Marines and Combat Personel?

Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by SarYehudah, Jun 23, 2013.

  1. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    A rigid chain of command doesn't make a military either.

    Besides, we're thinking about this from OUR point of view, in the country that borrowed a lot of legal traditions and concepts from 18th century England including the preference for tight civilian control of a large professional fighting force (via the Magna Carta). In other parts of the world -- even countries that aren't ruled by juntas -- the military is sometimes a state within a state and actually has political power of its own that the government has to respect if they want to get anything done (or stay in power at all); this is almost a modernized "warrior caste" as a distinct political bloc with its own interests. And on the far opposite extreme from us, we have militaries that are ruled directly by self-appointed dictators, sometimes where said dictator is himself a high level official OF the military.

    The Federation has a superficial resemblance to the United States, but is otherwise a completely alien society. Consider the possibility that civilian control of Starfleet is actually a lot less strict than we expect it is, that Starfleet's standing is more similar to, say, Imperial Japan or Egypt in which its military is a semi-independent society in its own right that is parallel but not entirely subordinate to the Federation government. Classifying themselves as a non-military organization might be the result of their surrendering certain military authorities in exchange for the Federation continuing to leave them to their own devices.

    They featured prominently in Enterprise; Travis Mayweather, particularly, was born and raised on a long-haul interstellar merchant vessel before joining Starfleet and becoming the Enterprise's helmsman. It's directly implied the ECS actually traveled quite a bit deeper into space than Starfleet had at the time of the NX-01 mission; Travis was essentially the only person on the ship with any deep space experience.

    Interestingly, the Earth Cargo ships of that era were armed with plasma cannons, and the first time we see them one of their captains is (ineptly) attempting a military assault on a pirate anchorage and has to be rescued by the better armed (and also non-military) Enterprise.

    Which illustates my point: a Jem'hadar "fighter" is a small starship in its own right, complete with a bridge, an engine room, cargo bays, and a crew of twenty to thirty. They are comparable in size to the Klingon bird of prey or the Maquis raider, with the firepower of the former and the agility of the latter.

    Think of the Pegasus class hydrofoils: a ship large enough to mount warship-grade offensive weapons but small enough and fast enough that it can literally run circles around its target and dodge return fire.

    They can if they have an engineer on board.

    That kinda works in TNG, to a certain extent -- with the very troublesome fact that we've never seen the Picard maneuver or anything like it ever used again -- but it doesn't fit well with NuTrek or post-TNG depictions where combat ALWAYS takes place at sublight and warp drive is only used to get from one battlefield to another (or where combat is possible between co-moving ships at warp speed and relative motion is almost zero).

    Significantly, the Romulan fighters on the Scimitar do not appear to be equipped with warp drive. More significantly, the Scimitar never launches any of them during the fight with Enterprise. These two combined indicate that at least Romulan fighters are not useful in ship-to-ship combat.
     
  2. Darkwing

    Darkwing Commodore Commodore

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    I was saying that, due to the other factors, if I were the UFP government, I'd insist on Starfleet being a military in the sense of civilian control and accountability as we have today.

    Interesting idea - I don't agree, in regards to the UFP, because the original show based the UFP on a hybrid of the US & UN, and Starfleet was explicitly modeled after the US Navy, both specifically to make it easier for viewers to relate to. But in a new, written universe, this would make a fascinating culture to read about. It would also work in Trek as an alien culture. But I have a hard time seeing that as the UFP, and would consider it a retcon.

    Thought so. But again, the "non-military NX-01" thing gos back to carrying over bad writing from TNG. I don't mind this as much as I used to; STID makes it clear ENT is part of the background for nu-Trek, so it's easier to ignore as a new timeline. But TNG is supposed to follow from TOS, so I take it a bit more seriously when it impacts The Only Series.

    It's been a long time, but I thought I recalled the ep with the Odyssey showing smaller craft than that, and the ones you refer to being the norm later on.

