Thinking on the Andorian population crisis

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Charles Phipps, Apr 27, 2022.

  1. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I'm going to be frank: I am an Andorian addict.

    Ever since Pava in Starfleet Academy, I've always loved the Andorians and I absolutely love what has been done with them in the books. Enterprise didn't explore any of the four sex ideas and frankly I feel like they were kind of bland compared to how they could have been but we're not here to discuss this.

    I was thinking about the Andorian population crisis across multiple books and what people thought about it. I think its a perfectly servicible storyline and we have a typical Star Trek plot that incorporates elements of RL as well as some that proved predictive.

    (Andorexit, anyone?)

    However, I also think there could have been ways they could have gone differently with the story. Not necessarily better but different and I was curious what your thoughts on the subject were. This is noticeably just a spit-balling thread and makes no attempt to argue plots should have gone a way, could have gotten past editorial, or could have predicted things that happened since. These are just some ideas of mine and I'd love for people to share their own ideas about the storyline and how they might have done it differently or what they liked/disliked.
     
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  2. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Some angles I would have investigated:

    1. Hybrid Andorians: I really wish these had been something that had played a much larger role in the storyline. To create gravity in the storyline, hybrid humans/Andorians or Vulcan/Andorians don't seem to exist. However, I feel like the story could have gone a very different sort of way if the fears of "Andor's Population Crisis" was actually less an extinction event than Andor's version of "The Great Replacement" that white nationalists are always complaining about, the aging of populations, Japan's current demographics crisis, or fears about immigration.

    A fear of Andorians being slowly replaced by hybrids just because more and more Andorians are marrying other races and having children with them using genetic engineering or whatnot. The Federation (correctly) not seeing any problem with this while traditionalist Andorians panicking about the transition.

    2. Andorian Led Books: I think I am alone in the world but the fact ST: Titan: Fallen Gods will never have a sequel ****es me off to no end, especially since it ended on a cliffhanger and the entire universe has since been destroyed. It dealt with the dual loyalties of Andorian vs. Federation citizenship and we never got that story followed up on despite it being the best angle to pursue. I definitely would have loved to have more Andorians who renounce their homeland citizenship to keep working for the Federation.

    This could have been an ongoing plot and we never will know what happened to the Andorian officers of the Titan who were cloned.

    3. Andorian Colonies: There's dozens of human colonies from Earth in the Federation and I can't help but assume that there's examples of Andorian and Vulcan too. I would have been very interested in how it would have gone if some of them had decided to remain with the Federation while the rest returned to the auspices of the homeworld. This could have led to Andor remaining isolated and alone but still Adorians in the Federation.
     
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  3. DGCatAniSiri

    DGCatAniSiri Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    The bigger ramifications of the Andorian secession (particularly and including the Andorian transporter duplicates, which, trust, you are NOT alone on having wanted SOME kind of proper conclusion to that lingering thread - a couple of months ago, I started a thread on ideas of things we never got from the First Splinter timeline, and that was the very first answer) were honestly kinda just dropped from the ongoing narrative, due to the strangely speedy run through the in-universe years of 2383 to 2385 - in that two year stretch of time in universe, there's only about twelve books total, and they're NOT evenly distributed - Cold Equations is functionally the only real story set in 2384, and the next set books is The Fall, which is explicitly set in the last quarter of 2385. Despite seeming like this big, galaxy-shaking event, it doesn't even really amount to a whole lot in terms of explored plot development.

    And there's plenty that COULD have been - even beyond the Andorian transporter duplicates, the connection and ties to the Tholians and their efforts to undermine the Federation ends up disappearing as well, with the Tzenkethi and the Breen efforts to move against the Federation taking center stage and the Tholians functionally disappearing from the narrative, despite their involvement in functionally triggering the secession.
     
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  4. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I admit, I feel like the Hobus plotline (for lack of a better name for it) was something that I was really hoping to see handled by the Typhon Pact. Would the Typhon Pact dissolve in the face of the Romulans (previously its most powerful member) losing their strength? Part of what made the Pact so formidable was that it was an alliance of anti-democratic and selfish self-interested nations.

