TP: Rough Beasts of Empire by DRGIII Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Thrawn, Dec 22, 2010.

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Rate Rough Beasts Of Empire

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  1. rfmcdpei

    rfmcdpei Captain Captain

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    From the Typhon Pact perspective--rather, the Typhon non-Romulan perspective---they've been in an arms race with the Federation for quite some time and far behind, too.

    Point re: the claims, by the way.

    That's largely true, yes.

    That doesn't mean that, from the non-Federation perspective, the Federation isn't culturally imperialistic/influential/whatever you want to call it beyond its frontiers. Its influence in rebuilding Cardassia comes to mind, likewise the apparent moderation of the Klingon Empire.

    Sure.

    Trust and verify.
     
  2. Deranged Nasat

    Deranged Nasat Vice Admiral Admiral

    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    Well, I may not agree with you, but I think you always speak your mind with great eloquence. :)

    You're of course quite right that the Federation is not actually out to destroy or conquer anyone, and propaganda aside I'm sure the Pact largely realizes that. They know the UFP isn't going to try and invade them in a Klingon-style grab for control. What they fear most is ideological expansion, Federation ideals seeping in, and a galaxy that says "how high?" to the Federation's happy "jump!"

    The Federation explores, negotiates trade and cultural exchanges, encourages community. It actively presents itself to the galaxy and seeks to encourage its idea of a galactic "community" of worlds and peoples - and that's certainly not a bad thing, I'm quick to assure you. The UFP are our heroic protagonists, and while they're not perfect (and have some questionable ideas in there somewhere), overall they're obviously a force for great good. But even the respectful, careful, entirely justified, well-meaning imposition of the UFP is still a form of imposition. And some cultures will not like to see a galaxy happily knitted together into a Federation community when the ideals of that nation are not necessarily theirs. The Tzenkethi, say - who are opposed to any democratic ideology. If the Federation is setting the galactic agenda, then their influence will be inescapable for anyone who isn't entirely isolationist. In those circumstances, how long before some in the D echelons of Tzenkethi society start believing that their opinion matters as much as that of the B echelons? A horryfying prospect to most Tzenkethi - the unravelling of their carefully maintained order. The Tzenkethi feel the need to draw a line and retain a sense of self, a position that isn't determined by the UFP, directly or indirectly.

    And it's indirectly far more often than directly, they know that. When they criticise the UFP, the Pact members constantly use words like "hypocrisy" -they see a Federation that speaks of diversity and respect and yet from their viewpoint a Federation-led galaxy is inherently hostile to their own traditions, ideologies and such - and the UFP refuses to see it. And yes, we readers know that the Federation goes out of its way to be respectful and second-guesses itself to death; I'm certainly not suggesting the Pact is right. They have some good points in there, but they're overreacting and misreading the UFP's intentions out of their own paranoia. But the core of their position here is understandable.

    The Federation are indeed the good guys - but I think the point a lot of us are making is that those who oppose the good guys are not necessarily "the bad guys" in any straightforward sense.

    Well, that's the whole dilemma isn't it? How does the UFP convince the Pact "we're not out to get you, we are not a threat", and how do they balance that against the need to maintain their own security in the face of active threat from Pact operations? They have to defend themselves, yet also make it clear that they are only defending themselves - a difficult balance. "Zero Sum Game" dealt with that aspect, didn't it? The Breen breached Federation security, the Federation's response (which was of course justified), simply made the Breen and Tholians more dedicated to their hostile stance - "the Federtion blew up our shipyard!"

    The Federation needs to show it's not a threat - but how does it do that in the current distrustful climate? Much of the Pact's current response to "look, we're not a threat" would be to shout "Quick! They're weak! Hit them with a stick! That'll keep them down!" The Federation needs to show that, no, it will NOT be hit with a stick. It will defend itself - but when it does so, the message of "no threat" is potentially lost, reinforcing the Pact's belief that they need to keep the stick at hand, because if they don't they'll be ruled from Earth in 20 years time....

