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Old 2014-11-01, 08:35 PM   #41
Warcry
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Terome View Post
I can totally buy that Trailcutter was weakened and caught off-guard and so Kaon was able to easily get the upper hand. In a fair fight, maybe it wouldn't have been so decisive but what would be the fun in that?
I suppose it depends on how you define "fair fight". The scenario Knightdramon alluded to above wasn't really "fair" IMO, since it pitted a 100% Trailbreaker against a severely weakened Kaon. If they were both 100%, I'd probably give the edge to the 'Con (those Tesla coils are going to seriously mess a bot up at close range).

Quote:
Originally Posted by inflatable dalek View Post
I didn't spot the sound effect right off, but I am surprised to see a few people say they didn't immediately think Trailbreaker was supposed to be dead (nearly as much as I was that the people who did assume that were really, really upset about it and that was the reaction that had mildly surprised Roberts), the poor guy's brain module is squished on page, that seems to be trying very, very hard to go "This is a proper death" (though who knows, with a time travel plot coming up...).
Except not really, going by the art. If it was supposed to be squished the artist did a terrible job of showing that, because the art doesn't convey that meaning at all (strictly IMO of course). That's what I'm trying to say.

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Originally Posted by inflatable dalek View Post
Say that when examining Vos that First Aid had found he had a chemical imbalance in the brain that was the source of his murderous impulses and a simple bit of surgery would completely remove them. Vos in his current state of mind would (literally) violently object to this. Would it be morally wrong for him cut open his head and fix the problem?
You're damned right it would be wrong! It's is absolutely ghastly to perform surgery on a patient without their consent unless it's immediately necessary to save their life. And not even then, if they make it clear they wouldn't want it. Doctors aren't gods and they don't get to ignore their patients' fundamental rights as a sentient being just because they think they know better. Just because Vos is evil doesn't mean that he loses the right to decide whether or not he accepts medical treatment. An absolutely batshit mental patient (which, just to be clear, neither Megatron nor Vos are anywhere near being) might need to be medicated to keep them from hurting themselves, but invasive brain surgery? We stopped lobotomizing people decades ago and for good reason.

Quote:
Originally Posted by inflatable dalek View Post
Now, obviously Megatron isn't Vos bad at this point in time, but Trepan's stance would be exactly the same- Megs is mentally ill and his consent or not is irrelevant. And that isn't in and of itself a wrong viewpoint, Doctor's, especially when dealing with brain complaints, frequently do have to deal with patients against their will in terms of giving out medication or surgery and doing things that will alter their personalities, usually drastically. That doesn't put them on the same level as executioners.
If we were talking about ethical doctors pursuing legitimate treatments, perhaps. But let's not kid ourselves. I don't think for a second that Trepan or Froid actually believe that Megatron is in any way "ill". There's no way to make a judgment like that from reading someone's file for a few seconds. They're regime hatchet men, and they'd been told what to do with him before they got on that shuttle. Frankly, the only reason those two were sent instead of an assassin is because they wanted a puppet wearing Megatron's body to denounce the Decepticon cause once the threat had been neutralized.

When "doctors" pretend that enemies of the regime are mentally ill and perform unnecessary procedures on them to make them more docile, they goddamn well are on the same level of executioners, if not worse.

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Originally Posted by inflatable dalek View Post
The thing with Vos is, that even though he's an especially bad example, it's been made very clear at this point that the rest of the Galaxy (and who else can judge the Transformers war crimes from an impartial perspective?) consider both armies to be as bad as each other, Bluestreak himself would probably count as a war criminal by any reasonable standard (indeed, trying to refuse medical aid to a dying enemy soldier would probably count as such), post war can they really count their past crimes against them or is everyone damned equally?
The difference is that the DJD have continued to commit atrocities (against both sides) in the three or four years after the war (somehow) officially ended with AHM. When everyone else basically threw their hands up, agreed that they'd had enough and tried to have a fresh start, Tarn and co. said "LOLNO" and continued on with torturing Decepticons to death for mostly-imagined crimes while showing no compunction about slaughtering noncombatants aboard an "enemy" ship. They're basically a terrorist group at this point, not soldiers.

As for what Bluestreak, Mainframe and First Aid did in denying a transfusion to Vos...I dunno. You can't really force someone to donate blood (or the equivalent), can you? Even to save a life. How is that any different from holding a draft and forcing people to "donate" a kidney to get someone off of dialysis? And would Vos have even wanted Autobot Energon in his veins? TNG did a good episode about that, with Worf and a Romulan (and it was all the stronger, IMO, for not trying to preach to us about which was the right choice).

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Originally Posted by inflatable dalek View Post
Plus- none of our three know about the ALL at this stage, so that can't come into their debate.
I guess? Without knowing when this happens it's hard to say what they do and don't know. There was some confusion about the timeline up above, wasn't there? But either way that's hardly the only time the DJD have attacked Autobots since the war ended -- we hear about a battle with them in Bullets, and it sounded like they were still in full-on supervillain mode in Delphi. So even if they didn't know about what happened in orbit they're well aware that the DJD are continuing to butcher their kind with impunity.

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Originally Posted by inflatable dalek View Post
You've basically imagined a way the scene could have been done quite badly that Roberts has clearly avoided deliberately so as not to make the DJD as insanely Mary Sueish as you fear, and then you've gotten quite annoyed about it. Despite the entire scenario only being in your head- if anything I'd have a word with yourself.
I'm not the one who asked the question. I just answered how I thought it would have played out going off of how the DJD have been portrayed to date.

Just to be clear, I do appreciate Roberts finding a way to avoid making them look like Mary Sues for once. If he keeps it up I may eventually stop groaning every time they show up!

