|written by Zixinus on Jan 14, 2007 22:05|
|You nightmare has come.|
|Greedy, Cowardly Ferengi|
In "The Last Outpost", we were introduced to the Ferengi. Gene Roddenberry originally envisioned the Ferengi as the Federation's primary foe, to take the place of the Klingons and Romulans. This was part of the sea change in Star Trek's underlying theme, which was being revised from the 1960's Cold War to a left-wing liberal tirade against consumerism and capitalism. But the Ferengi were not simply greedy; they were powerful, mysterious, and dangerous. The very first Ferengi warship we ever saw was powerful enough to dice with the Federation's biggest, most powerful battleship, and its crew was highly aggressive. Despite their small stature, they were able to surprise and defeat a Federation landing party on the ground. Their appearance may have been odd, but these were clearly not people to be trifled with.
When they reappeared in "Peak Performance", they were similarly threatening. They dropped out of warp at point blank range, opened fire on the USS Enterprise, and promptly disabled most of its combat systems. They demanded the surrender of the derelict USS Hathaway, and when Picard (seemingly) destroyed it rather than surrender it, the Ferengi captain grudgingly complimented him by saying that "I did not think the Federation had such iron!" A rather warrior-like sentiment, is it not? Similarly, Picard once recounted the story of how he lost his previous command, after his ship was reduced to a flaming wreck by a Ferengi warship. This is a far cry from the cowardly Ferengi of DS9, isn't it? But in every appearance, the Ferengi made reference to a profit motive, and that was more than enough to plant the brain bug.
By the time the Ferengi showed up on DS9, their interest in profit had grown to encompass their entire culture. They were suddenly interested in nothing but the accumulation of wealth, and the writers' desire to simplify every alien society into a one-note joke meant that any non-financial elements of their society (including the strong martial tradition that was obvious from their initial appearance in TNG) vanished without a trace. Now, they were a laughingstock in combat, and they made frequent disparaging references to their own combat ineptitude. When Nog elected to join the Federation military, the decision was treated with shock, contempt, and derision by his relatives because Ferengi are businessmen, not soldiers. When Quark went on a mission to rescue his mother, they found a single Ferengi mercenary who was good with weapons, and the others acted as if he was some kind of freakish anomaly. What happened to the heavily armed Ferengi warships we saw in TNG? Did the writers suffer a massive collective amnesia attack?
As time went by, this brain bug continued to grow. Not only was greed now the only defining characteristic of Ferengi society, but the writers figured they were on a roll, so they even made it the Ferengi religion! Instead of the Ten Commandments, the Ferengi had the "Rules of Acquisition", with which the viewers were bludgeoned with constant reminders of Ferengi greed. Instead of "astral plane" or "holy ghost", they had the "Great Material Continuum". We were told that the Ferengi had no loyalty to anything but money; not to friends, not to family, not to king and country. No one ever managed to explain how a society could possibly function along these lines, but no matter; the writers obviously had no interest in constructing an interesting or multi-faceted alien society for the Ferengi. Far from it; instead, they seemed to be interested in reducing it to a single element, just as they had done for the Klingons. By the time they were done, another society had been transformed into a farcical one-note caricature by the unfettered growth of a brain bug. Planted in TNG, and grown to the proportions of Jack's famous beanstalk in DS9.
This, and many other enlightening essays can be found on the site. The idea came to the author (who is not me) that the Empire would wipe out the Federation in one clean blow. And, unlike hard-corers, he gives quite alot of reason why.
|└> last changed by Zixinus on February 08, 2007 at 20:50|
|Sure. His is larger than mine. No problem.|
|written by Nalix on Jan 15, 2007 05:56|
|This is one of the reasons stories should be made with the end in mind from the begining. I also like very much when races are multifaceted. There should be good and evil elements of all races, as well as greedy, pious, beligerent, loyal, smart, slow ect. I see making a single race into a one-dimentional, all (race) are like thus and such, as severly lacking in creativity.|
But notice that they never do that with the human race. We're all very diverse (sarcasm).
|written by Zixinus on Jan 15, 2007 13:05|
|Here is another:|
When we were first introduced to the Borg in "Q Who", they appeared to be a race of cyborg techno-scavengers. There was no hint of assimilation; we saw birthing rooms where baby drones were being grown in incubators, and Q explained that they were not interested in humans, or the Federation. They wanted only the Enterprise. They were technological "users", who apparently wandered space in search of useful technology to take from its owners by force. They validated Q's claims in that episode by demonstrating their interest in technology over organic life, when their only reaction to the death of a comrade was to take some important bits of his technology back with them.
