Palais de la Concorde

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Arpy, Jul 21, 2020.

  1. Arpy

    Arpy Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    What does it look like? Memory Beta is only yea helpful. I seem to remember it described as an inverted pyramid structure, high up above the historic Place de la Concorde with the Champs Elysee below running though it, straddling up high by supporting beams that lead to the palais above the Place below. Are there four beams at each corner or four altogether?

    Is it an inverted pyramid (maybe akin the the shot of Starfleet HQ in San Francisco in TVH, or a cylindrical structure like the buildings in the background shots of Paris in TNG?

    What constitutes “troisième Empire” architecture? What did it look like, and when was France's Third Empire conquering "lesser" peoples once again? Did they conquer Colonel Green's people? Khan’s? Remnants of the E-Con?

    What about it says it’s a “palais,” and not an Executive Office Building?

    Also, if it's a combined White House and Capitol Building....for an interstellar civilization of a trillion+ beings from a 150+ member worlds and thousands of countless colonies, planets, moons, bases, stations, ships, et al.....shouldn't it be bigger?
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2020
  2. BillJ

    BillJ Canon Warrior Premium Member

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    Use your imagination.
     
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  3. David cgc

    David cgc Admiral Premium Member

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  4. Arpy

    Arpy Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I saw that, yeah. It’s nice, but it’s closer to the DS9 president’s building than what’s described in the novels. I’m wondering if anyone’s ever taken a crack at that, or has thoughts on how their version might look.
     
  5. lvsxy808

    lvsxy808 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I thought the inverted pyramid was the Federation embassy on Qo'noS, the one that Worf Die Hard'ed and that had a secret S31 base in the sub-basement, not the Palais.

    I have always pictured the Palais as cylindrical, on four pillars that straddle the Champs Elysées as you say. It's described as 15 stories high, with the president's office on the top floor – that's the president's real office as seen in The Undiscovered Country, not the cheap version as seen in DS9, which is written off as a meeting room – and the council chambers and press room nearer the ground. The pillars contain the security checkpoints to let the average punter in and out, plus there is a shuttle pad on the roof, whereas the president normally travels by transporter.

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  6. KRAD

    KRAD Keith R.A. DeCandido Admiral

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    Yeah, the inverted pyramid is the Federation embassay on Qo'noS, as @lvsxy808 said. I don't remember if the Palais was described as cylindrical or not, but yes, it does have four pillars straddling the thoroughfare, which runs underneath it................
     
  7. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I believe the Palais was described as cylindrical, yes.
     
  8. Arpy

    Arpy Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I must have been remembering the Federation Embassy then. Was it in Diplomatic Implausibility?

    The cylindrical structure makes it easier to marry with the background buildings in TNG — cool.
     
  9. KRAD

    KRAD Keith R.A. DeCandido Admiral

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    The embassy in question was first described by David Mack in A Time to Kill and also used in my own A Time for War, a Time for Peace.
     
  10. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    While it's possible that the Third Empire arose during one of those periods of Earth history Star Trek hasn't covered yet, I would point out it's also possible that they just named an architectural style from the canonical eras of ST that became really popular the "troisième Empire” as a nod to tradition, and that no real imperialism was involved.

    Also, the reference to "troisième Empire” architecture only present in Swordhunt, part of the Rihannsu novels by Diane Duane that aren't necessarily always in continuity with the TrekLit "Destinyverse." Duane does not refer to the President's office as the Palais.

    Well, it can't just be an executive office building, because the Palais houses at least two branches of the Federation government, the Council and their support staff and the Office of the President and its immediate support staff.

    Presumably, it's called a palais both as an acknowledgment of how large it must be -- personally, I figure the width of the thing must be huge if it's fitting the offices of 150-odd Councillors, their support staff, their committee offices and committee staff, plus, the Office of the President, plus the press office, plus a state dining hall, plus three subterranean floors dealing with security issues, all in only 15 floors and 3 basement levels. I imagine it is also called a palais as a nod to the Palais de l'Élysée (seat of the President of the French Republic), Palais Bourbon (seat of the National Assembly), and Palais du Luxembourg (seat of the Senate).