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Originally Posted by inflatable dalek View Post
Of course, we still don't really know if Megatron's genuinely reformed... As for the others Knightdramon mentioned, I'm not seeing any drastic change in stance here. Starscream has always been a sneaky opportunist, Soundwave has practical common sense about 50% of the time and Shockwave wanted to destroy the entire Universe which seems a pretty strange definition of him being a misunderstood nice guy.
Fair point. The comics are in a strange place now though, where the main villains really haven't reformed or started behaving any differently, but they've started to be presented in a sympathetic way regardless. With Megatron it's been well done, but with the others it's been a bit ham-handed. Starscream in particular should have been overthrown or assassinated about fifty times for acting the way he does.

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Originally Posted by Auntie Slag View Post
I’m intrigued as to how someone is able to warp in and out of Trailcutters forcefields. I thought they were utterly impregnable. Skywarp for example wouldn’t be flustered at all by one.
I sort of scratched my head about this too. If magical teleporter energy can go through it, then why not lasers?

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Originally Posted by Unicron View Post
Think of it like those emergency lights in schools and other large buildings. One of their uses is to kick on when the power goes out, so it's kind of useless for them to simply run off the building's power. I would liken the panic bubble to those.
I guess? It doesn't really make much sense though. The bubble is there to protect him. If he's dead, he doesn't need protecting (or the forcefield) anymore.

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Originally Posted by Unicron View Post
Perceptor is on board still, no? Him, Ratchet, First Aid and any other science/engineering/medical specialists on board could all work together on it. Hell, Megatron would probably consult on it, since he had combiner tech built into one of his recent bodies and he's known to have been after the tech for forever. Stands to reason he'd have some knowledge on the subject.
I forgot about Perceptor! Yeah, he could probably do it.
 
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Old 2014-11-01, 09:05 PM   #42
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I thought MTMTE was being spared "Combiner Wars"?
 

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Old 2014-11-01, 09:21 PM   #43
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I can't see anything wrong with combiner wars. Its always been an interesting concept, melding five minds, and I've not really seen a decent stab at it in Transformers comics.
It would be interesting to see what James Roberts would do with the idea.

The best example I've seen so far was in Cliffjumpers fanfic; where Defensor squared off against Galvatron. In the sequence, Galvatron damaged Defensor's leg (Groove in this case) essentially knocking that limb unconscious, it removed the drifter element and made the Gestalt a thoroughly more destructive killing machine who was about to finish off Galvatron when Hotspot gave the issue to separate because, you know, killing is wrong.

There must be loads of room for experimentation with gestalts. What if one of them is feeling a bit depressed, has taken some Syk, or been taken sick? Menasor was made up of components who detested Motormaster. I always thought that was an interesting idea, but nothing ever came of it.

[Edit] I notice Trailbreaker/Cutter was still wearing the headcam that Riptide asked him to wear back in issue 29. I wonder if there's any significance to that, and does it mean Riptide or anyone else got a front row seat to witness his demise? Could they also communicate with him via the headcam? Or perhaps its nothing and the artist was using issue 29 as a reference.
 

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Old 2014-11-02, 12:40 AM   #44
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Some things I need to chime in...

Most people [myself included] did not realize Trailbreaker died because of the art of that specific panel. It basically seems like Kaon is just holding the brain module up close towards the camera/panel.

Trailbreaker is NOT as powerful as people make him out to be. Sorry guys. He's a part of the ethics committee, generally dislikes guns [you'd think a guy at war for 4 millions years would not misspell every single weapon in his Spotlight issue, and opt for a gravity switch] and the only guns on his person are the relatively newly installed knee guns. All the junk on his back are/were possibly for his force field. Kaon, on the other hand...until we get definitive proof that he's indeed blind, I'm just going for black eyes.

As for the big 4, yes, their characters really mellowed with the past 2 years of storylines and retcons...but we have...

Soundwave the freedom fighter, who wants justice and peace in RID and equality for all oppressed bots
Starscream the benevolent leader who at the face of trouble goes into a catatonic state and doesn't harm anybody [he's seriously killed 3 people so far in RID...and he's supposed to be like the second strongest Decepticon. Or second most skilled]
Shockwave the good guy who wants survival of his species, then gets shadowplayed and still wants survival for his species but doesn't care if somebody dies

And Megatron.

Somewhere along the line IDW made them all too likable or benevolent to work as EVIL villains. Villains, yes, but not as evil as before. Even Megatron's "I'd go through a thousand corpses and through seas of oil to get to the last autobot" line was stated to have been a hoax to spite Optimus.
 

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Old 2014-11-02, 01:37 AM   #45
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Originally Posted by Death's Head View Post
I thought MTMTE was being spared "Combiner Wars"?
Officially it's supposed to be contained to just the Transformers title (formerly RID), last I heard anyway. There's nothing saying Roberts can't do his own take on it though. He's got an out for his (potential) version being different from the others over in RID, as one built on the Lost Light would use a different process, etc.

I'm also inclined to think Hasbro has plans for the combiner molds and theme beyond what we've already been shown. I really expect repaints, remolds, and new molds to be utilized to give us at least another pair (I can see a voyager Hot Spot and Onslaught sharing a base mold easily, just swap the ladder for an artillery piece/cannon). And with Hasbro's recent penchant for having the current toys show up in comics, I can see the combiner aspect popping up in MTMTE eventually, even if the subtitle and whole mess from RID don't.
 
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Old 2014-11-02, 07:20 PM   #46
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Originally Posted by Auntie Slag View Post
I can't see anything wrong with combiner wars. Its always been an interesting concept, melding five minds, and I've not really seen a decent stab at it in Transformers comics.
It would be interesting to see what James Roberts would do with the idea.

The best example I've seen so far was in Cliffjumpers fanfic; where Defensor squared off against Galvatron. In the sequence, Galvatron damaged Defensor's leg (Groove in this case) essentially knocking that limb unconscious, it removed the drifter element and made the Gestalt a thoroughly more destructive killing machine who was about to finish off Galvatron when Hotspot gave the issue to separate because, you know, killing is wrong.

