Romulan origin question

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by Greenağaç, May 25, 2013.

  1. xortex

    xortex Commodore

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    Yea, the third world is Earth which could be a colony of the Klingons with a mass memory wipe.

    It just occured to me that if the future guy was Archer, then he was the Nu-Trek Archer which makes a lot more sense considering the way the franchise went. :guffaw:
     
  2. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk Fleet Admiral Premium Member

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    IIRC, in TOS distinguishing between the two was very difficult. A difference on the "racial" level rather than species.

    "The Enemy" was just logic being thrown out for the sake of creating drama. (Not that there's anything wrong with that)
     
  3. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Admiral Admiral

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    Though does it really make sense that Worf is the only compatable blood donor on the Enterprise as opposed to any of the Vulcans serving aboard?
     
  4. horatio83

    horatio83 Commodore Commodore

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    Indeed and at least some of the Romulans do look slightly different than Vulcans.
    If you leave a planet during a horrible nuclear war with ships that probably cannot make more than Warp 1 or 2 it is not unlikely that you mate with other species before you find your new home on Romulus. After they founded their empire it could also have happened although the Romulan dogma of unlimited expansion could make them speciesists (even more speciesist than Vulcans) who do not wanna interbreed with the species they subjugate. Whatever you assume, a lot of stuff can happen during two millenia.
     
  5. FormerLurker

    FormerLurker Commodore Commodore

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    In 'Return To Tomorrow' Spock speculates that Vulcan was colonized, or even seeded, by a mother race from somewhere else, basing his supposition on Sargon's people's history. It's possible, if unlikely, that the Mintakans, the DeBrune, and the Romulans were also seeded, but somehow the Romulans maintained communications until the war of Surak's time.

    Any differences between the Vulcans and Romulans could also be because of interbreeding with the Remans, who are either native to Remus, or an offshoot of the Romulans that are mutated from the radiation of the Vulcan civil war.
     
  6. Greenağaç

    Greenağaç Cadet Newbie

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    You could interpret Spock's theory as being based on the knowledge that Romulus was once an ancient Vulcan colony and that no one knew for sure if that was still so or if a different race had taken over the world in the intervening time.

    I'm also not neccessarily saying that the Romulans are not decended from anti-Surakians but that the war between the factions may have been an interplanetary one rather than being confined to just Vulcan.
     
  7. Shawnster

    Shawnster Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    It had been previously established (I think) that Spock could feel or sense the death of all the Vulcans on the Intrepid in "Immunity Syndrome." I understood Spock's lack of logical behavior the result of a telepathic link to the savage Vulcans of 5,000 years in the past.

     
  8. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Nothing in "All Our Yesterdays" establishes the tech level of these barbarians, though. Perhaps in 3000 BC, they are meat-eating, brother-slaying barbarians with antimatter projectors?

    Also interestingly, we never learn when the Romulans began to be called Romulans. Was that before or after they left Vulcan? "Minefield" establishes that T'Pol knows the name "Romulan" from old Vulcan history, but we don't know how old; "Balance of Terror" establishes that Vulcans had a barbaric colonial period, but we don't know if this was before or after they started starfaring, and whether it had anything to do with Romulans, or merely serves as an example of how bloodlusty an "unreformed" Vulcanoid culture can be.

    For all we know, Romulans were one of the many factions that fought each other on planet Vulcan back in the days of brutality - possibly over racial issues, the "Romulan faction" consisting of the ridgeheaded race plus their smoothheaded sympathizers. Their departure from Vulcan is not well documented in canon; perhaps they did not really leave in disgust when Surak took all the joy out of being Vulcan, but rather were forced out by racist smoothheads? The ENT dialogue between Archer and Surak's katra vaguely supports the idea that they only left after Surak's own life ended, but perhaps the Surakian reformation and the associated Romulan departure only came centuries after Surak himself?

    Adding to the mix, Q once discussed a hundred-year war between Vulcans and Romulans (VOY "Death Wish"). Alas, we don't know if it was in the past or the future of the episode, or perhaps in another timeline altogether. Nothing in canon precludes Vulcan/Romulan conflict after the separation as such; it would merely imply that a massive coverup existed so that Vulcans in the TOS era could still claim deadpan that they did not know for certain who the Romulans are. The aforementioned ENT dialogue almost establishes such conflict before the separation, but neglects to explicitly use the name "Romulan" there.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  9. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    Your memory serves you well from a strictly TOS point of view, there was no such reference in the original series and in my not humble opinion the conclusions drawn from the available information for the later Star Trek are erroneous.

