Worldbuilding: New member integration in the UFP

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by Penta, Aug 5, 2010.

  1. Penta

    Penta Commander Red Shirt

    Mar 17, 2008
    OK, folks. Neozeks gets the credit for planting the idea in my head of trying to cover something we never actually see happen in Star Trek, something of far more scope and interstellar consequence than how one uses the bathroom.:)

    Namely, how the hell new members are integrated into the Federation. In particular, how their military forces are integrated. (This first post wound up focusing on First Contact and is absurdly long. My apologies.)

    The rules of thumb posted in that linked thread apply here. []'s indicate margin notes. The perspective of the document is approximately 2383 to 2385. This document is out of character in nature.

    With that, modelling assumptions:

    1. The Federation has money and economics. It is, generally speaking, what those of the 21st century would call a capitalist economy, although with a good deal of governmental intervention.
    2. Use the governmental structure for the UFP proposed in my Federation governmental structure thread.
    3. Religion exists. Humans may be a plurality atheist (or at least of a secularist bent), but human religion exists as well. It is not a given that a species is religious or atheist.
    4. Starfleet: Utilize the Starfleet Command structure and Starfleet Academy design postulated in the respective threads.


    [This all describes a non-emergency situation (The Borg aren't coming to eat the target world, nobody's poised to invade the local space, etc, etc.) - Obviously, if circumstances are more demanding, what happens changes, or happens faster.]

    So, your species has broken the warp barrier! You can travel faster than light! Congratulations!

    Along with this accomplishment and all that it might do to a society, a planet, a civilization...By 2383-2385 in the Terran calendar, you're also likely faced with something else, something possibly even more worthy of a "I want this all to go away!" reaction where you climb into bed and never get out again, like a small child. Very soon after you first achieve FTL travel, people claiming not to be of your species either come out of the woodwork or contact you from ships...ships orbiting your homeworld. They claim to be not just of one alien species but many, to be the representatives of an interstellar government comprising dozens, hundreds of species even! And they'd like to say hello.

    First Contact

    Before one can even begin to speak of a world joining the Federation, one has to begin by thinking of First Contact. While it's possible that contact could be made by ships in space running across Federation (or other groups') ships, which is possibly the most ideal scenario, the reality is that by 2383-2385, in the Alpha Quadrant and near Beta Quadrant, it is far more likely that contact is made either by First Contact teams that had been observing on a planet, or as a result of sensor detection by Federation ships (or other sensors) of consistent FTL activity, either around a world or between worlds.

    As a general rule, Federation observation teams on a planet go in before a society achieves warp travel; they do their level best to get out before FTL travel (and especially FTL sensors) are achieved, as well. Sometimes, however, events move too fast or combine with unexpected issues to make getting out beforehand impossible. In those cases, observation teams are trained and ordered to keep observing, clandestinely, to the best of their ability, and not to make First Contact if they can possibly avoid it. This is largely informed by the human experience and human intuition, though it's a point agreed with as a general principle by virtually every species (particularly within the UFP), and confirmed by inevitable occasional experience: First Contact made by in-place observation teams, particularly teams that had posed as members of the target species, tends to...seriously unnerve the target species, most particularly the leadership thereof. [This is a significant understatement. Humans, in the Trek timeline, are possibly uniquely prepared by the sheer commonality of the modern UFO mythos for the idea of extraterrestrial contact. Even so, First Contact must have seriously freaked people out when it did occur, no matter how prepared they may have thought they were for the idea. It seems unlikely that other species would react as well to the idea of extraterrestrials, and reactions would likely be even worse if the ETs emerged from within the society(/societies), as an Observation Team caught on-planet would. Add whole new levels of worse if the planet doesn't have a single government. You could try to be as non-threatening and as gentle as you please, but it would still be a horrible way to make an introduction.]

    Much preferable is to extract Observation Teams without on-planet notice, posting Federation ships (at a point where on-planet sensors likely cannot detect them) to keep outsiders from barging in. (Occasionally, this requires the use of force, but it's the rare interstellar traveler who doesn't respect a Federation request/demand to keep away from a "newly arrived species". Other groups and governments, for fear of more general Federation reaction, don't usually push the matter - The UFP is really touchy about this issue.) This may seem like an unnecessary application of the Prime Directive, an interference in the development of a warp-capable species, but it has proven essential to "easing in" a society to the idea of extraterrestrial life. [They may think they're ready. You may think, for a minute, they're ready. Truth is, no species is ever truly ready to find out they aren't alone in the cosmos, and it's doubtful any ever would be.] The target world is then observed from space (by posted "picket ships" and very occasional close-in measures such as probes) until sensors capable of detecting FTL ships are developed, until the target species seems likely to step outside of their immediate area, or until other evidence arises of the target world being about to stumble upon the truth regarding extraterrestrial life. [As a rule, if the target world develops FTL sensors (which may not happen at the same time as FTL mobility, and indeed probably happens a bit later), they'll be able to see the ships watching them, confirm their existence, and react. Hence, at that point you'd best be ready to say hello, whether you like it or not. (And there are times, yes, where either the Federation, the target species, or both wish that they'd had the chance to delay that hello, whether for a short time or a long time. However, once the target species can see for itself that there are others out there, you can't avoid it, even if it's ill-timed.)]

    What happens next depends greatly upon the individual target species and their circumstances, the nature of their "eligibility" for First Contact, the time between warp travel being achieved and first contact, Federation resources available, the galactic situation, the level of knowledge about the target species, whether there are still Observation Teams on-planet, and other factors. That said, there are general rules:

    1. It's greatly preferred that shipborne assets make the first contact, not on-planet Observation Teams: The "aliens" being out in space is a lot less scary than the idea they've been living among you and you haven't had a clue. [OTs making the First Contact just scares the locals, and should hence be avoided if at all possible.]

    2. Don't send the biggest ship you can find. Send a smaller ship. If it's briefed, trained, crewed, and equipped to specifically to say hello, even better: The Galaxy-class (for example, but replace with any larger ship) may have the most diplomatic captains and the best diplomatic facilities, but it's also incredibly huge, especially if you're relatively new to space. You may not to be able to avoid it, but try to send a small ship. It scares the locals less. If it can be prepped for the mission, say through crew training, the presence of Federation diplomatic personnel (and personnel from the Starfleet First Contact Office unit responsible for the target species 'portfolio'), command crew briefing by the First Contact Office (who should also attempt to brief the rest of the ship's crew), etc., all the better. If you can't mobilize Diplomatic Service or relevant FCO personnel to physically be there, have them "on speed dial" as well as Starfleet Command. This can be essential.

