What does the Prime Directive say about dealing with a culture at an "intermediate" technological level?

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What does the Prime Directive say about dealing with a culture at an "intermediate" technological level?

Post by Master Six » 2018-03-18 03:11pm

Let's say the Enterprise is bopping along, preparing to explore an uncharted solar system. Within the system exists a certain sentient race, at approximately the development of humanity anywhere between the mid-20th century and (in ST lore) the mid-21st century. They have not yet achieved warp capability, but they have been exploring their solar system with satellites and STL spacecraft, and perhaps have even colonized other planets within. One of two scenarios happens.

Scenario 1: The Enterprise's long range sensors detect signs of the civilization, enough to show that they are spacefaring but not using FTL technology.

Scenario 2: The Enterprise's long range sensors are malfunctioning because [insert technobabble reason here] -- they can detect large objects well enough so that they won't crash into a planet, but they'll have a difficult time gauging details unless they get closer to the planets and moons. One of the civilization's satellites picks up the Enterprise, or perhaps one of their own spacecraft nearly runs into it.

What course would (or should) be recommended under the PD to handle these situations?

S1: Given that contact with the species would be increasingly likely if Starfleet continues to explore the area, would the Federation proceed with exploration or make the area off-limits until the species at least gets close to implementing FTL technology? This is a situation where the Klingons and Romulans have a definite advantage over the Federation, as their cloaks would allow them to avoid being detected in most cases (although they probably wouldn't care about affecting the civilization's development).

S2: Does the Enterprise high-tail it out of there, hoping that no damage has been done other than providing a UFO sighting to the species? Or, because they have been detected, do they make contact and hash out the details about how to proceed with this society later on? If the alien species attempts to contact them (albeit with a more primitive com system), would that affect the decision?

I can't think of any episode where this has happened (the closest comparison would be VOY: "Blink of an Eye", but Voyager ended up there by accident), but I have not seen all of "Voyager" or any of "Enterprise" or "Discovery" (past the first two episodes) -- I've seen every episode of the previous shows, but I might have forgotten a similar story.
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Re: What does the Prime Directive say about dealing with a culture at an "intermediate" technological level?

Post by Eternal_Freedom » 2018-03-18 03:41pm

Actually I think there is a precedent - TOS's "A Taste of Armageddon," Spock mentions that both Eminiar and Vendikar are advanced, and have had spaceflight for several centuries but never ventured outside their solar system. Despite this, and the fact that a previous starship exploring the area vanished with all hands, the Big E sails straight on in to establish diplomatic relations.
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Re: What does the Prime Directive say about dealing with a culture at an "intermediate" technological level?

Post by Master Six » 2018-03-18 04:23pm

Ah you're right -- great episode, although I forgot that detail. There was also, come to think of it, "A Private Little War", which made clear that Starfleet had purposefully interacted with the natives in the past, although it seems that they did not share any tech.

So perhaps the better question is this: in the TNG era, in which the PD became utterly dogmatic, rather than a more flexible standard that required nuanced judgment calls from responsible officers, how would they treat the scenarios I described?
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Re: What does the Prime Directive say about dealing with a culture at an "intermediate" technological level?

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-03-18 05:03pm

I think that TNG era Trek is somewhat Flandarized on this point.

Oh, sure, you have some officers talk about the Prime Directive like its a scared creed, but how many times do we see it broken with the officers in question getting, at most, a slap on the wrist?

I'm always reminded of the Pirate's Code from Pirates of the Caribbean: "They're more what you call "guidelines" than actual rules." ;)

Or the difference between American rhetoric about being the most free nation on Earth, and the reality. Basically, the Feds talk a good game on the PD. They also disregard it when its convenient.
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Re: What does the Prime Directive say about dealing with a culture at an "intermediate" technological level?

Post by DesertFly » 2018-03-18 05:13pm

I believe TNG has had episodes that cover almost exactly both of these issues.

