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Old January 9 2013, 08:58 PM   #91
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Re: After Romulus

^Star Trek movies have always had looser, sillier science than the shows. As far as I'm concerned, the Genesis Device is still the single most fanciful, impossible, and ridiculous idea in the history of Trek movies, and one of the most ridiculous in the entire franchise. Something that small with the godlike power to transform an entire planet and create life in a matter of moments? And instead of just failing when set off in a nebula instead of on an existing planet like it was programmed for, it manufactures a whole planet and possibly a star out of the nebular gases? That is sheer, unadulterated magic. And then in the next film they give it the equally magic ability to resurrect the dead, and make up some random nonsense thing called "protomatter" to handwave it into a failure. And then it's completely forgotten, despite the fact that even a failed experiment of such godlike power would certainly warrant further exploration and produce amazing technologies as spinoffs even if the intended function didn't work.

There are a lot of lame ideas in the later movies too -- Sha Ka Ree, trilithium, the Nexus, the Borg using time travel exactly once and never again, fountain-of-youth radiation in a planet's rings, thalarons. The 2009 film has its flaws, but nothing worse than its predecessors have given us. We've just had more time to come to terms with the earlier films' absurdities.
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Old January 9 2013, 10:01 PM   #92
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Re: After Romulus

FWIW Christopher, I enjoyed your ruminations about the Borg's use of time travel in Watching the Clock. Well, more specifically I enjoyed the book in general (though parts of it gave me a headache ), but as you just mentioned the Borg thing up above, I felt obligated to keep my post vaguely topical.
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Old January 10 2013, 12:11 AM   #93
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Re: After Romulus

Christopher wrote: View Post
^Star Trek movies have always had looser, sillier science than the shows. As far as I'm concerned, the Genesis Device is still the single most fanciful, impossible, and ridiculous idea in the history of Trek movies, and one of the most ridiculous in the entire franchise. Something that small with the godlike power to transform an entire planet and create life in a matter of moments? And instead of just failing when set off in a nebula instead of on an existing planet like it was programmed for, it manufactures a whole planet and possibly a star out of the nebular gases? That is sheer, unadulterated magic. And then in the next film they give it the equally magic ability to resurrect the dead, and make up some random nonsense thing called "protomatter" to handwave it into a failure. And then it's completely forgotten, despite the fact that even a failed experiment of such godlike power would certainly warrant further exploration and produce amazing technologies as spinoffs even if the intended function didn't work.

There are a lot of lame ideas in the later movies too -- Sha Ka Ree, trilithium, the Nexus, the Borg using time travel exactly once and never again, fountain-of-youth radiation in a planet's rings, thalarons. The 2009 film has its flaws, but nothing worse than its predecessors have given us. We've just had more time to come to terms with the earlier films' absurdities.
I get what you're saying Christopher, but I'm not sure you get what I'm saying. You're talking about the implausibility/impossibility of made up tech, "future science" and treknobabble invented by the writers. I can accept a fair amount of handwaving in light sci-fi like Trek.

I'm more frustrated with the completely asinine misuse of contemporary scientific knowledge -- like supernovae, and talking about "lightning" in space -- in order to dumb-it down for the masses. They didn't even try to handwave with made up technobabble or future science. They just used terms the audience would've heard, but hoped they wouldn't understand.

Genesis Device? Sure, it's impossible, but it's "future science," and I can suspend disbelief. Protomatter? Okay, fine. Subspace shockwave? All good. Trilithium? Okay, you used that word before and probably forgot about it. Metaphasic radiation? Thalaron radiation? Okay, add 'em to the list. I can deal with all of it.

Note, I'm not really letting The Final Frontier off the hook. The plot wasn't good enough to make up for the stupidity of the Enterprise making it to the center of the galaxy in a few hours, let alone anything else.

