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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 November 17 2010, 06:35 PM   #301
Almost Unique
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Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

I keep it close to my kidneys.
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Old November 17 2010, 06:55 PM   #302
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Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

Deranged Nasat wrote: View Post
That's the point; he deliberately chose a kill setting because he was hardening himself with a "this is war!" attitude - an attitude that he wouldn't have embraced but for two reasons. One: there was no aspect of the mission that he could find his needed sense of nobility and righteousness in, save Sarina, and Two: Sarina was the one who told him about the "need" for lethal force in a situation like this.

That's where Bashir starts slipping off the moral high ground, which is exactly what Section 31 was hoping for. He took an "important" step into accepting their outlook and their mindset. He was lost and afloat without anything to latch onto as righteous or noble, and he grasped onto the one aspect of his current situation in which he could find meaning, which was the advice of Sarina. Because Sarina, of course, is the only part of the mission Bashir can find anything "right" in. So he behaved in a manner at odds with his usual self but which allowed him to complete the mission while still clinging to a sense of meaning and nobility. And though he doesn't know it, that one "right" thing that he clung too and allowed him to complete his mission was something affiliated with - something of - Section 31. They're an important step closer to "having" him.
I wonder when Bashir will snap out of it and realized that Sarina is USING him?

When all this is over...he owes Ezri a big apology for Chapter 6. (Well, she owes him one, too--but him, first.)
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Old November 17 2010, 07:02 PM   #303
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Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

Deranged Nasat wrote: View Post
Well, in my way of thinking: It is never necessary to kill (there's no objective external law of the universe that killing must take place). So the idea that you "only kill when necessary" is itself meaningless. You've just made an arbritary subjective judgement and pretended its an objective reality. Your position on "necessary" and "not necessary" is simply a system of signifiers and categorizations that are used to draw distinctions that help you make sense of your actions and the universe. In this situation, what I did was okay. In this one, it isn't. These are fluid distinctions, never objective. Societies like to pretend they are objective, so they can force a conformity that allows for a state of something other than chaos. This is the basis of a shared morality rather than individual ethics, and a shared morality provides a means for the collective to deal with those people who otherwise wouldn't cultivate a sense of ethics at all. Morality and its pretend-objective rules are the safety net for those who cannot achieve an individual ethical outlook, and they provide a safety feature that allows society to function.

And there is never "no reason" to kill. Killing isn't a reflex like a twitching nerve. Even if the cause is blind fear or rage as opposed to something calculated, something provided the impulse by which you acted to kill. So no-one shoots people for "no reason", even if they can't themselves articulate why they did it. At the same time, though, using some fake-objective framework to evaluate the act is not very helpful. There's simply why you do it (if you even know) and how you justify/explain/excuse it afterwards (or fail to). A shared system of moral distinctions simply helps society draw a close over or act on those incidents of violence whereby the ethical examination is missing.

The problem as I see it is that people become dependent on the moral framework to give them pointers, forgetting that its function is as a safety net/back up to personal ethical examination, which should be the primary means by which you navigate. Shared morality is there so we can keep a stable society running, it is largely meaningless as a means to reflect ethically on individual action.

Or so I see it. Of course people see these things differently- as they should. Each person is, ideally, unique. Infinite diversity in infinite combinations. It's an ideal I hold very close to my heart.

What we're discussing here is my favourite theme in Trek lit and indeed in fiction in general - as I've mentioned many times: how the individual balances the self against membership in the whole, balances personal ethics and identity against the fluid community, the structured society, and their notions of protective conformity. How that community maintains its safety net against chaos without denying the individual or the diversity of its members. Where lines are drawn, compromises made, where fear keeps mock-objective boundaries up where they cause harm, and where necessary caution justifies the establishment of a moral frame encompassing all to protect against harm. The difference and overlap between law, morality and ethics. How we be ourselves without causing undue harm to others and how we deal with threats and that which brings us harm. I'm gushing a bit, I know, but I find it endlessly fascinating and if there is any justification for fictional worlds at all it is to help us explore the beautiful chaos of this dilemma.

This is what's wrong with Modern Trek, too talky. You'd finish making that speech, Kirk would do a running kick into your chest, give you a couple of jabs to the face and then throw you in the brig.
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Old November 17 2010, 07:06 PM   #304
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Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
I wonder when Bashir will snap out of it and realized that Sarina is USING him?
Is she truly, though? It seems she may indeed love him back. There doesn't have to be a conflict between her personal feelings for him and a dutiful using-the-relationship-as-an-assignment from 31. She may think the two are perfectly compatible. And 31 may be hoping that Bashir will come to share in that blended outlook. Right now, Bashir thinks Sarina = all that is good, Section 31 = bad. But one day he'll find out Sarina = Section 31. What happens then? It won't be easy to break a bond like the somewhat desperate one he has with Sarina; it seems more likely to me that Bashir will conclude "Section 31 = not so bad after all" than he will "Sarina = bad". Which is what 31 want. They are determined to break him down and have him accept his place among them. So Bashir finding out Sarina's loyalties is, it seems to me, the whole point...only he mustn't find out just yet...
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Old November 17 2010, 07:06 PM   #305
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Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

JoeZhang wrote: View Post
Deranged Nasat wrote: View Post
long speech here.

