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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 5 2011, 07:10 PM   #526
LightningStorm
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Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

I finished this book a few days ago and came to the realization that the Typhon Pact wasn't quite what I thought it was.

See, I thought the Typhon Pact was supposed to be kinda like the Federation itself where these different species came together to form a new entity that they were all apart of. However, based on how they are referred to repeatedly in ZSG they are less one entity and more a group of individual and autonomous governments that are simply allied.

Anyway, I did like the Breen development quite a bit, and I really hope to see more of the resistance among the Breen and their seeking asylum in the Federation.

I do agree that Bashir felt way out of character (even given the time that has passed) with all of the executing people especially after all the hemming and hawing he did after Sarina did it.

Also agree that the Aventine crew (and Bowers in particular) are boring at best. And Ezri as Janeway wasn't believable to me, though I did like what all took place there, I just had a hard time wrapping my mind around it being Ezri being the one who was making it all happen.

As for rating this book, I suppose it depends on what I'm comparing it to. Star Trek Lit overall? I'd say it's just above average. Recent Trek Lit? It's almost outstanding. David Mack's work in general, well since he consistently writes ridiculously good books, this one would get a below average.
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Old January 5 2011, 08:22 PM   #527
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Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

LightningStorm wrote: View Post
I finished this book a few days ago and came to the realization that the Typhon Pact wasn't quite what I thought it was.

See, I thought the Typhon Pact was supposed to be kinda like the Federation itself where these different species came together to form a new entity that they were all apart of. However, based on how they are referred to repeatedly in ZSG they are less one entity and more a group of individual and autonomous governments that are simply allied.
Well, politically, it is nominally a nation, not just an alliance. It has a single currency and everything. However, it's a very new nation whose members haven't gotten used to being partners yet. So there are still plenty of individual agendas and jockeying for status. It takes time for a union in name to become a union in fact. Recall the growing pains of the United States, the lengthy debates over federalism, states' rights, etc. Even three-quarters of a century after the Constitution was ratified, there was enough divisiveness among the states to result in secessions and a civil war. By comparison, the Typhon Pact is just over a year old.
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Old January 5 2011, 08:32 PM   #528
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Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

Christopher wrote: View Post
LightningStorm wrote: View Post
I finished this book a few days ago and came to the realization that the Typhon Pact wasn't quite what I thought it was.

See, I thought the Typhon Pact was supposed to be kinda like the Federation itself where these different species came together to form a new entity that they were all apart of. However, based on how they are referred to repeatedly in ZSG they are less one entity and more a group of individual and autonomous governments that are simply allied.
Well, politically, it is nominally a nation, not just an alliance. It has a single currency and everything. However, it's a very new nation whose members haven't gotten used to being partners yet. So there are still plenty of individual agendas and jockeying for status. It takes time for a union in name to become a union in fact. Recall the growing pains of the United States, the lengthy debates over federalism, states' rights, etc. Even three-quarters of a century after the Constitution was ratified, there was enough divisiveness among the states to result in secessions and a civil war. By comparison, the Typhon Pact is just over a year old.
And similarly, the Coalition of Planets as seen in the Enterprise relaunch. It's not as strong as the Typhon Pact is intended to be, but so far the level of cooperation is minimal. unity is almost nonexistent, and the various powers are more concerned about the others' influence than outside threats. Yet, it will strengthen with time into the UFOP. Perhaps the Typhon Pact is like the coalition, or to continue Christopher's example, America's "Articles of Confederation". While weak, it may continue to strengthen and grow more cohesive.

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Last edited by Smellincoffee; January 5 2011 at 11:17 PM. Reason: Made a spoiler more spoilerific.
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Old January 5 2011, 10:34 PM   #529
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Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

Smellincoffee wrote: View Post
Y'know, you might want to indicate what that's a spoiler about...
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Old January 5 2011, 11:17 PM   #530
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Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

sfroth wrote: View Post
Smellincoffee wrote: View Post
Y'know, you might want to indicate what that's a spoiler about...

Good point. I put it in spoilers but people might not have realised it's a RBoE reference and not a Zero Sum Game one. Thanks.
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Old January 6 2011, 09:36 PM   #531
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Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

Tosk wrote: View Post
Just finished the book (always late to the party) and really enjoyed it. Not easy to put my finger on why, but it doesn't matter so much as I liked it.

It was great to get a well-built glimpse into the Breen. It really felt like it worked with what we know of them from TV. This exploration of them is definitely part of my "personal canon" (oxymoron be damned) of Trek.
For fan-fiction writers, I believe the term is fanon.

