Thoughts on the Romulan Empire

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by Praetor, Jun 27, 2009.

  1. Anwar

    Anwar Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Isn't that good thing though? It shows the Romulans aren't just a one hate species and can various different reactions to stuff.
     
  2. hyzmarca

    hyzmarca Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    In a word, Socialist. In order for a civilian population to not benefit from advances in energy, transportation, computing, engineering, fabrication, materials, logistics, and many other things integral to the military, it would need to have a command economy run either by an idiot so someone who is absurdly corrupt, possibly both. To see the absurdly corrupt idiot effect, just look at North Korea, which does have decent military science, and crappy everything else.

    Beyond that, pretty much every Third World country is unable to lacks a decent industrial and scientific infrastructure, and is thus to buy equipment from First and Second World countries. In this case, idiot leaders use natural resources to buy weapons that they have no idea how to make or maintain instead of using them to build up the infrastructure required to make their own.

    In a capitalist society it is impossible for military advances to not trickle down to the civilian populations, with the possible exception of dangerous secret technologies such as cloaking devices or radar resistant paint (you don't see too many stealth civilian aircraft). The companies that make military tools also make civilian tools, things like fly-by-wire flight control systems that are necessary for aerodynamically unstable stealth craft are eventually adapted and integrated into civilian aircraft to reduce cost and increase safety.
     
  3. Anwar

    Anwar Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Thank you, you're better versed in social development than I am (shouldn't have focused so much on medieval history...).

    This is just a question of re-conceptualization but how would the Klingon Empire have to be set up that it would be a Military Superpower but conditions would leave the common non-soldier Klingon living in squalor? How would things have to be that the economy funneled so much money to the military it wouldn't have much left to maintain or advance civilian quality of life beyond the sheer basics even if the technological advancement of civilian life was possible?
     
  4. hyzmarca

    hyzmarca Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    The Klingon culture has an advantage in this regard because it seems that practically everyone is a warrior of some sort. Klingons despise for-profit business as much as the Federation does, apparently, as it violates their sense of honor. (Of course, this means that the Ferengi Alliance is likely to be the dominant power in the Alpha Quadrant within a century or two.) This, in turn, severely limits the civilian industrial infrastructure.



    I'm not even sure if there are such things as Klingon civilians, really. There are Klingon scientists and engineers, sure, but their military seems to revolve around the concept of the citizen-soldier and their culture around the warrior ethic to the point where the most reliable way to earn a promotion is to challange your boss to a duel to the death. They even have codified rules that allow any Klingon to challange the Head of Government to a duel for the position.

    Like the Spartans, they pride themselves on being hardcore, so most comforts are anathema to them. They train hard to fight and kill and don't have time for much else.

    This is an unfortunate side effect of them being a culture of the hats. Their hat happens to be war and battle. With an entire culture that rejects the very concept of being a civilian, that sees anyone who is unable or unwilling to fight as being disgraced or dishonored, it would make sense that they would lack civilian industrial infrastructure.

    The best way to do this would be to set up the Klingon Empire to Mirror Sparta, with all Klingons being citizen-soldiers who are required to train and to serve in the military for a time, while the other infrastructure needs such as farming and manufacturing are taken care of by client races, who have either been conquered or joined the empire voluntarily for protection against even worse races.
     
  5. Captrek

    Captrek Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I like the idea. The vast majority of Klingons live in squalor. The Empire is ruled by dozens of military dictators. Klingons are indoctrinated, almost from birth, to believe that non-Klingons are inferior, and that the greatest glory is to give one’s life in suicidal attacks against the enemies of the empire. And when we finally learn of the founder of the Klingon way, his name isn’t Kahless. It’s Muhammad. Now that would have made for compelling televion. :evil:

    Yes, that’s what I was referring to. The Cardassian Union is suffering, militarily and/or economically, and they come up with this idea that a “fifth column” has compromised the civilian government and caused all its failings by stabbing it in the back. A military junta comes to power and easily wins the support of most Cardassians, who believe that they will provide protection from these enemies within.
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2009
  6. Anwar

    Anwar Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ...I happen to be a Muslim, pal...
     