But in "Best of Both Worlds", one of the writers had the bright idea of making the Borg kidnap Picard and then assimilate him while aboard their ship, thus setting up one of the best best cliff-hangers in Star Trek history. The situation was resolved (although Star Trek: Insurrection suggests that there may have been lasting brain damage from the incident), but the brain bug was planted. The Borg assimilate people! Of course, they only did it to one person, and they had to beam onto the Enterprise, knock him out, beam him back to their ship, and then surgically alter him in order to make it happen, but they did it nonetheless, and that was more than enough for the brain bug.
Fast forward to STFC: the writers get the bright idea that if a little bit of assimilation is good, then a lot of assimilation will be better. Where once they were interested in assimilating Federation technology, they were now interested only in assimilating people. Consider the plot of the film; when their attack failed and they were forced to go to plan B, they tried to prevent the technological development of the human race in order to assimilate it! They would have erased the very technology that they were supposedly interested in! But of course, their interest in technology was just part of their original concept, and all of that was washed away by the big brain bug.
Now, instead of assimilating key personnel in order to facilitate their goal of turning humans into a slave race ("to service us") and stealing all of the Federation's technology, assimilation is the entire raison d'etre of their society! All of a sudden, they're friggin' vampires! They lurch through the corridors of the Enterprise-E like extras from Night of the Living Dead, and when they seize their prey, they sink their fangs, er- "assimilation tubules" into their necks, leaving two nice little fang-marks, er- "assimilation tubule punctures". Instead of assimilating their victims through surgical procedures (as in "Best of Both Worlds"), they pollute your blood with nanoprobes (more parallels with vampires, who drink some of your blood and leave the rest in an undead state). Best of all, when you kill the head vampire, er- "Borg Queen", all of the other vampires, er- "drones" die too.
By the time the Voyager writers were done, the Borg were utterly useless, unable to learn or analyze or think for themselves. Their only means of technological advancement was to assimilate technology that they did not already have, and if they could not assimilate (eg- Species 8472), they were totally helpless. They actually needed Voyager to defeat Species 8472 for them! Yet another case of a brain bug turning an alien society into a farcical one-note joke.
|└> last changed by Zixinus on February 08, 2007 at 20:51|
|written by Magnulus on Feb 07, 2007 08:05|
|Hahaha! Cowards! They don't prevail over the Empire, they flee before it! And then Picard makes his "Uh, let's just leave 'em alone" speech. Because he's a total coward. |
They're completely different stories that both appeal in different ways. Generally, the fantasy nerds like Star Wars and the science nerds like Star Trek.
|written by Zixinus on Feb 07, 2007 15:42|
|Actually, an attack on a Star Destroyer would look like this:|
|Mission requirements: An Imperial Star Destroyer has plotted an ill-advised hyperspace jump through an asteroid field. It has been severely damaged, and it is drifting through space, only five minutes at maximum warp from the nearest starbase. Federation units are to scramble immediately, with the goal of capturing the ship and as much of its technology as possible. A secondary mission goal is to capture as many of their engineers and technicians as possible. This is a valuable opportunity, and it must not be squandered.|
Intel report: This is an immediate response situation, and no intel is available.
Equipment and Manpower: The USS Ming is at the starbase awaiting repair and resupply. There is no time to load it up with extra troops, so it will depart immediately.
Precedents: The availability of just one starship for even the most critical mission is extremely common in Star Trek, with the most famous example being ST:TMP. The idea of capturing a Star Destroyer by beaming onto its bridge or beaming its crew out (despite the 1 person per second transporter limit from "Descent Part 2", which means that it would take more than ten hours to nab an ISD's crew) is a perennial fan favourite, and in fact, it is so popular with newsgroup Trekkies that many of them describe the capture of an intact Star Destroyer as an inevitability, thus leading to the widespread belief that the Federation would be able to quickly obtain, analyze, and then duplicate all of a Star Destroyer's technology.
The star destroyer is crippled, with no shields or helm control. Its central targeting systems are down and many of its gun turrets are without power. However, the heavy turrets have independent power sources and targeting systems, and some of the smaller guns still have power and can be manually operated. The USS Ming approaches the stricken ship, only to be met with dozens of TIE fighters and defensive gunfire from its remaining turrets. It launches small craft such as fighters, runabouts, or shuttles in order to help it engage the TIE fighters, and it maneuvers out of the firing arc of the big ship's heavy guns while returning fire. The captain of the USS Ming opens a channel and demands that the star destroyer power down its weapons and surrender, but his only answer is more gunfire.
On board the star destroyer, its crew has been destroying equipment, erasing files, and setting explosives ever since the USS Ming was spotted. At that moment, they knew they wouldn't have enough time to repair their hyperdrive, and their plans changed. Now, their duty is to abandon and destroy their vessel, and their defensive fire is only intended to damage and/or delay the USS Ming. Escape pods are already streaming away from the ship.