There must be loads of room for experimentation with gestalts. What if one of them is feeling a bit depressed, has taken some Syk, or been taken sick? Menasor was made up of components who detested Motormaster. I always thought that was an interesting idea, but nothing ever came of it.
I agree with all of that. There's some massively interesting science-fiction waiting to be written around the idea of combiners. Transformers approached this in the early days (The Return of the Transformers springs to mind) and I'd love to see it explored more, but I can't see a Hasbro-mandated toy advert doing that for me. Not after Dark Cybertron (which admittedly did give my moth-eaten wallet a break).
 

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Old 2014-11-05, 09:14 PM   #47
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late reply due to me being very busy the last few days Doing A Thing.

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Originally Posted by Warcry View Post
Except not really, going by the art. If it was supposed to be squished the artist did a terrible job of showing that, because the art doesn't convey that meaning at all (strictly IMO of course). That's what I'm trying to say.
Fair enough, but based on the twitter meltdown readers who found the art confusing were greatly outnumbered by those that did decide Trailbreaker was dead and were very upset (as Roberts was responding to people who really, really disliked the decision to a "I'm not going to read any more" level, he's unlikely to have ignored those simply asking if Trailbreaker had actually died).


Quote:
You're damned right it would be wrong! It's is absolutely ghastly to perform surgery on a patient without their consent unless it's immediately necessary to save their life. And not even then, if they make it clear they wouldn't want it. Doctors aren't gods and they don't get to ignore their patients' fundamental rights as a sentient being just because they think they know better. Just because Vos is evil doesn't mean that he loses the right to decide whether or not he accepts medical treatment. An absolutely batshit mental patient (which, just to be clear, neither Megatron nor Vos are anywhere near being) might need to be medicated to keep them from hurting themselves, but invasive brain surgery? We stopped lobotomizing people decades ago and for good reason.
But Doctor's can and do make choices for patients considered unfit to decide for themselves every day, sometimes with disastrous results to be sure (there's no shortage of medication that turned out to have nasty side effects, or people being "Treated" for things which would no longer consider mental illness), but there are folks who are genuinely unable to decide what's best for them and the doctor's treating them are certainly not monsters.

Quote:
If we were talking about ethical doctors pursuing legitimate treatments, perhaps. But let's not kid ourselves. I don't think for a second that Trepan or Froid actually believe that Megatron is in any way "ill".
I'd say the scary thing is, however flippant they might be (and Ratchet was taking the piss out of Megatron to his face whilst fixing him in Dark Cybertron), Trepan and Froid- plus the functionalists in general- do absolutely beleive what they're doing is right and their civilisation hinges upon everyone knowing their place and function.


Quote:
The difference is that the DJD have continued to commit atrocities (against both sides) in the three or four years after the war (somehow) officially ended with AHM. When everyone else basically threw their hands up, agreed that they'd had enough and tried to have a fresh start, Tarn and co. said "LOLNO" and continued on with torturing Decepticons to death for mostly-imagined crimes while showing no compunction about slaughtering noncombatants aboard an "enemy" ship. They're basically a terrorist group at this point, not soldiers.
Do any of our boys know about that though? Everyone's scared of the DJD as boogy men and we've had a sign of what they've been up to, but I don't think the Lost Light crew have had any real indication that they're still active and haven't taken up horticulture before finding the ALL (and again, Bluestreak and co don't know about that).

Mind, Vos is of course still an extreme war criminal, but that's something for a level of authority way beyond Bluestreak to deal with (it probably would have meant Vos being made Admiral of the Autobot fleet).

Quote:
As for what Bluestreak, Mainframe and First Aid did in denying a transfusion to Vos...I dunno. You can't really force someone to donate blood (or the equivalent), can you? Even to save a life. How is that any different from holding a draft and forcing people to "donate" a kidney to get someone off of dialysis? And would Vos have even wanted Autobot Energon in his veins? TNG did a good episode about that, with Worf and a Romulan (and it was all the stronger, IMO, for not trying to preach to us about which was the right choice).
That is a fantastic episode of TNG, though I always thought it was a shame Worf was given a slightly easy out by the Romulan telling him outright he didn't want Klingon blood.

But equally, whilst Worf had every right to decide his own personal code of ethics, he made that choice when he joined Star Fleet, an organisation that requires its members to live by a specific standard (as Picard eventually calls Worf out on when he stabs Duras to death and he tries to use the "It's cool with the Klingon way" excuse). With a less sympathetic commander that would have effectively ended his Federation career, especially as if not for the luck of there being another Romulan on the planet who could be used to prove Tomolak had lied the death of the patient would have started a Romulan/Federation war.

Equally, the Autobots have a firm code of behaviour (as Ultra Magnus so likes to share). Bluestreak made his choice about what his ethical standards are when he signed up (and he's still a badge wearing Autobot. Though thinking on it, it's not been very well established exactly what the standing of everyone is in relation to still being enlisted).


Quote:
Fair point. The comics are in a strange place now though, where the main villains really haven't reformed or started behaving any differently, but they've started to be presented in a sympathetic way regardless. With Megatron it's been well done, but with the others it's been a bit ham-handed. Starscream in particular should have been overthrown or assassinated about fifty times for acting the way he does.
That's just the old "Every villain is the hero of his own story" thing though, them being given motivations that make sense from their points of view (well, bar Shockwave whose plan still makes no sense) isn't the same as them being nice people by any other standard.

I do disagree with Knightdramon though about Shockwave being sympathetic just because he thought he was doing the best for his species by destroying the entire Universe (?!), that's like those Sentinel Prime apologists who moan about Optimus being so mean to him in Dark of the Moon for just wanting to enslave humanity.


Quote:
I sort of scratched my head about this too. If magical teleporter energy can go through it, then why not lasers?
Whilst Trek has conditioned us to think transporters can't work through shields (except when they can), has Transformers ever gone with that?
 
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Old 2014-11-05, 09:36 PM   #48
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And thinking on the brain surgery side of things...

