RSS iconTwitter iconFacebook icon

The Trek BBS title image

The Trek BBS statistics

Threads: 138,357
Posts: 5,355,473
Members: 24,625
Currently online: 577
Newest member: Saracuda

TrekToday headlines

Borg Cube Fridge
By: T'Bonz on Jul 29

Free Enterprise Kickstarter
By: T'Bonz on Jul 29

Siddig To Join Game Of Thrones
By: T'Bonz on Jul 29

Sci-Fried To Release New Album
By: T'Bonz on Jul 28

Star Trek/Planet of the Apes Crossover
By: T'Bonz on Jul 28

Star Trek into Darkness Soundtrack
By: T'Bonz on Jul 28

Horse 1, Shatner 0
By: T'Bonz on Jul 28

Drexler TV Alert
By: T'Bonz on Jul 26

Retro Review: His Way
By: Michelle on Jul 26

MicroWarriors Releases Next Week
By: T'Bonz on Jul 25


Welcome! The Trek BBS is the number one place to chat about Star Trek with like-minded fans. Please login to see our full range of forums as well as the ability to send and receive private messages, track your favourite topics and of course join in the discussions.

If you are a new visitor, join us for free. If you are an existing member please login below. Note: for members who joined under our old messageboard system, please login with your display name not your login name.


Go Back   The Trek BBS > Misc. Star Trek > Trek Literature

Trek Literature "...Good words. That's where ideas begin."

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old May 3 2011, 04:23 AM   #1
rfmcdpei
Captain
 
rfmcdpei's Avatar
 
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
View rfmcdpei's Twitter Profile
Thoughts on Sela and "Reunification"

Sela's appearances in Trek literature, first in Rough Beasts of Empire then in Indistinguishable from Magic have made me think about the character and her past exploits.

On the whole, I think I like the character. There's some cheese yes, but there's also something compelling in the character of that young girl whose confused scream in the middle of the night killed her mother and who went on to become a powerfully driven and capable servant of Romulus, whatever it thought of her.

Sela has grand complicated plans that fail? Yes, but the Romulan modus operandi is for grand complicated schemes involving remarkable innovations and their ruthless deployments, so Sela cannot be properly faulted for that. And hey, some of her schemes very nearly did pay off spectacularly. A sockpuppeted Klingon Empire would have worked out well for the Romulans.

But what about the Romulan protectorate of Vulcan? Surely, only two thousand Romulan soldiers pitted against one of the core worlds of the Federation any Romulan invasion force would impossible, right? No matter how well-trained these soldiers were, it would be impossible for them to take over a highly-developed planet, to be "entrenched" and "very difficult" to get out as Sela said, never mind to support a new Vulcan government that would "embrace their Romulan cousins." One might as well have expected the terrorists who attacked Mumbai in 2008 to have taken over control of that city from India. It would be a great way to start a Federation-Romulan war, sure, but that's it.

Sela's not stupid: I'm certain she'd know the problems with that plan as presented alone. I'm even more certain that the rest of the Romulan government would have known that the numbers would be impossible: warmongering militarists many Romulan politicians might be, I don't see the entire Star Empire as that unhinged.

So. How could the plan to establish a Romulan protectorate over Vulcan in "Unification" without triggering a general war have worked?

My solution is simple. It seems to be established convention to call Vulcans and Romulans separate species, but that's a simple case of a cultural distinction being overdefined as a biological distinction. The ancestors of the Romulans left Vulcan almost exactly two thousand years before Sela's efforts, and notwithstanding the non-representativeness of the proto-Romulan colonists of the wider Vulcan population and whatever later drift and engineering occurred on and around Romulus, Vulcans and Romulans still constitute a single species with a shared cultural heritage.

I'd also argue that the way of Surak is a minority faith among Vulcans. I'd guess that the number of Romulan Vulcans is far greater than the number of Federation Vulcans, if only because the Romulans have been aggressively expanding their territories and population for centuries while Vulcan has been a much more conservative pocket empire. Even within Vulcan territory, Syrranite doctrines only took off after the formation of the Federation, and prominent Vulcans like head of state Administrator V'Las were acting on behalf of Romulus. Stereotypically Romulan ethics and mores seem to be much more common on Vulcan than people thought. And on Taking Wing, the two Vulcan political experts on Romulus are icily polite to each other on Vulcan's 50:50 division between supporters and opponents of reunification.

How did Sela and the Romulan Star Empire think that they could pull off a Romulan protectorate of Vulcan? They thought that they could draw on the support of large pre-existing segments of pro-Romulan sentiment within Vulcan. The two thousand Romulan soldiers may have been intended for use only in critical areas, to secure facilities of particular importance or to help pro-Romulans repress pro-Federation dissent. The Romulan protectorate over Vulcan still would have been risky, but if--if--it seemed that Romulan protectorate might be desired ...

Thoughts?
rfmcdpei is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 3 2011, 02:07 PM   #2
Christopher
Writer
 
Christopher's Avatar
 
Re: Thoughts on Sela and "Reunification"

Intriguing idea. I think maybe you're understating the prominence of Surakism on Vulcan, but every society has its dissidents and minority beliefs. We have seen Vulcan schismatists before (in "Gambit" and multiple novels). And it is indeed possible that some groups sharing V'Las's sympathies would've lived on.

