Some speculation about the Romulans and the Borg invasion

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

  1. rfmcdpei

    rfmcdpei Captain Captain

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    Well, not to start a debate--;-)--but I'm inclined to count the Rihannsu novels as relevant to the novelverse, since the Sherman/Schwartz novels tried to incorporate as much of Diane Duane's somewhat variant universe as possible, keeping most of the core cultural elements, making Remus a hellhole, and having the Romulans start expanding at a much earlier date. (Duane herself changed this; the earlier novels had Romulan expansion only beginning with First Contact and then from the Eisn system only, producing an empire by the late 23rd century much smaller than the Federation and the Klingon, but The Empty Chair particularly established multiple generations of colony planets and an assorted of conquered planets adding up to an empire more comparable, at least.) Selected bits from the novels, like the existence of Artaleirh, the concept of a reformist regime under Empress Ael, and most noticeably elements of the Rihannsu language including name formation, have also made it into the established novelverse.

    I tend to see the Rihannsu novels as canonical except where they can't be, because they've been surpassed by the TV/movie canon, secondarily the new novelverse canon. It gives the Romulans a character that, unlike the Cardassians on DS9, wasn't developed on the show.

    Even if we discount completely the Rihannsu novels, with its Sunseed and the mechanically augmented psi power machines and the massively overpowered generation starships and the hyperflare weapons, there's still enough evidence suggesting a certain Romulan fondness for metaweapons.
     
  2. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    You need to think about this more metatextually. The "timeline split" is merely a way to rationalize the fact that Pocket Books and the makers of Star Trek Online have chosen to develop the post-NEM continuity in different ways. But all licensed tie-ins are required to conform to screen canon, even when they don't conform to each other's continuity. The destruction of Romulus is screen canon, and therefore Pocket will be obligated to include it in the novel continuity, even if the specifics of its inclusion differ from what STO established. Real-life contractual obligations trump fictitious continuity rationalizations.
     
  3. Hartzilla2007

    Hartzilla2007 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    That, plus STO shoots rather large holes in Janeway's theory anyway.

    Though that still doesn't change the fact that no matter what timeline the novels are using in 2387 Romulus goes bye bye, though Star Trek Online did show that this doesn't mean the RSE is gone they just moved to a new capital planet, much like the Klingons did (possible only temporarily) after Destiny.
     
  4. kkozoriz1

    kkozoriz1 Fleet Captain

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    But there's this line Spock Prime spoke:

    "As I began my return trip I was intercepted.


    - He called himself Nero,
    - Last of the Romulan Empire."

    That seems to indicate that most of the Romulans perished and the Emprire itself is no more.
     
  5. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Nero was hardly a detached, rational commentator. His self-applied epithet can easily be interpreted as hyperbole, an expression of his feelings rather than of the objective reality.

    After all, the film gave the impression that it was only hours after the destruction of Romulus. Information is always unclear at a time like that, and rumors can propagate out of control. I remember going online on 9/11/01 and seeing hysterical posts from people (well, one person, at least) convinced that the falling of the World Trade Center had killed millions of people. It's possible that Nero had heard exaggerated accounts of exactly how much destruction had been wrought Empire-wide.
     
  6. Deranged Nasat

    Deranged Nasat Vice Admiral Admiral

    Kkozoriz1: On Deep Space Nine, when Dukat was told to reign in his war against the Klingons because the Detapa Council wished to sue for peace, Dukat insisted (if I remember correctly) that he was "the only Cardassian" left. Perhaps Nero meant something similar. He's so overcome with rage at the loss of Romulus and his family - and Spock's "betrayal" - that he wants to go on a SMASH! KILL! "revenge" spree. But maybe everyone else is too busy trying to keep the Star Empire together or crying for aid that the last thing they want is to destabilize things any further (Even if that's almost a case of Beyond the Impossible?). So as far as Nero's concerned there is no Star Empire left, just a pathetic group of begger worlds who won't join him in the Grand Smashing. He and his crew are "the last" - the last "true" sons and daughters of the once-great Empire? :)
     
  7. kkozoriz1

    kkozoriz1 Fleet Captain

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    That's centanly one interpitation. However, the information is being provided by Spock during the mind meld. Calling him "Last of the Romulan Empire" wpuld be like referring to Checkov as "Czar of all the Russias". He may have called himself that but it's not relavent to the point Spock was making.