Pure speculation, but considering the brain module has been established as one of three absolutely essential parts of any Transformer, operations on it pretty much have to be fairly common don't they? Nearly everything else can be ripped off and replaced if need be but when the brain module is gone it's gone and everything would have to be done to fix it
 
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Old 2014-11-05, 10:59 PM   #49
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Can I just stop for a second and say how awesome it is that a Transformers comic is bringing up discussions like this? It's almost like it's becoming real, grown-up fiction now!

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Originally Posted by inflatable dalek View Post
Fair enough, but based on the twitter meltdown readers who found the art confusing were greatly outnumbered by those that did decide Trailbreaker was dead and were very upset (as Roberts was responding to people who really, really disliked the decision to a "I'm not going to read any more" level, he's unlikely to have ignored those simply asking if Trailbreaker had actually died).
Obviously I can't speak for those people, but we've got at least two people here (myself and Knightdramon) saying that we didn't get the intending meaning from that panel. And I'm sure there's more. So at the very least, the intended dramatic impact was lost on some of us.

And are people seriously freaking out about Trailbreaker dying? I mean...Trailbreaker? Really? He barely even had a personality. It's a bit of a waste to kill him before he got to do anything meaningful, I agree, but it obviously happened for big plot reasons (pushing the LL/DJD confrontation) rather than simply shock value.

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Originally Posted by inflatable dalek View Post
But Doctor's can and do make choices for patients considered unfit to decide for themselves every day, sometimes with disastrous results to be sure (there's no shortage of medication that turned out to have nasty side effects, or people being "Treated" for things which would no longer consider mental illness), but there are folks who are genuinely unable to decide what's best for them and the doctor's treating them are certainly not monsters.
To a certain extent and when there's no other option, perhaps. But considering how often those "benign" involuntary treatments seem to get reclassified as "atrocities" by future generations? I'm not especially sanguine about doctors having carte blanche to decide what's best for their patients. There's a good reason why medical treatments usually need to be cleared through an incapacitated person's next-of-kin rather than society just telling doctors to do what they think is best -- the next-of-kin are supposed to know what the patient themselves would want.

Sometimes that means the patient doesn't get the ideal treatment, but I'd much rather have that than some stranger making decisions for me just because they've got a stethoscope and a lab coat.

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Originally Posted by inflatable dalek View Post
I'd say the scary thing is, however flippant they might be (and Ratchet was taking the piss out of Megatron to his face whilst fixing him in Dark Cybertron), Trepan and Froid- plus the functionalists in general- do absolutely beleive what they're doing is right and their civilisation hinges upon everyone knowing their place and function.
The expression on Trepan's face while he's working on Megatron puts the lie to that, IMO. In that moment he's clearly a bully taking a great deal of pleasure exerting his dominance over someone lower on the social totem pole than he is. Likewise, if Froid had any ethics at all he would meet with his patient and try to cure him through noninvasive means before scheduling him for brain surgery. Even the laziest of doctors wouldn't proscribe such drastic treatment without actually examining the patient first.

That's not to say that they don't think they're doing what's right for the cause, but they're not doing it because they think it's medically necessary. They're doing it because it's politically necessary, because it's necessary to protect the system. It's the equivalent of a doctor in 1800s Georgia amputating the tongue from a slave who was telling his fellows that they didn't have to put up with their lot in life. If they're willing to do that, they're in gross breach of medical ethics and should probably look for a different career choice (which ironically, the system they're defending would forbid them to do...).

Sidenote: how in the world is Rung a psychiatrist on Functionist Cybertron? He's classified as an ornament. Shouldn't he be on display in a museum somewhere?

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Originally Posted by inflatable dalek View Post
Do any of our boys know about that though? Everyone's scared of the DJD as boogy men and we've had a sign of what they've been up to, but I don't think the Lost Light crew have had any real indication that they're still active and haven't taken up horticulture before finding the ALL (and again, Bluestreak and co don't know about that).
First Aid and anyone else left on the ship from Delphi would. The DJD base was on the same planet as the hospital and they were treating soldiers injured in battles with them well after AHM (in Bullets). Exactly what they were doing isn't clear, but they were definitely prosecuting a war that everyone else agreed was over and we've seen more than once what their idea of fair battle tactics is.

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Originally Posted by inflatable dalek View Post
But equally, whilst Worf had every right to decide his own personal code of ethics, he made that choice when he joined Star Fleet, an organisation that requires its members to live by a specific standard (as Picard eventually calls Worf out on when he stabs Duras to death and he tries to use the "It's cool with the Klingon way" excuse). With a less sympathetic commander that would have effectively ended his Federation career, especially as if not for the luck of there being another Romulan on the planet who could be used to prove Tomolak had lied the death of the patient would have started a Romulan/Federation war.
Actually, the episode made it sound like they couldn't hold it against Worf or order him to do it due to Starfleet's rather idealistic regulations. In fact, I got the impression towards the end that Worf was practically begging Picard to order him because he knew it was the right thing to do but he couldn't do it without an honourable excuse. Starfleet's regulations about personal behaviour seem to be absolutely insane, though, considering how many times their officers (not even just Worf!) are seen to run off and murder foreign nationals and/or commit acts of terrorism against foreign nations with absolutely zero consequences.

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Originally Posted by inflatable dalek View Post
Equally, the Autobots have a firm code of behaviour (as Ultra Magnus so likes to share). Bluestreak made his choice about what his ethical standards are when he signed up (and he's still a badge wearing Autobot. Though thinking on it, it's not been very well established exactly what the standing of everyone is in relation to still being enlisted).
I'm not entirely sure that's true, in the IDWverse. The Autobot code is a ponderously bulky and bureaucratic thing, by the sounds of it, and in practice the only screener for becoming an Autobot seems to be "do you want to kill Decepticons?"

I mean, in theory it'd be nice if what you say is true, but in practice they employed Whirl for four million years.