    I could easily see Romulus going to its allies and then finding out none of them want to help because their motivations in the pact were always purely self-serving. It would be an excellent "end point" to the Typhon Pact because it would expose why the Pact was always inferior to the Federation.

    It was never an alliance built on trust or friendship but only hatred of the Federation and its allies.
     
  5. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    On the other hand...

    what if the Pact had helped? What if, in point of fact, the other Pact members ended up being forced to help Romulus by their own citizens? Maybe the Typhon Pact's loosening of trade and immigration restrictions between its members led to its citizens building ties of affection, trade, and sentiment that their leaders didn't anticipate -- and thus refusing to help Romulus leads to popular backlash, even uprisings, from their citizenry. What if the Typhon Pact built ties of trust and friendship in spite of their leaders' aims? And what if the diplomat who proves essential to making it all work is Jean-Luc Picard of the Federation starship Enterprise?
     
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  6. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Moderator

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    [​IMG]
    Pava
    by Ian McLean, on Flickr

    My random thoughts...

    I was actually quite pleased by the way "Enterprise" left it a little ambiguous. For those viewers who have never read the books, they would say that Andorians had two sexes. But for me, coming to "The Andorian Incident" via the novels' four-gendered Andorians, it seemed to me that Tholos, especially in his first appearance, had an androgynous quality. Tholos seems to size-up both T'Pol and Trip. (So he was a chan to Shran's thaan. And in later eps, Tarah was perhaps shen to Talas' zhen.)

    TrekLit has had a few hybrids...

    Doctor Shona Exar was a female Andorian biologist with twin sons. The boys' physiologies reflected their parents' mixed heritage; Shona's husband, Albar, was a red-skinned Fornaxian. The boys had purple skin, black hair and Andorian antennae, but they were complete opposites in personality. It was revealed that the scientists had produced a single hybrid child by natural means. Internal incompatibilities made it necessary to "twin" him with experimental 23rd century technology [in "Ni Var" by Claire Gabriel, "Star Trek: The New Voyages 1"; edited by Marshak and Culbreath, Bantam, 1976).]

    Then there was Lieutenant Thralen, a Theskian with blue skin, antennae and yellow fur-like hair. His race is "related" to Andorians, but "more gregarious". ["Metamorphosis" (Pocket, 1990) by Jean Lorrah.] His people would have been a useful element to the Andorian crisis.

    Dahna Andorians are a sect which believes the universe should have remained lifeless. ["Intellivore" (Pocket, 1997) by Diane Duane.]

    Grey-skinned, antennaed Echo Imjim, an Andorian/Mizarian hybrid lives on planet Helena, in the demilitarised zone near Cardassia Prime. Her ten-year old son, Harper, is a quarter Andorian with truncated antennae, his father being a native of Troyius. ["The Next Generation: Double Helix: Quarantine" (Pocket, 1999) by John Vornholt.]

    The comics also brought us Sharad. ["Alien Spotlight: The Andorians: The Old Ways" by Paul D Storrie (IDW Publishing, 2007).] He first runs into a group of angry young Andorian students. They insult his uniform and call him "Fade", a recently-popular, local slang term inferring that the subject either has Aenar blood in his veins, or that he's been "tamed" by Federation "pink skins" and has "sold out" to humans.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2022
  7. Extrocomp

    Extrocomp Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    There's also Ket'pem Ivari, a Human-Andorian hybrid who appeared in Among the Clans. That book, however, portrays Andorians as a two-gendered race.
     
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  8. KRAD

    KRAD Keith R.A. DeCandido Admiral

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    That is categorically not true. And since I co-created the Typhon Pact and wrote the novel in which they were created, I'm speaking from some measure of authority here.

    The Typhon Pact was created due to wanting to emulate the Federation, but not actually be part of the Federation. The Gorn, Romulans, Kinshaya, Tholians, Breen, and Tzenkethi were doing the same thing in the 2300s that Earth, Vulcan, Andor, and Tellar were doing in the 2100s: recognizing that they were stronger together than they were apart.

    Enmity for the Federation certainly played a part in why they avoided involving the Federation in any way, but still, the whole point was to be stronger through cooperation. It was never meant to be the super-villain team-up you describe.
     
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  9. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Listen, I know you're the author but clearly you don't know your characters.

