Let's Discuss the Romulan Bird of Prey!

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

  1. zDarby

    zDarby Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Yes and no. I do not think the lab experiments we've done have been the exact fusion reactions that turn hydrogen into nickel. But without exception every nuclear experiment has followed the tenants of special relativity, to the best of our abilities to measure --as much as ten significant digits! And there have millions of such experiments.

    And they jibe quite well with our observations of solar and stellar energy output... At least, as far as I know.

    Since the difference in mass between any nuclear isotope and the same number of protons as there are nucleons in that isotope is less than 1%, I feel very confident in my statement.

    IMHO, absolutely. And probably grav genorators that could both trap and extract energy from neutrons, neutrinos and other uncharged particles.... Which is just to say they'd be more efficient at extracting that <1%. And could also lead to artificial quantum singularities.
     
  2. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    This works for me, in fact for many years I've grown closer and closer to thinking of this as the best explanation for what's going on with the Romulans during the 23rd century.

    The Federation trounced the Romulans so badly in the 22nd century that they wound up beating them back into the confines of their own star system. Either through a heroic last stand or just the Federation's unwillingness to get stuck in a military quagmire, they stopped short of actually invading Romulus and instead forced them to accept an armistice in which they were not allowed to venture beyond the limits of their inner solar system. War-weary Romulus spent almost a hundred years fighting civil wars and internal schisms until a new Praetor managed to again unify the entire planet enough that breaking the century-old armistice line finally became a serious possibility.

    In that sense, the Enterprise Incident would indicate the Romulans had become a Klingon proxy state in their cold war, in which case their new cloaking device is basically the Star Trek counterpart of the Cuban Missile Crisis (with Romulus being, effective, space cuba). Years later in TWOK the neutral zone is suddenly mentioned as being the border to KLINGON space, and the academy simulator depicts the neutral zone as a roughly spherical zone of space that can be circumvented by simply flying around it; yet the location given for it is "Gamma Hydra," same system as in "The Deadly Years." In TUC, we see the Romulan ambassador being inexplicably cozy with the Federation president and also very keen on starting a war between the Federation and the Klingonswhich kinda suggests Romulus was a) not at all a threat to the Federation and b) trying really hard to get out from under the Klingons' thumb. This suggests to me that during most of TOS -- possibly even during Balance of Terror -- Romulus wasn't an independent operator and was actually a subject of the Klingon Empire

    So the neutral zone encloses a portion of Romulus' home star system, probably not too far outside of Romulus' actual orbit. I'd also guess that Romulus orbits a smaller member of a triple or quadruple star system in relatively tight orbits, so that the nearest star from Romulus -- the dominant one, maybe -- isn't more than a couple hundred AUs away. Gamma Hydra would be another star on a different orbit that comes close enough to Romulus that at certain times of the year a starship might have to cut through the neutral zone to get to the nearest starbase. The Bird of Prey would be a smaller native-Romulan design, possibly the Romulans' attempt to prove to the Klingons that they could be valuable allies against the Federation despite the fact that they lacked the resources to build advanced warp drives or advanced starships of their own. The mission was evidently successful enough that two years later the Romulans were seen operating Klingon warships, and two decades after that were implied to have a strong Klingon military presence within their system.

    Then in TUC, the Klingon Empire falls and they recall their people to the home world to deal with the Praxis Disaster. The Romulans inherit a wealth of technology the Klingons left behind when they pulled out, and in short order proceed to not only break out of the neutral zone but eventually to expand there sphere of influence to enclose a large number of star systems and even manage to force the Federation to promise not to develop cloaking technology; the Narendra, Khitomer systems are either part of Romulus' local star group or close enough that Romulans would have seized them from the Klingons on general principle.

    Sorry for the long post, ya'll, but my conclusion is this: the Romulans have always been sneaky and troublesome, but until the years immediately prior to TNG I doubt their "empire" was ever much larger than a single star system. The Bird of Prey may have some of FTL capability via impulse drive or some warp-like propulsion method, but Balance of Terror most likely takes place within a single star system, and that system is the one the Romulans call home.
     
  3. Tomalak

    Tomalak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    That just doesn't tally with what's going on in the TNG era though. It's set less than a century after TOS and the films, and the Romulans have been reclusive for virtually the entire time. There is a big question mark about what occurred with the Tomed Incident and the Treaty of Algeron, the result of which seemed to be the Federation disavowed any development of cloaking technology, and in return the Romulans would leave them alone.

