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Tim
Mon, Feb 19, 2018, 7:28am (UTC -6)
Re: BSG S3: Occupation/Precipice

I don't understand why the suicide bombing went ahead. The guy who lost his wife (can't recall his name) could see that Baltar wasn't there, so why did he go ahead with it? The plan was to kill Baltar after all.
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Tim
Sun, Feb 18, 2018, 8:27am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

Since I apparently have to spell it out, the notion that the best way to deal with the Klingons is to immediately fire on them is not supported by any previous canon. The Klingons were complex characters, not one dimensional Bad Guys. It’s contrived bullshit, to create an excuse for Michael’s mutiny, and a complete retcon.

Have the last word, because I’m not inclined to continue to engage you after you reduced my entire post to one sentence.
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Tim
Sun, Feb 18, 2018, 4:51am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

@KT

"Klingons purposely and wilfully destroyed federation eqiupment in federation space and then lay in wait in order to start a war. When Burnham went to investigate she was attacked without cause."

I've had this discussion/debate many times, particularly vis-à-vis the DS9 episode "The Jem Hadar." It's not just about the "Starfleet way," although that's a part of it. It's very easy to find examples from the real world (e.g., the Pueblo Incident) where nation-states pragmatically turn the other cheek when confronted with Acts of War, rather than escalate the situation, even in cases where the aggrieved nation would be expected to win any resulting war. It's not so easy to send young men and women to their deaths....

I'm not a die hard fan of Babylon 5, but I absolutely love the tale of the First Contact with the Minbari. Jankowski panicked and started a war that nearly ended with the extinction of the human race. If there ever is an actual First Contact, the folks making it should be prepared to lay down and die, if that's what's necessary to avoid war, because what's one ship and crew compared to an entire civilization?

To me, that's why Picard -- and Georgiou, as portrayed in Discovery's pilot -- is the quintessential Starfleet Captain. Not because he was a capable diplomat, or a good solider (he was both, when needed), but rather because they always wrote him as someone who understood the gravity of the chair that he sat in. Put Picard in the Babylon 5 story and there's no war, even if you take away all of the Star Trek conceits (universal translator) that make it stupid easy to establish a dialogue with alien races.

So yeah, you can say with some justification that the Klingons were the clear aggressors here, ditto the Dominion in DS9, but that doesn't wash away Starfleet's stupidity in either story, nor does it excuse Michael's actions.

"The Klingons are a warrior race, they do have a thirst for battle, conquering and victories. I don't see this as a retcon. And they are similar to Jem Hader in this way, as acknowledged in ds9 'by infernos light'."

We're probably going to have to agree to disagree on this, because I don't feel that the Klingons were ever portrayed as the bloodthirsty animals that Discovery made them out to be. Not even Kruge came off that way. Ruthless? Yes. Bloodthirsty to the point that we're justified in firing at them on sight? No.

Discovery's viewpoint Klingons were portrayed as some sort of religious cult trying to Make Qo'noS Great Again. Yes, I went there. The one Klingon (Kol) that wasn't part of the cult was a complete asshole. There was no Remata'Klan character, the sympathetic bad guy. The Orville gave its bad guys -- the Krill -- more personality in one episode than Discovery's Klingons got in an entire season.
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Tim
Sat, Feb 17, 2018, 11:29pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

^^^^^ Yep.

Not really an in-character suggestion for a Vulcan either, unless we're going to retcon the Klingons into being mindless bloodthirsty animals, something worse than the Jem'Hadar. The Klingons of the TOS era got into barfights with our heroes. They didn't shoot at them on sight.....
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Tim
Sat, Feb 17, 2018, 3:54pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

@ Mark "I stopped watching after the first episode because Burnham's mutiny was a complete, unearned contrivance that was going to drive the rest of the series and I assumed it would be downhill from there."

Ironically, "The Search for Spock" is airing today on Starz. Got it on for background noise and it's quite the contrast with Discovery's treatment of mutiny. It feels earned, logical, and in character in Star Trek III, not contrived. Kirk & Co. mutiny to try and save a friend of many decades. Michael mutinies because she thinks she's right and her CO is wrong. Hard to see Riker, Kira, Spock, or Chakotay pulling the same stunt in the same situation....
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Tim
Sat, Feb 17, 2018, 2:54pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

"To be fair, Trek hardly always made sense."

