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Old July 15 2014, 03:41 AM   #16
Santa Kang
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Re: How the Romulans did it

Robert Comsol wrote: View Post
Dennis wrote: View Post
First, every character who ever spoke in Trek was a reflection of human beings. Writers can only write about people, however disguised.
I'm not a screenplay writer, yet I'm very aware of that. But the character of Spock is the "outsider", the alien who watches human behaviour and invites us to wonder about some of our human "weaknesses" and to think about ourselves which I dare to say is one of the factors why Star Trek and particular Spock are so popular!
That's just one of Spock's roles. He also represents the detached, dispassionate side of Human nature. McCoy is often his counterpoint.
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Old July 15 2014, 03:59 AM   #17
Dennis
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Re: How the Romulans did it

The idea that the Trek format required an "outsider" character to comment on humanity was a later accretion - Spock was an individual; he happened to interact with other characters in a certain fashion consistent with his character, and when people started making up new versions of Star Trek for Paramount they abstracted that and elevated it to part of the format.
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Old July 15 2014, 01:27 PM   #18
Robert Comsol
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Re: How the Romulans did it

Dennis wrote: View Post
Spock's demonstrably not reliable. He even lies about not lying, and offers rationalizations for why he's not lying when he does - the hallmark of an experienced and casual liar.
I think you’ve been reading too much of my satire. I think audiences understood that Spock was a character who was often in denial about the true reasons for some of his actions. Despite his Vulcan coolness this kind of ambiguity made him accessible for audiences and most people never considered him “an experienced and casual liar”, well, at least I never did.

Marsden wrote: View Post
Also, how could they create high warp speed capable torpedoes without FTL capability?
A couple of interesting points you raised which IMHO just illustrates why “Balance of Terror” is a TOS episode we discuss frequently in terms of treknological research more than any other TOS episode. It’s a vast playground for interesting ideas, but given my current lack of time I’d like to address this one issue above you mentioned.

As an analogy I’d like to present our real history. First came the atom bomb, before energy creation through means of nuclear fission. Next came the H-homb, but we are still struggling for methods to commercially use nuclear fusion to create energy. Something tells me that it’s going to be similar with antimatter.

Simply put, the Romulans may have created a weapon with FTL capabilities, but that doesn’t necessarily imply they already knew how to achieve FTL drive (according to Scotty’s impulse power statement).

As another analogy I’d like to mention the Messerschmitt 262 jet fighter. When it arrived at the frontlines, the Russian planes simply dispersed and reduced speed so the Me 262 would often overshoot its targets. Possible something similar applied to the Earth-Romulan War where Earth ships had to reduce to impulse power to combat Romulan ships. Add to this, we don’t know if the “primitive atomic weapons” even had any FTL capabilities. Possible the Earth ships had to drop out of warp to fire their weapons, which would have put them on equal footing with their Romulan adversaries (from an entirely TOS point of view, I should add).

Bob
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Old July 15 2014, 02:38 PM   #19
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Re: How the Romulans did it

Somewhat off topic, but on Balance of Terror and the new universe, I was hoping, in vain, that with the "other reality" of the new universe Star Trek movies they could have recalled The Romulan Commander's statement about he and Kirk being friends. I know that will never happen, but just thought I'd post it.
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Old July 15 2014, 03:18 PM   #20
Dennis
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Re: How the Romulans did it

Well, now the continuity has changed such that Kirk won't be involved in that kind of stealthy confrontation with such a Romulan vessel. Clearly the Romulans and Federation are reasonably familiar with one another, in the "present day," when Kirk enters the academy.
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Old July 15 2014, 10:57 PM   #21
Timo
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Re: How the Romulans did it

And there must be something to the cliché that "Vulcans Never Lie". If there wasn't it would be pretty hollow and I don't see that in TOS or TNG.
Vulcans would probably make for the best liars in the universe. In order to carry the lie so far that nobody realizes it for what it is, one needs an extremely disciplined mind capable of not just carrying on the fiction but also separating it from the truth, planning ahead on further untruths, and perhaps branching off to yet other falsehoods...

"Vulcans don't lie" is a saying that no doubt could obtain a life of its own as an insincerity in its own right: anybody quoting this would simply be acknowledging the fact that you just plain can't catch a Vulcan on a lie.

