TNG Cold Equations Book 2, Silent Wpns Nic-Picks -- SPOILERS

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Nathan, Aug 15, 2013.

  1. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    As I've established in other books, "contact specialist" is basically what Deanna Troi's job was when she wasn't being a counselor. It's an officer who's an expert in alien societies, xenobiology and xenosociology, diplomatic protocols, and the like -- not just for first contacts with new species, but really for any diplomatic interaction with non-Federation cultures. I don't see how that's limiting. (And part of the fun of T'Ryssa's character is seeing someone so basically undiplomatic having to learn to be better at diplomacy.)

    It's just that the TNG books post-Destiny have tended to focus more on politics, either within the Federation or with well-understood neighbors. Which is a somewhat atypical focus for TNG, at least when it's such an exclusive focus. Yet even so, T'Ryssa did get to do her job properly when she went to the Kinshaya's (new) homeworld in The Struggle Within, and as part of the contact mission to the Machine in Cold Equations Book 3: The Body Electric. She played an important role there in keeping with her specialty, since she was the one who identified the Machine's origins based on her knowledge of Starfleet history.


    By "people", you mean yourself. Please don't be afraid to own your individual opinions for what they are. Over the years, I've heard more praise for T'Ryssa Chen than criticism, although not overwhelmingly more. There's nothing in Trek fandom that "people" as a whole uniformly agree upon.

    After all, as I said, we've seen the same plot device used with Sulu, Chekov, Worf, Geordi, and others, and yet that didn't keep "people" from buying into those characters. (Spock too -- he went from science officer to captain to ambassador.) So your statement here doesn't even make sense. If you don't like her, fine -- you're entitled to that opinion. There's nothing wrong with that. But it's your own opinion, not a universal law.
     
  2. Elias Vaughn

    Elias Vaughn Captain Captain

    She's the contact specialist and they were in orbit of an alien planet. Her job is, as far as I understand it, to research the alien cultures the ship encounters and advise the captain accordingly. Why wouldn't you want the person in charge of the ship to be the one most versed in whatever alien world you're orbiting?
     
  3. Mage

    Mage Commodore Commodore

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    Nathan, you make it sound as if people are not aloud to change their minds and do something else with their lives. I'm 31, and still trying to figure out what I want to do for the rest of my life. Some people realize this at 20, others at 50. Perhaps Chen is one of those from the latter category.
     
  4. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^No, T'Ryssa's still mainly a contact specialist; like I said, we've been getting to see her do her job more often in recent books. But it's not uncommon for Starfleet officers to cross-train. On a starship, you want the crew to be able to tackle multiple jobs in the event of an emergency. You never know who'll be incapacitated/killed and who'll be left behind, so it makes sense to train the crew to do each other's jobs. In addition to the permanent transfers discussed above, we've seen a number of cases of personnel shifting between tasks as needed -- for instance, Uhura taking over navigation in "The Naked Time," Scotty and Spock operating the transporter, Sulu and Chekov going on landing parties, Mr. Leslie jumping among security and helm and engineering and maybe even medical, etc. On Voyager we had Tom Paris double as a nurse from time to time, ops manager Harry Kim serving as de facto science officer, Neelix branch out into security, and the like.

    As far as Trys goes, she came onboard as a contact specialist with some helm training, she's helped out in engineering, and there was one time when she happened to be holding the conn at a time when a crisis erupted and the senior staff was unavailable. That's not excessive compared to what we've seen from numerous other characters over the years.
     
  5. Corran Horn

    Corran Horn Vice Admiral Admiral

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    "Losing the Peace" specifically says that because there was no need for a 'contact specialist' given the current mission Chen was helping with engineering & maintenance.
     
  6. Relayer1

    Relayer1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    And its not unreasonable to expect her to have other duties when not acting in her primary role. I can't imagine a first contact specialist being busy first contacting all of the time...
     
  7. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^But as I said, she's not a first contact specialist. She deals with any interspecies contact or diplomacy, whether it's with a new species or an established one. Again, "contact specialist" is my term for the non-counseling part of Deanna Troi's responsibilities. I was referring to Deanna as a counselor and contact specialist in my books well before I created T'Ryssa Chen. Trys's job is Deanna's job minus the psychology and Betazoid senses.
     
  8. Nathan

    Nathan Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Chris, I not trying to get in a pi$$ing match with you. I'm just sayin the Chen character really didn't work for me. And yeah, all of it is my opinion. And yeah, I know LOTS of people that she is a turn off for. And yeah, I know a lot of people who thinks she is really a plot device.

