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Old May 28 2013, 02:59 AM   #31
The Wormhole
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Re: Romulan origin question

I am not Spock wrote: View Post
For some reason, in TNG, they added unnecessary forehead ridges on Romulans. As if the audience would be too stupid to tell them apart from Vulcans.
Which was the exact reason given for all the Romulans being bald and tattooed in Trek XI. Personally, I preferred the ridges.
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Old May 28 2013, 03:17 AM   #32
Nerys Myk
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Re: Romulan origin question

The Wormhole wrote: View Post
I am not Spock wrote: View Post
For some reason, in TNG, they added unnecessary forehead ridges on Romulans. As if the audience would be too stupid to tell them apart from Vulcans.
Which was the exact reason given for all the Romulans being bald and tattooed in Trek XI. Personally, I preferred the ridges.
Have a Ruffles.
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Old May 28 2013, 03:37 AM   #33
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Re: Romulan origin question

Ruffles do taste better.
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Old May 28 2013, 12:13 PM   #34
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Re: Romulan origin question

Vulcan, like Earth, had its aggressive colonising period. Savage, even by Earth standards.
So, twice we get to hear the Vulcan colonization period directly compared with its Earth counterpart. Which, as far as we can tell, never involved space travel.

Yes, in the TOS context, it's possible that Earth had a savage period of brutal interstellar colonization, with fierce infighting, enslaving of little green men and so forth. In the wider Trek context, however, Spock must be interpreted as referring to what happened on Earth before WWIII, first contact and warp flight. Is Spock comparing apples to oranges, then? Or is he saying that Vulcans, too, were savages before going interstellar, and the only divergence between the two scenarios is that there is a slim but now apparently confirmed chance that some barbarians slipped into space at the moment of transition from savagery to civilization?

why did the exodus Vulcans embark voluntarily on a difficult journey (presumably nuBSG style?) to the farthest reaches of space ?
The obvious alternative is that Vulcan already held an interstellar empire at the time, and the various factions had offworld power bases; any faction defeated on Vulcan could fall back on its interstellar resources and sulk on some distant planet, plotting for revenge. If we assume this early interstellar empire had fairly primitive technology rather than replicators, we can then easily also postulate that the colonies on which Romulans were biding their time were incapable of supporting major industries or research, resulting in the degeneration of the Romulan culture in the intervening two millennia even though the original interstellar tech had been quite up to specs and had provided easy access between Romulus and Vulcan.

The "farthest reaches of space" thing has never been a major part of the Romulan identity in any case. Our heroes always easily reach the Romulan territory, even if they have some trouble communicating with home base; it's probably more an issue of bad relay networks than distance. Correspondingly, Romulans easily reach the heart of the Federation (significantly, Vulcan) simply by stepping out of the RNZ. It's not a distance easily spanned by sublight spacecraft, apparently - but it is one easily spanned at low warp speeds and with outdated vessels.

why did the exodus Vulcans voluntarily deprive themselves of warp drive technology so that a few thousand years later all they have is "simple impulse drive"
This has always seemed to me like a huge leap of illogic. Nowhere in "Balance of Terror" does any character suggest that Romulans as a culture would lack warp drive, even if the single vessel encountered is (mistakenly?) deemed to lack it. Encountering a modern tank today does not lead you to speculate that its operator does not know how to make flying machines!

It is also blatant in the episode that Romulan weapons travel at high warp, so any character speculating on the lack of Romulan warp technology would be wildly off base.

Perhaps the writer did intend to establish that the Romulans were up the interstellar creek without the warp paddle, but he failed miserably in that. It's very difficult to think that he would have been intending such a thing, though, as the danger of a Romulan interstellar break-out is the driving force of the adventure. If the Romulans just take potshots at ancient Earth fortresses, without the means of taking the battle farther out, then the problem could be solved by simply abandoning those fortresses!

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Old May 28 2013, 01:57 PM   #35
Robert Comsol
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Re: Romulan origin question

Timo wrote: View Post
The "farthest reaches of space" thing has never been a major part of the Romulan identity in any case. Our heroes always easily reach the Romulan territory, even if they have some trouble communicating with home base; it's probably more an issue of bad relay networks than distance.
I don't concur. Let's take a look at "Balance of Terror" first.

