TO: Vice Admiral Colette Parker, Starfleet Command FROM: Lt. Commander Teegan Sulhez Jutt, U.S.S. Hong-Yee Chiu (commanding) RE: Pakled officer candidates at Starfleet Academy
At the request of Starfleet Command, the Hong-Yee Chiu has been amassing sociological and cultural information about Pakled Prime, in regards to the requests the Pakled government have made to send several candidates to Starfleet Academy. As you are well aware, the Pakleds have applied for Federation membership four times in the last forty years, and been rejected as unready each of those times. The various reasons for the Pakleds' rejection would seem to disqualify them for the Academy as well: lack of sociological and possibly cognitive development, a cultural simplicity that would seem to belie their joining modern interstellar society in anything but the most cursory of terms, and an almost biological drive to amass technological information from more sophisticated species and cultures, which the Pakleds then adopt without the necessary cultural understanding for wise use.
It would seem, therefore, that there are several good reasons to deny the Pakled government's requests. Simply put, those reasons are: a simplicity of mind and mindset on the part of individual Pakleds, a desire to reap the benefits of technological innovation without doing the necessary work, a cultural lag between the Pakleds' current technological level and their society's capacity to administer it, and a noted racial 'deviousness' that makes their motives suspect.
Despite tthis, it is my recommendation that Pakleds who qualify for Starfleet Academy in the application process be allowed to attend and become commissioned in Starfleet.
I answer the noted concerns as follows:
1. Simplicity of Mind and Mindset: Though it appears that Pakleds are less intelligent than other species, that appearance is illusionary. The Hong-Yee Chiu has conducted a survey of 1,250 Pakleds from across their geographic, cultural, and age lines, which has included testing their intelligence and ability, as well as conducting full and deep biological examinations. These tests have shown the Pakled species to be a 7.4 on the Sovak/Donnelly Sentience and Intelligence scale, just slightly below Humans and Tellurites. A 6.8 is considered 'mature' in sentience and intelligence. The Pakleds have the intellectual capacity to attend the Academy.
The apparent 'simplicity' of the Pakleds therefore has cultural roots stemming from survival mechanisms. Anthropological and archeological evidence suggests that the Pakleds have cultivated defensive coloration to fool predators and prey alike, seeming too slow and out of shape physically or mentally to be a threat, before using their true intellect and ability to achieve their goals. This has been a successful cultural tool even into the sentient era for their species: their interstellar neighbors dismiss the Pakleds as harmless, while the more warlike species see no advantage in conquering the Pakleds, since they seem like they would need more energy put into them than the conquerers would get out of them.
The Pakleds use simple, declarative statements and basic interrogatives in communicating, whether between themselves or with other species. This helps construct the sense of helplessness they use defensively and offensively alike. However, this belies a native cunning and startling technological ability which is easy to dismiss until they get what they want. While it is true their culture does not tend to innovate directly, their ability to decipher even wildly disparate alien technologies, identify problems, and adapt seemingly incompatible systems to interoperate with one another is startlingly strong. In particular, Pakleds seem to be natural engineers, which is how they have been able to amass so much alien technology -- they seem hapless and unable to perform even basic repairs, but when more technologically advanced species 'assist' them, they learn and adapt to new technologies and techniques purely through that contact. While some Pakleds then get greedy and try to extort more information from the helpful aliens, even the act of having their repairs performed teaches the Pakleds more than might be apparent.
2. A desire to reap the benefits of technological innovation without doing the necessary work: this point seems obvious and self-explanatory, but closer examination reveals significant cultural bias on the part of the Federation in regards to Pakled motivation. Put simply, we have mistaken the racial methodology of technological evolution the Pakleds have always used for 'cheating,' because it is significantly different than the methodology other Federation races have used.
The Pakleds were not the only sentient species to evolve on Pakled prime. In what is an unusual circumstance, there were apparently four different sentient races that evolved in competition with one another over the course of eons: the Pakleds, the Hormas, the T'chil, and the Rocono. The latter three species evolved the way we normally see species evolve -- through competition, natural selection, the solving of problems and the like. As the competing races fought for resources and land, the Pakleds were often on the periphery, seemingly lagging behind, being used as 'dumb' labor and servants, no threat to anyone -- even as they slowly learned what their more innovative neighbors developed.
