PICARD Chancellor, no starship mission is more dangerous than first contact. We never know what we face when we open the door to a new world. How will we be greeted? What are the dangers? Centuries ago, a disastrous first contact with the Klingon Empire led to decades of war. It was decided then that we must do surveillance before making contact. It was a controversial decision. But I believe it prevents more problems than it creates.
Unless the script is wrong, note the word "led", indicating a causal relationship. This also suggests Starfleet contacted the Klingons, not Klingons Starfleet. The first contact protocols are a result of this incident -- all this is hardly consistent with "Broken Bow".
Of course, there's nothing here that says Federation was the party that had a disasterous first contact with the Klingons. Maybe someone else with close ties to Starfleet contacted them after Archer, and Starfleet simply learned a few things from those incidents.
Yes, and Hitler becoming dictator of Germany led to World War II. It didn't happen for a few years after he became dictator, but it happened.
What is your point?
Speaking of which, the writer of that line -- Dennis Bailey -- freely admits two things. The first is that he just put it in there for lack of anything better.
Also, he has no problems with how Enterprise has portrayed the first contact.
As I've just shown, something does not immediatly have to lead to something else. Look at whats going on in the modern day. U.S. funding of the Mujhardeen led to Bin Laden's goonies crashing planes into buildings.
I mean, not that it's not a good point, but with that being the only line that sheds any light on the Klingon first contact, there are so many ways that what Picard said could be absolutely right, or at least, right from what he knows, or how he remembers it, or how he sees things.
I'm perfectly happy to accept the fact that the meeting in "Broken Bow" will have further ramifications as we go along. It's not like TPTB are going to forget that the Klingons were bad guys before they were good guys.
In the case of Hitler and Bin Laden, the causal link was there, it just wasn't apparent until this time. So what you're saying is that there's something disasterous about "Broken Bow" that we haven't seen yet, but will be revealed in the centuries to come.
I know! Klaang contracted a rare livestock disease while running around the farmer's crops, and secretly transmitted the virus to the other Klingons. In the 2220s, their foreheads started to flatten! Hence the war with the Federation.
Of course, this doesn't explain why Starfleet would change its first contact protocols as a result of this incident, because they'd have nothing to do with "Broken Bow". Picard's words rather suggest that Starfleet contacted them openly, and created an Earth/Minbari style misunderstanding.
And I've no problem with Bailey accepting the events as they now are, but that would be admitting to a lack of continuity, and nobody wants that, right?
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Technically, the first contact between Terrans and Klingons was when Farmer Moore shot Klaang. So, yes, that has nothing to do w/ first contact protocols.
But, the more important "first contact" between Terrans and Klingons was Archer's visit to Qo'noS. If there had been better protocols in place, SF would have found out all it could about the Klingons before initiating first/further contact. But they wanted to stick it to the Vulcans, so they didn't bother. And now the Klingons are pissed off at the Terrans. Which is going to lead to war.
Sounds totally consistent to me.
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But everything went well -- they brought the Klingon home so he could complete a mission that helped stop a Klingon civil war. Nobody stepped on the holy foot of Kahless as far as we could see or swear in the Great Hall. A textbook first contact as far as I'm concerned. Any war would be a result of later incidents or reinterpretations of this first contact (maybe someone did step on the foot of Kahless and the historians noticed fifty years later).
Unless you're saying that Starfleet's later opinion was that regardless of how well you contact the Klingons, they'll still make war on you, so it would've been better for them to have studied them and decided not to go to Kronos in 2151. That pretty much says Starfleet had no idea why the Klingons started war on them, and decided that the only way they could've stopped it is by avoiding any first contact in the first place. I'm sure there are intelligent people in Starfleet who could pinpoint the things that led to war, rather than blame it on Klingons' very knowledge of human existence (kinda ridiculous, since the planet is only four days away, and they were bound to meet one way or another).
I agree with what Phelps said. Before I saw Broken Bow, what Picard had said led me to believe that there was an Earth/Minbari-kind of misunderstanding. However, I hardly would call the first contact depicted in Broken Bow, "disastrous." However, this can be easily attributed to the Suliban's alterations of the time line.