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Originally Posted by inflatable dalek View Post
Whilst Trek has conditioned us to think transporters can't work through shields (except when they can), has Transformers ever gone with that?
Transformers fiction almost never features any sort of transporter or shield anyway, so it's not had much to say either way. From a practical standpoint, though, forcefields that can be teleported through just aren't very useful.

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Originally Posted by Unicron View Post
Officially it's supposed to be contained to just the Transformers title (formerly RID), last I heard anyway. There's nothing saying Roberts can't do his own take on it though.
This, more or less. All IDW said is that MTMTE wouldn't be pulled into a crossover like last time, not that we wouldn't see combiners on the Lost Light at all. Given Hasbro's recent toy-cramming proclivities I think we well, but as its' own story arc not connected to the one on Earth/Cybertron.

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Originally Posted by inflatable dalek View Post
And thinking on the brain surgery side of things...

Pure speculation, but considering the brain module has been established as one of three absolutely essential parts of any Transformer, operations on it pretty much have to be fairly common don't they? Nearly everything else can be ripped off and replaced if need be but when the brain module is gone it's gone and everything would have to be done to fix it
I don't think that necessarily follows. The spark is an absolutely essential part too, but slice yours in half and your doctors (other than Pharma apparently) won't have a clue how to fix it. Brain modules might be serviceable, but it's equally possible that you can't touch the hardware (as opposed to the software, via Shadowplay) without flat-out killing the patient. We don't really know enough to say at this point.

We might learn more next issue though, if First Aid and Ratchet try to put Trailbreaker's brain back together.
 
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Old 2014-11-06, 01:45 AM   #50
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Originally Posted by Warcry View Post
I'm not entirely sure that's true, in the IDWverse. The Autobot code is a ponderously bulky and bureaucratic thing, by the sounds of it, and in practice the only screener for becoming an Autobot seems to be "do you want to kill Decepticons?"

I mean, in theory it'd be nice if what you say is true, but in practice they employed Whirl for four million years.
My suspicion is that the bureaucracy of the Autobot Code in IDW is a result of legal minded people like Tyrest. They took a set of ideals and converted it to law, with all these fiddly little bits written in legalese.

I think you're right that the general qualifier is "not a Decepticon/want to kill Decepticons", with a rough set of rules that's basically 'don't be evil' while the Code is generally ignored as an actual set of rules/laws unless the situation calls for it.

I think Tailgate's rough assumption at the start of his lessons with Magnus is how it really works, while all the lessons Magnus put him through were just him being post-breakdown OCD about things. Had Magnus not been on the ship, or Tailgate been with another group of Autobots, it probably would have been something like 'So you want to be an Autobot? Ok. Here's the Do's and Don'ts and your temporary badge. Real one will arrive in the mail in 6-8 weeks'.
 
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Old 2014-11-06, 04:41 PM   #51
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I don't think that necessarily follows. The spark is an absolutely essential part too, but slice yours in half and your doctors (other than Pharma apparently) won't have a clue how to fix it. Brain modules might be serviceable, but it's equally possible that you can't touch the hardware (as opposed to the software, via Shadowplay)
But while the 'forged' are evidently born wholesale from the crust of Cybertron, bodies, brains and all, the 'constructed cold' are given pre-built bodies - so someone must have the know-how to create brain modules.
 

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Old 2014-11-06, 05:08 PM   #52
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I think Tailgate's rough assumption at the start of his lessons with Magnus is how it really works, while all the lessons Magnus put him through were just him being post-breakdown OCD about things. Had Magnus not been on the ship, or Tailgate been with another group of Autobots, it probably would have been something like 'So you want to be an Autobot? Ok. Here's the Do's and Don'ts and your temporary badge. Real one will arrive in the mail in 6-8 weeks'.
I think you're probably right, in practice. In spite of having lots of rules, the application of their rules seem to be very lax (bordering on the nonexistent) as long as you're a net asset to the cause and don't do anything to publicly bring disgrace down on them. Which is fair enough, since they're embroiled in an existential war.

I imagine they got more and more lax over time as the war went on, too. Wasn't there something about how the "lessons" that newborns were taught got reduced time and again as the war went on until they were basically just slinging them out on the front lines as soon as they switched on?

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But while the 'forged' are evidently born wholesale from the crust of Cybertron, bodies, brains and all, the 'constructed cold' are given pre-built bodies - so someone must have the know-how to create brain modules.
Building something from scratch and repairing it while it's in operation are two different things, though. I mean, try working on your car's engine while it's running and see how far you get. I don't doubt that they can take a brain apart and put it back together again. I'm just not sure the person who the brain belongs to would survive the process, or that they could switch out components without causing major behavioural changes.

(Are the Forged born whole? When we saw the hot spot on Luna 1, there was nothing in it but sparks.)
 
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Old 2014-11-06, 05:28 PM   #53
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Building something from scratch and repairing it while it's in operation are two different things, though. I mean, try working on your car's engine while it's running and see how far you get. I don't doubt that they can take a brain apart and put it back together again. I'm just not sure the person who the brain belongs to would survive the process, or that they could switch out components without causing major behavioural changes.
I wouldn't let me anywhere near a car's engine! But yeah, I see what you mean - though of course, the point of Shadowplay is to induce major behavioural change.

This is something I'd like to see explored actually - what happens if the spark survives but not the brain, or vice-versa. Do they do transplants - attaching a new brain to a new spark? Would it create an entirely new person?

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(Are the Forged born whole? When we saw the hot spot on Luna 1, there was nothing in it but sparks.)
Admittedly, it's something of an assumption on my part, but I make it for several reasons:

One, when describing the 'constructed cold' they make a point of sparks being placed in 'pre-fab' bodies - they wouldn't make that distinction if the sparks from hot-spots were also placed in built bodies.

Two, because when Brainstorm harvests the spark it is said to come with 'sentio-metallico', which is a phrase James has used in his fanfics to describe the 'liquid metal' seen when the Transformers biomorphically replicate, as in G2 - and of course there, the sentio-metallico quickly forms into an entire Transformer.