    Depends on how much support staff the Councillors and President have, really. In real life, 56 states and territories require nine buildings (the Capitol; 6 office buildings housing Members of Congress, their staffs, and committee staff offices; the White House [which itself is really three buildings in one]; and the Eisenhower Executive Office Building). That's not even counting Cabinet secretaries, whose departments all have their own buildings, or the Supreme Court in its own building.

    But, there again, the Capitol, White House, Supreme Court Building, and their support staff buildings, are all much smaller than you would tend to imagine from seeing them on TV. (I used to intern on the Hill and I've seen the White House from Pennsylvania Avenue many times.) If the Palais de la Concorde is a true behemoth, then the idea of fitting the Council and President in one building is a bit less implausible than all that... though I really can't imagine the executive departments don't all have themselves gigantic buildings spread across Earth.
     
  11. lvsxy808

    lvsxy808 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Is it confirmed though that the various councillors all have their offices within the Palais? If not, that would help reduce the required space.

    The meeting rooms definitely are, but given presumably reliable public transport networks (even despite Paris's renowned resistance to modernising), it shouldn't be a big problem for the councillors to come to those meeting rooms and even the council chamber from elsewhere in Paris or even elsewhere on Earth.

    It is definitely confirmed that foreign ambassadors – Garak, K'Mtok, Derro, Tezrene etc – have their offices elsewhere. So it's not out of the realms that internal councillors would as well. In fact didn't we visit the Centauri councillor's offices in London in some book or other (poss "Hollow Men") ?

    It is mildly annoying that The Undiscovered Country never included any external shots of Ra-Ghoratreii's office, only internal shots. In real-life that set was a redress of Ten Forward if I recall.

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  12. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah, Articles of the Federation explicitly establishes that much of the Palais houses the Councillors' offices.

    I mean, if they're building Councillors' office spaces outside of the Palais, it would really make more sense to build the Council Office Buildings nearby and connect the buildings physically, so that the Councillors don't have to worry about external transportation systems anyway.

    I don't remember; wasn't that the Centauri ambassador to the UFP? (For whatever reason, the UFP apparently still maintains ambassadors from its Member States, separate from the Federation Councillors for those Member States.)

    Yep! Every now and then I expect Guinan to pop up and ask President Ra-ghoratreii if he wants a prune juice. ;)

    Side note: I tend to imagine the Palais as being in the neoclassical style; I often picture a much larger, straight-standing version of the Leaning Tower of Pizza, to be honest.
     
  13. lvsxy808

    lvsxy808 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Well that's a whole other rant I was having recently when I looked at the MB page for Paths of Disharmony – why the hell is there an Andorian councillor and an Andorian ambassador before Andor pulled out of the Federation? It should be one before and the other after surely, not both at the same time, that's just duplicating effort.

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  14. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Federation worlds having their own ambassadors has been a thing ever since "Journey to Babel." It's not clear how it works within the Federation governmental structure as it's now understood, but it's an established practice.
     
  15. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    My personal headcanon is that the "ambassador" of a Federation Member State to the UFP is an informal title, and that their real title is something more ambiguous and their job is to facilitate cultural exchange and trade, while the Federation Councillor is the one that deals with actual legislation.
     
  16. Csalem

    Csalem Commodore Commodore

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    Within the European Union we send elected representatives to the European Parliament, each member state appoints a Commissioner who is given a specific role (such as trade or agriculture) and then a permanent representative to the EU, which is basically an ambassador. We also send ambassadors to individual countries.

    I have always imagined the Federation was a bit like the EU. Only difference is we don't elect the leader of the EU.
     
  17. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    That makes sense.
     
  18. Avro Arrow

    Avro Arrow Vice Admiral Moderator

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    My interpretation has been that in TOS, "ambassador" *was* the title for representatives of the Federation Council, based on "Journey to Babel". (They didn't mention "Federation Council" by name, but they refer to "council" many times, and were going to Babel to vote on admitting a member to the Federation, so...) I assume the writers based this on the fact that many countries, including the US, refer to their permanent representative to the United Nations as a "UN Ambassador". (The Federation in TOS always struck me as more UN-like, than what we eventually saw in the TNG era.)

