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Old June 1 2013, 07:23 PM   #7
Re: Let's Discuss the Romulan Bird of Prey!

If they aren't windows, then what might they be?
The only alternative that comes to mind is similar holes on the sides of the ship's inspiration, the WWII submarine. A spaceship wouldn't need holes for flooding, I guess, even if she landed frequently on planets with atmospheres. But the flooding function more generally represents the sub coming to an understanding with its environment, i.e. diving; on the BoP, the holes might thus be argued to be a component of the cloaking device.

How big a crew is there? What sort of facilities are there for them? Is the whole ship as cramped looking as the bridge we see in "Balance of Terror?"
Having a large crew would somewhat defeat the dramatic setup wherein a top "captain" and his trusted "lieutenant" companion form a major component of the command team, with a "politruk" completing the picture and everybody else being utterly insignificant; a ship with hundreds of crew would probably have a great many officers to upset the dramatic balance.

OTOH, if the cramped bridge interior matches the topside external shape, the ship still ought to have space for hundreds if they are equally tightly packed - and if the machinery inside takes no more room relatively than in a WWII sub. But I'd prefer to give more space to machinery and to trim down the crew a lot, so that Kirk eventually causes the deaths of relatively few people compared to the 430 that would have died in Romulan hands.

Do you suppose the TNG era artificial singularity power source was already in use during the 2260's?
That would be just perfect. Scotty's mistaking of the ship's construction and capabilities would be dramatically highly satisfactory, and we could even draw further parallels and say that Praetor Hitler is short on dilithium from the Remanian dilithium fields, and has to resort to exotic contraptions to power his forces...

Of course, the tech is really primitive at this point, but it has future potential...

What might the internal layout be like? Are there any small craft, like shuttles and such? Can the ship land?
I agree with Bob on really small, nicely pseudo-aerodynamic liaison craft (perhaps also thinking back to Diane Duane's use of such in The Romulan Way). Then again, I think that from the known capabilities of starships it follows that they all can automatically also land on planets and take off from them.

Yet, something still prevents the modern Warbirds from firing while cloaked... I wonder what prevents them from doing so.
IMHO it's a matter of doctrine only: with a cloakship/submarine, you can go for perfect stealth or partial stealth. The former is often overkill (at least in the submarine analogy), since most enemies are half blind to being with, and it suffices to merely confuse their vision a tad more. But Romulans are cowards at heart, having waged few open wars and played lots and lots of waiting games where the firing of a shot is not even an option. They go for extreme stealth even when there's no real value to it, simply because they are so obsessed about being able to go everywhere completely unseen.

So a Romulan ship is rigged to be as silent as an SSBN from the 1980s. A Klingon ship is rigged to be only as silent as a convoy-hunting Type VII from the happy hunting days of the early 1940s. Technology would allow for the reversing of roles (and indeed Klingon cloaks are often seen fooling the best Romulan defenses), but it's a doctrinal and cultural issue.

Do they even have transporters at that time or was it all part of the trade with the Klingons to get new tech?
I really don't much appreciate this "trade with the Klingons" theory - the battle cruisers of "The Enterprise Incident" could just as well be war trophies or something. But I do want to believe in them having transporters, because the state of Romulan art in ENT is IMHO dramatically perfect for explaining every aspect about the Romulan history as described in TOS. Starship technology parity in most areas and superiority in telecontrol and camouflage tech justifies the war where neither side sees each other, and transporters further facilitate a "mop-up" after a battle...

Apart from that, I don't see a good foothold for "TOS-internal" arguments here. TOS doesn't feature Romulans boarding the hero ship, although they no doubt would have, had certain battles gone differently. Romulans don't set foot on planets, either. So transporter capacity is a non-issue through and through.

Timo Saloniemi
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