Section 31...

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by 2 of 10, Oct 21, 2008.

  1. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    The only "operative" of Section 31 that we know of is Sloane. The other two "operatives" that were seen were in the holodeck with Sloane when Bashir penetrated the ruse. They could have been fictional, too, to put Bashir off of attacking Sloane.

    The only evidence of Section 31's entire existence is Sloane and his word, which isn't trustworthy. Bashir and Adm. Ross both believed it existed, but again, only Sloane was seen acting as an official representative of this agency.

    Frankly, I'm pretty sure Section 31 was nothing more than an elaborate delusion of Sloane's, and that it "died" with him. Alternatively, it was a front for official SF Intelligence actions and operations, with the fictional Section 31 giving Starfleet plausible deniability in all failed operations.
     
  2. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The thing that made me start disliking the concept of Section 31 is the attempt by people to tie everything bad that ever happens in Trek to it. I've seen people speculate that Kirk, Picard, Sisko, and Janeway were all secretly working for Section 31 during the various shows; that Section 31 was really responsible for the Xindi attack on Earth; and that Section 31 was really responsible for creating the alternate timeline.
    :scream:
     
  3. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    In-universe, that could work, too.

    If everything bad that happens is automatically pinned on Section 31, then how far will individuals go to investigate the matter? If Starfleet Command and Starfleet Intelligence can stonewall with neither confirmations nor denials of a Section 31, then maybe the "agency" has served its purpose....
     
  4. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    Nope. Agents of Section 31 appeared in the ENT episodes "Affliction," "Divergence," and "Terra Prime," set over 200 years before DSN. Just as Sloan said in "Inquisition" about Section 31 being centuries old.

    Meanwhile, there's also Julian and O'Brien literally entering and reading Sloan's mind, and finding his knowledge about Section 31's operations on various worlds in the episode "Extreme Measures." They literally read his mind and saw that Section 31 exists.

    Section 31 is a genuine criminal conspiracy, a cabal within the Federation government.
     
  5. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Vice Admiral Admiral

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    :brickwall:
     
  6. E-DUB

    E-DUB Captain Captain

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    The first rule of Section 31 is...................well, you all knew that was coming.
     
  7. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    As I recall, those episodes never used the name Section 31. And why should we think that an Earth organization from the 22nd century is the same as the "agency" that "Luther Sloane" claimed to work for in the 24th century?

    Why should anything in Sloane's mind be considered trustworthy? Was there any independent verification of the "facts" gleaned from Sloane's mind, other than the cure for Odo's disease?

    Absolutely. But probably a criminal conspiracy of one.
     
  8. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    No, just the exact same uniforms, the exact same operational methods, and allusions to Article 14, Section 31 of the United Earth Starfleet Charter.

    "Section 31 was part of the original Starfleet Charter."

    It's awfully hard to present false information when someone can read your mind and knows that you yourself know that information to be true and accurate.

    ETA:

    We should probably also recall that Admiral Ross admitted to working for Section 31 in "Inter Arma Enim...."
     
  9. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    Bashir admitted to "working" for S31, inasmuch as admitting he was working for/against Sloane, but that isn't sufficient to prove the existence of a larger organization. As I said, Bashir and Ross only worked with Sloane. Was there anyone in S31 other than Sloane? We never saw anyone.

    Besides, the idea that S31 could hide for centuries is implausible. The idea that it could've emerged recently in the 24th century is more plausible.
     
  10. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Admiral Admiral

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    We have no indication that the kind of therapy we saw in Dagger of the Mind is still practiced in the 24th century. Especially given how often we see or hear about people being imprisoned. Tom Paris was doing time at a penal colony and agreed to join Voyager for an early parole. Dr. Bashir's father was sentenced two years at a penal colony for gentically enhancing Julian as a child. Commander Eddington seemed to spend all day in a starbase's brig. As did Quark's cousin Gaila.

    It would seem in the 24th century, traditional prison time is the norm again in the Federation, and I doubt a starship captain who launched unprovoked attacks on an ally and killed innocent people serving on said ally's starships would only get a six month sentence.

    Official Paramount production reports confirm that Agent Harris was indeed with Section 31. Aside from the part in the episode where he talks about section 31 of the Starfleet charter, you have Lt. Reed constantly talking about "your section," always with emphasis on section. And like Sci mentioned, they wore the exact same outfits.
     
  11. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    Similar outfits? Then Kirk's Starfleet must be distinct from Picard's or Sisko's, 'cause their outfits are really different.

    I could buy that S31 might've been revived by Sloane, but a continuous existence over centuries? I don't buy it.
     