    Low-end, and running circles /dodging fire is a bit of a stretch. But then, I did think both the modern navy and Starfleet should have modern PT boats /equivalent.

    They don't have the tools, equipment, and sheer volume to work in to have much more, unless you land on a class-M planet (and I refer to "EM as in 'Earth-Mars conditions', not bloody "Minshara" nonsense.

    Nobody thinks of it, except in novels.

    Scimitar had a perfect cloak; why bother with fighters? That would have made it less about the duel between Picard and his evil clone, and more about Picard dealing with a third-party swarm of opponents. That's more about the story they wanted to tell and less about the utility of the fighters. The only help it provides the pro-fighter argument is that they exist, and therefore have some use, but the argument that they aren't useful ain't necessarily so, just because the writers failed to use them.
     
  3. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    If you were the UFP government -- or even a member thereof -- you would not possess your present point of view on this matter, either as a matter of historical or traditional understanding. You may indeed belong to a species that has never clearly differentiated military from civilian services (e.g. the Vulcans and the Tellarites) or a species that has had over a hundred years of incredibly bad experiences with trying to keep its professional military services from overthrowing the civilian government (a 22nd/23rd century human).

    It's not as if the Federation is just Super America and can one-for-one transplant American logic into Federation governance; more to the point, we know for a fact that we can't because the Federation's future history depicts the United States as having been blown to smithereens in a nuclear war its population barely survived.

    As far as I can tell the show runners never actually made up their mind what the Federation really was until after the show went of the air. For much of the first season Enterprise was considered to be an "Earth vessel," a carryover from "The Cage" where "United Space" was an organization subordinate to Earth (kinda like the Systems Alliance from Mass Effect is basically synonymous with "the humans"). The Federation acts as a space UN in "Journey to Babel" where it's implied that Federation members are basically sovereign states and not members of a galactic superstate as such, but even then it's unclear exactly what kind of government now exists on Earth.

    You could extrapolate a lot from the movies and the TNG era, but that doesn't translate very neatly into TOS.

    The four ships that destroyed the Odyssey were the standard Jem'hadar battle bugs we saw in the rest of the series. The one that finally rams the deflector dish is about as wide and as high as the Odyssey's main deflector.

    The runabout has a jeffries tube that allows access to its engineering components. More to the point, we have actually seen Starfleet offiers performing repairs on runabouts AND shuttlecraft while still in space, something I wouldn't want to chance in a single-seat fighter even with a space suit handy.

    Indeed. So why did they even HAVE fighters in the first place?

    And that use is most likely in a ground attack role, IMO.
     
  4. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    We know TNG's Earth history had 600 million casualties due to a nuclear World War 3 in the 2050's which is different from TOS's Earth history of the "last World War" in the 1990's only having 30 million casualties and the implied history that a nuclear holocaust was avoided. It could very well be in TOS that you can transplant American logic into Federation governance but in TNG it's more like a United Nations-style government. Different continuities, different outcomes.
     
  5. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    If we're going to completely divorce TOS from TNG+ (I'm perfectly willing to do that, BTW) then we have to recognize that a lot of what we understand about the TOS Federation is actually a retcon and the nature of the Federation itself could be considerably different than its TNG depiction.

    To begin with, it ceases to be a problem to consider that the Enterprise actually belongs to UESPA, with "Starfleet" being merely a colloquialism (along with "space central"). In that sense, UESPA would be an Earth organization and the Federation would be more analogous to the United Nations. That, finally, would explain a lot of the shenanigans we see in TVH and TUC where ambassadors from supposedly hostile species keep showing up and having and highly public arguments with the president. It would also help to explain why Vulcan has an "ambassador" to the Federation despite Vulcan being a member, and why in TMP Vulcan has an embassy on Earth.

