Titan: Over a Torrent Sea (SPOILERS)

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Julio Angel Ortiz, Feb 13, 2009.

  1. Steve Roby

    Steve Roby Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Just finished it. Another good exercise in worldbuilding, with the characters not neglected. I'll have more to say later, no doubt.

    Although...

    "Dying was easy, but comity was hard."

    That sort of thing must not be encouraged.
     
  2. Man of Steel

    Man of Steel Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I have one question about Ree's craziness.

    I don't buy the fact that he could "kidnap" Troi, Ogawa and a shuttle with it being noticed on sensors (which is usually what happens). I mean someone would have seen him gone AWOL and tried to stop him. Granted, he was biting people along the way but no one could have stunned him or had a force field raised? Seemed a bit off.

    Also, if Riker understood why Ree did what he did couldn't he have forget about the hearing and just give a small reprimand? I mean this is the 2nd time he went insane around Troi after all.

    As for the sex and name of the baby: Was it left up to you or was that already planned early on?
     
  3. Judith Sisko

    Judith Sisko Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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  4. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Umm... I suggest you re-read pages 167-71. Ogawa alerts the bridge immediately after Ree leaves sickbay with Deanna. As stated on p. 167, no security fields are raised because of the damage the ship has just sustained in the explosion of the asteroid. A security team is sent to intercept him, but they can't shoot him for fear the phaser stun might hurt the injured pregnant lady he's carrying or the baby within her. They try to subdue him hand-to-hand, but he defeats them. Ogawa notifies the transporter room to beam the security team to sickbay. When Ree steals the shuttle, the bridge crew is fully aware of the theft as it happens, but again, the damage from the explosion prevents them from stopping him.


    Because Riker isn't the only person in Starfleet. The hearing is necessary so that the facts of the case can be documented for the official record, and so that Ree's exoneration will be legal and by the book rather than just the whim of one man.


    The baby's sex was revealed in the Destiny trilogy, so you'd have to ask Dave Mack whose decision that was. I chose the baby's name, but it was Marco's decision whether or not to accept my suggestion. We had a few inconclusive discussions about it and I offered a list of possible names for his consideration, but ultimately he was okay with the name I suggested in the manuscript. If he hadn't liked my idea, he could've chosen a different name from my list or suggested one of his own.
     
  5. Vestboy

    Vestboy Captain Captain

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    Valid point, but I think under the circumstances the crew (especially Riker and Troi) were going a little too quickly to, "It's okay, it's not your fault." Said hearing shouldn't be written off as some paperwork formality, but a serious inquiry of how much it was external influence, and how much it was his own actions and instincts, and how culpable he is for that. A prosecutor would just have to A. ask Troi if she targeted psychic influence on Ree and B. point out that no one else in the room with Troi at the time freaked out and kidnapped her, and then the question would be turned back on Ree: how much of this was your own instincts, and how responsible are you, a sentient member of Starfleet, for the choices you made as a result of those instincts?

    I'm not saying that there aren't significant citable examples of similar loss-of-conscious-control by Starfleet officers, but Ree's actions were severe, and the inquiry into them should be treated with more gravity than we were given.
     
  6. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I'm sorry, but that sounds rather racist, to hold someone accountable for having instincts and responses that are different from those of other species. The whole point of Titan is to accept the fact that different species have different behaviors, different standards, etc. and not force everyone to conform to a human set of assumptions. I mean, come on, Worf murdered Duras in cold blood and Picard just gave him a slap on the wrist because it was part of his Klingon culture. Jadzia helped her three Klingon friends kill the Albino and eat his heart, and that was also forgiven as an acceptable cultural variation, even though it wasn't her own culture! Ree didn't do anything nearly that extreme.

    Under normal circumstances, a Pahkwa-thanh male's protective instincts are very beneficial. They keep children safe, which is undeniably a good thing. What happened here was a freak concatenation of circumstances: Deanna's grief and fear for her baby, amplified by Tuvok's grief at his own loss, triggered Ree's instincts, and given the immediate danger to the ship at that particular moment, those instincts compelled Ree to do everything in his power to get the baby away from the danger. Under most circumstances, 99 percent of the time, an instinct to get a baby to safety would not be defined as criminal behavior! You have to remember, Ree was reacting as if it were his own child that was in danger. You'd throw the book at someone for that?
     
  7. Enterpriserules

    Enterpriserules Commodore Commodore

    It is not so much that Ree was wrong or that he should have something bad happen to him because of his instinctual response; I just did not really enjoy this as the B story. I thought that it was silly and just distracted from the main story, but not in a good way. Just didn't connect with it.
     
  8. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^Well, you can't please everybody. It's just that something surrounding the birth of the baby had to go dramatically wrong, and I didn't want to do the cliche of giving birth in the middle of a space battle or something.
     