Simply put, the Romulans may have created a weapon with FTL capabilities, but that doesn’t necessarily imply they already knew how to achieve FTL drive (according to Scotty’s impulse power statement).
It never ceases to amaze me how we dare trust Scotty to be making an expert statement on a culture after haphazardly assessing a single vessel thereof. It's not even a matter of not trusting Scotty on his word: it's a matter of realizing that he wasn't concerned with evaluating the Romulans as a culture, merely with assessing the threat vessel at hand. Would we declare Germany incapable of making steam turbines on the basis of their power being "simple electricity" in a U-Boot vs. destroyer escort confrontation? An Allied engineer making that latter statement wouldn't be in error in any real sense - he would just be omitting the part where everybody knows Germans are famed for their superior steam turbines, and the part where everybody knows they can't put those on their submarines.

Well, now the continuity has changed such that Kirk won't be involved in that kind of stealthy confrontation with such a Romulan vessel. Clearly the Romulans and Federation are reasonably familiar with one another, in the "present day," when Kirk enters the academy.
Well, Romulan invisibility or plasma weaponry is not established in nuTrek. So the only thing different about the confrontation would be that it would not come as a surprise to Kirk that the skipper of the invisible ship had pointed ears.

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Old July 16 2014, 03:06 AM   #22
Dennis
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Re: How the Romulans did it

Nope. The stakes in such a confrontation, and therefore the story and the interactions between the characters, would be entirely different.
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Old July 16 2014, 03:26 AM   #23
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Re: How the Romulans did it

Maybe that's how they actually do come to call each other "friend."
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Old July 16 2014, 08:22 AM   #24
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Re: How the Romulans did it

Nope. The stakes in such a confrontation, and therefore the story and the interactions between the characters, would be entirely different.
What is so "entire" about it?

Apparently, in the TOS episode there was going to be war if the test mission of the invisible ship was a success; the ship scored its points but failed to return, so the success might not have been sufficient for the Praetor to make the move after all (c.f. the cold feet the Romulans got with the as such successful cloning project). None of this would hinge on the Romulan racial characteristics being unknown to the Federation; none would hinge on the Star Empire having been incommunicado for a century.

If nuKirk destroyed an invisible ship efficiently enough to scare the Romulans into inaction but also gently enough to avoid provoking them into a "self-defense" war, the nuEvents would pan out just like the TOS ones. As for character interactions, there would actually be reason to doubt Spock's loyalty now - he'd be not just a Vulcanoid of the same stock as the enemy, but a rogue left without a homeworld and possibly enthralled by a strong and surviving Vulcanoid culture. Racist remarks could fly, with more venom as befits the 21st century audiences. And Kirk and the enemy commander could play it out like pre-21st century gentlemen fighters again, or then the formula could be used inverted, with both now displaying disgusting brutality but learning from it. Whether to tack on an aborted wedding, or some other extasy-to-ashes story arc, would be up to the writers...

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Old July 16 2014, 03:23 PM   #25
Robert Comsol
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Re: How the Romulans did it

Timo wrote: View Post
Simply put, the Romulans may have created a weapon with FTL capabilities, but that doesn’t necessarily imply they already knew how to achieve FTL drive (according to Scotty’s impulse power statement).
It never ceases to amaze me how we dare trust Scotty to be making an expert statement on a culture after haphazardly assessing a single vessel thereof.
I thought it was clear that Scotty was only making a reference to this particular and single Romulan ship.

Bob
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Old July 16 2014, 03:33 PM   #26
Cookies and Cake
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Re: How the Romulans did it

On some level, the no-FTL idea for Romulans is intriguing. But that line never should have been let into BoT as scripted, and as time has worn on, and the universe has been expanded by the spin-offs, time has not been kind to it. Instead of what it was [link]:

What it was wrote:
SCOTT: No question. Their power is simple impulse.
it should have been

In hindsight, what it should have been wrote:
SCOTT: No question. When cloaked, their power is simple impulse.
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Old July 16 2014, 04:25 PM   #27
Timo
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Re: How the Romulans did it

I thought it was clear that Scotty was only making a reference to this particular and single Romulan ship.
...Which then should mean that Scotty cannot be taken as indicating Romulans lack the skill or knowledge or materials to build warp-capable ships. One ship that is already established as being unique in at least two ways (invisibility and plasma gun) might well be unique in her propulsive capabilities, too, and telling nothing about the other ships of the Romulan Star Empire or even this particular Praetor's fleet.

time has not been kind to it
I'd rather argue we got the perfect rationalization for that in the TNG era. We now know Romulans have their own special brand of FTL powerplants, based on technology the Federation apparently still doesn't understand or know how to duplicate in the 24th century. Scotty would be within his rights not to recognize this technology, then - and it would add a very welcome (and rather rare!) taste of realism if Scotty did fail to identify an artificial quantum singularity reactor for what it is!