It does when it's on its game. From Jammer's review of "Into the Forest":

"The technical details of this plan, which tie into 133 jumps Stamets must make in the middle of the battle zone, are intricate — but they are clear and well-sold by the writing, which makes all the difference. It feels like old-school Trek, where the tech is taken seriously enough that we can follow what's going on."

Voyager and end-stage (Seasons 6 and 7) TNG got away from this and started to rely on particles on the week for drama and contrived technobabble solutions to writing problems. If you go back to when TNG peaked, Seasons 3 and 4, they didn't do this too much. The tech was there to tell a story and rarely became the story. They kept the tech grounded in a level of realism, like the conversation in "Best of Both Worlds" where they're discussing new weapons systems and predict two years before they can be ready for testing; later seasons of TNG and most of Voyager would have seen them invented, tested, and ready for use across a commercial break.

There's a lot I criticize about DS9 but this is something they did right. Aside from a handful of episodes -- mostly Season 1 affairs -- they kept the technobabble in the background and even treated it tongue-in-cheek (self-sealing stem bolts) as a little wink to the audience.
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Tim
Fri, Feb 16, 2018, 9:17pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

“God this whole resolution the war is just complete and utter garbage”

The more I think on it the more I’m convinced they should have ended it with “Into the Forest.” Go out on a high note, where Discovery is instrumental in Saving The Day™, and end the war right there. No reason she can’t transmit the cloak findings to Starfleet before her next (mis)adventure.

I guess you can keep the MU romp (though, I’d personally have made it a legitimate failure of the spore drive, not a Evil Master Plan™ by MU Lorca), it fits with the “Year of Hell” theme for Discovery, in a better setting than the war, gets Michelle Yeoh back, and makes Discovery’s eventual homecoming more meaningful.

The last two episodes though, ugh, what a waste. They didn’t HAVE to return to the war. They CHOSE to return the war. What were they thinking? The need for cliffhangers seems to be the only consistent feature:

End of Episode 13, “The Federation is gone, nobody is answering our hails, the Klingons won.”

Beginning of Episode 14 (Five minutes later), “There’s a ship approaching. It’s one of ours!”

They’re not even PLANNED cliffhangers. They made this up as they went along. They’re selling “The Young and the Restless” packaged as “Breaking Bad.” :(
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Tim
Fri, Feb 16, 2018, 7:55pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

“I'm baffled by the critics of Michael/Sonequa Martin-Green's performances here”

I’m glad I’m not the only one. I find the CHARACTER an unsympathetic mess who has no business in Starfleet, but the ACTRESS is not the problem, it’s the writing.
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Tim
Fri, Feb 16, 2018, 5:21pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

@ Ed

"The treatment of prisoners is the worst, because it would have to be the most widely known and accepted in universe. It requires a whole "justice" system that works that way. Even the prisoners are pretty resigned (if bitter) to the fact that "being a prisoner" can equal "slave labor in a mine under potentially deadly conditions." "

It's jarring, isn't it? The United States of America is one of the (the?) harshest Western Countries when it comes to our penal system, but even here that would never fly. It would be cruel and unusual punishment. But we're supposed to buy that the Federation works that way?

"This contradicts everything ever said about Federation treatment of prisoners where conditions were always assumed to be humane with an emphasis on rehabilitation if possible."

Not assumed. We saw it. At least twice, with Tom Paris and Michael Eddington. There are probably other instances that I'm forgetting about. The Federation penal system works like the Nordic countries. Paris was in an open air prison. One can easily imagine that Eddington was on his way there at some point too.

Now, I've tried very hard not to obsessively nitpick STD, because they're never going to get 100% of the canon correct, and they shouldn't try, but these are basic moral values. The Federation doesn't use penal labor. It doesn't enslave sentient lifeforms.

We've come a long way from Patrick Stewart arguing with the producers that Jean-Luc Picard wouldn't keep a lionfish, because he valued the dignity of life. :(
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Tim
Fri, Feb 16, 2018, 5:06pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

"Yea, just because someone has great skills in some scientific field and is thus useful on a starship doesn't mean you want them high in in chain of command or even in it at all."

Starfleet should really have something like the USN's concept of restricted and unrestricted line officers. With all due respect to Crusher and Troi, it's absurd to imagine that they would be in the chain-of-command on the Enterprise-D. They could command their respective divisions and even relieve Picard if he wasn't fit for duty, but they would never take command of the ship. Geordi wouldn't either; he wouldn't have the necessary tactical or diplomatic training and experience.

