Ferengi Military

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by The Overlord, Dec 29, 2012.

  1. The Overlord

    The Overlord Captain Captain

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    What kind of military does the Ferengi Alliance have? Because it seems the Ferengi were fairly aggressive and militaristic in early TNG, but by the DS9 era, they were total wimps and cowards.

    In early TNG, a Ferengi ship stole Federation property in "The Last Outpost" and in "Peak Performance" a Ferengi ship attacked the Enterprise out of the blue. Also in early TNG, a Ferengi Marauders were supposed to be equal to most Federation Star ships, which one would assume would include fire power and defense.

    However in "Magnificent Ferengi", Ferengi military history was presented as being pathetic, with no real military victories under their belt. In fact it seemed like no Ferengi had any real military experience. This seems to contradict some of the early TNG episodes, if the Ferengi had technology comparable to the Federation, surely they could have gone to a less developed world and taken some of their resources or forced them into an unfair treaty that benefited the Ferengi Alliance economically, similar to what the European colonial powers did in the 19th century.

    Also it would make sense for the Ferengi to have some sort of military, even for just defensive purposes. Even if the Ferengi are not good fighters, there is no reason why they couldn't hire a horde mercenaries to fight their battles for them or build an army of robots, similar to what the Trade Federation did in the Star Wars Universe. Now if the Ferengi Alliance didn't want to hire mercenaries or make robots, you think they could hire outsiders to train Ferengi to be better fighters. Without a military, you almost have to wonder why the Ferengi have never been victims of "gun boat diplomacy" with another more militaristic power coming along and demanding tribute from them.

    So how does one explain this change in Ferengi military policy from early TNG to DS9?
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2012
  2. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Certainly the Ferengi aren't very martial at all, but there seems to be nothing stopping them from having good ships and posing a threat that way.

    But in ground combat situations they almost always seem to outsource it. Like when Brunt showed up at DS9 with a pair of Nausican mercenaries to threaten the union with. Though those lightning whips they had in that one episode were pretty cool.
     
  3. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    "Military" might imply a tool for political work, that is, centralized and controlled adjusting of national borders or the attitudes of neighboring nations. We don't really see anything political in the combat actions of the TNG Ferengi. They just steal stuff, and blow up other stuff that stands in the way of a good theft.

    It seems unlikely that Ferengi combat vessels are in any way "military". They might sell their combat services to the highest bidder (say, the Grand Nagus) in a mercenary manner, but as you point out, the history from "The Magnificent Ferengi" suggests they don't.

    A rather good defense against gunboat diplomacy is to hail the gunboat and tell the skipper that his payment for the engines is two days overdue... And the small print in the contract allows a better-paying customer (both the Klingons and the Breen are lining up) to come confiscate the engines unless suitable amends are made.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  4. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I did always figure the Ferengi Marauders were pretty much "rented" out to the best businessmen with the Nagus/Alliance getting a percentage of their haul.
     
  5. The Overlord

    The Overlord Captain Captain

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    Except you can use military force to achieve a financial end. India was originally colonized by the British East India Company, a private company rather then a government, its only later that the British Crown took India away from the British East India Company.

    Or look at Opium Wars, those wars were not about conquering China, but forcing China into a bad treaty where they would be forced to expand the opium trade in China.

    So it seems a bit silly for the Ferengi not to have a military, it seems like those are kind of rotten things you would expect from a society that is ultra capitalist and has no moral restrictions on doing business. Why wouldn't the Ferengi act like a 19th century colonial power that mixed military with business?

    Except that wouldn't work if they are dealing with power that they don't have a business connection. If Federation Starships were harassed by random hostile aliens, doesn't make sense other civilizations would be attacked as well?
     
  6. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Admiral Admiral

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    Perhaps the Ferengi military scaled back from one which roamed through space in early TNG to a defense force which patrols strictly within Ferengi Alliance space later on. The reason for this could be simple, the military demanded pay premiums per every light year outside Ferengi space, plus danger pay every time they got into a hostile situation with a certain percentage depending on who they fought (an extra 25% if they went against the Federation, 50% if against the Romulans, 75% if Klingons 90% if the enemy was a first contact). Eventually it was decided that it wasn't worth paying so much money, so the military just patrols Ferengi space. The crews of the ships don't get paid extra since they don't leave Ferengi territory, and in home space there's less of a chance of running into enemies. Since military life is no longer profitable, recruitment's at an all-time low.
     
  7. Dream

    Dream Admiral Admiral

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    I got the feeling that all the Ferengi ships that the Enterprise encountered were renegades.

    I think most of the Ferengi Alliance ships were probably used as escorts. They would rather get rich than be involved in any kind of war. Didn't Quark say the Ferengi Alliance had never been involved in any kind of interstellar war with another species unlike the Federation?
     
  8. Star Wolf

    Star Wolf Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I figure a Ferengi Marauder for a privateer. A mercenary ship who obtains profit the old fashioned way, through a bigger gun. Of course once they bumped up against the Federation, Romulans or Klingons their Starfleets would tend to suppress Ferengi pirates. But should any merchants need a gunship to back up their play the local DaiMon and his Marauder is the tool most easily acquired.
     
  9. The Overlord

    The Overlord Captain Captain

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    People have made money through war though, look at the British East India Company, Black Water and Halliburton.

