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Trek Tech Pass me the quantum flux regulator, will you?

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Old September 7 2012, 09:57 AM   #1
Brainsucker
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Federation Law of restricting cloaking device

If my memory serve right, there is a law in Federation / Starfleet that banned Cloaking device. Well, I don't object if the reason is understandable. But what I can't stand is that they banned it just because of idealistic decision (what a stupid approach from the writers)

I think it is more logical or acceptable if the cloaking technology is actually bad for human body for a long run, so they bans the technology to protect the user, rather than what we have in Star Trek TNG now.
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Old September 7 2012, 10:17 AM   #2
Methos
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Re: Federation Law of restricting cloaking device

you're looking for the Treaty of Algeron...

http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Treaty_of_Algeron

The treaty reinforced and redefined the Romulan Neutral Zone, and made clear that any violations of the Zone without adequate notification, by either side, would be considered an act of war. The treaty also expressly prohibited the development or use of cloaking device technology by the Federation. Then-Captain Pressman attempted to circumvent this clause in 2358 with the test of a phasing cloaking device developed covertly at least in some part by Starfleet Intelligence aboard the USS Pegasus.
As far as i know, there's never been an actual reason why the Romulans demanded The Federation not to use cloaking technology... it's just part of Trek history that's never been explained

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Old September 7 2012, 11:17 AM   #3
Timo
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Re: Federation Law of restricting cloaking device

And it should be emphasized that it has never been hinted on screen that the reason for agreeing to the cloaking ban would be "idealistic" or even ideological in any way.

No doubt any treaty signed with the Romulans would be extremely pragmatic, as it would already be known that the Romulans have no respect for Earth ideologies and do not share Earth's idealism, and will betray everybody at the earliest opportunity if only bound by abstract nonsense such as "honor" or "signature".

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Old September 7 2012, 12:21 PM   #4
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Re: Federation Law of restricting cloaking device

Perhaps the Federation in return for promosing not to develop cloaking devices, got the border drawn closer to what they wanted.
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Old September 7 2012, 06:33 PM   #5
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Re: Federation Law of restricting cloaking device

Brainsucker wrote: View Post
If my memory serve right, there is a law in Federation / Starfleet that banned Cloaking device. Well, I don't object if the reason is understandable. But what I can't stand is that they banned it just because of idealistic decision (what a stupid approach from the writers)

I think it is more logical or acceptable if the cloaking technology is actually bad for human body for a long run, so they bans the technology to protect the user, rather than what we have in Star Trek TNG now.
It's actually more likely that the Federation got its ass kicked at the Battle of Algernon and the Romulans were able to impose a new treaty banning cloaking technology in exchange for peace. If you consider that the use of cloaking devices might have been what triggered the engagement in the first place (say, superior Starfleet tech being used to spy on the Romulans and the Romulans finding out about it), then banning them would have been a logical concession for a peace treaty. It's also not known what Starfleet got in return for that concession, but I would guess it had something to do with Romulan WMDs, which may in turn be the reason for Starfleet cloaks in the first place
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Old September 7 2012, 06:47 PM   #6
Timo
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Re: Federation Law of restricting cloaking device

The Treaty of Algeron (no clever mice there!) appears to coincide with the loss of contact with Romulans, at least in the usual coarse terms of "barely a whisper for fifty years" or "gave them the tactical advantage for sixty years" that we hear used. We're left to wonder whether the victors of the relevant engagement would choose to isolate themselves behind the Neutral Zone they so openly loathe and violate later on.

Perhaps the Romulans had to give up something so significant in return for the cloak thing that they were forced to put on ice all their plans of "interaction" (conquest, sabotage, espionage) with the UFP for fifty years. Say, they might have given up cloaking for the same period of time, too!

The Feds seem to feel obligated by the treaty even after the Romulans demonstrate cloaking in "The Neutral Zone", admittedly. But they're the good guys. And they might not want to issue a challenge when Romulans are using cloaks on their side of the RNZ, or when both the Romulan and Starfleet ships involved are violating the RNZ.

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Old September 7 2012, 09:17 PM   #7
Mister_Atoz
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Re: Federation Law of restricting cloaking device

It could also be that in addition to the terms of the treaty, the Cloaking Device may necessitate certain compromises in starship design that are undesirable in Federation Starships.

For example, the power and mass requirements for a cloaking device may limit the number of science labs, or scanning equipment a Federation starship would prefer to carry. Or perhaps, equipping a starship with a cloaking device means sacrificing some for the space devoted to the habitability of the crew, smaller quarters, no holodecks, etc.