The process in IDW presumably takes longer, but I suspect their nature is the same.

(As I recall, the prejudice between those born 'naturally' and artificially was first made by James reference to those born by biomorphic replication, and those Matrixed, possibly in Eugenesis.)

Finally, the Functionist doctrine categorises people according to alt mode, so if everyone is in pre-fabricated bodies who gave them the alt modes? Thus, it seems that at least those 'forged' are born with their alternate forms already in place - therefore strengthening the parallels to civil rights movements in real life).

(This also makes the relationship between the Functionists and the constructed cold quite interesting.)
 

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Old 2014-11-06, 08:42 PM   #54
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To a certain extent and when there's no other option, perhaps. But considering how often those "benign" involuntary treatments seem to get reclassified as "atrocities" by future generations? I'm not especially sanguine about doctors having carte blanche to decide what's best for their patients. There's a good reason why medical treatments usually need to be cleared through an incapacitated person's next-of-kin rather than society just telling doctors to do what they think is best -- the next-of-kin are supposed to know what the patient themselves would want.

Sometimes that means the patient doesn't get the ideal treatment, but I'd much rather have that than some stranger making decisions for me just because they've got a stethoscope and a lab coat.
I should preface this by saying, I've not read IDW's output since the Spotlights first came out, so take this with a grain of salt.

Having said that...

You're ascribing a human (specifically, western) code of ethics upon an alien species that, for all intents and purposes, doesn't necessarily follow the same rules. Yes, they have humanistic appearances, and they're written by humans, and everything they do is going to ultimately be shot through the prism of human experience.

BUT, from a storytelling standpoint, there is no good reason why a non-human species developing its society far from human influence would arrive at the same code of ethics that we would.

Add to this the possibility that a society of sentient robots who can be repaired from the brink of death, and for whom death is very rarely anything more than an inconvenience, could easily wind up with a society that views one's personal rights as slightly more disposable than ours does.
 
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Old 2014-11-06, 11:18 PM   #55
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If Trailbreaker really is dead then… good going! I liked him (much like I liked Pipes), but something suggests its convenient to have Trailbreaker out of the way for now, otherwise ‘the one-trick pony’, as Whirl calls him, could trump a DJD attack by trapping Tarn & Co. in a bubble, or blocking their attacks against the crew.

I still find it very silly to imagine a force field can be negated simply by warping in and out. Trailbreaker is a special agent (according to Spotlight: Kup) with a unique ability.

And its not like Trailbreaker’s not had a chance to shine; he saw off Lockdown and Co. in his own Spotlight, had a good set-to with Megatron in the last few issues, made a drunken comment to Max and prevented a lot of them dying when Whirl set off missiles against the Sparkeater.

I’d be happy if it was permadeath for Trailbreaker, but it wouldn’t be the end of the world if he came back either. He has a unique ability and a potential story-arc. Pipes had neither, and perhaps the only thing he could contribute is the motivating force of a new crew member that want’s to get revenge for Pipes’ death… say a fighting mad Hubcap! Or perhaps Pipes was good friends with, I dunno, the Monsterbots or Wreck-Gar who may enjoy the opportunity to wreck Overlord in a particularly creative manner?
 
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Old 2014-11-06, 11:46 PM   #56
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Just noticed that First Aid identifies Vos as a new member of the DJD. So he may know them all by sight based on his time at Delphi, which would suggest the current Vos is perhaps a very new member.
 
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Old 2014-11-07, 06:20 AM   #57
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I wouldn't let me anywhere near a car's engine! But yeah, I see what you mean - though of course, the point of Shadowplay is to induce major behavioural change.
Major controlled behavioural change, though. I'd imagine that if they could get the same quality of results with physical surgery they'd just do that, since mnemosurgery poses serious risks not just to the patient but the surgeon as well. But I suspect that the results of physical surgery are (even if survivable) far less predictable than rewriting the patient's software.

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This is something I'd like to see explored actually - what happens if the spark survives but not the brain, or vice-versa. Do they do transplants - attaching a new brain to a new spark? Would it create an entirely new person?
As an IDW-specific question I'm not sure it's one we can answer (though something very much like this happened in an old BotCon comic). They've never really told us what the spark and brain module do in this universe. Is the spark just their "life force", and the brain module the seat of their identity and consciousness? Or is the spark where their mind lives and the brain module is just the hardware it executes on and uses to interface with their body? Or is it some odd mix of the two? I'm not sure the even the Transformers themselves know the answer to that, and they might consider it a theological question more than a scientific one since neither part can survive or function without the other.

What I wonder is why they consider the transformation cog to be an equally vital part as the brain and spark. It seems like they can be swapped from person to person easily enough, and Triple-M are proof that you can survive without one pretty much indefinitely. I understand that transformation is the core of their identity as a race, but the whole "Rossum's Trinity" thing implies that damage to any of the three can kill you. Though I suppose that might just be a leftover Functionist thing -- if you can't transform, you no longer have a place in the Grand Cybertron Taxonomy and might as well be dead.

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Admittedly, it's something of an assumption on my part, but I make it for several reasons:

One, when describing the 'constructed cold' they make a point of sparks being placed in 'pre-fab' bodies - they wouldn't make that distinction if the sparks from hot-spots were also placed in built bodies.

Two, because when Brainstorm harvests the spark it is said to come with 'sentio-metallico', which is a phrase James has used in his fanfics to describe the 'liquid metal' seen when the Transformers biomorphically replicate, as in G2 - and of course there, the sentio-metallico quickly forms into an entire Transformer.
That makes perfect sense! And that's actually how I'd assumed it happened too...that Forged Transformers sprung to life as complete protoforms sort of like what we saw in Beast Wars. I didn't get the G2 connection at all in Remain in Light, and the art doesn't really show it very well, but I think this is as good an explanation as we're likely to get.