    3. If there are still OTs on-planet that haven't been extracted, they aren't the ones making First Contact, and you can do so without the locals noticing, try to get them out before you send the first signal saying hello. This may not always be possible, but it's worth delaying the first contact if you can stealthily extract the OTs, debrief them, and reverse cosmetic alterations before the target species is contacted. They may have information not otherwise available, as well as skills (such as target language ability without UT usage - UTs are better than nothing, but for various reasons, newly contacted species tend to like people who speak their own language "naturally") nobody else has. If you cannot delay first contact, OTs are trained to stay clandestine and continue observing until they can be extracted if at all possible, not revealing their presence unless they must. [Or until they're discovered as extraterrestrials by the locals.]

    4. First Contact should occur only with a limited spectrum of species persons. Leadership elements are always preferred, followed by military personnel (who tend to be listened to by the leadership), followed by security forces, followed only then by scientists. Avoid it with some random person. [The Vulcans picking Cochrane and friends to say hello to first was perhaps the worst possible example.] In the event there isn't a single world government, contact the confirmed "Great Powers" first. If they have an organization such as the United Nations, this is sometimes best to use as a conduit, if the planetary political situation warrants. Otherwise, you have two options: Simultaneous contact of the Great Powers, or far less preferably, picking one nation (preferably a Great Power) to contact, ease into comfort with the idea of extraterrestrial life, and use to "spread the news", with the utmost discretion, to the other nations. (If there is a "superpower", or multiple superpowers, either talk to them first or talk to them at the same conversation as with the Great Powers.) Never, ever make contact to or through media if you can avoid it. For that matter, try not to even merit the notice of the media before contacting the target world's leadership. It may be the case that the target society's leadership (particularly if there isn't a single world government) decides not to reveal the existence of ETs to the general public just yet, for whatever reasons - this may be a very good idea. Doubters are asked to imagine the likely reaction had extraterrestrials been discovered and confirmed during, for example, most of Earth's 20th Century in sociological terms, or actually during World War III (instead of after World War III). If there are religious hierarchies or even just religions in the target society/societies - swallow your own views on the topic of religious belief, whatever they may be, and accept the fact of the target society's beliefs. (Now is absolutely not the time to tell the target species that there is, or is not, a God. Period! Do not even discuss the topic if you can avoid it, certainly do not bring it up, and if they bring it up, duck the question. They are, not to put too fine a point on it, going to go through enough as a species.) Contact them along with political powers. (To use a 21st Century human example, if you're making First Contact with the UN, or even just the superpowers outside of the UN, take the time to get representatives of the Pope and other religious hierarchs and hierarchies included on the conversation. (You can't expect to "get everybody in the room" on even a moderately religiously-diverse planet, but where there are hierarchical structures and "notables", invite them along with political/military powers.) It can sometimes be enormously helpful in getting the news of "life out there" to "go down easy" when the time comes if the major religions are also informed, actively involved in "preparing the ground", and generally not shut out of the conversation.) If you can, get leaders (or at least representatives such as diplomats of ambassadorial rank) in the same physical room at the same time - if that isn't possible, use secure communications systems (preferably with video capabilities) to get everyone in the same conversation.

    5. Only with the active concurrence of the target world's leadership should the existence of extraterrestrial life be revealed to the general population. Period. Mass societal hysteria can easily result if you "go over the heads" of the leadership. If the leadership is not ready, for whatever reasons, then offer to limit contact to the governments of those powers already aware (or who become aware) of the existence of extraterrestrial life, with the explicit goal of making them comfortable with extraterrestrial contact and at some point revealing the fact of extraterrestrial life to the general population. Respect the political evolution of the planetary structure: Do not contact governments not generally recognized (a good rule is that if none of the great powers will talk to them, you shouldn't either unless circumstances are obviously in flux). After the initial conversation with global leadership, back off and let them decide what to do, careful to avoid even the appearance or implication of extraterrestrial pressure or "dictates". Do advise them that Federation starships and sensors will, to the best of their ability, continue to "fence them off" from interstellar visitors until they decide to step into the galactic community (and do make clear Federation preference that such a "debut" wait until the target world's societies are generally aware of extraterrestrial life; gently but firmly discourage "forward runners" from "getting ahead" of others, and explain openly to leaders that this is to encourage the planetary leadership strata to adopt a single policy, whatever that policy may be), as a precautionary measure.

    There's more but the buffer won't take the whole thing at once. Please wait for the whole thing.
  2. Penta

    Penta Commander Red Shirt

    Mar 17, 2008
    Continuing my First Contact writeup:

    6. Do not interfere in the political, social, or other development of the target society any more than the fact of your existence, presence, and contact already interferes. Work within the present structures, being broadminded where ambiguity exists. If there is not a single global government, for example, do not insist on a single global representative or leader. If there is a global inter-governmental organization (as in the case of the UN of Earth's 20th and early 21st centuries), refer to provided or collected intelligence data: Can that organization get global leaders together credibly (and preferably under cover of another rationale) on short notice, or at least assemble representatives of leadership (such as diplomats) on short notice? If social customs exclude, for example, women from leadership, do not force their inclusion. (At the same time, respect those customs yourself, to the extent possible and sane.)

    7. Once you initiate contact (or once they initiate contact), you are committed. Period, end of sentence, end of paragraph, end of story. There is no "going back to the way things were", there are no "do-overs", there is no way to "erase their memories of what has occurred". There is, in short, no way to "recork the genie". Hence, be very careful when choosing to initiate contact - up until the moment, the instant the signal is sent or they have a confirmed sighting of you, there are ways to delay contact or leave them with only suspicions.

    8. If contact is initiated by Federation assets, the Federation Diplomatic Service member assigned should "take the lead" and "be the face" of the contact, if at all available. If the FDS member assigned is not available, then the Starfleet FCO unit leader should assume that role; only if neither are available should a ship's Commanding Officer assume the role. If contact is initiated by local personnel, the same principles apply to the reply, except that if nobody else is available then the highest ranking Starfleet member should make the reply. This fact should underline the importance of regular training in First Contact procedures for all personnel likely or even probable to be the "first face" of the Federation.

    9. The person who begins contact (or recieves contact) remains in "the lead" until and unless explicitly relieved by higher personnel, with the knowledge and concurrence of interlocutors among the target species as well as the lower ranked Federation lead. (Most species that achieve FTL travel readily understand the idea of replacing a lower-ranked person who happens to make or receive contact with a higher-ranked (or at least equal-ranked) and more-qualified person for regular communications, but make absolutely sure that the lower-ranked person makes appropriate and necessary introductions - and never reverse the order, having a higher-ranked person hand off to one of lower rank, unless absolutely necessary.) They may have established a rapport especially with the person who made (or received) contact.

    10. Limit how much they have to take in: Don't use a transporter, use a shuttlecraft if you can, to transport personnel. Don't use a replicator when you can cook real food. In short: When dealing with the target species, limit to the best extent possible how much they have to get used to (at one time) beyond the facts of "there are other species out there" and "those species have FTL travel too". That's plenty to get used to. [I fully imagine that, where the UFP intends to make the first move, they deploy ships that are capable of everything modern operations require, but that can also, for example, not use replicators (and not suggest the existence of same). This helps limit the shock the utterly bewildered locals have to experience, and lets the Federation personnel "ease them in" to the idea of higher technology over timeframes longer than a First Contact.]

