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Old November 5 2010, 09:58 PM   #1
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Some speculation about the Romulans and the Borg invasion

Hi! Good to be back.

Destiny seems to have established that the three "classical" powers of the Star Trek universe--the Federation, the Klingons, and the Romulans--were the powers that suffered the heaviest civilian and other losses to the Borg in 2381. The Federation lost Risa and Deneva; the Klingson suffered the destruction of Khitomer, the devastation of the Mempa system, and the bombardment of Qo'Nos.

What happened to the Romulans?

I've a speculative theory. The Romulans have been a high-tech spacefaring civilization for millennia, product of their inheritance of advanced (if sublight) technology from Surak-era Vulcan. The Romulans have since built extensively on this, for instance, mastering warp drive and subspace, actually building and deploying singularity drives on a large scale (I bet they're standard for the D'deridex-class, at least). The Romulan economy may lag behind the Federation, but Romulan technology is likely at least as advanced as anything the Federation could put up.

One area of technology where the Romulans are quite good with are metaweapons, doomsday weapons capable of inflicting massive damage and/or subverting other powers' weapons. Romulan telecapture technology was used on a wide scale during the Romulan War of the 22nd century and against during the Romulan Civil War in the 23rd century; a Romulan suicide probe devastated Coridan at the beginning of the Romulan War; during the Civil War, after using the Sunseed technology, the Romulan Praetorate launched a weapon that would have made Sol hyperflare and destroy our solar system, and would have been happy to do the same to the Qo'Nos system; the Tomed incident saw an "accident" with a single singularity drive-equipped Romulan warship annihilate outposts scattered possibly across light-years; and, in Nemesis the Romulan coup plotters were confident enough in the ability of the Scimitar to penetrate Federation defenses and launch a globally lethal attack on Earth to send it on its way.

The Romulans don't have many scruples against using metaweapons. Telecapture technology was something the Romulans kept and developed for some time; there were only ex post facto regret against the bombardment of Coridgan by some Romulan military leaders, who also saw nothing wrong with executing the populations of colony worlds; only a combination of a deep-cover Federation spy, Rihannsu honour, a civil war that led to regime change, and improvised quantum-entanglement technology saved Sol; likewise, during Nemesis the combination of the coup plotters' fears of Shinzon, Donatra's regret and interception of the Scimitar, and concerns about Romulan PR saved Earth's life from painful dissolution.

In the past, the only things preventing the successful deployment of Romulan metaweapons--and only from the 23rd century on--was a combination of Rihannsu honour and fear of massive retaliation from the Star Empire's neighbours. Apart from that, the Romulans seem quite willing to incorporate massive attacks against civilian attacks as an integral part of their military strategy. Post-coup Tal'Aura was even willing to accept the decimation of her Kevratan subjects by plague.

It's at this point we come to the Borg invasion. Both Romulan states are quite aware that the Borg have attacked Romulan space in the past, and the Romulans have quite possibly also been subject to attack by the Borg on the Wolf 359/single-ship model. Both Romulan states have developed their military technology, including metaweapons, to a very high degree. Both Romulan states are very territorial, competitive to a high degree with each other and their neighbours (not so much Donatra with the Federation) and determined to protect their civilization and their governments. And after the attacks on Acamar and Barolia, both Romulan states are aware that the Borg are invading the Alpha and Beta Quadrants with the express intent of exterminating their local rivals, eventually becoming aware that the Borg are arriving in their neighbourhood via the Azure Nebula on the Romulan border.

What will the Romulans do?

The Romulans are going to fight with conventional weapons and weapons systems--planetary defenses, warships, and the like. The Romulans are likely also going to fight against the Borg using improvised weapons, like the telecapture-equipped mining ships in Artaleirh during the Civil War. I also think that the Romulans are going to engage in the unrestrained use of metaweapons against the Borg. If the Borg are coming to exterminate Romulan civilization, what incentive could either Romulan state to use all of the metaweapons at their disposal against the Borg? Hyperflares, Tomed-style tactics, thalaron radiation, who knows what else--they're all likely to be used without inhibition, IMHO.

There's evidence to suggest that the Romulans did well against the Borg. The Verithrax, a single ship, was able to destroy the Borg vessel attacking Ardana. The Forge, described in the tie-ins to the movie in 2385, likely also exists in the 2381 timeframe. The fact that the Romulans were able to capture, reverse-engineer, and eventually deploy Borg weapons technology suggests to me that the Romulans were able to do a significantly better job against the Borg than the Federation ever was.

What all this implies to me is that the two Romulan states survive the Borg incursion in relatively better shape than either the Federation or the Klingons. With advanced conventional weapons technology, the sort of assimilated Borg technology that lets a refitted mining ship destroy a Klingon fleet, and any number of metaweapons and a demonstrated willingness to use them in defense of Romulan civilization, the regions of Romulan space bordering the Azure Nebula might not have suffered as much as neighbouring Federation and Klingon space. Who knows? Maybe even worlds outside Romulan space could do well. Ardana seems to have survived thanks only to the Romulans, and if we want Mestiko to have survived despite being near the triborder Romulans could also have been present. If the Romulans did get off fairly lightly, this has all kinds of implications for the galactic balance of power.

What say you all?
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