But calling whatever the Hobus event was a "supernova"? Talking about "lightning storms" instead of just saying "an energy distortion" or something like that? And naming your McGuffin something like "red matter"? It's like a really bad Saturday morning cartoon for five year olds.
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Old January 10 2013, 12:33 AM   #94
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Re: After Romulus

^I see that as just a matter of style. "Lightning storm in space" worked from a story standpoint; it was a significant plot point that the description of the distortion be distinctive and evocative enough that Kirk would recognize it upon hearing it. Of course it was meant metaphorically, as the observers' impression of the event rather than a technical analysis; the film never claimed otherwise, so it's not fair to criticize the description on technical grounds. You might as well complain about the names of the Crab and Horsehead Nebulae.

As for "red matter," sure, it's meaningless, but at least it's more honest about its meaninglessness than Andre Bormanis-style technobabble from VGR and ENT like "isolytic shock." ("Isolytic" would literally mean "dissolving equally." It doesn't mean a damn thing. It's just Bormanis's two most overused technobabble roots stuck randomly together.) Abrams is rather honest in how he treats McGuffins; like the coiner of the word, Alfred Hitchcock, he doesn't bother to try to explain them because he knows the explanation doesn't matter, only the characters' reactions do. He did the same thing in Mission: Impossible III with the "Rabbit's Foot" McGuffin, whose actual nature or purpose was never explained. It's not about insulting the audience's intelligence; I think it has more to do with the fact that Abrams is very fond of mystery and puzzles in his work, and has a habit of leaving things deliberately vague. That's just a stylistic choice.

To be honest, I think Abrams's approach of using lay terms for the technobabble is more plausible than Berman-Trek's approach of making everything sound as complicated as possible. Look at science news today, and you see a lot of lay terminology like dark matter, nuclear winter, dwarf planets -- simple, comprehensible language. You might see more technical terminology exchanged among experts or written in papers, but there are usually more informal names for casual or lay discourse.

As for the supernova... yes, the specifics there were quite nonsensical, though not half as bad as the added details in Countdown. But the difference from Genesis is that it wasn't really all that important to the story. It was a McGuffin as well, the reason that Nero and Spock Prime were back in the past and the thing that motivated Nero. But all that really mattered was that Romulus had been destroyed; the how was a secondary concern. The details of what happened in the 24th century didn't really matter to the story being told about the 23rd, so it's not that big a problem for me that they were handled cavalierly. I wish they hadn't been, but it's not as bad for me as something like Genesis, where the impossibilities and logical absurdities are critical to the plots of two movies, rather than just a background detail that's disposed of in a minute or less.
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Old January 10 2013, 02:27 AM   #95
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Re: After Romulus

Christopher wrote: View Post
the Borg using time travel exactly once and never again,
IMO, First Contact's bigger flaw is why do the Borg, who only really care about technology that can help them achieve perfection even bother to assimilate a planet the day before it achieves warp flight?
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Old January 10 2013, 04:48 AM   #96
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Re: After Romulus

The Wormhole wrote: View Post
Christopher wrote: View Post
the Borg using time travel exactly once and never again,
IMO, First Contact's bigger flaw is why do the Borg, who only really care about technology that can help them achieve perfection even bother to assimilate a planet the day before it achieves warp flight?
Answer: Because the Borg, contrary to Q's claims in TNG Season Two, clearly care about more than just their victims' technology. In particular, they seem obsessed with their inability to assimilate the Federation.
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Old January 10 2013, 06:19 AM   #97
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Re: After Romulus

Sci wrote: View Post
The Wormhole wrote: View Post
Christopher wrote: View Post
the Borg using time travel exactly once and never again,
IMO, First Contact's bigger flaw is why do the Borg, who only really care about technology that can help them achieve perfection even bother to assimilate a planet the day before it achieves warp flight?
Answer: Because the Borg, contrary to Q's claims in TNG Season Two, clearly care about more than just their victims' technology. In particular, they seem obsessed with their inability to assimilate the Federation.
The borg sent all of 2 cubes (out of MILLIONS) to assimilate the federation up to 'first contact'. That's not even close to 'obsessed'.
7 of 9 confirms that the borg don't bother assimilating species having no relevant technology (kazon); they destroy them instead.
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Old January 10 2013, 07:36 AM   #98
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Re: After Romulus

