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Old June 11 2013, 12:15 AM   #61
feek61
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Re: Let's Discuss the Romulan Bird of Prey!

The reason perhaps in "BOT" that the Romulan's can only go sub-light (which I do believe was the intent) was because it was a new design in which going faster than the speed of light would make them visible on sensors. Similar to the F-117 Stealth fighter. In this age when we have planes that move many times the speed of sound; the Stealth fighter was purposely designed to travel sub-sonic because if not it would be detected. Something similar could be (all conjecture of course) the reason why the Romulan's specifically design this "BOT" ship to travel slower the light speed because they believed it would keep them undetectable. Since the design obviously failed in "BOT" they went back to using the warp driven ships as we saw in "The Deadly Years." I just read the James Blish adaptation (which most of his adaptations were based off of original story's) and in it he mentions that the Romulan empire was just a solar system so sub-light speeds would not be a problem for the "BOT" mission.
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Old June 11 2013, 12:33 AM   #62
Timo
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Re: Let's Discuss the Romulan Bird of Prey!

Indeed, there is no problem with the ship being incapable of warp in "BoT". But there's a huge problem with Romulans being incapable of warp in "BoT", or even in the old war a century before the episode. And nowhere in the episode is it said that Romulans would lack the capacity - only that the ship would.

Nevertheless, it's a bold and dangerous claim from Scotty that their adversary can't do warp (if his words indeed denote this).

1) If he's capable of analyzing power emissions and therefore saying with confidence that the "simple impulse power" he detects is too little power for driving warp engines, then he's ignoring the fact that the ship has been firing very powerful weapons indeed; has been able to push those weapons to warp speed; and is using an invisibility technique Spock has speculated as requiring lots of power. He should be thinking "Perhaps I'm not reading all their power - perhaps I caught their reactor at a moment when it was throttled down".

2) If he's saying he can tell the enemy doesn't have warp engines in the first place, he's not just ignoring the very visible nacelles but also overlooking the sketchiness of evidence resulting from the ship being invisible for most of the time! He should be thinking "I don't know much about this ship yet, and while she hasn't directly demonstrated warp drive yet, I must keep looking for her warp engines".

He could be right, of course, in one sense or another, and this particular ship could be limited to sublight speeds due to her special mission just as you say. Only later events would show that this ship type is normally/otherwise capable of warp. But he's still too confident when he must know that Romulans as a species are warp-capable and therefore were a threat in the 22nd century and remain a threat in the 23rd!

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Old June 11 2013, 02:23 AM   #63
Albertese
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Re: Let's Discuss the Romulan Bird of Prey!

It's been a while since I thumbed through it, but IIRC, one of the 90's RPG's suggested that the older Romulan ships, from the Romulan War to "Balance of Terror," used an early version of the AQS warp core which was good enough to send a ship out to the mission, but, once you shut off the warp engine, the AQS would collapse and the ship was either expected to finish it's mission and die in the process (sort of a huge kamikaze philosophy) or else they were in it for the long haul home.

Part of me thinks this is silly. Another part of me really likes it. When I hear the Commander and the Centurion chatting in BoT... "If we are the stronger, is it not time for war?"... "Must it always be so?"... "Our gift to the homeland: another war"... I get the impression these dudes are veterans who've seen a lot of action. While they may have fought in campaigns we never heard of, the episode keeps referring to "the Earth-Romulan conflict of one hundred years ago."

Follow me here...

If they had partial warp capability to get at Earth and attack and then had to crawl back home at sub-light... what if the Commander and the Centurion were in fact both veterans of the "Earth-Romulan conflict of one hundred years ago" and are still around thanks to time dilation from a high relativistic trip home? I used to think imagine that the Commander was born before the Centurion was, but the Centurion was stationed on the ground a lot more while the Commander was always in space flying around at very high, non-warp speeds and keeping much younger do to the twin-paradox, which would explaining why the lower ranking officer looked so much older than the Commander...

Ah well, just an idea I had.

As for the Romulan Empire being just the one system... I dunno, maybe. I guess that kinda makes sense. But then, to me, the Commander's line about "It is good to see the stars of home" would seem weird if he had only been a few dozen AUs away...

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Old June 11 2013, 03:14 AM   #64
blssdwlf
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Re: Let's Discuss the Romulan Bird of Prey!

