The Celtris III Covert Mission

Discussion in 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' started by Mojochi, Oct 14, 2019.

  1. Mojochi

    Mojochi Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    So apart from our usual Chain of Command conversations, I'm sure there are many who think it's pretty shoddy writing to send this questionable team on this highly sensitive & dangerous mission... Or is it?

    OK, from an in universe point of view, it's certainly a sketchy move. You find out there's only one guy in the fleet with expertise in this theta band stuff, that just so happens to be a key factor in some dangerous bioweapons concern. That has to be suspicious... one guy. So you have to know it might be a trap, seeing as his ship is assigned to defend some hotly contested turf, thereabouts as well.

    As such, it's fair to assume Starfleet is deliberately sending Picard into a potentially sacrificial scenario, imho. They know he'll probably get caught, & expect he may die. His replacement says as much, and they are willing to make that sacrifice, in light of the potential circumstances of the off chance it's all true, & they have to act

    So you have to send someone. The surprise of it being discovered only in the past few weeks, means there's possibly no time to brief a stand-in well enough, given the imminent threat. So Picard has to go, despite the risks & suspiciousness. It's not out of the realm of possibility that our hero, in this case, is the "Only" guy. They tailored the trap for him, after all.

    Once you come to that conclusion, the rest is not that hard to buy, because part of the issue here is it's a black op, which means you want to keep it as hush hush as you can. It is an illegal act, after all. You don't want to spread that around, if you can help it. Fortunately, the guy you have to send runs his own outfit.

    If you know they'll likely be caught, you want to keep the team as small as possible (less sacrifice, less people implicated in the crime, easier to cut loose & disavow) All they need to do is get in, verify, report somehow & maybe sabotage if possible (That's where Picard's expertise would likely come in)

    He needs a medical contingent, given the bioweapons safety factor, & a tactical contingent, for obvious reasons, and needs to keep the team as small as possible. I imagine they let Picard choose his own team, & that he didn't have any clue it might be a trap, or he'd never have involved Beverly. So if you accept the premise that Picard must go, then why would you send with him more than just the bare essentials for support? More than anything, it's just recon mission. About the only guy in the fleet who'd be better security than Worf, might be Data (Who I probably would've took instead) but Worf is the tactical expert on board

    The only questionable choice then, is Beverly, & she is a medical expert, & given how poorly Picard was prepped for this mission, it's fair to assume he didn't fully realize what he was getting them into, and therefore had no reason to doubt her being able to do it, assuming he selected his own team.

    I don't have a problem buying it really. It's a bit sketchy that command would sacrifice him so easily, but... hey, they've been sketchy and/or gullible plenty
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2019
  2. flandry84

    flandry84 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    The whole mission is one I tend to ignore because well...reasons.
    But why didn’t they equip the team with those covert suits like the one Data wore in Insurrection?
     
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  3. Mojochi

    Mojochi Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Maybe they didn't have them yet?
     
  4. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Commodore Commodore

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    I think Starfleet knew it was dangerous but the Cardassians making bioweapons is just the sort of thing they do and you can't ignore it.

    If "Hitler is making a Death Ray", it could be a trap but you don't want to risk it. That can have tragic consequences.

    See what happened with the Kennedy's eldest son.
     
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  5. Tenacity

    Tenacity Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Took on a dangerious mission because he had daddy issues?
     
  6. JesterFace

    JesterFace Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I think the entire thing, forcing captain of the flagship on a dangerous mission that only he can perform was kind of silly. And of course few other main cast members seem to fit the plotline nicely.
    And then the infamous Riker - Jellico fight can begin. Later after their disagreements they can finally find a way to work together. Soap opera in space right there?

    By now you might guess I'm not a fan of these episodes. There's potential in these episodes but the previously mentioned "only Picard can do this" thing makes it silly.
     
  7. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    That the Cardassians very specifically targeted Picard is nicely in line with them having a pretty good intel service. What is also remarkable, though, is the fact that these are Cardassians - far from the Federation's greatest enemies, as per the lackluster war of yore, and indeed potential allies in the War On Terror, as in "Ensign Ro". Picard in turn is an outspoken pundit for said terrorists...