    11. If the leadership decides to reveal the existence of Extraterrestrial life to the populace, take the opportunity, if contact was not established by the assigned FDS Member, to have the FDS member take the lead for Federation contact, with leadership and the public alike, if at all possible. (It would be the rare leader in an FTL-capable society that does not grasp the importance of having a diplomat, rather than a Starfleet member in uniform, be the "First public face" of the Federation to the public. If you need to explain it, though, do so, as diplomatically as possible. Repeatedly, if need be.) If the FDS Member is not available, then the Starfleet FCO unit leader should take the lead, making sure to appear from that point forward only in appropriate civilian clothing, particularly in public (except as circumstances or local customs dictate). This hand-off should occur during planning for the announcement, keeping FDS, Starfleet FCO, and ship personnel involved in the planning process. FDS Members assigned to First Contact, as well as Starfleet FCO personnel, are trained in "public relations". If neither FCO or FDS personnel are available (for example, if contact is initiated by the target world, or through OT personnel), try to delay the public revelation of extraterrestrial life for as short a period as necessary until assigned, trained, and briefed FCO (or preferably FDS) personnel are able to take the lead on planning the announcement. [PR matters when you're an ET saying "Hi" for the first time to a planetary population. It is in the Federation's interest that they have a diplomat take the lead (for the Federation) in assisting the planning of the announcement of ET life, and in actually saying "Hello" on behalf of the Federation. If not a diplomat, then a Starfleet member, trained in First Contact...Preferably not appearing on-camera in uniform. If either getting the diplomat or changing into civilian clothes requires a short delay, history will forgive you.]

    12. If FCO or FDS personnel are not available, try your best to avoid the public announcement of the existence of extraterrestrial life, or even the hint of it. (It would be very rare that local leadership does not see the wisdom of this, once you explain that you are not trained for what an announcement would require. This is not at all a task for a Starfleet member to take on without the required training and preparation, ever - it is simply too important, too high-risk, to improvise.)

    13. If the public is not to be informed, then exit the area as soon as practicable. Pull back all Federation assets to beyond the confirmed limit of civilian sensors, both ground and space-based, but keep in regular discreet contact with planetary leaders, both to keep appraised of their sensor capability and to keep relations going. (In layman's terms, give the local leadership a fighting chance to maintain plausible deniability with their press and their public.) When the decision is made to inform the public by the local leadership, you can then send in Federation personnel, discreetly, before the announcement to help plan and help make the announcement and introductions, always being careful to maintain planetary sovereignty and the appearance of the local leadership "having the lead".

    14. The conduct of the introduction to the population, whether by Starfleet FCO or (preferably) FDS personnel, is to be accomplished only after detailed consultation between operations centers at Starfleet Command (San Francisco), FDS HQ (Paris), and the Executive Office of the President (Palais de la Concorde), and the Federation personnel "on the ground", on all related matters. These consultations must occur via secure subspace channels before any announcement. [The FDS or Starfleet person saying "hello" on the ground really does represent the President of the UFP (in their role as Chief Diplomat), hence the inclusion of EOP; Meanwhile, you only get one shot to say "Hello" publicly, so hence the detailed consults, where probably every word likely to be said and every action likely to be performed by the UFP person on the ground gets scrutinized.] Again, as in points 11 and 12, it would be very unusual for local leadership not to understand the necessity of such consultations with higher headquarters - if doing it right means delaying the announcement, delay it if at all possible. You only get one shot.

    15. Immediately after the announcement and media availability is complete, Federation personnel should all make a point of returning to their vessels, with the utmost politeness but the minimum delay. This refers to all personnel, without exception, under any circumstance. "Passengers" of any description are not to be taken - before departure, FDS and Starfleet personnel will privately ensure that planetary leadership (whether of a single world government, under the auspices of an intergovernmental organization, or under the auspices of allied powers) designate an individual to act as a diplomatic representative, accrediting that individual with full powers. One individual per planetary side - this representative is to be equipped with secure subspace communications with Earth, so as to facilitate the eventual establishment and maintenance of Federation diplomatic and consular relations with all powers on the target world. [To borrow from a 21st Century Earth context, this means that not only would there be a Federation representative accredited to the UN, but also one per country (or groups of really small countries).] Starfleet, once public announcement has been made, will assume a defensive posture around the target world until a planetary defense force is organized, trained, and equipped, either indigenously or with Federation support. [The Prime Directive does not mean the Federation is an interstellar jerk; if you're advanced enough to say hello to, the least Starfleet can do is protect your world until you can protect yourself. It may technically be interference, but it's done with local assent, and until Starfleet and the locals agree (usually the locals have to be nudged to agree, but sometimes they emulate Earth and "climb over the crib side") that they don't need the support, in a graduated fashion.]

    Next post (please wait for it) will cover what happens in the medium to long term after First Contact, and what happens if FC is made when you aren't a "babe in the woods".
  3. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 20, 2009
    Strikes me as a bit strange that one of the prime deciding factors upon which the decision whether or not to contact a new race is if they possess a particular type of propulsion. After all, it is merely a technological achievement, and says nothing about the species as a whole.

    There's a certain level of belief among Trek fans that Vulcans were visiting neighboring star systems centuries prior to their independently developing warp propulsion. And that the Romulans set forth on their grand colonization effort in STL ships, not FTL.

    An analogy might be if nations on Earth could not join the UN unless they had independently invented the steam engine.

    Instead, whether a world would be invited to join the Federation (or have first contact) should more properly be based upon the social, cultural and intellectual development of the species. While not perfect examples, the Arab golden Age (8th - 13th centuries). Europe at the towards the end of the age of enlightenment (18th century), similar time periods in India and China. While lacking the technological "toy" of a warp drive, some cultures might be determined in the judgment of the Federation to be ready to join a interstellar community of sapient beings.

    A relatively "primitive" alien culture could hypothetically possess abundant wisdom and awareness, attributes that conceiveable could be lost by waiting a millennium for the engineering skills necessary to build a warp engine. A race residing upon a planet with scad natural resources could create a society of philosophical knowledgeable citizens that could improve and change the Federation immeasurable with their inclusion.

    After contact the nearby Federation member worlds could simply provide warp "bus service" to these people, if they wanted it.

    Returning to the Vulcans, how does the Federation handle a species who doesn't need a warp drive for star travel, will Federation members continue to refuse contact when this species drops into orbit around their homeworld? At some point it will become kind of ridiculous.

