Star Trek: Articles of the Federation
A book in the so-called Star Trek Novelverse
, notable for its in-depth look at the internal politics of The Federation
. Featuring Ensemble Darkhorse
character President Nanietta Bacco and her cabinet, the novel has a great many subtle links to the rest of the novel 'verse while remaining entirely readable on its own terms.
From the back cover:
Following the surprise resignation of Federation President Min Zife after the disastrous Tezwa affair
, Nan Bacco of Cestus III has won a hotly contested election to become the new chief executive of over one hundred fifty planetary civilizations and their colonies. But no sooner does she take office than the Romulan Star Empire falls into chaos
. With tensions already high, a Reman refugee ship is sighted approaching a Federation outpost, its intentions unknown. As the first year of the Bacco Administration unfolds, the Federation Council is slow to work with its new president, and not always supportive of her policies or her appointments to key council positions; a successful first contact suddenly becomes a diplomatic disaster; and the sins of President Zife prove difficult to lay to rest...as one celebrated Starfleet officer's career reaches a turning point.
This novel contains examples of:
- Actual Pacifist: The Mizarians, as a species. Their pacifism causes problems for warrior cultures like the Klingons, who are unable to respect or relate to them. See: Fantastic Racism, below.
- Alien Arts Are Appreciated
- Arch-Enemy: Commander, now Empress, Donatra is the Arch-Enemy of Praetor Tal'aura. Their rivalry, established in Star Trek: Titan and the Star Trek: The Next Generation Relaunch, intensifies here. It's in this novel that Donatra declares the worlds and fleets loyal to her independent of Tal'aura's Romulan Star Empire, forming the Imperial Romulan State.
- Ass in Ambassador: The hawkish Klingon diplomat K'mtok, though he's better here than he is in his earlier appearances. He actually demonstrates a degree of genuine respect for President Bacco, as well as reasonable restraint in his dealings with the Romulans.
- Balkanize Me: It finally happens to the crumbling Romulan Star Empire. Specifically, Commander Donatra declares herself empress of a new interstellar nation, the Imperial Romulan State, with the result that Romulan space is effectively split in two. The Klingons agree to recognise Donatra's government, eager to encourage division among the Romulan people. The Federation is pressured into showing solidarity with its Klingon allies and so also ends up recognizing the IRS.
- Bizarre Alien Biology: The whole mess with the Trinni/ek dignitaries is a result of their forced physiological adaptation to the unique properties of their home sun.
- The Bore: Bera chim Gleer. President Bacco has to try very hard not to shut her eyes and nap when he gets going on one of his long-winded diatribes (see below).
- Character Filibuster: Councillor Bera chim Gleer of Tellar has never had a speech on the council floor go shorter than forty-five minutes...and that was when he had a cold. Usually it's twice that, minimum.
- Continuity Nod: Many. Most significantly to the first two novels of the Star Trek: Titan series and the Star Trek: A Time to... series, which introduced President Bacco and set the political stage for this novel. Also, supporting characters from across the Star Trek Novel Verse make an apperance, sometimes to the point of Continuity Porn.
- As author Keith R. A. DeCandido was the driving force behind the Starfleet Corps of Engineers series, many references to those stories are made in Articles of the Federation, including follow-ups on diplomatic relations with several species discovered by the Corps, e.g. Koas and Strata.
- Damn It Feels Good to Be a Gangster: Ihazs, as usual. He's a leading member of the Orion Syndicate (an interstellar crime cartel), and certainly seems to enjoy his life of sophistry and elegance.
- Deadpan Snarker: Sivak. President Bacco actually enjoys this as when everyone else is deferental to her office, he's more than willing to provide a caustic comment or two.
- Democracy Is Bad: Apparently, the Tzenkethi Coalition believes this, at least in terms of where the Federation goes wrong. The degree to which their leaders' moral indignation is genuine and the degree to which they're simply trying to maintain the Tzenkethi caste system for selfish purposes is unclear, though what was established here was later built upon in Star Trek: Typhon Pact. Certainly the "evils" of Federation democracy make a convenient scapegoat when things go wrong for the Coalition.
