The Fall of the Federation, the Fall of America?

The 2nd Deep Space Nine

The 2nd Deep Space Nine

WARNING: Book Spoilers Ahead!

One thing I’ve always loved about Star Trek is its contemporary social commentary, and that is as true with most of the novels I’ve read as it is with most of the T.V. series and movies.

Revelation and Dust is the first book in a new series of novels titled “The Fall”, where a singular event signals the possible downfall of the Federation and its Khitomer Accords allies with the opposing Typhon Pact, a fall into war, a fall from grace.

The novel starts with the dedication of the 2nd Deep Space Nine (a Starfleet Frontier-class station), some two years after a terrorist attack by rogue members of the Typhon Pact destroyed the original, killing some 2,000 Federation citizens. Members of the Khitomer Accords alliance, such as the Klingons (whose Klingon Qang-class warships have been in conflicts with the Typhon Pact), Ferengi, and Cardassians arrive on the station. Surprisingly, even members of the Typhon Pact, the Romulans and Gorn, arrive for the dedication as well. Just before the dedication of the new station can be completed, the Federation president is assassinated, and evidence eventually implicates the Typhon Pact as the perpetrators.

The storyline, in some ways, vary obviously parallels the September 11 terrorist attacks on the United States. In a previous post, I commented on some of the moral and ethical struggles the United States and Federation have faced and continue to face in light of these attacks.

The Federation now faces a choice, will it fall from grace and declare war on the Typhon Pact, when never in its history has it ever declared war first? Will doing so make a mockery of the peace and principles that the Federation so espouses, the very reason for its creation in the first place? By the same vein, the United States faces similar moral, ethical, and even legal questions, such as: What actions are justifiable to protect itself? Spying on one’s allies (even though those same allies spy on it as well)? Violating the Geneva conventions when it interrogates captured suspected terrorists? Spying on one’s own people, in violation of its own laws?

At what point do our actions to protect ourselves lead to the destruction, the fall, of our core principles, those tenets that we value above all else, those virtues that make us who we are? John F. Kennedy once said, “The rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened.” Is America at the edge of its “fall”, or are we merely at a “stumble” in the continuing road that is history? I had a long talk with a fellow lover of history the other week, in which we both discussed how our very conversation on this and other matters may have been paralleled over a century ago by two British gentlemen in the years before the Great War, when the British Empire reined supreme over the world, unsurpassed by any other contemporary nation …

London, the bridge is falling!

F Transport II

London-class transport

 

With the recent hubbub of American spying on their allies, it seems as though the United States is meandering along a path where it is becoming increasingly estranged from once close allies. While it may not be quite to the point where it is burning down those metaphorical bridges, it’s certainly scorched them.

What’s interesting is that the Federation, for all intents and purposes a utopian society, does indeed do the same thing and spy on its allies, the Klingons. The Federation doubtless justifies its spying as necessary for its internal security, as I am sure the United States does here on Earth. At what point though does spying to protect oneself cross the bounds and move into something more sinister?

In hopes of a decided dearth of bridge-burning, here’s an updated version of my previously posted: Starfleet London-class transport. Enjoy!

 

I live, but will Star Trek’s financial dream live?

perspective_emissary

The Emissary

After many long months, I’m finally posting again. Hopefully this will not be an infrequent occurrence. The original Star Trek has always had a rather socialist economic system, later muddled by subsequent series that introduced things like Federation credits and gold-pressed latinum. At its core, the Star Trek universe as presented is a much more equitable one than the world we live in today, whatever lens it may be viewed by (social, political, economic). After having watched the video link below that a friend sent me, I wonder sometimes if we will achieve something more equitable in my lifetime, or even in my children’s lifetime.

http://www.upworthy.com/9-out-of-10-americans-are-completely-wrong-about-this-mind-blowing-fact-2?g=2

Below are two starships, one from the Enterprise-era, and one from the era of Star Trek: Online. Both represent visions of a more equitable world, visions we can strive for even if we never achieve it.

Starfleet Bonaventure-class (updated format)

Starfleet Emissary-class

Star Trek Online: Drozana Station

Drozana_Station_2265

Drozana Station in 2265

I do not play Star Trek Online, but I do lurk on their site and forums, mainly for inspiration for new starship and station designs. A friend of mine, Geoffrey, actually pointed me out to the Drozana Station featured in the game. I had just recently finished reading a TOS novel, the Shocks of Adversity, and was totally in the mood for creating stats for something related to the TOS.