    But at the same time, there seems to be a series of conflicts with the Klingons, including Narendra III and Khitomer. Starfleet was aware of these events, so the Romulans weren't completely reclusive.

    That map in Balance of Terror clearly depicts the "Romulan Star Empire", which is an area full of stars. It's exactly what it appears to be, a large, galactic power, potent enough to be a very real threat to the Federation should war break out. It depicts the capital star system of Romulus, and their second most important system in the vicinity, Romii. It's like a map of the Federation with Earth and Vulcan marked. The neutral zone was always depicted as a buffer between the Romulans and the Federation along their shared border.

    As for the "neutral zone" in the Kobayashi Maru simulation, it doesn't seem to be a buffer zone, because it's full of Klingon ships ready to pounce on any Federation intruder. It's clearly established by treaty though, which suggests to me it's an area of space that Starfleet has agreed not to enter with their Starships. It's "neutral" in the sense that no armed Starfleet ships are allowed in it. If they do, the Klingons are well within their rights to blow them out of the stars. Maybe there's a similar area that the Klingons aren't allowed in? Archanis perhaps? Disputed worlds that the other side has agreed not to militarise, but is open to trade from both worlds. That would be more in the spirit of the Organian Treaty, such as Sherman's Planet. The "Federation Neutral Zone" is referred to by Kruge I think, so it's possible that the Mutara Sector is in this area. Then again, in TUC it sounds just like a buffer zone again, though it's possible it changed in the years between TWOK and TUC.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2013
  4. Albertese

    Albertese Commodore Commodore

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    I like Crazy Eddie's approach actually. It's certainly a new way to look at it for me. It does make the Ambassador Nanclus' presence in TUC to make a bit more sense. But I still have to wonder about a couple things: What's the deal with the Khitomer accords and the Narendra III business? also Why would the Enterprise crew in BoT be shaking in their boots so much if the Romulans were so thoroughly beaten. I got the impression that a war with these guys would be seriously bad news for the whole UFP.

    Hmm... food for thought.

    --Alex
     
  5. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    As I said, Khitomer is stated as being close to "the Romulan border" but is also described by Azetbur as a "neutral site." In that case it's probably within within a couple hundred AUs of Romulus, probably orbiting one of the companions of its multiple star system.

    Don't know about Narendra, but it's shown to be an old Klingon colony two hundred years earlier which suggests the Romulans may have simply annexed the colony when they were expanding out of their home system.

    The war with Imperial Japan was seriously bad news for the United States despite the fact that we utterly pwned them and nuked two of their cities.

    Picture the Pacific Theatre after World War II if imperial Japan had survived the war intact but otherwise contained -- like Iraq after the Gulf War while still clinging to the creeping social militarism that lead them to try and invade everyone in the first place.


    Only with respect to the Federation. They've apparently been VERY aggressive against the Klingons and the Cardassians during that time and have developed a surprisingly intense rivalry with the Breen. By the time they got to that point they would have been out from under the Klingon umbrella for a few decades; their expansionist period could have been a more localized affair that didn't involve the Federation at all EXCEPT for a violent clash when Romulus tried to annex the Tomed System.

    And for all we know, the Romulans call themselves that because their head of state is the Star Emperor.:vulcan:

    On the other hand, Kirk's log entry describes the neutral zone as a buffer "between Romulus and Remus and the rest of the galaxy." More to the point, Enterprise is able to travel the distance between two outposts in just a matter of minutes, which would suggest -- based on the map -- that Romulus isn't much more than half an hour away from the neutral zone at maximum warp.

    More likely that the Klingon ships would be sitting on the INSIDE of the zone and would have rushed into it themselves to engage a Federation ship that had entered it.

    Otherwise that sort of runs contrary to the basic definition of "neutral" if only Klingons are allowed in there; technically it wouldn't be "the neutral zone," but "the Klingon zone" or simply "Klingon space."
     
  6. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    "Romulus and Remus and the rest of the galaxy..."

    Umm, where is Remus on the star map? Is it in the Romulus or the Romii star system? :D
     
  7. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Remus is in opposition right now. Romii is Romulus' moon. ;)
     
  8. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    If only that star map was like any of the system maps that showed the orbital paths. Where do you know that Romii is Romulus' moon?
     