    Seeing as the Hobus Star was a fair distance away from Romulus and still managed to utterly destroy the planet it stands to reason that the otherRomulan colonies, particulary those older and more established ones, would be destroyed as well. How many Romulan colonies have been mentioned before anyway? Perhaps the Romulans have captive planets but very few that they've colonized themselves.
     
  8. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Yes, it is. Because Spock wasn't calling him that -- Spock was reporting what Nero called himself. And that is relevant to establishing Nero's state of mind, his motivations. And that is part of what Spock was conveying in the meld -- who Nero was, why he was doing these things.


    Let's keep in mind that canonically, the star has no name. "Hobus" comes from Countdown, which isn't entirely consistent with the movie, since it shows Spock and Nero establishing a relationship before the supernova, while Spock's lines in the meld -- "He called himself Nero" -- suggest that they'd never met before. Neither do we have any canonical information on the star's position relative to Romulus.

    That said, the movie did seem to indicate that it wasn't Romulus's own star that went supernova, because if it had been, there would've been no delay to allow Spock to undertake the red matter plan. Of course, that would raise the question of how the radiation got to Romulus in days or weeks instead of years. Really, the whole sequence of events as presented in the movie is scientifically nonsensical, and Countdown's version adds even more impossibilities and absurdities to the account. (For instance, asserting that Hobus was one of the oldest stars in the galaxy. Stars that old don't go supernova. It's something that only happens to very large, very short-lived stars.) So I'd hesitate to accept anything we've been told about the supernova, canonically or otherwise, at face value. It happened, but the rest is subject to interpretation.
     
  9. rfmcdpei

    rfmcdpei Captain Captain

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    Old Spock was reporting the fact that's what Nero believed himself to be the last of Romulus, but--well, here we come to the ambiguities of telepathic communication as represented in film. What else was he telling Young Kirk? He may have been identifying Nero's belief as a rage-filled delusion as much as an accurate representation of the facts. Don't forget that, despite Vulcan's millennial existence as an interstellar power with multiple holdings, Young Spock said that there were only a few tens of thousands of Vulcans left. I'd prefer not to imagine how people surviving such locally overpowering disasters would be thinking, or what they'd be saying.

    And don't forget that, all indications from the language everyone uses aside, the Vulcans and Romulans actually belong to the same species ...

    I don't think this holds. I've found a high-quality copy of the Star Trek Atlas map. Let's say that Hobus exploded near the centre of the empire, around Beta Reticuli. Assuming the wavefront of Hobus expanded in a circular fashion, by the time Romulus was destroyed a sizable chunk of Federation space would also have been vapourized, including most of the Federation's Neutral Zone outposts, at least a couple of starbases, a few settled border worlds, and not far at all from Federation core worlds like Earth, Vulcan, Alpha Centauri, and Bolarus. It might even have gotten into the Klingon Empire's nearer regions.

    If the disaster was that big, a lot of the reaction to the Hobus catastrophe strikes me as ... off. Why would the Federation have been in a position to dispatch medical ships to the space of Romulus? It would seem to make more sense to care to its own wounds, especially, if Romulus had been vapourized.

    The threat was described as being specifically one to Romulus, not the RSE. To me, it would make more sense to place Hobus somewhere in the "western" end of the RSE's ellipse, near enough to Romulus to destroy it but not so far away as to destroy significantly large volumes of non-Romulan space?

    In the filmed material, maybe, but the same could be said about Klingons, or Ferengi, or every other non-human species but the Cardassians. Colony worlds, as distinguished from conquered worlds, haven't been distinguished. This lack of distinction doesn't mean that they don't exist, any more than they do exist.