  7. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    [​IMG]

    That would only make for compelling television if you don't have the slightest clue what Islam is actually like and what most Muslims actually believe. Your bigotry is appalling.
     
  8. Silversmok3

    Silversmok3 Commander Red Shirt

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    The Romulan Empire is , to my eyes, what Vulcan would have been had Surak not spoken his mind, so to speak.
    While canon hasnt gone into enough detail about The Sundering to make any stance valid regarding how the current day Romulans/Rihannsu behave like ancient Vulcans, if I am as bold to use our own history as a comparison-id say people dont change as much as we believe in a few thousand years.

    In ancient Egypt, you had political corruption, religious customs based more on priesthood demands for power (sound familiar),and advanced technology for the time.

    In Rome better records of the civilization allow us a better look at how that society worked-and again, political corruption, backroom deals, schemes for power by singular people, betrayal, economic and currency debasement, and in between were people just trying to survive.Oh, and advanced technology for the time.

    Save for iPods and youtube, one could argue the man of today has the same motivations and ideals-and ambitions-as a Roman or Egyptian of what we consider ancient societies.

    Id imagine its the same arrangement with Romulus and Vulcan society-while one was sourced from the history of another, the differences between the two are due to societal differences due to people in Romulus not being constricted by rule of law or logic, versus Vulcan.

    I think of it like this-say you have a Vulcan man who has ambitions for running the planet.Within the context of Vulcan society, he has to either present a logical case for overthrowing the current elected government in favor of a dictatorship with him at the top, or he must channel his ambition into accomplishing enough within Vulcan society to generate enough of a popular base that he may logically propose legal election into power.
    Given that choice, option B is a lot more promising than option A, which will probably lead to him being expelled or locked up, thus denying him the ability to take immediate gratification of power.

    On Romulus, without logic as a barrier to personal gain, our Mr Ambition can scheme, lie , plot, murder, assasinate, and step on as many people as he sees fit to seek office of Praetor, as long as he simultaneously foils the attempt of competition to blow him away for their own purposes.When you combine the opprotunity for advancement with the necessity of using morally repugnant tools to acquire power-and add in a Vulcan's natually powerfull emotional state-you have people of questionable morality leading an entire empire, and as such the greater will of that society will be severely inconsitent between regimes.

    So it is no surprise that while Vulcan and Romulans could live on each other's worlds without being noticed, the societal differences are something like that of the United States compared to China.While a man in China and a man in America may seek high office like the example above-the consequences to that man differ from the society.An American president and likewise a Vulcan leader, need not be worried that a political failure or one moment of disgrace will result in an execution by a rival,unlike Romulus...or China, to a degree.
     
  9. Too Much Fun

    Too Much Fun Commodore Commodore

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    I just watched "The Neutral Zone" for what may have been the first time since it was first broadcast and I was shocked by how excellently it re-introduced the Romulans into the Star Trek universe. I appreciate it more now having seen "Balance of Terror" for the first time recently. I think it is in many ways a spiritual sequel to that episode, although it is obviously very different since it doesn't have a tense battle with the Romulans (although the tense conversation at the end is very satisfying too, in a different way) and of course has that cute (maybe too cute) subplot about the people from the past.

    After seeing this episode, I can't help but be disappointed knowing that it was never really followed up properly. The original "Star Trek" didn't really follow up "Balance of Terror" either (instead making the Klingons the more prominent recurring villain), but in that case the lack of follow-up was understandable since they only did three seasons. TNG had no excuse. I think after the early seasons, the Romulans got more and more marginalized, and in the end, they may be the biggest wasted opportunity of TNG. Mark Alaimo's great threatening announcement (which really shows his charisma and probably had something to do with his eventual casting on DS9) went a long way towards convincingly setting us up to believe that the Romulans would be the supreme badass villains of TNG, but nothing ever came of it.

    Now I believe more than ever that "Star Trek: Nemesis" should have finally given us the epic confrontation with the Romulans and big reveal about the details of their culture that this episode (and even "Balance of Terror", arguably) set us up for. It could have even kept the title, which would have been appropriate, since by the time that movie rolled around, the Romulans had been a prime enemy of the Federation for well over a hundred years.
     