They sort of had this concept, with the "Command Division" (Red Uniforms in TNG's time) concept, but the writers always treated it a bit haphazardly and realism went out the window when The Script needed some drama or there was no budget for guest star(s).

I could see someone as messed up as Michael making it onto a ship as a Science Specialist, she is something of a prodigy, but to put her in the chain-of-command anywhere, let alone First Officer? Ugh. Ask yourself if you'd want her in command of a Ballistic Missile Submarine. Now scale up that firepower by a factor of about ten million and put her in a position to make first contact with alien races.... [Insert obligatory Babylon 5 / Michael Jankowski reference here]
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Tim
Fri, Feb 16, 2018, 1:13pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

"I do agree though it made her character unsympathetic. She made a mistake, but never owned up to it."

I don't think there's any amount of atonement that can make up for a mistake of this magnitude. Feels like the writers didn't fully grasp the direction they took the character in. Maybe that's why it feels so unearned at the end. To have her standing up for Starfleet Ideals against the tired old cliche of the Evil Admiral, when she killed a man by shooting him in the back......

All in all the whole season (series) feels like a waste. Michelle Yeoh got the redshirt treatment, Jason Issacs had a complicated character I was invested in who turned out to be a Cartoon Villain, the Klingons were reduced to a caricature, and the screenwriters resorted to cliffhangers to keep us engaged rather than have confidence in their story.

If I were to rate the season as a whole it would get 1.5 stars. The individual episodes:

The Vulcan Hello - 3.0
Battle of the Binary Stars - 2.0
Context is for Kings - 2.5
The Butcher's Knife - 2.0
Choose Your Pain - 2.0
Lethe - 2.5
Magic to Make the Sanest... - 4.0
Si Vis Pacem - 1.5
Into the Forest - 4.0
Despite Yourself - 1.0
The Wolf Inside - 1.5
Vaulting Ambition - 2.0
What's Past... - 1.5
The War Without - 1.5
Will You Take My Hand? - 0 stars

Some will say I'm too harsh, but meh, having finished a binge re-watch I feel like it came off the rails after "Into the Forest." They undermined what was otherwise an amazing episode, a genuine sense of accomplishment, the perfect moment to end the war arc, for the sake of Yet Another Twist and a detour into the Mirror Universe. Then we finally grope our way home and find out it was all for naught and we're back to the damn war, with unrealistically high stakes (Earth) that undermines our investment in the story, because really, we know Earth isn't gonna get nuked.

If they felt like they needed the MU story for Compelling Character Reasons (Michael and Philippa?) then have Discovery transmit the cloak data to Starfleet before she's hijacked, do the mirror universe romp, and come back home to a won war. You were never going to end the war story on a more satisfying note than "Into the Forest," so why even try? They could have had a TNG "Family" style episode to close out the season, without the awkward cuts between impeding doom, slapstick humor, and Noble Speechifying.
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Tim
Fri, Feb 16, 2018, 11:42am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

"If you watched your mentor get killed, you'd probably be pissed too and loose control."

Plenty of folks in military and law enforcement see worse and don't lose control. Civilians manage to do it too. As I've said, this is why I find the character so grossly unsympathetic. She threw away the mission. Her reasons for throwing away the mission are immaterial. The fact remains that she threw away the mission and any chance the Federation had of avoiding the larger war.

That single moment in time literally took me out of the episode and out of the universe. I was with the show until then, even through the attempted mutiny, but not an action that I saw as murder. That's not how Starfleet Officers behave.

I don't believe it's a one off error on the part of the writers either:

1. The third episode opens with Federation prisoners talking about being sent to mine dilithim for the war effort and how dangerous that is. The Federation uses penal labor now?

2. Mr. Saru's "crack it open if you have to" comment in reference to the tardigrade.

3. Sarek going along with the destruction of an entire planet.

I don't know what any of that is but it's not Star Trek. It really does feel to me like the writers had to make it dark/edgy for the sake of being dark/edgy. I could add Lorca's various actions to the list too, but they handwaved that away by making him Evil™, which feels like a last minute idea to me despite the supposed plant of the bright light thing, but what do I know. :)
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Tim
Fri, Feb 16, 2018, 8:52am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

@KT

"It was the logical choice given the imperative to save your Captain above the mission."

No. Just no.

For starters, there is no "imperative" to save your Captain. The mission is more important than the man. Name a Starfleet Captain that wouldn't sacrifice themselves for a non-zero chance to avoid/minimize a war. Name one that wouldn't be pissed off at a crew member that chose to save them rather than complete the mission.

As for "logical choice," again, no. It's only logical if stun is ineffective and it was anything but in that scene. Go back and watch the scene again. Stun INSTANTLY drops Klingons. The kill setting actually takes longer to render T'Kuvma a non-threat than the stun shots on his comrades.

The most charitable interpretation of that scene for Michael is manslaughter instead of murder. She saw her mentor die, freaked out, and made a split second decision to kill the man responsible. That would be understandable and even forgivable if Michael was a civilian, put in a difficult situation, but she's not, she's supposed to be a Starfleet professional. How'd she make it to Commander with all that emotional baggage?

Shit, I just watched TNG's "Thine Own Self." Troi repeatedly fails the Bridge Officer's exam because she can't bring herself to send simulated Geordi to his death. How did Michael get past that test?
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Tim
Fri, Feb 16, 2018, 8:42am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

"Holy mentally unstable mother of $$$."

Yep.

The real backstory is figuring out how she got through Starfleet's psychological testing. I'm only half kidding; I half-remember that being mentioned on-screen during Wesley's character arc.
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Tim
Fri, Feb 16, 2018, 8:36am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

"The comedic relief is so forced on the episode that it is frustrating to watch. "

That's another indictment of the episode. It didn't really need comedy. Earth stands on the brink, we're contemplating destroying an entire planet to save ourselves, and....... Tilly gets stoned.

Maybe that's what was missing from "In the Pale Moonlight." Sisko needed to replicate himself a nice fat blunt, abandon his log entry halfway through, wander down to the Replimat for some Chinese food, bump into Morn, then laugh like a madman at one of his bad jokes.
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Tim
Fri, Feb 16, 2018, 8:27am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

@NCC-1701-Z

I agree completely. Set in the future you could have your war, with your thinly veiled Islamic Extremist Caricature, scripted as a blank slate new race, rather than the Klingons. You could have this magical cloaking technology that gives them a decisive edge as some sort of new technology, not the cloaking tech we've known forever, which the Federation has handled just fine thus far.

The only reason to set it in the time period they did is to cash in on the nostalgia for classic Trek of Kirk's era. I can (reluctantly) accept that rationalization with the JJVerse movies, they're going for a mass market of popcorn eaters with only passing familiarity with Star Trek. Anybody not named Kirk, Spock, or (maybe) Picard loses them, but that logic doesn't hold for a TV show.

The natural audience for a TV show was always going to be folks who grew up watching Star Trek on TV. Guess what? Most of those folks grew up watching TNG and its contemporaries. Their memberberries aren't tuned to 1701, they're tuned to 1701-D. Set it a generation or two after the adventures of Picard and Co., tell your stupid war story, and do it in a setting that can explore what happened to the Federation after Picard's time.
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Tim
Fri, Feb 16, 2018, 8:09am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

“It's not. T'Kuvma declared war when he opened fire on the fleet”

Which still doesn’t give her the right to murder him, particularly when the objective of her mission was to BRING HIM BACK ALIVE.

You can rationalize it as bad writing or bad acting if you want, but if the plot demanded that she kill him without it being murder there are about ten million different things in the Trek universe that are shown to render stun ineffective. Have him doped up on Klingon speed, stun doesn’t work, and she kills him in a failed effort to save Philippa.

As written, acted, and SFX’ed that scene is a conscious choice to commit murder.
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Tim
Thu, Feb 15, 2018, 3:09pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

@BZ

"What I want to know is when did this disunity happen? During Enterprise era, it's pretty evident that the Klingons as united as they are in TNG. It's harder to tell during TOS, but I'd still say they are united there as well."

It happened in the writer's room.

I've tried very hard not to be a nitpicky nerd, because it's utterly impossible to write any new Star Trek story and remain completely consistent with previous canon, but the writers here didn't even try. I could have forgiven that, for a good story, but this isn't a good story, it's "meh" at best.
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Tim
Thu, Feb 15, 2018, 1:41pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

@Yanks “Don't agree. She is in no way responsible for the war.”

How do you figure? She killed T’Kuvma. She herself said that such an action would make him into a martyr and guarantee that the Klingons would pick up the banner. She guaranteed the war when she decided to flip her phaser to kill and shoot him in the back. If she stuns him and brings him back to the Federation in chains he’s humiliated, to Klingons go back to their internal squabbles, and the war is avoided.

I don’t understand why this is even a discussion. It’s all right there, in dialogue.
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Tim
Wed, Feb 14, 2018, 2:38pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

Frankly, I find these “redemption” arcs in sci-fi to be a tiresome cliche. Michael is responsible for a war that presumably kills millions. There’s no redeeming that. It’s the same story with the Darth Vader; he was redeemable, after a fashion, if all you saw was the Original Trilogy. When you see the Prequels though, he’s a child murdering psychopath, and you don’t get to wash away crimes like his simply by throwing Space Hilter down a shaft.

The Pegasus told a more plausible story of personal redemption, Riker coming to terms with an old mistake and atoning for it, but still being said to pay a price for it. Ensign Ro had a redemption arc of sorts too, which was more believable than Michael’s.
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Tim
Wed, Feb 14, 2018, 2:23pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

Just to add on what Peter says, this is not only unacceptable with Trek morals, it would be unacceptable with modern day morals, to use deadly force when you have a completely safe and completely effective less-than-deadly option available.

It’s even worse when you consider that this was basically a military mission. Imagine for a moment that the Seal Team who took out Bin Laden was ordered to take him alive at all costs. He somehow manages to get the drop on one of the team members and kills him. A second member sees this, drops his already aimed taser, draws a pistol, and shoots him in the back of the head.

That’s essentially what Michael did.
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Tim
Wed, Feb 14, 2018, 2:14pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

https://youtu.be/lYOIF9JzyFQ

That’s the fight scene. They’ve got phasers on stun (blue light) throughout the scene, until Michael sees Philippa stabbed. She picks her weapon up (still blue), flips it to kill (red), and shoots him in the back.

I don’t know any other way to read this scene than a deliberate choice to kill him. This could be a post production mistake but I don’t think so, not when they’re using stun throughout the fight up to that point. Peter nails it:

“I have a different theory: they went so far to left field trying to be edgy and dark in the pilot that after they fact they realized that the murder of T'Kuvma was irredeemable and could never be explained to the audience as being a well-meaning error. It was murder in cold blood, and no coming back from it. So they chose to simply pretend it had never happened and never mention it again, effectively retconning the events of the pilot as of the very next episode. I agree with you that it was an error on their part, but one that at the time they certainly intended. They were just too clueless about Trek morals to realize that such a despicable act wouldn't ever be acceptable in a Trek setting for a character that we're supposed to respect. So they just dropped it from their canon and that's that.”

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Tim
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 9:42pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: The War Without, The War Within

I never thought they were trying to be intentionally racist, but it does demonstrate the foolhardiness of that whole plot line, IMHO. Man Abandons His Children to Embark on Religious Quest is an asinine and selfish story even without the racial element. I honestly can't stomach to watch most of the Emissary episodes. It was okay when it was something that was reluctantly forced on Sisko, when he thought of them as "wormhole aliens," but when they went "all in" and did the immaculate conception nonsense, and had him actually embrace the role. Ugh. Just ugh.

There's a reason why nobody references "Rapture" as a good episode, lol.
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Tim
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 9:27pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

@Idolwild, "Seriously, and I mean this as a friend to Star Trek, fire the entire writing staff and get new people in. Gorgeous show, fine actors, atrocious writing."

That's very fair. :)
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Tim
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 8:51pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

@Jason

"Or perhaps the script itself does not know about the "stun" setting on the phaser, but that detail was added later by someone else?"

The scene, as I recall it, has an SFX that I interpreted as Michael flipping her phaser from stun to kill. She sees Georgiou get killed, pauses for a split second, flips her weapon to kill, and shoots T'Kuvma in the back. It's portrayed as a deliberate choice on her part, which is HUGE, this is character defining stuff, but they never re-visit it again.

Understand that in that moment the mission was accomplished. All Michael has to do is stun T'Kuvma, walk over, and beam out with him and Georgiou. Mission accomplished, the war is avoided, and there's someone to hold accountable for the crimes committed against the Federation. Fuck man, we don't even know that Georgiou is dead, Picard survived a knife through the heart, but Michael sees her get STABBED (not shot mind you, stabbed) and immediately throws the mission away.

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