    I'd have to check back through TOS and the TMP movies how often Kirk referred to himself as "representing the United Federation of Planets" and such, but off the top of my head it seems to me we could make a case that the Enterprise was an Earth vessel under UESPA authority all along and only worked directly under the Federation's legal sanction when explicitly ordered to

    I disagree, though, that TNG is more like a United Nations style government. I think it's more the opposite, TNG is a more coherent pan-galactic superstate while in TOS each planet was a sovereign member of a galactic partnership and non-Federation members like the Klingons still got to have their say but didn't get "membership privileges" as such. This is basically what Azetbur was alluding to when she called the Federation a "homo-sapiens only club." The idea of the Klingons being bitter about their lack of status in the Federation would be incredibly weird in that regard, UNLESS you interpret it such that the Federation is not cohesive enough to be a state of its own and is actually a collection of many sovereign powers that use it as a vehicle to settle disputes. Like the U.N., it only has as much authority as its peacekeepers can feasibly enforce; unlike the U.N., it's peacekeepers are a bunch of astronaut badasses from the UESPA.
     
  6. Darkwing

    Darkwing Commodore Commodore

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    This dry land thing is too wierd!
    That's an interesting idea, but also brings up questions of it's own. Kirk explicitly refers to himself as a soldier, indicating military background. The Intrepid is a Connie - although that could be a case like the Arleigh Burke / Kongo classes today - and how do we know when the E is on UESPA authority vs. being forwarded to the UFP.

    Hmmm, answering all that and tinkering with the tech and background would let you spin a whole new SF universe out of this...
     
  7. Darkwing

    Darkwing Commodore Commodore

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    This dry land thing is too wierd!
    Another question is: how thorough a divorce? We saw McCoy, Spock, Scotty, Sarek, and the Bozeman, all of which did not appear different enough to definitively come from an alternate univers. Kor, Kang, and Koloth, arguably could be different universe versions. Dax's backstory comes from TOS.

    So, postulating that a divorce occurred, explain these people. Also, even if we assumed TOS does not lead to TNG after all, does this necessarily mean that we would not still have the Betazoids, Bajorans, Cardassians, Breen, Dominion, Q, et alia in the same universe? ST:V, IIRC, originally had a scene with Chekov losing at Chess to a Betazoid. TNG never nailed down, AFAIK, just when we met some of these races / empires.
    Does this mean Kirk would never have heard of Aldea or Iconia?
     
  8. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I don't think he's speaking literally in that sense, although based on his conversations with Garth and his experiences on Tarsus-IV it seems likely he was a member of some military organization prior to joining Starfleet (maybe a militia movement in opposition of Kodos the Executioner?).

    Maybe not. It could simply be like we thought all along, that the Intrepid was a Vulcan ship from a totally different fleet and UESPA has treaty obligations with Vulcan via the Federation that means they must render aid whenever possible.

    It's ALWAYS under UESPA authority, but UESPA has certain obligations to the Federation as well (again, treaty stipulations and such). This is sort of what we see in "Gallileo Seven" when the Federation Commissioner has to finally pull rank and order Kirk to abandon his rescue mission.

    To be honest, I've always felt the TOS/23rd century era was a lot more interesting than the 24th century incarnation, and different enough that TNG could easily be considered a soft reboot of the entire franchise.
     
  9. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    They do this weird thing in many Anime canons where the same original movie/series can have multiple sequels that are themselves set in totally alternate universes and have nothing whatsoever to do with each other. Mostly these are for logistical reasons -- a new creative team gets a contract to do the sequel, which bombs horribly and the studio goes back to the original team -- but it does create some interesting "split canon" situations. The most famous is the Macross series: there's the Robotech version with its sanitized/Americanized continuity, the "Macross-II" version which takes place 80 years after the movie, and then the "Macross Prime" universe that includes Flashback 2012, Macross 7 and Macross Frontier. The original SDF-1 and various characters make appearances and/or cameos in all three subsequent universes, but only the prime one is really "official" as such.