For Scenario 1, the episode "First Contact" (not the movie) comes to mind. In that ep, the E-D visits a planet that has been experimenting with warp drive and is on the verge of making their first test flights. The crew makes contact with people at the highest level of government and the scientists working on the warp drive to explain the existence of other aliens, the state of the galaxy, and give an introduction to the Federation, with the idea that the contacted society may work toward joining it once they have been openly contacted. Unfortunately, the president (or equivalent) of the planet decides that because there are some factions that would have problems accepting the fact that there is more life out there (I believe because of religious reasons), that he will push the problem down the road and rejects the offer for official, public First Contact, and shuts down the warp-drive research. The crew of the Enterprise respects his decision, and leaves, with the idea that they will check back in at a later date to see if the attitudes have changed. It seemed clear in the episode that this was standard procedure for societies that the Federation discovered that have almost reached warp capability.

As for the second scenario, that reminds me of "Who Watches the Watchers", where researchers from the Federation are observing a society that is at approximately Renaissance level, and are accidentally revealed to the population. Our crew then interacts with the people of the planet, technically breaking the PD, to keep the damage from the revelation getting worse. This is the episode where the old, not really believed any more religion starts to make a comeback, in the form of worshiping "The Picard", and Picard in the end lets himself get shot with an arrow to prove that he is just a man, not a god, and actually explains to several of the people on the planet that all of his amazing abilities are just because of machines that had been invented, technology that the people of the planet would eventually be able to figure out how to create themselves.
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Re: What does the Prime Directive say about dealing with a culture at an "intermediate" technological level?

Post by Lord Revan » 2018-03-18 06:17pm

I think it's best to consider the Prime Directive to have a scale instead of being on/off situation. At least to me it's the best way to make the Prime Directive viable while still avoiding the "UFP is utterly and totally evil" stereotype some people here are fond of pushing.

So Level 1 would be: Don't make contact and avoid being detected if realistically possible, this would include sacraficing the ship and crew if absolutely needed, but wouldn't mean that captain has to self-destruct with all hands onboard if there was even a slightest possibility they were detected.

If Level 1 is (practically) impossible to achive in any realistic scenario, you'd go for Level 2 which would be extremely limited contact to solve the issues at hand without more damage to then is absolutely unavoidble.

and so forth until you arrive at "full contact without any limitation"

But you must remember that the Prime Directive is meant to protect the captains from their own impulses as much as it's meant to protect the primitive cultures. To prevent captains from trying to "fix" a culture and cause more damage then what ever they were trying to change.

For example in 1945 it might seem at first glance that allies were the bad guys and axis the poor mistreated victims, sure we know that wasn't the case and the axis states very much caused their own troubles but it's our history we're speaking here not that of some alien culture.
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Re: What does the Prime Directive say about dealing with a culture at an "intermediate" technological level?

Post by Master Six » 2018-03-18 07:28pm

DesertFly wrote:
2018-03-18 05:13pm
I believe TNG has had episodes that cover almost exactly both of these issues.

/snip
I remembered those episodes, but I was thinking of a somewhat different scenario than each. With "First Contact" they had developed warp/FTL technology and were prepared to run tests -- assuming the tests would have been successful, they would have crossed the contact threshold at that point. That was the Federation's rationale for contacting them, that they were "close enough" that they would be receiving information that they would have discovered in short order anyway.

With "Watchers", that was a Bronze Age civilization -- far more primitive. There the Federation was observing them under carefully-monitored circumstances and only revealed their purpose when things went pear-shaped and the Mintakans started worshipping Picard as a god. That was a situation where there seemed to be no other choice but to intervene, as they had already drastically screwed with the civilization's development.

What I'm thinking of is a stage before the development of FTL tech has even really begun, but when they have already stretched themselves beyond their homeworld. The Feds would likely view this world as not yet ready to know about the world beyond their solar system (based on the FTL standard), but would also recognize that the species' activities would make contact more likely and thus interfere with the Fed's ability to explore that system unobserved. What I wondered is if the Feds would say "good enough, they'll reach the threshold soon so there's no real harm in lifting the blindfold early" or if they would back off, knowing that even a spacefaring species might still not be ready for Fed-level tech.

Perhaps the events of "FC" would make for the best model for my scenario, but I'd love to hear other suggestions.
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Re: What does the Prime Directive say about dealing with a culture at an "intermediate" technological level?

Post by Master Six » 2018-03-18 07:46pm

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-03-18 05:03pm
I think that TNG era Trek is somewhat Flandarized on this point.

