**WARNING – Major Spoilers lay ahead for the latest novel in the “Star Trek: Typhon Pact” series ‘Paths of Disharmony’. Read at your own risk!**
A few days ago, I posted about the latest chapter in the “Typhon Pact” series. Each novel deals with/features a specific race from the Typhon Pact (the coalition formed by several races to counter the Federation Alliance in the wake of the Borg Invasion of 2381). This latest novel – ‘Paths of Disharmony’ features the Tholians, though not in a ‘front-and-center’ type role as you would expect. I’ve been thinking alot about the developments in the latter half of the book and thought it an opportune time to throw out my opinions.
The plot is centered around the Andorians – who, like the Gorn from ‘Seize the Fire’, are facing a humanitarian crisis centered around their unique reproductive process. The problem confounded the local medical community on Andor and throughout the Federation. Enter the Tholians.
To fully understand the depth of their involvement, you must step back in time to the mid 23rd Century and into the “Star Trek: Vanguard” series. At the center of that series was the ‘Taurus meta-genome’ – a form of extraordinarily complex DNA created by the Shedai – prehistoric ancestors of the Tholians. Containing millions upon millions of chromosomes, the Shedai intended to use the genome and the information contained within to rebuild their vast civilization when they emerged from a state of extended hibernation.
The Federation stumbled onto the genome itself, thanks to the actions of the USS Constellation in 2263. Between then and 2267, a wealth of information was gained. The extent of what was learned has never been revealed – but data extrapolated from the genome is known to have played a key role in the development of Project: Genesis. ‘Paths of Disharmony’ states that all data regarding the meta-genome was classified to extreme levels – so much so that current Federation President (Nanietta Bacco) and Starfleet Commander-in-Chief (Leonard James Akaar) had no idea said data even existed, let alone what it revealed/contained before they were informed.
Getting back to ‘Paths of Disharmony’, a political crisis brews on Andor. As the humanitarian crisis continued, the more politically conservative elements began to express a pronounced anti-Federation sentiment (based on fear that continued research into genetic manipulation/engineering will cause the eventual loss of all Andorian cultural identity). The most radical of these elements is the ‘Treishya’ – an organization that slowly begins to resemble a terrorist group and advocates the expulsion of the Federation and all non-Andorians from the planet.
Now, enter the Tholians. For some time, they have been secretly feeding data on the Taurus meta-genome to a leading Andorian scientist (through a third party). As Starfleet attempts to calm the situation and bring all sides together in the spirit of mutual cooperation and reassurance, the Tholians reveal the existence and potential benefits of the genome to the Andorians – emphasizing that Starfleet has kept the information classified for decades and has made no effort to use it in an attempt to help solve the Andorians’ reproductive issues. This causes an uproar in which the current Andorian leader (‘Presider’) is removed after a vote of no-confidence and a strongly conservative politician with pro-Treishya sentiments rises to power. Subsequent to this, the Andorians renounce their Federation Membership and succede from the UFP – the Andorian Empire becoming an independent state once again.
Now with so much about the genome unknown – it’s true potential, when/why it was classified to the extent that it was, among other things – I could see the possibility of the Andorians succeeding even without the political mess. It’s that mess I believe, that ruins everything.
There are numerous points within the novel where the conservative elements and even the Treishya bear a strong resemblance to the American Tea Party Movement. That in and of itself isn’t what killed the story and turned this bombshell into a stink bomb IMO – it’s the way in which the opposers were depicted. Rather than being fully fleshed out, three-dimensional elements – the Treishya leader and his followers have been debased to the point where there’s little that separates them from the mad Tezwan leader Kinchawn and his military minions (from the novels ‘A Time To Kill’ and ‘A Time To Heal’).
My original inclination before I read this novel, was to have the Andorian Imperial Guard reestablished as a fully-fledged interstellar force, modernized via the assistance of Starfleet and other members of the Federation Alliance – with Starfleet in the shape it was (and still, to an extent, is) in and the extent of the damage the Borg wrought, another ally like this would make definite sense.
However, going that route and completely abandoning the developments of this novel removes another potential source of conflict, making things even more one-sided. The Breen already tried + failed to steal/copy the Federation’s Quantum Slipstream technology (depicted in ‘Zero Sum Game’), the bits and peaces we’ve gleamed on the Kinshaya don’t paint much of a brighter picture (their defeat at the hands of the Klingon Defense Forces in ‘A Singular Destiny’) while the Gorn, Romulans (the ‘Star Empire’ in this case, not the Federation-allied ‘Imperial Romulan State’) and Tzenkethi seem to be occupied by political infighting and a sort of one-upmanship (‘Seize the Fire’, ‘Rough Beasts of Empire’).
So with all this in mind – I’m going to hopefully figure out a rough path forward this weekend and get something up……..