    What about a species that again lacks warp drive, but does possess warp communications? Would they be allowed to connect to the Federations "internet?" But just not experience physical contact.
  4. Penta

    Penta Commander Red Shirt

    Mar 17, 2008
    T'Girl: I wasn't done, but okay, I was unlikely to shut up anyway.:P

    It's strange, I agree, but that arbitrary point is, if not canonically established, then overwhelmingly accepted among fandom...Personally, I think it makes sense as a "If you don't have the resources to place Observation Teams everywhere indefinitely, use this as the somewhat arbitrary marker for when you can pull out Observation Teams and say hello". Especially given the Prime Directive, it rapidly becomes apparent that you have to use something as the boundary point, and FTL travel (whether it be by warp engine, artificial singularity, or whatever) seems like as good a point as any to go from total quarantine to "sending over the welcome wagon". (One presumes that anybody who has FTL travel either has or will get FTL comms and/or FTL sensors very soon...And especially later on in tech development, it's probably a race to be ready to contact the newbies before they: A. Discover ET by going bump; B. Discover ET by Something Appearing On Their Sensors; C. Find FTL comms and act like a toddler with a CB radio.)

    Part of the problem with social, cultural, and intellectual measures that aren't technological is that they're very subjective and, this is no small part of it, subject to backsliding. (Not to mention very hard to observe from a distance.) I don't recall cases of widespread technological backsliding (besides the Fall of the Roman Empire), which is a more objective measure (either you have it or you don't) in any case, and much easier to observe from a distance. Remember that most Federation observation efforts are going to be conducted not from ships within the system (where anybody with a telescope can spot you eventually) or teams on planet, but with sensors outside the system.

    I'm not totally sure where to take this writeup, that said. I have a post more or less done in Notepad about "After First Contact", or should I junk that and go directly to cases where First Contact is made with someone who's had FTL travel for a while?
  5. neozeks

    neozeks Captain Captain

    May 30, 2009
    Huzzah, my idea got selected! :)

    Penta, this is an awesome analysis. At the moment I honestly can't think of a single thing I'd add or change.

    I don't think warp-capability is really the deciding factor. I think it's 'has the target species gained awareness of aliens?/is them gaining that knowledge inevitable?'. Warp capability usually coincides with positive answers to these questions so it's commonly used as a shorthand for that. But if they somehow manage to stumble into you using just STL travel or FTL communications or even STL communications, you'll initiate First Contact even if they don't have warp travel. Also, if you somehow reveal your presence to them and you are not able to 'erase' that knowledge (say, your ship crash lands right in front of the eyes of the entire planet) you'll have to initiate First contact even if they are still stuck with just chemical rockets!

    As for the case of an advanced civilization that hasn't entered space - I don't think the Federation ever takes an 'agressive' stance in FC situations; it will always wait for the other side to enter the interstellar arena by it's own will. Otherwise, it would be medling in their natural development and thus against the PD, and that overrides whether they have something that could be useful for the Federation.

    Don't junk it! The more the merrier.
  6. Penta

    Penta Commander Red Shirt

    Mar 17, 2008
    Okay, still going.

    After First Contact

    After First Contact, the situation really becomes specific to the people who FC was made with. If planetary leadership decides upon limited knowledge, that is maintained by the Federation until: A. It becomes impracticable to maintain (for example by the advance of local sensor technology); B. The population finds out somehow; C. The local leadership decides to reveal things.

    The Federation prefers option C and tries to slowly, gently, and understandingly encourage it, albeit at a local pace - it really does help everybody involved. There are extremely rare cases where First Contact was made with planetary governments in the early days of the UFP and the planetary public still has not been informed (or gained knowledge) as of 2383, over 220 years later. These and similar cases drive the Federation nuts in private, especially Starfleet Command, but the decision always winds up the same: It's the local leadership's choice. Nobody wants to really imagine what would happen if a planetary population under such conditions, especially where the deception had lasted longer than a local generation or two, had the reality "shoved in their face"; social instability would be a given, societal collapse and worse a real possibility. [Some cultures will simply never be ready for the general population to learn of the existence of extraterrestrial life, despite having FTL travel as a possibility. It would simply upend everything to no good.] The Federation thus works with the local leadership to give them a fighting chance at maintaining plausible deniability for as long as possible, preferring to ease a world into the knowledge of extraterrestrial life's existence.

    That said, most planetary leaderships that choose not to reveal things to their public do so for a rather more limited time, or at least manage to do so only for more limited times. If Option C isn't picked, eventually Option A becomes inevitable for most planets, and the local leadership has to admit they knew since limited FC was made, resulting in some level of public distrust. The Federation plans and prepares for this option with every culture that chooses to limit knowledge of First Contact. They don't like it too much, but they can plan and be ready for it, often they'll have a degree of warning before the reality becomes apparent to the population, or if it's possible, they'll warn the leadership and the situation becomes a forced Option C.

    Option B, though, nobody likes. Not the UFP, not the local leadership, and especially not the population. The population, at first, doesn't take it seriously. (If it were you, would you take it seriously?) Nonetheless, distrust builds. Eventually, the truth becomes impossible to deny and the population either turns on the local leadership (and sometimes the UFP as well), or just plain loses it. What's worst is that Option B tends to come out of the blue, in ways nobody can plan for. (In at least one case, public knowledge and confirmation of First Contact only occurred because of a political sex scandal on the target world. Cue the species equivalents of a facepalm among Federation officials, and a hurculean effort to rescue things on the part of FDS and Starfleet.)

    However it resolves, though, in the vast majority of cases First Contact becomes publicly known and confirmed within a few Earth-standard years.

    The Federation, in confirming their existence (whether in a planned or unplanned fashion, and whether upon initial FC or the "rollback" of limited First Contact later), tries for a few objectives:

    1. Not overturning local society if they can avoid it. This is taken extremely seriously by Federation personnel involved in First Contact - those who don't at first, who're assigned thinking they can just make everybody like them or the Federation because they're 'more advanced', are "encouraged" to imagine what it would be like on their homeworld had the knowledge of ET life not be handled delicately. (Answer: It's been surprisingly rarely, in the overall scheme of things, that First Contact has not occurred both when a society is ready and with extreme delicacy on both sides. When that has not been the case, well...See the Pakleds for an admittedly extreme example of how all hell can break loose. Nobody, not even the Ferengi, really wants to repeat that - hence why most spacefaring cultures tend only to bother/conquer/interfere with societies that already have FTL travel. Sure, societies that don't are easier to slurp up - but the hell that it creates is considerable.) The point is usually made.

    2. Not creating a cargo cult: Religion is okay. Most societies in the UFP have a majority or at least a sizable minority who still hold to religious beliefs and practice. Cargo cults, though (defined imprecisely for our purposes as "Worshiping people who are not deities, know they aren't deities, and are not necessarily trying to be or impersonate deities"), make everybody involved with First Contact in the UFP (whether they personally believe in a higher power or not) squirm. The line the UFP presents to newly contacted species (and tries very hard to practice with newly contacted species, so as not to cause point 1) is basically thus: "Religion, believing in a deity or deities or a higher power or whatnot, is totally okay. Lots of Federation citizens hold to religion, and that's fine. Practicing religion is okay; lots of Federation citizens practice religion with varying degrees of fervor, and all of that's okay, too. We don't try to say whether there is or is not a God or Goddess or plural of either. People believe or not as they will. But, and this is really important, we are not deities. We are not trying to be, we don't want to be. No other civilization we know of is or (except for one civilization far away that we'll get into explaining later) wants to be, even if they might try to make you think they are because they think you're suckers. Please do not worship us...Or anybody else who might come by in a spacecraft, either. That's a quick clue they're not God, actually: God would have no need of a starship."

