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. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    Ah...are we talking about the same thing? Because it had sounded like you were discussing these rogues blowing up Soviet nuclear arsenals.

    Which is precisely the advantage of an agency being (in appearances, at least) autonomous and "rogue". It assists in the concept of plausible deniablility. The US publicly expressing that they do not condone these actions, thus provides the loophole.

    Again, that I am aware of.

    Sure. But the F.C. made it clear that she was all too willing to go that far, if she deemed it necessary--and as the attempt to destroy the Bajoran sun indicates.

    And in the Trek universe, it seemes comparatively easy for Starfleet to derive cures for such weapons, as opposed to the Dominion.

    Furthermore, as you yourself point out:

    And:

    Interestingly enough, recall that Bashir noted that the Jack Pack theorized on exactly that--and anti-Dominon coup on Cardassia.

    Not necessarily. As you said, the Breen and the Cardassians abandoning the Dominion left them vulnerable--and frankly, the F.C. was all but out of resources. The allies were certainly prepared for a full-scale battle (that was what they were expecting)--and with the Cardassians now on their side, and the Breen retreating, the odds skyrocketed even futher in their favor.

    Frankly, the F.C.'s gloating about her "making victory come at a cost" were merely empty words--and she knew it. She was simply trying to repair her damaged pride.

    As for 31, it's worth noting that the Founders had obviously had the virus since before the wormhole was mined--they were probably infected in "Broken Link". (Oh, the irony....)

    The fact that the virus wasn't activated until Season 7 implies that 31 waited until what they felt was the opportune moment--probably, when the Dominion felt the full effects of the Romulans joining the Allies.

    As I said, war itself is an atrocity. Trying to make it more or less of one is frankly meaningless--it's an atrocity, no matter how you want to paint it. Innocents will die in war--and more often than not, going out of your way to keep that from happening just prolonges the war--and therefore is self-defeating.

    If you want to stop and prevent "war atrocities"--you have to win the war, ending it as quickly as possible.
     
  2. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    The fact that there was only one salt vampire left, is secondary. The use of the word 'genocide' implies deliberate, malicious intent.

    If there is a creature who is trying to kill you, and you kill IT before it can, that is not genocide. It's pure, absolute self defense, which is everyone's right.

    If, however, you say "I hate this race and want to wipe it out on general principles" and you do so, THAT is genocide.

    To put it another way: If there had been other salt vampires in existence at the end of this episode, McCoy would not have hunted them all down to extinction. He killed this one because it was trying to kill Kirk. End of story.
     
  3. rfmcdpei

    rfmcdpei Captain Captain

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    The idiom I was using--"a Cold War-era anti-Communist terrorist group running through the Soviet sphere of influence setting off tactical nukes"--was fairly clear and seems to have been understood by other people.

    For the purposes of the discussion, the distinction that you introduced between "setting off non-Soviet-made nuclear weapons in the Soviet sphere of influence" and "setting off Soviet-made nuclear weapons in the Soviet sphere of influence" is a non-starter: nuclear weapons are being set off, regardless.

    And past a certain point the United States just wouldn't be believed.

    Bringing this back to the discussion about Section 31, its use of genocidal tactics against civilizations inclined to respond in kind is problematic enough. Its use of genocidal tactics without Federation policymakers' involvement is another thing entirely. Section 31 is quite capable of triggering an apocalyptic conflict without any legitimate decision-makers wanting to fight such a war.

    Um, cite? The genocide of the Cardassians on their homeworld certainly happened--upwards of a billion dead--and the people involved saw a Dominion refusal to surrender as potentially catastrophic for everyone.

    Was there evidence that the morphogenic virus needed a trigger?

    This doesn't make Section 31 any better. If anything, it makes Section 31 worse: what was it doing infecting the Founders with a genocidal bioweapon when the Dominion and the Federation weren't even fighting a war?

    That runs directly against the Just War principles that define the Federation's military policies.

    Starfleet was willing to punish Worf for his destruction of a Klingon passenger ship at a time when the Federation and the Klingons were close to war; Worf was saved only when it turned out that there were no passengers on board.

    Section 31's actions fall squarely outside the realm of the acceptable, in doing immoral and illegal things which place the Federation at risk of involvement in apocalyptic wars triggered by Federation operatives operating without anyone's consent. How is this going to work in its favour?
     
  4. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    But you noted that the Soviets would suspect the US because of the technology needed for nukes. If the rogues were simply blowing up the Soviet's own nukes, it would look like what it probably was: anti-Communist rebels.

    Again, the "free world"--and the UN--has a tendency to give opposing nations against the free world the benefit of the doubt in such matters--accepting that it was a rougue group.

