Why Section 31 goes into hiding

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Discovery' started by Yistaan, Mar 6, 2019.

  1. Yistaan

    Yistaan Captain Captain

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    If Section 31 is so "official" and not rogue, why in Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges does Ross insist of taking off the comm badges and talking S31 talk to Bashir "off the record"? That's a long way down from Tyler gleefully sporting and using his S31 comm badge.

    So Admiral Ross and other high ranking people work for Section 31. Does that mean that Section 31 officially works for the Federation? If that were evidence, then the Khitomer conspiracy must also have been officially affiliated with the Federation since Admiral Cartwright and his buddies were involved!

    I missed that line about Sloan, but all I'll concede is that he is saying contradictory things. (It happens in Star Trek).

    So there's leeway for both interpretations, but honestly when a Star Trek writer and showrunner outright says S31 is unofficial in the 24th century and he's working on an entire prequel series detailing it, I know which interpretation I'm siding with.
     
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  2. MakeshiftPython

    MakeshiftPython Commodore Commodore

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    My impression of Section 31 is that they've always been more or less an open secret. I'm not sure why all this debate needs to take place. Only some people like Archer and Pike became aware of them. They're always in leather garb and have a fleet of ships at their disposal, some with holodecks.
     
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  3. Blue Squadron

    Blue Squadron Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    All of this seems to be a lot of debate about nothing at the moment. It's certainly generating more heat than light...!

    Asking what Alex Kurtzman wrote or produced for DS9 strikes me as entirely the wrong question. We all know that he wasn't involved in any Trek production at that time -- but the very fact that he has chosen to comment directly on the apparent inconsistency between the appearance and role of Section 31 in Discovery versus its very different status in DS9 would very much seem to suggest that this *will* somehow be addressed as Discovery progresses.

    Could be this season, maybe next; could be a bit of both but either way its sounds to me like a pretty big hint that some sort of on-screen explanation for the change is coming. Inevitably, what they write will jar with the "fanon" or "head canon" that some folks have established for themselves -- but that's just how it is when the writers and producers evolve the story.


    To answer the original question posed by this thread, I have no idea -- but tying it to Pike, Spock and Talos IV would be a clever idea. It might be stretching established "history" but I guess they could argue that there's nothing that *absolutely* ties the timing and origin of General Order 7 to the original visit by the Enterprise from The Cage. The very fact that the ban on visiting Talos *wasn't* immediately flagged by the computer following Burnham's data search might suggest that it hasn't yet come into force -- but that *something* will happen during this season, likely involving nefarious activity by S31, which will trigger what is, by Starfleet's standards, a pretty draconian response -- and one which, in the context of TOS, always seemed a bit over-the-top (albeit one which gave a dramatic premise for the events in The Menagerie). Maybe we'll get to find out why...?

    I'm happy to see how this plays-out over the rest of the season.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2019
  4. StametsFungi

    StametsFungi Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Your theory that they go into hiding later would also explain why Marcus just blerts out their name in an open space to Kirk and Spock.

    I like it.
     
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  5. Hey Missy

    Hey Missy Captain Captain

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    If the writers were gonna use their own "interpretation" of S31, and then (clumsily, more than likely) retcon them back so they're consistent with DS9... why even use it at all?
     
  6. XCV330

    XCV330 Commodore Commodore

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    And how Sec.31 had the funding, shipyard, uniforms, etc already. Though in fairness Sloan's later Sec.31 does have uniforms, those pleather jackets.
     
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  7. saladdays

    saladdays Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    We are only seeing S31 right now through the crew of the DSC's eyes, and then only through the eyes of the command staff. S31 may likely be mostly unknown to a very large contingent of others outside of DSC. I mean, I wouldn't be surprised if a majority of DSC's crew doesn't even know exactly what is going on with S31, other than there's a liaison on board who used to be a member of DSC's crew, and they have different uniforms, etc. For all we know, S31 may be largely consistent with DS9 already.
     
  8. Yistaan

    Yistaan Captain Captain

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    Hey, the 24th century is a moneyless society remember? Section 31 people work to better... Section 31! No money needed. ;)
    That's not how they were introduced though. Pike seemed to already know about them when Mirror Georgiou flashed the black badge. Otherwise he would have been like, "What is this black badge and what does it represent?"
     
  9. XCV330

    XCV330 Commodore Commodore

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    funding in terms of a medium of exchange to get the designs, parts, materials, means of production and staff to build and crew the thing.
     
  10. saladdays

    saladdays Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Pike may be one of those in the minority though. But yes, it was presented like S31 was more widely known. We will just have to see how it plays out to determine just how well-known they are at this period of time.
     
  11. Yistaan

    Yistaan Captain Captain

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    Oh, but uh... Star Trek Into Darkness already answered that. ;) Evil Admiral Marcus has some enslaved augments forced to design starships and the like. Something like that. :shrug:
     
  12. Noname Given

    Noname Given Admiral Admiral

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    ^^^
    Just saying that's the point - IF you go by Sloan's dialogue on screen it DOESN'T have a 'different status' in DS9.

    Per Sloan it's still a part of Starfleet Intelligence and it's autonomous - which is exactly the same way they are portraying it in ST: D atm.

    'Autonomous' doesn't mean no one in Starfleet Command is aware of it or working with Section 31; it means they act first and don't wait for a decision from Command. Also, Command can still ask or even order them to do something, but in the end it's at their discretion. Also, if Section 31 does something Command considers truly egregious, Command will take action - but it's just "Off the Books".
     
