Let's Discuss the Romulan Bird of Prey!

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

  1. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    Or Nanclus could simply be bringing promises of Romulan aid (cloaking devices for rescuing Kirk from the heart of the Klingon Empire?) to one side of the upcoming war, or at least promises of neutrality in such a conflict - thereby facilitating the conflict in the first place.

    After all, for some reason, the Feds and the Klingons had failed to launch into an open war in the decades following Organia, but also in the decades preceding Organia. A balance of terror probably existed there, then, and the Romulans taking sides (or abstaining) might be the one thing that could upset the balance. Nanclus would promise the Federation certain victory, while some other Romulan would promise the very same thing to the Klingons; war would come; and after the dust settled, Romulans would win.

    Remember that in this three-party conspiracy, everybody must have believed that their side would win and the other two would lose - but the cabal could only be held together by everybody claiming that at least one of the others would triumph in addition. A third party would be an utterly vital element here, as it would be rather impossible for Cartwright to convince Chang that the Feds would help start the war so that both sides could win! (Sure, there's that universal fear of soldiers that peace will make them unemployed, but that wouldn't be enough to drive the conspiracy; a hope of victory must have been an ingredient there.)

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  2. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Location:
    Your Mom
    I don't see how that would be a problem. Even with warp drive, space is very big; if the Romulans had detected the Enterprise penetrating the zone it still would have taken them a couple of minutes to get a patrol ship to investigate, and Enterprise wasn't in Romulan space for nearly long enough for them to make the interception. The other "quickly intercepted" encounters were probably more dumb luck than the Romulans' being incredibly savvy at border control (similar thing happens in TAS, where the Romulans take quite a bit of time to intercept the Enterprise despite the fact that they knew ahead of time that their spy was getting ready to lure them in there).

    Speaking of TAS, there's one other point to remember: Carter Winston, disguised as Kirk, orders Enterprise to lay in a direct course for Ratar-III, through the neutral zone. This would seem to imply that Carter had picked a location on the other side of it and that in order to follow his orders Sulu would have to plot a course that takes the Enterprise directly through the zone and then out the other side.

    By TNG, though, we'd be seeing the Romulans after over half a century of modernization and expansion having come out from the Klingon Empire's brutal umbrella. By that time they would have claimed dozens or hundreds of star systems and the new neutral zone would be redrawn along a mutual compromise between Romulus and the Federation for a list of worlds that neither side will try to annex. In the 24th century, particularly, the neutral zone doesn't seem to actually enclose all of Romulan space the way it does in the 23rd and it's entirely possible to reach Federation space by simply flying around it (which they seem to do in "Face of the Enemy").

    The new neutral zone also seems to have a larger number of outposts than the old, and Romulan space is now large enough that it shares a border with Klingon and Cardassian space at two different points. Even if you don't buy the interpretation that the 23rd century empire was confined to a single (maybe multiple star?) system, it's just as apparent that the Empire was quite a bit larger and ALOT more powerful by Picard's time.
     
  3. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Location:
    Your Mom
    True, but then he wouldn't be standing there in the President's office giving legal advice while the Klingon ambassador barking about the extradition of Kirk. That would earn him at least one pointed "What the fuck are YOU doing here?" remark.

    What's significant is that nobody thinks it's odd for Nonclus to be in that office or to be present for that confidential briefing. Relations between the Federation and Romulus were never THAT good.

    Makes sense either way. Nonclus would have wanted the Klingons to get the hell off of his planet one way or the other and having the Federation crush them in a one-sided war is a good way to accomplish that. More importantly, it would have exhausted the Federation to the point that Romulus' long-awaited coming out party would be that much sweeter.

    As it stands, they were able to break out anyway after the Klingon Empire fell, but by all accounts they were never able to really threaten the Federation until the Tomed Incident many years later. It wasn't the decisive victory they'd hoped for, but it DID result in the Federation abstaining from using cloaking technology.
     
  4. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    And indeed ENT "These Are the Voyages" confirms that the RNZ was renegotiated as part of the Treaty of Algeron in 2311.

    However, ST:NEM then indicates that the particular region of the RNZ shown in the "BoT" map remains unaltered in a late 24th century floor mosaic, for the relevant part. That is, the thickness of the RNZ relative to the dot-to-dot distances on the original map has not changed. All respect to preservation of ancient art and whatnot - but would it be plausible that the Romulan Senate would continue to feature artwork depicting a political situation that is significantly less advantageous to Romulus than the true, current one?