Anyway, we don't have a good reason to think that cloaking prevents warping; this never happens in any of the episodes, after all. It may be that the plasma gun prevents warping in "Balance of Terror", as we do learn of fuel troubles, and the gun could be the real fuel hog. Or then nothing prevents warping, and Scotty is proven wrong so blatantly and quickly that nobody even bothers to comment on his missing the mark. Or then there's some terminology weirdness going on with "impulse power" vs. "sublight-only propulsion", or whatever. But we can rule out the idea of cloaking preventing warping.

Sure, Spock speculates that a cloak would consume a lot of power, but he's wrong: we see low-power cloaks in all the other shows. At best, we may argue that the particular, perhaps rather experimental cloak aboard this specific vessel was a fuel hog for whatever rare reason. Remember that Spock also refers to the immense power (--> power requirements) of the plasma weapon, thus preserving his virtue...

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Old July 16 2014, 04:35 PM   #28
Cookies and Cake
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Re: How the Romulans did it

Again, time has not been kind to BoT. Like many cool things in Star Trek, the cloaks were too cool for writers to resist using, even in ways that should have been anachronistic (I'm looking at you ENT), were BoT respected.
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Old July 16 2014, 05:13 PM   #29
grendelsbayne
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Re: How the Romulans did it

Timo wrote: View Post
I thought it was clear that Scotty was only making a reference to this particular and single Romulan ship.
...Which then should mean that Scotty cannot be taken as indicating Romulans lack the skill or knowledge or materials to build warp-capable ships. One ship that is already established as being unique in at least two ways (invisibility and plasma gun) might well be unique in her propulsive capabilities, too, and telling nothing about the other ships of the Romulan Star Empire or even this particular Praetor's fleet.

time has not been kind to it
I'd rather argue we got the perfect rationalization for that in the TNG era. We now know Romulans have their own special brand of FTL powerplants, based on technology the Federation apparently still doesn't understand or know how to duplicate in the 24th century. Scotty would be within his rights not to recognize this technology, then - and it would add a very welcome (and rather rare!) taste of realism if Scotty did fail to identify an artificial quantum singularity reactor for what it is!

Anyway, we don't have a good reason to think that cloaking prevents warping; this never happens in any of the episodes, after all. It may be that the plasma gun prevents warping in "Balance of Terror", as we do learn of fuel troubles, and the gun could be the real fuel hog. Or then nothing prevents warping, and Scotty is proven wrong so blatantly and quickly that nobody even bothers to comment on his missing the mark. Or then there's some terminology weirdness going on with "impulse power" vs. "sublight-only propulsion", or whatever. But we can rule out the idea of cloaking preventing warping.

Sure, Spock speculates that a cloak would consume a lot of power, but he's wrong: we see low-power cloaks in all the other shows. At best, we may argue that the particular, perhaps rather experimental cloak aboard this specific vessel was a fuel hog for whatever rare reason. Remember that Spock also refers to the immense power (--> power requirements) of the plasma weapon, thus preserving his virtue...

Timo Saloniemi
I don't see any reason to infer that Spock's speculation was outright wrong. The Cloak was an entirely new technology. Spock's speculation would've been based on his best guess of what the most likely basis for the technology could be, and he could very well have been absolutely correct. The later, more efficient cloaks could simply prove that (years, maybe decades later) after the technology has been developed enough for them to learn to get around its original limitations, Cloaks have been significantly improved and are no longer power hogs.
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Old July 16 2014, 05:15 PM   #30
Timo
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Re: How the Romulans did it

What's there to respect? The idea that invisibility would be "theoretical" to our space-savvy heroes is unrealistic, even within the context of TOS (many of their enemies popped out of nowhere).

If we ignore the idea of invisibility as a thing being new to the characters, the rest of it remains a nice combination of weird and time-honored, and continues to provide a basis for on-and offscreen speculation - say, as regards the concept of a faceless enemy, a war without prisoners or mercy, the whole Vulcan/Romulan thing, etc.

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