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  13. Tenacity

    Tenacity Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Depends on what you mean by "the Federation." If their raison d'être is the continuing existance of the Federation and the freedom of the people there in, then yes, they work for the Federation.

    If you mean the Federation as in the Federation Council, maybe not. Although there could be loose connections between the two.
     
  14. Jackson_Roykirk

    Jackson_Roykirk Commodore Commodore

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    I don't know what will happen, but the 120+ years between DIS and DS9 is a long time and a lot could change within the S31 organization (different leadership, different mandates, changing political climate, etc) that could be a catalyst for the change within S31 we see from DIS to DS9.

    Frankly, the same thing goes for the 100 years between ENT and DIS. S31 possibly changes with the times, and 100 or 120 years gives a lot of time for change.
     
  15. Yistaan

    Yistaan Captain Captain

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    We all know 160+ year old Voq/Tyler will show up leading Section 31 to fight Picard in the Picard show. :eek:
     
  16. Jackson_Roykirk

    Jackson_Roykirk Commodore Commodore

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    Would he be a slightly-senior Klingon in a wrinkly and withered human body?
     
  17. Yistaan

    Yistaan Captain Captain

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    He'd just be Shazad Latif with white hair. :klingon: (Maybe a few wrinkles, but I don't think they should overdo it the way they did with Brent Spiner as old Soong.)

    He'll also boast to Picard how he's responsible for just about every shady thing the Federation ever did, from the Khitomer conspiracy to Admiral Pressman's Pegasus phase cloak down to the attempted genocide of the Founders.

    And then he and Picard will fight. :eek:
     
  18. Shamrock Holmes

    Shamrock Holmes Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    The more I think about, the more that it seems like the known/not known thing is an element of security clearance as much as anything.

    The crew of Discovery are working on a highly-classified experimental prototype vessel whose experimental systems were key to the Fed-Klingon War, in US terms anyone assigned to Discovery would have to have at least 'Top Secret' clearance if not TS/SCI (The DASH Project itself is probably SAP if not SCI/codeword classified). Once you get into that level of secrecy, it's lot easier I would assume to be 'read in' on the existence of other classified programs/units (which S31 credibly is at minimum) than for personnel in the general Starfleet Operations/Support Services career track (like most if not all of the DS9 crew).
     
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  19. Blue Squadron

    Blue Squadron Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Way back in season 1 they made a not-so-subtle point of working the presence of the “black badges” into the script. Disco under Lorca’s command had S31 aboard and the rest of the (relatively small) crew would have known about them. There was clearly an intent, even back then, to incorporate this into the broader story-arc.

    I agree that Disco, given the sensitive nature of its special systems and especially in time of war, may be something of a special case when it comes to S31 involvement and therefore crew awareness of their activity.

    To base all your interpretation on a few words in a line from Sloan back in DS9 seems to me to be trying to create a pedantic argument where none exists.

    In-universe, it has to be said that Sloan was hardly a reliable narrator — whatever he might have said to the regular characters in terms of justifying the existence of his “organisation” does not necessarily have to have been true. He may have been genuinely referring to a previously “official” status for S31 in order to appeal to the more “upright” sensibilities of the core characters to get them to work with him — or he could have just been telling them what he thought they wanted to hear so that they would cooperate. Just because he said it, doesn’t mean that it was true — that’s the very nature of the character. Wheels-within-wheels...

    Out-of-universe, S31 has never been a big part of the lore of Trek and the details have always been a bit vague. It exists to further a story line but also as a dramatic foil for the morality of the core characters. Trek as morality play in a sci-fi setting, remember...? Obviously, once the concept was established it was inevitable that subsequent writers, even if writing for a different era of Trek, might want to use the idea for their own stories — but, in the grand scheme of things, it’s still a very small part of what Trek is really about. Of the hundreds of hours of dialogue in all the incarnations of Trek, there are probably a dozen relevant lines, if that, which directly relate to the argument you are making.

    If the writers and producers of Disco choose to give us a back story that ties together the “special” or “secret” status of the Discovery with some explanation for how S31 went from being official-but-covert to rogue and off-the-grid then I’m fine with that and they are at liberty to develop that story as they wish. If they have developed a way of making it more clear exactly what that was and how it happened then I’m fine with that too. If they have come up with a way to tie it in to a story about Pike, Spock, Talos IV and General Order 7, then I’m willing to see how that plays out.
     
  20. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    "Section 31" is a nickname: it indeed derives from that outdated document, in which it never was the name of an organization anyway. We don't know what the official name of this organization is, but we can surmise there is one.

    Yet we can also surmise that an organization going by a nickname is but a fairly small cog in the wheels of a bigger machine. Section 31 could be to SF Intel what, say, Big Safari is to USAF: a provider of certain services that have to be offered below the counter and are in varying degrees of demand, both the need for secrecy and the degree of demand depending on the times. Not a sole provider, either, so at times the organization would necessarily downscale, lose a lot of its expertise through expiration of employees, and concentrate on discussing the good old days over a pint or two. And then try all sorts of harebrained schemes in order to regain its prestige.

    The two times the organization shows prominence in the UFP context, it's a bazaar for war-winning special solutions for Starfleet. Perhaps that's its forte, a very close analogy to Big Safari: to cut corners with technological solutions to the problem of winning, including many ethical ones. When the UFP places no orders, Section 31 makes offers, creates presentations, and generally whores around, but does not hold much power. Yet it is hungry for power, meaning it spies a lot on its competitor organizations within SF Intel and SF in general. Just like all the other spy organizations there do.

    Timo Saloniemi