    In "Zero Sum Game", for purposes of peace, the diplomatic channels accepted that 1) the thieves of the slipstram drive were working without the sanction of the Breen government; and that 2) there were no legit Federation spys working to stop the Breen research project, and the Aventine really was trying to save the station--it just got there too late.

    Capable, yes. Whether they would do it or not is another matter. Again, by the final battle, the Dominion did not have the resources to fight such a conflict.

    The allies flew to Cardassia fully expecting a full-scale battle--with the Cardassian and Breen fleets on the Dominion's side--and they were also expecting to win.

    My line of reasoning before that line:

    Moving along--

    The fact that it wasn't activated for years.

    Yes, they were--just not a full-scale one. Recall "Homefront" and "Paradise Lost", the Klingon saga with the Martok-changeling (who was around since "Way of the Warrior"), etc.

    In all those episodes, the Dominoon took actions intending to completely de-stablilize the Alpha and Beta Quadrants. In "Homefront/Paradise", in particular, they intended to bring Earth to destruction through implosion.

    To paraphrase the 9/11 Commission Report, "They were at war with us. We weren't at war with them."

    Principles which frankly need a lot of looking over. The Just War theory is good--in theory. However, many times, for the reasons I have stated, it's impractical and self-defeating.

    And under normal circumstances, I would say Starfleet was wrong to be so willing. Of course, their reasons in that instance was that they were doing whatever was necessary to keep a war from breaking out.

    Obviously, the Section 31 agents in custody would be convicted--for the same reasons Starfleet was willing to convict Worf. It would be doing what would be necessary to maintain plausible deniability--and with it, the peace.
     
  5. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    There is nothing you say here that I disagree with.
     
  6. rfmcdpei

    rfmcdpei Captain Captain

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    I noted the difference later, after other people agreed that a terrorist campaign involving WMD use by one state against another is a very bad idea. It's a difference that makes no difference.

    What does this mean?

    Zero Sum Game's scenario has few points in common with Section 31's infection of the Founders with the morphogenic virus.

    * The Breen (with Romulan help) stole slipstream technology from the Federation and were subjected to a black-ops attack that destroyed the prototype Breen slipstream drive and the shipyard that made it, along with the files and the engineers involved. This is tit-for-tat, something not likely to lead to escalation unless both parties wanted it. Neither wanted it, or was especially inclined to wanting it: the Typhon Pact is still building its forces and a common position, and the Federation just wanted to rebuild.

    * Section 31, apparently without authorization, infected a species ruling a hostile polity--not a polity that the Federation was at war with, even--with a lethal virus with the express intent of killing off the entire species. Genocide isn't a policy authorized by Starfleet, or the Federation Council, or the Federation President, and it has every likelihood of escalating very badly indeed. The Founders have been capable of ordering acts of genocide in spite--the Quickening on Teplan and the massacres on Cardassia Prime are proof. Why wouldn't they retaliate in kind against an explicit attack on their species?

    How is it in the interest of anyone in the Federation to retain an agency capable of ordering acts of genocide likely to lead to terrible conflicts? In the case of the Founders and the Dominion, it was only the Founders' lack of knowledge of the disease's origins and their own interest in conquering--not destroying--the Federation that prevented an escalation.

    They intended to destabilize the Federation, yes. They didn't intend to kill everyone in the Federation.

    There are huge differences between the two actions that you seem to be glossing over.

    Obviously, the Section 31 agents in custody would be convicted--for the same reasons Starfleet was willing to convict Worf. It would be doing what would be necessary to maintain plausible deniability--and with it, the peace.[/QUOTE]

    "Mistakes" which can be brushed under the rug are one thing. Attempts at genocide, which can't be, are another.
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2011
  7. Shane Houston

    Shane Houston Commander Red Shirt

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    I must have read the wrong book. Where was Section 31 in Rough Beasts of The Empire?
     
  8. Dancing Doctor

    Dancing Doctor Admiral Admiral

    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    Everywhere :shifty:
     
  9. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    Pardon me, but why would that still not be seen as a bad thing? You're talking about the mass murders of millions of people.

    No. For the purposes of international relations, the diplomatic channels accepted the common set of lies that: 1. No theft of the Federation slipstream drive had occurred; 2. no Federation operatives were present within Breen space; 3. the Aventine arrived in an attempt to save the Breen space station and was too late.

    Uh, no. They intended to prompt the Federation into acts of paranoia, which Leyton damn near did. They weren't out to "bring Earth to destruction through implosion."

    Yes, you've outlined your justifications for war crimes.

    It would be wrong to punish a military officer for murdering innocent civilians?

    That's a really horrifying statement.
     