Timo wrote: View Post
SPOCK: The Romulans were caught off guard, Captain. They're falling behind.
From this dialogue, it appears that the reason why they are falling behind is that they were caught off guard - thus, not that their ships are slower.
In that case, Spock should have said "They're left behind." Instead they fell behind chasing the Enterprise because she was faster at Warp 8.

Timo wrote: View Post
Why not simply jump to warp eight and be done with it, if speed is key to escape?
Because they needed emergency power to jump to Warp 8. Where was the other power going to? The shields as they were getting pummeled.

Timo wrote: View Post
Considering that the Commodore never ordered the Enterprise to accelerate to Warp 8 to escape the attack, we'll never know if the Romulans could've maintained position with the Enterprise.
This is true. All I am saying is that the episode cannot be used as evidence that the Romulans were only able to match mediocre warp performance, and that at best it is consistent with that idea...
That doesn't have anything to do with the initial argument of "simple impulse" equaling Warp 5.

Timo wrote: View Post
...And further that it isn't really all that likely that it would be consistent. After all, intercepting a target moving at a steady speed X calls for significant performance, not limited to being able to achieve X. One definitely needs high acceleration,
In "The Deadly Years" they just needed sufficient speed. The Enterprise came to them and all they needed were ships that were in the Enterprise's path that could match Warp 5. Having a bunch of cloaked BOPs patrolling in the RNZ which also is the Enterprise's flight path isn't surprising.

Timo wrote: View Post
We have never quite seen any conventional opponent, least of all Romulans, force a Starfleet ship out of warp with one shot... Did Stocker perhaps panic and order Sulu to voluntarily reduce speed or stop dead? That would be a pretty odd reaction even from him, and something Sulu might well dare object to.
It would appear that Stocker's inaction caused the Enterprise to fly in a predictable course at a slow enough speed to be paced by a bunch of BOPs. The constant fire on the shields caused a loss of power ala "The Changeling".

Timo wrote: View Post
The thing is, "Romulans as a culture don't know how to do warp" does not work at any level in "Balance of Terror".
The problem here is thinking of impulse as STL-only and Warp is FTL-only. However, I'd argue that in TOS that Impulse is capable of FTL, just like Warp is capable of sublight. As to "Balance of Terror", at no point does Scotty or crew state "Simple Impulse" = Slower-Than-Light.

Even for the run of TOS, I'm not aware of any specific dialogue that "impulse" is sublight-only. Even in "Elaan of Troyius", Kirk had to be specific with Sulu for "Sublight factor" after specifying "impulse engines". All we know is that Impulse is slower than Warp. That doesn't preclude FTL speeds, IMO.

@Albertese - sorry about triggering the warp v. impulse issue.

Back to the original topic... In "The Deadly Years" the BOP is also firing non-plasma torpedo weapons too. Could those additional ports be the "conventional" torpedo tubes and the ship carries mostly nuclear and energy torpedoes in addition to the main plasma weapon?
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Old June 11 2013, 03:30 AM   #65
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Re: Let's Discuss the Romulan Bird of Prey!

As I said earlier (post #55), in TMOST on page 191 it DOES say that "impulse engines" are STL. I believe that portion of the book came straight from the writers guide. In any case it seems clear by that quote that impulse=STL. There is no documentation that indicates anything different.
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Old June 11 2013, 03:54 AM   #66
blssdwlf
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Re: Let's Discuss the Romulan Bird of Prey!

feek61 wrote: View Post
As I said earlier (post #55), in TMOST on page 191 it DOES say that "impulse engines" are STL. I believe that portion of the book came straight from the writers guide. In any case it seems clear by that quote that impulse=STL. There is no documentation that indicates anything different.
That's not the same as dialogue on screen stating same though. There are things that are not accurate about the Enterprise in TMOST or writers guide. There is nothing from the filmed TOS episodes that indicates Impulse = STL.
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Old June 11 2013, 03:54 AM   #67
Avro Arrow
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Re: Let's Discuss the Romulan Bird of Prey!