    3. Not freaking out the locals (any more than they're inevitably going to anyway): Kinda obvious, ties in with points 1 and 2.

    Importantly, they do not try for specific political, social, cultural, or other objectives. It never works the way you intend when you try, it'll often produce something even worse than the starting condition if you try, and when the locals find out or figure out what you're doing (as they inevitably do), it seriously angers them, basically without exception, even if they agree with you.

    What will the UFP do then, after First Contact?

    If it hasn't been revealed to the public, not much. They don't even advise the target world's leadership to set up a planetary defense force (especially in space), because it's too difficult to explain if it's found out without revealing everything in a very unpredictable way. They mostly keep the planet under watch (with the leadership's knowledge), they inconspicuously assume a defensive posture around the planet to keep out intruders/invaders/raiders/space amoebae, and they keep communications with the leadership going.

    If it has been revealed to the public, there are standardized plans, including that:

    1. Every national (or supra-national) government gets diplomatic representation from the UFP of some sort, including consular representation.
    2. UFP advisors work with governments on humanitarian and economic aid projects, the projects carefully controlled so that no region outpaces others by too much in terms of technological adoption. The pace will still probably be dizzying, but everybody will be mostly even.
    3. Federation diplomats very discreetly help settle conflicts and keep settled conflicts peaceful - the emphasis on discretion is key, as nobody likes the idea of "the aliens" even remotely seeming to interfere with "our problems". Even more rarely, as when criminal elements wage guerrila warfare (see narco-traffickers, FARC in Colombia, or the Taliban in Afghanistan for Earth examples), Starfleet will help government maintain the peace (not by putting "boots on the ground", but by providing things like orbital surveillance) to allow diplomatic or law enforcement efforts to work once areas are under control.
    4. Federation educational advisors, working extremely slowly (often over generations), help integrate Federation knowledge into local education.
    5. As the planet is readier (ie, so nobody freaks out or gets suckered by the Ferengi), contact with the galaxy is slowly expanded with Federation help.

    These efforts are classified bureaucratically as "short term", but what "short term" means can vary tremendously in timelines. It's not unknown, or uncommon, for "short term" efforts to last decades.

    During this time, the planet is (sometimes officially, but just as often implicitly and unofficially) a Federation protectorate - it has total control "internally", over its own species, own governments, own societies, but looks to the Federation for everything to do with spaceborne defense (it's the rare planet without FTL that has a space defense force), interstellar relations, and generally everything else to do with the wider galaxy. They can pull out of this relationship at any time, but it basically never happens at this point - the planet is too dependent on Federation help, and knows it.

    This phase is wrapped up with when:
    1. Politically, the planet has (ideally) a single stable government with authority over the entire territory held by the species on planet and beyond the planet, or an intergovernmental organization that can do the same thing. There might still be conflicts here or there, some perhaps barely under control, but no wars breaking out;
    2. Technologically, all of the planet's inhabited regions are at roughly the standards held by Earth's most recovered regions in 2100;
    3. Socially, the planet is still getting used to the existence of extraterrestrial life, but isn't going to collapse or go bonkers; [to use the layman's term]
    4. Economically, hunger and deprivation may not be eliminated, but there aren't any regions that are outright suffering.

    Medium term projects are mostly an advancement of short term projects.

    In the medium term:

    1. Starfleet works with the stable world government (or IGO with the power to be as effective) to establish a defense force for the system, with native starship design and construction under Federation tutelage, and local training of crews; [The idea is that they can fend off pirates and other small threats on their own, and enforce governmental authority throughout the system; anything bigger is still a Starfleet issue]
    2. FDS works to "firm up" the existing structures into a single world government - this rarely takes less than 50 years if a single world government does not exist when First Contact is made, and Earth's 80 years (from First Contact in 2067 to the completion of United Earth in 2150) is doing exceptionally well when compared;
    3. "Higher level" technologies such as phasers, matter/antimatter reactors for planetary use (as opposed to "infrastructure-level" fusion reactors, or M/A reactors for space use only) and transporters are very slowly and cautiously introduced over time, with the idea of allowing the population to get used to the technology at their own pace; [You don't want to overwhelm people, lest there be a backlash.]
    4. Trade is, with Federation assistance, begun with nearby systems;
    5. The educational system more fully melds local knowledge and traditions and customs with Federation knowledge, including a local base for tertiary-level education;

    During this phase, the Federation works very slowly and deliberately to integrate the planet with the local interstellar community; There are ample cases of worlds that tried to do too much too fast in this phase and were overwhelmed societally, sometimes backsliding from achieved progress as a result...sometimes disastrously so.

    Politically, this is when FDS starts to talk, very experimentally, about the world, "at some future point", possibly considering Federation membership, or becoming an independent member of the galactic community. Basically, this is when Federation answers to the planetary leadership's questions on the matter become more than "We'll talk about that when you're ready" and start to talk about the general idea as something that, in generations, might happen.

    Militarily, this is when Starfleet works on establishing an embryonic space defense force, capable of short-range operations in small ships that, nonetheless, are warp capable. Basically, they aren't about to implode politically or societally unless something goes very wrong, so Starfleet is willing to think about training them to do basic tasks themselves. Officers and command crews may come from planetary military forces on an internationally-integrated basis (the most common scenario), or they may be trained from civilians by Starfleet (a lot harder and far less common); Enlisted personnel are generally trained by Starfleet directly.

    Medium-term wraps up when:

    1. There's a single world government, capable of commanding a small space fleet that can exercise authority over the solar system, fend off pirates, and so forth;
    2. Trade is regular with local systems, and beginning over longer ranges;
    3. Technology-wise, transporters and other technology of roughly 2200-era Earth are in use on a planetary scale;
    4. Crime is controlled and rarely a threat to governmental authority except in localized areas;
    5. Society is used to extraterrestrial life as a general rule;
    6. There's the beginnings of a local education base of Federation quality;
    7. Hunger and outright poverty are still possible for individuals, but rare on larger levels.

    Next post will deal with long-term stuff.
  7. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 20, 2009
    I can see how a species obtaining warp drive could "force the issue."