Captain's Log, stardate 1709.2. Patrolling outposts guarding the neutral zone between planets Romulus and Remus and the rest of the galaxy, received emergency call from outpost 4.

What's the rest of the galaxy? Either the Romulan Star Empire sits at the edge of the galaxy or at its center.

At this distance a reply from Starfleet would take three hours and possibly the producers realized that this isn't necessarily a big indicator of distance. Fast forward to "The Enterprise Incident" and you definitely have some distance to write home about:

KIRK: You understand that Starfleet Command has been advised of the situation?
TAL [on viewscreen]: The subspace message will take three weeks to reach Starfleet. The decision is yours, Captain. One hour.

Compared to "Balance of Terror" this is either a changed premise or tells us that the Romulan Star Empire sits in the center of our galaxy (to rationalize descriptions like "rest of the galaxy [surrounding this center]") and events in "The Enterprise Incident" take place on the far side of the Neutral Zone.

(if TNG altered this TOS concept than it's just a case of retcon activity and possibly lackluster research)

Timo wrote: View Post
why did the exodus Vulcans voluntarily deprive themselves of warp drive technology so that a few thousand years later all they have is "simple impulse drive"
This has always seemed to me like a huge leap of illogic. Nowhere in "Balance of Terror" does any character suggest that Romulans as a culture would lack warp drive, even if the single vessel encountered is deemed to lack it.
Appearances can be deceiving and in this particular case I believe it's due to a lack of three-dimensional thinking and imagination (no offense, you do know that usually I admire your unorthodox and extensive examinations).

KIRK: Yes, well gentlemen, the question still remains. Can we engage them with a reasonable possibility of victory?
SCOTT: No question. Their power is simple impulse.
KIRK: Meaning we can outrun them?
STILES: To be used in chasing them or retreating, sir?
KIRK: Go ahead, Mister Styles. I called this session for opinions.

I don't see how this can be interpreted in any other way than explicitly stated by chief engineer Scott.
Yes, it's probably a long travel at sublight speed from Romulus through the Neutral Zone but we have no information whatsoever when the Romulan ship departed and when it was expected back, add to this we have Romulans that do share the long life span of Vulcans.

And if the ship would have had warp drive and be back for dinner on Romulus, there would have been no need for Decius to break the rule of silence, send a message to the homeworld and thus endanger this Romulan mission.

And for a ship passing through the tail of a comet to become momentarily visible to become a target rather suggests sublight than warp speed; doesn't it?

Timo wrote: View Post
It is also blatant in the episode that Romulan weapons travel at high warp, so any character speculating on the lack of Romulan warp technology would be wildly off base.
The only episodes where it is obvious that the Romulans (then) do have acquired warp drive are "The Deadly Years" and "The Enterprise Incident".

You are arriving at your conclusion based entirely on a two-dimensional map (apparently a simplified graphic for the ship's crew to apprehend the situation) which lacks three-dimensionality.
For all we know the Enterprise is literally nose-diving or sky-rocketing at warp speed towards the position of the Earth outposts in actual space, for all we know we are just looking at the top of the Neutral Zone "Wall", diagonal passage through which will eventually bring us to the level of the two objects to the right side of which one is apparently the planet Romulus and possibly not its star but just its moon "Romii" or "Rom II"

Bob
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Last edited by Robert Comsol; May 28 2013 at 02:34 PM.
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Old May 28 2013, 02:34 PM   #36
Timo
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Re: Romulan origin question

What's the rest of the galaxy? Either the Romulan Star Empire sits at the edge of the galaxy or at its center.
Or then it consists of the planets Romulus and Remus, just like the dialogue says, and that's it. Hence the extremely curved RNZ that encompasses this minuscule volume of space and separates it from the rest of the universe.

The speed at which messages travel is dependent on more than distance: Sigma Iotia was not within realtime communications back when the Horizon visited them, but was when the Enterprise did. What changed? Somebody probably installed a few communications relays!