    The idea that there wouldn't be large, populous, Romulan colonies, strikes me as unlucky. As much as the humans, the Romulans are an expansionistic culture, and the idea that in a history of starlight several times' longer than humanity's they wouldn't have founded a substantial number of populous colonies strikes me as unlikely. There's plenty of unpopulated worlds suitable for colonization in Federation space. Why wouldn't that also be true in Romulan space? And why wouldn't the racist Romulans preempt the expansion of subject species (well, maybe not as labourers) onto these worlds?

    Even if all of the RSE's worlds were conquered worlds with Romulan minorities there would still be huge numbers of Romulans absolutely. Towards the end of its existence, whites maintained Rhodesia despite being outnumbered twenty-to-one by their subjects. The Romulans were able to control them before, and the destruction of their homeworld wouldn't do much to make the colonials less bloody-minded.
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2010
  10. rfmcdpei

    rfmcdpei Captain Captain

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    It's easiest for me to believe that someone broke Hobus. None of the other supernova described in Trek produced FTL shockwaves of this sort, and even when others agreed with Spock's analysis it seems like they underestimated the shockwave's speed. The second Countdown comic suggests that the experts expected the shockwave to arrive in weeks, not in the shorter time that Countdown may have implied. Someone--or something--may have been experimenting ...
     
  11. rfmcdpei

    rfmcdpei Captain Captain

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    STO does shoot holes in her theory? Tell me more ...

    So in the the novelverse timeline, notwithstanding the huge changes in 2380-2381 relative to the STO timeline, Hobus will still explode. The proximate cause might even be different--maybe the Hirogen set it off, say--but the explosion will be the one constant linking the two timelines.

    Do I have this right?
     
  12. Hartzilla2007

    Hartzilla2007 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Well the explaination is kind of fanwanky but.......

    The Iconians, who are still around it seems and evil had Taris an Admiral at the time and later Preator send a device into the star to blow it up and take out Romulus. Though until the truth was found Janeway's theory was considered the most likely thing that happened, but still a theory and they really didn't know how it happened.

    And on a slighty unrelated note to anyone else who has played STO and read Needs of the Many, was I the only one going wtf, huh, and when the hell did that happen!? while reading the book becuase it kinf-of seemed like Martin had a vague outline of the game's plot when he wrote the book because it was off by a whole lot from my reckoning.

    Pretty much.
     
  13. kkozoriz1

    kkozoriz1 Fleet Captain

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    According to Memory Alpha we know of 15 Klingon planets, not counting Qo'Nos or Praxis.

    The same site lists 3 Romulan planets, not counting Romulus and Remus.

    Seeing as XI tells us that there's less than 10,000 Vulcans left out of 6 billion. It would appear that, for whatever reason, Vulcans (and Romulans) don't tend to colonize planets in large numbers.

    I wonder how the whole "supernova" will be handled in the novels. If it were me I'd mention Romulus and Remus being destroyed and leave it at that. Why open a can of worms that big?
     
  14. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    That seems a necessary conclusion, although there aren't any plausible supernova candidates in that part of space. But then, any supernova whose radiation can propagate FTL is weird anyway.


    Indeed. Let's keep in mind what the word "empire" actually means. It doesn't mean one monocultural state that's mean to its neighbors. An empire, by definition, is a multicultural political entity in which one central state (the metropolis) governs multiple other states and harnesses their wealth, resources, and labor for the benefit of the metropolis. The Romulan state is called a Star Empire, which explicitly characterizes it as a power that rules over multiple star systems, presumably including ones that are politically and culturally (and, given the context, taxonomically) distinct from the people of Romulus.