By saying that, I am assured a flaming from Bernd, but it is the truth.
Yes, because we all know the Klingons wouldn't at all be embarassed because they couldn't complete a simple mission like delivering a message without help from some nosy Earthers. I'd say a lot of feathers got ruffled, and the Klingons don't care a whole lot for humans.
Phelps, there you go. That's why the first contact led to hostilities. The Klingons' honor was deeply mortified, and that resentment just grew.
Actually, nothing of what Picard said makes sense. Earth's level of technology at the time wouldn't allow them to keep surveilance on an empire with roughly their tech level. It would only make sense if the Klingons had been, say, 20th century industrial capability, and Captain Archer had beamed down and started handing out blueprints to build warships.
Frankly, I suspect Picard 'misled' the Chancellor to save having to explain himself in more detail.
quote:But everything went well -- they brought the Klingon home so he could complete a mission that helped stop a Klingon civil war.
Aha! Therefore, if they hadn't brought him back, we now present you with the unedited transript of Picard's chat with the Chancellor. . .
quote:Centuries ago, a disastrous first contact with the Klingon Empire led to decades of war. Won't bore you with details, old boy, suffice it to say some hick farmer shot the first Klingon he saw, who was a courier of some kind, and since he never got home the Klingons had a lonmg civil war.
So the best line Federation historians & Picard can come up with is that a "disastrous" first contact, in which Archer hurt the Klingons' honor by helping them, was a significant cause of the later Klingon hostillities (else Picard wouldn't have used the phrase "led to").
This sounds better, but I doubt that a better first contact would've made a difference. In "Errand of Mercy", Kor is quite explicit about his reasons behind hostilities -- he says the Federation is expanding and blocking trade routes. Such things are usually the cause of war, a very bloody and practical undertaking that takes a lot of effort. Even if the first contact was the official reason of the Klingons, it sounds too ridiculous even for them ("you hurt our honor, now we have to destroy all of you"). I'd rather imagine Klaang asking Archer for a combat to restore his honor right there and then. If there was a problem, the honor-alert High Council should've realized it immediately. Instead, they took the information and let everybody go.
The problem is in the phrase "led to". While Klingon historians and more conservative factions within the Empire can use the first contact as their official reason, it doesn't sound good for Picard. If that's what the Federation historians believe "led to" war, then they're being rather picky and negative towards Archer and early Starfleet. Interestingly enough, that's consistent with the way nobody ever mentioned him or his ship, or cared to include it in any of the displays that showed just about every other Enterprise.
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Except, even with all of your objections, the events as portrayed in "Broken Bow" are consistent with what has been mentioned in the previous four series.
Let's look at this from the Klingon's perspective, shall we? An all-out civil war is about to happen because the houses believe each other is attacking them. The situation is tense, and the only way out is to get the evidence of Suliban tampering from Klaang. But Klaang is shot down over a primitive planet (Earth) and then shot by a farmer. The Vulcans talk to the Klingons and agree to transport Klaang's corpse back to Qo'nos. However, the upstart humans decide to take a gamble and return a very-much alive Klaang back to Qo'nos. In the process, Klaang gets kidnapped and then rescued by the humans.
Thanks to the humans, the information that Klaang was carrying was almost lost. The Suliban were able to retreive him and, given time, might have found the information in his blood cells. The humans were also, for all intents and purposes, slamming Klingon culture. Klingon culture dictated that Klaang die. Instead, they insist on defying that and returning him to the Empire. The humans also weren't invited to do the transporting, by the way. The deal was between the Klingons and Vulcans. But those pesky humans had to butt into the Empire's problems and learn how unstable the Klingon government was. Furthermore, the humans were using Klaang as a simple excuse to try and prove themselves to be "ready" to go "out there." All of that is on top of a farmer with a primitive weapon almost killing Klaang.