    I wonder how much control the Ferengi Alliance has over its own ships, because that Ferengi ship in Peak Performance attacked the Enterprise for no good reason. Also Quark said that the Ferengi never engaged in slavery, but the Ferengi crew in "Rascals" where planning to use the Enterprise crew as slave labor, so clearly some Ferengi have no problem with slave labor. Quark is not the most objective source on this issue.

    I always thought it would have made more sense if the Ferengi Alliance was governed by a bunch of different mega corps, rather then a central government. So one corporate fleet could be friendly to the Federation, while another could be hostile.
     
  10. Finn

    Finn Vice Admiral Admiral

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    During the American Revolution, An American battleship managed to reach and terrorize several villages along the British coastline and captured a British warship before bolting to France.

    The American navy then was still pitiful compared to the British Navy....


    Just because a small number of Ferengi managed to up the Starfleet types, doesn't mean all of Ferengi have a superior military ability. They survive by bribing and buying. They bought warp drive instead of having some legendary Ferengi as their version of Zefram Cochrane. In the process, very small number of Ferengi manage to learn strategies and techniques which we saw on TNG. It obviously hasn't been embraced by the greater Ferengi society, since bribing, scheming and buying is too ingrained into their society.
     
  11. timmy84

    timmy84 Commodore Commodore

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    I'm sure they have a substantial military force. It takes a lot of power to protect trade routes and I bet the alliance charges the routes owner for the protection.

    On the other hand a society like this doesn't reward self sacrifice, and so what's the encouragement to serve? Other then money not much. So this fleet probably just explores new economic possibilities.

    :borg:
     
  12. The Mirrorball Man

    The Mirrorball Man Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I'm sure the Ferengi have large armies of droids to protect trade routes to outlying systems and enforce their blockades.
     
  13. Lighthammer

    Lighthammer Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I think its a bit hard to draw conclusions from what we saw of the Frengi military in TNG.

    Do remember, TPTB tried to establish the Frengi as "The next big threat" earlier on but through execution, we learned they weren't a huge threat, just potentially annoying.

    I'd think it would be a fun topic to delve into since Nog has been Nagus for about a decade now in the current story.
     
  14. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    In such a case, it suffices that they have business connections to other powers. As long as it is convenient for a number of big boys to have the Ferengi survive, it is inconvenient for others to hurt the Ferengi, even without any sort of an explicit mercenary arrangement. And these facts of life can be explained to the intruder of the week, too, inviting him into the game where he has nothing to lose from participating, and nothing to win from throwing the game.

    Oh, on occasion, somebody might conquer the planet. But that wouldn't last, because if the Ferengi didn't exist, somebody would have to invent them. Especially now with the Minosians gone from the local market...

    Or perhaps the Ferengi scaled back armed piracy in UFP turf when they lost the cover of anonymity in this particular region, and the effort was transferred to open business instead - freeing the pirate vessels to prey on new "market areas".

    We never witnessed any. Sure, Starfleet did send Nog and Jake Sisko to a covert mission to negotiate an alliance with the Grand Nagus, but we never learned whether the Nagus would be capable of delivering things like combatants. It sounds more likely that the Ferengi Alliance would have been asked to deliver things they excelled in, such as intelligence. And covertly so, or else the alliance with the Alliance would have been negotiated more overtly - and it's easy to deliver intelligence covertly, but damn difficult to deliver warship sorties the same way.

    Well, Quark in "Jem'Hadar" spoke about cruelty towards one's own species. "Rascals" thus probably wouldn't apply.

    Yet nations like Japan and South Korea have none, despite being among the most dependent on sea trade. Their navies are not bluewater-capable, either out of choice or out of economic and technical necessity.

    Unlike the Federation, the Ferengi seem to understand the value of the money, though. So they wouldn't be so callous about sending yet another division of expensive combat droids down to value-decreasing engagements...

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  15. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    You mean Rom.
     
  16. Star Wolf

    Star Wolf Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I don't think that is a good analogy. Japan and by extension its Korean protectorate was able to defend its seas routes into the middle of 1942. And then after 1945 both nations became protectorates of the United States, "federation" members if you like. And should the US and its allies fail to protect the trade routes outside of F-15 range they do have enough Sea Self Defense Force power to project against pirates in a go fast boat with a heavy machine-gun and rocket launcher
     
  17. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    ...Mainly because said routes were fully within uncontested areas, inside a vast empire where all fighting was taking place at the fringes. When convoy protection became necessary as the USN finally got its submarine act together, the IJN found itself totally lacking in means.

    Would the Ferengi waste precious GPL for escort if they could skip it somehow, either like Japan during the early war (all threats elsewhere), or later on (somebody else's problem to keep Japan safely supplied)?

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  18. Star Wolf

    Star Wolf Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Well until 1939 the entire world was an uncontested area
     
  19. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    ...And no convoy forces existed for any navy save for the Royal Navy of Great Britain (a large number of destroyers and light cruisers specifically for "colonial" and convoy use) and theoretically the USN (a very large number of semi-modern destroyers, but without a doctrinal basis for convoy or colonial operations). Commerce protection has been a military mission only on occasion, and achieved by a great variety of means, of which escorted convoy and sea superiority are the two most common and effective - but the Ferengi might skip both in favor of even more effective things, such as flags of neutrality or flags of alliance.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  20. The Librarian

    The Librarian Commodore Commodore

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    The Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force is one of the largest navies in the world, ranking at about even with the Royal Navy. South Korea also has a pretty large blue-water fleet as well. Both, IIRC, have participated in the anti-piracy patrol around East Africa.