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Star Trek - Original Series The one that started it all...

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Old April 27 2010, 08:01 PM   #1
ClawsThatCatch
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Question Regarding the Bird of Prey

I'm confused as to why the series refers to both romulan ships and klingon ships as "The Bird of Prey."

Is "The Bird of Prey" supposed to be the name of a particular ship, or is it a type of ship? Do romulans and klingons just happen to use the same type, or are the two species working together? And, how did both groups come to develop a cloaking device that the Federation apparently didn't have the science to develop?
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Old April 27 2010, 08:14 PM   #2
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Re: Question Regarding the Bird of Prey

ClawsThatCatch wrote: View Post
I'm confused as to why the series refers to both romulan ships and klingon ships as "The Bird of Prey."

Is "The Bird of Prey" supposed to be the name of a particular ship, or is it a type of ship? Do romulans and klingons just happen to use the same type, or are the two species working together? And, how did both groups come to develop a cloaking device that the Federation apparently didn't have the science to develop?
IIRC, the Romulan ship in "Balance of Terror" was never referred to as a "bird-of-prey." Stiles stated that Rommie ships from the Earth-Romulan war had birds painted on their undersides (which ENT showed that they didn't, but that's another story...), but no Rommie ship (or Klingon ship for that matter) in TOS was ever referred to as such. It wasn't until The Search For Spock that the term was used. Of course, originally the Bird-of-Prey was supposed to be a Romulan ship before the script got changed to Klingons being the adversaries, but by that time the term and ship had already forever stuck to the Klingons.

However, the terms "bird-of-prey" and "warbird" have been so jumbled together between Klingons and Romulans that they're pretty much interchangeable these days
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Old April 27 2010, 08:17 PM   #3
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Re: Question Regarding the Bird of Prey

Starfleet Battles uses "warbird" and "war eagle." A bird of prey (falcon) is certainly different from a warbird (Sarah Palin).

I do wish they hadn't muddied things up in TSFS.
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Old April 27 2010, 08:39 PM   #4
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Re: Question Regarding the Bird of Prey

The implication now is that the aliance the Klingons and Romulans had way back during the third season of TOS (The Enterprise Incident) made for the Klingons to have cloaking technology. I don't remember if they gave them any in Enterprise. As for the Federation not having any, canonical evidence states that the "Treaty of Algeron" forbade the Federation of developing a cloaking device.
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Old April 27 2010, 08:41 PM   #5
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Re: Question Regarding the Bird of Prey

ENT reinforces the idea that all Klingon ship types are given avian designations. ENT doesn't clarify who's giving those designations, tho.

It's quite possible that the bird motif is a Vulcan thing, and that the Klingon ships are known as "Warbirds", "Birds of Prey" and "Raptors" in ENT because that's how the Vulcans have classified them and how they have been described for Vulcan's Earthling allies. The native Klingon designations might be far less poetic - perhaps the "battle cruiser" and "attack cruiser" designations used for some of their designs are closer to the native ones?

This Vulcan bird fetish would arguably have survived on those Vulcans who emigrated to become Romulans. But the fact remains that the only Romulan ship design to have an avian designation is the TNG era "Warbird". There is no Romulan Bird of Prey in canon, nor a Romulan Raptor or Buzzard...

It could also be argued that bird motifs are common among starfaring cultures. Starships may look like flying ships to us Earthlings - but others may simply see them as flying things, without the awkward watery connection.

Personally, I prefer to think that Vulcans/Romulans had the bird motive first, and infected it on us humans in the 22nd century - and that ever since those times, the designation "Bird of Prey" has gained a very specific meaning, perhaps that of an atmospheric-capable assault scout (something Starfleet doesn't have), while "Warbird" has become a similar special term, perhaps with the meaning of an Explorer-sized or larger warship (which Starfleet also apparently doesn't have).

That's how current naval designations were born, too: one nation's sometimes nonsensical or sentimental terminology caught on abroad, so that suddenly everybody had "destroyers" for WWI or "frigates" after WWII.

The implication now is that the aliance the Klingons and Romulans had way back during the third season of TOS (The Enterprise Incident) made for the Klingons to have cloaking technology.
Hmh? In ENT, Klingons were the first shown receiving the secret of that tech, in "Unexpected". Romulans were shown possessing the tech quite a bit later, in "Minefield". It may originally have been somewhat likely that there existed an alliance that gave Klingons cloaking tech - but current evidence may actually be against such an alliance ever having existed. The Klingon tech in Romulan hands in "The Enterprise Incident" may have been war loot for all we know.

As for the Federation not having any, canonical evidence states that the "Treaty of Algeron" forbade the Federation of developing a cloaking device.
...And canon doesn't establish when this treaty was signed. We only know the Feds and the Romulans were signatories, so it has to be after the first encounter with the latter. And it has to be before the early 24th century, because Picard argues the treaty has kept the peace since then. But the signing date could well predate TOS.

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Old April 27 2010, 10:05 PM   #6
A beaker full of death
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Re: Question Regarding the Bird of Prey

ClawsThatCatch wrote: View Post
I'm confused as to why the series refers to both romulan ships and klingon ships as "The Bird of Prey."
It didn't. The Klingon ships were never referred to in that fashion. This error began with TSFS.
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Old April 27 2010, 11:30 PM   #7
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Re: Question Regarding the Bird of Prey

Wait, ok, so The Search For Spock was wrong, or inconsistent with the series? I will say, when I said "the series" I meant to include the films; I can see why for clarity's sake they are being referred to separately.