Oh, sure, you have some officers talk about the Prime Directive like its a scared creed, but how many times do we see it broken with the officers in question getting, at most, a slap on the wrist?

I'm always reminded of the Pirate's Code from Pirates of the Caribbean: "They're more what you call "guidelines" than actual rules." ;)

Or the difference between American rhetoric about being the most free nation on Earth, and the reality. Basically, the Feds talk a good game on the PD. They also disregard it when its convenient.
Considering that there's no evidence that they've changed their textbook implementation of the PD, I think that we still have to apply that standard first (if we're working with their version of the PD, as opposed to our own more liberal version). Start from the "Do nothing whatsoever" stance and then work back from that, guessing if they'd tolerate the captain's diversion.

After all, Janeway broke the PD like a pixie stick countless times, and yet she still said "We can NEVER violate the PD. Then again, it's Janeway :roll:
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Re: What does the Prime Directive say about dealing with a culture at an "intermediate" technological level?

Post by Simon_Jester » 2018-03-18 10:02pm

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-03-18 05:03pm
I think that TNG era Trek is somewhat Flandarized on this point.

Oh, sure, you have some officers talk about the Prime Directive like its a scared creed, but how many times do we see it broken with the officers in question getting, at most, a slap on the wrist?

I'm always reminded of the Pirate's Code from Pirates of the Caribbean: "They're more what you call "guidelines" than actual rules." ;)

Or the difference between American rhetoric about being the most free nation on Earth, and the reality. Basically, the Feds talk a good game on the PD. They also disregard it when its convenient.
I think it's about more than convenience, it's just that we only ever see the instances where trying to follow the Prime Directive creates moral conflict, and where a court-martial is most likely to clear people's name.

But note what we do NOT see in TNG and later: we do not see multiple planets on which the native culture has been distorted by cultural contamination caused through carelessness, recklessness, or active sabotage by past Federation space travelers. This is a commendable change of pace from TOS, which had a number of episodes like that.
Master Six wrote:
2018-03-18 07:28pm
DesertFly wrote:
2018-03-18 05:13pm
I believe TNG has had episodes that cover almost exactly both of these issues.

/snip
I remembered those episodes, but I was thinking of a somewhat different scenario than each. With "First Contact" they had developed warp/FTL technology and were prepared to run tests -- assuming the tests would have been successful, they would have crossed the contact threshold at that point. That was the Federation's rationale for contacting them, that they were "close enough" that they would be receiving information that they would have discovered in short order anyway.
The Federation normally doesn't contact people before the first test. But in this instance, the Federation had disguised investigation going on on the ground; the reason for Picard deciding to reveal himself to the aliens' leaders was because otherwise some of his crew would be endangered AND there could be mass panic about the revelation of aliens.

If it was up to me in that situation I wouldn't have risked agents on the ground in the first place, that's the real plot hole there.
With "Watchers", that was a Bronze Age civilization -- far more primitive. There the Federation was observing them under carefully-monitored circumstances and only revealed their purpose when things went pear-shaped and the Mintakans started worshipping Picard as a god. That was a situation where there seemed to be no other choice but to intervene, as they had already drastically screwed with the civilization's development.
Uh, Renaissance, not Bronze Age
What I'm thinking of is a stage before the development of FTL tech has even really begun, but when they have already stretched themselves beyond their homeworld. The Feds would likely view this world as not yet ready to know about the world beyond their solar system (based on the FTL standard), but would also recognize that the species' activities would make contact more likely and thus interfere with the Fed's ability to explore that system unobserved. What I wondered is if the Feds would say "good enough, they'll reach the threshold soon so there's no real harm in lifting the blindfold early" or if they would back off, knowing that even a spacefaring species might still not be ready for Fed-level tech.
Given that warp drive seems to be 'not hard' to invent for societies that have 21st century technology in Star Trek, the Federation can probably afford to wait. They might make an exception if there was some compelling reason to contact them early (i.e. a spacefaring disaster is coming and we need to warn the locals to batten down the hatches). But in general? Probably not, simply because "meh close enough" is not a good thing to start monkeying with in that situation. It promotes shoddiness and reckless disregard for consequences.
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Re: What does the Prime Directive say about dealing with a culture at an "intermediate" technological level?

