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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Star Trek TV Series > The Next Generation

The Next Generation All Good Things come to an end...but not here.

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Old August 26 2013, 04:19 PM   #1
Lance
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The fragile nature of the Klingon/UFP "alliance"?

Just another thought bubble for y'all.

"Yesterday's Enterprise" obviously underlines the fragility of the Klingon/UFP alliance. One incident is enough to make the difference between all out war or a kind of quasi-peace. And DS9 later did even more to show that, yes, it only takes a series of incidents for conflict to errupt between the two powers again.

I was flicking through the Chronology the other night and was surprised to be reminded that "Aquiel" established that Klingon forces were still conducting raids on UFP outposts as late as 2362 (which, if Data's establishment of the year in "The Neutral Zone" is any indication, was only a couple of years before the beginning of TNG in 2364). Bear in mind this was well within the time period when both sides were supposed to have put their differences aside. To be fair, of course, we might extrapolate that, like the Klingons in "Heart Of Glory", the raids were conducted by renegades who do not believe in the sancity of the alliance.

Speaking of "Heart Of Glory"... if we take as read that there were still 'isolated incidents' between the Klingon Empire and the UFP as recently as only two years before the adventures chronicled in TNG started, then it's interesting to note the reaction of the Enterprise crew to the Klingons in that episode. Oh sure, Riker's over-dramatic exclaimation on seeing the Klingons might be rationalized as being because Will wasn't expecting to see Klingons on board a Talarian freighter, but even when the Klingons are brought aboard the Enterprise and are undergoing their examination by Doctor Crusher, Will and the others act very suspicious of them. Like the very idea of Klingons being there still holds some sort of animosity to the Starfleet characters, as if they aren't quite sure if the Klingons are friendly or not. Likewise, the Klingons, renegades or not renegades, react with a similar sense of distrust towards the Starfleet officers. Again, all of these reactions seem to indicate a far more fragile 'peace' in the 24th century between the UFP and the Empire than we might at first be led to assume.

Does anybody else think there's merit in this line of thought? Perhaps the UFP and Klingons have had years of stable 'peace' (or, rather, simply haven't had many incidents of conflict), but have simply had a degree of isolation from each other to the point where neither side is entirely sure where the other stands even as late as 2364? Depite the production gaff of having a Klingon representative with a UFP symbol on the viewscreen, it might be easier to assume that following the Khitomer accords and the incident at Narendra III, each side formally declared peace but have otherwise kept themselves to themselves? The Klingons are a proud people, I can imagine them perhaps deciding that their affairs are no matter for outsiders, alliance or no alliance...
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Old August 26 2013, 05:10 PM   #2
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Re: The fragile nature of the Klingon/UFP "alliance"?

Depite the production gaff of having a Klingon representative with a UFP symbol on the viewscreen
A sign that this particular Klingon is the one tasked with the humiliation of interacting with the Federation? His ship is a purposely sent prisoner transport...

"Heart of Glory" definitely gives the impression that the average UFP citizen or even the average Starfleet employee is unlikely to ever see a single live Klingon, let alone be confronted by a pair of them. And that apparently goes for Worf as well! TNG "prehistory" seems to concur, as the Empire never came to reclaim Worf or anything like that.

Certainly it seems that if there ever were joint maneuvers between UFP and Klingon military forces, those were isolated incidents like "The Time Trap", and both sides kept their mouths shut afterwards. Cultural exchange would probably be about as extensive as between North Korea and the United States: whatever was exchanged would have been dismissed as meaningless propaganda on both sides.

I don't think any of the TNG era shows really contradict this take. Sure, we learn of "exchange students" of various sorts, and even a few Klingon-Human hybrids, but those may be rare exceptions or (save for K'Ehleyr and B'Elanna Torres) post-2364 developments.

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Old August 26 2013, 05:36 PM   #3
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Re: The fragile nature of the Klingon/UFP "alliance"?

The Klingons were originally created as metaphors for the Soviets of course, and with glasnost Star Trek did a similar parallel.

Another way to look at the thawing of relations between the Federation and the Klingons, is as when the first Europeans were venturing into North America, from the perspective of both sides.
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Old August 26 2013, 10:03 PM   #4
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Re: The fragile nature of the Klingon/UFP "alliance"?

The relationship does seem to vary in its nature.

Sometimes there is an alliance, both actively participating in common purpose.

Sometimes, it seems to be a case of each doing their own things within their own borders and trying not to get in each other's way.
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Old August 26 2013, 10:39 PM   #5
Makarov
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Re: The fragile nature of the Klingon/UFP "alliance"?

I get the feeling that their initial reactions to klingons are just like their initial awe about the Holodeck. Isn't it a little strange that they're all awestruck by it? Surely they'd be familiar with the technology by then, even if it hadn't been on ships before. I felt like it was for the benefit of the audience which is seeing something new.
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Old August 26 2013, 11:29 PM   #6
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Re: The fragile nature of the Klingon/UFP "alliance"?