Christopher wrote: View Post

But since we're unlikely to see any more canonical depictions of the Prime universe post-2387, that leaves it up to the tie-ins to determine how things go. And my point is that there's nothing to prevent Pocket or IDW from establishing that the Romulan people still endure after Hobus. Indeed, as Markonian just pointed out, Star Trek Online has already done so -- in their continuity, the supernova threw the empire into turmoil and triggered civil war and political strife for quite some time thereafter, but the RSE still exists in 2409 as a major galactic power and there are still plenty of Romulans around. I see no reason why the novels wouldn't take a similar route, especially since that would be in keeping with how the novels have already depicted the RSE to date. The scenario of a post-Hobus reality where the Romulan culture is extinct just doesn't seem like something we're ever likely to see in any professionally created work.
But why would you WANT to do something that's already been done? Wouldn't it be more interesting to see differing outcomes? Don't let other interpretations of the movie events tie you down. Surely there must be more than one way (or two or twenty) that things could progress.

rfmcdpei wrote: View Post
RPJOB wrote: View Post
Going strictly by what we've seen in the shows Romulus has had very few colonies mentioned. I imagine that Romulus is seen as being the promised land due to it being the world chosen by their ancestors. It's possible that most of the other inhabited planets have a small Romulan presence, mostly military overseers using the indigenous population as slave labor.
It's possible, but it's not likely.

* The Romulans seem to be as expansionistic a culture as any other. To assume that Romulans didn't colonize new territories when they became available would be to have them behave in a way that no human imperialist power has ever behaved. The novelverse has further established that there are multiple sizable Romulan colonies, the Praetor herself being from one (Glintara). Romulan colonies may plausibly not have been mentioned in the various series because non-Romulans didn't have access to the Romulan colonies; the Romulans are, after all, isolationists.

* It's very likely that the Romulans would take over inhabited worlds and establish themselves as ruling classes. That's what imperialist societies do. The novels even explicitly establish them as doing that with the Kevratans, while Terix II--a major Romulan world--also has its own indigenous population. The Romulans are almost certainly minorities on many worlds in their empire.

Given these are planets with populations possibly amounting to the billions, this is still a sizable number. For comparison, in South Africa immediately after apartheid of the forty-odd million South Africans only five million were white. South African whites still are more numerous than, say, New Zealanders or Uruguayans, and they controlled a technologically and economically sophisticated state. Apartheid ended in South Africa as peacefully as it did only because whites were convinced to do so. I really don't see Romulans on these Romulan-minority worlds as being nicer.

Also, the Hobus supernova wouldn't have destroyed just Romulus but everything in between as well as in other directions. It's an expanding sphere. Spock may have used the red matter to stop it from entering Federation space. The rest of the RSE may be essentially depopulated.
The novelverse draws upon Star Trek: Star Charts, which shows the Romulan Star Empire to be a pretty large ellipse of space that at points comes quite close to the Federation core, the novels further establishing the existence of large Romulan population on worlds fairly distant from Romulus--Achernar, Devoras, and Rator all come to mind. If the Hobus supernova really was so big as to annihilate all these Romulan worlds, then the Federation core worlds would also be destroyed.

The Wormhole wrote: View Post
All that considered, I'm sure there are still other Romulans around, including a colony world or two. Certainly the days of the Romulans being one of the quadrant's biggest political entities are over, but the Romulan species is still around, even if there are very few left.
There's still going to be large numbers of Romulans around. Even if the Hobus supernova destroys some older Romulan colony worlds, the Romulans have spread out sufficiently that I can't see Romulan civilization as being doomed by the destruction of the homeworld.

(Will the destruction of the Romulans encourage the survivors to consider new possibilities? Sure. They're just not going to be driven into extinction, that's all.)
Bolding in your post added by me. Note the word human. These are NOT humans. They're aliens. If they're going to act and react and respond just like humans they why even bother making them aliens?

I've been rereading Spock's Wold recently and there's a passage that talks about how very few Vulcans have ever left their planet, let alone their system. The number quoted was around 5% as opposed to about an average of 40% for other races. Romulans are basically Vulcans under the skin. Their ancestors left Vulcan and deliberately chose a new homeworld, most likely bypassing other suitable planets seeing how common class M worlds are. Something about Romulus caused them to choose it. If they're the same homebodies as Vulcans are in Spock's World then they may not WANT to live elsewhere. Getting posted to another planet may be considered a punishment. Alternately, the Government, though the Tal Shiar, may not want distant colonies to grow too large. Large colonies breed dangerous ideas like freedom and independence. Keeping the populations low and transient keeps these ideas from taking root.

Klingons relish struggle. Romulans want control.

rfmcdpei wrote: View Post
JD wrote: View Post
If Romulans are really as powerful politically as we are repeated told in the different stories, then I would image they would have to have quite a few colonies out there with a lot of Romulans on them. Not to mention all of the Romulan ships that were probably out and about when the Hobus event happened. At this point I doubt they are in any danger as a species, but the Empire as a political entity is probably a different story. Since the supernova destroyed Romulus and it's star system, then that means the Empire has lost it's homeworld and the majority of it's political, and military leaders. So I have a feeling that whatever is left of the Empire as political and military entity is probably a lot weaker than what it was before.
I think the effect on the Empire might be akin to that of destroying the Eastern Seaboard of the United States but sparing the remainder of the country. The large majority of the Empire's population, productive capacity, and military remains intact, and when a new administration is installed it will resume its great power status, but for the time being it's going to be preoccupied with cultivating (rather, rebuilding) its own garden.
I see it more as destroying the British Isles at the height of the British Empire. There's ships and personnel spread across the globe but the vast majority of citizens, as opposed to colonial subjects, are suddeny gone.

Edit_XYZ wrote: View Post
Sci wrote: View Post
The Wormhole wrote: View Post

IMO, First Contact's bigger flaw is why do the Borg, who only really care about technology that can help them achieve perfection even bother to assimilate a planet the day before it achieves warp flight?
Answer: Because the Borg, contrary to Q's claims in TNG Season Two, clearly care about more than just their victims' technology. In particular, they seem obsessed with their inability to assimilate the Federation.
The borg sent all of 2 cubes (out of MILLIONS) to assimilate the federation up to 'first contact'. That's not even close to 'obsessed'.
7 of 9 confirms that the borg don't bother assimilating species having no relevant technology (kazon); they destroy them instead.
Or The Borg habe already tied time travel 26 times before but each time was via a method that led to a new universe splitting off like in ST09. In First Contact it's the first time they're using a method that changes the present as happened in City of the Edge of Forever. If the Enterprise hadn't been in the temporal wake then the Borg would have succeeded and nobody would have even known that it happened.
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Old January 10 2013, 01:00 PM   #99
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Re: After Romulus

TJ Sinclair wrote: View Post

I get what you're saying Christopher, but I'm not sure you get what I'm saying. You're talking about the implausibility/impossibility of made up tech, "future science" and treknobabble invented by the writers. I can accept a fair amount of handwaving in light sci-fi like Trek.

I'm more frustrated with the completely asinine misuse of contemporary scientific knowledge -- like supernovae, and talking about "lightning" in space -- in order to dumb-it down for the masses. They didn't even try to handwave with made up technobabble or future science. They just used terms the audience would've heard, but hoped they wouldn't understand.

