Let's Discuss the Romulan Bird of Prey!

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

  1. feek61

    feek61 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    The reason perhaps in "BOT" that the Romulan's can only go sub-light (which I do believe was the intent) was because it was a new design in which going faster than the speed of light would make them visible on sensors. Similar to the F-117 Stealth fighter. In this age when we have planes that move many times the speed of sound; the Stealth fighter was purposely designed to travel sub-sonic because if not it would be detected. Something similar could be (all conjecture of course) the reason why the Romulan's specifically design this "BOT" ship to travel slower the light speed because they believed it would keep them undetectable. Since the design obviously failed in "BOT" they went back to using the warp driven ships as we saw in "The Deadly Years." I just read the James Blish adaptation (which most of his adaptations were based off of original story's) and in it he mentions that the Romulan empire was just a solar system so sub-light speeds would not be a problem for the "BOT" mission.
     
  2. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Indeed, there is no problem with the ship being incapable of warp in "BoT". But there's a huge problem with Romulans being incapable of warp in "BoT", or even in the old war a century before the episode. And nowhere in the episode is it said that Romulans would lack the capacity - only that the ship would.

    Nevertheless, it's a bold and dangerous claim from Scotty that their adversary can't do warp (if his words indeed denote this).

    1) If he's capable of analyzing power emissions and therefore saying with confidence that the "simple impulse power" he detects is too little power for driving warp engines, then he's ignoring the fact that the ship has been firing very powerful weapons indeed; has been able to push those weapons to warp speed; and is using an invisibility technique Spock has speculated as requiring lots of power. He should be thinking "Perhaps I'm not reading all their power - perhaps I caught their reactor at a moment when it was throttled down".

    2) If he's saying he can tell the enemy doesn't have warp engines in the first place, he's not just ignoring the very visible nacelles but also overlooking the sketchiness of evidence resulting from the ship being invisible for most of the time! He should be thinking "I don't know much about this ship yet, and while she hasn't directly demonstrated warp drive yet, I must keep looking for her warp engines".

    He could be right, of course, in one sense or another, and this particular ship could be limited to sublight speeds due to her special mission just as you say. Only later events would show that this ship type is normally/otherwise capable of warp. But he's still too confident when he must know that Romulans as a species are warp-capable and therefore were a threat in the 22nd century and remain a threat in the 23rd!

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  3. Albertese

    Albertese Commodore Commodore

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    It's been a while since I thumbed through it, but IIRC, one of the 90's RPG's suggested that the older Romulan ships, from the Romulan War to "Balance of Terror," used an early version of the AQS warp core which was good enough to send a ship out to the mission, but, once you shut off the warp engine, the AQS would collapse and the ship was either expected to finish it's mission and die in the process (sort of a huge kamikaze philosophy) or else they were in it for the long haul home.

    Part of me thinks this is silly. Another part of me really likes it. When I hear the Commander and the Centurion chatting in BoT... "If we are the stronger, is it not time for war?"... "Must it always be so?"... "Our gift to the homeland: another war"... I get the impression these dudes are veterans who've seen a lot of action. While they may have fought in campaigns we never heard of, the episode keeps referring to "the Earth-Romulan conflict of one hundred years ago."

    Follow me here...

    If they had partial warp capability to get at Earth and attack and then had to crawl back home at sub-light... what if the Commander and the Centurion were in fact both veterans of the "Earth-Romulan conflict of one hundred years ago" and are still around thanks to time dilation from a high relativistic trip home? I used to think imagine that the Commander was born before the Centurion was, but the Centurion was stationed on the ground a lot more while the Commander was always in space flying around at very high, non-warp speeds and keeping much younger do to the twin-paradox, which would explaining why the lower ranking officer looked so much older than the Commander...

    Ah well, just an idea I had.

    As for the Romulan Empire being just the one system... I dunno, maybe. I guess that kinda makes sense. But then, to me, the Commander's line about "It is good to see the stars of home" would seem weird if he had only been a few dozen AUs away...

    --Alex
     
  4. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    In that case, Spock should have said "They're left behind." :vulcan: Instead they fell behind chasing the Enterprise because she was faster at Warp 8.

    Because they needed emergency power to jump to Warp 8. Where was the other power going to? The shields as they were getting pummeled.

    That doesn't have anything to do with the initial argument of "simple impulse" equaling Warp 5.