    A immature culture could have a brand new warp drive (maybe warp two) and not receive from Starfleet a recommendation to be good candidate for any form of contact. If they live in remote section of the galaxy with no nearby inhabited systems, the Federation might wait as long as possible before finally initiating first contact. Hopeful of a internal change. In extreme cases, Starfleet could covertly sabotage a new cultures warp drive program. Remotely prevent a warp field from forming around a experimental ship, hack into computers and steer scientists down reasonable blind alleys. If a drone is used for the first warp flight, it could simply be "disappeared."

    If the information was classified by a government that was distrustful of it own citizens, followed by multiple administrative turn over, it possible that they simply "forgot" about the existence of the Federation.

    There might also be the risk, once the contact team becomes known to the general public, of creating a cult of personality centered on them. If a interstellar contact team were to be revealed to modern America, far from creating some form of "mass hysteria," a more likely result would be instant celebrity status and intense public fascination.

    While having local leadership involved in the first contact in some way would be one aspect of the procedure, relaying upon the the politicians of the moment as the sole point of contact might be a large mistake. Simultaneous contact with members of the academia, scientists in astrophysics, prominent (and responsible) cultural leaders should be involved as well, and again simultaneously. If a first warp flight was achieved by a private group (like whoever was backing Cochrane) they might be the perfect ones not only as part of the mix for a structured first contact, but maybe as the sole initial contact as well.

    This might be a golden opportunity for some early honesty on the part of the Federation, both that there are big bad species out there, there are the Ferengi and also that there are multiple options besides joining the Federation. The Federation can be a friend and a partner, never a superior or a parent.

    The Federation's assistance should never be contingent upon joining the Federation.


    This sounds more than a little scary. This procedure could eventual lead to a "Federation Clone World." Traditions and customs need to be vehemently non-melded.

    When Humanity first traveled into space, Humanity didn't, Russia did. When Humanity first traveled to the moon, Humanity didn't, America did. If the breaking the light barrier is analogous to breaking the sound barrier, it not hard to imagine a world with a wide diversity of technological levels and (I'm sorry) civilization levels. So why would the Federation contact the entire world?

  8. captcalhoun

    captcalhoun Admiral Admiral

    Apr 29, 2005
    the novel Prime Directive establishes that warp drive is used as a marker of development for contact since at that point it becomes increasingly likely that the contacted species will run into a Fed ship or pitch up in a Fed-controlled system, so rather than have them run across someone in a more random fashion and - possibly panic and/or start a fight - tehy do it in a more controlled fashion, opening a 'non-directional dialogue' with the new species.

    it further establishes that should the new species develop subspace technology - particularly subspace com systems - then they'll be contacted also because tehy are likely to then start picking up Fed com traffic, even if they don't know who's saying what to who.

    the PD is also said to no longer apply if someone else (Klingons, Romulans, anyone else) has interfered in the natural development of a species - this is the case in the New Frontier novels where the positively Medieval Xenexians are invaded and occupied by the high tech Danteri.
  9. Penta

    Penta Commander Red Shirt

    Mar 17, 2008
    I don't see SF intervening to sabotage people.

    Entirely possible, but this is why the Federation comes back and says "Hi!" every so often.

    Excellent point. This is why the contact team, as a personnel matter, is trained to limit as much as possible the chances for that happening, IMHO.

    I considered that. The problem is that, as the UFP would be well aware, that is incredibly, inexcusably poor diplomatic practice, regardless of culture. It should be noted that even if Observation Teams (a la Insurrection) look and feel like anthropology expeditions, FC would be at its core a diplomatic act. As a general rule, foreign powers do not make contact with private parties and non-state actors before making formal contact with their governments, if it can be avoided at all. That's a pretty unbreakable rule on Earth, it would be strange if the UFP didn't hold to it.

    Now, the UFP may well, 5 minutes after finishing up the meet with the global political strata, meet with private parties (with the consent or at least acquiescence of the governmental authorities), I agree. But diplomatic courtesy demands that you limit your contacts to governments at first.

    I agree - there'd be a briefing as to who's in the area, but I also think that the UFP would be very careful in the speed at which it lets the information out. I can only imagine the planetary freaking out that occurs when people learn about the Borg!

    Agreed. I never meant to imply that, from the UFP perspective, it was. The locals probably presume otherwise though, despite UFP protests.

    So far as FDS nudging towards a single world government: This has the side benefit of fulfilling a condition for UFP membership, but that isn't the point. The reality is that planets without it tend to be "Meat for the Grinder" on an interstellar scale.

    Potential problems with the UFP nudging, though?

    1. They tend to work with what they got. This means they both can unintentionally seem to "endorse" some pretty horrid practices, and the FDS-led habit of "working with the situation as they find it" means that while they prefer unification happening peacefully, there are legions of cases where...Peaceful ain't how it happened.
    2. There's the always-present risk that contact happens too fast for the locals, and diversity becomes a monoculture of the strongest culture at First Contact.

    Absolutely. Poor choice of words on my part. My intent is that local knowledge is melded with Federation knowledge (for example in the sciences), with Federation knowledge (and just as importantly, access to UFP databases like Memory Alpha - because my God, it'd be a planetwide case of learning too much, too fast, of "Too Much Information" if you just gave out full access in one move!) being introduced first in and through universities, then secondary schools, then primary schools over time, perhaps over generations, so that local knowledge isn't lost and local customs and traditions can hold up.

    It would turn the stomachs of many here on TrekBBS, myself included to a point (I like the idea of knowledge being free), but I'd see knowledge being introduced only with the consent of those "in control" such as planetary governmental and religious authorities - not an "all or nothing" thing, but very carefully delineating what can be introduced to a population over time in what areas. I could see most religions, for example, having no problem with knowledge of warp physics or astronomical knowledge...But they might want to hold back on letting knowledge about the Q filter out, while theologians figure out a response. (Yes, I am saying that the Federation would reluctantly assist in censorship. Not because they like it, but because it would be a necessity. The simple fact of the matter is that to unleash everything at once, on principle, would rip most societies apart. Censorship of anything may often be distasteful to "liberalized" minds such as ours, but the Federation has no interest in seeing First Contact (or the introduction of new things after FC) cause revolutions or societal upheavals. That rarely ends well for the planets that undergo them, and, purely self-interestedly, it probably leads the locals to blame the Federation for introducing everything.)

    The UFP wants to introduce the new folks to all the wondrous knowledge they have on offer, but they have no interest in the introduction of said knowledge causing societal havoc or the overturning of societal structures. If the knowledge impacts the evolution of the society, okay. But it's okay only while it remains an evolutionary process.

  10. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 20, 2009
    No, I was serious. I could easily see the Federation only contacting the "major players" on any given planet. Perhaps only the technological and economic superpowers. On Earth today, depending on your definition of "a country," there are approximately two hundred countries, So while there might be some kind of courtesy call or polite chit-chat at a diplomatic conference, I really don't see the Contact Team interacting with every single country on a equal footing.
  11. Penta

    Penta Commander Red Shirt

    Mar 17, 2008
    I think we need to make a division here between "Contact" and "Interaction".