Post by Stewart M » 2018-03-18 11:39pm

Perhaps the formal text of the PD (assuming it's a detailed protocol) is hazy or silent on your scenario because most civilizations pass from crude, superstitious, pre-industrials to warp-capable space neighbors in a cosmic heartbeat. Most sapient species the Federation meets seem to average within a few standard deviations of intelligence (ie, if they ever invent bronze and writing, they'll eventually make spacecraft). Assuming there's no other frequent bottleneck (a cultural indifference to exploration, a lack of metals in their crust, nuclear war, etc*), then I imagine the window for a "juvenile" STL space cultures would tend to last a few decades. The odds of running into a species in that window would be slight**.

After writing that paragraph, I realize this doesn't answer the original question, which is how the Federation would respond to your scenario, not how likely it is. I realize that I don't have a good answer to contribute now, but that is a really good question.

*Which is one answer to the Fermi paradox.
**Not that Trek writers would let this sort of detail prevent an episode plot.

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Re: What does the Prime Directive say about dealing with a culture at an "intermediate" technological level?

Post by Simon_Jester » 2018-03-19 12:24am

Honestly, the most likely answer is that because this phase of a culture's evolution tends to pass fairly quickly (especially compared to humans who live 150+ years and Vulcans who live 200+ years)...

The solution is usually going to default to "just wait it out until they build a warp drive." There's not really much cost in being patient, and giving them time to develop warp drive is also giving them time to work out how to handle and cope with a lot of other social issues and problems the species may have.
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Re: What does the Prime Directive say about dealing with a culture at an "intermediate" technological level?

Post by SolarpunkFan » 2018-03-19 12:26am

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-03-18 05:03pm
I think that TNG era Trek is somewhat Flandarized on this point.

Oh, sure, you have some officers talk about the Prime Directive like its a scared creed, but how many times do we see it broken with the officers in question getting, at most, a slap on the wrist?

I'm always reminded of the Pirate's Code from Pirates of the Caribbean: "They're more what you call "guidelines" than actual rules." ;)
I'll just quote what Ed Harris said on the AgonyBooth review of ST: Insurrection:
The major problem with the Prime Directive is that it’s never been stated exactly what the rules are (only parts of it were ever spelled out in the original series). So writers tend to twist it all out of recognition to serve the needs of the plot at hand. From watching Star Trek, I probably have a better idea of how warp drive works than how the Prime Directive works.

But the main gist has always been: you can’t screw around with a civilization in such a way that totally changes their world view and/or internal politics. Which means, of course, that every voyage to a new world has essentially been a violation of the Prime Directive. I mean, I have to imagine finding out you’re not the only intelligent life in the universe would be a pretty mind-blowing change of a planet’s society and culture. So the Prime Directive essentially contradicts the entire concept of the franchise.

...

Sometimes it only applies to pre-warp civilizations, sometimes not. Sometimes it means that Starfleet can’t interfere in a planet’s internal politics, and then the very next week Starfleet is more than happy to screw around in local affairs. And several times, it’s been used to justify letting entire civilizations die off, which makes no sense to me whatsoever.
So there you go, trying to figure out what the Prime Directive actually says is about as feasible as a person who never knew of the existence of writing deciding to try their hand at decoding the Voynich Manuscript.

To be fair, at least the Manuscript doesn't change every Tuesday. :P

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Re: What does the Prime Directive say about dealing with a culture at an "intermediate" technological level?

Post by Master Six » 2018-03-19 01:53pm

Simon_Jester wrote:
2018-03-18 10:02pm
The Federation normally doesn't contact people before the first test. But in this instance, the Federation had disguised investigation going on on the ground; the reason for Picard deciding to reveal himself to the aliens' leaders was because otherwise some of his crew would be endangered AND there could be mass panic about the revelation of aliens.