    And you said...."Over the years, I've heard more praise for T'Ryssa Chen than criticism, although not overwhelmingly more"

    So, YOU must know people who don't like her too...and no, I don't want another pi$$ing match on how many people ya know that like her or dislike her.

    Thankfully, it appears unlikely that she'll ever have a major role in a story, so if she's given some throw away lines, well then, I'll speed read through it. And yeah, if she has some big scene, I'll set my the speed for my eyeballs to read at maximum warp.

    Not trying to hurt your feelings Chris or get you worked up, she just didn't work for me.
     
  9. trampledamage

    trampledamage Clone Moderator

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    You're allowed to type pissing - we don't have naughty word filters. :)
     
  10. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Yes, I've heard from people who don't like the character, and I've heard from people who love the character. And that's perfectly fine with me. In my experience, anything that evokes a strongly positive reaction in some people is bound to evoke a strongly negative reaction in others. The only way to offend no one is to delight no one, to produce something so bland that it inspires no particular emotion of any kind. So I'm glad I created a character that evokes strong reactions.

    But the point is that the reason you dislike the character is not that she's doing a variety of jobs. She's far from the first character to do so. Rather, it's the other way around: you dislike the fact that she's doing a variety of jobs because you dislike the character. That's just the way our minds work: when we dislike someone or something, we react negatively to things about them that we'd be fine with in someone/something we did like. It's guilt by association.
     
  11. Shane Houston

    Shane Houston Commander Red Shirt

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    For almost 50 years there have been Trek fans, both of filmed characters and novel only characters, who've had something to say good and bad, about every, single, character. For all the hate you have for Chen, others have for had hate for, say, Archer or Kira. The authors and producers of Trek can't please every, single, watcher or reader out there.

    While you may not like Chen, your example of her involvement in this story, is more than some simple plot device and in fact makes me think you only used it to hate on the Chen character. In fact, and this is not just because I love her character, she did something for me I couldn't wait to happen in this book, which was get rid of the Atlas. If not for what she did while in command, there would have been a shooting war with the Gorn because Bateson left someone in command who decided to take an aggressive stand first instead of a peaceful one, like Chen did.

    Back in the day, if I remember correctly, Gene Roddenberry once said that it was always meant for starship commanders to attempt diplomacy first, and if that fails defend his ship and the Federation second.

    Having Mack make it Chen instead of, let's say, Geordi, gives us a unique way for this to be done instead of the same old same old we've had for 50 years. I found it entertaining and quite clever that Chen was the one who defused the situation by lying. And the fact she did made me love, love, love the fact she outsmarted both the Atlas and the Gorn.

    And for all the different jobs she's done in all the books, the whole point, and remind me if I read it wrong in one of the books, is that 40 percent of Starfleet and thousands of officers were killed by the Borg. Starfleet has had to make due with what it has, so it wouldn't just be a Picard thing, sending her to so many sections of the ship to do work, it would have been a choice that any captain would have made with an overworked ship and crew and very little replacements.
     
  12. Nathan

    Nathan Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Uggh..like I said, Chen didn't work for me.
     
  13. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I appreciate these comments. I did envision her as having something of the trickster about her, being a bit of a con artist, so yeah, it's cool that she kind of scammed her way to a solution.
     
  14. Shane Houston

    Shane Houston Commander Red Shirt

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    So sorry to hear that. Hopefully you'll keep an open mind and see the opportunities of the character in the future and not read past her at warp speed. She really is a great addition to the Enterprise. :)
     
  15. Shane Houston

    Shane Houston Commander Red Shirt

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    No problem. In a weird way she reminds me of my grandfather. He was a lot like that. And this isn't me just brown nosing, but out of all the new characters we've had on the Enterprise-E, Titan, DS9, Aventine and Voyager, she's my favorite. She's funny when she needs to be but there were times like when she lost her mother and tried to deal with her father that she almost made me cry. I have the exact same kind of relationship with my father. Absent in childhood yet makes an appearance after tragedy.
     
  16. Nob Akimoto

    Nob Akimoto Captain Captain

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    On the OT: Didn't the book specifically say that Chen wasn't sure why she had the conn and chalked it up as being some sort of "Picardian whimsy"?
     
  17. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^Yes, it was an accident of circumstance that she happened to be in charge when all the senior staff was off the ship and a crisis erupted.
     
  18. Corran Horn

    Corran Horn Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Just got to the part in "Losing the Peace" where Picard has to basically say as much to Chen after she protests against being on the Away Team that visits the Denevan refugee ship by specifically saying it's not 'first contact' since they're humans.