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Old July 18 2014, 09:16 AM   #271
Timo
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Re: Let's Discuss the Romulan Bird of Prey!

Stiles could simply be mistaken, of course - after all, only one ship was ever seen in action. A more objective analysis at a later date might indicate the likelihood of further ships on the Grassy Knoll.

In discussing our heroes' guesses on Romulan capabilities and motivations, we have to wonder what went so wrong here that the Romulans never followed up on the initial attack. Did they already achieve all their tactical and strategic goals and leave it at that? Or did the destruction of the single ship after an otherwise successful mission mean failure to achieve strategic goals? Was the decisive factor here that Starfleet was able to track the invisible ship at key points of her mission, rendering the cloak tactically useless or at least less useful than required for a war?

Personally, I think this was neither a strategic nor a technological issue, but a political one: the Praetor had high stakes on the complete success of the mission, and even the otherwise insignificant drawback of failure to return was enough of a smudge to allow his political opponents to defeat him in the domestic game. But other interpretations are probably more interesting.

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Old July 18 2014, 10:07 AM   #272
Ithekro
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Re: Let's Discuss the Romulan Bird of Prey!

Wasn't the supposed mission to test the Federation's defenses? This mission shows the Romulans that the static Federation bases are easy targets for plasma torpedoes and can be gotten around with cloaking devices.

However it also shows them that Federation starships can track and destroy Romulan Birds of Prey. This would mean that while the Romulans can operate in Federation space, any starship can find and destroy their ships without too much effort. Also that the Federation starships would appear to be faster than the Romulan vessels, thus they would need to equalize the situation. Not only to be able to get past Federation starships, but also to be able to engage them in combat on a equal footing.

I don't stay with the idea of the Romulans being confined to a single star system. It doesn't track after this episode, plus it makes them seem far less of a threat for the entire era when they seem to be styled as a major threat to the Federation. Also their would be no point in having the three powers on the "Planet of Galactic Peace" in Star Trek V if Romulus wasn't a major power.

Also there is no logic in having the Federation not know who the Romulans are if they are right there surrounding their homeworld. Even less than the logic of not knowing who they are during a space war between Earth and Romulus when you should be able to find remains in the wrecked ships or planets if their was an exchange of territory or any attempts to claim colony worlds or the like. There can always be massive explosions that make identification of the bodies difficult, or the use of drone to make there be no bodies. But I find it difficult to believe that the humans and later Federation could effectively sit on the edge of the Romulus star system and not be able to identify them as Vulcanoids in 100 years. If they were light years away or even parsecs away it would be possible to keep that from the Federation....but over the distance of roughly 50 AUs?
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Old July 18 2014, 11:26 AM   #273
Robert Comsol
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Re: Let's Discuss the Romulan Bird of Prey!

Timo wrote: View Post
Stiles could simply be mistaken, of course - after all, only one ship was ever seen in action. A more objective analysis at a later date might indicate the likelihood of further ships on the Grassy Knoll.
Possible, but let's take a look of the Romulans take of their mission:

DECIUS: Only in code, Commander. To inform our Praetor of this glorious mission.
COMMANDER: Your carelessness might have ended this "glorious" mission. You're reduced two steps in rank. Return to post.

...
COMMANDER: I think you do. No need to tell you what happens when we reach home with proof of the Earthmen's weakness. And we will have proof. The Earth commander will follow. He must. When he attacks, we will destroy him. Our gift to the homeland, another war.

Had there been other ships involved, would have every ship claimed a "glorious mission"? It sounded like a unique "achievement" to me. And it appears that a new war solely depended on what this particular Romulan ship did or failed to do next.

Ithekro wrote: View Post
I don't stay with the idea of the Romulans being confined to a single star system.
And you don't have to, The Making of Star Trek (page 256) is very specific on the matter: "While little is known of the Empire as a whole, we do know that it encompasses several solar systems."

It then would appear that "ROMII" is either the star system "Romii" or "Romulus II".

Bob
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Old July 18 2014, 11:43 AM   #274
Maurice
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Re: Let's Discuss the Romulan Bird of Prey!

From the script... (apologies if this was posted upthread).

12 INSERT - SHIP'S VIEWING SCREEN

On which we see the stars moving past. The SHIMMER
DISSOLVE to a gridded map of the heavens, showing to
one side a curve of stations marked "OUTPOST ONE (through
ELEVEN"). Beyond this curve, a curved space marked
"Neutral Zone:, and extending off the map beyond that,
a star system of which one of the planets is marked
"ROMULUS"... the entire area is marked "ROMULAN STAR
EMPIRE."
Oh, and...

91 EXT. SPACE - COMET TAIL

The Enterprise suddenly zooms into sight through the
comet's semi-transparent tail -- cutting loose with
energy "blips" from its phaser weapons.
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Last edited by Maurice; July 18 2014 at 11:58 AM.
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Old July 18 2014, 09:37 PM   #275
Timo
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Re: Let's Discuss the Romulan Bird of Prey!

Yes, we could argue that there was certain writer intent in "BoT" that later got contradicted, regarding the size of the RSE. But "BoT" already seems to contain a contradiction of such intent in itself...

