Some speculation about the Romulans and the Borg invasion

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by rfmcdpei, Nov 5, 2010.

  1. rfmcdpei

    rfmcdpei Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2008
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Hi! Good to be back.

    Destiny seems to have established that the three "classical" powers of the Star Trek universe--the Federation, the Klingons, and the Romulans--were the powers that suffered the heaviest civilian and other losses to the Borg in 2381. The Federation lost Risa and Deneva; the Klingson suffered the destruction of Khitomer, the devastation of the Mempa system, and the bombardment of Qo'Nos.

    What happened to the Romulans?

    I've a speculative theory. The Romulans have been a high-tech spacefaring civilization for millennia, product of their inheritance of advanced (if sublight) technology from Surak-era Vulcan. The Romulans have since built extensively on this, for instance, mastering warp drive and subspace, actually building and deploying singularity drives on a large scale (I bet they're standard for the D'deridex-class, at least). The Romulan economy may lag behind the Federation, but Romulan technology is likely at least as advanced as anything the Federation could put up.

    One area of technology where the Romulans are quite good with are metaweapons, doomsday weapons capable of inflicting massive damage and/or subverting other powers' weapons. Romulan telecapture technology was used on a wide scale during the Romulan War of the 22nd century and against during the Romulan Civil War in the 23rd century; a Romulan suicide probe devastated Coridan at the beginning of the Romulan War; during the Civil War, after using the Sunseed technology, the Romulan Praetorate launched a weapon that would have made Sol hyperflare and destroy our solar system, and would have been happy to do the same to the Qo'Nos system; the Tomed incident saw an "accident" with a single singularity drive-equipped Romulan warship annihilate outposts scattered possibly across light-years; and, in Nemesis the Romulan coup plotters were confident enough in the ability of the Scimitar to penetrate Federation defenses and launch a globally lethal attack on Earth to send it on its way.

    The Romulans don't have many scruples against using metaweapons. Telecapture technology was something the Romulans kept and developed for some time; there were only ex post facto regret against the bombardment of Coridgan by some Romulan military leaders, who also saw nothing wrong with executing the populations of colony worlds; only a combination of a deep-cover Federation spy, Rihannsu honour, a civil war that led to regime change, and improvised quantum-entanglement technology saved Sol; likewise, during Nemesis the combination of the coup plotters' fears of Shinzon, Donatra's regret and interception of the Scimitar, and concerns about Romulan PR saved Earth's life from painful dissolution.

    In the past, the only things preventing the successful deployment of Romulan metaweapons--and only from the 23rd century on--was a combination of Rihannsu honour and fear of massive retaliation from the Star Empire's neighbours. Apart from that, the Romulans seem quite willing to incorporate massive attacks against civilian attacks as an integral part of their military strategy. Post-coup Tal'Aura was even willing to accept the decimation of her Kevratan subjects by plague.

    It's at this point we come to the Borg invasion. Both Romulan states are quite aware that the Borg have attacked Romulan space in the past, and the Romulans have quite possibly also been subject to attack by the Borg on the Wolf 359/single-ship model. Both Romulan states have developed their military technology, including metaweapons, to a very high degree. Both Romulan states are very territorial, competitive to a high degree with each other and their neighbours (not so much Donatra with the Federation) and determined to protect their civilization and their governments. And after the attacks on Acamar and Barolia, both Romulan states are aware that the Borg are invading the Alpha and Beta Quadrants with the express intent of exterminating their local rivals, eventually becoming aware that the Borg are arriving in their neighbourhood via the Azure Nebula on the Romulan border.

    What will the Romulans do?

    The Romulans are going to fight with conventional weapons and weapons systems--planetary defenses, warships, and the like. The Romulans are likely also going to fight against the Borg using improvised weapons, like the telecapture-equipped mining ships in Artaleirh during the Civil War. I also think that the Romulans are going to engage in the unrestrained use of metaweapons against the Borg. If the Borg are coming to exterminate Romulan civilization, what incentive could either Romulan state to use all of the metaweapons at their disposal against the Borg? Hyperflares, Tomed-style tactics, thalaron radiation, who knows what else--they're all likely to be used without inhibition, IMHO.