Yeah, this is a matter of honor, but the humans acted so wrecklessly and, had they fouled up further, would have been one of the causes of an early Klingon civil war. We have the humans sticking their noses into a foreign culture, forcing their morality onto the situation, and using the event as an excuse for personal gain. The final straw was that these primitive humans were able to pull off the rescue and deliver Klaang in spite of screwing everything up in the first place. And, yeah, the Klingons are royally ticked at the humans because of all of this. A Klingon battlecruiser almost blew Enterprise out of the stars in "Unexpected." No matter which side is writing about Earth-Klingon first contact, there is no doubt that it was disastrous and had the potential to be even worse had luck not been on the humans' side.
Now, let's talk about "Errand of Mercy." Here, Kor is citing the cause of hostilities as being the Federation blocking trade routes. You know, it's quite possible that the history of relations between Earth/Federation and the Klingon Empire is a series of armed conflicts with cold war tensions and a sprinkle of reclusion. Look at the Romulans. They went into reclusion for a good sixty years by "The Neutral Zone." Not to mention the long gap between the Earth-Romulan Wars and then "Balance of Terror." The dealings with the Klingons probably went from tense to relaxed and so on a few times. And the hostilities that Kor speaks of (as well as McCoy's remarks in "Day of the Dove") are focused on the most recent period of tension.
And, finally, addressing the Federation historians downplaying Archer and the Earth Starfleet, I highly doubt that. They were the pioneers and will always be reveered to an extent for that. But, once the history and analyzed for decades, the events may be judged for what they were. After all, Christopher Columbus used to be such a ancient hero in the United States. Now, he's being downplayed to a good extent because that opened the door to the mistreatment of the Native Americans and the exploitation of the New World by Europe. US history never used to make much mention of the interment of Japanese and German people living in the United States during World War II. Now, we do teach that and recognize it. Things change over time. The historians honor Archer, but they may also realize how foolhardy a move the entire "Broken Bow" incident was.
-------------------- The philosopher's stone. Those who possess it are no longer bound by the laws of equivalent exchange in alchemy. They gain without sacrifice and create without equal exchange. We searched for it, and we found it.
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To use the analogy presented earlier, do you think anyone in 1933 considered Hitler's becoming chancellor of Germany to be "disastrous"? I doubt it. But, today, we can say that it was, and that it led to years of war.
So far, all the arguements that say BB was inconsistent seem to boil down to "it wasn't what I had imagined, so I don't like it, so it must be wrong".
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Going back to "First Contact" the TNG episode, one can't help but notice that this is the most halting, tentative, uncertain speech Picard has delivered so far. Stewart never pauses that much between words when he gives his usual speeches.
Picard is on the defensive here, and groping for excuses and justifications to what he and the Federation are doing. There are many reasons why the Feds should have a policy of spying before contact, but Picard is probably mentally going through that list and abandoning excuse after excuse, realizing they would simply make things worse. Finally, he comes up with something the Malcorian leader might accept as a rationale, something that doesn't necessarily portray the Feds as "morally superior" or devious or just plain arrogant.
Still, the example he comes up with is a poor one if he's referring to the "Broken Bow" events, for all the reasons mentioned in previous replies. So one is left to wonder: did the Prime Directive really come to be because of the Klingon contact? Or was that a deliberate lie by Picard, a convoluted way to tie together three unrelated things: a nicely disastrous example of an episode of UFP history, the concept of First Contact and Prime Directive, and the current spying debacle?
I'd rather have it be a lie than say that Picard's history was different from the history shown in ENT.
I doubt the Suliban created a civil war out of whole cloth. Far more likely that they exploiting existing political tensions.
Archer gave the truth about the Suliban plot to a select group of Klingons. Apparently the High Council, but even so, in the only other Klingon civil war we've seen, the instigators on one side weren't even represented on the council when the war begain. So, assuming similar conditions, how are all the Houses not represented or not represented to an equal extent going to react when the elite HC Houses are granted exclusive access to important information that carries large political benefits? It seems to me that the Klingons running the empire when their conflict with Earth/UFP begins need not be the ones in "Broken Bow."
Careful study of Klingon culture and politics beforehand would have revealed the necessity (or at least the advantages) of distributing this information to every House, major or minor.
Incidently, all this goes a long way towards explaining why exactly the Klingons invaded the Cardassian Union. They seem to have a unique appreciation for the trouble meddling outsiders cause.
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