Let's Discuss the Romulan Bird of Prey!

Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by Albertese, Jun 1, 2013.

  1. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    Many, but not all. And how could Scotty know how fast the enemy can move under cloak? He wouldn't have been able to observe the vessel under cloak, by definition - his powerplant type and capacity assessments would supposedly come from the moments the ship was briefly visible.

    Scotty could also be basing his assessment on the so far observed movements of the enemy - that is, the brief observations of the vessel's presence at various locations separated by the invisible transit runs. But that would be awfully unhelpful and speculative of the engineer, whose contribution should come from understanding the engineering aspects of the opponent. Not to mention that said movements actually support the idea of at least moderate FTL performance.

    If anything, the heroes at that point would appear to agree on the enemy ship being immensely powerful - capable of firing powerful weapons, capable of running the supposedly power-hungry cloak. While it's evident that only one of those two feats can be accomplished at a time, pairing warp drive with either of the superskills would appear to be easy enough - the Enterprise does not have such powerful weapons and her CSO is impressed by the energy requirements of the cloak, yet the Enterprise can maintain high warp, so high warp apparently does not call for such extreme power, and thus could be added to either plasma gun firing or cloaking.

    Sure, there's nothing to say that the power balance indicated in the McMaster plans couldn't be true (and I'm eager to believe said balance to really be what applies to this Romulan ship). But that's not something Scotty could divine at that point.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  2. Crisp Crinkle

    Crisp Crinkle Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2011
    Location:
    Gene's office
    ...which IMO calls into question the original line of dialog, as well. How would Scotty know that their power is only simple impulse and be so sure about it, at all?

    I think it's reasonable that Spock and Scotty are basing their opinions on not only what they observe, but what their training and experience tell them. Scotty knows that the BoP became visible to fire on the outpost, and presumably they knew how fast it was going, too. He can estimate the total power that the BoP can generate, from the assumption that the lion's share of power output was used to fire the weapon. From knowing what sort of power is needed for invisibility, I don't think it's a stupid premise that he can see that their generators just can't do that and warp at the time, especially if all the other transient observations they have fall into line with predictions according to such an envelope.
     
  3. feek61

    feek61 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2011
    Location:
    The Sunshine State
    Great discussion, insight, speculation and conclusions. Thought provoking indeed!
     
  4. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    Agreed - and by the same token, Kirk due to his experience probably knows fully well what weight to put on Scotty's brash "No question about it!" claims... They have good odds of hitting close to the mark, and that suffices.

    But if everybody tacitly understands that Scotty speaks about the limitations of the enemy when invisible, why would the discussion fail to cover whether the enemy will stay invisible? If the speed limitation is dependent on visibility, the key tactical question now would be "How to keep them invisible, and still manage to hit them?"... Stiles' comments may derail the discussion for a moment, but we soon see the arguments concluded without the issue of a visible but fast enemy addressed at all.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  5. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2012
    Location:
    USS Berlin
    I think I finally got it, sorry if you felt misunderstood last year.

    I see your point, for a tactical briefing Scotty only looks at the current "picture" of a cloaked ship. It's a little too much assuming on his / their part, that the ship will do everything to stay cloaked.

    Other than that I'd like to shift your attention on that strange "show & share" scene in the briefing room where Spock illustrates the Romulans' weapon power by smashing a piece of cast rodinium from the outpost's outer protective shield...why did they stop for the outpost collecting samples?

    Or did they actually stop by to recover some kind of unmentioned flight recorder that contained plenty of information on the Romulan ship? :confused:

    Although the Earth outposts had monitoring equipment, it apparently had limited visual range, so that the Romulan ship warped there close enough and then went invisible once coming into that range for its stealth attack.

    But if you think this through these outpost guys had a shitty job. In case a Romulan invasion fleet ever came into their visual range, all these guys could do was to alert Starfleet before being killed by such an invasion fleet. :(

    It's also somewhat strange that Hansen had been "alerted" by one of the other outposts, but didn't send out a distress signal before he himself was being attacked.

