What next for Section 31? [SPOILERS]

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by rfmcdpei, Nov 7, 2013.

  1. rfmcdpei

    rfmcdpei Captain Captain

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    So. in A Ceremony of Losses, wherein Bashir gets access to the entire Shedai meta-genome, Sarina Douglas warns him that if Section 31 suspects that the meta-genome might get out it will not only kill anyone who might possibly have accessed the data, it would also probably commit genocide against the Andorians and blame it on the Tholians.

    The idea of mass murder on such a scale isn't shocking to me. Section 31 was shown in the television series as being willing to commit genocide against the Founders, while Martin and Mangels' Rogue did establish that certain potential threat civilizations that the Federation had fleeting contact with did, well, disappear under unusual circumstances, to say nothing of the willingness of L'Haan to destroy Tezwa if needed. (I also don't see any reason to be suspicious of Sarina's statement, since we can probably take her to be reliable.)

    I am taken aback by the idea that Section 31 would likely commit genocide against a species that was literally in the heart of the Federation. That is altogether different from committing mass murder against distant peoples of whom practically nothing is known. It's the difference between having your military go out beyond the frontiers and start massacring foreigners and having your military come into your cities and start killing everyone in sight.

    This is astonishing recklessness. Am I wrong in thinking that a secretive organization ready to undertake such radical actions without authorization is set for a hard fall? Martin and Mangels, again, did establish in the early 24th century that Section 31 and its crimes had been revealed thanks to Bashir et al. I wonder what Mack's upcoming Disavowed will describe.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Well, as anyone who's read The Good That Men Do knows...

    Section 31 WILL fall. It's destined to do so. So why should any of this be a surprise? Any organization that would do things like this is pretty much ensuring its own end.
     
  3. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    That's what they want you to think;)
     
  4. Hartzilla2007

    Hartzilla2007 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Honestly I think it pretty much kills any justification for Section 31 and/or their actions.
     
  5. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    ^ No such justification ever existed.
     
  6. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    Hm. I honestly don't remember the part where Section 31 threatened genocide against the Andorians; my interpretation was that Section 31 was threatening to blow up Deep Space 9 to make sure that the Meta-Genome data didn't get leaked. Where did I miss this?
     
  7. Markonian

    Markonian Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Blow up DS9? I didn't see that anywhere in the novel.

    For what it's worth, in STO Section 31 is more represented as loveable rogue. The missions one is coerced to undertake in their name are typical "save the world" and one might wonder why we didn't receive the order from SI instead. Btw, in the Yesterday's Enterprise timeline, S31 appears to fall with the Federation.

    We're probably going to learn a lot more about them in Disavowed next year.
     
  8. bfollowell

    bfollowell Commander Red Shirt

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    Well, I'm just wrapping up A Ceremony of Losses and I know what he's talking about. It isn't that Section 31 said that they'd do that or threatened to do that. Sarina and Bashir are talking before they commit to taking the route that they do and Sarina suggests the lengths Section 31 may go to to protect their secrets. I'm not quite finished yet. I have about 40 pages to go but I don't think anyone other than Sarina suggests this.

    The conversation takes place in chapter eight on page 79 or 80. She says

    “If Section 31 thinks your security has been compromised, or that anything you do poses a risk to the safety of the Federation, they’ll kill you, me, and anyone else who might be even tangentially involved. Then they’ll erase your research, bury the Meta-Genome data, and probably exterminate the Andorians while framing the Tholians for the genocide.”

    - Byron
     
  9. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    ^ That's a mighty big "probably".
     
  10. bfollowell

    bfollowell Commander Red Shirt

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    Agreed. I'm pretty sure she was speaking of an extreme hypothetical. I think Bashir may have even asked her what her worst case scenario was.

    Again, at no point did anyone from Section 31 say they were going to do this. This was all someone else saying what they felt they may do.

    Also, I agree with rfmcdpei. If they would go to this extreme, and past history from the show and from previous novels seems to indicate they might, they're definitely setup for a fall, and I suspect one is soon coming.

    - Byron
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2013
  11. Hartzilla2007

    Hartzilla2007 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    True but they do have fans who try to justify their existence, I'm just saying if Section 31 is willing to fry an entire planetary population (and a federation one at that) just to keep their secrets then those fans can't really come up with a justification for it this time.
     
  12. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    ^ But as we just said, there is absolutely no evidence Section 31 IS willing to do that. There's only the paranoid rantings of one person to go on. And that's hardly reliable.
     
  13. Nob Akimoto

    Nob Akimoto Captain Captain

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    I'd imagine "exterminate the Andorians" in this case probably isn't planetary scale genocide, but just sabotaging the projects involving the metagenome to the point where they go extinct. Which, honestly, isn't any worse than what Ishan was planning to do for his electoral gains.
     
  14. rfmcdpei

    rfmcdpei Captain Captain

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    1. It's not paranoid if they really are out to get you. Section 31 has been shown in the novels to have been ready to commit genocide, both by implication and by direct statements, to say nothing of the television shows. Why not genocide against the Andorians?

    2. Is Sarina Douglas really unreliable? So far the reader has been given no evidence to suggest that she isn't a credible source of knowledge of Section 31 procedures.
     
  15. rfmcdpei

    rfmcdpei Captain Captain

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    I'm not sure. "Blaming the Tholians" seems to me to imply something more than "the Andorians don't get the data and become extinct".
     
  16. Jarvisimo

    Jarvisimo Captain Captain

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    I guess Jake and Nog have no way of knowing the veracity of their sources, though! I kind of think of S31 as having something akin to the cell structure of the Obsidian Order depicted in A Stitch in Time.

    EDIT: and apparently a taste for big institutions about Jupiter :D
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2013
  17. David Mack

    David Mack Writer Commodore

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    Just to be clear about my intent when I wrote that scene, it's possible that, in a moment of heightened anxiety, Sarina might have indulged in a *wee bit* of exaggeration on that last detail. ;)
     
  18. DEWLine

    DEWLine Commodore Commodore

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    After all, 31 has almost certainly had Andorians in their ranks since United Earth became part of the Federation. And probably still had Andorians in their ranks even after the secession vote.

    In any case, I can't see "the bureau" not wanting a positive outcome re: Andor rejoining the UFP by way of Bashir's actions or those of anyone else they knew of with an interest in making it happen. They may be pragmatists, and they're certainly ruthless. But loyalty to something does imply a sentimental streak in there somewhere.
     
  19. ITCH

    ITCH Ensign Red Shirt

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  20. Nob Akimoto

    Nob Akimoto Captain Captain

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    The difference is that Section 31 isn't a legally sanctioned entity like the Tal Shiar or Obsidian Order. Hell the Obsidian Order was part of the official power sharing triumverate in the Cardassian Union.

    Whereas Starfleet Intelligence appears to be the actual "official" part of intelligence gathering for Starfleet, and is Elias Vaughn and T'Prynn's actions are any indications, pretty good at the job and also willing to do some shady stuff in the bargain.

    Section 31 otoh is a complete rogue agency who at times appears to do stuff that's not entirely consistent with the Federation's national interest.