I recognize that this could be inaccurate, but memory-alpha.org discusses both romulan (http://memory-alpha.org/wiki/Romulan...3rd_century%29) and klingon (http://memory-alpha.org/wiki/Klingon_Bird-of-Prey) birds of prey, so perhaps you can see why I would be confused.
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Old April 28 2010, 12:38 AM   #8
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Re: Question Regarding the Bird of Prey

TSFS was originally supposed to include Romulans. The producers at some point said, "who ever heard of Romulans," so they changed it to Klingons. They didn't bother changing the ship.

There was some business some time later about it supposedly being a stolen Romulan ship, but that was dropped.

Memory-Alpha, and every other later-created resource, including the later tv series and films, twist every which way to retcon TOS to account for their mistakes. TOS stands on its own.
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Old April 28 2010, 12:49 AM   #9
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Re: Question Regarding the Bird of Prey

^^ Exactly.

In "Balance Of Terror" Stiles says that Romulan ships are painted like giant birds of prey (or something to that effect. Hence, the term stuck even though neither the Federation or the Romulans refered to the ships that way. Note that in some novels some writers made references that the Romulans thought of their ships that way, and why not(?), because they consciously did paint their ships that way.

TNG's Romulan ships were actually more consistent with this idea than TSFS. But by then the damage was done.
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Old April 28 2010, 01:13 AM   #10
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Re: Question Regarding the Bird of Prey

ClawsThatCatch wrote: View Post
Wait, ok, so The Search For Spock was wrong, or inconsistent with the series? I will say, when I said "the series" I meant to include the films; I can see why for clarity's sake they are being referred to separately.

I recognize that this could be inaccurate, but memory-alpha.org discusses both romulan (http://memory-alpha.org/wiki/Romulan...3rd_century%29) and klingon (http://memory-alpha.org/wiki/Klingon_Bird-of-Prey) birds of prey, so perhaps you can see why I would be confused.
Since the term was never used in TOS to describe the Romulan ship ( only its markings) calling the Klingon ship in TSFS is not 100 percent wrong or inconsistant. The implication from Stiles comment is that every Romulan ship seen in the Romulan War had this marking. Its unlikely that all Romulan ships were of the same design. Its an "national identifier" like a red star on a Soviet aircraft. It reflects the ships origin not its type.

OTOH the type ship seen in TSFS may actually be called "Bird of Prey" in Klingonese as well as some other alpha-numeric designation. From a visual standpoint it looks more like a Klingon design anyway. Romulans might also have ships they call "Birds of Prey" in their language. Ditto for "Warbirds". Perhaps thats why such terms use qualifiers like "Romulan" or "Klingon" when mentioned in Federation Standard.
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Old April 28 2010, 01:15 AM   #11
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Re: Question Regarding the Bird of Prey

It was a popular "fanon" idea in the 90's that Klingons got cloaking devices and Bird-of-Prey ships in exchange for giving the Romulans battle cruisers.

Star Trek XI featured Klingon D7's decloaking during the Kobayashi Maru test in 2258, and surrounding the Nerada a 2233 deleted scene.

Enterprise gave the Suliban cloaking technology from the 27th(-ish) century. It also retconned Romulan cloaking tech from "scary and new" in TOS to "they always had them" in 2152.

Klingon ships being called "Warbirds" was supposedly a mistake in Enterprise, despite their winged design. The term was used again in STXI.

Oh, and there's an old-style Romulan Bird of Prey hidden in the background of the Nerada's giant landing area, along with the Vulcan ship from First Contact.

So: the words "Battle cruiser", "Bird of Prey" and "Warbird" are pretty much interchangable for Klingon and Romulan ships.
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Old April 28 2010, 01:27 AM   #12
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Re: Question Regarding the Bird of Prey

Nerys Myk wrote: View Post

Since the term was never used in TOS to describe the Romulan ship ( only its markings) calling the Klingon ship in TSFS is not 100 percent wrong or inconsistant.
Nor is the concept that no one on the bridge of the Enterprise ever took a dump because everyone in the future has their anus sewn shit. But we really should interpret TOS in the light of the intention of the writers, not twist, spindle and mutilate it to be consistent with later writings.
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Old April 28 2010, 01:40 AM   #13
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Re: Question Regarding the Bird of Prey

A beaker full of death wrote: View Post
Nerys Myk wrote: View Post

Since the term was never used in TOS to describe the Romulan ship ( only its markings) calling the Klingon ship in TSFS is not 100 percent wrong or inconsistant.
Nor is the concept that no one on the bridge of the Enterprise ever took a dump because everyone in the future has their anus sewn shit. But we really should interpret TOS in the light of the intention of the writers, not twist, spindle and mutilate it to be consistent with later writings.
The intent of the writers is that Romulan ships have birds painted on them. Not that the ship is called a Bird of Prey.
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Old April 28 2010, 01:46 AM   #14
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Re: Question Regarding the Bird of Prey

And didn't they use D-7s in "Enterprise Incident" b/c they couldn't find the original "bird" model? Read that somewhere.

(Maybe somebody gave Roddenberry the bird. Joke.)
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Old April 28 2010, 02:00 AM   #15
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Re: Question Regarding the Bird of Prey

plynch wrote: View Post
And didn't they use D-7s in "Enterprise Incident" b/c they couldn't find the original "bird" model? Read that somewhere.
I've heard that, too. Don't know if it's true, but it's plausible.
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