    This sort of suggests that the dialogue-confirmed renegotiation did not actually alter the thickness of the RNZ, and that it could always have accommodated entire star systems even if it did not necessarily yet accommodate Devros in TOS.

    It seems to me the Romulans have a way of flying around it in episodes like "Tin Man", "The Next Phase" and "Paradise" and perhaps "Eye of the Needle" as well, since Romulan presence outside the RNZ goes unexplained there. But in "Face of the Enemy", Romulan penetration out of confinement is actually discussed, and Troi claims Tal'Shiar codes will make it possible to avoid detection within UFP territory. This is never put to a test, because the Romulans already meet the E-D before launching deeper into UFP space - so the indications are that the Romulans had previously successfully escaped from the RNZ into UFP space where the E-D now justifiably dwells, and that this was all due to nothing but good cloaking discipline.

    The idea that the RNZ is made impenetrable by tachyon-beam sensors is thus actually refuted in the very episode that people generally attribute it to!

    Hmm... Generally, visual communications don't reveal much of the surroundings. And in any case, the President would probably cut communications for the duration of consulting Sarek and Nanclus. After these consultations, the Klingon impatiently says he's waiting for the answer - a phrase consistent with various cases of temporarily cut communications.

    That is neither here nor there, though, as Nanclus could quite plausibly use his diplomatic position as a cover for his presence, hiding his actual political role. There may well be Romulan diplomats, even ambassadors, in the Klingon Empire as well; that alone is no indication of a close alliance. Indeed, even the mutual hatred between the Cardassians and the Breen didn't stop the former from having an embassy on the homeworld of the latter (unless that was some sort of perverse humor by Dukat in "Indiscretion", considering the complications of the whole Breen homeworld thing).

    There's nothing odd as such about him being present when the Klingons call the President, though. The secret briefing in turn is secret. And that IMHO is well explained by the Romulans falsely providing aid to the Feds, and possibly to the Klingons, as part of their plot to ruin both.

    Interestingly, ST:INS would have us believe that Romulans went from "thugs" to an "empire" around this time; since nothing much else is known to have changed about them, the "empireness" might come simply from them engaging in open diplomacy with their enemies for the first time.

    Also interestingly, Kor would in "Blood Oath" boast of a victory against the Romulans in a timeframe preceding this movie; if there ever was an alliance between the Klingons and the Romulans, it would seem to have gone sour in the mid-2270s, making it plausible for Nanclus to bring messages of goodwill to the UFP in ST6.

    Final intrigue comes from the fact that Nanclus and Sarek share a sash color and a seating sector at Khitomer. Also, the background colors of flags are telling: UFP flag corresponds to the blue UFP sash, Klingon flag (the Nazi-alluding red-white-black one is seen here for the first time, I think) corresponds to their red sash, while both the Romulan Bird of Prey and the Vulcan IDIC are seen on yellow background in flags and banners. Is there something going on with a political block involving all Vulcanoids, despite Vulcan's supposed continuing membership in the UFP?

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  5. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2010
    If you're calling the two meek high warp passes at the Enterprise to test whether she could fight "charging in" then, No. They did not.

    The Klingons clearly didn't want to go head-to-head with a fully-powered Enterprise. They didn't get their courage to charge into the Enterprise to destroy her until they were certain she couldn't fight back.
     
  6. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2010
    The other thing to consider is "The Enterprise Incident". If we're talking about the BOT Map as being of inside a star system and it only being several AU across (because of the comet) then when the Enterprise scans out across a whole Parsec (and found nothing) it should've picked up Romulus/Romii as well.
     
  7. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Location:
    Your Mom
    It's a mosaic, not a strategic chart. It was probably installed on the senate floor a hundred years earlier when Romulus was finally unified enough to try to break out of isolation again.

    There's something to be said for nostalgia, especially when you consider that most of those senators were probably youngsters when Balance of Terror went down. It wouldn't be ancient to them, it would be a reminder of how far they've come in their own lifetimes.

    Actually, "Face of the Enemy" mentions the Federation's border protection grids which are designed to detect cloaked ships. It doesn't seem they were worried about the neutral zone so much as the security perimeter around the Federation itself. That suggests to me that while the neutral zone is a POLITICAL buffer before the two powers, it's not actually an obstacle to the Romulan fleet who can easily circumvent it if they need to. The TACTICAL obstacle in that or any other case would be the Federation's (apparently automated) defense grid that can detect a cloaked ship before it gets in striking range. I would imagine those missiles from the Mars Defense Perimeter would actually be pretty effective against a Romulan Warbird.

