Spoilers TP: Zero Sum Game by David Mack Review Thread

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by JD, Oct 21, 2010.

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How would you rate Zero Sum Game?

  1. Outstanding

    41 vote(s)
    22.8%
  2. Above Average

    83 vote(s)
    46.1%
  3. Average

    46 vote(s)
    25.6%
  4. Below Average

    8 vote(s)
    4.4%
  5. Poor

    2 vote(s)
    1.1%
  1. Admiral_Young

    Admiral_Young Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

    Just finished...excellent book. So is Sarina lying to Bashir about her feelings towards him and just following Section 31's orders? A Vulcan Director of Section 31 makes me shudder. I really love the Aventine and her crew as well.
     
  2. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

    ^Well...technically, as "Extreme Measures" implies a cell-like structure (and indeed, common sense demands decentralization to this effect), L'Hann is probably a Director, as opposed to the Director.

    But I agree--it is most fascinating that Vulcans are in high-ranking positions in 31. But it isn't the first time we've seen that. In A Time To Kill/Heal (written by David Mack!), there's a senior agent who's a Vulcan.



    Sci, as to your latest point--yes, The Gipper's strategy of arms race was as you say. But remember his conclusion: He asserted that the Soviet Union was sufficiently weak economically that they would end up massively spending money they didn't have to counter us, and therefore either collapse or come running to the table, desperate for a deal--which is basically what happened. Also, remember Reagan's guarantee, "America is not in the business of starting wars." This is a far cry from what Mahmoud has said.

    Now--you are right, in that we do not know. But here, Mahmoud's belligerence--and indeed, the belligerent words of the Pact ambassadors to the effect of We Will Bury You--are a case of "better safe than sorry".

    Thus, the CIA--and SI--are wholly justified in sabotage--and whatever comes with it.
     
  3. Kestrel

    Kestrel Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

    Of course. But it is an aggressive and hostile action and would nuance the response that's being made. You'd have to modify your Iran scenario to account for Iranian saboteurs who stole classified American/British/French/Russian/etc technology and heavily damaged a production facility to aid in escape, killing American/etc civilians in the process
     
  4. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

    That was in fact the very same L'Haan who appeared in the finale of Zero Sum Game.

    I'm not making an exact parallel or trying to claim that Ahmadinejad is the equivalent of Reagan. I'm using Reagan as one example of a larger point: That a country's leaders can sometimes want others to view them as being more dangerous than they actually are.

    That's certainly one opinion. But it does not change the fact that we don't know their intentions. Nor is it intellectually honest to phrase one's opinions in absolutist terms.

    "Wholly?" Really? There's no ambiguity there at all? The justification is complete and absolute?

    I'm actually amused that you've taken up this argument, since I brought up that thought experiment largely as a counter to the people who were against the mission as depicted in Zero Sum Game. My initial point in bringing up the Iran thought experiment was to say, "Don't be too quick to assume that such a mission was unjustified and immoral. Relate it to circumstances in real life that capture a better sense of the potential dangers posed by not engaging in such a mission, and re-think your stance. It may not seem quite so unjustified as you're thinking."

    But, amusingly enough, you seem to have interpreted my thought experiment as an argument in support of the idea that such missions as depicted in Zero Sum Game are unjustified!

    My actual point is this:

    It's ambiguous and it's not an easy thing to judge, on either side.

    Given the well-known role of the Iranian government in, for instance, supporting insurgent attacks on U.S. troops in Iraq (within the blanket of plausible deniability), I did not consider the parallel to require such exacting precision. Iran has already demonstrated a willingness to engage in some hostilities with the U.S. on a limited scale (just like the Typhon Pact demonstrated a willingness to engage in limited-scale hostilities by stealing the slipstream drive).

    Is the parallel exact? No. It does not have to be; the relevant parallels are there: A rising power with unknown long-term intentions, willing to engage in small-scale hostilities, attempting to assert itself on the larger political stage by developing a dangerous technology, and the choice faced by the larger, more established, but lately somewhat weaker liberal democracy to use or not use espionage and black operations to destroy the technology potentially at the cost of a great many civilian lives.
     