- Detonation Moon: On orders from Praetor Tal'aura, Romulan admiral Mendak tries to sabotage the free Reman settlement on Klorgat IV by blowing up one of the planet's moons.
- Dumb Muscle: Ihazs' two Balduk bodyguards.
- Fantastic Racism: The pacifistic Mizarians are considered to be "the vermin of the galaxy" by Klingons. Martok, being asked by Bacco to provide support for a scientific organization affiliated with no major nation, is not pleased to hear that their leader is Mizarian.
- Fantastic Slurs: The Betazoid term "flatbrain" refers dismissively to those races without telepathic or empathic abilities. A Betazoid student uses the term several times, and is irritated when her roommate insists on talking out loud like a flatbrain alien.
- The Federation: We finally get to see how the United Federation of Planets works as a political entity.
- Giant Spider: The Koas from Starfleet Corps of Engineers, essentially big spiders with octopus heads, make another appearance - joining the Federation.
- Government Conspiracy: Reporter Ozla Graniv discovers the truth about President Zife's resignation and the debacle at Tezwa (see Star Trek: A Time to...). President Bacco also confronts Admiral Ross about his participation in Zife's removal at gunpoint. As a result, Ross retires, removing himself from politics and any degree of influence over government policy.
- Gunboat Diplomacy: President Bacco resorts to this when overseeing negotiations between the Carreon and the Deltans. The Deltans require a new water reclamation system for their planet, and the Carreon have the design they need. Because of an old feud, however, the Carreon refuse to negotiate properly. Bacco ends up using the implied threat of Federation military strength to stop the Carreon messing the Deltans around. As she tells the Carreon Ambassador, diplomacy is the means by which conflict is avoided. If Carrea won't negotiate in good faith, the only remaining option is war - and she makes it clear Carrea wouldn't stand a chance.
- Harsher in Hindsight: During the state funeral for former President Jaresh-Inyo, President Bacco says that there's one measuring stick for the President: If the Federation's still intact at the end of your term, you've done a good job. The novel ends with a somewhat upbeat callback from Chief of Staff Piniero, pointing out that while the first year of Bacco's term had its ups and downs, the Federation is still intact, so...However, two months later (in universe), Star Trek: Destiny happens. Bacco did a fine job through the apocalyptic mayhem and its aftermath, but it's still a bit of a knife-twist.
- He Who Must Not Be Seen: Ambassador Emra, and for now all Tzenkethi. This is part of what might be considered a general Running Gag in the Star Trek Novel Verse, in which the Tzenkethi's physical appearance was left a mystery (until the Star Trek: Typhon Pact series put an end to it by featuring them extensively).
- I Need A Drink: Comes up a bit when major snafus occur - it's even referenced that the replicators in the Federation Offices will not dispense alcoholic beverages during working hours, leading Chief of Staff Piniero to think sardonically that every hour is a working hour.
- Implausible Deniability: Everyone knows Admiral Mendak was working on the orders of Praetor Tal'aura when he destroyed Klorgat IV's moon, but no one can prove anything - particularly after Mendak and his crew kill themselves with their own honour blades.
- Intrepid Reporter: Ozla Graniv. Brek chim Glamok, too. Both end up in trouble, though at least Graniv finds one hell of a story.
- Jerk Ass: Councillor Molmaan, though that's simply his Zaldan cultural heritage. As a member of a race who Will Not Tell a Lie, he is completely lacking in tact.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Kant Jorel, after being mostly just a plain jerk in his previous appearance. His back-story with the Bajoran Resistance (however briefly explored) certainly helps.
- Knight in Sour Armor: Admiral Ross appears to be this, at least by this point.
- Littlest Cancer Patient: Zormonk, essentially. A Tzenkethi child with a deadly disease whose only hope for life is with a particular Federation doctor. His father attempts to smuggle him to the Federation for treatment. He dies, having gotten to them too late.
- Lizard Folk: Established Lizard Folk race the Gnalish show up in the novel, and their representative to the Federation is introduced: Gorus Gelemingar.
- Meaningful Funeral: President Bacco feels she has a duty to make former president Jaresh-Inyo's funeral service memorable.