    Balance of Terror:

    STILES: We know what they look like.
    SPOCK: Yes, indeed we do, Mister Stiles. And if Romulans are an offshoot of my Vulcan blood, and I think this likely, then attack becomes even more imperative.
    MCCOY: War is never imperative, Mister Spock.
    SPOCK: It is for them, Doctor. Vulcan, like Earth, had its aggressive colonising period. Savage, even by Earth standards. And if Romulans retain this martial philosophy, then weakness is something we dare not show.

    While we learn that Vulcan apparently had an aggressive (space) colonizing period, Spock has no specific knowledge or suggestion whatsoever regarding Romulan offshoots. The "if" could suggest he didn't expect Vulcan descendants that far out.

    The Savage Curtain:

    SURAK: The image of Surak read in your face what is in your mind, Spock.
    SPOCK: As I turned and my eyes beheld you, I displayed emotion. I beg forgiveness.
    SURAK: The cause was more than sufficient. Let us speak no further of it. In my time, we knew not of Earth men. I am pleased to see that we have differences. May we together become greater than the sum of both of us.


    SURAK: In my time on Vulcan, we also faced these same alternatives. We'd suffered devastating wars which nearly destroyed our planet. Another was about to begin. We were torn. But out of our suffering some of us found the discipline to act. We sent emissaries to our opponents to propose peace. The first were killed, but others followed. Ultimately we achieved peace, which has lasted since then.

    "Devastating Wars" sounds like a reasonable explanation that many records of Vulcan history prior to the advent of Surak had gotten lost.
    This is a good example of TOS continuity where we finally learn of possible reasons why Spock simply couldn't deliver more information about the origin of the Romulans in "Balance of Terror".

    However, "The Savage Curtain" clearly reveals that Vulcan history had been recorded and preserved, after Surak's arrival, otherwise Spock couldn't have remembered such details.
    But apparently, the exodus of those Vulcans that did not agree to Surak's philosophy was not recorded to come up as an option for explanation during "Balance of Terror"?

    The other big questions are

    • why did the exodus Vulcans embark voluntarily on a difficult journey (presumably nuBSG style?) to the farthest reaches of space ?
    • why did the exodus Vulcans voluntarily deprive themselves of warp drive technology so that a few thousand years later all they have is "simple impulse drive" (regarding cloaking technology it's not impossible they got access to this advanced technology accidentally from a crashed ship or the like from the b&w inhabitants of Cheron)
    I think that the name "Romulans" and its obvious allusions to ancient Rome might have been a hint. What did the Romans do with aristocratic VIPs they didn't dare to execute? They exiled them to the farthest corners of the Roman Empire.

    In this analogy the Romulans might have simply been considered to be the offspring of exiles, relocated to the far reaches of space and with no realistic possibility of ever returning to Vulcan given the interstellar distance and lack of warp drive knowledge, all prior to the advent of Surak.

    Of course, retcon activity in TNG and further deprived us of such a possibility but from a strictly TOS point of view, I believe that was possibly the backstory intended. :)

    Bob
     
  10. I am not Spock

    I am not Spock Commodore Commodore

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    For some reason, in TNG, they added unnecessary forehead ridges on Romulans. As if the audience would be too stupid to tell them apart from Vulcans.
     
  11. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Admiral Admiral

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    Which was the exact reason given for all the Romulans being bald and tattooed in Trek XI. Personally, I preferred the ridges.
     
  12. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk Fleet Admiral Premium Member

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    Have a Ruffles. [​IMG]
     
  13. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Admiral Admiral

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    Ruffles do taste better.
     
  14. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    So, twice we get to hear the Vulcan colonization period directly compared with its Earth counterpart. Which, as far as we can tell, never involved space travel.

    Yes, in the TOS context, it's possible that Earth had a savage period of brutal interstellar colonization, with fierce infighting, enslaving of little green men and so forth. In the wider Trek context, however, Spock must be interpreted as referring to what happened on Earth before WWIII, first contact and warp flight. Is Spock comparing apples to oranges, then? Or is he saying that Vulcans, too, were savages before going interstellar, and the only divergence between the two scenarios is that there is a slim but now apparently confirmed chance that some barbarians slipped into space at the moment of transition from savagery to civilization?

    The obvious alternative is that Vulcan already held an interstellar empire at the time, and the various factions had offworld power bases; any faction defeated on Vulcan could fall back on its interstellar resources and sulk on some distant planet, plotting for revenge. If we assume this early interstellar empire had fairly primitive technology rather than replicators, we can then easily also postulate that the colonies on which Romulans were biding their time were incapable of supporting major industries or research, resulting in the degeneration of the Romulan culture in the intervening two millennia even though the original interstellar tech had been quite up to specs and had provided easy access between Romulus and Vulcan.