Genesis Device? Sure, it's impossible, but it's "future science," and I can suspend disbelief. Protomatter? Okay, fine. Subspace shockwave? All good. Trilithium? Okay, you used that word before and probably forgot about it. Metaphasic radiation? Thalaron radiation? Okay, add 'em to the list. I can deal with all of it.

Note, I'm not really letting The Final Frontier off the hook. The plot wasn't good enough to make up for the stupidity of the Enterprise making it to the center of the galaxy in a few hours, let alone anything else.

But calling whatever the Hobus event was a "supernova"? Talking about "lightning storms" instead of just saying "an energy distortion" or something like that? And naming your McGuffin something like "red matter"? It's like a really bad Saturday morning cartoon for five year olds.
This is how thy came up with the technobabble in TNG/DS9/VOY-era Trek:

It's meaningless babytalk. I'm more than happy for Trek to return to it's TOS-style mindset of "show it, don't explain it."
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Old January 10 2013, 02:43 PM   #100
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Re: After Romulus

RPJOB wrote: View Post

I've been rereading Spock's Wold recently and there's a passage that talks about how very few Vulcans have ever left their planet, let alone their system. The number quoted was around 5% as opposed to about an average of 40% for other races. Romulans are basically Vulcans under the skin.
And if the Romulan population is anywhere near the current population of Earth, that 5% would equate to 300 million people. If only 1% of the population was off world when the event happened, that would still be 60 million people. I think that would be more than enough for the Romulan people to survive.

Much like Spock in the new timeline, perhaps Saavik takes on the cause of finding the Romulans a new home and uniting those that are left.
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Old January 10 2013, 05:00 PM   #101
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Re: After Romulus

QUOTE=RPJOB;7513921]But why would you WANT to do something that's already been done? Wouldn't it be more interesting to see differing outcomes? Don't let other interpretations of the movie events tie you down. Surely there must be more than one way (or two or twenty) that things could progress.[/QUOTE]

One problem with that is that the near-extinction of the Romulan subset of the Vulcanoid population would require going against the canon established in the novelverse, which has stated that Romulans live in very large numbers away from the Romulan homeworld. Coming up with a way to exterminate this populations would be only somewhat less problematic than deciding to jettison the novelverse canon.

[QUOTE=RPJOB;7513921]
RPJOB wrote: View Post
Bolding in your post added by me. Note the word human. These are NOT humans. They're aliens. If they're going to act and react and respond just like humans they why even bother making them aliens?
The settlement of conquered and/or unsettled territories by an imperial power is a basic strategy of any imperial power that wants to be successful. It's a policy that has been followed by multiple non-human empires in the Trekverse, most explicitly in the television by the Cardassians. Coming up with reasons for the Romulans not to do so, especially when they've already been established as having done so, seems futile.

RPJOB wrote: View Post
I've been rereading Spock's Wold recently and there's a passage that talks about how very few Vulcans have ever left their planet, let alone their system. The number quoted was around 5% as opposed to about an average of 40% for other races. Romulans are basically Vulcans under the skin.
Biologically, yes, but culturally the Romulans are highly divergent. The proto-Romulans left 40 Eridani in the first place because of their significant cultural differences. Moreover, in her later novels Diane Duane explicitly stated that substantial Romulan populations lived throughout the star empire, and that they were sufficiently numerous to win a civil war against the homeworld.

