The Pegasus

Discussion in 'The Next Generation' started by Komack, Dec 21, 2013.

  1. Vandervecken

    Vandervecken Captain Captain

    Joined:
    May 1, 2012
    Location:
    Kobold
    Decision made by that renowned jurist and Federation legal scholar, Jen-Luc Picard. Uh huh.


    I notice it, I just don't see his authority to do it, in addition to not recognizing his qualifications to interpret the treaty. Who the hell is Picard to interpret the legality of Federation treaties, especially as regards his superiors? This was for the Federation Council--the civilian government--to decide.

    Picard must have been watching TOS, he was mavericking like Kirk.
     
  2. jibrilmudo

    jibrilmudo Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2013
    Location:
    Brazil
    Considering that Picard was a representative in Data's hearing and also Picard's role in Drumhead, basic law must have been a requirement for Officers. They also encounter parts of law like in Ensigns of Command, and Q's first visit put them on trial. I'm sure I'm missing a lot of episodes not to mention all the ambassador taxiing and conferences going on, TNG felt extremely law heavy in some ways.

    So maybe the structure of dealing with points of law changed than today. It might have been recognized that a human failing of past was to push onto higher authorities all matters of doing what is right, so an Star Fleet officer out in the field is charged with being more proactive in this area and less inclined towards bureacracy?

    Idk, a lot of what you mention in previous posts really just comes down to the wholely idealistic nature of Star Trek that Roddenberry had.

    I found the Pragmatism of DS9 overall refreshing in that way, unfortunately it didn't carry over much to Voyager which hoisted the idealistic flag once again and marched forward (with a few breaks like Tuvix).
     
  3. Vandervecken

    Vandervecken Captain Captain

    Joined:
    May 1, 2012
    Location:
    Kobold

    I considered that Picard has some good legal experience before posting, it's just that this is a treaty with another galactic power, not just law within the Federation, AND he was judging and enforcing law against his superiors.


    Your suggestion that the Federation might have done away with entirely hierarchical legal decisionmaking is interesting and imaginative, but consider: if they had done so, why would such authority stop with Starfleet captains? Would such authority then be reposed in EVERY individual Federation citizen? If not, why not? Wouldn't Joe Shmo from Rigel have just as much right to make such decisions and enforce them as a Starfleet captain, since the whole point of this doctrine would be to vest that authority in all the strata of society? if not so vested, it's just imposing a caste system (only Starfleet personnel and civilian government types may do this); if so vested, it's really just anarchy.

    This one always nagged at me, too.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2014
  4. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2012
    The thing about Picard's decision though is that there was a time limit associated with it. The Romulans finding out the Federation had developed a cloak on their own was more likely to start a war than finding out through a direct admission. It makes it far more credible that it was the action of individuals acting without orders if nobody else tried to cover it up.

    And Picard has repeatedly been given broad powers over time sensitive diplomatic issues pertaining to the Romulans when there isn't time to report back and get an instant decisions. He also exercised that power in The Enemy and The Defector.

    The Treaty of Algernon might have been a bad idea (You might even use the term "Pre-Dominion thinking" to emulate certain manipulative fascists), but it was absolutely Picard's duty to uphold it. The Federation has repeatedly been established as an organization that puts principle before practicality and peace before tactical strength. Leaders who engage in such deceptive, illegal practices forfeit their right to lead.
     
  5. Lance

    Lance Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    May 9, 2012
    Location:
    The Enterprise's Restroom
    Let us compare Picard's actions to Kirk's in "The Enterprise Incident".

    Kirk's mission is basically analogous to what Pressman was doing, and he plays it completely straight, following his orders to sneak aboard a Romulan vessel and steal away her cloak, even though (we presume) the treaty forbidding Federation cloaking technology was in effect even then, and Kirk would reasonably be expected to be cut loose by Starfleet if the Romulans catch him (which they do, luckily he escapes).

    Picard takes a moral standpoint on basically the same issue. He says that treaties exist for a reason, and argues that no matter what his superiors say, Federation starships with cloaking devices are illegal. And he was morally correct to do so, even though at face value it would appear he not only jeopardized the mission, he actually blew it completely out of the water.

    Riker is caught somewhere in the middle. The reason Riker agonized so much about telling Picard is that, like any good little toy soldier, he was inclined to do exactly what he did back in his Ensign Babyface days, and follow his orders from Starfleet Command (via Admiral Pressman) without question. But Picard's influence over his life appears to have introduced moral ambiguity that he didn't have before the Enterprise. He now questions himself, whether he should always just blindly do what he's told, something he never once thought about back when he was an Ensign. Although in Riker's case, maybe it's more about simply being forced to lie to and betray his current Captain, with whom he has something of a paternal bond. Creating an analogy in his mind to the Pegasus situation, where likewise he totally supported Captain Pressman.

    Realistically, Picard should have come out of Pegasus facing a hearing into his actions, but undoubtedly Riker would have backed him up and maybe the cloaking device would be too much of a political hot potato that Starfleet was just like, "Meh, ok, send Pressman to jail and let's just forget this whole sordid thing".

    Alternatively, like many a corrupt Admiral in Star Trek, Pressman was acting autonomously from Starfleet, eager to finish off his own little crusade started with the Pegasus, and when push came to shove Starfleet agreed with Picard and Riker and threw the book at Pressman.
     