    Bob
     
  6. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Location:
    Walking distance from Starfleet HQ
    WHh wouldn't they slow down and beam in some debris in hopes of getting a hint about the "enormous power" enemy weapon? If they didn't do it, they'd be negligent.
     
  7. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    Great idea about them picking up a recorder! (I just feel Spock would have said "Telemetry suggest" rather than "Lab theorizes", then...)

    But the outposts wouldn't suffer from those limitations you worry about in a model where the enemy can warp in under cloak and the recorders never visually witnessed a warp-in. They would do perfectly fine against visible ships, at warp or impulse. So well, perhaps, that it would be deeply indoctrinated into the base commanders that no revealing transmissions be sent under any circumstances short of the Last Trump. Any conventional threat could be assessed before it came into weapons range, and a choice made on whether to tell Earth that the enemy has finally attacked in such a force as to overwhelm the bases soon, or to rely on stealth, armor and armaments and deal with the enemy without compromising that first aspect of protection.

    And yes, stopping for a while didn't appear to be a problem: the heroes were confident they could follow the invisible ship anyway. All the invisibility seemed to be good for was for fouling fine targeting; the general movements of the ship could still be followed with various sensors.

    Up until that comet encounter, that is. But the "We grow visible" scene suggests that invisibility comes in degrees, and is dependent on power allocation. Perhaps the ability of the enemy to track ship movements would be acceptable for the Romulans when the only known enemy in the vicinity had just been reduced to dust, but a dial would be turned when a new opponent was detected and the ship would grow more invisible.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  8. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2012
    Location:
    USS Berlin
    Good point, apparently they could track the Romulan ship and still collect some samples. Had the visual scanning range ever been established in comparison to the transporter range?

    Another point suggesting warp drive capability, IMHO, is the opening dialogue of BoT which I think we didn't examine last year:

    SPOCK [OC]: Still no answer from Earth Outpost number 2, Captain, and now number 3's gone silent.
    KIRK: Maintain course to Outpost 4. Keep me informed. Kirk out.


    Seconds later:

    SPOCK [OC]: Earth Outpost 4 reports they're under attack. A space vessel, identity unknown.

    Considering it took the Romulan ship apparently at least several minutes to reload, the Enterprise was obviously not in permanent touch with Outpost 3.

    Yet, I guess it's fair to assume that the outposts were separated by plenty of space between them.

    Bob
     
  9. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    The one possibility we overlook there is that the Praetor actually sent several ships, in a coordinated raid... Only, coordination of cloaked vessels must have been quite difficult, and none of the commanders could have relied on help from the others.

    Barring that alternate take, the initial minutes of the episode are certainly our best window into the speeds involved, as we see a very good graphic representation of the distances between the blinking-out outposts, and of the speed of the hero ship. Unless we assume this graphic was distorted somehow, for user convenience.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  10. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2012
    Location:
    USS Berlin
    Interesting hypothesis, but how do we rationalize this:

    STILES: These are Romulans! You run away from them and you guarantee war. They'll be back. Not just one ship but with everything they've got.

    Possible that the trail of Earth outpost destruction and the time in which it occurred did help them to arrive at some of their conclusions.

    Bob
     
  11. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    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.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  12. Ithekro

    Ithekro Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2012
    Location:
    Republic of California
    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?
     
  13. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2012
    Location:
    USS Berlin
    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.

    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
     
  14. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Location:
    Walking distance from Starfleet HQ
    From the script... (apologies if this was posted upthread).

    Oh, and...

     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2014
  15. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    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! :p

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  16. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2012
    Location:
    USS Berlin
    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
     
  17. BK613

    BK613 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2008
    Location:
    BK613
  18. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2012
    Location:
    USS Berlin
    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
     
  19. BK613

    BK613 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2008
    Location:
    BK613
    ^^ Yeah might make some interesting speculation about the Pre-Surak Diaspora if there were two major colonies founded instead of just the one...
     
  20. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2012
    Location:
    USS Berlin
    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