- Multicultural Alien Planet: During the funeral service for former president Jaresh-Inyo, his culture is referred to as "semtir". His species is Grazerite, but apparently (and in a welcome departure from Planet of Hats) not all Grazerites have the same customs.
- My Species Doth Protest Too Much: C29 Green is unusually forward-thinking for a Nasat, being the only Forest Quadrant Governor to actually try V1 Red's new transport system rather than dismiss it out of hand as "too risky".
- Mythology Gag: Chancellor Martok is irritated when Praetor Tal'aura's voice reminds him of his dead wife's. This is an in-joke, as Tal'aura and Martok's wife Sirella were played by the same actress.
- No Biochemical Barriers: Averted in one scene. The Trinni/ek food fleer/ok has to be removed from the menu during preparations for a state dinner welcoming the Trinni/ek Speaker. It's determined to be poisonous to Bajorans, Betazoids, Humans, Trills, and Vulcans, and causes an allergic reaction in Tellarites.
- Punctuation Shaker: As with several other books by Keith R. A. DeCandido, this one features several characters from a species (as yet unnamed) who include apostrophes between almost every letter of their names. An example: T'r'wo'li'i.
- The Remnant: Some of the Reman factions are still spouting Shinzon's battle cries and making suicide runs at Federation outposts.
- Running Gag: Kant Jorel continues to steal Zhres' jokes.
- Sassy Secretary: Sivak, President Bacco's secretary, is essentially this. He's Vulcan, so he's very much a Deadpan Snarker, but he fits the Sassy Secretary trope too. He doesn't chew gum, of course, but he probably would if he found some, just to be more annoying...
- Stop Helping Me!: Martok openly acknowledges that this trope underlies all the Klingon Empire's efforts to assist with the upheavals in Romulan space, e.g. making Remus a protectorate. President Bacco responds that, yes, the Federation worked that out quite quickly.
- Suicide Attack: The Reman crew of Vkruk, against Outpost 22.
- Total Eclipse of the Plot: In the dominant native religion of Lembatta Prime, a solar eclipse is a sacred event. The planet shuts down entirely during an eclipse, forcing President Bacco to postpone her state visit.
- Treachery Cover Up: The Federation populace remains unaware of ex-President Zife's illegal activities (see Star Trek: A Time to...).
- The Unpronounceable: Ex-President Thelian's full name is Thelianaresth th'Vorothishria. Say it five times, fast.
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Balduk thugs carrying naked Trills through hotel lobbies is carefully ignored, at least when the Balduks are hired by local crime lord Ihazs.
- Unusually Uninteresting Report: Kant Jorel is irritated that none of the press corps blinks an eye on the subject of the Koas. "They put their planet in a box, people!" (See Starfleet Corps of Engineers).
- We Will Use Manual Labour In The Future: The planet Aligar uses slave labour to harvest its raw materials, including those destined for export. President Bacco gives a furious What the Hell, Hero? speech to the Federation Council when the subject of renewing their trade agreements comes up. The agreements are terminated, but the Council ends up filibustering everything for two months until she admits she crossed a line.
- What the Hell, Hero?: President Bacco gives two of these speeches. The first is when she condemns the Council for considering renewing trade agreements with Aligar - she later apologises for her behaviour. The second time, she points out the disturbing implications in the actions of Admiral Ross after the truth about his role in deposing President Zife comes to light. She notes that not only did he take it upon himself to remove the President from power, but in his public support for Bacco he also used his influence to encourage the ascension of a leader he personally preferred.
- Bacco gives the Triexian Councillor to the Federation the option of resigning when it's revealed he oversaw the secret imprisionment of a chameloid during the height of Changeling paranoia. While he tries to defend his actions, Bacco and her staff point out that while what he did may have been legal under Triexian law of the time it certainly went against Federation law and basic rights.
- With All Due Respect: Councillor Gleer, responding to Bacco's nomination of Councillor Krim to the Security Sub-Council: "With all due respect, madam president, are you mad?"
- X Meets Y: Word of God on this one: it's Star Trek meets The West Wing. There's even a character named Karin Noosar.