    In "The Deadly Years" they just needed sufficient speed. The Enterprise came to them and all they needed were ships that were in the Enterprise's path that could match Warp 5. Having a bunch of cloaked BOPs patrolling in the RNZ which also is the Enterprise's flight path isn't surprising.

    It would appear that Stocker's inaction caused the Enterprise to fly in a predictable course at a slow enough speed to be paced by a bunch of BOPs. The constant fire on the shields caused a loss of power ala "The Changeling".

    The problem here is thinking of impulse as STL-only and Warp is FTL-only. However, I'd argue that in TOS that Impulse is capable of FTL, just like Warp is capable of sublight. As to "Balance of Terror", at no point does Scotty or crew state "Simple Impulse" = Slower-Than-Light.

    Even for the run of TOS, I'm not aware of any specific dialogue that "impulse" is sublight-only. Even in "Elaan of Troyius", Kirk had to be specific with Sulu for "Sublight factor" after specifying "impulse engines". All we know is that Impulse is slower than Warp. That doesn't preclude FTL speeds, IMO.

    @Albertese - sorry about triggering the warp v. impulse issue.

    Back to the original topic... In "The Deadly Years" the BOP is also firing non-plasma torpedo weapons too. Could those additional ports be the "conventional" torpedo tubes and the ship carries mostly nuclear and energy torpedoes in addition to the main plasma weapon?
     
  5. feek61

    feek61 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    As I said earlier (post #55), in TMOST on page 191 it DOES say that "impulse engines" are STL. I believe that portion of the book came straight from the writers guide. In any case it seems clear by that quote that impulse=STL. There is no documentation that indicates anything different.
     
  6. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    That's not the same as dialogue on screen stating same though. There are things that are not accurate about the Enterprise in TMOST or writers guide. There is nothing from the filmed TOS episodes that indicates Impulse = STL.
     
  7. Avro Arrow

    Avro Arrow Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Even if the BOP is equipped with a "regular" TNG-type AQS, that may be sufficient to explain the discrepancy. If Scotty is specifically scanning for a M/AM-type engine, and not finding one, he might conclude that the impulse system is the only power source they have. Either he can't detect the AQS, or he's just scanning specifically for anti-matter, and doesn't bother doing a "broad" scan. (Would the sensors even report it? They might filter it out as an error, because how could a black hole be *inside* a ship? ;))

    (Or it could be that the Romulans used some other type of FTL propulsion at the time, rather than warp drive. They pretty much have to have some type of FTL drive, as others have mentioned above.)

    But Romulans are basically transplanted Vulcans, who have a, what, 250 - 300 year lifespan? Both the Commander and Centurion could be veterans of the Earth-Romulan war even without invoking time dilation.

    And if they attacked Earth during the war, and then tried to escape back to Romulus at STL speeds, I can't imagine FTL-capable Earth would just let them go on their way.

    Yeah, I never understood the "one system" argument, when we were shown a star map in the episode itself showing that the Empire consists of a large number of stars. (I don't know how many of these stars would have planets, but presumably at least the one labelled Romii would.)
     
  8. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Umm, no. In this model, the hero ship isn't leaving them behind. They are voluntarily falling behind, realizing the hopelessness of a chase started too late.

    ...Which is an extremely demanding intercept situation calling for high speed from the defender. It would be easier if the Enterprise were flying past them, in parallel, or even away from them.

    Otherwise agreed that "simple impulse" could be a speed falling exactly in a sweet zone where it makes the BoP tactically clumsier than Kirk's ship outside certain ambush situations but gives her interstellar legs for strategic deployment nevertheless. But that sweet zone is highly dependent on the circumstances of the intercept; in real life, defenders suffering from a speed disadvantage, even a slight one, have generally been unable to compensate with numbers of deployment patterns - say, in the Battle of Britain, or Cold War jet interceptor scenarios.

    I'd still say the better bet is to declare the ship that Scotty observed in "Balance of Terror" highly dissimilar from the ones operating in "The Deadly Years". Not structurally, not inherently, but simply because the respective ships were operating on different modes and thus confusing Scotty. Declaring all Romulan warp drive in all episodes and all (pre-TNG) eras as being this "simple impulse" stuff that's limited to some lowish warp factor isn't a practical way to proceed.

    Makes good sense. The other obvious alternative is that the plasma mortar is throttleable, though: first you fire a big fuzzy shot that has high odds of hitting something, and thus slow down the enemy, and then you throttle the thing to narrower, more devastating shots that are more difficult to aim and wouldn't work as the first stage of an intercept.