    So it's a frustrating situation.

    So yes, it's tricky. If I could give an answer...well, I'd be trying to summarize a debate that's inherent to the Typhon Pact lit as a whole. :)
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2011
  3. rfmcdpei

    rfmcdpei Captain Captain

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    And it's interesting that the Typhon Pact books, examining how a few mutually distrustful galactic powers came together to oppose a greater threat, are coming out at roughly the same time as Martin's Romulan War books, showing, well, how a few mutually distrustful galactic powers came together to oppose a greater threat. There's an interesting parallel of sorts there meriting exploration in depth.
     
  4. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    Good point. Frankly, I believe it undermines any Federation pretentions of ethical behavior when they ally with a culture like the Klingons that engages in open conquest and subjugation of other worlds. I think the original intent in TNG was that the Klingons had become more reformed and enlightened, with the warmongering types being a dissident minority (see "Heart of Glory"). But over the years, writers got so caught up writing the Klingons as Space Vikings/Samurai and playing up their Warrior fetish ad nauseam that they ended up being basically as bloodthirsty and brutal as ever, and it became unclear why the Federation would want to be allied with these savage thugs. I mean, I'm all for not being at war with them, but portraying them as stalwart allies when they're so unreformed in their ways creates a certain cognitive dissonance.


    Yay, multilateralism!


    Right. By analogy (and I think this is a deliberate analogy on the part of the novelists), there are a lot of nations that are allied with or at least neutral toward America, and who know that we aren't an aggressive, conquering state, but who still fear and mistrust us because we're an 800-pound gorilla and we don't hesitate to throw our weight around and pressure everyone else to go along with our agendas, whether it serves them or not. It's hard to feel real trust or friendship toward someone when they have that much power over you. Even a lot of our closest allies still often resent our dominance.



    There you go again. A perfect, concise, enlightening formulation of the key point the rest of us are struggling to get across. In DS9, was Quark the bad guy because he resisted giving in to the Federation's ideals? Or was he a good guy by his own lights, reminding the smug Starfleet types that truly living up to their idealism meant respecting others' right to hold different ideals? Or what about Kira when she clashed with Sisko when she felt Starfleet's priorities conflicted with the good of Bajor? Certainly no bad guys there.
     
  5. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    Precisely. :)

    Disturbing...but frankly, that may well be the case. In which case, it could well be better for the Federation to partake in the arms race the Breen seems to be playing.

    One could suggest, for example, fortifying and building the Starbases and worlds near the borders of the Pact, as well as a significant build-up of the fleet. Obviously, though, that has the considerable risk of the Pact powers engaging in a preemptive strike before the UFP is ready for it.

    (Takes a bow.) :cool:

    You're of course quite right that the Federation is not actually out to destroy or conquer anyone, and propaganda aside I'm sure the Pact largely realizes that. They know the UFP isn't going to try and invade them in a Klingon-style grab for control. What they fear most is ideological expansion, Federation ideals seeping in, and a galaxy that says "how high?" to the Federation's happy "jump!"

    The Federation explores, negotiates trade and cultural exchanges, encourages community. It actively presents itself to the galaxy and seeks to encourage its idea of a galactic "community" of worlds and peoples - and that's certainly not a bad thing, I'm quick to assure you. The UFP are our heroic protagonists, and while they're not perfect (and have some questionable ideas in there somewhere), overall they're obviously a force for great good. But even the respectful, careful, entirely justified, well-meaning imposition of the UFP is still a form of imposition. And some cultures will not like to see a galaxy happily knitted together into a Federation community when the ideals of that nation are not necessarily theirs. The Tzenkethi, say - who are opposed to any democratic ideology. If the Federation is setting the galactic agenda, then their influence will be inescapable for anyone who isn't entirely isolationist. In those circumstances, how long before some in the D echelons of Tzenkethi society start believing that their opinion matters as much as that of the B echelons? A horryfying prospect to most Tzenkethi - the unravelling of their carefully maintained order. The Tzenkethi feel the need to draw a line and retain a sense of self, a position that isn't determined by the UFP, directly or indirectly.[/QUOTE]

    Disturbing, but tragically valid. Effectively...the Federation's own goodness, which has resulted in so many joining into its borders...thus also encourages the hostile forces of reaction.