Nice photoshop btw. Is that from when Kira and Dukat infiltrated a Breen prison camp or some other pic of two Breen?
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Old January 7 2011, 04:47 AM   #532
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Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

Enterprise1981 wrote: View Post
Nice photoshop btw. Is that from when Kira and Dukat infiltrated a Breen prison camp or some other pic of two Breen?
Thanks. And yeah, it is Kira and Dukat, two separate shots from "Indiscretion" that I thought might combine into one image well.
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Old January 7 2011, 06:07 PM   #533
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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. Whatever delusions S31's members may have about themselves, the simple fact is that they are criminals who don't know the difference between morality and immorality because they define morality purely in terms of "what serves our desires." They're too corrupt in themselves to even understand the concept of an incorruptible person. People tend to assume that other people's minds work the same way as their own. Good people look for the good in everyone. Ideologues assume everyone's an ideologue. Selfish people assume everyone's fundamentally selfish. And corrupt people assume everyone's corruptible.
To be honest...this sentiment contradicts the elaborate test Bashir was put through--it was about whether his loyalty was of such a height as to make him willing to sacrifice his desires for the interests of the Federation.

To dismiss 31's actions as "They just want to serve their own desires" is, with all respect, radically simplifying the issue into simple black-and-white, as well as emotionally denying the darker side of life, the "grey areas" in which one must get one's hands dirty to do what has to be done.

Also, Chris, you mentioned a necessity for the public to "know" what's being done to protect them. Frankly, doesn't that defeat the entire purpose of covert operations? If such actions were to be made public--that alerts the enemy to these actions, and enables him to counteract said actions.
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Old January 7 2011, 06:37 PM   #534
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Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

St. William of Levittown wrote: View Post
Also, Chris, you mentioned a necessity for the public to "know" what's being done to protect them. Frankly, doesn't that defeat the entire purpose of covert operations? If such actions were to be made public--that alerts the enemy to these actions, and enables him to counteract said actions.
I already addressed that point. In a representative government, the people elect representatives who are entrusted with protecting their interests. Covert operatives who are answerable to the elected government are thus effectively answerable to the people.

And there's a difference between saying that specific covert missions need operational security and saying that the people should be kept entirely in the dark about the actions being taken to allegedly protect their interests. Protecting individual operations and their personnel from dangerously premature exposure as needed should not be used as an excuse to deny the public its right to oversight on a broader scale. The people need and deserve to know whether their defenders are acting in a way they would approve of. Too often, operational security has been used as an excuse to cover up military excesses, corruption, and atrocities.
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Old January 7 2011, 07:17 PM   #535
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Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

^I see.

So--just to establish limitations--are you for or against the concept of "plausible deniabiliy"--i.e., "If any of your team is caught or killed, Starfleet Intelligence will disavow any knowledge of your activities"?
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Old January 7 2011, 09:25 PM   #536
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Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

St. William of Levittown wrote: View Post
^I see.

So--just to establish limitations--are you for or against the concept of "plausible deniabiliy"--i.e., "If any of your team is caught or killed, Starfleet Intelligence will disavow any knowledge of your activities"?
Plausible deniability is one thing, but quoting "secrecy for operational security" is hiding behind a door. If US Navy Seals foiled a plot by al-Qaeda then during the mission operational security is paramount lest the Seals be killed or captured. However, once the operation is over and the Seals are safely home, then there's no longer need for operational security since the operation is over. A press release or media article stating that an al-Qaeda plot has been foiled is violating nothing, but it tells the people that their government is actually doing its job to protect them.

Section 31, on the other hand, is answerable to no one but their corrupt selves and as such is actually a threat in and of itself to Federation security. Yes, the Federation could say they knew nothing about what S31 was up to, but no enemy will believe it. It is only a matter of time before 31 screw up and when they do it will be a big screw up.
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Old January 7 2011, 10:18 PM   #537
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Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

BrotherBenny wrote: View Post
St. William of Levittown wrote: View Post
^I see.

So--just to establish limitations--are you for or against the concept of "plausible deniabiliy"--i.e., "If any of your team is caught or killed, Starfleet Intelligence will disavow any knowledge of your activities"?
Plausible deniability is one thing, but quoting "secrecy for operational security" is hiding behind a door. If US Navy Seals foiled a plot by al-Qaeda then during the mission operational security is paramount lest the Seals be killed or captured. However, once the operation is over and the Seals are safely home, then there's no longer need for operational security since the operation is over. A press release or media article stating that an al-Qaeda plot has been foiled is violating nothing, but it tells the people that their government is actually doing its job to protect them.
Agreed.

Section 31, on the other hand, is answerable to no one but their corrupt selves and as such is actually a threat in and of itself to Federation security. Yes, the Federation could say they knew nothing about what S31 was up to, but no enemy will believe it. It is only a matter of time before 31 screw up and when they do it will be a big screw up.
Well, here's my thoughts on that:

It's been implied that 31 is organized in a "cell"-like structure, with a Director (title established in the VOY 31 novel) in charge of each one.

It can be argued that these cells--or "divisions"--effectively keep each other in check--and that to some of them fall the duties of "cleaning up" messes left by their less competent counterparts.