    Star Trek has basically started to do this with the Abrams trek version, creating a completely alternate timeline that is similar to but not entirely the same as TOS. We could probably do the same thing with TNG+ and assume that it too is an alternate timeline that is similar to but not entirely the same as TOS' immediate future.

    For that matter, the Xindi, the Xyrillians, the Suliban, the Tandarians, the Andorians and the other ENT races we never saw again in later centuries. It stands to reason that different races have different levels of prominence decade after decade; actually, that's sort of the case in the REAL world, if you think about it. In the first half of the 20th century, Germany and the UK were both major players in two consecutive world wars; now their international profile is secondary at best, and Germany hasn't participated in a major war since 1945. OTOH, alot of the "household names" in international affairs didn't even exist 60 years ago (Iran and North Korea, for example) or if they did, were isolated backwaters nobody had ever heard of or cared about.

    I'm thinking that if we followed the TOS timeline as it progressed from the movies, we would see the Klingons become more peaceful partners in the Federation by the start of the 24th century, followed by the Romulans shortly thereafter. Those three powers would probably become helpful allies to Starfleet and the other Federation members against other threats -- the Cardassians and the Breen or whoever else might show up in the new timeline -- and their subsequent disputes would never amount to more than diplomatic/economic squabbles over exchange rates and contract deals.

    Maybe, maybe not.

    Have you considered the possibility that the Betazeds and the Deltans are actually the same species and one is just a sub-race/colony of the other? That "Betazoid" might be a more general term like "Humanoid" to refer to otherwise bipedal, quasi-mammalian life forms who possess telepathic abilities?
     
  10. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    Yes, Kirk, at the time he says he is a soldier, was right at the start of the Federation-Klingon War and the Organians identified him and the Enterprise as "military forces". I personally think that the Enterprise operates under UESPA which provides forces to the Federation. Vulcans, Tellarites, Andorians, etc probably have their own fleet authority that provides ships the Federation in TOS.

    Multiple-universe/alternate continuities could easily have the same characters with imperceptible to radical differences. For example, the Mirror Universe had the same characters and even a near identical ship but the galaxy and the characters' upbringing and motivations are radically different. And then there is also the Antimatter Universe where people and tech are practically identical except for the reverse charge. We also have "Parallels" from TNG where they had thousands of alternate universes pop up their own Enterprise-D but each ship had different histories, like one where Picard died at Wolf-359 but they still won, or the one where the Borg had overrun everyone and they didn't want to go back. You can also look at the Stargate SG1 series as they handle multiple universe/continuities to see it isn't that difficult from a story handling POV.

    As to where to break the continuities it depends on how detailed or broad you want to be in identifying a focal point. I'll give you some easy, broad strokes to think about:

    James Kirk's fate. In TNG's "Relics" Scotty says he was alive when he retired. In "Generations", Scotty sees Kirk killed-in-action. Right there you already have a splitting point.

    Abrams Trek and Enterprise's "In A Mirror Darkly" claims to be from TOS, but as you can see, which TOS? The one where Kirk dies in "Generations" or the one where he lives in "Relics"? Or was it from another alternate TOS universe called the "Prime TOS-verse" which might not be the same as the original TOS?

    Earth's last World War. In TOS, it was identified as the 1990's Eugenics Wars with casualties of 30 million. In "First Contact", World War 3 occurs in 2050s with 600 million. In "Doctor Bashir, I Presume", DS9's Eugenics Wars takes place in the 2100s.

    Voyager's "Flashback" shows Tuvok as part of the Excelsior crew and Valtane dying whereas "The Undiscovered Country" shows Valtane alive at the end.

    As you can see, it's alot easier to put each series (and even movies) into their own universes and consider them all as alternate universes. The original TOS could have had the TOS Movies follow but things could be quite different in their far future. They might even have had a TNG but details and technology would've been different. Conversely, TNG's pre-history would've had a TOS but the tech and details would be slightly different. TNG Kirk could've heard of Iconia but TOS Kirk might not have.