    Still...the Klingons still are who they are, regardless of its Alliance. If anything, they are less imperialistic due to the Alliance, as Bacco pointed out when schooling the isolationist/non-interventionalist Pagro.

     
  6. lvsxy808

    lvsxy808 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    Out of curiosity, and assuming you're permitted to say, what story do you think you might have submitted to the Typhon Pact project?

    I had been wondering what the other two books in the existing project might have been, and what crews/series might be used to explore them, after the concept was reduced from six to four. The only remaining unexplored member of the Pact are the Kinshaya (although they got some love in ASD), and the natural fit to explore them further would seem to be the Gorkon/Klingon Empire series. But that would seem to suggest KRAD to write it. And what might the Da Vinci or the Excalibur have been up to that could tie into the project?

    .
     
  7. Dancing Doctor

    Dancing Doctor Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    Oh, whew. I had hoped I didn't misrepresent your position. :)


    I think a better middle path might be to focus on rebuilding the fleet. That wouldn't be too directly aggressive an action, and it would help shore up the defenses.

    Further, I would make sure that the changes Bacco ordered in Zero Sum Game were implemented, as well as make doubly sure that the slipstream technology, and the group working on it, are secure.

    Piggy-backing onto slipstream, I would also try to ramp up, if possible, slipstream production and installation, as that would also be a big benefit to defense.



    Ironic, no?

    Now, this brings up an interesting thought: Should the Federation, in effect, stop being the Federation? By which I mean, stop the expansion and first contact and the like? I say no, because now, more than ever, is the time to expand trade, and find new members.

    I had forgotten about her debate with Pagro!

    (Speaking of which, I'm surprised to see him described as isolationist and non-interventionalist. I had just gotten the impression that he was merely anti-Khitomer Accords.

    Also, where is he? You would think someone as well-connected and supposedly popular with many higher-ups at Starfleet wouldn't just stay quiet).

    Agreed! The only time that Bacco's success with the Gorn is mentioned is when Spock talks to that Gorn on Romulus.

    Exactly. :vulcan: :bolian:
     
  8. flandry84

    flandry84 Captain Captain

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    Ceding planets/sectors to the Typhon pact?
    That worked really well with the Cardassian union.:vulcan:
    Appeasement never works.
     
  9. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    Never got that far.
     
  10. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    I agree--although I must admit my minds a blank as to what Bacco ordered in ZSG.... *sigh*

    Well, look at his reasons. During the debate, he noted it was because of Klingon...imperialism and expansion. There is also the fact that the Empire is supposed to be the UFP's major ally. Without them, the UFP would basically be on its own.

    My guess? Gearing up his next campaign for president, preaching that "this is just what I said--our alliance with the Klingons causes other powers to be hostile to us!"
     
  11. Dancing Doctor

    Dancing Doctor Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    Based on what I can remember, it was a through checking into the backgrounds of all employees at Utopia Planitia (and possibly everywhere), as well as a tightening of security and more through screening procedures. In regards to the actual attack, she ordered it to be reported as an industrial accident, so that its true nature not be known.

    Ah, I see. I'll have to go back and re-read it now, since I just remember his "The Klingons enslave people. I don't know how much more I can or need to say" comment.

    Now that would be interesting.
     
  12. Dancing Doctor

    Dancing Doctor Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    A few things:

    1) Bacco ceded several planets to the Cardassians to get them to join the fleet at the Azure Nebula.