    The "farthest reaches of space" thing has never been a major part of the Romulan identity in any case. Our heroes always easily reach the Romulan territory, even if they have some trouble communicating with home base; it's probably more an issue of bad relay networks than distance. Correspondingly, Romulans easily reach the heart of the Federation (significantly, Vulcan) simply by stepping out of the RNZ. It's not a distance easily spanned by sublight spacecraft, apparently - but it is one easily spanned at low warp speeds and with outdated vessels.

    This has always seemed to me like a huge leap of illogic. Nowhere in "Balance of Terror" does any character suggest that Romulans as a culture would lack warp drive, even if the single vessel encountered is (mistakenly?) deemed to lack it. Encountering a modern tank today does not lead you to speculate that its operator does not know how to make flying machines!

    It is also blatant in the episode that Romulan weapons travel at high warp, so any character speculating on the lack of Romulan warp technology would be wildly off base.

    Perhaps the writer did intend to establish that the Romulans were up the interstellar creek without the warp paddle, but he failed miserably in that. It's very difficult to think that he would have been intending such a thing, though, as the danger of a Romulan interstellar break-out is the driving force of the adventure. If the Romulans just take potshots at ancient Earth fortresses, without the means of taking the battle farther out, then the problem could be solved by simply abandoning those fortresses!

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  15. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    I don't concur. Let's take a look at "Balance of Terror" first.

    Captain's Log, stardate 1709.2. Patrolling outposts guarding the neutral zone between planets Romulus and Remus and the rest of the galaxy, received emergency call from outpost 4.

    What's the rest of the galaxy? Either the Romulan Star Empire sits at the edge of the galaxy or at its center.

    At this distance a reply from Starfleet would take three hours and possibly the producers realized that this isn't necessarily a big indicator of distance. Fast forward to "The Enterprise Incident" and you definitely have some distance to write home about:

    KIRK: You understand that Starfleet Command has been advised of the situation?
    TAL [on viewscreen]: The subspace message will take three weeks to reach Starfleet. The decision is yours, Captain. One hour.

    Compared to "Balance of Terror" this is either a changed premise or tells us that the Romulan Star Empire sits in the center of our galaxy (to rationalize descriptions like "rest of the galaxy [surrounding this center]") and events in "The Enterprise Incident" take place on the far side of the Neutral Zone.

    (if TNG altered this TOS concept than it's just a case of retcon activity and possibly lackluster research)

    Appearances can be deceiving and in this particular case I believe it's due to a lack of three-dimensional thinking and imagination (no offense, you do know that usually I admire your unorthodox and extensive examinations).

    KIRK: Yes, well gentlemen, the question still remains. Can we engage them with a reasonable possibility of victory?
    SCOTT: No question. Their power is simple impulse.
    KIRK: Meaning we can outrun them?
    STILES: To be used in chasing them or retreating, sir?
    KIRK: Go ahead, Mister Styles. I called this session for opinions.

    I don't see how this can be interpreted in any other way than explicitly stated by chief engineer Scott.
    Yes, it's probably a long travel at sublight speed from Romulus through the Neutral Zone but we have no information whatsoever when the Romulan ship departed and when it was expected back, add to this we have Romulans that do share the long life span of Vulcans.

    And if the ship would have had warp drive and be back for dinner on Romulus, there would have been no need for Decius to break the rule of silence, send a message to the homeworld and thus endanger this Romulan mission.

    And for a ship passing through the tail of a comet to become momentarily visible to become a target rather suggests sublight than warp speed; doesn't it?

    The only episodes where it is obvious that the Romulans (then) do have acquired warp drive are "The Deadly Years" and "The Enterprise Incident".

    You are arriving at your conclusion based entirely on a two-dimensional map (apparently a simplified graphic for the ship's crew to apprehend the situation) which lacks three-dimensionality.
    For all we know the Enterprise is literally nose-diving or sky-rocketing at warp speed towards the position of the Earth outposts in actual space, for all we know we are just looking at the top of the Neutral Zone "Wall", diagonal passage through which will eventually bring us to the level of the two objects to the right side of which one is apparently the planet Romulus and possibly not its star but just its moon "Romii" or "Rom II" ;)

    Bob
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2013
  16. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Or then it consists of the planets Romulus and Remus, just like the dialogue says, and that's it. Hence the extremely curved RNZ that encompasses this minuscule volume of space and separates it from the rest of the universe.

    The speed at which messages travel is dependent on more than distance: Sigma Iotia was not within realtime communications back when the Horizon visited them, but was when the Enterprise did. What changed? Somebody probably installed a few communications relays!

