border who end up shooting at Cardassians, who fire back, and then you have a border war. Very bad for the people involved, and in the area, but not very disruptive across the Federation, partly because they simply don't need many resources. (One of the authors, I can't remember who, suggested something like this to explain why the Cardassian border wars could've been going on in the early years of TNG without making the whole Federation seem like it was at war.)

The Tzenkethi can be explained similarly. Perhaps it was more concentrated or whatever; given that we only really hear about it from Sisko and Leyton, we might surmise that the war wasn't extremely widespread. And it needn't be long to be traumatic. (See the Falklands for precedent.)

The Ferengi incidents could've been primarily incidents similar to Maxia Zeta, or isolated incidents of piracy (which do seem to happen, due to Orions and Nausciaans, et cetera).

And the Tholian and Tomed incidents could easily be isolated, like

My point: it woud not be surprising to me if most of these conflicts had very few reverberations throughout the majority of the Federation, and might present a distorted view of the level of conflict present in Federation history. On the other hand, when you're in proximity to these conflicts, either spatially or temporally, they're big deals.
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Old January 7 2013, 03:08 PM   #36
Christopher
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Re: Greatest Alpha Quadrant Conflicts?

Paper Moon wrote: View Post
It seems to me that most of the conflicts you list, Sci, were probably relatively minor conflicts in terms of an 8,000 ly state. All you need is three or four starships at a time on the Cardassian border who end up shooting at Cardassians, who fire back, and then you have a border war. Very bad for the people involved, and in the area, but not very disruptive across the Federation, partly because they simply don't need many resources. (One of the authors, I can't remember who, suggested something like this to explain why the Cardassian border wars could've been going on in the early years of TNG without making the whole Federation seem like it was at war.)
That was me. I was drawing on Poul Anderson's work, in which he portrayed an interstellar empire or trading federation as a very loose union by necessity because of the vast distances and sheer number of worlds involved. No one person could even really be aware of everything that was going on throughout that vast region, let alone be directly affected by it.

So there could easily be a war that encompassed entire worlds and was huge from the perspective of those directly involved in it, but still had little impact on the majority of the Federation and its citizens, because "entire worlds" is just a small subset of a union of hundreds of member worlds and possibly thousands of colony or protectorate worlds.
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Old January 7 2013, 06:12 PM   #37
flandry84
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Re: Greatest Alpha Quadrant Conflicts?

I would agree that the Cardassian border wars must have been low-scale conflicts fought by relatively small contingents/squadrons as most of the senior Enterprise command staff seem never to have even seen a Cardassian at the start of !The wounded".
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Old January 7 2013, 06:58 PM   #38
Sci
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Re: Greatest Alpha Quadrant Conflicts?

Paper Moon wrote: View Post
My point: it woud not be surprising to me if most of these conflicts had very few reverberations throughout the majority of the Federation, and might present a distorted view of the level of conflict present in Federation history. On the other hand, when you're in proximity to these conflicts, either spatially or temporally, they're big deals.
It's a fair argument to make that a war may not end up being large enough to affect the entire Federation given its vast size. But:

1. A war that isn't "relatively" large enough to affect the entire Federation may still end up being huge in absolute numbers. You may have a war that lasts for years and years and encompasses four or five sectors of space without affecting most of the Federation -- but that war may end up with hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of victims.

In a way, we're even familiar with analogous situations. Obviously the Federation is one unified sovereign state and the planet in real life is a collection of sovereign states, but you might compare it to, say, the Second Congo War, which lasted five years and killed almost five and a half million people, but which barely affected anyone in Europe or North America. So clearly the idea that a war can be huge and kill millions yet not affect those who aren't close to it is one with which we're familiar.

2. But even so -- you're kind of missing my point in the post you quote. My point was not to say that those conflicts were Dominion War-level events. (Indeed, my first post in this thread identifies the Borg Invasion and Dominion War as outliers in the history of large interstellar conflicts.) My point in the post you quote was to argue that the conflicts the novels tend to depict (with the exception of the Borg Invasion, naturally) are roughly analogous in size and impact to the conflicts TNG and DSN depicted the UFP as having fought canonically, and that thus if the canon and the novels both depict a serious of similarly-sized conflicts, it is unfair to say that one is necessarily more optimistic and one is necessarily more pessimistic. In particular, it was my intent to illustrate that the novels are not darker than the canon (and it was not my intent to say that the canon is actually dark); a body of work can depict dark events but still be optimistic.
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