  10. Kestrel

    Kestrel Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    And that's still a very bad thing.

    There's no reason to assume that. More likely it just had a long incubation period.

    Leaving aside your misrepresentation of Homefront/Paradise Lost. Nobody knew of a Changeling replacing Martok until after 31 had already delivered the virus into the Great Link. That can't be used as evidence that "the Dominion was already at war with the Federation" because nobody knew about it.

    Are you really advocating for a Crusader mentality here? You and Bombs Away LeMay woulda been real good buddies. :wtf:

    :lol:
     
  11. Smitty

    Smitty Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    Was perusing through this thread and I noticed that the author decided to quit posting here at TrekBBS. I am not sure what happened but it seemed he was tired of something. It is sad since I really like reading the interactions with the authors, it really is cool. I hope he comes back.
     
  12. Dancing Doctor

    Dancing Doctor Admiral Admiral

    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    An opening was provided, and I took it. :D
     
  13. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    Oh, it still could very well be considered a bad thing, I don't contest that it unnecessarily causes civilian deaths.

    I am simply contesting the idea that the US would be held at fault for it.



    Simply that plausible deniability is an all-too-useful tool. We couldn't hold the Soviets to account for somthing if they had an air-tight alibi--regardless of everyone "knowing" it were false. Surely that would go for the US, as well.

    That was basically what I said. Of course it was a bunch of lies--and they all accepted it due to the diplomatic tool of plausible deniabilty, which regularly preserves international relations.

    Again, the Federation preserving plausible deniability--and pointing to their "no-genocide" policy--diplomatically absolves them of responsibility in this. Again, to paraphrase Mission: Impossible: "As always, if any of your team is caught or killed, the Federation will disavow any knowledge of your activities."

    Not necessarily. Bear with me--

    Let me explain in further detail: the Dominon indended to prompt the Federation into acts of paranoia leading inevitably to internal implosion.

    Just as paranoia (albeit in a different sense) brought destruction to the Klingon/Federation alliance--so paranoia within the Federation leads to stife, conflict--perhaps civil war.

    So, rfmcdpei, while the actions were not full-fledged genocide, they still were conducted with the intent to bring the Alpha-Beta Quadrant powers to destruction.

    The point I was making is simply this: the Dominion didn't really give a darn about "rules", or "principles". All they cared about was results. They wanted victory over the solids, and were willing to do whatever was necessary to get it.

    Nobody knew about it during those events, no--as far as the general public was concerned. However, anyone looking back would agree that they were are war with the Federation, and the other powers.


    Again--plausible deniability. Section 31 is an autonomous and allegedly rogue organization which acts without the Federation's knowledge or approval. Diplomatically, the opposing powers could not tie them to the Federation, should the later make a public condemnation distancing itself from 31.

    Wrong if it was simply innocents caught in the crossfire--suddenly appearing in a battlefield. If you wander into a battlefield, a price paid is naturally expected--which is why wandering into a battlefield is abolutely stupid.


    One could argue for either scenario, yes. However, your scenario strongly begs for the question of why 31 programmed the virus to take so long to break out. What would be the reason?

    Frankly, I'd say I'd more likely be in good company with, say, General William T. Sherman.
     
  14. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    It wasn't overtly in the book. I was simply speculating at one point that Section 31 may have been aware of the Tzenkethi's scheming.

    Things basically expanded from that.
     
  15. Kestrel

    Kestrel Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    Could very well be considered a bad thing? :wtf: No - terrorists running around blowing up nukes near population centers is a bad thing. No "could be" about it.

    Nobody knew about it period. And if they did then they're damned even more for keeping it secret.

    And hindsight doesn't matter. The chain of events is simple: Changelings replace Martok to nobody's knowledge. 31 infects the Great Link with a genocidal plague. THEN the information about a Changeling high up in the Klingon command becomes known. So that can't be used as a defense.

    Simple - they wanted to make sure it spread to all the Changelings. And/or give a long enough incubation period to make it harder to trace back to Odo and thus the Federation.

    Yeah - and what he did was despicable. I'm sure he was a fine man individually, but his actions led eventually the to firebombings of Hamburg and Dresden and Curtis LeMay's burning of Tokyo.
     
  16. rfmcdpei

    rfmcdpei Captain Captain

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    If the United States turned out to have a hidden agency sponsoring nuclear terrorism, it would be held accountable. If the balance of evidence suggested that the United States was inclined towards this, it would be held accountable.

    It would be a very, very bad idea for the United States to do so, which is why it never developed a Section 31-style agency. Most countries haven't. The only exceptions I can think of are the Soviet Union under Stalin, which had the NKVD/KGB happily killing and assassinating opponents of the state as far removed as Mexico, and Israel, which was assassinating scientists working on WMD and missile programs in Egypt in in the 1950s and 1960s.