Also--note how Admirals like Ross (and, if the "implications" of the books are to be accepted, Cartwright and Dougherty) often work with these divisions. Effectively, Starfleet Command--or some parts of it--give assignments to, or share them with, Section 31.

It is quite possible that the alleged "autonomy" is, in fact, simply an example of "plausible deniability". In other words, 31 is not strictly autonomous--just "officially".
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Old January 7 2011, 10:31 PM   #538
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Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

BrotherBenny wrote: View Post
However, once the operation is over and the Seals are safely home, then there's no longer need for operational security since the operation is over.
I disagree. There does continue to be a need for secrecy to some extent. If you successfully pulled off a covert operation and foiled enemy plans, you might use that tactic again and announcing that you did it once would alert future enemies to one of your methods that worked and it would not continue to work.

This is the big problem with secrecy and covert operations, it's a double-edged sword. You can't go telling all of your secrets because you'd compromise your tactics, but you also can't keep them a secret because "the people" need to know what's going on.

BrotherBenny wrote: View Post
A press release or media article stating that an al-Qaeda plot has been foiled is violating nothing, but it tells the people that their government is actually doing its job to protect them.
Now this insinuates that the media article would remain extremely generic. Which I think is fine, just simply announce "Hey, we stopped them, k thx, bye". However a report like that would be unacceptable to the general public as they'd want to know how it was stopped and what happened? Should they condone the actions taken by the covert team? Well telling all of that would then compromise the security I mentioned above.
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Old January 7 2011, 11:42 PM   #539
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Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

^Okay...I'm going with LightningStorm on this one. He's got a point....
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Old January 7 2011, 11:42 PM   #540
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Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

St. William of Levittown wrote: View Post
BrotherBenny wrote: View Post
St. William of Levittown wrote: View Post
^I see.

So--just to establish limitations--are you for or against the concept of "plausible deniabiliy"--i.e., "If any of your team is caught or killed, Starfleet Intelligence will disavow any knowledge of your activities"?
Plausible deniability is one thing, but quoting "secrecy for operational security" is hiding behind a door. If US Navy Seals foiled a plot by al-Qaeda then during the mission operational security is paramount lest the Seals be killed or captured. However, once the operation is over and the Seals are safely home, then there's no longer need for operational security since the operation is over. A press release or media article stating that an al-Qaeda plot has been foiled is violating nothing, but it tells the people that their government is actually doing its job to protect them.
Agreed.

Section 31, on the other hand, is answerable to no one but their corrupt selves and as such is actually a threat in and of itself to Federation security. Yes, the Federation could say they knew nothing about what S31 was up to, but no enemy will believe it. It is only a matter of time before 31 screw up and when they do it will be a big screw up.
Well, here's my thoughts on that:

It's been implied that 31 is organized in a "cell"-like structure, with a Director (title established in the VOY 31 novel) in charge of each one.

It can be argued that these cells--or "divisions"--effectively keep each other in check--and that to some of them fall the duties of "cleaning up" messes left by their less competent counterparts.

Also--note how Admirals like Ross (and, if the "implications" of the books are to be accepted, Cartwright and Dougherty) often work with these divisions. Effectively, Starfleet Command--or some parts of it--give assignments to, or share them with, Section 31.

It is quite possible that the alleged "autonomy" is, in fact, simply an example of "plausible deniability". In other words, 31 is not strictly autonomous--just "officially".
That does actually make some degree of sense, but Section 31 are usually quite adamant that they have no official oversight, no matter how slim that oversight might be.

LightningStorm wrote: View Post
BrotherBenny wrote: View Post
However, once the operation is over and the Seals are safely home, then there's no longer need for operational security since the operation is over.
I disagree. There does continue to be a need for secrecy to some extent. If you successfully pulled off a covert operation and foiled enemy plans, you might use that tactic again and announcing that you did it once would alert future enemies to one of your methods that worked and it would not continue to work.

This is the big problem with secrecy and covert operations, it's a double-edged sword. You can't go telling all of your secrets because you'd compromise your tactics, but you also can't keep them a secret because "the people" need to know what's going on.

BrotherBenny wrote: View Post
A press release or media article stating that an al-Qaeda plot has been foiled is violating nothing, but it tells the people that their government is actually doing its job to protect them.
Now this insinuates that the media article would remain extremely generic. Which I think is fine, just simply announce "Hey, we stopped them, k thx, bye". However a report like that would be unacceptable to the general public as they'd want to know how it was stopped and what happened? Should they condone the actions taken by the covert team? Well telling all of that would then compromise the security I mentioned above.
I'm not advocating a tell-all policy. Just something that provides enough details, such as al-qaeda plot to do x was foiled by y at location z. Now the truth is that the real agency responsible for foiling said plot, whether it be a covert op or an overt investigation, probably won't get the credit. But as long as I know my government is protecting me and allowing me to go about my daily life in what might be blissful ignorance of the dangers around me, I'm fine with that.
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