  9. Dimesdan

    Dimesdan Living the Irish dream. Premium Member

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    Why? Why did something have to go wrong? Why couldn't it just be, you know, given all the crap that Deanna had to go through to get her child couldn't it have been a normal affair, no danger and nothing going "dramatically" wrong as having anything go wrong is a cliché in itself.
     
  10. Vestboy

    Vestboy Captain Captain

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    I'd say it isn't racist if those instincts put members of the crew at risk, nor is it about human assumptions. It's about the safety of the crew and ship.

    Did I say throw the book? No, I'm only talking about not treating the hearing over the incident like a formality of paperwork, as if its end result was a foregone conclusion. And anyone in Starfleet JAG Corps worth their stripes would have a field day with that argument, since the greatest apparent danger to mother and baby was Dr. Ree himself.

    My key point is not that there isn't precedent for Ree being cleared, nor am I saying that he shouldn't be eventually cleared-- I'm saying the proceedings surrounding it should be treated with gravity, and not be something that is only done to make Ree himself feel better and assuage his guilt.
     
  11. Elemental

    Elemental Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I'm looking for an opinion here. I'm currently in the middle of book 2 for the Titan series but decided when Destiny came out I had to read that on release. I've also read A Singular Destiny now and am on book 3 of the VOY relaunch trying to catch up for all the series that will be continuing post-Destiny. I didn't realize that OATS would be released before Full Circle. I'm now debating whether it would be better to try and catch up on Titan first before moving on or whether I should continue on with the post-Destiny stuff and catch up as time allows. I don't really want to fall behind with the post-Destiny stories and i figure that most stuff that would be spoiled for me by doing this would already have occurred by reading Destiny. I'll most likely proceed with OATS but wondered whether anyone else had other opinions on this.
     
  12. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Because fiction is about crisis, especially adventure fiction. Having an event go totally smoothly isn't a story, unless it's a comedy and you're subverting the expectation of something exciting happening. Had it been an uneventful birth, it would've probably come at the beginning of the book or even between books (much like the relatively understated and problem-free wedding of Picard and Crusher).

    More importantly, it was an opportunity to resolve the residual tensions between Ree and Deanna in the wake of Destiny, and an opportunity to explore Pahkwa-thanh culture and psychology as it pertains to parenting.


    Plenty of human "instincts" can put crewmembers at risk, like the instinct for aggression causing a crewmember to get into a fight, or the instinct for self-preservation causing a crewmember to panic and abandon his post at a critical moment. Every species has behaviors that can be potentially dangerous to others if they manifest in the wrong circumstances, but sapient beings are able to overcome their instincts or work around them. If you single out one species and say "You are intrinsically unsafe to be around simply because of what you are," then hell yes, that is profoundly racist.

    Especially given that the circumstances that led this particular instinct to be problematical were an enormous fluke that would never be likely to happen again in a million years! Look at all the different things that had to come together for this to happen. Ree had to be psi-sensitive enough to come under Deanna's influence, even though he's nominally psi-null. He had to be in proximity to Deanna. It had to happen at a time when Deanna was feeling grief and guilt over her miscarriage, and immediately after she'd been counseling Tuvok and having her own emotions reinforced by his grief. It had to happen after an incident that had left Ree feeling guilty and insecure about his own worth as a caregiver. And it had to happen at a moment when the ship was in imminent danger. Without those half-dozen different things coming together at the exact same moment, Ree's parental instinct would never have been triggered. It's certainly not normal for Pahkwa-thanh parental instincts to be directed toward infants that aren't their own. You'd probably never have an unhatched Pahkwa-thanh egg on a Starfleet vessel anyway, so the instinct would never come into play.

    So it's unfair in the extreme to paint this nurturing instinct as a threat, when it was only because of an incredibly unlikely concatenation of events that it manifested the way it did.


    Bull. Ree might have been a potential danger to the mother, but his whole motivation was to protect the baby at all costs. The baby was the one entity that he would have never harmed under any circumstances. He would've unhesitatingly died to protect that child. In the mental state he was in, under Deanna's psionic suggestion, he was thinking and reacting as if it were his own daughter.

    This is the same instinct that we celebrate and praise when we see a human parent practicing it -- the unrelenting determination to protect their offspring at all costs, even if they have to kill or die to do it. If it had been Deanna threatening to shoot people that she thought posed a danger to her baby, no one would question the nobility of that motive. It would be understood that, even if she was misguided, she was driven by profound, selfless love. So I think there's a double standard being applied here.

    Where in the world did I say that? I've gone through all my previous posts in this thread, and I see you reading that into my words, but I never said anything of the sort. In fact, I specifically said that the hearing was necessary because it had to be done formally and properly, that it would be wrong to dismiss the matter on a casual whim. I suppose I didn't convey the point strongly enough, but I never claimed that it was just done to make Ree "feel better."