    2) We'll never really know in regards to the cessions that resulted in the Maquis, since by the time we start to look back at the Cardassians and the Maquis, Dukat kinda came in and took over, before we could see how it would have played out fully.

    3) I wasn't seriously suggesting that the Federation cede anything. Here's what I said in full:



    I agree with that, completely.
     
  13. rfmcdpei

    rfmcdpei Captain Captain

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    I'd have been so much happier if it had been Ael's successfully reformed Romulan Empire that the Federation had allied with, rather than Gorkon's Klingon Empire: I can relate to the Romulans more. If that makes sense.

    (Hmm. Vulcan-Romulan reunification as a way to escape the Klingon alliance?)

    All this suggests that the Federation shouldn't be too wary of the Typhon Pact: it can relate to varying extents with most of its neighbours, and can have productive relationships with some. The Klingon Empire, now, is the power most pressured, arguably more surrounded than the Federation and with a major partner that's increasingly skeptical of the Klingons as worthwhile allies. Qo'Nos would have most to lose from a Federation-Typhon Pact detente.
     
  14. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    I'm sad that I'm late to the party here! Just a few thoughts...

    Will the Tzenkethi have anything to say about it? They successfully maneuvered events so that Kammemor became Praetor, but that doesn't mean that their every manipulation will be so successful. And it's entirely possible that the Tal Shiar might end up being much better at its counterintelligence function now that Sela is running it instead of someone who's distracted by his constant attempts to become the power behind the throne.

    And speaking of the throne -- I wonder if the Romulan monarchy will be restored now that Romulus is (apparently) finally politically stable for the first time since the Emperor was assassinated during the Dominion War?

    I completely agree; were I the Federation President and made aware of the role of the Tzenkethi in assassinating a Romulan Senator and Romulan Praetor, I'd strongly consider disclosing as much of that information and its verification as I possibly could (without endangering Federation assets on Romulus). (I do say "strongly consider" because there might be some virtue in keeping that as a trump card close to the chest for a while yet, but I digress.)

    But what makes you think that either Section 31 or Starfleet Intelligence or the Federation Security Agency (the Federation's civilian intelligence agency -- think of it as the CIA to Starfleet Intelligence's Defense Intelligence Agency) has any clue of the Tzenkethi role in the fall of Tal'Aura's government?

    Well, that depends, really. If I'm Praetor of the Romulan Star Empire, I'm inclined to say that it's in the Star Empire's best interests to expose the Tezkethi government's actions to the rest of the Pact and get the Tzenkethi Coalition expelled from the Pact. That would allow Romulus to retain the advantages of Pact membership while removing a rival for dominance within the pact who interfered with its internal affairs.

    Tell that to Klingon Imperial Intelligence. :devil:

    Brilliant post, Nasat!

    (Though I would say that for at least the Breen and the Tholians, their hostility is at least somewhat more active than the others' -- enough that they wanted to actively undermine Federation technological superiority and social stability without actually provoking a war, hence the theft of the slipstream drive and decision to drive a wedge between the Federation and Andor.)

    Has the Pact's Board of Governors even heard Tezrene's words?

    Certainly. But it's important not to paint the Pact in Hitlerian terms, too. If I were a Federation Councillor, I would argue that we shouldn't treat the Pact as though it's a mere continuation of prior enemy regimes; we should treat it as its own unique entity, still feeling its way around, still trying to figure out how it's going to function, still swayable one way or the other.

    While it's pretty obvious that amongst the Breen and the Tholians, there's a strong anti-Federation sentiment that has achieved enough sway to initiate actions against the Federation that wouldn't lead to war, it's not clear at all yet which factions will ultimately dominate the Pact as a whole. Certainly the rise of the Kammemor government and the Gorn's historic diplomacy suggests that the moderates may yet win the day there.

    There's a such thing as getting deeply premature when you start making proclamations about people needing to "choose sides" if "the worst should happen." It would be absolutely disastrous for the Federation to issue a warning like that.