  9. Tomalak

    Tomalak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Romulus being close to the border doesn't preclude there being an enormous Empire behind them. It seems perverse to suggest the Romulus were one planet, surrounded by Federation bases, given the way they've always been depicted as serious threats to the Federation and the Klingons. The intention always seems to have been to have them as equals.

    Far from Cuba in your analogy, they are China. It's possible Nanclus' presence in TUC means there was a period of d├ętente between the Feds and the Romulus. Like the Soviets and the Chinese, the once-allied Klingons and Romulus now hate each other more than either distrust the Federation. So we get something like Kissinger's triangular diplomacy, the fruits of which are a short-lived Planet of Galactic Peace on Nimbus III.
     
  10. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    We never ever hear of Romii again, so who the hell knows?:rommie:

    For one thing, they were never equals for the entire run of TOS. The first time they encounter them it's a battle of wills with Enterprise being both much faster and better armed than its opponent (unsurprisingly, since Balance of Terror is pretty much an adaptation of "The Enemy Below"). We only encounter the Romulans two other times, and in both cases ONLY because the Enterprise blunders into the neutral zone for no good reason and, furthermore, only pose a threat by virtue of their superior numbers.

    The Romulans aren't a threat to the Federation so much as they are an incredibly xenophobic and militaristic species that jealously guards their border against intruders. The new cloaking device represents a POTENTIAL threat due to Romulus' proximity to Earth, but then -- and here's the kicker -- we never actually see the Klingons using this technology on their battle cruisers until years later, in the 24th century. It's very possible the cloaking device itself remained a purely Romulan technology during the 23rd century and that, furthermore, the Klingons were never able to figure out how to retrofit it to their own ships and were forced to use Romulan designs for their stealth missions. Put it simply: in TOS and the TOS movies, Romulus is not ITSELF a threat to the Federation except as a base for the Klingons to launch stealth attacks.

    Except that unlike Cuba, China never actually posed a threat to the United States.:p

    Also, there is not and has never been an embargo against China; Romulan Ale, in particular, is illegal in the Federation, but like its cousin the Cuban Cigar is popular enough that people still enjoy it in the privacy of their own homes or when trying to impress visiting diplomats at state dinners.
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2013
  11. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    Since you don't know, Romii could just as well be a star system on that star map. The lack of orbital lines as seen in other star system maps in TOS would point to a map of stars, not planets and moons, IMO.

    The same could be said for the Klingons in TOS as well. A single Klingon Battlecruiser wasn't a match for the Enterprise as well.

    Between 1949-1969:
    "The United States cut off trade and orchestrated an international embargo of China."

    http://afe.easia.columbia.edu/special/china_1950_us_china.htm
     
  12. Tomalak

    Tomalak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah I was going to say that failing to recognise the Peoples' Republic for decades, ringing them with nukes and SEATO, and the restriction of trade was pretty aggressive on the USA's part.
     
  13. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Of course it was a match. They just lost.

    I seem to recall that embargo was ignored by just about everyone, including -- ironically -- the United States.

    Aggression which AFAIK China never reciprocated. Which, again, is more than could be said for Cuba, which was ALSO a proxy of the Soviet bloc but unlike China was actually used as a strategic platform to threaten the United States militarily. Overall, the point would be that the Klingons seemed to have used the Romulans as a base from which to launch attacks against the Federation, first by using the Romulans as a proxy (providing them with Klingon warships and weapons technology) and later -- after the Romulans undoubtedly proved less than cooperative -- by launching those attacks themselves.
     
  14. feek61

    feek61 Captain Captain

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    A big problem with the theory that the Romulan Star Empire is small (confined to a system or two) is what happened in "The Way to Eden." The space hippies divert the Enterprise into Romulan space and they seem to travel a ways in there and stay a bit yet there is never any sign of a Romulan ship or patrol or any sort of reaction to some sort of early warning system. You could almost believe that the RSE was small with all prior contacts that we saw in the show because every time they went into the neutral zone they almost immediately made contact with the Romulans. The lack of contact of ANY Romulans in "The Way to Eden" seems to indicate a much larger area than just a few systems.
     
  15. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Plus, later episodes in the spinoffs (including the immediate TAS) reinforce this impression; there's even a star system inside the actual Zone, between UFP and Romulan spaces, in "All Good Things.." - the Devron system, out of limits to both Picard and Tomalak until they mutually agree to ignore the peace treaty.