    There's evidence to suggest that the Romulans did well against the Borg. The Verithrax, a single ship, was able to destroy the Borg vessel attacking Ardana. The Forge, described in the tie-ins to the movie in 2385, likely also exists in the 2381 timeframe. The fact that the Romulans were able to capture, reverse-engineer, and eventually deploy Borg weapons technology suggests to me that the Romulans were able to do a significantly better job against the Borg than the Federation ever was.

    What all this implies to me is that the two Romulan states survive the Borg incursion in relatively better shape than either the Federation or the Klingons. With advanced conventional weapons technology, the sort of assimilated Borg technology that lets a refitted mining ship destroy a Klingon fleet, and any number of metaweapons and a demonstrated willingness to use them in defense of Romulan civilization, the regions of Romulan space bordering the Azure Nebula might not have suffered as much as neighbouring Federation and Klingon space. Who knows? Maybe even worlds outside Romulan space could do well. Ardana seems to have survived thanks only to the Romulans, and if we want Mestiko to have survived despite being near the triborder Romulans could also have been present. If the Romulans did get off fairly lightly, this has all kinds of implications for the galactic balance of power.

    What say you all?
     
  2. Deranged Nasat

    Deranged Nasat Vice Admiral Admiral

    Given that, as you say, Romulan technology is cutting-edge in most respects, and that the Star Empire was a long-standing superpower...I think the Romulans would hypothetically have been poised to become the dominant power post-Borg Invasion. Would have, if they hadn't already suffered several catastrophes, not least of which of course is their division into two nations.

    Really, prior to the Borg Invasion they were in a pretty bad way. Certainly not ready to assume supremacy if their neighbours fell into difficulties - they had too many of their own. In fact, in Articles of the Federation it's stated that they don't really count as a superpower anymore, which is why Bacco inviting Tal'aura along to the summit with Martok was "a courtesy". And why in Taking Wing and Regeneration Starfleet Command is quite happy to violate the Treaty of Algeron on the basis of "tough, we're stronger than them now". With the Remans gone, the Romulans' ability to swiftly and cheaply get the necessary resources for maintaining, yet alone expanding, the empire must be very difficult. And that was before resources were halved by the split.

    Even before the post-Nemesis struggles, it seems to me like the Romulan nation had been in decline for some time. Novels like Catalyst of Sorrows suggested that the Star Empire's economy wasn't as stable as it appeared, because the leaders kept channelling as much as possible into the military and weapons research leaving many regions in poverty. The Romulan bark might have been much larger than its bite; sure, they can build intimidating warbirds bigger than anything else in local space, but that massive gleaming starfleet is covering for several under-nourished farm worlds and crumbling city districts...I always assumed the Romulans were making a valiant effort to appear economically prosperous but really they were quietly floundering. I don't think they could have truly expanded the empire very far, because I doubt they could truly maintain their current military might for long. They're not like the Dominion, which can bounce itself back in a couple of weeks. Catalyst of Sorrows and others also said the treasuries were still depleted as of the 2360s thanks to Dralath's mismanagement a couple of decades earlier. I think Dralath pretty much put a stop to any hope the Romulans had of returning to the expansionist "glory days" of the pre-Federation 22nd century. Of course, with the Dominion War, the Romulans were weakened militarilly and economically again...to the extent that when the Watraii attacked they couldn't do much more than tighten security around the core worlds and demand assistance from their Federation allies (With Zife wringing his hands the whole time until Spock sorted it out for them :lol:).

    Now, post-Nemesis, it's all fallen apart. In the old Star Empire, Tal'aura can't even feed many of the colonies without help from outside. And the Bloodfire plague is still out there, I believe, along with who knows what other diseases. That's probably affecting both nations (we don't know exactly where the Kevratan worlds are).

    The Star Empire lost the farming worlds, and the IRS must have lost some major assets too. And how many shipyards or productive subject worlds in either state were destroyed by the Borg? I've tried to loosely estimate how much territory the RSE has left (or how much useful territory, anyway). We know Aventine made its ambush of a Borg Probe near Devoras. On the Star Charts (and obviously taking into account the problem of 2D/3D which makes it very unclear actually how deep into Romulan space Devoras is), that's potentially significantly deep. We've been told a line from Nimbus to Dewa more or less shows the RSE/IRS divide, so I drew that. I like to think the area within that vaguely oval squiggle at the bottom (I'm an artist! :lol:) is pretty much dead now. That's just my estimation, of course, but it looks to me like the Romulan Star Empire is quite significantly reduced in terms of useful territory. Of course, by my model, the Borg did get much further into the Federation than they did Romulan space- whether they sent more ships that way or if it's because the Romulan defense was more effective, I don't know.