  12. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Admiral Admiral

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    Except, they're not just similar outfits, they are the exact same.

    Besides, the official Paramount word on the matter is that Section 31 is an organization that has existed for 200 years. Hell, the novels have featured Section 31 and there's even indications that it might be featured in the Abramsverse.
     
  13. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    We both know that behind the scenes stuff isn't the same as onscreen material. Canonically, the connection between Harris and Sloane is extremely thin.
     
  14. Hartzilla2007

    Hartzilla2007 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Um, The Cardassians were not the federation's allies. They just had a recent peace treaty with them. I mean hell the Cardassians were rearming for war against them in that episode Maxwell's problem was that he went about dealing with it the wrong way.
     
  15. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    Oh, come off it. The characters on ENT might as well have turned to the camera and winked every time they called it "your Section."

    Section 31 is not just Sloan, and it's been around for a long time. Deal with it.
     
  16. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    That's like saying the Earth in DS9 isn't the Earth from TOS and TNG. After all, TOS established several identical duplicates throughout the galaxy, so the odds are it's one of them.
     
  17. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Admiral Admiral

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    "They're our allies, Mr Worf. We have to trust them." Actual quote from the beginning of the episode.
     
  18. E-DUB

    E-DUB Captain Captain

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    The likliest fate for Ben Maxwell: When the war erupted a man of his training would have been too valuable to remain languishing in detention. He was probably assigned to the front lines and was an early casualty.
     
  19. Hartzilla2007

    Hartzilla2007 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah and how did that work out for them?
     
  20. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    I understand the direction that writers and producers have taken Section 31 now - that it can be blamed for pretty much every sinister action taken in the name of defending the UFP. It's a great way to put bad guys among the good guys without sullying the good guys.

    But, looking at what was definitively established about "Section 31" in DS9, it could've easily have gone in a completely different direction. Section 31 could've been portrayed as a recently developed conspiracy of a small group of officers that justified their actions with the wording of Article 14, Section 31. There was no need for it to be a conspiracy across centuries.

    What was established about Section 31? Only that Bashir was kidnapped by someone calling himself Sloan who threw our dear doctor into a holodeck simulation while trying to evaluate him, to determine whether he was a Dominion spy or Section 31 material, or possibly both. The only person wearing the leather duds of Section 31 that appeared outside the holodeck was Sloan.

    After returning to DS9, Bashir told Sisko about his experience. Sisko asked Starfleet Command about this "Section 31", and received no definitive answer from them, no confirmation nor denial of their existence.

    The next time we see Sloan, he's alone again, recruiting Bashir to diagnose a Romulan at a conference. Blah blah blah - we all know the episode.

    Canonically, every time Section 31 pops up, only Sloan is there to act in its name. The only proof of Section 31's entire existence is Sloan. That's pretty thin evidence. Even reading Luther's mind isn't proof enough of a larger organization, since Sloan was able to fool Bashir and O'Brien into thinking they were in the real world for some time. I'm not certain that Sloan would be an open book even with a "mind probe" rummaging through his brain. Spock was able to defeat a Klingon "mind sifter"; am I to believe that only Spock could be so disciplined as to defeat mechanical mind-reading? And really, how much did Bashir "read" about Section 31 while in Sloan's mind? Anything Bashir found was put there by Sloan to distract the doctor from finding the cure to Odo's disease. Sloan could've and would've "thought" anything to keep Bashir distracted, including something like "Section 31 put a mole in the President's Cabinet". What proof of a mole in the Cabinet would there be, other than Sloan's claim? I submit that the claim of a mole in Section 31 would be only as strong as the similar claim that Section 31 had a member of the senior staff of DS9 among their members.

    While there is an "Article 14, Section 31" in the Starfleet charter, what does it say? Probably something like some rules or regulations can be "bent" in times of emergency. I can see some people taking that to justify extreme actions in dangerous times, sure. But a sustained existence across centuries?

    A perfectly justifiable alternative take on Section 31 could've had them as an Earth organization that was acting in Earth's "best interests" during the 22nd century, but one that disintegrated in the late 22nd century, only for the name to be borrowed by a new cabal of officers worried about the increasing number of threats to the Federation encountered in the 2360s and 2370s. They could take the name, and claim existence for 300 years, making them seem more mysterious and powerful (what with being "undetected" for over a hundred years because they didn't exist) than they really were.

    I'm of the belief that Sloan was the only S31 operative, that he made it up, and that he "claimed" a larger organization by duping or blackmailing people to work for him the way he did with Bashir and Ross. It fits the canon facts just as well, while being far more plausible.
     

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