    It wouldn't surprise me in the slightest, then, if folks within Starfleet were at the very least grasping the opportunity to get Picard out of the way (the "sure it's a trap, but springing it will work in our favor" argument does legitimize the operation, and this is exactly how it works out on the end). Quite possibly some were active participants in the Cardassian intelligence operation that targeted Picard in the first place. And equally possibly, they came out of it smelling of roses, having secured yet another intel victory with zero losses on either side.

    Why Picard would go along with it is one thing: perhaps he was simply too trusting. Why his team would be built the way it was is another: this works if he works in good faith, keeping it quiet, but not if he knows he's walking into a trap. But he could be blindsided here, thinking too much in terms of the Cardassians being Starfleet enemies rather than allies, due to his personal dealings with them.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
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  8. YouAreDooomed

    YouAreDooomed Ensign Red Shirt

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    So during his time as Captain of the Stargazer Picard - or more precisely (some of) Picard's crew - have conducted that reasearch. It would seemingly make much more sense if Starfleet sent one/ some of the participating scientists or the chief science officer. And of course the Stargazer must have shared all the information and results they got with headquarters, other people who are constantly studying the subject should be much more familiar with it.

    Picards also says, "one of the reasons." Maybe it's indeed time, the real experts are scattered across the Federation and too far away, or maybe they are all dead (quite a stretch though).

    Then again this dialogue...

    ...rather implies that it is totally natural to send captains to this kind of missions. No one is like, "our specialists couldn't arrive in time." :shrug:
    It's still one of TNG's finest episodes imho. I would have appreciated a Jellico spin-off (instead of Voyager).

    Where are the personal force fields, power armours, combat drones, battle robots, trek magic generators...?

    Ronald D. Moore (indirectly) answered the question in 1997:

    https://memory-alpha.fandom.com/wiki/Memory_Alpha:AOL_chats/Ronald_D._Moore/ron053.txt

    The guy whose brilliant idea it was to design TNG style type 2 phasers like hand-held vacuum cleaners must have thought, "Have fun aiming, suckerrs!"

    https://imgur.com/3ZIMPCo
    Who needs a sight? Real pros shoot from the hip.
    :lol::lol::lol:

    Not to mention Bat'leths and much else.

    It's almost a parody of itself, you can barely take any of those engagements/ ground battles seriously. TV shows are limited of course, and the creators were probably not military experts, or they frequently lacked imagination. But at least we get some glimpses to how things are supposed to work in-univers, e. g. Garak mentions the cardassians have a "mechanized infantry", the feds actually use personal force fields and so on.
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2019
  9. Cutie McWhiskers

    Cutie McWhiskers Commodore Commodore

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    The episode feels pretty much a proto-DS9 episode wrapped in TNG's clothing.
     
  10. flandry84

    flandry84 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    The episode is a hot mess.
    Fine ,you want an episode where Picard is captured and tortured by the Cardassians ,okay do that.
    You want an episode to highlight how a badass captain like Jellico handles the Cardassians,okay do that.
    But don’t throw a series regular like Riker under a bus by portraying him as a complete jerk,and an insubordinate jerk at that.
    Yet another example of a writer saying “Wouldn’t it be cool if...” without any regard to how it portrays the characters.
     
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  11. Mojochi

    Mojochi Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Unless it was classified, & Picard was the only one, as the captain, to have all the pieces of the project, & when he submitted his final report/data it wasn't of any consequence to them after all, so they never bothered to work with it, thus leaving him the only guy who had been thoroughly briefed at every level. It's a stretch, but ehh
     
  12. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Not sure about that. Worf rose to prominence and popularity chiefly because he got character-assassinated: nobody would have cheered for him had he not been written as an unrepentant and callous murderer in the likes of "The Enemy" and "Reunion". Perhaps the writers thought that Riker, too, would become more popular if he were portrayed as unprofessional, petty and vengeful?