It was a fragile alliance. Gowron was rightly mad when the Federation refused to help out in the Klingon Civil War. Even their indirect aid was something of an insult. DS9 later showed how fragile the alliance was. When the Klingons felt like turning to expansionism again, and invaded Cardassia, the Federation condemned it and warned Cardassia. That's when Gowron broke the alliance and the Klingons and Federation started to engage in a quasi-war with them. It was only when Cardassia joined the Dominion that the alliance was renewed. A blatant act of convenience.
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Old August 26 2013, 11:41 PM   #7
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Re: The fragile nature of the Klingon/UFP "alliance"?

It always seemed like a "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" kind of alliance to me and not much more.
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Old August 26 2013, 11:42 PM   #8
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Re: The fragile nature of the Klingon/UFP "alliance"?

But even todday on Earth relations between nations on Earth can vary depending on who is charge of those countries at any given time.
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Old August 27 2013, 11:02 AM   #9
Timo
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Re: The fragile nature of the Klingon/UFP "alliance"?

It's not as if we ever saw a cordial or functional alliance, or evidence of such having existed during one of the off-camera periods. Klingons were always scary, and untrustworthy, and uninterested in pleasing the Feds in any way. Relations may have fluctuated, but attitudes apparently didn't...

TOS already established that arch-enemies may remain out of any contact with the Federation for extended periods of time, becoming no less an enemy in that process. That's inherent in the format: Romulans, Talarians or Cardassians are not heard of until they are heard of. The Breen are a remarkable exception to that, being name-dropped quite often before finally making an appearance - but then again, they, too, retain an atmosphere of "mystery", now with a twist.

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Old September 1 2013, 01:12 AM   #10
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Re: The fragile nature of the Klingon/UFP "alliance"?

Lance wrote: View Post
Speaking of "Heart Of Glory"
When one of the two Klingons picks up a child in the Enterprise's corridors, Lt. Yar quickly calls in a hostage situation. If Worf's chubby Human brother had picked up the child would Yar have done the same?

Being allies doesn't mean you trust each other.

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Old September 1 2013, 04:24 AM   #11
JirinPanthosa
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Re: The fragile nature of the Klingon/UFP "alliance"?

The alliance meant different things to different people in the Klingon Empire. The Klingon leaders had respect for the Federation's strength and honor and knew they needed them as an ally against the Rommies but could gain political points by badmouthing them.

And Gowron would have never broken the alliance in DS9 if shifter-Martok hadn't been pissing in his ear, feeding him misinformation, and getting him to do dumb things he knew the Federation would never go along with.

Klingons who aren't being manipulated by somebody else may want to distance themselves from the Federation, but they certainly know they benefit from it.

@Tgirl

He sure would have, if she had spent the last several minutes chasing Nikolai through the corridors.
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Old September 1 2013, 08:09 AM   #12
Lance
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Re: The fragile nature of the Klingon/UFP "alliance"?

T'Girl wrote: View Post
Lance wrote: View Post
Speaking of "Heart Of Glory"
When one of the two Klingons picks up a child in the Enterprise's corridors, Lt. Yar quickly calls in a hostage situation. If Worf's chubby Human brother had picked up the child would Yar have done the same?

Being allies doesn't mean you trust each other.

Well exactly. The Enterprise crew as a whole tend to treat the situation as a possible threat. Not so much in the sense of 'These are our enemies', more like they still hadn't quite got to grips with the peace that must have ensued for decades. I think Timo is probably right in saying that even with an alliance, the Klingons and Federation more or less just stay out of each others way. They aren't enemies, but they aren't exactly friends either.
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Old September 1 2013, 12:33 PM   #13
Timo
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Re: The fragile nature of the Klingon/UFP "alliance"?

Actually, when the "hostage situation" occurred, the two Klingons were already known to be dangerous and violent criminals. Not because they were Klingons, but because they were dangerous and violent.

Not that there'd necessarily be a difference there, but in terms of this scenario, it does matter: Tasha would have called in transporter snipers, holosuit point men and personal shield belts or whatever 24th century SWAT teams pack if she had known this much of Sergey Rodzhenko, or about Lwaxana Troi, or Mott the barber.

What is left open to speculation is whether the Klingon picked up the kid for tactical purposes or not. He didn't necessarily know yet that his cover had been blown - although the odds of him not knowing this when security approaches him weapons drawn and asks to follow are low indeed... Was picking up the kid an instinctual move (of the "Hey, you're a cutie all right, lemme hold you!" sort, since Klingons supposedly don't have the "Oh, some soft armor I can hide behind" instinct), or a carefully considered insult ("Oh, you thought I'd hide behind her - how barbaric of you!"), or something else?

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