    Well, yes and no. Yes, every Federation Member State has become such by its own free will. But the stated intention of the Federation is to persuade every culture it encounters into adopting its values (when they conflict) and joining the Federation. Eddington was not wrong when he claimed in "For the Cause" that the Federation was sending aide to the Cardassians at least in part because it wanted the Cardassian Union to one day take its rightful place on the Federation Council.

    You might draw a comparison to globalism and the spread of American culture through commercial pressures today. The United States is not out to conquer the People's Republic of China, but I can't say I blame the average Chinese person if he feels threatened by the fact that his ancient, beautiful culture is now host to a so many McDonalds franchises.

    That's not to say that the Federation is imperialistic in the traditional sense. It's probably the most benign form of "cultural imperialism" imaginable -- and I'd argue that even that term is pushing it, since the Federation seems to hold to a rather loose set of values that allow many difficult cultures to flourish within its borders. But let's not pretend that the Federation agenda is not to convince everyone it meets to join the party, either.

    Of course not. No one's claiming that the Tholians and Breen are intellectually consistent. They're saying that they have a point about the Federation even as they're blind about their own behavior -- which is often the case with any culture. No culture is perfect, but all cultures have an easier time seeing other cultures' flaws than their own.

    Well, that's just the point, though: They're threatened by the fact that the Federation wants them to "love us." There's really nothing the Federation can do to stop that.

    Sometimes, hatahs gonna hate. The best you can do is to avoid provoking overtly hostile actions; you can't always expect to be able to convince people to love you and join the party. Let the angry dog eat its bone and it won't try to bite you, even if it growls a bit.

    Not necessarily. That kind of conclusion, I think, is ultimately where the two sides in this debate part ways.

    Again, the thing to remember is that the Typhon Pact has many different factions within it vying for dominance -- both within its members and between its members. There are many, many different scenarios that could play out.

    The Federation may have to give up the idea of ever getting, say, the Tholians to "love them," and certainly the Federation needs to avoid showing weakness. But that doesn't mean that demonstrating strength will be better. Sometimes, the best choice is to do nothing. When nothing happens, tempers have a habit of cooling, after all.

    "They will hit us" is not a given. That's the issue.

    There's no evidence the Typhon Pact has any territorial designs upon Federation worlds.
     
  15. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    So you have confidence in Sela's abilities? Because quite a few fans (I'm not one of them, I'm just saying...) are under the impression that she's incompetent--and emotionally unstable.

    (Whistle) Well! About time you and I agree on something....

    Section 31? Knowing them, I'd find it hard to believe they don't have info on it. SI, I'm not so sure. At the very least...they'd view all these convenient events surrounding the RSE and IRS with a lot of suspicion, and investigate it promptly.

    (BTW, isn't FSA more akin to the FBI or NSA? I certainly haven't heard of FSA working outside the UFP's borders--and in our time, the FBI and NSA are charged with intel within US borders--the CIA is strictly for outside matters, wacko conspiracy theories to the contrary notwithstanding.)

    Yes, possibly. I can easily see why news of the Coalition's scheming would cause all the other members to throw them out. Who knows? It might even become cause for all the members to start viewing each other with suspicion--Are they manipulating us?--and with any luck...cause the Pact to implode.

    Frankly...for that reason, I would suggest that would also be grounds for Kammemor to pull out of the Pact.

    Well, I.I. isn't exactly on par with S.I./31, O.O., or Tal Shiar...

    Sci, this agreement between you and me is frightening. I wonder if the devil's getting frostbite right now....

    Bacco certainly did. Frankly, for diplomatic purposes, she'd almost certainly point it out to the Pact, and see if they'd disavow the speech for the sake of peace.

    It's still a conglomerate of those "prior regimes", regardless of structure. Bad blood is bad blood, regardless of the container.