    They sort of kept trying, creating Tom Riker and all. But never had the guts to follow through. Perhaps consistently making Riker a renegade who starts hating and hunting Cardassians because he thinks this is what he owes his Captain would have lifted the character to new heights?

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  13. flandry84

    flandry84 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    New heights??
    New lows perhaps.

    Try compiling a “Top ten Riker related discussions”
    In no particular order:
    Career inertia .
    Pegasus incident.
    Relationship with Troi.
    Tom Riker.
    This problem with Jellico (which in terms of how Number 1 is perceived is IMHO nearer the top of the list)
    But after that I’m struggling.Which might illustrate just how poorly the character was treated.Chakotay (or even more unfairly Beltran)gets a terrible scalding for being a character who is seen as “just kinda there.”but Will Riker suffers almost as badly just without the criticism.
    While Trek may have great characters and actors on hand those characters are surprisingly badly curated by the producers.
     
  14. BillJ

    BillJ History’s Greatest Monster Premium Member

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    It was. Shoddy writing without a doubt.
     
  15. Arpy

    Arpy Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Celtris III was an inside job.
     
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  16. Prax

    Prax Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I can think of a few better ways to capture Picard.

    Here's one for you-

    Have a weapon that tags its victim for transport. Lure Picard out for some archeological curiosity(which he apparently goes out alone on from time to time). Hire some mercenaries to use the weapon on Picard in a public place, so all the witnesses think Picard was vaporized, but he would actually have been transported up to the mercenaries' ship.

    Aye??

    They then give him over to the Cardassian fingernail factory.
     
  17. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Wouldn't work, since the idea was to point the accusing finger at the Federation so that the Cardassians could get a war going. Mere abduction wouldn't accomplish that.

    However, profit could be made by selling the as such competent abduction plan to a third party, say, a financially well-off pirate or whatever. Beats putting your Hebitian statues under the hammer!

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  18. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Commodore Commodore

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    I get the impression Riker is being deliberately passed over by Nechayev. If you turn down a lot of promotions, they will stop returning your calls.
     
  19. Mojochi

    Mojochi Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Frankly, I got the impression that she was right, & Riker was the wrong man for the job, because every move he suggested thereafter was playing right into the traps the Cardassians had obviously laid out for them.

    He suggests immediately mounting a rescue op to find Picard's team, even though it would mean further breaches of borders to do so, when that is exactly what the Cardassians were hoping they would do, & are specifically keyed on catching somebody at.

    He wants to back off at the negotiation, to prioritize Picard, which is one of the 2 main reasons they actually laid the trap to begin with, so they'd have leverage. Then he suggests they should try to get Picard protected POW status, by admitting they instigated a situation that merits war time rules, for the instigators.

    His strategy seems to be "Make it our fault that we are going to war now". IMHO, that he's this incompetent at brinkmanship is literally the weakest plot point of the episode, even more so than the set up for the Celtris III mission itself, or his somewhat off brand insubordination.

    A guy who'd been offered 3 captaincies couldn't possibly be this blind to adversarial trappings. Then again... Strategy is not traditionally his strong suit, so I can still accept it, but boy... it's really his weakest hour of command
     
  20. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    No disagreement there. But the poor showing of Riker again makes in-universe sense.

    The Cardassians could have targeted just about anybody when luring a Starfleet agent into their territory; Picard's supersecret command codes didn't appear to play much of a role in the eventual invasion or anything. Yet Obsidian Order experts no doubt had Riker's number down pat, too, and chose to target this ideal combo of a) a useful CO who b) has plenty of unique skills that could be exploited in baiting the trap and who c) will be missed by a hotheaded simpleton of a first officer. They could shop for a and b on just about any starship, but the Enterprise offered them c, too.

    It would have been nice for Riker to make a bigger recovery of hero status at the end of the adventure, crushing the Cardassian offensive with his wits rather than just his flying skills. But the plot didn't really need that, and TNG didn't really need a superhero Riker who can do no wrong.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
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