    Who is a fallible character with zero right to draw conclusions on a vessel he can't even properly see!

    Naturally, in the original destroyer vs. sub story, the destroyer crew would have the specs of the sub down pat - their side operated subs of their own, after all. But that part was poorly carried over to the scifi story where no such knowledge should be allowed.

    Why do you follow this with an argument that this particular ship cannot have been FTL, though? I already pointed out that that part is completely irrelevant to whether the Romulan culture knows how to travel at warp.

    Except, of course, this particular ship does travel at warp on several occasions - say, when its course is guesstimated on a chart where the emergency warp speed of the hero ship was previously observed and the "speed scale" thus established.

    And no, I'm not speaking of the Enterprise approaching the map area from the left - three-dimensionality might affect that all right. I'm talking about both the Romulans and the heroes moving from outpost to outpost - an inescapable benchmark for their more or less equal speed.

    Umm, what conclusion? That Romulans have warp drive? No, I'm just saying that there is no episode of TOS that would ever claim that Romulans did not have warp drive. Any reading of such a thing in "Balance of Terror" is a misreading.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  17. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    No, they progressed from "radio" transmission (Horizon) to "subspace" transmission, it's as simple as that.

    18 years prior to events in "The Cage" radio transmission was still in use (TYLER: It would take that long for a radio beam to travel from there to here.)

    If there were communications relays it should definitely raise some exebrows how Sub-Commander Tal was able to calculate the exact time the Enterprise's message would get to Starfleet. Looks to me he just understood how subspace transmission worked for both the UFP, the Romulans and its allies.

    :wtf: Sorry Timo, I don't recall seeing you at the briefing scene with the senior officers, so obviously you can't possibly know based on what facts Scotty arrived at his conclusion which leaves no room for an alternative interpretation ("no question").

    SCOTT: No question. Their power is simple impulse.

    That line of dialogue is evidendtly presented in the context of propulsion, so I'm unable to understand how this could possibly be misread.

    Had there been a line stating something like "Romulus is only three light days away" and it would take the ship only two days to get there, that would be strong evidence for an FTL drive.
    But that's not the case, so the question is whether we form theories based on "facts" or whether we twist the "facts" to conform with our preferences and/or pet theories.

    Bob
     
  18. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Doesn't work even in the TOS context, where subspace transmission was available back in the old Romulan war.

    Of course, the out-universe rationale for this is that TOS had piss-poor continuity. But there's no reason for the fans to add more of that drivel when the well-written spinoffs elegantly solve such problems by establishing further facts of the Trek universe.

    And yet you keep misreading it.

    It does not say that Romulans do not have warp drive. It says this particular starship has "simple impulse power", whatever that is. It is impossible to read into it that Romulans do not have warp drive, because they demonstrate warp drive in the very episode (their torpedo outruns the Enterprise).

    Trying to say that the line refers to the capabilities of the Romulan culture is taking guesswork to a ridiculous extreme. To no avail, even, as Romulans in every other episode are fully and explicitly capable of warp, and nothing would be gained dramatically by trying to insist against all this evidence that they are not.

    And yet generations of stupid fans and even misguided pro writers have insisted on Romulans being incapable of warp until, what, the Tuesday before "Enterprise Incident"...? It's quite analogous to insisting that Klingons must be incapable of decloaking because their ships weren't seen in "Errand of Mercy", and only develop the ability to drop their cloaks for "Trouble with Tribbles".

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  19. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    I stand corrected, the treaty was established via sub-space radio which apparently was a new thing as ships like the Horizon still used conventional radio.

    How about you cut TOS some slack as it was the first defining the nature of the Star Trek universe and expectedly had some startup hickups.

    There's plenty of TOS internal continuity but apparently it was easier to overwrite TOS continuity than to devote proper research to it.

    According to this reasoning we must already have industrial nuclear fusion reactors and nuclear fusion engines for our spacecraft (tell NASA!) because we have nuclear fusion bombs...

    I presume that if - at this time in TOS - they would have had warp drive, the praetor's "proudest and finest flagship" surely would have been equipped with one.

    Bob
     
  20. Anwar

    Anwar Vice Admiral Admiral

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    When Balance of Terror was written, the idea for the Romulan Neutral Zone was that they were confined to their own Solar System like the Kzinti in Larry Niven's stories. That's what Kirk meant when he said "The neutral zone separates them from the rest of the Galaxy". Obviously, they changed their minds later on when they wanted to use the Romulans more. That's all there is to it.

    Also, Scotty's line about their power being impulse only is again part of the changed premise. In BoT "Impulse" was a form of FTL that was just less powerful than Warp, it didn't mean "Sublight" just yet.