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(This also makes the relationship between the Functionists and the constructed cold quite interesting.)
I bet that's where "Ratioism" enters the picture. If Functionist ideology holds that there should be a certain proportion between the different classes of Cybertronian life, then it only makes sense that they'd cold-construct new Transformers to keep the number of available Disposable and Labour-class mechs up -- after all, they must have a much higher attrition rate than the higher castes, and everyone still seems to hate knock-offs so they certainly wouldn't unleash them on upper-crust society. Which essentially means that they're building made-to-order slaves.

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Originally Posted by Dead Man Wade View Post
You're ascribing a human (specifically, western) code of ethics upon an alien species that, for all intents and purposes, doesn't necessarily follow the same rules. Yes, they have humanistic appearances, and they're written by humans, and everything they do is going to ultimately be shot through the prism of human experience.

BUT, from a storytelling standpoint, there is no good reason why a non-human species developing its society far from human influence would arrive at the same code of ethics that we would.

Add to this the possibility that a society of sentient robots who can be repaired from the brink of death, and for whom death is very rarely anything more than an inconvenience, could easily wind up with a society that views one's personal rights as slightly more disposable than ours does.
Well...yes, absolutely. I don't dispute that the pre-war Transformers have a very different idea of right and wrong than we do. But I don't think that's necessarily a reflection of their mechanical nature. Quite a few cultures in our own history have the exact same leanings -- look at the Antebellum US South, the caste system in India, Ancient Rome, the rise of fascism in the 1930s, or many, many other chapters in the history books. The modern idea that all people are equal has existed for the equivalent of an eyeblink compared to the societies that valued certain subgroups differently than others. And honestly, you could make a fair argument that we still do it today, only more subtly and with wealth as the main determinant of status rather than race or creed.

I don't think it's wrong of us to look back at what our ancestors did and see their mistakes for what they are. And equally, I don't think it's wrong to look at Cybertronian culture and point out what are (from our point of view) mistakes that they made as well. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that's part of the point, because when we see and acknowledge those mistakes in a fictional setting it makes it easier to see them in the real world as well.

Any judgments that we make are subjective and in the end sort of arbitrary, though. I suspect that if you gave this same book to a reader 100 or 200 years from now they'd take something totally different from it than we do. In fact, considering how human cultures seem to swing wildly from near-anarchic freedom to tightly-regimented control and back again, 200 years from now people might look at Roberts' Cybertron as some sort of utopia to be strived for and not the Orwellian horror it seems to readers of today.

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Just noticed that First Aid identifies Vos as a new member of the DJD. So he may know them all by sight based on his time at Delphi, which would suggest the current Vos is perhaps a very new member.
Vos is fairly new, I think. In one of the previous issues the Autobots were trading stories about a previous Vos with hooks for hands and feet who seemed to have vexed a lot of them over the years.
 
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Old 2014-11-07, 12:53 PM   #58
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I can't see that anyone else had suggested this yet, so I'll have a go;

My first thought was that Trailbreaker isn't dead, not because he was insufficiently killed but because they're in an ethics classroom. I don't think any of the business with the wounded Vos and the DJD was real, it was done sort of illusion created to provide the very ethical debate it provided.


Cracking issue, felt a lot quicker than recent ones. Glad I only have to wait two weeks and not six!
 

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Old 2014-11-07, 02:11 PM   #59
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As an IDW-specific question I'm not sure it's one we can answer (though something very much like this happened in an old BotCon comic). They've never really told us what the spark and brain module do in this universe. Is the spark just their "life force", and the brain module the seat of their identity and consciousness? Or is the spark where their mind lives and the brain module is just the hardware it executes on and uses to interface with their body? Or is it some odd mix of the two? I'm not sure the even the Transformers themselves know the answer to that, and they might consider it a theological question more than a scientific one since neither part can survive or function without the other.
My personal preference would be that the brain module 'is' the Transformer in question, with the spark essentially being like the human heart - and therefore theoretically replaceable, but definitely vital to continued existence. But that's just me being an old Marvel fan!

(Outside of the fiction, Rossum's Trinity is probably an attempt to clear up the fact that in Last Stand... James and Nick had TFs die by brain module destruction, whereas previously we had seen the worst criminals in Garrus 9 stripped down to the spark.)

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What I wonder is why they consider the transformation cog to be an equally vital part as the brain and spark. It seems like they can be swapped from person to person easily enough, and Triple-M are proof that you can survive without one pretty much indefinitely. I understand that transformation is the core of their identity as a race, but the whole "Rossum's Trinity" thing implies that damage to any of the three can kill you. Though I suppose that might just be a leftover Functionist thing -- if you can't transform, you no longer have a place in the Grand Cybertron Taxonomy and might as well be dead.
No one likes action masters

Incidentally, I can't be the only one who wishes James had been able to keep the phrase 'morphcore' as opposed to 't-cog' - it's far more poetic.

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That makes perfect sense! And that's actually how I'd assumed it happened too...that Forged Transformers sprung to life as complete protoforms sort of like what we saw in Beast Wars. I didn't get the G2 connection at all in Remain in Light, and the art doesn't really show it very well, but I think this is as good an explanation as we're likely to get
I wonder if they'll ever come out and plainly show a Transformer being born and growing - I hope so, as I have a pathological need to be proven right, but I fear for how some of the more conservative fans might react - 'budding' seems to be one of those ideas (along with 'naturally occurring gears, levers and pulleys') that fan consensus has deemed too silly for our toy robots.

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I bet that's where "Ratioism" enters the picture. If Functionist ideology holds that there should be a certain proportion between the different classes of Cybertronian life, then it only makes sense that they'd cold-construct new Transformers to keep the number of available Disposable and Labour-class mechs up -- after all, they must have a much higher attrition rate than the higher castes, and everyone still seems to hate knock-offs so they certainly wouldn't unleash them on upper-crust society. Which essentially means that they're building made-to-order slaves
Ah, I'd forgotten all about 'ratioism' - yup, I think you've hit the nail on the head there! And it's interesting to note that, once the war begins, the Autobots start building 'Made-To-Order' soldiers...