    [​IMG]

    The Imperial Romulan State seems eager, post-Borg, to build on its good relations with the Federation. It even seems okay with the Klingons (In Destiny, Jovis seemed to get on quite well with K'mtok, if only to show a united front against Kalavak). Apparently, according to A Singular Destiny, its economy is stronger and it can at least feed itself. Its best bet would be to continue strengthening ties with the Federation and Klingons, I assume. The RSE, meanwhile, is totally dependent on outside support. Tal'aura's managed to pull a rabbit out of her hat and reclaim significance for her nation by making it a leading member of the Typhon Pact. So they're a superpower again...but not really. They're just part of one. And already it seems they're quietly competing withthe Breen and others for dominance within it. And I wonder how Breen or Tholia will feel when Romulus is destroyed in 2387 and the Romulans presumably become a burden, not an asset.

    We'll see a lot more, I guess, when Rough Beasts of Empire arrives! :)

    PS: Something I've mentioned before is that the whole Typhon Pact business potentially gives new significance to the RSE/IRS divide. Or it seems so to me. From what we've seen so far (and acknowledging we haven't got Rough Beasts of Empire yet), Donatra is pretty much just waiting for Tal'aura to screw up and then she'll let the two nations slide back into one, only minus Tal'aura. And A Singular Destiny showed us that the common people don't really care which side they're on; it's just the noble classes squabbling. So, until now, there was no reason why they wouldn't join back together at some point. But if the citizens of the two nations start buying into their new alliances, ideologically, it might actually give them genuine reasons to dislike each other at every level, not just the top level. The Federation/Klingon Vs Typhon Pact "cold war" might actually prevent any Romulan reunity. At least, that's a pondering I had. :)
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2010
  3. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    ^That "oval squiggle" should be somewhat more to the left. The Borg invasion originated in the Azure Nebula, which is roughly along the center axis of that map, a little below the bottom edge. And I suspect the Borg were pushing more aggressively toward the Federation core worlds than in the other directions.
     
  4. Deranged Nasat

    Deranged Nasat Vice Admiral Admiral

    Noted. Thanks! Yes, you're quite right. I don't have my Charts with me - I found that basic part of the map here on the 'net, and I can see I misjudged the Azure's position. :)

    It was a stupid squiggle anyway. :lol:
     
  5. TerraUnam

    TerraUnam Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2010
    Location:
    United Earth
    I thought that the IRS/RSE divide would be the perennial sore spot of local galactic politics. Left to their own devices, neither would be worth worrying about, but in the context of a race for signed-up members they are the two top prizes. And as the split is only a few years old and the leadership of both the IRS and the RSE want to reunify (given the opportunity), ISTM the big danger is that the RSE and IRS will start a war with each other and drag the Khitomer Alliance/Typhon Pact into it.

    And that plays into a Cold War of antagonism and so on....
     
  6. rfmcdpei

    rfmcdpei Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2008
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Agreed.

    Cretak's description of the debris in the streets of Romulus as being so decayed and ancient that it might date back to the time of Romulus' colonization, and Koval's reply to her suggestion that military spending cutbacks would just let the poor breed more quickly, stick out.

    Definitely agreed. Romulus' experience over the past two centuries has been one of decline. In the Romulan War, it took Earth, Vulcan, Andor, Tellar, and assorted minor systems to oppose Romulan expansion; in the DS9 time travel 21st century time travel episode, the Defiant picked up Romulan signals from Alpha Centauri, suggesting that without Earth Romulan imperialism succeeded. But by the late 24th century, the atlas suggests that Romulus has been literally contained, almost entirely surrounded by Federation and Klingon space.

    I suspect the latter. My impression is that the Borg devoted as much time to wrecking the Klingon Empire as they did to the Federation, and that there's no reason why they wouldn't have done the same to the Romulan. If the Romulans did do a better job against the Borg beforehand with the Federation, as the salvaged technology suggests, the Romulans might have been a higher priority (though not higher than Earth.

    Martin's latest novel, the one for the MMORPG, suggests that the Hobus supernova was the byproduct of testing of Romulan subspace weapons barred by interstellar treaty. If that's the case, given how drastically things have changed Romulus may survive 2387.