  5. ProtoAvatar

    ProtoAvatar Fleet Captain

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

    If these CIA agents have the clear and easy option to keep these unarmed civilians alive, a fact that would not affect in the least the chances of success of their mission, then yes, Sci, IT IS A TRULY IMMORAL THING.

    And now, Sci, you are using the term 'ambiguous' to refer to an act that is clearly immoral - killing justified by no reason, gratuitously.
     
  6. ProtoAvatar

    ProtoAvatar Fleet Captain

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

    I agree, Nerys Ghemor.
     
  7. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

    ^Whew! The underworld has officially frozen over!

    Why should you be amused, Sci? I am simply proposing my ideas by taking up the opportunity you so generously provided--nothing more, nothing less. I had no idea you only wanted certain points of view to be given in response....

    If the nation is behaving and/or speaking belligerently and hostilly towards the society--of course!
     
  8. aelius

    aelius Commander Red Shirt

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

    As to Bashir's justification for the Kill setting. We know the Stun setting works for at least some, of the Breen species. We have no idea how well it works on all of them. Bashir (figuratively) kicked down the door on a room with an unknown number of possibly armed Breen who might have a varying resistance to the Stun setting. If one of these Breen had even wounded him the chances of success for his mission would have dropped drastically. That could be catastrophic for the Federation and could lead to consequences up to and including an open war that could kill millions. Killing them quickly without taking extra time to determine whether they were armed or could resist a Stun setting maximized his chances of success and, lets not forget, survival.
    By that standard his actions were justified. Perhaps not nice, or even moral. But necessary.
    As to the Iran debate. Very interesting and thought provoking. But when analyzing their intentions I tend to agree with an Israeli General whose name I can't remember right off hand. He said "We have learned from hard experience that when someone says they want to exterminate us, we believe them."
    OH, and now that the Breen are officially here, we need a Breen smiley:techman:
     
  9. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

    ^
    8874578927987479874502987398754289750!!! :bolian:
     
  10. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

    Dude, you're blowing the damn thing up. It's pretty obvious that there are going to be at least a few, if not many, civilian deaths.

    And did Bashir have the clear and easy option to keep those unarmed civilians alive? He was entering a room he could not see before he entered, did not know how many people would be in the room, and who would be armed, nor could he risk being captured or subdued or allowing them to call security even if they were unarmed.

    And had stun worked, they would have then been doomed to die in the subsequent shipyard explosion.

    I'm honestly not sure under what scenario Bashir could have saved those engineers without sacrificing the mission.

    I never said that. I'm just amused that you seem to have been assuming that my CIA thought experiment was motivated by a completely different set of a priori assumptions on my part than it actually was.

    Really? Belligerent speech is enough to provoke that sort of thing? No ambiguity there whatsoever?

    You and ProtoAvatar are hysterical. Like there can ever be moral absolutes in the world of espionage.
     
  11. ProtoAvatar

    ProtoAvatar Fleet Captain

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

    Dude, just because in war collateral victims are sometimes unavoidable does NOT mean it's OK to MURDER peopole FOR THE LULZ, GRATUITOUSLY, when you can easily avoid killing.
    Because 'it's war and one must be tough' or some other non-sense like that. When he murdered those civilians for the lulz, Bashir sunk to the level of serial killers, sociopathic creeps - the lowest scum humanity ever produced.

    Killing gratuitously is a WAR CRIME - and there's absolutely NO moral justification for it - not even in espionage and war.

    YES, Bashir DID have a clear and easy option to keep those unarmed civilians alive.
    Simply put his weapon on stun. In 'star trek', a weapon on 'stun' is just as easy to use as a weapon on 'kill' - a fact established multiple times. And, as ZSG itself establishes - repeatedly -, 'stun' is effective against breen.
    Also, for the purposes of his mission, those civilians being unconscious or dead was the same thing - during the endgame, those civilians would be out of the game.

    :guffaw:
    Have you even read your own posts, Sci - filled with feeble excuses meant to justify GRATUITOUS MURDER?
    You're talking about yourself.
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2010
  12. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

    If such speech is simultaneous with cetain postures--such as the nuclear buildup, or the Breen's theft of the slipstream device--of course!

