Saturday, October 22, 2011

A love letter to Admiral T'nae

    Oh Admiral T'nae, you lovable psycho you.

    Star Trek Online has something of a problem with creating memorable NPCs. I hate to draw the inevitable comparison but World of Warcraft is positively dripping with them. If you don't like Thrall and Jaina Proudmoore, you have people like Whitemane and Garrosh Hellscream.

    Part of the problem is the source material. Star Trek Online takes place a long time after the Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager era. So long that most of the characters from that time period are dead. There's also the fact that the developers would have to pay likeness costs and I doubt they're willing to do that. As a result, there's only a limited game space to develop NPCs and it shows.

    There's exceptions to this: Ambassador B'vat is a wonderfully engaging Klingon villain, Franklin Drake makes you want to punch him in the face every time you meet him, Obisek is George Washington meets Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Haakev is an obnoxious twit with delusions of grandeur. Heck, all of your bridge officers are perky and fun. I do have one favorite NPC, though, one who stands above all the rest.

    Admiral T'nae a.k.a Admiral Ripper.

    No, seriously, this woman is the most violent and insane person ever to wear a Starfleet uniform (including Kathryn Janeway)! The fact she's a Vulcan, blandly pleasant, and stately only makes her raging psychopathia all the more intriguing to watch unfold. Thanks to her, by the end of the Romulan front, your character has probably done more covert operations than the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare protagonists. I feel for the Romulans, really, because I can't imagine them recovering for at least a generation after the iron fist of Admiral Ripper comes down on them.

    Think I'm exaggerating? Let's take the mission Preemptive Strike where Admiral T'nae says the Romulans are developing Thalaron weapons (basically the Trekverse equivalent of nukes). What does Admiral T'nae do? Attempt to negotiate with the Romulan government? Quietly send in deniable assets? No, she sends you to blow up the Romulan fleet in orbit then detonate the Thalaron weapons on the ground before Starfleet wipes out any Romulan reinforcements. Great Surak, Lady, remind me never to get on your bad side. Even better, at the end of the mission, she says we may have headed off a war. In what universe does what you just did not qualify as an act of war?

    It doesn't stop there because Admiral T'nae has no intention of letting the Romulans have any advantage over the Federation. Admiral T'nae sends you to blow up any research into Borg technology the Romulans may be doing, twice. Hell, she even works with Section 31 to feed the Romulans disinformation. That's like the President working with crazy militiamen to subvert the government of Syria. In, Taris, she has you violate an apparent treaty with the Romulans to go investigate the Iconian home world. Hell, all of the missions she gives you seem built around ignoring Romulan sovereignty to make sure they can't possibly threaten the Federation. It's all the more hypocritical because she says Starfleet can't help Obisek's rebellion because it's an internal matter.

    Does blowing up the Romulan home fleet not qualify as interfering? I mean, seriously. I'd love to see the Federation embassy on Rator III's itinerary. It probably looks like this:

    7:00: Breakfast
    8:00: Trade Negotiations.
    9:00: Explain why we assisted a planet in gaining its independence by blowing the hell out of the Romulans sent to take it back.
    10:00: Tea-Time.

    Ironically, I don't consider any of this bad characterization. It might be intentional or it might be a happy coincidence but I have no difficulty believing that Admiral T'nae is the kind of officer the 2409 Starfleet would put in charge of the Romulan Front. According to the timeline, Nero attempted to wipe out Vulcan in this reality and was only stopped by the intervention of Worf. Given the attempted genocide of her home planet and how badly Starfleet has been kicked around in the Star Trek Online universe, it's easy to see that they put someone who was more interested in results than Federation policy.

    Much like Admiral Cartwright from Star Trek: The Undiscovered Country, Admiral T'nae is a person who wants to see a hostile enemy race brought to its knees rather than made peace with. The fact she's a Vulcan only makes it more understandable. They're the people with the biggest ax to grind with the Romulans. Given that the Romulans are controlled by Empress Sela as opposed to the saintly Chancellor Gorkon, T'nae's methods might actually be right.

    I salute you, Admiral T'nae, you're maybe not the hero we want but maybe you're the hero we need.

1 comment:

  1. Hi,

    I would agree on pretty much everything said in this article about adm. T'Nae being the most engaging Vulcan and Flag Officer (about Drake, if I ever have the possibility to kick his sorry butts...).
    However careful, I'm not sure she'd like to be called "Jack" (though, as a Vulcan, she probably wouldn't mind).
    However, I wouldn't call Janeway violent and insane, she just treats the Vidiian, the Hirogens and, most important of all, the Borg with a very special attention.