    I absolutely do not see the Federation allowing, to use Earth as the example, the P5 (the 5 permanent members of the UN Security Council) to be the only governments who know of the existence of extraterrestrial life. Even though the P5 might prefer that it be that way, not going to happen, that'd have bad impacts strategically and politically.

    However, at the same time, it's impractical to deal with all 200+ governments at once, yes.

    What I suspect would happen: All 200+ governments (in the Earth example) are invited to the initial meetings with the Contact Team. HOG (Heads of Government) and HOS (Heads of State) level only, no lower; No staff, no notes, no recordings. Such meetings tend to be zoos, even if you're dealing at that level, simply because of the sheer size, but that's to be expected, and it's fine at first. The point is that every government knows of the existence of extraterrestrial life; the decision on whether to reveal the existence of ET life beyond the governments' highest levels is (The Federation urges) taken on the basis of unaniminity - and if the decision is taken not to reveal it, the Federation won't say it (won't even hint it), but they'd help to stop such revelations "out of school", and turn a blind eye as everybody else beats the attempted talker to a pulp geopolitically - after all, if you defy the will of the international community on this issue, it may not be pretty to see a country be ganged up on and basically torn to shreds, but it's evolution in action, because you are clearly Too Dumb To Live. (And yes, I believe that, while it would be difficult, you could do all that in an Earth-like society. I believe that the simple fact is that in such an event, while there would be a bias towards revealing it, it would be eminently possible to enforce a decision not to.) This would hold in case of Limited First Contact - when the Federation meets with governments on that planet, it meets with the highest levels only, and only all of them at once.

    After The Announcement, though, once everybody on the planet is breathing again and the "Holy crap there's aliens! Let's riot!" riots (you know they'd happen) are done with, and after the initial impacts are clear (some governments would fall - some countries would cease to be independent too), then all the HOGs/HOSs (in the Earth example) of the still independent governments go back behind closed doors, and the Contact Team lays down the ground rules: Now that everybody knows which governments could survive the news going public, the governments of the planet are "invited" (read: politely demanded) to decide amongst themselves as to a usefully limited subset of governments that will make up the "Contact Group" on the local side. The Federation would prefer that this group contain a diversity of views, ethnicities, religions, etc, as represented by governments, but the idea is that it's a useful subgroup of governments. These governments get dealt with first - essentially, they're the conduit through which relations are conducted with the planet. How the governments are chosen is of no concern to the UFP - they know there'll be horsetrading, but that's life.

    Similarly - every government gets a UFP consulate, just so the Federation has someone there to keep an eye on things, but only one capital gets the official UFP embassy.

    Contact, thus, is established with every government. Interaction, on the other hand, is limited to a subset.
  12. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 20, 2009
    If the Eternal President Kim Il-sung was at the meeting, President Obama and Prime Minister Naoto Kan wouldn't be. North Korea "claims" South Korea, will the Federation request South Korea not attend? Would the Federation put up with the exclusion of President Ma Ying-jeou, and if he is there then China leaves in a huff. What about all the other countries "claimed" by The People's Republic of China.

    The President of the Tibetan government-in-exile, the Dalai Lama, might enjoy a chair at this meeting. Unless the Federation would care to formal recognize the conquest of that nation.

    If Kosovo in, then Serbia out. The presents of the Israeli HOS and HOG might result in a dozen absent countries. Add to this the fact that Heads of States of western nations tend to be closely monitored by the people they work for, if this is going to be a "secret" meeting, then the top political leadership are the last people you would want present. Also these leaders might not look kindly upon being simply summoned. Is the President of the Federation going to be at this meeting too (not an impossibility Penta)?

    I always found it odd that the Starfleet Captain of whatever series could just call a planet's leader and have them jump on the line in a moment notice.

    It seems to me that having official lower level representatives in attendance would make much more sense.

    This is basically what I was talking about.


    How do you thing the Federation would handle The New Race basically saying no thanks? Remember The New Race (TNR) does possess a warp drive now, they might listen attentively and politely to the Federation's proposition and promptly come back with one of the own. Would the Federation be prepared to be flexible in the face of TNR's counter-offer? TNR isn't a little group of natives on some chain of islands in the ocean. If they can create a warp drive we're talking most likely about a planet full of industrial and economic powers.

    Continuing the hypothetical of modern Earth with warp propulsion, separately both America and Russia might be willing to strike out on their own path, especially if they figure that the Federation would remain as a fall back option. Japan and China would see if they could work it both ways, and the EU would promptly make a decision in only a couple of decades. What good would it do for the Federation to assemble most of the nations in one big room, if the one, two or three nations actually operating the warp drive aren't present? The US might send the deputy under-secretary of agriculture. Russia, under Putin, increasingly is feeling their oats again. Japan also could be looking for some (political) expansion.

    If TNR has something to trade, dilithuim crystals are always fun, and can reach the next Federation member over, what then? They have warp drive so the prime directive doesn't apply anymore. Would the Federation government try to restrict what could be traded with TNR until they were "ready?"

    Remember Penta, T'Girl doesn't feel that the Federation government exercises internal sovereignty over it members. TNR could fast track itself using those crystals, going independently to local Federation and non-Federation star systems. Look how much slack Ardana was cut because it was the likely sole trading source of the mineral zenite. A mutual defense pact with their neighbors home fleets, an information data base, technology, all the goodies - none of the waiting.

    Keeping chocolate out of the hands of a child in one thing, keeping it ot of the hands of a adult with a car and their own money is another.

    TNR (like it or not) are adults.


    Lastly, we both seem to be making the assumption that TNR even has countries. They might not possess the Human territorial thing. Just because we formed into political unit, doesn't automatically mean others will.

    What if then?

  13. Penta

    Penta Commander Red Shirt

    Mar 17, 2008
    In the event there are no countries, my head explodes.:)

    The point about all the squabbles that would crop up with a HOS/HOG-level meeting are non-trivial, but the problem is that there are decisions that need to be made with zero leaks, more or less right then, with no ability to wait for instructions from home - certainly in a timeline of hours at most. That's basically impossible at lower levels. At some point, you'd include a line in that Message to the Superpowers that basically says (more diplomatically, obviously) "We have a list of people we expect in that room. We shouldn't have to provide it - you're supposedly the leaders of superpowers, you should be able to guess who's on it. Your squabbles are insignificant now - we expect everyone on the list in that room. Attendance will be taken." And then, well, even the UFP isn't afraid of relying on "Oh shit aliens!" at first to get their way on things like "get every leader in the room, keep it quiet, and if you walk out because Sworn Enemy's leader is in the room, you lose, Mr. President". There'll be time to apologize for the misconceptions later; Until the shoals of First Contact are navigated, the Federation is probably not above...Not lying to the locals, but not necessarily telling them the whole truth. No, of course they're never going to swoop down and blow up your cities if you don't show up (or try to send the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Agriculture instead of POTUS)...But only they know that they won't (and probably couldn't even if they were willing). The New Folks' leaders, on the other hand, get to wet themselves in fear, and "Do as I say, because I'm the alien you didn't have a clue existed 20 minutes ago telling you to" can be a pretty effective reason all its own.