    :)

    (I've had this exact statement without the humor)

    If you don't mind me talking about the subject, though, for real, I do think that the Typhon Pact's fundamentally anti-democratic and isolationist nature is something that inherently undermines any attempt at true cooperation, though. The Breen are a Federation-like alliance of its races but it's also totalitarian and authoritarian in all respects so that it can't coexist with the Federation.

    The Tzenkethi are also a group that is engaged in repeated and constant attempts to undermine the Federation as well because they culturally loathe freedom in a way that is not a slur but actually established with their perspectives.

    Throw in the Tholians who have a LEGITIMATE REASON to hate the Federation and its interesting enough to not describe them as the Legion of Doom but the Warsaw Pact. It is an alliance that seems very much made to avoid being rendered irrelevant by the Federation and a military/political alliance to socially impede as well as undermine a rival power. If you wish a less ominous version, I took it like NATO in that it exists because the Federation could render them obsolete so they must join together to avoid being overwhelmed.

    I don't consider the Typhon Pact to be an organization that is "villainous" but I do consider them through the lens of being authoritarian dictatorships and repressive societies that do not like the spread of democratiuc free ideals. They're empires and spread their power and influence through crushing other governments under their feet before establishing puppet states--something that the Federation threatens.

    I admit I would probably be seeing the TP through a more optimistic lens if not for recent events in Eastern Europe (and my family/friends who are there) with the view that a certain nation exists as a Federation to try to re-establish the Soviet Union as well as crush fledgling democracies in their former holdings. I don't want to associate too much ongoing RL crises with fiction, though.

    But I guess I did see the TP as basically a reactionary group created to try to stop the spread of Federation ideology (diversity, freedom, rule by the people, and tolerance). I may have completely misread them.

    I would be interested, KRAD, if you could share how you think the TP *WOULD* handle the Romulan supernova, though. After all, it's a story that's now impossible and would be a hypothetical.
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2022
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  10. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    But the intent was that once they tried out a more cooperative path, and it worked, they could've learned to open up more. Remember, the Vulcans, Tellarites, and Andorians were fighting each other all the time in the ENT era. They didn't seem like likely prospects for an alliance either. But they changed when they saw the benefits.

    It saddens me that so many people assume the Typhon Pact was just meant to be the next group of black-hat villains, because the intent was nothing so simplistic. Marco Palmieri wanted to do what he'd done with Worlds of Deep Space Nine -- to give spotlights to underdeveloped civilizations, to flesh them out in ways they hadn't been before. It wasn't about starting another cold war. That would've just been repeating an old formula, and that wasn't how Marco did things. It was about worldbuilding, about exploring new civilizations. It was about redefining the astropolitical status quo in a novel and intriguing way.

    If you really look at the Typhon Pact novels, certainly the early ones, the prevailing thread is not Pact vs. Federation. Rather, it's the conflict between different factions within the Pact competing over what path it should follow. On the one side, you had the more reactionary, hostile powers, the Breen, Tzenkethi, Tholians, and Kinshaya theocracy, who just wanted to use the Pact to gain power and advantage; and on the other side, you had the more open-minded factions like the Gorn, the Romulans under Kamemor, and the Kinshaya reform movement, who saw the potential of genuine cooperation and reform. That struggle to define the identity and purpose of the Pact was meant to be the core of the story. The outcome was not already a foregone conclusion.


    It was more the former than the latter. The whole foundational idea behind the Pact is that not everything in the galaxy should be about the Federation. Being opposed to the Federation wasn't their exclusive or primary purpose -- their purpose was to be independent of the Federation, to form a strong enough bloc that they wouldn't get trampled over by the superpowers anymore but could set their own destiny. It's not like NATO vs. the Warsaw Pact. It's more like a number of smaller, second and third world nations banding together in a separate alliance that could set its own policies rather than being forced to be pawns in the US/Soviet chess game.

    Ideally, the Pact just wanted the Federation to leave them alone. They wanted the freedom to live a life that wasn't overshadowed by the Federation and its agendas. They wanted to be an alternative to the Federation, not merely to oppose it.
     