  6. 2takesfrakes

    2takesfrakes Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2013
    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    How do you good people feel about how ENTERPRISE referred to this with "These Are the Voyages?". I thought it was a nice tie-in and expanded on Riker's deep concern over the predicament it put him in. I would've liked it if he'd talked to Malcolm Reed, more, because of the situation he was put in, when Phlox was kidnapped by the Klingons. There would've been a nice kind of flow to it ...
     
  7. Tosk

    Tosk Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2001
    Location:
    On the run.
    I hated it for the reasons mentioned earlier in the thread. The ENT ep was seemingly written from a memory of Pegasus rather than actually re-watching it. Either that or a willful ignorance of continuity.
     
  8. PhoenixClass

    PhoenixClass Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2013
    If memory serves me correctly, Pressman conceded that treaty did apply to the phasing technology. He went on a tirade about how the treaty was putting the Federation at a disadvantage. If the treaty did not apply, he would not have mentioned it all.
     
  9. 2takesfrakes

    2takesfrakes Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2013
    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    ... I appreciate the answer! :rommie: Believe me, I know how TATV is hated in some circles, but I loved seeing Riker and Troi in this.
     
  10. Ar-Pharazon

    Ar-Pharazon Vice Admiral Premium Member

    Joined:
    May 19, 2005
    Kirk stealing a cloaking device was probably more about learning how to defeat it than actually buildng one.
     
  11. Vandervecken

    Vandervecken Captain Captain

    Joined:
    May 1, 2012
    Location:
    Kobold
    This wasn't a rogue operation as some have suggested. This was fully Starfleet sanctioned.
     
  12. Vandervecken

    Vandervecken Captain Captain

    Joined:
    May 1, 2012
    Location:
    Kobold
    I concede that Starfleet agreed it applied, but it still seems odd to me that they did. The cloaking is really a secondary effect, it's the phasing that really matters.
     
  13. Vandervecken

    Vandervecken Captain Captain

    Joined:
    May 1, 2012
    Location:
    Kobold
    This general idea that illegal=immoral is also wrong. it simply isn't so. In Nazi Germany, it was illegal to shelter Jews. Was it immoral to do so?

    If a treaty/law with an aggressive dictatorship/police state hampers your ability to combat that dictatorship, then it could be the law that's immoral. In some hypothetical future war with the Romulans, that phasing tech on every main ship could save millions of lives, on ships and planets.
     
  14. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2001
    Location:
    Burlington, VT, USA
    Adhering to the terms of the treaty could prevent the war from occurring in the first place.
     
  15. Vandervecken

    Vandervecken Captain Captain

    Joined:
    May 1, 2012
    Location:
    Kobold

    Maybe, maybe not. I was just pointing out that the assumption that legal=moral and illegal=immoral is not valid.
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2014
  16. PhoenixClass

    PhoenixClass Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2013
    It does not make sense to argue that the treaty wasn't broken simply because Starfleet developed a better cloak. If the device simply phased a vessel physically, but was still detectable, then you could make a reasonable argument that the cloaking ban did not apply. But the device cloaked and phased. The treaty forbids cloaking, therefore the device violated the treaty.
     
  17. Vandervecken

    Vandervecken Captain Captain

    Joined:
    May 1, 2012
    Location:
    Kobold

    Soooooooo....if Starfleet developed a better warp drive, one that had a secondary effect that caused a ship to be "cloaked," that would be covered under the treaty as well? Or shields or even ship-building materials better than duranium that were much more effective at absorbing enemy fire, or much better at protecting a crew generally, but as a side effect rendered the ship invisible to the eye and sensors, that would be covered under the treaty too?

    In all these cases this is an unreasonable extension of the treaty to simply suppress new tech that has zero to do with cloaking. This is what I mean about Picard being no legal scholar. He didn't even consider these points (and I'm no legal scholar).
     
  18. PhoenixClass

    PhoenixClass Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2013
    Yes, those technologies would fall under the treaty. We don't know the text of the actual article so this is a little awkward to debate, but it is said repeatedly that the treaty bans cloaking devices.

    You cannot argue that your examples have nothing to do with cloaking when they cloak the ship that fields them.
     
  19. Vandervecken

    Vandervecken Captain Captain

    Joined:
    May 1, 2012
    Location:
    Kobold
    I absolutely can argue that they having nothing to do with cloaking when their primary purpose is other. That is precisely what I argue, and I not only argue it, I assert it.

    I don't believe for one second Starfleet/The Federation would suppress those techs just because a side effect of the tech is to cause invisibility to sensors. An advanced warp drive that, say, allowed them to travel at warp 10 and higher, safely? New materials that, say, resulted in a 10-fold reduction in cancer among ship crews because of reduced radiation/particle exposure? And they'd abandon those things just because of this treaty? Not a chance. And neither should they have abandoned phasing.

    This is exactly the kind of factual and legal nuance that needs to be considered before casually assuming a technology is subject to this treaty. This overbroad interpretation of applying it to techs that have even a secondary effect of cloaking gives the Romulans an automatic veto over the Feds creating any new NON-cloaking tech that by accident creates a cloaking effect. The Treaty was not created for that purpose and both Federation jurists and legislators would likely and appropriately reject this interpretation. When considering what to do in odd situations under the law, it is not at all strange for jurists to consider the purpose of a statute or, in this case, a treaty.
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2014
  20. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2001
    Location:
    Burlington, VT, USA
    Well, that would really depend on the terms of the treaty and how willing Starfleet and/or the Federation government is to violate it.