    They do when the ambassador is physically standing there IN the office, openly talking to the guy, asking him things like "What is the position of the Romulan government, ambassador Nonclus?" and "You can't seriously believe that James Kirk assassinated the chancellor of the high council?!"

    That's mainly because the Klingon holocom never shows anything BUT the president.

    I'm talking about the pissed off ambassador who physically goes there to insist that Kirk and McCoy must stand trial in a Klingon court.

    It could, sure, but even you can see that this would ALSO be consistent with their finally expanding far beyond their own solar system and becoming a major galactic power.

    I was remembering "Blood Oath" when I made the above posts. That's why I had believed that the Romulans had stopped cooperating with the Klingons and went from being a semi-willing subject of the empire to an occupied (and resistant) territory. Klingon governance is apparently harsh enough that rebellions against the empire are not uncommon, even among Klingons.

    As I said, a government in exile. I'd be willing to bet the Romulan Emperor sought asylum on Vulcan after Klingon control of Romulus turned into a war of occupation. If nothing else, that might explain how the Vulcans managed to repair a captured bird of prey that they had otherwise never seen before: maybe those weren't really vulcans?:vulcan:
     
  8. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Location:
    Your Mom
    Only the first charge was "meek" and the intent of that was to get Enterprise to engage its warp drive and thereby blow itself up.

    ALL of the other passes were attack runs; the Klingons fired at them every time, chipping away at their defenses. Kirk was able to overcome them by playing possum and then smacking them with torpedoes when they dropped their guard.
     
  9. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    Granted. But it's worth pondering that it looks very much like the strategic chart we saw in the TOS episode - it just happens to cover a bit more ground, or perhaps a different part of the RNZ, or from a different viewpoint. We can't assume it to be "abstract art" or to be taking major liberties with directions and distances, as e.g. the ratio of the RNZ thickness to its distance to the Earth outpost triangles or to Romulus (the likely compass-rose centerpiece) is the same as in the map.

    Ah, that's a plausible way to look at it. And yes, we sort of hear in "The Defector" that Romulan leadership revels in its past losses against the Federation, this humiliation and hatred being a driving force in politics.

    Quite so - but I thought it worth pointing out that the dialogue does not establish that the grids seal off the RNZ, as often claimed. Instead, they stand a good chance of catching ships that have violated the do-not-cross-the-RNZ rule, after the fact.

    What you say about the political nature of the border must be true. What raises eyebrows here is our heroes meeting Romulan ships outside the RNZ every so often - but only shouting at them for implicitly having violated a peace treaty in "The Enemy", while never challenging this casus belli violation in cases like "The Next Phase" or even "Tin Man".

    FWIW, since they were so easily targeted by the Borg, I'd think they could be easily targeted by a Warbird, too. And if they indeed are flying bombs, then hitting them probably stands a good chance of detonating them, even at the supposed lower firepower of the Romulans as opposed to that of the Cube. :devil:

    Which leads me to speculate that such things have been built chiefly to prevent the likes of the Space Amoeba, the Doomsday Machine or the "One of Our Planets is Missing" cloud from destroying the Sol system. That is, they can demolish opponents that are too stupid to defend themselves but way too resilient to be stopped by mere starships and orbital fortresses...

    True enough - goes to show one shouldn't check these things from transcripts but from vidcaps or actual videos. But there the "Romulans have every excuse of having an Ambassador present, even if he carries a secret agenda" rationalization holds.

    Then again, it's possible that there never was any sort of an alliance between the Klingons and the Romulans, thus not any sort of falling out or subjugation, either.

    Given how secretive the Romulans are, and how secretive the Klingons are revealed to be in TNG where they have been supposed allies for almost a century, it's quite possible that the two go back a long time, allying, fighting, again allying, again fighting, with the UFP none the wiser.

    Since later evidence would seem to go against the idea of the "Balance of Terror" Star Empire being just a single isolated star system, but the dialogue there does claim the Romulans are isolated from the rest of the galaxy, I think we do have to assume a completely, three-dimensionally englobing RNZ from the get-go - but that doesn't mean Earth or the UFP would actually control every segment of that RNZ. Unknown to them, the far side of it may actually overlap with Klingon claims and be subject to constant fighting even back in the 22nd century...

