Collateral Damage - TNG Section 31 follow-up by David Mack

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Enterprise1701, Jan 17, 2019.

  1. David Mack

    David Mack Writer Commodore

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    ^ This book is NOTHING like either of my books for A Time to….
     
  2. David cgc

    David cgc Vice Admiral Premium Member

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    I think he meant more in general, with the "Enterprise crew misbehaved and is in the doghouse" aspect.
     
  3. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Admiral Admiral

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    You mean forcible removing a President from office without due process? That is a pretty big deal. Even if the President was corrupt, it's still not the right thing to do.
     
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  4. thribs

    thribs Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I’m talking about the earlier ones when Picard was removed as Captain for his actions in the graveyard
     
  5. David Mack

    David Mack Writer Commodore

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    Trust me, you won't mistake COLLATERAL DAMAGE for A TIME TO BE BORN/DIE.

    For starters, my B-story is completely different. ;-)

    I also address Picard's legal jeopardy very differently than John Vornholt did.
     
  6. thribs

    thribs Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I’m sure it’ll be different, and that Picard will beat the system. You can’t defeat a Enterprise captain after all.
     
  7. David Mack

    David Mack Writer Commodore

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    This is a case where the question isn't, "Can Picard beat this?" but rather, "Can Picard's LAWYER beat this?"
     
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  8. thribs

    thribs Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    It isn’t his ex girlfriend again?
     
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  9. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    He conspired to forcibly remove the democratically-elected head of government at gunpoint, and to cover up said head of government's violations of law that had led to a war of aggression resulting in millions of deaths. The terms for what Picard did are coup d'état and obstruction of justice.

    If I were a Federation citizen, I would want Picard discharged. I'd concede that he's saved the Federation often enough to warrant an honorable discharge, but I would never, ever want him nor anyone else in that conspiracy in command of Starfleet personnel ever again. The military can never be allowed to have veto power over the democratic state.

    According to The Fall: Peaceable Kingdoms, Phillipa Louivis was serving as Attorney General of the United Federation of Planets in 2385, presumably as part of Nanietta Bacco's cabinet before the events of that miniseries.
     
  10. thribs

    thribs Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I get that but it just didn’t feel that much of a big deal to me. What the admiral did by getting Section 31 to kill them in cold blood seems like the bigger deal to me.
     
  11. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    I mean, they're both big deals. But how can it not be a big deal when the military forces the president out at gunpoint?

    Like, I hate George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. I think those men are war criminals who ought to have been impeached, charged with crimes against humanity, tried and convicted at the International Criminal Court, and condemned to spend the rest of their lives in a prison. But I absolutely wanted a constitutional process for their removal from power via legitimate means; they were legitimately-elected (at least, they were in 2004), and the United States Armed Forces would have had no right whatsoever to force them out at gunpoint. To do so would that been to attack democracy itself.

    Because that's what Picard and co. did by forcing Zife out at gunpoint: They attacked Federation democracy. That's a big deal. The people of the United Federation of Planets elected Min Zife to a term of four years; removing him is a violation of the right of Federation citizens to communal self-determination, a violation of their right to pick their own leaders. That's huge.

    (Side-note #1: We do not actually know if Admiral Ross intended for Zife and co. to be assassinated by Section 31. We know that he conspired with them to coerce Zife into resignation, but we never learn in any of the relevant novels whether or not Ross even knew L'Haan intended to kill the trio. His internal monologue in Articles of the Federation establishes that he did, however, fear that President Bacco would herself be assassinated if she learned of Section 31 and its role in Zife's fate, and that one of his motivations for agreeing to retire per Bacco's orders was to make it less likely Section 31 would target her.)

    (Side-note #2: When you think about it, the Federation of the Litverse has a pretty major problem with its democracy. It has suffered three different coups attempts in 13 years: Leyton's attempted coup against President Jaresh-Inyo in 2372; Ross's and Picard's coup against President Zife in 2379; and Baras's coup against President Bacco in 2385. There's something really wrong with Federation political culture if this crap keeps happening.)
     
  12. lvsxy808

    lvsxy808 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I'm not 100% sure of that. In that scene between Ross and Bacco in AotF, it was Bacco's gallows humour joke about making Ozla Graniv 'disappear' that led Ross to give himself away by his reaction, which is how Bacco realised Zife was dead - because previously, she too had only thought he was removed into quiet retirement. Ross wouldn't have reacted that way if he didn't at least know S31 had killed Zife, even if only after the fact.

    And I'm not sure if it's in that conversation or not, but it's somewhere in that book, that the point is raised that what Picard and Ross did might not rise to the level of 'coup', because they never sought to put their own person in Zife's place. Yes, removing a popularly elected president by force would certainly qualify at least half way there, but after that, Ross and Picard stepped aside and didn't interfere any further. Bacco was just as popularly elected as Zife was, not appointed by the dethroners of her predecessor.

