This has me curious, I just read the Alien Spotlight story, a couple of days ago. I wasn't sure if it was a story that goes into late 2265 or sometime in 2266. I haven't read the Byrne story yet, but does something specfically place it in 2266?
It's a direct prequel to "Balance of Terror," showing how and why the Commander was sent on the mission depicted in that episode. Therefore it must take place very soon before BoT, only as much time as it takes to travel from Romulus to the Neutral Zone.
And I'm confused. The Alien Spotlight
Romulan story is
the Byrne story. So how can you have just read it and not read it yet?
Okay, I just doubled checked. The Alien Spotlight:Romulans
was written by Ian Edgington, not John Byrne.
I think any speculation that the Alien Spotlight story (Ian Edgington) happens hours before "Balance of Terror" is equal to any speculation that it happens days or weeks (or longer) before the episode.
Again, I have not yet read Byrne's Hollow Crown,
(or The Vangaurd books) but the speculation here that the Praetor in the comics could be Vrax's son (or at least took over very recently) is supported by the dialogue between the Praetor and Admiral on pages 7 and 8 of Alien Spotlight
. The Admiral appears to be coaching the Praetor on Commander/Senator Acastus and how popular he is with the people. A Praetor who had been in power for any length of time would likely have some more in depth knowledge of his own political enemies within the Empire. So this is some solid speculation and I think it fits.
To the other topic, I'm not saying Alien Spotlight Romulans
could not have happened directly (hours) before "Balance of Terror", but I just think one guess is as equal to any other speculation. I mean, consider this: Within the events of Alien Spotlight Romulans
the Romulan fleet lost the ship piloted by Ceraph the unificationist and the newest and final ship of the dreadnought class. Perhaps the Praetor was so blood thirsty he didn't mind writing off two vessels (one brand new) hours before launching an attack against the UFP but that seems pretty risky.
Also in the last pages of Alien Spotlight:Romulans
there is no discussion between the Praetor and the Romulan admiral about attacking the UFP. The Praetor doesn't seem concerned about the UFP, he doesn't issue orders for an attack against the UFP. He says to the admiral that the Empire will devote its resources to building more Ghost Ships and their disruption weapons.
Perhaps Byrne might offer some comment on the subject, but until then I just don't see where one viewpoint is any more concrete than the other.