If it was up to me in that situation I wouldn't have risked agents on the ground in the first place, that's the real plot hole there.
Having undercover agents on a planet before they travel at FTL speed cannot but increase the risk of first contact -- if this is normal procedure, I guess they have shifted the standard of their FC policy in all but written formality. Section 31 agents would probably be great for these assignments, far more so than an XO like Riker. Most of the people the Enterprise crew met were reasonable, but in other cases S31 agents would probably be the best guys to stage a retrieval too.
Simon_Jester wrote:
2018-03-18 10:02pm
Uh, Renaissance, not Bronze Age.
http://memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/Mintakan
http://memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/Bronze_Age

According to Memory Alpha they weren't able to forge iron as of "Who Watches the Watchers".
Lord Revan wrote:
2018-03-18 06:17pm
I think it's best to consider the Prime Directive to have a scale instead of being on/off situation. At least to me it's the best way to make the Prime Directive viable while still avoiding the "UFP is utterly and totally evil" stereotype some people here are fond of pushing.

So Level 1 would be: Don't make contact and avoid being detected if realistically possible, this would include sacraficing the ship and crew if absolutely needed, but wouldn't mean that captain has to self-destruct with all hands onboard if there was even a slightest possibility they were detected.

If Level 1 is (practically) impossible to achive in any realistic scenario, you'd go for Level 2 which would be extremely limited contact to solve the issues at hand without more damage to then is absolutely unavoidble.

and so forth until you arrive at "full contact without any limitation"
If I'm writing the PD, I'm following a similar standard. Steer clear if you can, but if you have to talk to them gauge it based on where they are in their development. With my example, people who are probably within at most a century of warp capability, there's ways you can let them in on the rest of the universe without giving them any technology before they've crossed the threshold. "We're the UFP, consisting of these species/planets. Our neighbors are x, y, and z. Here's a history of the galaxy." No blueprints, no samples, just info on what to expect. It gives the society a goal to start working towards.
Lord Revan wrote:
2018-03-18 06:17pm
But you must remember that the Prime Directive is meant to protect the captains from their own impulses as much as it's meant to protect the primitive cultures. To prevent captains from trying to "fix" a culture and cause more damage then what ever they were trying to change.

For example in 1945 it might seem at first glance that allies were the bad guys and axis the poor mistreated victims, sure we know that wasn't the case and the axis states very much caused their own troubles but it's our history we're speaking here not that of some alien culture.
Yeah, direct political interference is absolutely off limits.
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Re: What does the Prime Directive say about dealing with a culture at an "intermediate" technological level?

Post by Simon_Jester » 2018-03-19 07:15pm

Master Six wrote:
2018-03-19 01:53pm
Simon_Jester wrote:
2018-03-18 10:02pm
The Federation normally doesn't contact people before the first test. But in this instance, the Federation had disguised investigation going on on the ground; the reason for Picard deciding to reveal himself to the aliens' leaders was because otherwise some of his crew would be endangered AND there could be mass panic about the revelation of aliens.

If it was up to me in that situation I wouldn't have risked agents on the ground in the first place, that's the real plot hole there.
Having undercover agents on a planet before they travel at FTL speed cannot but increase the risk of first contact -- if this is normal procedure, I guess they have shifted the standard of their FC policy in all but written formality. Section 31 agents would probably be great for these assignments, far more so than an XO like Riker. Most of the people the Enterprise crew met were reasonable, but in other cases S31 agents would probably be the best guys to stage a retrieval too.
The shift is pretty minimal; the evidence suggests they only inserted agents within a very few years of the time the planet would have developed warp drive anyway.

Also, Riker was not the only agent, and the other agents were trained. Probably xenologist specialists, not spies, though.
If I'm writing the PD, I'm following a similar standard. Steer clear if you can, but if you have to talk to them gauge it based on where they are in their development. With my example, people who are probably within at most a century of warp capability, there's ways you can let them in on the rest of the universe without giving them any technology before they've crossed the threshold. "We're the UFP, consisting of these species/planets. Our neighbors are x, y, and z. Here's a history of the galaxy." No blueprints, no samples, just info on what to expect. It gives the society a goal to start working towards.
I think the Federation's actual standard is stricter than "probably hitting warp capability within a century," but the pattern is comparable. They don't automatically share ALL their tech with every chucklehead who builds a working warp coil, either.

Remember, the noninterference principle isn't just about the risks of technology transfer, it's about cultural disruption. Nobody wants to accidentally create a weird screwy outcome like an alien-worshipping cult that commits mass suicide to come with us in our magic spaceship, and that kind of crap can happen even without aliens directly contacting a species.
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Re: What does the Prime Directive say about dealing with a culture at an "intermediate" technological level?