    Well, the supernovae in Generations were shown to have gravitational effects propagating superluminally; the courses of several starships and the Nexus were altered almost instantly upon their destruction. (Which doesn't make sense conventionally, not only due to speed-of-light limitations, but because from that distance there'd be no perceived change in the location of the star's center of mass. One must assume some form of subspace ripple washing over those ships and the Nexus and pushing them aside a bit.) Also, the explosion of Praxis in TUC evidently propagated FTL, unless we're expected to believe the Excelsior was casually sailing through the home system of the Klingon Empire at the time and nobody noticed.

    I'm compelled to mention that my Distant Shores story "Brief Candle" postulated "subspace tunneling" as a way for radiation to propagate FTL, since I needed it to make the story work. (Sometimes I forget about propagation delays in my plotting and then have to do some fancy footwork to justify it in the actual writing. It was even worse in Over a Torrent Sea when I forgot to take the finite speed of sound in water into account in the outline and needed to rejigger the climax to play out over a longer time than I'd expected.)


    As I said, I don't consider Countdown an authoritative text. Going strictly by the onscreen dialogue, there's no indication that the radiation front accelerated (another case where Countdown made it even more implausible than the movie version). All it says is that the radiation reached Romulus before Spock could complete his mission. Maybe it went faster than anticipated from the start. Since it had to be propagating through subspace somehow, it could've been hard to calculate its effective rate of expansion.


    Essentially. I'm not sure whether Pocket would even address the causes; Bad Robot seems to have an interest in maintaining consistency among the tie-ins that relate to the film's continuity, so it might be that Pocket would just remain neutral on the issue, acknowledging that the supernova happened but not telling an alternative tale about how it happened. On the other hand, I could be wrong and there could be a novel about it. (And of course, being me, I wouldn't mind getting a shot at telling that story and offering some explanations.)

    Either way, though, it happened onscreen, so that makes it part of the continuity the books have to honor.


    The line in the film can be interpreted to mean that only 10,000 of the inhabitants of Vulcan itself escaped. Despite the implications of Spock's "endangered species" line, it is not explicitly stated that there are only 10,000 Vulcans left in the universe.

    And like I said, if the Romulans only lived on one planet, they wouldn't be a Star Empire. The word "empire" has a specific meaning.
     
  15. kkozoriz1

    kkozoriz1 Fleet Captain

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    Spock's line is meant to mean that there's 10,000 Vulcans (as opposed to Romulans) left altogether. Why else would he say he's a member of an endangered species? If China were destroyed would a surviving Chinese citizen claim to be a member of an endangered species if there were still 5 billion other humans left? Has there been any mention of Vulcan colonies that weren't in the TNG timeframe? P'Jemm wasn't a colony as much as a listening post. Maybe Vulcan didn't start colonizing planets until V'Ger showed them that one threat almost took out the entire Earth.

    Nonsensical or not, the supernova is the way that Romulus will meet it's end. Seeing as Spock created the black hole after Romulus was destroyed I wonder what exactly he was trying to do? Clean up the mess? Create a fire break to protect another inhabited (Federation?) planet?
     
  16. Deranged Nasat

    Deranged Nasat Vice Admiral Admiral

    Mu Arae is quite close to Romulus, or looks like it might be (I'm not familiar enough with actual stars' positions to determine if it is). I hope the Koas don't need to pack up the planet and move again...they're fresh out of boxes.
     
  17. rfmcdpei

    rfmcdpei Captain Captain

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    But we know for a fact that there are plenty of other Vulcans outside of the 40 Eridani system. The Romulans are Vulcans: descended from Vulcan colonists, retaining many pre-Surakian cultural traditions, speaking languages closely similar to standard Vulcan, and interfertile with Vulcans (cf Saavik). Romulan culture has developed quite differently from the post-Surakian Vulcan norms, but that doesn't relate to Vulcan biology--there are still plenty of points the two civilizations have in common besides.