  11. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    I think you're jumping to conclusions though. Breen political culture has become authoritarian in key respects, but it's also a culture fixated on egalitarianism. We know that their legislature was the Confederate Congress, and we know that the Confederate Congress was capable of removing the sitting Domo from office if they deemed the Domo to have abused their authority. There is every possibility that both the Breen Confederate Congress and the Breen Domo are democratically elected.

    On the other hand, there's every possibility that the Gorn Senate from Cold Equations: Silent Weapons is democratically elected. Given the title, it seems less likely that the Gorn Imperator is elected, but it's not impossible.

    As established in Rough Beasts of Empire, the reconstituted Romulan Senate is clearly an aristocratic oligarchy, but the Praetor seems to be elected by the Senate and is accountable to them. This isn't a democratic system, but it's not exactly a totalitarian state either.

    I think it's less NATO/Warsaw Pact in terms of why it was founded, and more akin to the European Union -- a union founded by diverse nations that don't really want to be homogenized, but see this union as a way of preventing a larger superpower (the U.S. in the E.U.'s case) from marginalizing or de facto absorbing them.

    Oh, I dunno. Do we have any canonical examples of the Gorn or Tholians doing that? Not all forms of hostility are imperialistic.

    I don't think the political situations surrounding the founding of the Typhon Pact resemble that of Eastern Europe enough to make such a comparison. The most I would say there is that author David Mack has indicated that the Breen Spetzkar is based on the Russian Spetsnaz.
     
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  12. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Interestingly,

    One of my favorite elements of the Typhon Pact was the fact that it did come off as an organization that was in a state of flux with the Romulans (eventually) and Gorn being individuals who were less hostile to the Federation than the Breen. Also, the Kinshaya being people who had historical reasons to hate the Klingons and were really individuals who were victims of their aggression that shouldn't have to put up with it.

    I think the Typhon Pact is something that all of the writers did a very good job of trying to introduce some moral justification to doing so but a couple of factors worked against it in establishing it as something that wasn't the Warsaw Pact (which I see as fundamentally different from "The Legion of Doom"). I don't want to dismiss it as a bunch of villains but I did see it as a hostile power for the most part and rival at best, Cold War opponent at worst.

    1. Zero Sum Game: I absolutely loved this novel by David Mack and enjoyed its insights into Breen culture. I'm a huge James bond fan and always liked Bashir's journey into it, even if I hate Section 31 as anything other than baddies. The Breen definitely fill the role of the Soviets here and the totalitarian idea of, "everyone is forced to be the same because conformity is the only way to ensure peace" was chilling. In retrospect, I wonder if DM was trying to pull something more akin to The Mandalorian where the wearing of armor at all times was meant to be voluntary but my take was that it was an enforced government edict.

    2. Star Trek Online mentally sharing the space: This isn't the problem of the writers and may just be me but the Typhon Pact and Klingon Empire of the game kind of had some similar vibes that mix in the head. The latter slowly becoming stronger through diversity by incorporating other races as equals.

    3. The Typhon Pact does seem to do a lot of plotting: This is the nature of the medium but it tends to color our perspectives on things. We take the Federation's side in things because it's meant to be the "good guys" in-universe and rare books expose the worst of the organization (see Vanguard) but it tends to clor our perception of groups against it and the Typhon Pact is a group that is easy to dismiss as, "the Anti-Federation"

    I did like the use of the Gorn and Reformist Romulans as the "good" members of the Typhon Pact and the possibility that they would be working against the Typhon Pact's members that were more hostile and belligerant. That added a lot of nuance and depth.
     
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  13. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I'm going to take a wild stab and speculate on how the Romulan evacuation would have been handled by the Typhon Pact.

    1. The Tzenkethi make plans to annex the Romulan Star Empire as a protectorate with the Breen's help.
    2. This backfires HORRIBLY as the Tholians surprise everyone by doing their very best to assist the Romulans as much as possible. Ditto the Gorn and Kinshaya because this is what they were supposed to do in the event of a catastrophe to one of their members.
    3. The Breen's militant and conquest minded members get overthrown.
    4. The Tzenkethi get censured or possibly even expelled from their own alliance.
    5. A lot more Romulans are able to be evacuated and everything ends fine-ish even without the Federation's help.

    Which is probably why the Typhon Pact wouldn't have worked well in PICARD's universe.
     
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