I don't see how this can be interpreted in any other way than explicitly stated by chief engineer Scott.
Who is a fallible character with zero right to draw conclusions on a vessel he can't even properly see!

Naturally, in the original destroyer vs. sub story, the destroyer crew would have the specs of the sub down pat - their side operated subs of their own, after all. But that part was poorly carried over to the scifi story where no such knowledge should be allowed.

Why do you follow this with an argument that this particular ship cannot have been FTL, though? I already pointed out that that part is completely irrelevant to whether the Romulan culture knows how to travel at warp.

Except, of course, this particular ship does travel at warp on several occasions - say, when its course is guesstimated on a chart where the emergency warp speed of the hero ship was previously observed and the "speed scale" thus established.

And no, I'm not speaking of the Enterprise approaching the map area from the left - three-dimensionality might affect that all right. I'm talking about both the Romulans and the heroes moving from outpost to outpost - an inescapable benchmark for their more or less equal speed.

You are arriving at your conclusion based entirely on a two-dimensional map (apparently a simplified graphic for the ship's crew to apprehend the situation) which lacks three-dimensionality.
Umm, what conclusion? That Romulans have warp drive? No, I'm just saying that there is no episode of TOS that would ever claim that Romulans did not have warp drive. Any reading of such a thing in "Balance of Terror" is a misreading.

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Old May 28 2013, 03:05 PM   #37
Robert Comsol
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Re: Romulan origin question

Timo wrote: View Post
The speed at which messages travel is dependent on more than distance: Sigma Iotia was not within realtime communications back when the Horizon visited them, but was when the Enterprise did. What changed? Somebody probably installed a few communications relays!
No, they progressed from "radio" transmission (Horizon) to "subspace" transmission, it's as simple as that.

18 years prior to events in "The Cage" radio transmission was still in use (TYLER: It would take that long for a radio beam to travel from there to here.)

If there were communications relays it should definitely raise some exebrows how Sub-Commander Tal was able to calculate the exact time the Enterprise's message would get to Starfleet. Looks to me he just understood how subspace transmission worked for both the UFP, the Romulans and its allies.

Timo wrote: View Post
I don't see how this can be interpreted in any other way than explicitly stated by chief engineer Scott.
Who is a fallible character with zero right to draw conclusions on a vessel he can't even properly see!
Sorry Timo, I don't recall seeing you at the briefing scene with the senior officers, so obviously you can't possibly know based on what facts Scotty arrived at his conclusion which leaves no room for an alternative interpretation ("no question").

Timo wrote: View Post
No, I'm just saying that there is no episode of TOS that would ever claim that Romulans did not have warp drive. Any reading of such a thing in "Balance of Terror" is a misreading.
SCOTT: No question. Their power is simple impulse.

That line of dialogue is evidendtly presented in the context of propulsion, so I'm unable to understand how this could possibly be misread.

Had there been a line stating something like "Romulus is only three light days away" and it would take the ship only two days to get there, that would be strong evidence for an FTL drive.
But that's not the case, so the question is whether we form theories based on "facts" or whether we twist the "facts" to conform with our preferences and/or pet theories.

Bob
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Old May 28 2013, 03:26 PM   #38
Timo
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Re: Romulan origin question

No, they progressed from "radio" transmission (Horizon) to "subspace" transmission, it's as simple as that.
Doesn't work even in the TOS context, where subspace transmission was available back in the old Romulan war.

Of course, the out-universe rationale for this is that TOS had piss-poor continuity. But there's no reason for the fans to add more of that drivel when the well-written spinoffs elegantly solve such problems by establishing further facts of the Trek universe.

That line of dialogue is evidendtly presented in the context of propulsion, so I'm unable to understand how this could possibly be misread.
And yet you keep misreading it.

It does not say that Romulans do not have warp drive. It says this particular starship has "simple impulse power", whatever that is. It is impossible to read into it that Romulans do not have warp drive, because they demonstrate warp drive in the very episode (their torpedo outruns the Enterprise).