I know starships seem magical at times, but even in the 24th century there are compromises that have to be made in any design even if the writers never got around to establishing any.

I've also always assumed that, in addition to the Pegasus, the Federation have had "black ops" development of cloaking technology just to keep pace with the Romulans in the event a war broke out and they needed to develop the technology quickly.
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Old September 7 2012, 09:24 PM   #8
Timo
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Re: Federation Law of restricting cloaking device

It could also be that in addition to the terms of the treaty, the Cloaking Device may necessitate certain compromises in starship design that are undesirable in Federation Starships.
Unless the cloak burns yeomen for fuel, I can't see the compromises not being accepted and embraced. The benefits are so immense!

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Old September 8 2012, 12:47 AM   #9
Undead
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Re: Federation Law of restricting cloaking device

I seem to recall somewhere the suggestion that Gene Roddenberry didn't like the idea of Starfleet regularly using cloaking devices because the heroes weren't supposed to seem "sneaky," though of course he was not alive by the time "The Pegasus" was produced. This suggestion, if true, would certainly fit in with his more utopian concept for early TNG although it wouldn't seem remotely practical given how cloaks are normally portrayed (Trek-era stealth). Without a better explanation of the treaty, there's no way to know why the Feds would have agreed to the restriction.
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Old September 8 2012, 07:14 AM   #10
Brainsucker
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Re: Federation Law of restricting cloaking device

So it is because of a piece treaty. The question is why the Federation accepted it, unless they lost to the war.
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Old September 8 2012, 11:21 AM   #11
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Re: Federation Law of restricting cloaking device

I can highly recommend reading Serpents Amongst The Ruins, the novel that explains what happened that lead to the treaty of Algeron and why the Romulans closed their borders for about 50 years. Although not official canon, it is a very good read non the less, and also redefines the character of John Harriman, captain of the Enterprise B.
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Old September 8 2012, 07:50 PM   #12
Timo
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Re: Federation Law of restricting cloaking device

The excellent novel falls in the same trap as many other explanations or interpretations of the Treaty of Algeron: it assumes that the cloaking ban was a major element in that treaty, and in fact its most important aspect. But for all we know from "The Pegause", it was merely a minor detail in a greater agreement between the governments to limit strategic weapons of all sorts...

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Old September 12 2012, 05:53 PM   #13
Dukhat
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Re: Federation Law of restricting cloaking device

Although there is no concrete answer, one can make an implication based on the events of "The Pegasus:"

1. Thanks to the TOA, Federation ships cannot have cloaking devices. This seems to be a very big deal (at least to Pressman, who felt that this held Starfleet back for decades).

2. Picard also seems to imply that it would be a very big deal if the Romulans found out about the Pegasus's cloaking device, and that it could lead to a new conflict between the Federation and the Empire.

3. So why is this all such a big deal? Well, if it is a situation of history repeating itself, the implication is that sometime in the past, the Federation was using a ship or ships with a cloaking device, and it pissed off the Romulans so much that there was an incident about it where lives were lost (Tomed). If the Federation freely gave up using cloaking devices after that, then it can be implied that that ship or ships were doing something they shouldn't by using those devices; something that caused the Feds to get egg on their face because of it. YMMV.
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Old September 12 2012, 07:07 PM   #14
R. Star
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Re: Federation Law of restricting cloaking device

Well the Federation has a history of signing dumb treaties. I was always under the impression from the episodes as presented that in exchange for peace, the Federation pledged not to devolop cloaking technology. I could see the Romulans insisting on this as a condition as it would give them an edge in any future encounters.

I'm honestly surprised the Dominion War and/or Shinzon incident didn't kill this off though.
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Old September 12 2012, 08:18 PM   #15
Crazy Eddie
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Re: Federation Law of restricting cloaking device

It probably DID if "All Good Things" is any indication. In the time it takes for Beverly to get fed up with Jean Luc's bullshit, divorce him, then get her own command of a medical ship (time enough for B4 to become an oxford scholar and Riker to take command of the Enterprise-E) cloaking devices will be standard issue on Starfleet ships.

Something else to consider: the neutral zone treaty applies to Federation starships, of course... which is to say Starfleet ships. It doesn't seem to apply to civilian ships from either side, which are doubtless subject to all kinds of invasive inspections and harsh tariffs at the neutral zone outposts. The Algeron treaty probably doesn't apply to civilians either, and certain civilian operators could probably get away with operating commercially available cloaking devices for espionage purposes. They wouldn't fool romulan or Federation sensors, of course, but they might be enough to, say, hide a holoship in a lake somewhere or fool the locals of some planet you're scamming by pretending to be the devil incarnate.
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