After taking significant damage, the USS Ming and its support vessels finally manage to cripple or destroy the TIE fighters. Its sensors are blinded by the big ship's dense dura-armour and the radiation venting from its damaged reactor. It has no specialized hull-breaching attack pods or assault vessels, so its only option is to find a way to transport men inside. The bridge tower isn't as thickly armoured as the main hull, so the Ming's captain decides to try a bridge insertion. They repeatedly blast the armour at the back of the bridge tower, eventually opening enough breaches that they can get partial scans of the bridge area. The Ming moves close to minimize the danger from interference, and then it begins the hazardous operation of blindly transporting men inside.
Once inside the bridge area, the boarders face fierce resistance from stormtroopers who have been expecting this sort of incursion. One group has set up a heavy E-web repeating blaster in the main "trunk" leading from the bridge toward the bowels of the ship, and they are sweeping the entire bridge area with a murderous hail of automatic fire. The first five boarding squads suffer 100% fatalities within seconds of arrival. The USS Ming's horrified transport operators realize what's happening from the boarders' comm traffic, so they switch their transport co-ordinates, spreading their men out through the area. Some of them appear behind the E-web, and they manage to gun down its operators and damage the gun itself before being killed. The loss of the heavy weapon removes the defenders' biggest advantage. The stormtroopers begin to fall back. More and more Federation boarding crews appear on the bridge, until the stormtroopers retreat completely, sealing a blast door behind them.
As soon as the blast door closes behind the fleeing stormtroopers, remotely triggered explosive charges blow out the bridge windows. The entire bridge area is depressurized, and all of the boarding crews are blown out into space. Undaunted, space-suited technical staff beam onto the bridge, where they attempt to seize control of its central computer. However, they quickly discover that the bridge computers were almost totally destroyed by the ship's crew before evacuating the bridge. Worse yet, Imperial vessels are not designed like Federation vessels. The bridge is a point of central command and control, but bridge commands can be overridden locally if necessary. There is no automated intruder defense system that they can use to incapacitate the entire ship's crew in one fell swoop, because the Imperial Navy's philosophy of shipboard security is based upon its huge stormtrooper contingents, not a centralized system.
Explosions rumble through the star destroyer, as heavy equipment is being destroyed. The captain of the USS Ming considers the situation. Now that he knows the bridge is worthless, his first priority is the reactor. He imagines that it has already been rigged to overload in some sort of catastrophic manner, and that its operators are only waiting for more of the crew to evacuate.
He maneuvers his ship down to the underside of the star destroyer, and noses into its underside bay where they take damage from the bay guns but eventually destroy them. From this vantage point, he can beam men across a very short distance into the loading areas despite the radiation, with orders to fight their way to the central reactor and keep it from being destroyed. With hundreds or perhaps thousands of armed Imperial defenders in their way, their mission is difficult at best. The defenders here are far more tenacious than they were at the bridge, and the boarders pay in blood for each foot of corridor and each room. Each time they enter a new section, they must cut their way through another blast door and take heavy casualties from another group of well-positioned defenders, who will use anything from heavy support weapons to thermal detonators, nerve gas grenades, and war droids in order to inflict casualties upon the boarders. His marines long gone, the captain of the USS Ming begins to seriously deplete his crew in order to send more men into the fray.
While this has been happening, more and more escape pods have been shooting out from the dying ship. The captain of the star destroyer has been waiting in the reactor control room with a dead man's switch in his hand. He is informed that the escape pods have reached safe distance, and that Federation boarding parties are slowly approaching his position. He sets the overload timer as a backup for his switch, and he orders many of the remaining stormtroopers to board the last few escape pods. He wishes them luck, and as soon as the pods are away, he releases the switch. The entire ship is blown apart by the resulting explosion, and the USS Ming is destroyed along with it.
Obviously, the star destroyer is not captured intact. Recovery teams will sift through the debris field for weeks, looking for usable equipment, but they will find little of value. Large numbers of Imperial personnel are captured alive in their escape pods, but the top-ranking officers all went down with their ship. Worse yet, the USS Ming is destroyed and its entire crew is KIA. Starfleet's only chance for salvaging a small victory from this mission is their hope of extracting useful information from the prisoners.
|└> last changed by Zixinus on February 08, 2007 at 20:51|
|Have you considered expressing yourself in a fiction thread on "Members' projects"? Honestly, every time I see a post this size, esp. when is mainly a quote, I look to the other side. If you think it is related to other threads, you could post the big thing in your fiction thread, and a link to it on the other threads.|
|written by Zixinus on Feb 08, 2007 14:05|
|I am not the writer of this.|
|written by Naavis on Feb 08, 2007 14:57|
|All the quotes say "Zixinus said: ..."|
All the more reason to place a link instead. Or use your intelligence and provide a summary of what you found was interesting, besides the link.
|I am not the writer of this.|