    Who knows? Quite possibly, given the relative size of the Vulcan sphere of influence versus the RSE, there are many, many more Vulcans of Romulan background than there are Vulcans of more conservative 40 Eridanite stock. It might well be true that, centuries after the Vulcan Reformation, most Vulcans still don't follow Surak's path. Dominant in one of the traditional superpowers, major players in another, and with all manner of related cultures Preserver-spread or not (Rigellians, Mintakans, et cetera), the Vulcans as a species are demonstrably not endangered. The Borg invasion was probably (possibly?) the first time since the successful colonization of Romulus that the Vulcan species' survival was threatened.

    Even with the destruction of Vulcan proper, and assuming no substantial Vulcan settlements within or without the 40 Eridani system, the Vulcan species is doing just fine.

    Old Spock knows this. Young Spock, presumably, knows this--the Narada's early "contact" seems to have advanced Federation knowledge of Romulan background somewhat, the Vulcans also have their own inside sources and Spock being well-positioned in Vulcan society. Why, knowing all of these facts which demonstrate that despite the homeworld's loss the species remains, would Young Spock say that his species is endangered? There's no logic in that.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2010
  18. rfmcdpei

    rfmcdpei Captain Captain

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    Most of the traditional empires of Earth contained colonies of settlement and colonies of natives: Britain had the Thirteen Colonies and Bengal in the 18th century, say. Over time, as empires and populations expanded, these boundaries blurred, their categorizations changed. In the 1860's the territory of Rupert's Land--basically, most of what's now central and much of Arctic Canada--was populated mainly by First Nations people. The demography's much different now. And where do Indian immigrants to the Caribbean and Fiji--colonial subjects heading to another colony--fit in the settlement/native colony continuum?

    The only colonizing nation I know of that didn't acquire and produce colonies of settlement alongside colonies of natives was France. That was produced in the first empire (to the Revolution) by a disinterest in overseas interests and a desire to profit from extractive resources like furs and sugar. Combining mass settlement with these extractive resources could have jeopardized the empire--if Canada had been colonized heavily, apart from agriculture wrecking the forests that were home to fur-bearing animals the natives who were the most reliable allies and trading partners of the French would have been upset. In the second empire (after the Revolution) by the lack of any significant interest in emigration and, perhaps, an interest in propagating French influence through popular culture more than through overseas migration, Algeria being the single large exception that proves the rule and even then most of the immigrants came from non-French Mediterranean Europe.

    Those motives explain two centuries of French non-colonization. The Romulan Star Empire, according to Memory Beta, dates from the 3rd century CE. The RSE probably did have its periods of static growth, periods of disinterest in the settlement of new worlds to the profit of conquering already-inhabited worlds. I can't see pressures towards non-settlement enduring throughout Romulan history, especially given the apparent Romulan interest in physical footprints and contempt for subject species. How can Romulans have an empire if there aren't enough Romulans to securely rule it?
     
  19. kkozoriz1

    kkozoriz1 Fleet Captain

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    Unlike the Federation we don't see many, if any, other species in the RSM or the Klingon Empire. Perhaps once the Romulans conquer an inhabited planet they simply prevent them from leaving. Put a few armed stations in orbit and plasma bomb any attempt to build spacecraft. You beam down the raw materials and beam up the finished products. That way you don't get that "dirty alien" stink all through your nice, Romulan ship.

    You can securly rule an insterstellar empire if you're the only ones who can get out of a gravity well.
     
  20. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    No, it was meant to convey an emotional impression to filmgoers. In a Q&A on TrekMovie.com in May 2009, screenwriters Orci & Kurtzman stated that the "10,000 Vulcans" figure did not include offworlders; it referred only to those who'd escaped the planet itself before its destruction.

    http://trekmovie.com/2009/05/22/orci-and-kurtzman-reveal-star-trek-details-in-trekmovie-fan-qa/


    He very well might, if he were as emotionally distraught as Spock was at that point (though he'd more likely say "endangered race," keeping in mind that ST treats species as analogous to ethnic groups). Again, keep in mind the concept of the unreliable narrator. It can justify Nero's "last of the Romulan Empire" line, and it can justify this line.


    Yes. It's called Romulus. ;)
     

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