    I think of this as a consequence of deciding to tell stories in the political realm of the Star Trek universe. If you're going to follow those characters, you have to have dramatic stuff happen to them. Even AotF, while mostly a year-in-the-life story where the president deals with various crises without the presidency being a crisis in and of itself, still had to deal with the aftermath of one such crisis. So I think it supports my sense that The Fall was intended to put a cap on that mode of storytelling, so that the Federation government could settle down and stop being so full of crises all the time, because they didn't need to be because we weren't looking at them all the time anymore.

    .
     
  13. David Mack

    David Mack Writer Commodore

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    ^ The level of debate still sparked by the events of A Time to Heal bodes well for Collateral Damage. The mission given to me by the editor was to examine those events and then construct both the prosecution and the defense arguments for Picard's case. It was a hell of a ride.
     
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  14. DEWLine

    DEWLine Commodore Commodore

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    I look forward to reading that once it's ready.
     
  15. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    Hm. It was my interpretation that Graniv had learned that Zife had been assassinated from her sources in the Orion Syndicate on Deneva, and that Bacco knew Zife was killed after Graniv contacted her in AotF. I like your interpretation, though -- it helps Graniv's role in AotF fit in with her role in Control, wherein she appears surprised that Section 31 had had Zife killed. If Graniv and her Syndicate sources had been under the impression it was a purely Starfleet coup and had no idea about Zife's death, that goes a long way to reconciling the two novels.

    Oh, Ross definitely knew that Section 31 killed Zife. I'm just saying that the texts are ambiguous about whether or not he knew they would be killing Zife before the assassination happened, and on whether or not he intended for Zife to be assassinated himself or was coerced into facilitating Section 31's decision to assassinate.

    To be fair, political scientist Edward Luttwak does distinguish between the military overthrowing a government and taking power itself, and a military overthrowing the existing government and installing a new (ostensibly) civilian government: the former, he defines as a coup, but the latter he defines as a pronunciamiento.

    I would argue that this is a distinction without a difference; either way, the government that takes over only does so as long as the military chooses to allow it, because the military has now granted itself veto power over the government's existence. Either way, the right of the people to determine their leaders for themselves for a given term has been violated.

    Doesn't matter. The people of the Federation elected Zife President for a four-year term commencing in 2377 and terminating in 2381. By forcing him out at gunpoint, Ross and co. violated the sovereignty of the people of the Federation.

    I mean, sure, but I was looking at it from an in-universe perspective. President zh'Tarash has got some democratic rebuilding to do!

    From a meta perspective, I would just say that I think storylines about the Federation President being overthrown/assassinated have become overused and should be avoided going forward. You can still tell compelling stories about high politics without that particular element.

    I am very much looking forward to it!
     
  16. Unimatrix Q

    Unimatrix Q Captain Captain

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    That's what i don't like about what i read about the book. I love "Section 31: Control". It's in my opinion one of the most thoughtful and interesting Trek novels ever.

    I'd love to read a sequel that handled all the issues raised by it without any distracting B story that takes too much space away from the main storyline.
     
  17. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    This makes me curious whether Collateral Damage will focus primarily on the consequences of Picard's decision to conspire with Ross and co. to coerce Zife to leave office at gunpoint, or if it will cover the broader consequences of Section 31's exposure and Control/Uraei's role in shaping United Earth and Federation society.
     
  18. David Mack

    David Mack Writer Commodore

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    I don't think of my Worf/Enterprise story as a distraction. It is part of the novel's theme of responsibility and repentence/forgiveness.

    The former.
     
  19. Jedi Ben

    Jedi Ben Commander Red Shirt

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    Catching up...

    As much as I love this approach, can you remind me how it squares with that whole 'the books must follow TV/film' rule that rendered Hobus such an unholy mess? You might have already answered it with the next quote though:

    So, it might all change, might not but whatever the case, the book's that are done may come out - it's just future stories that would have to fit in with the new info?

    Changing tack, just had a look at the synopsis that's up - sounds good, got a nice set of three upcoming books on the hit list now.
     
  20. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    The writer's perspective and the audience's perspective are two completely different things. Writers of licensed fiction are, of course, obligated to keep their work consistent with the universe they're hired to write for. But readers or viewers of any and all fiction are perfectly capable of enjoying stories set in mutually incompatible realities. If you can enjoy both a Batman story and a Spider-Man story without requiring them to share a universe, or if you can enjoy both Tobey Maguire's Spider-Man and Tom Holland's, then you can just as easily enjoy two Star Trek stories that don't share a continuity. Having continuity between two works of fiction is a nice bonus when you can get it, but it's not the sole requirement for a story being entertaining to its audience.


    Yes, of course. Naturally you can only be consistent with the episodes you know about when you write your book. You can't predict the future. But it takes far longer to get a manuscript into print than it does to get a TV episode produced and aired, so by the time a novel gets published, it will be months out of date relative to screen continuity. Sometimes a book can be revised in the copyediting stage to incorporate new information, but once it gets to the galley stage, the last few months before publication, then it's too late to make any major changes to the book, so if a new episode comes along to contradict it after that point, there's nothing that can be done about it.
     
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