RPJOB wrote: View Post
Something about Romulus caused them to choose it. If they're the same homebodies as Vulcans are in Spock's World then they may not WANT to live elsewhere. Getting posted to another planet may be considered a punishment. Alternately, the Government, though the Tal Shiar, may not want distant colonies to grow too large. Large colonies breed dangerous ideas like freedom and independence. Keeping the populations low and transient keeps these ideas from taking root.
I'm not sure why you're making this argument, since the novels have already established that Romulans live in very large numbers away from their homeworld. Why should this be changed?
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Old January 10 2013, 05:35 PM   #102
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Re: After Romulus

RPJOB wrote: View Post
But why would you WANT to do something that's already been done? Wouldn't it be more interesting to see differing outcomes?
Sure, but that doesn't mean this particular one is desirable or remotely plausible. The number of ad hoc rationalizations and logical convolutions you'd have to pile on top of each other to justify it makes it very unappealing, and I don't see anything to be gained by doing it. Kill every last Romulan? What the hell is the point? What do you do next? Certainly it's far more interesting to show the surviving elements of Romulan civilization coping with the loss of their homeworld.


RPJOB wrote: View Post
Note the word human. These are NOT humans. They're aliens. If they're going to act and react and respond just like humans they why even bother making them aliens?
That doesn't wash. Most Trek "aliens" are blatantly humanlike in their psychology. They're allegories for facets of human behavior or for human cultures. In 46-plus years, the Romulans have never been shown to behave in a way that would seem arbitrary or incomprehensible to humans. They've been used as analogues for Earth cultures from Ancient Rome to the USSR, maybe with a bit of North Korea thrown in given their bouts of isolationism. They have consistently been portrayed as an interstellar empire, a power using military force to conquer, control, and expand their territory. The notion that they would all be living on their home planet is simply not consistent with that. What you're proposing is to ignore everything we've ever learned about the Romulans and arbitrarily impose a whole new interpretation of them in order to justify a story choice that has no evident benefit or purpose.


RPJOB wrote: View Post
I've been rereading Spock's Wold recently and there's a passage that talks about how very few Vulcans have ever left their planet, let alone their system.
So? That novel isn't canonical. Enterprise showed us a Vulcan civilization with a large and active interstellar presence. That canonical evidence supersedes a decades-old novel, no matter how well-loved the novel is.
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Old January 11 2013, 04:09 AM   #103
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Re: After Romulus

As for Romulan expansionism, the whole point behind their Enterprise storyline was that Earth and her allies were a threat to their expanding empire. If their empire was that big, then there would have to be a whole lot of Romulans off planet in order to keep their territory under their control.
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Old January 11 2013, 06:50 AM   #104
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Re: After Romulus

Christopher wrote: View Post
RPJOB wrote: View Post
I've been rereading Spock's Wold recently and there's a passage that talks about how very few Vulcans have ever left their planet, let alone their system.
So? That novel isn't canonical. Enterprise showed us a Vulcan civilization with a large and active interstellar presence. That canonical evidence supersedes a decades-old novel, no matter how well-loved the novel is.
I'm not sure that novel even means what the original poster thinks it does. Spock's World is a Duaneverse novel belonging to the Rihannsu continuity. In the first novel of that continuity, My Enemy, My Ally, Ael reflects on the traditional Romulan attitude towards Vulcan and current-day Vulcan civilization: "The meek, after all, had inherited Vulcan; the Rihannsu had gone out and conquered the stars." Even there, there's evidence for a fairly significant cultural divergence.

(There also might not be such a contradiction between the depiction of Vulcan as isolationist in Spock's World and the depiction in Enterprise of a Vulcan with a substantial presence in space. How many Vulcans need to go into space, after all? An apparently prosperous and technologically advanced 22nd century Vulcan that was a status quo power presumably wouldn't need to commit very large amounts of labour to its project.)

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Old January 11 2013, 06:53 AM   #105
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Re: After Romulus

JD wrote: View Post
As for Romulan expansionism, the whole point behind their Enterprise storyline was that Earth and her allies were a threat to their expanding empire. If their empire was that big, then there would have to be a whole lot of Romulans off planet in order to keep their territory under their control.
In the recent Romulan War novels, it was established that the interstellar civilization of the 22nd century Romulans was not only substantially older than the humans' but larger in the bargain. The only reason Earth lasted so long on its own was that the Haakonans were distracting the Romulans on the other side of their empire.
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