I don’t want to spoil too much about the novel, but it takes place in the TOS prime timeline. The Enterprise under Kirk runs into a seemingly Federation-like civilization, at least on its surface. Sadly, the alien civilization is more like the Dominion from DS9 than it is the Federation. Our world seems to be moving more towards Democracy than any other form of government, but yet the rise of China seems to point to the ability of other forms of government to not only succeed in the world stage, but excel. I suppose time will tell which form of government will come to be the most successful at the world stage.

Without further ado, below are the CODA game statistics for the Drozana station:

Starfleet Drozana-class

Star Trek Into Darkness – CODA Rules updates

Well, it took longer than a few weeks, more like a month, but here are my promised CODA rules statistics on the U.S.S. Vengeance from Star Trek Into Darkness, a Starfleet Dreadnought-class (alternate) large. This utilizes my updated Expanded CODA Rules. I’ve also updated the statistics on the U.S.S. Enterprise, Starfleet Constitution-class (alternate) large.

Enjoy, and please let me know what you think of the stats and format! I may try my hand on providing stats for the new Klingon ship in the movie next.

Star Trek Into Darkness, living it Large

stid-t5-25

It’s another giant dark starship beating up the Enterprise!

I watched the latest Star Trek movie with a group of like-minded Star Trek fans. We all agreed it was a fast-paced action-packed movie with lots of homages made to the original series fans, and very entertaining to watch. That being said, there seems to be so much conflict between original fans and new fans. The former consider the new trek to be a Star Wars flick with the serial numbers filed off and replaced with Star Trek names and places. The latter consider the new trek to be a breath of much-needed fresh air for an otherwise now-stale and nearly dead franchise. I am not sure exactly where I fall, probably a little bit of both.

If I had to, I’d say either way you look at it, it’s a good thing for Star Trek. The new movies have generated more interest in Star Trek , and that’s always a good thing for keeping the franchise going. Despite this, some fans have some serious issues with the size of the new Enterprise. Fans of the “old” trek say the new Enterprise can’t be more than 300+ meters in length, while fans of the “new” trek say its as it was stated in various abodes on the interwebz, 700+ meters in length. All sorts of evidence is cited, from art designer quotes to meticulous pixel by pixel examinations. As far as enjoying the movies, does it really matter?

Again, I am not sure which is quite right, not without some definitive tech manual popping up from an official source saying, “The Enterprise is X meters long.” So without further ado, I give you this revised and updated version of the USS Kelvin, large and in charge! Stay tuned in the next few weeks as I will also be statting out the large and in-charge USS Vengeance from the latest Trek film!

Starfleet Kelvin-class large

Tinker Gnomes: Obsessed with technology

Gnome

A male tinker gnome

I don’t often post about fantasy, particularly Dragonlance’s  tinker gnomes, but several observations/encounters prompted this post. In the Dragonlance world, tinker gnomes are unlike the gnomes of other fantasy series because they are neither interested or capable in wielding magic. The sole focus of every tinker gnome is to tinker with gadgets, with technology. In fact, tinkers are so obsessed with technology that they will find a technological solution to a problem even when there is a much more logical and efficient non-technological solution. e.g. A tinker gnome will build a mechanical steam-powered machine to take sensor readings of the ambient light levels outside coupled to a facts machine that will then write out its findings and have said finding mechanically delivered to the machine’s operator … or you could just look out a window and see how much light there is.

Let me preface by saying that I love smartphones. The touchscreens, the convenience, the digital power, it’s all quite intoxicating. There comes a point though, when even love crosses over into unhealthy obsession. My wife and I have encountered various instances of this kind of obsession. Incident example one: A man walking his dog is so busy looking at his smartphone that he almost collides with my wife on a wide sidewalk in the middle of the afternoon. Incident example two: A woman is so busy looking at her smartphone she collides (at under 10 mph) with a car at the stoplight she is sitting at. Incident example three: many people sitting around a table in a restaurant waiting for their food and instead of talking to their table-mates are instead messing with their smartphones (tweeting about their food?).

We have become Tinker Gnomes!