    I agree this is a cool idea. But if Romulans aren't independent players capable of pulling their weight at this point, they can only play the Starfleet side in the cabal to get the war started. Yet given Chang's involvement, somebody must be playing the Klingon side, too, and it can't be Cartwright and the Feds. A subjugated Romulan Star Empire couldn't cast the balance vote needed to get the war going; only an independent one, capable of applying military power or withholding it, could.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  10. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    But the thing is, the Klingons were only able to "chip away" because of the sabotage and the subsequent playing possum ruse. We got no evidence that this would have been possible against a non-sabotaged ship.

    Basically, there are just three times a single battle cruiser opts to challenge an unhurt Enterprise. The first is in "More Tribbles", and hinges on the use of another dirty trick, the stasis field. The second is in "Time Trap", but only because the lead ship springs a trap later involving two others. The third is in ST6:TUC itself, but in a situation where there are no other options left (and where the challenge is actually part of the greater plot - the Klingons hope to lose their ship to Kirk!).

    That a small BoP challenges Kirk on (at least) two occasions (as the "Errand of Mercy" teaser is a likely third case) nevertheless is probably more an indication of such a ship being more expendable than a battle cruiser than of such a ship having better odds.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  11. Praetor

    Praetor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2004
    Location:
    The fine line between continuity and fanwank.
    I have to say, this is all rather brilliant. I've never read it posited exactly this way. Me likey.
     
  12. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2010
    Exactly. If the the Klingon ship wasn't afraid of the Enterprise she would've went in guns blazing like in the beginning of "Errand of Mercy". The attack-and-run passes were testing the waters to see if the Enterprise was indeed sabotaged or not.

    The destroyed Klingon ship in "Errand of Mercy" wasn't described so it could just as well have been a battlecruiser. Perhaps the Klingons learned first hand that their battlecruisers were not a match for the Enterprise in this episode? :)

    As to the Klingon BOPs, if they all had the same mindset of Klaa then the thought of a surprise attack winning over a superior enemy and the prestige it brings probably has some influence over why they're willing to sneak up and challenge the Enterprise. (It also helps that the Enterprise can't shoot back at it like in TUC.)

    Thinking about the Romulan Ambassador in TUC - could it have something to do with the "improved" relations at the end of TFF? Kirk did rescue the Romulan Ambassador. That could've lead to a more "friendlier"/"manipulative" Romulan Empire having access to the Federation's diplomats.
     
  13. zDarby

    zDarby Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Joined:
    May 20, 2013
    Location:
    NorCal
    @Crazy Eddie: I would like to both thank you and apologize.

    First off, I am sorry that my mind is so incredibly closed that I will very likely never come to see the early Romulan Empire from your POV. This is not for lack of logic on your part but an abundance of invested time on the opposing view on my part.

    However, I would very much like to thank you and generally show my appreciation for showing me that the one-system, STL view point is, indeed, valid. Only here, through your explanations have I understood this fact. By no means am I putting down anyone else who has previously expressed this point of view, only that I have never come across a discussion with an individual who was patient enough to express it so completely. Thank you.

    I am not Trekkie enough to argue the point, so I will leave that to my betters who are. Please do not take any offense if I continue to post to this thread, ignoring sound arguments on the matter by yourself and your like-minded peers. It will not be because I view them with distain, for, indeed I am very likely to follow them avidly, even while I disagree with them silently... For, you see, I am not convinced yours is the superior POV, even while I admit neither is mine.

    Thus let it be understood I will, until further notice, assume the BOP is a warp capable part of a multi-system, fusion powered Romulan Empire. This is not because I assume this is the best interpretation (anymore) but because I can not deny the other interpretation also works. Which is a long way of saying it's my *preference* to start with this assumption.

    -------

    @Praetor: Thank you. It is my intention to post more along these lines now that I've given up on prove my above preferences and decided to just declare it.

    For example, in the past few months I've gathered a better understanding of the anti-xeno effect, a quantum process that could, theoretically, produce all sorts of usefully products and processes just by properly measuring the material to be processed. (That was a rather bad sentence.)

    For example, I recently learned that Nickle56 --the exhaust of my favored fusion cycle for advanced Romulan fusion, as mentioned above-- has a half life of only a few days, when it decays to Cobalt56 via electron capture. By measuring such a nucleus in the right way you could --again, theoretically-- force it to decay much more rapidly, in a matter of minutes or seconds, adding more energy to the final tally. If one then used the same technique to force the Cobalt to beta-decay into Iron56, you will have ended by converting 0.9+% of the mass to energy! (I'll calculate more accurate numbers later.)