    But the third thing we should consider here is that we don't really have evidence of a variety of weapons being in use in "The Deadly Years". We see the big ball of plasma hurl towards the ship initially ("BoT" footage), and we see small bolts slam to the saucer bottom later ("Errand of Mercy" footage), but "big" and "small" are arbitrary definitions here. For all we know, the thing coming towards the camera in "BoT" is just a small fireball of "EoM" type in an "objective" side view.

    ...After all, remember that the supposed Tholian death rays looked like huge, diffuse clouds, too, when coming directly towards the Enterprise.

    Probably not. After all, stealth is likely to be the very reason the Romulans use the AQS system. They are stealth-obsessed, so their powerplants would in all likelihood be optimized for the thing as well. There would have been no way for Scotty to see the AQS if it by default is an emissionless metal box.

    But Romulus is a planet, not a star. Wouldn't the odds then be that Romii (or Rom II) is a planet as well?

    The exciting chase from the destruction of the outpost to the edge of the neutral zone consumes most of the episode, and spans one grid square on that map. This accommodates both a map depicting stars (in which case the grid square is probably something like five lightyears, so that no projection assumption causes Romulus and Romii to be to close to each other) and a map depicting planets (in which case the grid square or two represents some tactically more viable distance between two outposts).

    There are later episodes that indicate the Neutral Zone is thick enough to take some time to traverse at high warp, and that entire star systems can be located within the thickness of the Zone (rather than in the volume of space encased in the eggshell of the Zone); these would seem to dictate a star map rather than a planet map. But whether a Romulan Star Empire encased in a Zone several lightyears thick and covering at least dozens of those grid cubes would hold more than two inhabited Romulan planets remains open to debate.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  9. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    If they realized the hopelessness of a chase started too late then they did begin to chase the Enterprise. After fifteen seconds or so of chasing and falling behind and realizing that she was ten more seconds to exiting the RNZ they gave up as they reached the border. That falls in line with the timing and the dialogue. If the Romulans were faster, they could've caught the Enterprise. If the Romulans didn't bother to give chase, they were "left behind". :)

    Not really. The Romulans only needed to match Enterprise's flight path at Warp 5 and then slow down to allow the Enterprise to catch up to them before speeding back up to Warp 5 to match speed. Or alternatively, they could've accelerated to Warp 5 on a parallel course and by the time they hit Warp 5, the Enterprise caught up to them.

    True. However we do see that the plasma bolts are consistently red as fired from the BOPs and the torpedoes shown to hit the Enterprise are white. It can be argued that they are different weapons.

    In the same vein, we aren't shown the Tholian weapon from the side or from behind. If they had used the same "EOM" hit then a connection could be made but since they didn't we can assume that it would've been something red that hit the Enterprise :)

    Isn't Vulcan a planet yet we've never heard of dialogue or star map to show/speak of Vulcan's star (or if there is I'd like to see the episode.)
     
  10. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    Captain's log, Star date 1312.9. Ship's condition, heading back on impulse power only. Main engines burned out. The ship's space warp ability gone.

    Notice that in The Making of Star Trek there's the statement that the Enterprise "is powered by a space warp" which sounds rather passive than active.

    In contrass, the log entry from WNM refers exclusively to the "ship's ability" to "warp space" (by additionally "feeding" the warp engines with gamma radiation?).

    Whether natural gamma radiation, dark energy or something else our science hasn't discovered yet constitutes the "wind" for a 23rd Century starship to propel it forward obviously remains speculation, but if you seriously feel that sublight impulse power doesn't do the job, than there must be some kind of natural phenomenon that propels the ship, and adding energy to it just increases speed and forward momentum, IMHO.

    @ Timo

    The briefing scene in "Balance of Terror" is a pivotal one as the protagonists have to decide whether to risk another bloody war of the UFP with the Romulans or not. Given the obvious seriousness of the situation, we can take it in a good faith that Scotty wasn't screwing around but serious and correct when he stated "No question, Their power is simple impulse."

    Whatever facts he based his conclusion upon, these remain objectively unknown to you. If you don't like it, that's your personal preference but please stop pushing it on us as if it were an established fact, which it is not (and travel back in time to tell the producers and scriptwriters they should change the line so that people in the year 2013 wouldn't have to have a discussion about it)

    Oops...sorry! Wasn't Albertese specific that he didn't want this thread to go "impulse power versus warp power"? :rolleyes:

    Bob
     
  11. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Serious we can bet on. Correct doesn't follow.