    And then there is the universe from "First Contact" which spawned "Enterprise" which led to AbramsTrek. Etc, etc. :D
     
  11. The_Beef

    The_Beef Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    So, stepping aside from the discussion of whether Starfleet is a military organization and getting back to the OP. . . how did the Federation handle ground combat in the Dominion War? I get the impression that during the TNG era, shipboard security was sufficient to deal with most situations both on the vessel and in supporting small colonies that lacked a full infrastructure. Colonies and member worlds would presumably have their own police/defense forces, I believe there are a few instances in TNG although it might not be entirely clear if some of those worlds were actually Federation members. I still think it's a fair assumption, though.

    So before the Dominion War, we really don't have a need for a ground force devoted solely to combat. We saw ground combat in DS9 during the war, though, and we know from the behavior of the Jem'Hadar that ground combat was a very real possibility that Starfleet should have foreseen. Obviously, all of the instances we saw involved a shipboard crew actually fighting or supplementing another force because we follow a specific set of characters. It took an emergency situation, like the Siege of AR-558, to put those characters in the fight, and was definitely not ideal. Do we have evidence, though, for dedicated ground troops? Was there a need for them? When I rewatched DS9 recently, I focused a lot on how the war was actually waged, and it struck me that, aside from the heavy fleet combat, the war appeared to be rather restrained in territory loss. DS9 was captured and retaken, Starfleet took Chin'toka (leading directly into the Siege), Betazed was taken, and there was a raid on Earth. There may be other worlds that were actually contested for occupation (not just attacking orbital facilities), but I don't recall any others mentioned by name. So maybe it could be possible, although I think unlikely, that Starfleet was able to handle what conflicts there were for territory without radically restructuring the way it handled ground combat. I think, though, that we have to take into account the war that didn't happen as well. More worlds could have been lost, and an invasion of Cardassia Prime (and maybe other Cardassian worlds) could have been necessary. Kind of like the aborted plans to invade Japan itself in WWII, the war's rapid end didn't mean that they could avoid preparation for what would have been a long and bloody conflict.

    The question, then, is did Starfleet create, re-create, or rapidly expand a pre-existing military ground force for the war? Was it necessary, or were existing security personnel, either actively serving on ships or reassigned into task forces, adequate? Where did these personnel come from? Are they all as highly trained as most Starfleet members, or are they focused purely on combat? While Starfleet may not like the idea of purely military personnel, there's also something to be said for not sending off your most intelligent and highly educated people to die in the thousands if you can help it. Which kind of brings up another question that touches on the fleet itself - was Starfleet rapidly expanded for the war, or just concentrated into massive fleets instead of being spread across a huge Federation? If it was expanded, and maybe even if it wasn't, Starfleet may have to deal with the repercussions of an entire young generation of officers who see themselves as soldiers first, rather than explorers.
     
  12. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Poorly.

    Considering MOST wars prior to that were actually fought on the ground and never involved starships at all, I'm just about certain that we DO.

    Unlikely. As far as TNG+, Starfleet officers are trained to do many things, but they are NOT combat specialists, and they are DEFINITELY NOT ground combat specialists. They probably have special weapons units above and beyond normal security officers (24th century equivalent of a SWAT team) but that's a far cry from a dedicated land army.

    I've said again and again and that the absence of the Andorians from TNG+ is best explained by their simply not bothering to operate starships anymore and sticking to land wars exclusively (that's where all the fun is anyway) in which case their armies probably travel from place to place in transports and/or shuttlecraft that pretty much amount to flying APCs.
     
  13. The_Beef

    The_Beef Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I like the idea of Andorians making up a large number of ground troops, whether they still have their own force or are part of Starfleet (or another Federation-wide organization). I like any theory that counters the heavy human presence in what's meant to be an interspecies organization.