Post by Lord Revan » 2018-03-21 03:57am

Simon_Jester wrote:
2018-03-19 07:15pm
Master Six wrote:
2018-03-19 01:53pm
Simon_Jester wrote:
2018-03-18 10:02pm
The Federation normally doesn't contact people before the first test. But in this instance, the Federation had disguised investigation going on on the ground; the reason for Picard deciding to reveal himself to the aliens' leaders was because otherwise some of his crew would be endangered AND there could be mass panic about the revelation of aliens.

If it was up to me in that situation I wouldn't have risked agents on the ground in the first place, that's the real plot hole there.
Having undercover agents on a planet before they travel at FTL speed cannot but increase the risk of first contact -- if this is normal procedure, I guess they have shifted the standard of their FC policy in all but written formality. Section 31 agents would probably be great for these assignments, far more so than an XO like Riker. Most of the people the Enterprise crew met were reasonable, but in other cases S31 agents would probably be the best guys to stage a retrieval too.
The shift is pretty minimal; the evidence suggests they only inserted agents within a very few years of the time the planet would have developed warp drive anyway.

Also, Riker was not the only agent, and the other agents were trained. Probably xenologist specialists, not spies, though.
Another thing to consider is that Section 31's legal status is "questionble" at best and they don't seem to follow any directives or commands for either Starfleet or the UFP goverment. In fact it's heavily implied that they're essentially a terrorist organization using a peice of legal fiction (and other methods I assume) to give the impression that they have official backing without actually having official backing from the UFP goverment.

So Starfleet can't just send a section 31 agent to do their bidding, Section 31 does what ever they damn well please.
If I'm writing the PD, I'm following a similar standard. Steer clear if you can, but if you have to talk to them gauge it based on where they are in their development. With my example, people who are probably within at most a century of warp capability, there's ways you can let them in on the rest of the universe without giving them any technology before they've crossed the threshold. "We're the UFP, consisting of these species/planets. Our neighbors are x, y, and z. Here's a history of the galaxy." No blueprints, no samples, just info on what to expect. It gives the society a goal to start working towards.
I think the Federation's actual standard is stricter than "probably hitting warp capability within a century," but the pattern is comparable. They don't automatically share ALL their tech with every chucklehead who builds a working warp coil, either.

Remember, the noninterference principle isn't just about the risks of technology transfer, it's about cultural disruption. Nobody wants to accidentally create a weird screwy outcome like an alien-worshipping cult that commits mass suicide to come with us in our magic spaceship, and that kind of crap can happen even without aliens directly contacting a species.
That's why I said earlier that it's probably a scale of possible responses rather then "no contact what so ever" or "full contact with no limits", you'd want to evaluate what costs and benefits of potential contact are before making contact.
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Re: What does the Prime Directive say about dealing with a culture at an "intermediate" technological level?

Post by Master Six » 2018-03-21 11:00am

Simon_Jester wrote:
2018-03-19 07:15pm
The shift is pretty minimal; the evidence suggests they only inserted agents within a very few years of the time the planet would have developed warp drive anyway.
I only point out the shift because a lot could happen in even those few years -- war, religious revivals, political turmoil -- so it shows that the UFP is willing to accept the risk of an agent's discovery and things going pear-shaped at a critical juncture to gather intel. I really don't have a problem with this policy, as it shows a level of strategy that we often mock them for lacking. Like you said, the UFP doesn't share all their tech with just anyone with FTL capability -- it would be wise to get as much detailed info as possible beforehand on the attitudes of the culture, whether their likely first response to meeting aliens would be to say "Hi!" or to open fire, etc. There is a risk of discovery, but I suppose it's relatively rare, especially with someone with a lot of training in covert surveillance.
Also, Riker was not the only agent, and the other agents were trained. Probably xenologist specialists, not spies, though.
I didn't think Riker was the only agent, or that XOs were the prime candidates -- I questioned why Riker was an agent at all :lol: Surely with that many people on board the Enterprise alone there were better options. Was there ever a reason given as to why Riker was sent in, or was that just to involve a main character in the thick of the action?
I think the Federation's actual standard is stricter than "probably hitting warp capability within a century," but the pattern is comparable. They don't automatically share ALL their tech with every chucklehead who builds a working warp coil, either.
I don't have high hopes for the future of Trek after "Discovery" (what I've seen of it at least), but it would be cool to see a series focused primarily on making contact with a species and the process of admitting them into the UFP. "DS9" showed some of that with Bajor, but not in extensive detail because it was primarily a backdrop to personal stories. It would allow the writers to flesh out the rules and standards regarding what you trust a newly-warp capable society with, and the conflicting viewpoints: join a new government to get the best tech and opportunities for advancement, or remain independent and chart our own course?
The great virtue of a free market system is that it does not care what color people are; it does not care what their religion is; it only cares whether they can produce something you want to buy. It is the most effective system we have discovered to enable people who hate one another to deal with one another and help one another. – Milton Friedman