    Whether this deviation from the apparent intent of "Balance of Terror" was a good dramatic choice is debatable. We can also argue whether it happened by design or by accident. But Romulan space covering lots of star systems is now a solid given. What is less clear is whether Romulus, Remus, Romii and the comet are at short (impulse) or long (warp) distance from the Federation space; they could simply represent the extreme edge of a vast star empire, with the big bulge of Romulan holdings pointing away from the Federation.

    The one thing speaking against this latter model is the thickness of the Neutral Zone witnessed in the map of the original episode. If the thickness is to be uniform, then one grid square on the map must be enough to contain an entire star system at least, and wide enough to require at least one hour of travel at high warp by a modern Warbird in the TNG episode "The Enemy". If the thickness is not uniform, we require a pretty impressive explanation for this curious fact!

    Then again, a stretch of border immediately adjacent to the Romulan home system might receive special treatment. Possibly this is akin to the inter-Korean border at Panmunjeom, with the otherwise quite broad border exclusion zone locally limited to a line on the floor of a guarded building.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  16. zDarby

    zDarby Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    I don't see a single Romulan system as being any kind of threat to the Federation.

    The feeling of the Romulan encounters in TOS is one of controlled fear: they're a serious threat, even if the BAT-BOP was no match for the Enterprise, a war with them would be protracted and costly... and any miss-step on Enterprise's part would cause such a war. That's not the attitude Kirk would project for a one system species, as such a species simply would not have the resources or manpower to be a threat.

    I would make similar arguments about a non-FTL Romulan Empire.

    And I don't see the Federation sitting back and doing nothing while the Romulans are effectively occupied by the Klingons.
     
  17. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    LOL. If they were a match they would've just charged in on the crippled Enterprise in "Elaan of Troyius". Instead they played it safe by testing the waters to be sure she was crippled. And at least 8 Klingon ships couldn't take out the Enterprise, allowing her to escape in "Errand of Mercy". Yeah, quite a match.

    Uh huh... :rolleyes: :D
     
  18. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Which they eventually did.

    You're forgetting that the whole point of sabotaging the ship in the first place was so that Enterprise' destruction would look like an accident. Shooting them down with disruptor fire was an unavoidable plan-B.
     
  19. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    While it's true the Klingons or the Romulans never dared challenge the Enterprise with worse than 3:1 odds, I wouldn't use the above example as evidence. The Klingons had little motivation to prevent the hero ship from fleeing in that episode; a cowardly flight would be a victory for them, both tactically and psychologically.

    Here I'd argue that the Plan B was a desperate and doomed attempt at containing the damage from the failed sabotage plot, and that it never had a chance of success. Except of course the Klingons didn't really know the sabotage had failed, not until the Enterprise fired back - at which point the Klingons immediately cut and run. So the idea that no Klingon would dare challenge a Constitution without having at least two wingmen still stands.

    ...But possibly only because the midget nation full of evil was more committed to fighting than the UFP was. North Korea isn't a military threat to anybody but the citizens of Seoul, really, but that doesn't make it any less a threat to world peace. So what if ultimate victory against the threat is completely and automatically assured? The devastation of the first strike is still too much of a deterrent for bringing the imbalance of power to bear against the threat.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  20. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Neither do I. That's kinda my point.

    And yet this has been true of North Korea for almost 50 years despite that country's incredibly small size and its complete lack of ability to actually attack America with anything more substantial than harsh words. It is also true of Iran, in similar ways and for similar reasons.

    Rather than being a large and powerful empire that could actually threaten the Federation, Romulus appears instead to be a dangerous and unpredictable rogue state that cannot be trusted to play nice unless they are fully and decisively contained.

    Kirk, for one, has overturned whole civilizations for less.

    FTL is a simple enough technology that I doubt the Romulans would be unaware of it or unable to manufacture it themselves. But in Balance of Terror, they don't seem to be using it all that effectively, and it's probably because the entire episode takes place within a single solar system.

    Prime Directive sucks like that.

    Of course, considering Ambassador Nonclus' presence in the President's office, I doubt they DID sit back and do nothing. Nonclus probably represents a government-in-exile that the Federation has been hoping to install there if and when Klingon occupation comes to an end, enlisting Fderation support in liberating Romulus with the understanding that the newly victorious government would bring Romulus into the Federation (hence the President treats Nonclus almost like a Federation member and even lets him sit in on Colonel Wests' "clean their chronomters" briefing) That the Ambassador was later implicated in the Cartwright Conspiracy would neatly explain why that deal ultimately fell through.