    Might we basically agree on this? Agreed on the declining fortunes of the Romulan Empire, thanks to excessive military spending, and on long-term relative decline, but the Romulan states may have put up a stronger defense in 2381 than their closest great power neighbours, perhaps (my supposition) because of Romulan metaweapons use on top of relatively better military technology, and that the IRS has the best chance of the two Romulan states of pulling out of its downwards spiral?

    I think that there are pre-existing factors. Leaving the restive subject races aside, the Rihannsu novels suggest a yawning divide between the Romulans of the homeworld and the colonials (descended from Ship-Clans disproportionately), with The Empty Chair suggesting colonials were willing to beggar themselves to build massive generation ships and flee entirely. The new movie also suggests that Rihannsu has three dialects distinctive enough to be learned separately. (Dialects in the Chinese sense?) The split might just reflect underlying ethnolinguistic divisions among the Romulans. Even if the Typhon Pact dominates or falls apart, I can imagine the split persisting.
     
  7. kkozoriz1

    kkozoriz1 Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2006
    Location:
    Centrelea, Nova Scotia
    The movie also has Uhura taking over communications because the senior communications officer can't tell the difference between Vulcan and Romulan. :confused:

    So there's three dialects of a language very close to Romulan. It would be like an American not being able to understand someone from the UK and being replaced by someone who can understand English with Scottish, Irish and Australian accents.
     
  8. rfmcdpei

    rfmcdpei Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2008
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Maybe it's like Serbo-Croatian, where there can be a common literary standard, but there can also be separate literary standards, and the ethnic identities of speakers don't necessarily map onto dialect areas.

    Or, who knows? Maybe the Romulans of Artaleirh and Archernar Prime just speak with really thick brogues.
     
  9. flandry84

    flandry84 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2007
    Location:
    Sunshine cottage,Lollipop lane,Latveria
    The Romulans have to be my favourite alien race,so paranoid,so sneaky and ever so deadly.Deranged Nasat's viewpoint is IMO right on the money and the implications for the Trek universe from the Romulan schism will be very interesting.
    Correction;would be interesting if not for the imminent destruction of the homeworld.IMO the death of Romulus and the subsequent realignment of the status quo leaves less opportunity for intrigue than having both factions of this threadbare empire plotting against one another.
    All that said I'm surprised we haven't seen more Romulan on Romulan skullduggery following the murder of the entire senate.One can only imagine just how perilous the ruling houses are as everyone and his uncle try to establish claims and succession rights etc.
     
  10. ProtoAvatar

    ProtoAvatar Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2008
    Romulus blowing up is canon - maybe the last canon event to be established about the classic timeline (constructed in Ent, TOS, TNG, DS9, VOY).

    There's no chance trek lit will change this. Definitely not by positing that the timeline presented in the trek lit relaunches is not the one from star trek XI.

    The romulans could very well have used metaweapons against the borg, putting up a more effective defense than the federation.
    This is consistent with their psychology. Also, any weapon tends to be effective against the borg during the first shots - in the case of metaweapons, this would translate into a lot of borg cubes destroyed.
    There's something to be said for using superpowered weapons against superpowered opponents.

    About the romulans having better military tech than the federation/klingons - that's rather unsupportable.
    During DS9's dominion war, the romulan performance was nothing to write home about:
    During all seen battles, their ships proved to be, at most, at the allies' tech level; no superior anything.
    The dominion, even strained as it was by the federation/klingons, managed to keep the 'fresh' romulan military out of cardassian territory, losing only a few recently conquered systems (at most - only one such system is established) before the front line stabilised. During the final battle for Cardassia, the romulan flank broke way before the federation or klingon one.
    A highly unimpressive performance, overall.
     
  11. DEWLine

    DEWLine Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2003
    Location:
    Ottawa, Canada
    Could we have an expanded-size edition of that map-hack?
     
  12. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    Well, not quite the same, but here's a quick-and-dirty map I did of the Typhon Pact powers, not including the Borg "dead zone":

    [​IMG]

    My placement of the Kinshaya is speculative, based on proximity to the worlds they attacked in A Singular Destiny.
     