Trying to say that the line refers to the capabilities of the Romulan culture is taking guesswork to a ridiculous extreme. To no avail, even, as Romulans in every other episode are fully and explicitly capable of warp, and nothing would be gained dramatically by trying to insist against all this evidence that they are not.

And yet generations of stupid fans and even misguided pro writers have insisted on Romulans being incapable of warp until, what, the Tuesday before "Enterprise Incident"...? It's quite analogous to insisting that Klingons must be incapable of decloaking because their ships weren't seen in "Errand of Mercy", and only develop the ability to drop their cloaks for "Trouble with Tribbles".

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Old May 28 2013, 04:40 PM   #39
Robert Comsol
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Re: Romulan origin question

Timo wrote: View Post
No, they progressed from "radio" transmission (Horizon) to "subspace" transmission, it's as simple as that.
Doesn't work even in the TOS context, where subspace transmission was available back in the old Romulan war.
I stand corrected, the treaty was established via sub-space radio which apparently was a new thing as ships like the Horizon still used conventional radio.

Timo wrote: View Post
Of course, the out-universe rationale for this is that TOS had piss-poor continuity. But there's no reason for the fans to add more of that drivel when the well-written spinoffs elegantly solve such problems by establishing further facts of the Trek universe.
How about you cut TOS some slack as it was the first defining the nature of the Star Trek universe and expectedly had some startup hickups.

There's plenty of TOS internal continuity but apparently it was easier to overwrite TOS continuity than to devote proper research to it.

Timo wrote: View Post
It is impossible to read into it that Romulans do not have warp drive, because they demonstrate warp drive in the very episode (their torpedo outruns the Enterprise).
According to this reasoning we must already have industrial nuclear fusion reactors and nuclear fusion engines for our spacecraft (tell NASA!) because we have nuclear fusion bombs...

Timo wrote: View Post
Trying to say that the line refers to the capabilities of the Romulan culture is taking guesswork to a ridiculous extreme.
I presume that if - at this time in TOS - they would have had warp drive, the praetor's "proudest and finest flagship" surely would have been equipped with one.

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Old May 28 2013, 06:18 PM   #40
Anwar
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Re: Romulan origin question

When Balance of Terror was written, the idea for the Romulan Neutral Zone was that they were confined to their own Solar System like the Kzinti in Larry Niven's stories. That's what Kirk meant when he said "The neutral zone separates them from the rest of the Galaxy". Obviously, they changed their minds later on when they wanted to use the Romulans more. That's all there is to it.

Also, Scotty's line about their power being impulse only is again part of the changed premise. In BoT "Impulse" was a form of FTL that was just less powerful than Warp, it didn't mean "Sublight" just yet.
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Old May 28 2013, 07:01 PM   #41
Timo
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Re: Romulan origin question

How about you cut TOS some slack as it was the first defining the nature of the Star Trek universe and expectedly had some startup hickups.
Nope, not gonna do that. Not until you in turn recognize that what came later was better thought out, by that very same token. And not only that, but it actually put right what once went so horribly wrong...

It's no good trying to pretend that TOS forms some sort of a continuity that is competitive with the other Trek continuities - it's the weakest of them all as a standalone construct. But competition sounds pretty stupid anyway, as the later amendments harmonize the whole thing (by indeed cutting slack for the clueless TOS writers). Isn't that a very Roddenberrian thing to do?

There's plenty of TOS internal continuity but apparently it was easier to overwrite TOS continuity than to devote proper research to it.
Naah. Hack writers put together episodes cut-pasted from previous works and never devoted anything much to them; all the respect should go to those who later tried to make sense of the garbage.

According to this reasoning we must already have industrial nuclear fusion reactors and nuclear fusion engines for our spacecraft (tell NASA!) because we have nuclear fusion bombs...
That's one interpretation. But the episode establishes the correct interpretation early on, by making the Romulans a credible interstellar threat; later episodes merely confirm what the correct interpretation should be.

What is not credible is the Romulans suddenly achieving warp capacity for "The Deadly Years" - in the very same ships we see in this introductory episode! If warp were something so monumentally new to them, it obviously wouldn't have fitted aboard existing ships but would have called for a dedicated, clumsy inaugural design.