    Do you mean that most TNG-era conflicts were isolated ground conflicts with less focus on fleet battles? I think we can see evidence of that in individual worlds with their own military forces, but other than the Cardassian border conflict, it seems that everything else in that period was limited to minor skirmishes that could be settled by responding Starfleet vessels or a planet's internal security.

    I should clarify - not necessarily just Starfleet, but the Federation as a whole. There could just as easily be a military force serving alongside Starfleet for this purpose.
     
  14. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Actually, you would think that officers like Tasha Yar and Worf were exactly that, combat specialists, which would include ground operations.

    Certainly a ship's security chief would be trained in directing the ship's security personnel (and others in the ship's company) in ground combat.

    :)
     
  15. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    You'll notice that the replacement troops at the end of the Siege of AR-558 wore the same Starfleet uniforms that Sisko and crew had. In "The Undiscovered Country", the Colonel also wore a Starfleet uniform. That would point to Starfleet having a dedicated ground force during wartime or "unremitting hostilities".
     
  16. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ^^^ Or, the uniforms we see Starfleet personnel wearing are not strickly speaking "Starfleet uniforms." But rather the uniforms of the Federation's military.

    So not only does Starfleet wear them, but also the Federation Army/Marines, as well as the maritine partrol that Tom Paris once mentioned.

    Single uniform.

    :)
     
  17. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    Hmm - I like the single uniform idea although the ground troops were citing Starfleet regulations to get them off the planet as if they were part of Starfleet. Unless they were Federation Starfleet Army/Marines?
     
  18. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    They were the ones with combat TRAINING, but that doesn't necessarily makes them specialists.

    It actually mirrors the situation in STXI where Pike looks around the bridge and says "I need crewmen with advanced combat training" and only Sulu raises his hand: not because he completed the Academy's Special Weapons and Tactics course, but because he knows Kendo and he owns a sword. We don't really know whether Sulu got that training as part of Starfleet or studied it on his own (thy kind of imply the latter) but it's a qualification he uniquely brings to the ship on his own.

    As far as TOS goes, this sort of goes back to the thing we were discussing about UESPA being a "combined service" that draws personnel from both military and civilian services into a combined exploration fleet.

    That sort of depends, and there are two possibilities for this.

    Firs possibility: Depends on if they are command division or operations division. Command division seems to be a generalist track for leadership types who are specialized at problem solving and coordinating groups of people for complicated tasks. Operations division are people who perform specific tasks they are trained to do. Security chief's specialties would therefore by more intrusion detection, conflict resolution, search and rescue, etc.

    The other possibility goes as far as the TOS continuity: what branch of service were they originally hired from? A security officer hired from the Rigel VII Police Department might have ideal qualifications for his job that don't neccesarily involve ground combat training. He'd have marksmanship skills and hand-to-hand fighting skills, to be sure, but his main skill set might actually involve his ability to diffuse conflicts and the capacity to remain calm and focused in potentially life threatening situations. OTOH, one could make the case that Tasha Yar was hired as security chief because of her experience as a child soldier in the Turkana-IV civil wars; a couple of years of remedial education would give her the equivalent of a high school diploma, but she's spent her whole life cultivating close quarters combat skills and doesn't know how to do much of anything else. Needless to say, the skill set that is ideal for a security officer in peace time is not necessarily ideal for a rifleman in wartime, and vice versa.
     
  19. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    There's no indication that Yar was a "child soldier" at any point in her life. Her childhood story involved being a orphan street kid, caring for her younger sister, scavaging for food, and avoiding the local gangs.

    Picard recuited her from another Starfleet vessel after watch her exhibit of bravery during a rescue mission.

    :)
     
  20. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The only thing we know for sure about her is that she left Turkana-IV on a Starfleet vessel while her sister remained behind to join the Cadres and considered her a traitor for not doing the same. This sort of implies that Tasha and Yashara were both active in the Cadres (or the armed militias that later BECAME the Cadres) before Starfleet gave Tasha a ride offworld.