    Hey--you don't see me exploding like he just did.

    Sometimes there are. Other times call for more "grey".

    All I did was give you a straight answer, Sci. Trying to act as the "middle of the road" between, say, me and ProtoAvatar seems to result in your saying there are no answers...which begs the question of why you asked in the first place.
     
  13. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

    Because I think people don't like to think about what I view as the reality of these sorts of situations: That the are, as you said, no real answers. That sometimes, it's just what the traffic can bear.
     
  14. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

    I see. Still...I think one could say that, as those like me have indeed thought it over a great deal...I'd say I can "accept" that sometimes...some pretty dark things has to be done.

    As a scientist (in the area of politics), I believe that the actions in this field are to be guided by specific sets of rules--much like the laws of physics. Hobbes and Locke, I recall, were masters of the art of politics as a science.

    Many of these laws, of course, concern security. And through establishing laws for my points of view, consistent with the reality of nature, I am more able to accept the consequences therof.
     
  15. Shon T'Hara

    Shon T'Hara Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

    Everyone's twisted up about Bashir's action, but doesn't anyone find it troubling that Ezri never even considered helping the Breen evacuate the ship? Blocking people trying to escape seems at least as reprehensible as shooting them in cold blood. At the very least, she should've hailed the ship and told them to lower their shields for beam-out, then made sure the ship couldn't escape the hangar. Even if she'd considered the possibility and concluded there was no way to accomplish the mission while rescuing the crew, it would've been better than just consigning the Breen to death with no second thoughts.
     
  16. ares93

    ares93 Commodore Commodore

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

    ^ plausible deniability. if they were never there, how could they save a bunch of breen? this was a covert op.
     
  17. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

    ^I'd say so. Frankly, I don't think she'd even be allowed to save them--for those reasons. Had she done so, the UFP government would find it much more difficult to disavow the act.

    Still...I wish Mr. Mack would have had Ezri internally acknowledge it--after all, the girl we all know from DS9 would have had a very hard time allowing people to die....
     
  18. Sisko_is_my_captain

    Sisko_is_my_captain Captain Captain

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

    (I'm not sure I got those quote attributions correct - if not, sorry).

    I think Sci is dead on here, and I was going to bring up a similar point. Julian has shown a history of falling in love with the idea of the woman who he's with, rather than the woman herself. Call that 'romanticism' or a tendency towards 'living in his head', but that is what I've seen.

    He fell head over heels for Jadzia the first time he met her (on the transport to DS9), before he knew a thing about her. He fell for Ezri, apparently in large part, because she resembled his idea of Jadzia. I have a feeling he imagined Leetah was smarter than she was.

    Now as to Sarina, Julian hardly had any conversation with her at all before he was back in heart-pounding love with The One. I don't think he's ever seen beyond her advanced genes. He's spun this story for himself that she's The One, and now he's happily treating her like The One. They hardly spoke to each other in the novel; it seemed like he was thinking more about her to himself than he was talking to her about who she was and who he was.

    So yes, I'd say he think's he's in love with her, but really, he's in love with the idea of Sarina instead.
     
  19. Sisko_is_my_captain

    Sisko_is_my_captain Captain Captain

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread


    I found the whole thing a little silly. "We aren't killing you, the exploding reactor we're pressing you up against is killing you. What do you mean, 'semantics'? Bowers, what does he mean, 'semantics'?"

    They were like the pirates in the Simpsons episode (The Mansion Family) that had Homer et al. in a large net hung overboard, which they were about to cut loose, drowning Homer et al. in the sea.

    "Now we will cut you loose. For liability purposes, it is the ocean that will kill you, not us."

    If they were never there, then why couldn't a couple of quantum torpedoes never be there either? Meh.
     
  20. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

    Sorry...but once again, Julian's interactions with Ezri were very different from his interactions with Jadzia. He may have seen her as a "second Jadzia" in that scene in "Afterimage", but Ezri shot it down.

    For the rest of the show, it was different.

    And again...it took an entire season for Julian to realize that he had feelings for Ezri--which is in stark contrast to his other relationships.