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Old July 11 2013, 10:37 PM   #175
Re: Let's Discuss the Romulan Bird of Prey!

That Starfleet Intelligence hasn't figured out who the Romulans are is far from established. "Balance of Terror" suffers from many well-known implausibilities, both internally and especially in terms of how the Romulans were put to dramatic use later on. Kirk seems to be an ignoramus in all matters pertaining to Romulans, as he doesn't even know their ships are capable of invisibility, and Spock may well be obfuscating when proclaiming this (little-?)known ability "theoretical". After all, Spock has the perfect motivation to do so! And so does every other Vulcan in the Federation, many of whom are no doubt in a position to influence SFI and the UFP government...

Merchant ships and possible close Vulcan-Romulan communications at a time when the Federation officially believes that the Romulans are unknown and in isolation is not really much of a leap. Quite to the contrary, it would clear up a great many inconsistencies to assume that knowledge exists but is being suppressed.

It's really not that hard to suppress this specific sort of knowledge anyway. Starfleet would in fact make it quite easy for itself by maintaining this siege around the entire Star Empire, in an apparent distant corner of the galaxy. A degree of regulated smuggling would be an asset to both sides, who indeed seem to enjoy mutual strategic benefits from the Neutral Zone arrangement. The old question of who lost the Romulan War becomes sort of irrelevant when one considers that the actual outcome was a victory to both sides...

Taking the episode at face value is fine as such. It's just that it takes out a great deal of later Star Trek fun relating to the concepts involved!

Timo Saloniemi
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