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Master Six
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Re: What does the Prime Directive say about dealing with a culture at an "intermediate" technological level?

Post by Master Six » 2018-03-21 11:11am

Lord Revan wrote:
2018-03-21 03:57am
Another thing to consider is that Section 31's legal status is "questionble" at best and they don't seem to follow any directives or commands for either Starfleet or the UFP goverment. In fact it's heavily implied that they're essentially a terrorist organization using a peice of legal fiction (and other methods I assume) to give the impression that they have official backing without actually having official backing from the UFP goverment.

So Starfleet can't just send a section 31 agent to do their bidding, Section 31 does what ever they damn well please.
Yeah, I should have said Starfleet Intelligence or some other qualified entity. Given the level of secrecy and the training S31 has they'd probably be very good at the job, but then you'd be relying on them to act in line with UFP objectives and standards, and not their own.

Point is you need xenologists and spies, guys who can gather as much relevant info as possible and properly analyze the lay of the land, and avoid detection and/or be able to extricate thenselves from a jam.
The great virtue of a free market system is that it does not care what color people are; it does not care what their religion is; it only cares whether they can produce something you want to buy. It is the most effective system we have discovered to enable people who hate one another to deal with one another and help one another. – Milton Friedman

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Re: What does the Prime Directive say about dealing with a culture at an "intermediate" technological level?

Post by Simon_Jester » 2018-03-22 11:23am

Master Six wrote:
2018-03-21 11:00am
I didn't think Riker was the only agent, or that XOs were the prime candidates -- I questioned why Riker was an agent at all :lol: Surely with that many people on board the Enterprise alone there were better options. Was there ever a reason given as to why Riker was sent in, or was that just to involve a main character in the thick of the action?
I don't think there was, or if there was it was mentioned in passing.

But then, Riker's entire purpose on the show is to be the "action guy" who gets caught up in all the planetside away team plots while Picard, the more calm, cerebral, diplomatic captain, does the negotiation and the tense, difficult decision-making. It was an attempt to divide up the Kirk persona into two separate roles, and frankly I think the results were less than satisfactory.
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Re: What does the Prime Directive say about dealing with a culture at an "intermediate" technological level?

Post by Master Six » 2018-03-22 02:32pm

Simon_Jester wrote:
2018-03-22 11:23am
...Riker's entire purpose on the show is to be the "action guy" who gets caught up in all the planetside away team plots while Picard, the more calm, cerebral, diplomatic captain, does the negotiation and the tense, difficult decision-making. It was an attempt to divide up the Kirk persona into two separate roles, and frankly I think the results were less than satisfactory.
From a military perspective it made sense -- you don't send the captain to every unknown planet or abandoned ship where there's a chance of them getting killed, abducted, or infected with space anthrax. On the other hand, Kirk's character was so engaging because he could be a warrior, explorer AND a diplomat if necessary -- he was the perfect guy to put on the frontier. Kirk is often treated as a caricature, at least by non-ST fans, but he really was a great captain.

While they were able to develop Picard well within the confines of his role, and even able to have him break that mold on occasion (TNG: "Starship Mine"), Riker was mostly stuck with being beard + action guy + man-slut.
The great virtue of a free market system is that it does not care what color people are; it does not care what their religion is; it only cares whether they can produce something you want to buy. It is the most effective system we have discovered to enable people who hate one another to deal with one another and help one another. – Milton Friedman

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