When the Hormas and the Rocono had moved to a mid-industrial level of society --the T'chil having long since failed and their ancestral lands being cultivated mostly by Pakleds -- the three societies reached a cultural tipping point. The Pakleds had adapted to and merged both their competitors' technological achievements, and almost overnight had become the dominant life form on the planet, outbreeding and outcompeting the others. By the time First Contact happened, the Pakleds were the only sentient species still on Pakled Prime.
Said First Contact was by a series of Rigelian traders. They found the Pakleds to be cheerful and friendly -- and apparently downright stupid. The word spread, and many of the more predatory trading species -- in particular the Ferengi and the Orions -- began trading seemingly worthless technologies to the Pakleds in exchange for rich resources. They were 'easy marks,' even as the Pakleds advanced far faster than their traders realized. By the time the Pakleds were able to start forcing more equitable trade relationships, they had already nearly approximated Low Standard Warp technology.
In applying our own biases as to what constitutes 'appropriate' societal and technological evolution and using that as the benchmark for Prime Directive protections and the like, we are punishing the Pakleds for having been as successful as many other species through the means the Pakleds had always used. The Pakleds are not lazy and the Pakleds are not greedy -- at least no more so than any other race in the galaxy. The Pakleds are using the tools they have learned give them greatest success in survival and evolution. To reject them for this is to say we will only ever extend our hand in friendship to cultures exactly like our own, and this is a clear violation of both the spirit and letter of the Federation Charter.
3. The cultural lag between the Pakleds' current technological level and their society's capacity to administer it: This point is true and demonstrable. As the Pakleds spread out into the galaxy, amassing even the minor technologies of other races and adapt them into their own technological foundation, they are being exposed to changes in their society they cannot possibly keep up with. In a way, this aspect of their cultural evolution has directly failed them -- the tools for success in a closed environment of four sentient species all at or near the same level of technological development fail to properly allow the Pakled society to adapt quicjly enough to hundreds of worlds with wildly divergent technologies.
The question, therefore, becomes whether or not this disqualifies Pakled applicants to Starfleet Academy. I submit it does not, because the very act of applying for the Academy denotes a cultural evolution on the part of the Pakleds.
The Pakleds, going back to their presentient era, have always lived at the periphery of other societies. They have not participated so much as scavenged, and this has always been successful for them. However, the Pakled government has recognized that the techniques they have always used are no longer working for them -- their society is becoming endangered by the very technologies they gathered to improve it. And so, rather than simply continuing the strategies they have always used, they are trying a new one -- by sending their very best and brightest students to learn off-planet, openly and without obfuscation, they seek to also learn how cultures like Earth's, Trill's, Vulcan's or the like have adapted to their technological level. That is a significant step forward as a culture, and it shows a desire to actually evolve beyond their past towards a newer future.
While this cultural step does not make them anywhere near ready for Federation membership, I submit it is a significant step, and one the Federation should support. By accepting these students to the Academy, we are promoting the Pakleds' efforts to improve themselves racially. Should we fail to support them now, they will have no choice but to continue doing what they have always done, and ultimately that could lead to disaster.
4. A noted racial 'deviousness' that makes their motives suspect: it is always difficult to ascribe ethics or morality to different cultures. It is easy to see all races through the prism of our own culture and experiences, and to reject that which is different. At the same time, we have to be conscious of those ethical considerations which we consider non-negotiable. And we have embraced many cultures and races as Starfleet Academy cadets and later as commissioned officers which we would not otherwise consider for Federation membership. Klingons are considered bloodthirsty and violent, and believe the murder of a superior to be an acceptable route to command. Yet we have Klingons in Starfleet, and they do not kill their superior officers. Ferengi are considered to be consumed by greed and the lust for material gain, yet Ferengi serve in Starfleet without charging either the Federation or those they would help as Starfleet Officers.
The Pakleds are known to be deceitful and deceptive as a culture. However, that does not mean individual Pakleds are incapable of honesty, integrity and forthrightness by our definition. It would be unfair to deny them the chance to prove themselves when we extend that chance to so many other races and cultures.
The Pakleds are a people on the cusp of change. Whether that change leads to their evolution as a stable, happy society capable of managing both their own affairs and their technology -- and pushing the society to drive their technology, instead of letting technology drive their society -- or to the destruction and chaos that comes from a society that cannot handle the machines it has adopted is largely up to us.
In the end, letting Pakleds apply to Starfleet Academy is both a prudent first step and a moral imperative on the part of the Federation, in hopes of leading the Pakleds to that brighter future.