  10. Anwar

    Anwar Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I've heard some people complain about how the Cardassians were just lamer versions of the Romulans. Would you have been satisfied if all the Cardassian episodes were Romulan episodes and the Cardassians never existed (this spreads to DS9)?
     
  11. Too Much Fun

    Too Much Fun Commodore Commodore

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    Nah, I think the Cardassians are distinctive enough to deserve credit as more than just a poor man's Romulans. Yes, both cultures were militaristic, but I think the main distinguishing characteristic between the two is how much more formal, restrained, dignified, and cordial the Romulans are.

    In contrast, the Cardassians are more likely to mouth off and express themselves without holding back their emotions so much. I think the Romulans like to play things closer to the chest generally (although Tomalok seems to be a bit of an exception with how emotive he sometimes was) and that makes sense since they're related to Vulcans.

    I don't believe the Cardassian episodes could have been easily interchangable with Romulan episodes. Just look how much the tone of "In the Pale Moonlight" and the behaviour of Romulans in that episode differs from both in Cardassian episodes. The Romulans are so much more quietly menacing and smug than Dukat, Damar, or Garak would be.
     
  12. Deranged Nasat

    Deranged Nasat Vice Admiral Admiral

    Indeed. Cardassians and Romulans are very different. To see them as interchangable is to overlook the complexities of their manners, cultures and psychologies, as revealed or implied over years of TV.
     
  13. TedShatner10

    TedShatner10 Commodore Commodore

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    I can see why they decided to change their fleet with the lessions they learned when dealing with the Dominion. The Valdore-class must've been a direct answer to the robust Jem'Hadar scarab ships while the Scimitar-class was a serious attempt to emulate the huge Dominion "super" cruisers that were almost as dangerous as Borg Cubes, although the original Warbird was already big to begin with despite being almost a Paper Tiger.

    And I disagree Too Much Fun that the Romulans were squandered as antagonists when they were directly behind the evil schemes in "Redemption" and "Unity", they also seemed to be pulling the strings in The Undiscovered Country. "The Neutral Zone" was a boring and patronizing episode that only introduced the Romulans in the last five fucking minutes, most other Romulan stories after that were a big improvement.
     
  14. Praetor

    Praetor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ^"Unification."
     
  15. TedShatner10

    TedShatner10 Commodore Commodore

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    My mistake, "Unification". In that episode the only real problem I had with it was the relatively small number of ground troops the Romulans were smuggling in to take Vulcan when the solar system must've had a major Starfleet presence in addition to Vulcan police/militia (unless they were a commando team intending to hold government leaders hostage in their offices sealed off by the Romulans?).
     
  16. Anwar

    Anwar Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I still say the "Unification" was just a plan the Higher-Ups in the Senate approved just to show everyone what an idiot Sela was and have her disgraced.
     
  17. Praetor

    Praetor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I'd tend to agree. The actual plot behind the plot in "Unification" is... probably best unexamined. :shifty:
     
  18. DevilEyes

    DevilEyes Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Cardassians "lamer versions of Romualns"?! :cardie: Even if we were to accept that they are similar, it can only be the other way round, since the Cardassians, the characters and the society, have been a lot more interesting,well-developed and multi-dimensional than Romulans.

    Romulans should have been Vulcans without the rule of logic and stoicism. They should have been as intense, volatile, powerful and dangerous as I imagine Vulcans would be if they were not suppressing their emotions and violent tendencies. But instead, post-TOS Romulans, I'm afraid, have been rather lame and disappointing, for the most part. Why don't they even have the same mental powers - telepathy, mind-meld - that Vulcans do? And think of how much better it would've been if they did not get those stupid, unexplained forehead ridges, which make no sense, because they're supposed to look identical to Vulcans, for logic's sake! :rommie::vulcan: Think of all the possibilities if they have kept the ide about Vulcans and Romulans being genetically identical...they could have even had interesting storylines about Romulan spies posing as Vulcans.

    And all in all, instead of being powerful antagonists, they have too often been just a minor annoyance or a negative reference point, related to their perceived inclination to be sly, lying and treacherous (Klingons and Cardassians consider "acting like a Romulan" as an insult).
     
  19. