Join the Federation: Resistance is futile.
Earth, Germany, Frankfurt Book Fair
Lt. Cmdr. Teilhard wasn't looking forward to the discussion with Dr. Heisterkamp but Starfleet not sending someone wouldn't give the right picture so someone had to do it. On days like this he wished he hadn't chosen communication and alternatively asking himself why public relation issues weren't part of the command branch to deal with. When he arrived he was introduced to the other panellists, some political advisor from someone working on the Federation Council and of course a Klingon from the embassy he wondered what she was punished for by being send here.
And of course Dr. Tobias Heisterkamp the man whose book they would discuss. Self-declared political visionary and philosopher in Teilhard's opinion just some self-absorbed dangerous propaganda author.
"Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen, tonight we'll present Dr. Heisterkamp's new book: "Join the Federation: Resistance is futile" our panellists are Lt. Cmdr. Jaques Teilhard from Starfleet, Opytte Zh'rhohlis advisor to the Andorian fraction in the Council, Commander Keppa from the house of Ondagh and of course the author himself."
The presenter made a brief pause after the introduction.
"Dr. Heisterkamp many think of you as unpatriotic or ungrateful publishing so many books declaring the Federation as some kind of villain. Wouldn't you agree that if the Federation was as bad as you claim you wouldn't be able to publish these works?"
"No I never claimed that the Federation doesn't grant freedom of speech. I also never claimed that I'm unhappy to be a citizen of the Federation. My works strictly represent the view of outsiders on the Federation. I got the most comments on me publishing my commented and translated version of General Chang's collective works. I can see that many are unhappy when I point out that from a strictly Klingon perspective of that time period his critic and reasoning on topic of the Federation was sound. But that is just emotions and pride speaking I have yet to receive a single complaint with a solid argument against my analysis."
Teilhard couldn't stop himself anylonger.
"So you say a war criminal who almost threw us into yet another bloody war with the Klingon empire was actually ri"
He found himself lifted out of the chair punshed into his face and stared into the eyes of an angry Klingon woman.
"You defile the honour of the great house of Chang! Call one of our greatest Generals and Heroes a criminal! In the name of the Klingon government I demand satisfaction!"
It took some time to defuse that situation but in the end he apologised for his choice of words. Dr. Heisterkamp just looked smug and took over.
"Ladies and Gentlemen what we just saw just proves my point. The Federation and Starfleet always claim to be open to other cultures and values and look at everything from the other point of view too. But they are not and in fact it is not really possible.
Of course the Klingons see General Chang as a great leader and hero of his time. Their interpretation of the events at Khitomer is different from ours. In their culture General Chang bravely fought for the cause he believed in and lost accepting rather death than bowing to his enemies. All this just added to his honour.
Yes he used deception at some points, but the Klingon warrior code does not forbid outsmarting your enemy it encourages it. Else we wouldn't see cloaking devices implemented so prominently into their battle tactics. If one takes the Klingon Way seriously Chang was at a point from where he had either to go against his duty to follow the Chancellor's orders or go against his personal honour and his beliefs. Based on their philosophy one cannot judge him to choose one over the other, if he can't balance them any longer. According to Klingon historians chancellor Gorkon should have known of the possibility that Chang will chose to remain true to his inner beliefs, his teachings for so many years.
What most fail to understand is to truly see the Klingon perspective here."
Keppa was nodding and just added.
"General Chang was a true warrior. His name is written on the Walls of the Hall of Heroes and he is known as one of the few in recent history who managed to find true balance between the virtues of a Klingon warrior."
She scowled in Teilhard's direction.
"Most agree with him on the unnatural way the Federation integrates races and how it weakens them. At the time the Khitomer Accords were signed many disagreed with him that the Federation is our natural enemy, the antithesis to our way and our empire. But now after the dominion war it seems his warnings come true with you trying to impose your values on us, pressuring us to join you on your terms. It seems he was right like sneaky Romulans you tricked us into believing you possessed honour just to stab us in the back after we held the line for you when you were hiding under your tables afraid the Breen will come for you."
Damn that wasn't where this discussion should go. Opytte decided that it was time for some politics.
"Commander, no one is demanding anything from the Klingon Empire. We are just pointing out that you could improve your current situation with certain social changes. We are also offering to lift certain trade restrains as incentive."
"You p'taks want to change us into the next member joining your Federation. We would rather die than becoming your tokhe straavs."
Teilhard decided to join the heated discussion to come to Opytte's aid.
"You Klingons don't want to be slaves all we are suggesting to grant those you conquered over the time more rights so that they aren't your slaves. We realise that such a change would need time but surely we all see that this is the right way to go."
Dr. Heisterkamp just shook his head.
"So speaks a expirienced Starfleet officer not showing one iota of understanding of the culture he is dealing with. Have you actually read Chang's works? The Klingons see conquest as the natural way of integration and of course those defeated will not be accepted as warriors or leaders they were proven inferior after all. But apart from that conquered species are accepted in the Empire."
Again Keppa nodded but Opytte couldn't accept his.
"Surely you don't advocate that you agree with this. If you criticise our way of integration you can't possibly defend theirs!"
"Again you misinterpret explaining and understanding a different cultures point of view with agreeing."
The presenter interrupted the discussion.
"As interesting as this discussion is our topic isn't really General Chang but your newest work on Federation Membership. You claim that the Federation is actually destroying the cultural identity of many species joining starting even in the process of application. Many found this claims outrageous and oppose claiming that the Federation grants each Member a say in the government and a wide autonomy."
"Yes that is true but even those two points do not fit with all worlds that consider an application. Many who later applied and joined had to restructure their whole government structure to allow to be part of a democratic system. It is as simple as that we impose our core values on each world that begins the application process. They are only free to be different within the boundaries we set for them. The Benzite had to introduce laws allowing for more individuality. Or the most recent example Bajor when Benjamin Sisko briefly wasn't considered to be the emissary they the new one reintroduced the caste system and promptly the application process was stopped. And even today we demand from a deeply religious species to run a secular state and all Bajorians joining Starfleet have to accept that orders take precedence above the will of the prophets."
Opytte couldn't belive what she was hearing.
"Surely you agree that we have to build the Federation around common core values. How else could we maintain it under the same roof? We also do not force anyone to join so, if some decide that the changes we ask for are to big they can remain independent."
"Yes but also stay without the protection from the Federation and with only limited options for trade and technology transfers. Often based on just how deplorable we think of their society in comparison to ours. We are also not above using the misfortune of others to get our way as seen with the Klingon Empire both now and at the time the Khitomer Accords were signed."
Teilhard was now beyond angry.
"Defending oh excuse me explaining General Chang's world view is one thing but doing so for the likes of Eddington. You disgust me and you should be lucky for the common values you drag through the mud because those see your Marquis Propaganda published."
Teilhard could explode again when Heisterkamp smiled begin at him.
"Cmdr. you should know that the Marquis has been disbanded ages ago. Most died hunted down by combined troops of Cardassians and Jem'Hadar during a piece Starfleet and the Federation made with them. So it would be rather pointless to wirte propaganda for them wouldn't it. Yes my book contains some quotes from interviews with those who survived the purge of the Marquis. Not all of them currently in prison some of them even considered Federation heroes like Chakotay and B'Elanna Paris and they gave very similar reasoning for leaving Starfleet and joining the Marquis."
Opytte saw the trap Teilhard ran into. The heroes of Voyager were currently untouchable she decided to push the argument into a slightly different direction.
"We never claimed that everything the Federation does is perfect and that of course is true for Starfleet too. But it wasn't them comparing the Federation to the Borg, that was Edington and you took to this analysis to the point of using it in the title of your new work. I have to agree with Lt. Cmdr. Teilhard we may be many things we should face critic and learn from it, but we are nothing like the Borg like Eddington implies."
She could see from Heisterkamp's smile that he waited for this moment.
"We aren't? Are you sure? The Borg believe they have found the perfect society and now seek to integrate others so that everyone can enjoy and contribute to it. They have certain parameters when they consider a species ready for being included all others have to develop further. The Borg integrate new species by reducing the differences between the current status of the new member and themselves until a union is reached.
Well the Federation deeply believes every species should join its perfect society. Just follow long range strategy discussions in the councils committee or read papers or go to lectures from professors researching First Contacts, the application processes or the political science of the Federation all believe that in the long run the Klingons, the Cardassians, the Romulans and yes even the Dominion should ultimately join. We also have a catalogue that defines who is ready and who isn't ready to join. See for example the prime directive. As we discussed at very length today the Federation expects new members to adjust to what the Federation considers the perfect state for a society to be.
So yes I believe we are very much like the Borg. You all had the pre-print version to prepare for this discussion in the final version I was able to include my analysis backed by several Professors from Starfleet Academy coming to the conclusion that those similarities are quiet possible the reason why the Borg consider us enough of a threat to invade us even though we are quiet far away from their core territory. They consider us a threat because they realise in many ways we are like them."
So I leave it here. Just a different way to look at the Federation. Most inspired by Eddington's angry speech about the Federation and General Chang in the game Klingon Academy. I agree that the Federation has the big advantage that they actually do not force themselves upon others. But they will still push, still flaunt the advantages one will miss by sending them away.
We can see it during the few episodes were the Federation really gets send away (they just can't understand it then) or when they are actually on the other side of the fence (like in the Voy episode were they aren't given the super transporter tech).