(Megatron was right!)
 

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Old 2014-11-07, 04:15 PM   #60
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On the Vos thing, I thought I'd mentioned this earlier but I must have been thinking about when I talked about it in the pub with Denyer (honestly, I go nine years without meeting the man, now he's just following me around)...

Roberts actually talks about this in the Transmissions podcast I linked to earlier, he deliberately established beforehand that this Vos is a new(ish) member of the team the Autobots don't know about because First Aid knows about Agent 113 and he wanted the medic to be absolutely certain the DJD member they found couldn't be the undercover Autobot so as not to add an extra complication to the basic moral debate.

[If Kaon were 113, that would make an interesting counterpoint to Brainstorm, like all deep cover sleepers they play their role to the hilt even if it means genuinely working against their own real side most of the time.]

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Can I just stop for a second and say how awesome it is that a Transformers comic is bringing up discussions like this? It's almost like it's becoming real, grown-up fiction now!
It's lovely isn't it? I didn't mind the over comics this month (and the issue before of RID was actually very good fun), but Roberts is simply working on all sorts of different levels and even when he has a misstep (as all serial fiction writers do from time to time) those are usually more interesting than many other writer's successes.


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Obviously I can't speak for those people, but we've got at least two people here (myself and Knightdramon) saying that we didn't get the intending meaning from that panel. And I'm sure there's more. So at the very least, the intended dramatic impact was lost on some of us.
Oh, I'm certainly not saying it's a wrong reading (after all, I've completely failed to get more than my fair share of things in the comics over the years), and the reviewers on the Underbase seem to agree with you about the ambiguity, I just disagree with Knightdramon's suggestion it was "Most" readers, based on twitter the majority seem to have gone with him being very very dead.

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And are people seriously freaking out about Trailbreaker dying? I mean...Trailbreaker? Really? He barely even had a personality. It's a bit of a waste to kill him before he got to do anything meaningful, I agree, but it obviously happened for big plot reasons (pushing the LL/DJD confrontation) rather than simply shock value.
It surprised me as well (as said, when I first read Roberts saying he was surprised by the reaction I thought he meant to the moral dilemma), it's hard to judge people's reasoning in just 144 characters, but based on the retweets I saw it's possible people were feeling down about two issues of alternate versions of the characters being shown horribly killed being followed by one of them being horribly killed for real, they think the book has become too dark and stopped being any fun.

For what it may or may not be worth, in reply to the "I won't be reading again" Roberts' responses were along the lines of "I'm sorry to hear that" and "I disagree with your argument but respect your right to think it" rather than even the slightest ambiguous attempt at reassurance like "Keep reading" or "Wait and see", if Trailbreaker isn't really dead he's definitely playing it close to his chest.


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The expression on Trepan's face while he's working on Megatron puts the lie to that, IMO. In that moment he's clearly a bully taking a great deal of pleasure exerting his dominance over someone lower on the social totem pole than he is. Likewise, if Froid had any ethics at all he would meet with his patient and try to cure him through noninvasive means before scheduling him for brain surgery. Even the laziest of doctors wouldn't proscribe such drastic treatment without actually examining the patient first.
Chromedome was similarly smug and enjoying lording it up over Overlord when he was in his head (and of course, at the time of these flashbacks was in the same line of work as Trepan), but still personally thought he was doing the right thing. Some people are still just gits even when they think they're working for the greater good.


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Actually, the episode made it sound like they couldn't hold it against Worf or order him to do it due to Starfleet's rather idealistic regulations. In fact, I got the impression towards the end that Worf was practically begging Picard to order him because he knew it was the right thing to do but he couldn't do it without an honourable excuse. Starfleet's regulations about personal behaviour seem to be absolutely insane, though, considering how many times their officers (not even just Worf!) are seen to run off and murder foreign nationals and/or commit acts of terrorism against foreign nations with absolutely zero consequences.
I think the not being able to hold it against Worf thing was due to the 24th century humans being such a homogenised dull same minded bunch (look at Riker in the Host, he doesn't even balk at have a slug put in his belly and controlling his body to turn him into Doctor Crusher's sex slave even though that would I say give most normal people at least a moments pause) that the idea of one of them not doing The Right Thing as defined by Federation morality. They have the right to chose but they'd all male the same choice anyway.

Which is of course why Worf so quickly became such a popular character despite being intended to just stand about on the bridge doing nothing, as an alien Roddenbery didn't force him into his post Motion Picture hippy ideals and the guy got to have edges of a sort none of the humans (except possibly Picard, possibly because Stewart just added all sorts of layers to his performance).

At its worst it meant the Klingon was just used to voice whatever stupid violent/bigotted viewpoint the other characters wouldn't be allowed to (The Outcast being the worst example where he suddenly gets the put forward the sexist and possibly homophobic comments out of nowhere) but it overall made him bloody awesome.

I actually think Sisko would have made Worf do it, he seemed to have a lot less patience with indulging his crew generally and tended to be more pragmatic than Picard.

To really tangent, I liked the idea in the SF Debris review of Sins of the Father, where it was pointed out just a few weeks after Worf let a Romulan die he suddenly finds himself the centre of a Romulan plot to break up the Federation/Klingon alliance that should have seen him executed and still winds up with him dishonoured. Looks like he pissed the Romulans off.


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I mean, in theory it'd be nice if what you say is true, but in practice they employed Whirl for four million years.
All the really dodgy stuff we've seen Whirl do though has been since he was kicked out of the Wreckers (at least since joining the Autobots anyway) for attempted assisted suicide. Last Stand actually suggest that as tough and nasty as they are they still had to obey rules of war- at least during the time Springer was with them anyway as he's surprised and shocked by Impactor's crossing of the line.
 
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