    I wouldn't count on it. In the French Revolution, the Russian Revolution, the Iranian Revolution, and now I fear the Egyptian Revolution (though, despite myself, I'm still clinging on to hope for an exception to the rule, but not much)--the radicals seized control, leaving the moderates cowering. This was for the simple reason that radicalism breeds vehemence.

    I'm not saying the moderates have no chance. Certainly, there could well be strength in numbers. It all depends on which wave of emotion is stonger--and of course, which one is more "backed up" with assertiveness.

    I never suggested the UFP should do so. I'm simply engaging in political analysis.

    In the case of Chinese McDonalds', the Chinese government is just as culpable in that spread of ideas as American Culture is.

    Well, it's certainly bitterly amusing that they expect the UFP to acknowledge its own failings, while refusing to admit their own....


    Which assumes there won't be something to distabilize the peace other than UFP actions. In that case, again, preperation for conflict is neccessary.

    Again, doing nothing is treading on thin ice, as well. Should there be a circumstance, not under the Federation's control, which breaks down the tense situation--the Federation's lack of stength would not be an asset.

    Well, I could easily see them considering such as a "cure" to Federation Imperialism.
     
  16. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    Yeah, but... outside of the novel The Romulan Strategem, has Sela ever actually succeeded in any of her plans? (She did succeed in killing Rehaek, barely, but that wasn't her plan, it was someone else's.)
     
  17. Hartzilla2007

    Hartzilla2007 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    Well its not like they have what was probably their primary intelligence source in Romulan space any more, what with Koval being dead for the past 4 years.

    Yeah, but those times she was going against the main characters of which ever TV series and/or book series she was in and her plans were always MAJOR game changers so of course she was going to fail those times.
     
  18. Corran Horn

    Corran Horn Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    I found it funny someone used the phrase 'zero sum game' in "Seize the Fire". :D
     
  19. rfmcdpei

    rfmcdpei Captain Captain

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    It's also worth mentioning the Romulan plans tend towards the game-changingly grandiose and ruthless in the first place, engaging in cunning and treacherous military maneuvers and sub rosa intelligence plots, testing and deploying superweapons, all with the goal of utterly transforming the balance of utterly crushing Romulus' enemies and establishing the Star Empire as the galaxy's dominant player. We've seen it on the TV shows, with the attempted invasion of Vulcan and the arming of Duras' side in the civil war; we've seen it in Nemesis, with the deployment of the thalaron projector as a first strike weapon against Earth; we've seen it in Duaneverse novels, with mechanically-augmented telepathy and sunkiller bombs; et cetera.

    With this sort of paradigm in intelligence and military affairs, would Sela's failures at making the radically game-changing success all aspire for necessarily mark her as incompetent? If anything, she did come quite close to success, and would have done quite well if not for our intrepid heroes.
     
  20. rfmcdpei

    rfmcdpei Captain Captain

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    Suspect, sure; try to investigate, maybe; succeed? Not necessarily at all. A friend of mine once worked for Marine intelligence in South Korea, and he made the point that intelligence in North Korea is almost entirely inferential, based on suspicions and plausibilities.

    If it's difficult to get any hard intelligence on a North Korea that shares a culture and a frontier with a highly advanced and competent nation-state that has the world's superpower as patron, how much more difficult would it be to penetrate xenophobic and sophisticated non-Federation polities like the Romulans, never mind the Tzenkethi?

    Section 31 has a mystique among us fans because of its demonstrated ruthlessness and competence. There's no reason to think it's actually the all-knowing organization it would like to be.

    This would be a relevant point if the Typhon Pact was product of some sort of multi-civilizational revolution. It's not: the Typhon Pact is, in fact, a very measured and careful compromise by a half-dozen reasonably stable civilizations which have no interest in letting things get out of control. The Romulans and the Tzenkethi, we know from RBOE, are not blindly trusting in the good faith of their new allies; they're carefully watching everything.