This shows the kind of political/ cultural posturing that would realistically lead to a breakdown between the Klingon Empire and The Federation brilliantly; and it does it without making one side more the problem than the other. They could have easily just made it two ship captains got on each other’s nerves, and ‘pew pew pew’ there’s a war. That could even be what ends up being the final spark that sets off the powder ked but Cryptic has actually identified which understandable political insult lead to diplomats being recalled. They have diplomats leaving the grounds and internal pressure for escalation spilling out in to the public as well as disputes over the territories of a third party that one side is trying to bolster relations with. All it takes now is a mutually felt crisis followed by one overt act by either side and war is basically inevitable; even if it ends up being a cold war fought in border skirmishes rather than an all out battle on all fronts. It all shows a real insight which is so often missing genre storytelling and a real respect for the intelligence of the readers.
I also love the introduction of the Soong foundation. It stands to reason any number of groups would try to develop a version of the emitter seeing as it has beneficial applications but isn’t readily available because of the unusual circumstances of how it came to be. Also having a contemporary organization developing it not only sidesteps the legal situation with the doctor allowing it to play out at its own responsible pace but also the problems with it being future technology. Now it’s just a future idea that people see the potential for. The Ferengi could even figure the device out first and charge for access to it. It’s not as if anyone holds any form of patent on it.
A great think tank based a brilliant engram attempt to speed up ships operations gone bad. after Constitution Class Cruiser systems innovated how could the Doctor top that.. He put his own brain cells on the line..
The Soong experience in artificial life gives it an ideal philosophic vantage to enter an opinion or brief for the court.
The Federation and the Empire are slowly splitting apart, and the Romulans are bgeing groomed as a primary enemy for both factions. The Cardassians, on the other hand, look like they are heading for civil war that will result in one of several possibilitiues:
1) the Klingons come in and claim the Cardassian worlds as part of the empire, resulting in a declaration of war by the Federation after negotiations fail. The Cardassians form up a resistance group, which of course makes for plenty of possible storylines. The Klingons need to fight them, the Feds need to help them.
2) Cardassia is reclaimed by the Oralians, making them a 'wild card' in the quadrant -- probably opposing both factions.
3) The Cardassian homeworlds are attacked by the Romulan renegades, who are seeking a place to form up their nation, essentially expelling the Cardassians. These Cardassians ironically are taken in by the Bajorians, becoming allies that work for the freedom of Cardassia -- at all costs. Anyone that gets in their way draws their wrath!
I'm sure there are lots of other possibilities, these are just a few I thought of after reading the story.
Again, I'm truly not making these comments in a negative way. I personally have no problem with seeing the Path to 2409 presented in a big-picture way. I actually admire the writer's ability to present the arc of affairs in such an objective way; not everyone has that talent.
The only thing is... is that good Star Trek? Is history without individual heroes and villains really the most dramatic, the most "engaging" way to grab people's attention and pull them into the unique world and story of Star Trek?
As always good observations and comments Flatfinger, I concur, more detailed information would be appreciative. Captain Riker and the U.S.S Titain will have under gone a few changes (if Riker is even still with us after 30 years, maybe Son of Riker ), and you're right that U.S.S. Titain and crew do a lot in the book series that would effect the Federation/Romulan factions, and it would be nice to hear what has occurred between the Remen and the Klingons; and like afew have pointed out, where does the Unification stand after 30 years? This would impact Romulans and Feds both.