Federation Law of restricting cloaking device

Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by Brainsucker, Sep 7, 2012.

  1. Brainsucker

    Brainsucker Commander Red Shirt

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    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.
     
  2. Methos

    Methos Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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

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

    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

    M
     
  3. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    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".

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  4. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    Perhaps the Federation in return for promosing not to develop cloaking devices, got the border drawn closer to what they wanted.
     
  5. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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
     
  6. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    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.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  7. Mister_Atoz

    Mister_Atoz Commander Red Shirt

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    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.
     
  8. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Unless the cloak burns yeomen for fuel, I can't see the compromises not being accepted and embraced. The benefits are so immense!

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  9. Unicron

    Unicron Continuity Spackle Moderator

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    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.
     
  10. Brainsucker

    Brainsucker Commander Red Shirt

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    So it is because of a piece treaty. The question is why the Federation accepted it, unless they lost to the war.
     
  11. Mage

    Mage Commodore Commodore

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    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.
     
  12. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    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...

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  13. Dukhat

    Dukhat Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    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.
     
  14. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    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.
     
  15. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  16. Hando

    Hando Commander Red Shirt

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    I vote for this. Federation citizens and the Federation in general has adapted an appeasement policy from the get go.
    The other side can break treaties as many times as they want, but there is just no response from the Federation.
    Kzinti, Romulans, Tholians, Tzinkati are still around, still are enemies although being defeated by the Federation.

    I suppose the Treaty of Algeron also contains a clear definition of a Cloaking device, and only this technology is prohibited in the Federation.

    Why do you think civilian ships are allowed in. I would say evidence says otherwise, as Romulans were able to completely isolate themselves for a century and later again for about half a century.
     
  17. Unicron

    Unicron Continuity Spackle Moderator

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    One major problem with this possibility is that the Federation has the Klingons as allies, and the Klingons have cloaks. Obviously they're not going to lend them at will (as seen in cases like "The Defector" and "Unification"), but it does provide a rather convenient loophole which the Romulans don't have an easy answer for.

    That's not to say Picard's concern was invalid, cause it wasn't. Just saying the alliance is a huge advantage when it comes to certain things.
     
  18. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Because the Romulans only isolated themselves from the FEDERATION. They apparently spent most of that time playing cloak and dagger games with the Klingons and the Cardassians.

    More to the point, Starfleet is and has always been a sort of closed loop that doesn't interact much with the non-Starfleet operators of the galaxy. Part of this is because they primarily "explore strange new worlds" and thus have an inherent tendency to avoid places that have already been explored and colonized; the only times they ever operate near civilization is when something has either gone horribly wrong or is in danger of doing so unless they intervene. Mainly for this reason, civilian space traffic is usually pretty far below Starfleet's radar, and traffic in the neutral zone, doubly so. Starfleet officers have themselves taken advantage of this from time to time to get access to places that would normally be offlimits to them (in "Birthright" Worf actually charters a shuttle to take him to a Romulan prison camp in hopes of finding his father).

    Moreover, it's just the political logic of it all. It's said that any violation of the neutral zone would constitute an act of war; that can't POSSIBLY apply to civilians, since Starfleet could in no way be held legally responsible for the actions of civilian captains outside of their chain of command, nor does that appear to be the point of a region of space called the Neutral Zone. Neutral meaning it should theoretically be accessible by anyone, any time, for any reason; the only people who can't go there are Starfleet and the Romulan fleet.
     
  19. Mars

    Mars Commander Red Shirt

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    So the Federation signed a treaty that applied different rules to the Federation than the Romulan or Klingon Empires. This is kind of like the United States agreeing not to use submarines while allowing the Soviets to continue using them during the Cold War. I can't imagine the Federation Representative being well thought of for signing this treaty. Can you imagine how many Starfleet personnel could have lost their lives when their ship came under attack by a cloaked Klingon or Romulan vessel, and those that survived cursing under their breath the signers of that treaty that put them at this disadvantage to begin with?
     
  20. Mars

    Mars Commander Red Shirt

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    I guess the cloaking device offers no tactical advantage since the Federation has managed to survive, this is the equivalent of the US signing a treaty that does not allow it but allows its adversaries to use submarines.