    The New Folks' leadership strata will be exposed to the Federation essentially relying on the shock factor of first contact, the way I see it. The New Folks are faced with everything they thought they knew about stuff you could usually be pretty certain on changing massively in a timespan of a few hours. Even with the modern news cycle, we don't usually have events moving so drastically so quickly, and while most high-level leadership types are used to keeping up with the rapid pace of change, the "black swans" (does contact with aliens even fit that, I wonder?) do tend to throw everybody off the ball for a bit. Keep in mind, too, that First Contact may well happen very shortly after a successful FTL engine test. "Shortly" defined as "The UFP saw the preps happening beforehand, got ready, and might come by and say hello within hours of a successful test."

    They'll still be absorbing the idea that an FTL engine worked for real. And then ET shows up and says "Hi, and by the way, take me to your leaders".

    And until you know ET can't blow up your city, your country, or your planet with a button-push, you have to presume they can. Until you know they won't, you gotta presume they will if you look at them funny.

    It's after you decide whether to reveal things to the public or not (and find the UFP respecting your decision either way) that you begin to figure out they're not likely to blow you to smithereens with an effortless button-push if you look at them funny.

    I do suspect, though, that even if you get through the shock without the global leadership equivalent of everyone having a stroke at the same time (or forget equivalent, without that actually happening), or worse, there'd still be significant pressure from every other country on the planet to put up a unified front and not strike out on your own. The same kinda pressure that makes ratting on someone on the playground so damned awkward - namely, you may be the biggest, baddest kid on the playground, but if everybody else gets together, they can still beat you up. Faced with incontrovertible proof - in the form of the new guy that just said "Hi" - that you are no longer necessarily top of the food chain, there is a huge incentive to cooperate.

    (I should note that First Contact would be a proposition that would be insane for the UFP if they can't herd their members on at least that issue - even if they're not very united at all, the UFP has zero cred on anything if they can't at least look united to the people who just got FTL travel.)

    Trade is a funky issue - unless the UFP tells you first thing, how do you know you have something valuable to trade out in the galaxy? (And why would the UFP not hold off on telling you until they'd gotten you addicted like a drug user to their aid programs?)
  14. neozeks

    neozeks Captain Captain

    May 30, 2009
    I'd say holoprojection technology, fast communications and the transporter would easily solve the problem of 'secrecy'. Who's gona notice the Prez is not home if you simply beam him out and then back? ;)
  15. Penta

    Penta Commander Red Shirt

    Mar 17, 2008
    Did you miss the part about not wanting to freak out the locals?:)

    Transporter use around them (to say nothing of on them) would freak out most people who hadn't heard of it.
  16. neozeks

    neozeks Captain Captain

    May 30, 2009
    Beam them out when they're asleep then. Won't feel a thing... :D

    Ok, bad idea. Just give them all a holocommunications device and you have an instant conference.
  17. Penta

    Penta Commander Red Shirt

    Mar 17, 2008
    Have we seen the holocom devices used remotely like that?

    I seem to recall them being strictly one-to-one devices. As a big part of this conference would be decisionmaking re the public revelation of extraterrestrial life, they need to be capable of many to many comms...It might be better if everybody were to "breathe the same air".
  18. Cicero

    Cicero Admiral Admiral

    Jan 14, 2002
    To advocate a different point of view:

    Noninterference as Federation principle seems to apply in two ways, both of which relate to cultural evolution. First, it protects the development of immature societies from accelerating influences. Second, it secures the right of peer societies to make their own informed choices about their futures.

    The recognition principles by which the Federation operates seem to imply a judgment of maturity operates when communicating with a culture. If a culture is judged mature, it does not seem unreasonable to presume that its citizens are entitled to all information that is normally freely available, to do with as they choose.

    That I can recall, we've never seen the Federation withhold information from a culture that it considered equal to its own. It seems to me that withholding knowledge from an equal, or acceding to the censoring desires of its powerful structures is inconsistent with the Federation's philosophies and behavior. If anything, Starfleet captains seem to approach with a certain degree of relish what opportunities they have to challenge societal structures with uncomfortable truths (to be resolved by persons within the affected society).
  19. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 20, 2009
    :)Given that the Federation's proposal is basically "We get our way - or - we get our way." what local decisions would needed to be made at all?

    :)By lower level, I meant below the level of the chief executive. A trusted adviser or well instructed ambassador would do. There would also be sensible security concerns. The leadership knowns little about the Federation at this point (actual nothing), and these new aliens only want to get every last world leader in one room with no protective details, well that certainly sound reasonable. Hell, the secret service, literally, might not let the President walk into that room alone. Or let him travel to the meeting at all.

    :)That would depend on how much time has transpired between the first flight and first contact. If the preference is to have a dedicated contact team handle the first contact and taking into account communications and travel times, actual first contact might be months, or in rare occasions years, after the first flight. The Wright brothers flew three times the first day.

    :)So place all the leaders in their hands.

    :)Previously I mention that hypothetically either Russia or America might be the ones to achieve warp flight first. So "put up a unified front and not strike out on your own." Uhmmm, would not that advice be the exact opposite of the exspected actions of those two nations?

    In fact Penta, from a certain way of looking at it, a nation that was afraid to strike off on their own ...

    ... probably won't be the one to invent a warp drive!

    :)If I saw that individual member worlds retained their sovereign rights in the face of the central power, if anything would be an encouragement to one day join.

  20. Cepstrum

    Cepstrum Commander Red Shirt

    Apr 20, 2010
    State of Oregon, USA
    You guys have an interesting discussion going on, but if I may, I'd like to drop by and ask a few questions:

    1. What's stopping less scrupulous species (such as the Ferengi) from bypassing the UFP and making First Contact whenever they want to (say, to exploit planets)? Does Starfleet militantly guard pre-warp civilizations? I'd think that would require more ships than even the huge Starfleet possesses. Or does the UFP only assume responsibility for making FC for planets within its own territory? Obviously it can't go all over the galaxy doing this. So does it restrict making FC to planets within its borders?

    2. About requiring FTL travel as a requirement before making FC. As it's been noted, once a planet starts exploring with FTL, they'll probably soon run into other species. Thus, I think it's a fairly reasonable boundary marker. But how likely is it, do you think, for a planet to be able to develop FTL without cooperation from the entire planet? I'd think such a huge undertaking would only be possible once the various political entities quit fighting each other and instead come together in peace. Of course, that's not how it happened with Earth, but I think the whole idea of Cochrane developing a warp drive in the woods with little help is a little far-fetched. So I'd think that by the time a society develops FTL travel, they'd have already moved beyond the point of petty internal bickering and have an established, planet-wide government. But maybe not. That's why I ask.