This is what's wrong with Modern Trek, too talky. You'd finish making that speech, Kirk would do a running kick into your chest, give you a couple of jabs to the face and then throw you in the brig.
Too true!
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Old November 17 2010, 07:12 PM   #306
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Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

Deranged Nasat wrote: View Post
Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
Deranged Nasat wrote: View Post
That's the point; he deliberately chose a kill setting because he was hardening himself with a "this is war!" attitude - an attitude that he wouldn't have embraced but for two reasons. One: there was no aspect of the mission that he could find his needed sense of nobility and righteousness in, save Sarina, and Two: Sarina was the one who told him about the "need" for lethal force in a situation like this.

That's where Bashir starts slipping off the moral high ground, which is exactly what Section 31 was hoping for. He took an "important" step into accepting their outlook and their mindset. He was lost and afloat without anything to latch onto as righteous or noble, and he grasped onto the one aspect of his current situation in which he could find meaning, which was the advice of Sarina. Because Sarina, of course, is the only part of the mission Bashir can find anything "right" in. So he behaved in a manner at odds with his usual self but which allowed him to complete the mission while still clinging to a sense of meaning and nobility. And though he doesn't know it, that one "right" thing that he clung too and allowed him to complete his mission was something affiliated with - something of - Section 31. They're an important step closer to "having" him.
I wonder when Bashir will snap out of it and realized that Sarina is USING him?
Is she truly, though? It seems she may indeed love him back. There doesn't have to be a conflict between her personal feelings for him and a dutiful using-the-relationship-as-an-assignment from 31. And 31 may he hoping that Bashir will come to share in that blended outlook. Right now, Bashir thinks Sarina = all that is good, Section 31 = bad. But one day he'll find out Sarina = Section 31. What happens then? It won't be easy to break a bond like the somewhat desperate one he has with Sarina; it seems more likely to me that Bashir will conclude Section 31 = not so bad after all than it will Sarina = bad. Which is what 31 want. They are determined to break him down and have him accept his place among them. So Bashir finding out Sarina's loyalties is, it seems to me, the whole point...only he mustn't find out just yet...
Shucks, if that's what'll happen...than Julian's more maleable, and stupid, than I thought, to be maniplulated like that, and not feel betrayed by her.

If that's him...than he deserves not to be reunited with Ezri....
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Old November 17 2010, 07:15 PM   #307
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Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
Shucks, if that's what'll happen...than Julian's more maleable, and stupid, than I thought, to be maniplulated like that, and not feel betrayed by her.

If that's him...than he deserves not to be reunited with Ezri....
Hey, what makes you think he'll disappoint us if or when that day comes? Surely we're hoping he'll stand true and prove himself a better man than Section 31 anticipated.

Our hero has reached a low point and is being tempted by the antagonist (though he doesn't know it yet). Whether he "falls" or remains true to his ideals is for future novels to show us...
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Last edited by Deranged Nasat; November 17 2010 at 07:34 PM.
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Old November 17 2010, 07:27 PM   #308
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Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

^Well...as I said, my prediction is that when he finds out, and discoveres that, one way or another, Sarina's been decieving him, duping him--and yes, using him--he will leave her in disgust, leaving Sarina to do a LOT of soul-searching.

And then he gives Ezri a big apology for dismissing her warning, and storming off. Ezri apologizes in kind for her attitude in that scene, too...and the two start on the path to reconciliation.

(And Sloan shows up, back from the dead. )
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Old November 17 2010, 09:39 PM   #309
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Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

^ Whatever the outcome is, ZSG has influenced where I could go in terms of the on-again off-again romance between Julian and Ezri in my fanon. In my War Aftermath story that's still in progress taking place in 2378, they are broken up and even Worf is saying WTF. By 2380, they're married despite the rough patches in the DS9-relaunch novels and my current story. But that's not the end of their problems. He's willing to commit treason to prevent another Dax host from being murdered in cold blood. Things go south after he serves his sentence. He's been blackballed out of Starfleet, which Section 31 has seen to. The mission to Salavat and later missions for SFI/S31 leave him very cynical and jaded. So by 2384 in my fanon, having learned of Sarina's affiliation with Section 31, his life takes one of two turns.

1. He wants nothing to do with Sarina. He's living in seclusion trying to stay one step ahead of The Bureau. This is complicated when circumstances force him to work with both Ezri and Sarina during a major galactic crisis.