    OaTS doesn't contain many references to pre-Destiny events in the Titan series, and those it does contain are just minor Easter eggs. And yes, any major developments in the earlier TTN novels that would be spoiled by OaTS have already been spoiled if you've read DES. So I see no harm in reading OaTS before you go back to the earlier ones.
     
  13. Elemental

    Elemental Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    ^Ok, thanks for the info!

    Edit - Haha, I like how you went through my post and corrected my laziness by adding italics to all titles.
     
  14. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Huh? The whole quoted passage is italicized, and the board does that automatically.
     
  15. Vestboy

    Vestboy Captain Captain

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    There is a difference between a potential danger, and consequences for actual actions. If a human crew member attacked a fellow crewmember, or abandoned his post, I would hate to think it would be considered acceptable because, hey, fight-or-flight instincts. Because at the end of the day, it's not about what his species-based instincts are; it's about what he did.


    That... is some rather spurious logic. That's stalker I'm-doing-this-because-I-love-you logic. Anything is justified, even if the imagined goal isn't being achieved. Namely, there was NO ACTUAL DANGER to the baby, until he kidnapped Deanna and put her, the baby and himself in the center of a hostage situation.


    Except for the fact that, in this circumstance, there was no significant danger, except in Ree's delusions.


    I'm getting that from the text itself, from where Riker essentially says they'll have the hearing quickly, and there's no sense that it will be treated as a serious inquiry. Rather Riker says, "He needs this. He's obviously very guilty about what he did-- I think he wants to feel he's paid his dues." The big thing I'm reading out of that is that Riker really feels there aren't any dues to be paid, and it's just a matter of doing the paperwork regulations require, as well as giving Ree some guilt-assuaging therapy, before letting things go back to normal. Which, instinct and psychic influence aside, is a pretty blasé attitude to have for Kidnapping an Officer, Assault, Shuttle Theft and a massive Prime Directive violation.
     
  16. Elemental

    Elemental Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    LOL, whoops, I'm obviously way too sleep deprived right now...
     
  17. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    So now you've abandoned your former argument that it's his instincts we should be worried about and are reverting to one I've already responded to. See above about precedents for crewmembers not being prosecuted for actions they committed under external mental influence.


    That is not the point at all. You're twisting it. Nobody's denying that Ree acted inappropriately, and I've explained why his judgment was compromised through no fault of his own. My point is that his parenting instinct is not something that's automatically dangerous, as you alleged it to be. Under normal circumstances, in 999,999 cases out of a million, the Pahkwa-thanh parenting instinct keeps their children safe.

    You really need to make up your mind. When I explain why Ree's actions were not malevolent in intent but the result of a misdirected instinct, you condemn the instinct. When I explain that the instinct is not intrinsically a threat, you shift right back to condemning Ree as some kind of psychopath. It sounds to me like you just have it in for Ree and won't accept any argument that exonerates him.


    Again, you're shifting the goalposts at random here. You were saying that the instinct itself was to blame. My whole point is that you can't condemn the instinct because his perceptions were distorted and the instinct was therefore being misapplied. And you can't condemn his perceptions because they were distorted by external influence. But you seem to want to paint him alternately as a psychopath who's personally to blame and an innately savage monster whose whole species is to blame.


    That's ridiculous. Just because Riker was reassuring his wife on that particular aspect of the case doesn't mean he was unaware of the other concerns.

    And I'm not going to reiterate the argument about crimes committed under external influence. I will point out that "massive Prime Directive violation" is gross hyperbole -- as the novel made clear, there was no real harm done in the end. And Riker's hardly in a position to be judgmental about Prime Directive violations after what happened on Droplet -- with everyone involved being in their right minds at the time. At least Ree has an excuse. Not that you're interested in hearing it.
     
  18. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    Well, actually they were in the middle of a big crisis with the astoroid, so yeah the baby was in danger. And, as Chris said, the whole point of what Ree did was to get the baby out of danger (which was real), so there really was no way he would have allowed any kind of harm to come to her.
     
  19. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Good point. The ship and crew were in imminent danger, and Ree acted to remove the baby from that danger. It was an overreaction, but the threat was real. And after that, he made a point of taking Deanna to the one world within range that was safest for the baby -- the natives were small and rarely violent, their technology was not advanced enough to pose a threat, but they were humanoid enough and had sufficient medical science that they would have adequate facilities for ensuring a safe delivery and postnatal care. Within the context of a mindset that elevated the baby's safety above all other considerations, Ree's choices were quite logical. True, as Deanna pointed out, by creating a hostage situation, Ree did generate a degree of risk, and that was where his judgment became questionable. But in his state of mind, he convinced himself that the risk was minimal, certainly in comparison to that of being on a starship on the verge of destruction.
     
  20. Stevil2001

    Stevil2001 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I think we're all overlooking a key fact in this discussion: Doctor Ree is awesome. Doctor Ree performing surgery in a hostage situation? Even more awesome. Doctor Ree performing surgery in a hostage situation that he purposely engineered himself? Off the charts! :D