Albertese wrote: View Post
It's been a while since I thumbed through it, but IIRC, one of the 90's RPG's suggested that the older Romulan ships, from the Romulan War to "Balance of Terror," used an early version of the AQS warp core which was good enough to send a ship out to the mission, but, once you shut off the warp engine, the AQS would collapse and the ship was either expected to finish it's mission and die in the process (sort of a huge kamikaze philosophy) or else they were in it for the long haul home.
Even if the BOP is equipped with a "regular" TNG-type AQS, that may be sufficient to explain the discrepancy. If Scotty is specifically scanning for a M/AM-type engine, and not finding one, he might conclude that the impulse system is the only power source they have. Either he can't detect the AQS, or he's just scanning specifically for anti-matter, and doesn't bother doing a "broad" scan. (Would the sensors even report it? They might filter it out as an error, because how could a black hole be *inside* a ship? )

(Or it could be that the Romulans used some other type of FTL propulsion at the time, rather than warp drive. They pretty much have to have some type of FTL drive, as others have mentioned above.)

If they had partial warp capability to get at Earth and attack and then had to crawl back home at sub-light... what if the Commander and the Centurion were in fact both veterans of the "Earth-Romulan conflict of one hundred years ago" and are still around thanks to time dilation from a high relativistic trip home?
But Romulans are basically transplanted Vulcans, who have a, what, 250 - 300 year lifespan? Both the Commander and Centurion could be veterans of the Earth-Romulan war even without invoking time dilation.

And if they attacked Earth during the war, and then tried to escape back to Romulus at STL speeds, I can't imagine FTL-capable Earth would just let them go on their way.

As for the Romulan Empire being just the one system... I dunno, maybe. I guess that kinda makes sense. But then, to me, the Commander's line about "It is good to see the stars of home" would seem weird if he had only been a few dozen AUs away...
Yeah, I never understood the "one system" argument, when we were shown a star map in the episode itself showing that the Empire consists of a large number of stars. (I don't know how many of these stars would have planets, but presumably at least the one labelled Romii would.)
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Old June 11 2013, 12:13 PM   #68
Timo
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Re: Let's Discuss the Romulan Bird of Prey!

In that case, Spock should have said "They're left behind."
Umm, no. In this model, the hero ship isn't leaving them behind. They are voluntarily falling behind, realizing the hopelessness of a chase started too late.

The Enterprise came to them
...Which is an extremely demanding intercept situation calling for high speed from the defender. It would be easier if the Enterprise were flying past them, in parallel, or even away from them.

Otherwise agreed that "simple impulse" could be a speed falling exactly in a sweet zone where it makes the BoP tactically clumsier than Kirk's ship outside certain ambush situations but gives her interstellar legs for strategic deployment nevertheless. But that sweet zone is highly dependent on the circumstances of the intercept; in real life, defenders suffering from a speed disadvantage, even a slight one, have generally been unable to compensate with numbers of deployment patterns - say, in the Battle of Britain, or Cold War jet interceptor scenarios.

I'd still say the better bet is to declare the ship that Scotty observed in "Balance of Terror" highly dissimilar from the ones operating in "The Deadly Years". Not structurally, not inherently, but simply because the respective ships were operating on different modes and thus confusing Scotty. Declaring all Romulan warp drive in all episodes and all (pre-TNG) eras as being this "simple impulse" stuff that's limited to some lowish warp factor isn't a practical way to proceed.

Back to the original topic... In "The Deadly Years" the BOP is also firing non-plasma torpedo weapons too. Could those additional ports be the "conventional" torpedo tubes and the ship carries mostly nuclear and energy torpedoes in addition to the main plasma weapon?
Makes good sense. The other obvious alternative is that the plasma mortar is throttleable, though: first you fire a big fuzzy shot that has high odds of hitting something, and thus slow down the enemy, and then you throttle the thing to narrower, more devastating shots that are more difficult to aim and wouldn't work as the first stage of an intercept.

But the third thing we should consider here is that we don't really have evidence of a variety of weapons being in use in "The Deadly Years". We see the big ball of plasma hurl towards the ship initially ("BoT" footage), and we see small bolts slam to the saucer bottom later ("Errand of Mercy" footage), but "big" and "small" are arbitrary definitions here. For all we know, the thing coming towards the camera in "BoT" is just a small fireball of "EoM" type in an "objective" side view.

...After all, remember that the supposed Tholian death rays looked like huge, diffuse clouds, too, when coming directly towards the Enterprise.