Isolated behind the NZ for a full century, the Commander and the Centurion still manage to have a shared history of glorious battles. A century previously, a Vulcanoid man looking exactly like the Commander here hadn't even been born! So the suggestion is there that the NZ-constrained volume actually contains enough star systems for military campaigns - and we can argue that one isn't "enough", because the Commander is an apparent veteran of starship fighting.

On the other hand, we need not assume that the area hemmed in by the RNZ contains anything else besides the Romulan Star Empire. Starting with this episode already, we learn that Romulans are psychologically perfectly capable of having wars with themselves!

Timo Saloniemi
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Old July 18 2014, 11:09 PM   #276
Robert Comsol
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Re: Let's Discuss the Romulan Bird of Prey!

Well, The Making of Star Trek was written after "The Balance of Terror", so - having no evidence indicating otherwise - I have to assume that Stephen E. Whitfield (hopefully) talked with the producers and what they said made its way into the book.

So it looks like a premise change.

Bob
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Old July 18 2014, 11:25 PM   #277
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Re: Let's Discuss the Romulan Bird of Prey!

On the term "Romii" I ran across this tidbit on a Google search some years ago and bookmarked it (note 14):

Google books link about Romii
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Old July 18 2014, 11:34 PM   #278
Robert Comsol
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Re: Let's Discuss the Romulan Bird of Prey!

That's a really cool find, thanks for sharing. I vote for "Romii" as it is obviously another allusion / analogy, "east" of Rome aka Romulus.

I love this thread, it's like a bottle of good wine. The older it gets, the better it gets, too, IMHO.

Bob
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Old July 19 2014, 10:50 AM   #279
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Re: Let's Discuss the Romulan Bird of Prey!

^^ Yeah might make some interesting speculation about the Pre-Surak Diaspora if there were two major colonies founded instead of just the one...
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Old July 19 2014, 01:56 PM   #280
Robert Comsol
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Re: Let's Discuss the Romulan Bird of Prey!

Maybe ongoing interstellar wars between the "Vulcan" Romulans (TOS) and the "forehead bump" Romulans (TNG)?

Possible that the "forehead bump" Romulans from Romii eventually took over Romulus by the TNG era and the "Vulcan" Romulans were reduced to second class citizens. Just my 0.02 $.

Bob
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Old July 20 2014, 07:11 AM   #281
Ithekro
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Re: Let's Discuss the Romulan Bird of Prey!

The Romulans still need to be considered a viable threat in the TOS era. Having them restricted to a very small area of space with sub-light drives is really a non-threat to the Federation, or even any Federation allies if it would take a decade or more to get to the nearest non-Romulan system.

Having lower powered FTL drives is fine. Even if they are only up to Enterprise era warp factors, they could at least be a threat to the surrounding area.
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Old July 20 2014, 08:57 AM   #282
Mytran
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Re: Let's Discuss the Romulan Bird of Prey!

I knew this sort of thing had been discussed before, but I didn't realise it was on this very thread - and almost a year to the day, at that!

Mytran wrote: View Post
The concept of a single-system Romulan Empire is really attractive and works within the initial episode, Balance of Terror. The name of the war, the "Earth-Romulan conflict" also makes sense, since it was one solar system vs another (albeit with some allies here and there). No need to try and explain this away in terms of the Federation.

Unfortunately, that is where the theory runs out of good ground. Every later encounter seems to refute the notion - Commodore Stocker takes a "short cut" across the NZ to reach Starbase 10, an absurb concept (in interstella terms) if the RNZ merely surrounds a single star - you are effectively cutting through a solar system! Season 3 episodes have the Enterprise actually crossing to the other side of the RNZ, in one instance getting almost instantly surrounded by enemy vessels, in another spending several hours on a hitherto uncharted planet.

I have not seen the TAS episodes recently, but from earlier discussions they don't seem the help the "single-system" theory either.
It's great to see that the original script supported the "single system" Romulan Star Empire model. It matches well with the "Earth / Romulan War" remarks in the dialogue as being fought between two space faring species.
However, even by the time that the famous schematic was produced, this idea seems to have dropped by the wayside - the RNZ is less of a circular permiter and more of a wobbly line between two superpowers - which is handy for future stories!
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Old July 20 2014, 09:48 AM   #283
Ithekro
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Re: Let's Discuss the Romulan Bird of Prey!

If they had been a one used enemy, Romulus as a cut off world after Earth's victory might make sense. But is still would make the lack of knowledge about just who the Romulas are even more odd if Starfleet has been sitting right inside their home system for the last 100 years. Their sensors tend to have good enough range for that sort of thing.

Also the concept of the Nuetral Zone seem more like a draw happened, rather than a total victory one might expect to cut off Romulus from the galaxy. From the "known" galaxy would allow for a simple curved border that goes away eventually as it reaches unknown space. Though this also leaves the other side of the Star Empire "open"
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Old July 20 2014, 09:36 PM   #284
publiusr
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Re: Let's Discuss the Romulan Bird of Prey!

That makes sense.
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Old July 21 2014, 08:51 PM   #285
Timo
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Re: Let's Discuss the Romulan Bird of Prey!

Also the concept of the Nuetral Zone seem more like a draw happened, rather than a total victory one might expect to cut off Romulus from the galaxy.
Dunno - after all, apparently only one side of the Zone has outposts monitoring it!

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