2. He feels sorry for Sarina, thinking they've manipulated her more than she's manipulated him and they're both living in seclusion trying to stay one step ahead of The Bureau. This is complicated when circumstances reunite him with Ezri during a major galactic crisis.
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Old November 17 2010, 09:52 PM   #310
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Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

It's one thing if someone is trying to kill you, and especially if they're trying to kill people who can't defend themselves. If someone chooses to lay down their own life rather than be violent in return--as long as by doing so they are not running away from the defense of others--then I can respect that position. But I cannot respect failure to defend others. That's moral cowardice. In the latter case, failure to act puts the blood on the hands of the person who should have acted and did not. Cowardice makes one an accessory to the crime; to just stand there and let something happen when you have the power to stop it, just because you want YOUR hands to be clean, is pathetic. But to just kill with no reason...that IS wrong and unnecessary.
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Old November 18 2010, 02:22 AM   #311
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Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

A question to ponder.

Let's say Iran is developing a nuclear weapons plant. Let's say that the vast majority of workers there are unarmed civilians who merely want a good job and want to make sure their country has the kinds of weaponry it needs to deter the threat of aggression from other countries. Such as, for instance, the United States, whose Army happens to have occupied both countries on either side of Iran's border this decade.

And let's say that the CIA decides to send someone in to Iran to blow it up before it becomes operational.

And in the course of that endeavor, said CIA agents kill several unarmed civilians, either not knowing that they were unarmed (as Bashir did not know the engineers in the Operations Center were unarmed before he shot them as a pre-emptive safety measure), or killed hundreds of such workers upon blowing the plant up.

(For the purposes of this thought experiment, let us presume that the operation took place at a sufficiently early time in the plant's construction process that blowing the plant up did not release huge amounts of radioactivity into the atmosphere or otherwise hurt the general Iranian populace.)

Now.

Tell me.

Is that a truly immoral thing?

People often use the term "ambiguous" to refer to acts that are really not ambiguous at all; they often use the term to refer to acts that are clearly immoral. But one of the reasons something is consider "ambiguous," after all, is that it's not clearly immoral.
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Old November 18 2010, 02:33 AM   #312
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Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

^I myself would say it would be necessary. As for the question of morality, I would say: what would be the alternative, in allowing the reactor to exist?

Assuming the government is the same as it is now...the alternative is either 1) genocide by Iran's government (remember, Ahmadinejad has repeatedly expressed his desire to destroy Israel), or 2) international nuclear war, heralded by the US fighting to prevent this genocide.

Thus...this is a situation of "the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few".

Would it be "moral"? Decidedly not--as you said, as far as those workers are concerned, they are just working to help "defend" Iran.

But it would not be "immoral", either--as, again, the alternative is to result in even more lives being lost.
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Old November 18 2010, 02:42 AM   #313
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Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

As the only country to have used nuclear weapons and chose to use them against civilian targets I don't think America is in any position to be deciding what's moral in this matter.

Add to that the fact that Israel has a nuclear program that is one of the worst kept secrets in the world and I wonder just what constitutes morality in this case.

Israel does have a right to defend themselves but so does Iran. Who is more likely to use nuclear weapons first? Neither country has been open about their programs.
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Old November 18 2010, 02:59 AM   #314
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Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

Perhaps Bashir was thinking the same thing as Garak aboard the hijacked Jem'Hadar fighter in "When It Rains..." As Garak said then, "We can't afford to be burdened by prisoners." And that was the right move in retrospect since installing the Breen weapon on that ship took longer than expected.

And while on the subject of "What if this was Iran?", what would've been a diplomatic solution since that was even being considered? Saying to the Typhon Pact, "Please give us back the slipstream schematics, pretty please"? I'm not sure the Pact would agree to something to the SALT treaties to prevent any new nuclear powers from emerging.
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Old November 18 2010, 03:01 AM   #315
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Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
^I myself would say it would be necessary. As for the question of morality, I would say: what would be the alternative, in allowing the reactor to exist?

Assuming the government is the same as it is now...the alternative is either 1) genocide by Iran's government (remember, Ahmadinejad has repeatedly expressed his desire to destroy Israel), or 2) international nuclear war, heralded by the US fighting to prevent this genocide.
Actually, one of the reasons I chose Iran is that the intentions of the Iranian government are not nearly so clear as what you're claiming.

Just like the Breen's.

The Breen clearly intend to try to start out-competing the Federation. Does that mean they intend to actually start a war? Or to actually act in an aggressive manner against Federation citizens, territory, or otherwise threaten Federation security?

The Federation clearly believes the Breen intend to share slipstream technology with the other Typhon Pact members. Yet we know for a fact, from their internal politics scenes, that the Breen intend to monopolize the slipstream to compete with their fellow Pact members.

Similarly, Iran's intentions are not clear. Ahmadinejad has said what he's said, but Ahmadinejad is not the actual ruler of the country -- Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei is the real power in Iran, and he's been quite a bit less belligerent over his twenty-one years in power. I'm not going to say anything else about this, other than that the Iranian government's intentions are not clear.
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