  13. Deranged Nasat

    Deranged Nasat Vice Admiral Admiral

    On my personal pen and paper charts at home, it all looks very nice (even though I had to guess the placement of the Kevratan worlds, Nemor, Artalierh, etc, and some of that might change with new novels. Updating them is near-constant work, but fun). I'm total rubbish with computers, though, so no I don't have anything bigger or indeed of any actual quality (:lol:). I have, however, made a revised version (just now), complete with circles around each state's capital, red squares around worlds confirmed as destroyed, a red asterik-thing round about where Aventine ambushed the probe, scrawled dramatic labels and other horrible infantile work. Here it is: my masterpiece. :lol:

    [​IMG]
     
  14. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    Is there a way to post that in a more legible size?
     
  15. Deranged Nasat

    Deranged Nasat Vice Admiral Admiral

    Probably, but I don't know enough about basic computer operation to actually pull it off. :lol: I'm sure someone could make a much, much better version in a couple of minutes anyway.

    Sorry.
     
  16. TerraUnam

    TerraUnam Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2010
    Location:
    United Earth
    OK, when I look at the map I see the Federation has "jumped" Romulan Space. I know space is 3-D but it must have made for some horrendous political implications, unless there is a book I haven't read.
     
  17. SicOne

    SicOne Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2008
    Location:
    Omaha, NE
    In what books or stories did these events occur?

    And do we know if the Verithrax survived the engagement with the Borg?
     
  18. Deranged Nasat

    Deranged Nasat Vice Admiral Admiral

    The Sunseed hyperflare business is in the Rihannsu novels. Of course, those don't really fit into the modern continuity, but plenty of people take a "broad strokes" approach and incorporate its basic story into their unofficial Trek timeline, probably because the novels are considered very good. :) I haven't made my mind up yet, but rfmcdpei obviously "counts" them.

    The Tomed disaster was described in "Serpents Among the Ruins"

    And the Verithrax was destroyed. We don't know exactly what it did, but it destroyed itself taking out the cube at Ardana.
     
  19. flandry84

    flandry84 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2007
    Location:
    Sunshine cottage,Lollipop lane,Latveria
    And something forgotten by many during the post-Destiny debates(which I'm not trying to rekindle)was that the only power to develop thalaron weaponry and deploy it (first on their own citizens and then attempt to use it against Earth)were the Romulans.
     
  20. rfmcdpei

    rfmcdpei Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2008
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Martin's The Needs of the Many, which ties into the new movie (Hobus goes supernova, Nero goes on a rampage, Spock goes back in time) is set in an explicitly different timeline, one that includes most elements in common with the novelverse except for the the Borg attacks maybe from Resistance onward. In the MMORPG's 24th century, well after 2381, any number of places and characters destroyed by the Borg--Admiral Paris, Janeway, Pluto and its moons, Deneva, Risa--are perfectly fine. Bacco even tells Sisko in her interview that she didn't know how the Federation would have handled a Borg attack soon after the Dominion War, but she thought the Federation would have survived. "Somehow."

    The new movie is set six years after the huge point of divergence introduced by the Borg attacks of 2380-2381. In Needs of the Many, Janeway says that the unusual characteristics of the Hobus supernova (a star light-years away vapourizing a planet so soon after it goes?) makes it a likely candidate for artificial supernova, probably as a side-effect of the subspace weapons tests made by Sela's faction but maybe by Species 8472. In a timeline that's had at least six years to diverge hugely, it's very possible that those weapons tests wouldn't have been made, Hobus would remain intact, and Romulus and Remus would have survived.

    The debris left over in Romulus space from the side-effects of these metaweapons would complicate things. Probably the Romulans would have thought that, if a particular world was doomed anyway, it would be best to take as many Borg as possible with them, so some planetary systems might be physically destroyed. And who knows what the extensive use of subspace metaweapons would do.

    Point. There's some evidence--speculative evidence--to suggest that some areas of Romulan military technology might have been pulling ahead. Countdown 3 shows that Nero got his weapons suites from a secret Romulan facility, the Vault (not the Forge), which had managed to reverse-engineer Borg technology. Installed on the ]Narada, this technology was able to pose a critical threat to Federation planets and destroyed a small Klingon fleet sent to intercept it in the 24th century. Romulan and Borg technology were probably compatible anyway, as evidenced by their design preferences for glowing green running lights ... ;-)

    Agreed that this technology wasn't installed (or at least used) in the 2370s. By the 2380s, even without the ]Narada-class technology deployed in 2387, the Vault's research may have led to some interesting results which, with the metaweapons, cold also have slowed down the Borg. May have.