    So I would have interpreted it that the title was changed to "Councillor" by the TNG era, as the Council and the Federation itself evolved to a more "national" identity. Granted, that doesn't explain what a member planet's "ambassador to the Federation" is, since they apparently still exist in some form. (And I don't recall if any novels used the title "Councillor" in the TOS era... although I am reasonably sure I remember the it being used in the RotF novels in the ENT era.)

    I suppose I can see member planets maintaining ambassadors to other *member planets*, in a loose federation where the individual members retain their own sovereignty. This would seem to fit the TOS depiction, but doesn't seem to work as well for what we've seen in the TNG era novels.
     
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  19. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    I do agree that the Federation of the TOS era is more U.N.-like than the TNG-era UFP, but I think it's important to remember that by virtue of possessing its own military service in the form of Starfleet, the UFP is already inherently more of a sovereign state than the United Nations has ever been; the U.N. can authorize its Member States to engage in military action and Member State armed forces can even serve under a U.N. flag (as they did in Korea), but the U.N. itself does not have its own dedicated military service. #SorryI'mSuchAPedant

    Yeah, we see Federation Councillors identified as such in Rise of the Federation: Tower of Babel.

    Interesting side-note: In Tower of Babel, Federation Councillors are popularly elected by the residents of their respective Member States in 2163, including the Federation Councillor for the Andorian Empire. But by the 2370s in the DS9 Relaunch novels, the Federation Councillor for the Andorian Empire is determined by the Presider of the Parliament Andoria based upon whether or not the Presider holds the confidence of a majority of Members of Parliament (Andor: Paradigm), and the First Minister of the Republic of Bajor flat-out appoints the Bajoran Federation Councillor subject to the advice and consent of the Chamber of Ministers (Bajor: Fragments and Omens).

    Personally, I prefer popular election; it's more democratic.

    That makes sense -- in fact, the Federation doesn't even have to be that "loose" for it to be plausible. In real-world federal states, member polities do sometimes maintain agencies in the federal capital to represent their interests separate from the federal legislators elected to represent the state in the federal legislature. The State of Texas, for instance, maintains the Texas Office of State-Federal Relations in Washington, DC, for instance, and states can and do negotiate and enter into interstate compacts with one-another. So I could plausibly imagine Federation Member States maintaining intra-Federation diplomatic missions to one-another -- though I would probably borrow some nomenclature from the Commonwealth of Nations, and have Federation Member States' diplomats to one-another and to the UFP be known as High Commissioners instead of Ambassadors. Thus, in the World According to Sci (TM), Sarek's official title would have been something like Federation High Commissioner of the Confederacy of Vulcan to United Earth.

    Though it occurs to me that that might contradict the TOS depiction of High Commissioners of the Federation, sooo... *shrugs*

    I mean, ultimately this boils down to the TV writers not really fully grasping the difference between domestic and international politics, and wanting to have it both ways with the Federation; sometimes they want Earth and Vulcan or Betazed or whoever to be so alien to one-another that they have to exchange ambassadors, and sometimes they want the Federation to be so united that it's like the U.S. or Germany.
     
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  20. Arpy

    Arpy Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I dunno how I feel about basing the structure of the Federation government on the number of floors of one building. It's a little tail wagging the dog. I mean, where's the real power? With the president in his penthouse offices at the tippy top of the royal palais? (Not necessarily but optics matter. Especially when this is all fake, isn't beholden to historic or logistical concerns, and can be anything.) Do councillors have any real power or are they more ceremonial (put'em in steerage on the lower floors with the press corps) and the real power (and larger staffs) with the ambassadors?

    If the power is with the Council, maybe their staffs are mostly offsite? Pretty easy to do with those flash transporters we saw on PIC. Staffers could be doing West Wing-like walk & talks from room to room in buildings all over the planet. Plus in the real world, post-COVID, we may see workplaces and HQ's being far less centralized. Maybe the Palais is where they convene to discuss and vote.

    Or maybe the councillors don't need nearly as much staff as we might imagine. It's the distant future after all. Nix the floor with the typing bank or the phone operators or schedulers or that whatever else might be critical today. Besides the councillor and their advisors, maybe most other staff work is automated. Wasn't that the idea behind there being fewer work stations on the Enterprise-D bridge?

    I don't think I like the idea of the Council and the President both being in the same crosshairs. One photon torpedo and they're sending out Case Orange and scrambling to swear in the Secretary of Education.