    The Federation is like neither polity.

    You don't seem to understand the difference in scale between technology theft and attempted genocide.

    Conquering the Federation, again, is rather different from killing everyone in the Federation. This is a fundamental distinction that you're not picking up on.

    Section 31 chose to escalate a cold war to the point of carrying out an act of genocide. The Cold War equivalent would be the American government responding to the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia by putting nerve gas in Moscow's water system.

    What Section 31 did is the sort of escalation that leaves absolutely no space for conflict de-escalation: even if the Soviet government didn't hold the United States responsible and start the Third World War, a Soviet government coping with the mass murder of millions of citizens would not be inclined towards moderation in foreign affairs.

    There was nothing that the Federation could do to de-escalate the conflict. How could Starfleet offer the Founders a cure without admitting that a Federation body had attempted genocide? Section 31 could have killed everyone.

    Actually, no one had any idea that Martok had been replaced by a Changeling who was bringing the Klingon Empire into conflict with first Cardassia then the Federation. Had the Great Link simply executed Odo no one would have known until it was far too late.

    One could argue for either scenario, yes. However, your scenario strongly begs for the question of why 31 programmed the virus to take so long to break out. What would be the reason?[/QUOTE]

    Assuming Section 31, or anyone, has perfect knowledge of what the morphogenic virus would do, over what time frame, is implausible. Parsimony; Section 31 isn't made of people of godlike competency, clearly.

    Frankly, I'd say I'd more likely be in good company with, say, General William T. Sherman.[/QUOTE]

    Sherman didn't kill everyone in Georgia as a preemptive measure.
     
  17. rfmcdpei

    rfmcdpei Captain Captain

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    It wasn't in the book at all, overtly or covertly or otherwise.
     
  18. Kestrel

    Kestrel Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    ^ No, Dancing Doctor is right. :p
     
  19. Mage

    Mage Commodore Commodore

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    So.........

    Any change this topic could go back to it's topic title, meaning RBoE? ;) ;) ;) ;)
     
  20. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    Would you tell that to the Bajorans?


    I was using it as an example demonstrating that the Changelings were at war with the "solids" when said "solids" were not at war with them.

    You can argue that 31 didn't know about pseudo-Martok when they infected the Founders. You cannot argue that they didn't know about the events of "Homefront/Paradise Lost".

    (nods) I could see that.

    By his example, you mean? Because I'm reasonably sure a Civil War general woudn't have much to do with Tokyo....

    Honestly, like it or not, Sherman understood exactly what I have been saying. Had it not been for him (and "Unconditional Surrender" Grant, of course), the war would have gone on for a lot longer--and would have caused far more strife for all concerned.

    Which is why the appearance of a "rogue organization" is essential.

    Oh, I don't deny that it's extraordinarly difficult. However, this is the 21st Century. By the time the Federation would be founded, the examples of the past are obviously used by 31. After all, they stayed in place for over 200 years.

    And...did that lead to war?

    The Soviets, again, had strong plausible deniability. They were well skilled at "The Game" of diplomacy to excuse themselves of it all.

    That does not change the effectiveness of plausible deniability.

    If the Founders' agenda is to suppress the "solid" threat, a more efficient means of doing so would be to destroy them--if the Dominion were capable of it. Why would they waste resources on holding onto formerlly free worlds?

    As Machiavelli said, there are only two ways to successfully conquer a formerly free society: to go live there to watch everything (which is absurd and impossible for the Founders, for various reasons)--or to destroy the society completely.

    Except for this: 31's virus was akin not to "mass muder of citizend", so much as mass muder of the high-ranking officials of the Soviet Union--resulting in complete instability in the Soviet government.

    However, there's another factor: Remember in "The Ship", the Jem'Hadar crew commit suicide en masse when the Founder perishes. This would seem to indicate that, were the Founders wiped out, the Jem'Hadar en masse would do so, as well.

    Not at all. Assuming that Starfleet giving the cure would be the best option (which I doubt; see my comments on the Battle of Cardassia, and the repsonse I just gave):

    Starfleet had Odo. The offical story could be that, "We found a cure with the help of Odo's DNA, etc."

    Again--plausible deniability. Diplomatic BS.

    Besides...perhaps holding the cure for ransom ("You surrender, and we will hand over the cure.") is a good idea, after all.

    Of course not--no one is godlike in competency. Still, if they created the virus, they would surely test it and make sure it would do what they wanted before infecting Odo.

    And 31 didn't try to kill off all the Vorta and Jem'Hadar in the Alpha Quadrant.
     

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