    And to you as well. So claiming that Scotty was right is just as "objectively" baseless as claiming he was wrong. Getting upset about the possibility that the heroes could screw up is a bit 1960s TV, now isn't it?

    But yeah, let's drop the subject. Given how haphazardly the episode was thrown together, it's not going to get sorted out with just half a century of speculation...

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  12. Albertese

    Albertese Commodore Commodore

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    Yeah, I knew it was coming, I had just hoped to delay it until some other more interesting details could be discussed.

    It's all right.

    --Alex
     
  13. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    :techman: Smart strategy!

    Bob
     
  14. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    It's an interesting strawman argument. Still, Scotty at no point claims impulse is STL. On the story points, Scotty and the crew are correct:

    1. Simple Impulse is slower and allows the Enterprise to chase or run away in "The Balance of Terror" at "maximum warp".
    2. At no point does any crew or Scotty indicate that a mistake had been made in their technical analysis of the BOP.
    3. In "The Deadly Years", the BOP continues to be slower than the Enterprise when she goes to Warp 8.

    The only speculation is on our part on how fast "simple impulse" is in TOS. :)
     
  15. B.J.

    B.J. Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I happened to see this episode again over the weekend. My impression of the "simple impulse" remark was not that it was related to their speed, but their power generation. The Romulans were constantly having to decide whether to run or to fight because they didn't have enough fuel to do all that they wanted. The Enterprise usually has no such fuel limitation.

    Even in context, I think it works better relating to power generation. If your ship is faster, sure you could run away, but that doesn't mean you'd win in a fight. I think the ships are pretty evenly matched, but if the Romulans have a less efficient power generator, they'd run out of fuel first and be dead in the water.

    I also found this line interesting:
    It's their flagship? Interesting what that could possibly mean.
     
  16. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    Presumably that it's state-of-the-art Romulan technology and that it's an honor for the flagship to test the new plasma weapon and/or the cloaking device.

    However, I can't see what's so "glorious" about their mission.
    Essentially they are shooting at sitting ducks (the United Earth outposts on asteroids).

    I assume that the Romulans (like the Vulcans) felt it extremely offensive that some aliens were monitoring their "private" affairs, thus the whole mission wasn't to start a possible new war but simply remove something the Romulans considered a thorn in their side (but then, that's something Spock should have been able to understand and mention it...:rolleyes:).

    Bob
     
  17. Captain Clark Terrell

    Captain Clark Terrell Commodore Commodore

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    ^There may also have been glory in being able to enter Federation territory after so many years and cause enough of a disruption that Earth sends its own prized vessel to stop your new flagship. Your best against their best.

    --Sran
     
  18. Captain Clark Terrell

    Captain Clark Terrell Commodore Commodore

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    That is interesting. I'm not sure what it means either. Maybe the BOP wasn't completely finished when it went for its first mission, but the Praetor wanted to test it before outfitting the ship with more systems. Other vessels of its kind are seen later in the series (as well as Klingon ships outfitted with Romulan cloaking devices), so it's possible they have more features than the original ship had.

    --Sran
     
  19. publiusr

    publiusr Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I just think the RoM BoP was like the refit at the start of TMP. It wasn't ready for warp, and so only the impulse deck was active. I think it was towed near targets by a larger, but more primative vessel to observe its run.
     
  20. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    No - it's the Praetor's.

    And in the "full-blown", republican/imperial Roman model, the Praetor isn't the head of state - he's one of the following:

    - General of an army, especially in the campaign organizing phase
    - Highly positioned judge
    - Elected official for any of a range of duties
    - Provincial governor

    These folks would be highly competitive, trying to further their position and wealth by a variety of schemes, popular among them the fostering of a war with an eminently defeatable opponent.

    A Praetor might well have a relatively humble flagship for his current scheme, in comparison with the standard Republican or Imperial fare. OTOH, much would hinge on the mission of this ship, and glory would be the one decisive dividend; victory or other tactical benefit would be less important.

    OTOH, a successful Praetor would no doubt have a long string of flagships for his long string of schemes, the latest always being the proudest and finest...

    I wonder whether this particular Praetor got a boost for his career from the successful challenging and destruction of the outposts? Or a negative response to his exposing the secret Romulan capacity for invisibility to the enemy?

    Timo Saloniemi