Would the sensors even report it?
Probably not. After all, stealth is likely to be the very reason the Romulans use the AQS system. They are stealth-obsessed, so their powerplants would in all likelihood be optimized for the thing as well. There would have been no way for Scotty to see the AQS if it by default is an emissionless metal box.

Yeah, I never understood the "one system" argument, when we were shown a star map in the episode itself showing that the Empire consists of a large number of stars. (I don't know how many of these stars would have planets, but presumably at least the one labelled Romii would.)
But Romulus is a planet, not a star. Wouldn't the odds then be that Romii (or Rom II) is a planet as well?

The exciting chase from the destruction of the outpost to the edge of the neutral zone consumes most of the episode, and spans one grid square on that map. This accommodates both a map depicting stars (in which case the grid square is probably something like five lightyears, so that no projection assumption causes Romulus and Romii to be to close to each other) and a map depicting planets (in which case the grid square or two represents some tactically more viable distance between two outposts).

There are later episodes that indicate the Neutral Zone is thick enough to take some time to traverse at high warp, and that entire star systems can be located within the thickness of the Zone (rather than in the volume of space encased in the eggshell of the Zone); these would seem to dictate a star map rather than a planet map. But whether a Romulan Star Empire encased in a Zone several lightyears thick and covering at least dozens of those grid cubes would hold more than two inhabited Romulan planets remains open to debate.

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Old June 11 2013, 01:28 PM   #69
blssdwlf
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Re: Let's Discuss the Romulan Bird of Prey!

Timo wrote: View Post
In that case, Spock should have said "They're left behind."
Umm, no. In this model, the hero ship isn't leaving them behind. They are voluntarily falling behind, realizing the hopelessness of a chase started too late.
If they realized the hopelessness of a chase started too late then they did begin to chase the Enterprise. After fifteen seconds or so of chasing and falling behind and realizing that she was ten more seconds to exiting the RNZ they gave up as they reached the border. That falls in line with the timing and the dialogue. If the Romulans were faster, they could've caught the Enterprise. If the Romulans didn't bother to give chase, they were "left behind".

Timo wrote: View Post
The Enterprise came to them
...Which is an extremely demanding intercept situation calling for high speed from the defender. It would be easier if the Enterprise were flying past them, in parallel, or even away from them.
Not really. The Romulans only needed to match Enterprise's flight path at Warp 5 and then slow down to allow the Enterprise to catch up to them before speeding back up to Warp 5 to match speed. Or alternatively, they could've accelerated to Warp 5 on a parallel course and by the time they hit Warp 5, the Enterprise caught up to them.

Timo wrote: View Post
But the third thing we should consider here is that we don't really have evidence of a variety of weapons being in use in "The Deadly Years". We see the big ball of plasma hurl towards the ship initially ("BoT" footage), and we see small bolts slam to the saucer bottom later ("Errand of Mercy" footage), but "big" and "small" are arbitrary definitions here. For all we know, the thing coming towards the camera in "BoT" is just a small fireball of "EoM" type in an "objective" side view.
True. However we do see that the plasma bolts are consistently red as fired from the BOPs and the torpedoes shown to hit the Enterprise are white. It can be argued that they are different weapons.

Timo wrote: View Post
...After all, remember that the supposed Tholian death rays looked like huge, diffuse clouds, too, when coming directly towards the Enterprise.
In the same vein, we aren't shown the Tholian weapon from the side or from behind. If they had used the same "EOM" hit then a connection could be made but since they didn't we can assume that it would've been something red that hit the Enterprise

Timo wrote: View Post
But Romulus is a planet, not a star. Wouldn't the odds then be that Romii (or Rom II) is a planet as well?
Isn't Vulcan a planet yet we've never heard of dialogue or star map to show/speak of Vulcan's star (or if there is I'd like to see the episode.)
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Old June 11 2013, 03:24 PM   #70
Robert Comsol
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Re: Let's Discuss the Romulan Bird of Prey!

The Badger wrote: View Post
Indeed, if the warp engines can be powered from the fusion systems, this would explain how the damaged Enterprise could travel to Delta Vega in 'Where No Man Has Gone Before'.
Captain's log, Star date 1312.9. Ship's condition, heading back on impulse power only. Main engines burned out. The ship's space warp ability gone.

Notice that in The Making of Star Trek there's the statement that the Enterprise "is powered by a space warp" which sounds rather passive than active.