So you might be onto something. Historically, successful conquest has almost always relied on co-opting indigenous talent to manage their own territory on your behalf. You go in, identify existing political rivalries, and help one group get the power/control/freedom from the current dictator/whatever that they crave, in exchange for which they send you tribute and follow your instructions. So they do the work of ruling the territory for you. It makes an empire far more manageable than if the metropolis had to stretch itself thin by directly regulating all its territories.
__________________
Christopher L. Bennett Homepage -- Site update 4/8/14 including annotations for Rise of the Federation: Tower of Babel

Written Worlds -- My blog
Christopher is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 3 2011, 08:16 PM   #3
JoeZhang
Vice Admiral
 
JoeZhang's Avatar
 
Re: Thoughts on Sela and "Reunification"

Historically, successful conquest has almost always relied on co-opting indigenous talent to manage their own territory on your behalf.
Sure but you need the Conquest first and/or some sign that you are a winner or will be a winner. 2000 troops with no air or logistic support landing on Vulcan would likely be wiped out in hours. Even if there was some support from people on Vulcan, such elements would have to be fairly stupid to reveal themselves when that was the sort of "backing" that the romulans were providing for them.

(You know I thought this has come up before... some earlier thoughts on this matter plus a bonus red pepper soup recipe from me: http://www.trekbbs.com/showthread.ph...housand&page=5 )
JoeZhang is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 3 2011, 10:42 PM   #4
Deranged Nasat
Vice Admiral
 
Deranged Nasat's Avatar
 
Location: I am here. You are here too. Yes.
Re: Thoughts on Sela and "Reunification"

That might also mean the operation is intended to be more political than military; it's not truly (or primarily) a grab for territory or a desire to take Federation land, it's mostly calculated precisely to politically undermine, or at least politically agitate, the Federation (if the choice of targets didn't show that already). Or maybe it's all to put on a show for the other nations and undermine the Federation that way. Not actually from within - undermining it from within by taking Vulcan is a means to another end, that of causing political enmity for the Federation from without. Instead of the galactic community seeing an unprovoked invasion of the Federation by Romulans, it puts the Federation in the position of having to prove its own good intentions. They respect the wishes of the member worlds - if the Romulans can demonstrate (or at least seem to demonstrate) that there's widespread popular support for their presence on Vulcan, then they can paint any Federation counterstrike as hypocrisy and self-serving desire to hold onto territory. "See! The Federation claims to be non-imperialistic, yet as soon as we reclaim our ancestral homeland with full cooperation of local interests, they seek to uproot us. So, Tholian and Cardassian ambassadors, I think we can agree that the Federation is showing us its true colours today, yes? Even Ambassador Spock has made an address supporting reunification, but in typical fashion the self-serving and hypocritical Federation interferes to protect its interests. So much for their supposed high moral values".

Or something. In the long run, maybe Sela and co didn't care if they got a permanent grip on Vulcan or not. Either way they could have twisted things to paint the UFP in a bad light on the interstellar stage, perhaps?

The 2000 soldiers are there to make a demonstrative political conquest not a military one. I like it. It makes more sense than saying 2000 people are going to crush a planet beneath their invading boots.
__________________
We are all the sum of our tears. Too little and the ground is not fertile and nothing can grow there; too much, the best of us is washed away.

Last edited by Deranged Nasat; May 3 2011 at 11:34 PM.
Deranged Nasat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 4 2011, 02:34 AM   #5
rfmcdpei
Captain
 
rfmcdpei's Avatar
 
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
View rfmcdpei's Twitter Profile
Re: Thoughts on Sela and "Reunification"

JoeZhang wrote: View Post
Historically, successful conquest has almost always relied on co-opting indigenous talent to manage their own territory on your behalf.
Sure but you need the Conquest first and/or some sign that you are a winner or will be a winner. 2000 troops with no air or logistic support landing on Vulcan would likely be wiped out in hours. Even if there was some support from people on Vulcan, such elements would have to be fairly stupid to reveal themselves when that was the sort of "backing" that the romulans were providing for them.
Some sort of coup may have been planned, or, well, who knows about Vulcan internal politics? If Spock's World is grandfathered into the novelverse, there was even a sizable secessionist movement characterized by xenophobia a century before Sela's scheme.

(You know I thought this has come up before... some earlier thoughts on this matter plus a bonus red pepper soup recipe from me: http://www.trekbbs.com/showthread.ph...housand&page=5 )
Thanks!

Deranged Nasat wrote: View Post
Instead of the galactic community seeing an unprovoked invasion of the Federation by Romulans, it puts the Federation in the position of having to prove its own good intentions. They respect the wishes of the member worlds - if the Romulans can demonstrate (or at least seem to demonstrate) that there's widespread popular support for their presence on Vulcan, then they can paint any Federation counterstrike as hypocrisy and self-serving desire to hold onto territory. "See! The Federation claims to be non-imperialistic, yet as soon as we reclaim our ancestral homeland with full cooperation of local interests, they seek to uproot us. So, Tholian and Cardassian ambassadors, I think we can agree that the Federation is showing us its true colours today, yes? Even Ambassador Spock has made an address supporting reunification, but in typical fashion the self-serving and hypocritical Federation interferes to protect its interests. So much for their supposed high moral values".
Oh, I like this.

Certainly the political fallout on Vulcan after this would be well-nigh catastrophic. Way to paralyze one of the key worlds of the Federation, eh! And after Ambassador Spock killed himself in grief at the failure of his efforts, well.
rfmcdpei is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Tags
romulus, sela, vulcan

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump



All times are GMT +1. The time now is 04:22 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.6
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
FireFox 2+ or Internet Explorer 7+ highly recommended.