Not that the presence of warp nacelles on the "BoT" ship wouldn't already be a giveaway...

I presume that if - at this time in TOS - they would have had warp drive, the praetor's "proudest and finest flagship" surely would have been equipped with one.
Why? If it were superfluous to the mission, the engineers should have been shot for even suggesting adding such dead weight...

All of this is moot, though, when we accept that Scotty was wrong. Which is justifiable if our heroes think the Romulans are attacking with multiple ships, because then these could perform the multiple attacks on the outposts at such short intervals. Scotty would then only be proven wrong if the Romulans engaged warp drive during their flight home - which we don't see happen, perhaps because warp drive and cloaking aren't compatible back then yet (a close analogy to the diesel sub thing). Perhaps Scotty never learned of his error until "The Enterprise Incident"? (Probably he did get the memo somewhat earlier, though.)

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Old May 30 2013, 10:56 PM   #42
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Re: Romulan origin question

Anwar wrote: View Post
When Balance of Terror was written, the idea for the Romulan Neutral Zone was that they were confined to their own Solar System like the Kzinti in Larry Niven's stories. That's what Kirk meant when he said "The neutral zone separates them from the rest of the Galaxy". Obviously, they changed their minds later on when they wanted to use the Romulans more. That's all there is to it.

Also, Scotty's line about their power being impulse only is again part of the changed premise. In BoT "Impulse" was a form of FTL that was just less powerful than Warp, it didn't mean "Sublight" just yet.
Is there a quote that mentions the writers/producers intended the Romulan Empire to be limited to two planets? Hard to be a Star Empire if you only have one star.
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Old May 30 2013, 11:00 PM   #43
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Re: Romulan origin question

Nerys Myk wrote: View Post
Romulans aren't a separate species. Their differences with the Vulcans are mainly cultural.
This.

The seperation hasn't been long enough for there to be anything but cultural differences between Vulcans and Romulans.

Which of course makes all the Saavik is half-Romulan hoo-hah pretty meaningless, IMO.
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Old May 30 2013, 11:09 PM   #44
Timo
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Re: Romulan origin question

Hard to be a Star Empire if you only have one star.
How so? You have a star, you have an empire, what more do you need?

What might be more difficult is having glorious battles (like the Centurion and the Commander had in the past) when there's nobody to fight but fellow Romulans. But then again, the episode establishes both the violent and infighting nature of the Romulans and their Vulcanoid heritage that would give them lifespans long enough to allow for a military career before the RNZ was slapped around the Star Empire...

The seperation hasn't been long enough for there to be anything but cultural differences between Vulcans and Romulans.
Unless there were biological differences before the separation already - possibly serving as the excuse for the separation itself. After all, how do you recognize a Space Nazi, evicted from Earth in 1945 and now returning with a vengeance? By his dashing Aryan looks, of course!

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Old May 31 2013, 01:24 AM   #45
Nerys Myk
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Re: Romulan origin question

Timo wrote: View Post
Hard to be a Star Empire if you only have one star.
How so? You have a star, you have an empire, what more do you need?

What might be more difficult is having glorious battles (like the Centurion and the Commander had in the past) when there's nobody to fight but fellow Romulans. But then again, the episode establishes both the violent and infighting nature of the Romulans and their Vulcanoid heritage that would give them lifespans long enough to allow for a military career before the RNZ was slapped around the Star Empire...
More than one star and two planets. I don't see where it established infighting among the Romulans. There would seem to be those that disagree with the Praetor's policies, but nothing to indicate that they are a movement or party in Romulan society. More like its something you keep to yourself and discuss with people you trust.

The seperation hasn't been long enough for there to be anything but cultural differences between Vulcans and Romulans.
Unless there were biological differences before the separation already - possibly serving as the excuse for the separation itself. After all, how do you recognize a Space Nazi, evicted from Earth in 1945 and now returning with a vengeance? By his dashing Aryan looks, of course!

Timo Saloniemi
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