In contrass, the log entry from WNM refers exclusively to the "ship's ability" to "warp space" (by additionally "feeding" the warp engines with gamma radiation?).

Whether natural gamma radiation, dark energy or something else our science hasn't discovered yet constitutes the "wind" for a 23rd Century starship to propel it forward obviously remains speculation, but if you seriously feel that sublight impulse power doesn't do the job, than there must be some kind of natural phenomenon that propels the ship, and adding energy to it just increases speed and forward momentum, IMHO.

@ Timo

The briefing scene in "Balance of Terror" is a pivotal one as the protagonists have to decide whether to risk another bloody war of the UFP with the Romulans or not. Given the obvious seriousness of the situation, we can take it in a good faith that Scotty wasn't screwing around but serious and correct when he stated "No question, Their power is simple impulse."

Whatever facts he based his conclusion upon, these remain objectively unknown to you. If you don't like it, that's your personal preference but please stop pushing it on us as if it were an established fact, which it is not (and travel back in time to tell the producers and scriptwriters they should change the line so that people in the year 2013 wouldn't have to have a discussion about it)

Oops...sorry! Wasn't Albertese specific that he didn't want this thread to go "impulse power versus warp power"?

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Old June 11 2013, 05:08 PM   #71
Timo
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Re: Let's Discuss the Romulan Bird of Prey!

Given the obvious seriousness of the situation, we can take it in a good faith that Scotty wasn't screwing around but serious and correct when he stated "No question, Their power is simple impulse."
Serious we can bet on. Correct doesn't follow.

Whatever facts he based his conclusion upon, these remain objectively unknown to you.
And to you as well. So claiming that Scotty was right is just as "objectively" baseless as claiming he was wrong. Getting upset about the possibility that the heroes could screw up is a bit 1960s TV, now isn't it?

But yeah, let's drop the subject. Given how haphazardly the episode was thrown together, it's not going to get sorted out with just half a century of speculation...

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Old June 11 2013, 08:34 PM   #72
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Re: Let's Discuss the Romulan Bird of Prey!

Robert Comsol wrote: View Post
...

Oops...sorry! Wasn't Albertese specific that he didn't want this thread to go "impulse power versus warp power"?

Bob
Yeah, I knew it was coming, I had just hoped to delay it until some other more interesting details could be discussed.

It's all right.

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Old June 11 2013, 09:53 PM   #73
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Re: Let's Discuss the Romulan Bird of Prey!

Albertese wrote: View Post
I had just hoped to delay it until some other more interesting details could be discussed.
Smart strategy!

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Old June 12 2013, 02:09 PM   #74
blssdwlf
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Re: Let's Discuss the Romulan Bird of Prey!

Timo wrote: View Post
Given the obvious seriousness of the situation, we can take it in a good faith that Scotty wasn't screwing around but serious and correct when he stated "No question, Their power is simple impulse."
Serious we can bet on. Correct doesn't follow.
It's an interesting strawman argument. Still, Scotty at no point claims impulse is STL. On the story points, Scotty and the crew are correct:

1. Simple Impulse is slower and allows the Enterprise to chase or run away in "The Balance of Terror" at "maximum warp".
2. At no point does any crew or Scotty indicate that a mistake had been made in their technical analysis of the BOP.
3. In "The Deadly Years", the BOP continues to be slower than the Enterprise when she goes to Warp 8.

The only speculation is on our part on how fast "simple impulse" is in TOS.
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Old June 17 2013, 04:06 PM   #75
B.J.
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Re: Let's Discuss the Romulan Bird of Prey!

I happened to see this episode again over the weekend. My impression of the "simple impulse" remark was not that it was related to their speed, but their power generation. The Romulans were constantly having to decide whether to run or to fight because they didn't have enough fuel to do all that they wanted. The Enterprise usually has no such fuel limitation.

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?
Even in context, I think it works better relating to power generation. If your ship is faster, sure you could run away, but that doesn't mean you'd win in a fight. I think the ships are pretty evenly matched, but if the Romulans have a less efficient power generator, they'd run out of fuel first and be dead in the water.

I also found this line interesting:
DECIUS: We are beaten. Can it be true? The Praetor's finest and proudest flagship beaten.
It's their flagship? Interesting what that could possibly mean.
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