    But the anti-xeno process lends itself to an exciting possibility for the Federation: more efficient use of the ram scoop. Only a very small portion of the hydrogen in the interstellar medium is deuterium, greatly reducing the usefulness of the scoops for the deuterium reliant Federation. But, using the anti-xeno effect, it might be possible to force half the regular hydrogen collected to capture their electrons and transmute into neutrons, which will then very much want to join the unaffected hydrogen to form deuterium... Just what the impulse engines ordered! And though this process will probably take more energy than it gives off --the mass of a proton and electron is not that much different than that of a neutron-- it could potentially increase a starship's abilities to refuel itself by several hundred times!

    My family is becoming annoyed with how much time I'm spending, so I must continue later.
     
  14. Mytran

    Mytran Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2009
    Location:
    North Wales
    zDarby, that is some fascinating research, thank you very much for sharing!
    And Crazy Eddie, thank you for opening my mind up to the concept of a "small" Romulan Star Empire (liking the title "Star Emperor" :cool: )

    If I could just chip in - didn't they mention 2 different communication times in different TOS episodes? In BOT it was several hours, but later (I forget which episode) it was 3 weeks! Is this the result of a destroyed subspace relay (small empire scenario) or a much larger neutral zone?
     
  15. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2012
    Location:
    USS Berlin
    You are thinking of "The Enterprise Incident" when Sub-Commander Tal replied to Kirk's threat of calling for assistance that it would take 3 weeks until a message could reach Starfleet.

    Could be that the Romulan "space bubble" had extended between "Balance of Terror" and "The Enterprise Incident" (thanks to warp drive?), that the Enterprise made a call from the far side of the Romulan Empire or else.

    It's also interesting that "suddenly" the Romulans are very well aware of Starfleet's personnel, but that could be information they gathered from the Klingon Empire.

    I can't help but wonder what the Klingons got in return from the Romulans (probably the cloaking device, but apparently that did them no good in TMP ;)).

    The whole concept of Earth outposts on asteroids, rather than space stations, seems to suggest - given our solar System - that the Earth outposts revolve naturally around the Romulan Star. Apparently they had no propulsion system of their own to even attempt evasion maneuvers.

    Bob
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2013
  16. Mytran

    Mytran Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2009
    Location:
    North Wales
    Having asteroids orbiting a star (even as far out as the Kuiper Belt - perhaps even Oort Cloud distances) makes a lot more sense than some random rocks just hanging there in space in the perfect position.
    I suppose you could attach some station keeping thrusters to them, but then why not build a space station and be done with it? Maybe the tech of a century ago wasn't up to it, maybe they like using the "almost solid iron" make-up of the rocks as protection ... but orbiting a star seems like the most maintenance free option to me. :devil:
     
  17. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2010
    Wouldn't orbiting a star (that is on the Romulan side) also cause the asteroid outposts to cross the neutral zone periodically?
     
  18. Mytran

    Mytran Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2009
    Location:
    North Wales
    I'm thinking of neutral zone as the surface of a huge sphere that surrounds the Romulan star system, ie:

    [​IMG]


    Obviously there would need to be more than just 8 outposts to guard this area.
     
  19. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2010
    Ahh. Okay now I get it. I was thinking that the neutral zone was a straight "line" wall, not a sphere zone that surrounds the Romulan Empire.

    So several questions spring to mind:

    1. At the smaller scale, couldn't the Romulans fire at these Starfleet outposts from their own planet? The Plasma weapon had a very long range.
    2. or build a set of counter outposts on their side and wouldn't they show up on the map?
    3. Where is Remus?
    4. If the Romulans have been circled in for a hundred years, shouldn't Starfleet Intelligence have some good visuals on any Romulan ship design prior to the introduction of the cloaking device?
    5. Wouldn't the "stars of home" look the same on the other side of the neutral zone to the Romulan Commander if the fight took place in their own star system?
    6. Couldn't Starfleet then start shooting at the Romulan homeworld from their outposts as a response since they're at a close enough range.
     
  20. BK613

    BK613 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2008
    Location:
    BK613
    The outposts were constructed on asteroids but nothing say that the asteroids are in the same system. A series of star systems along the NZ, each with an outpost in it, for example. Which also provides an good explanation for the comet encountered if Outpost 4 was on the opposite side of its star when the BoP attacked. Passing through the inner system on the way home would allow it to encounter a comet with tail..

    Why asteroids? Hanson's outpost was a mile under the surface; presumably as a deterrent for the primitive atomic weapons in use when it was established.

    As for the size of Romulan space? Well, it does have to be large enough for an uncharted M-class planet, three hours from the NZ at some warp speed, to go unnoticed until some space hippies travel there. :lol: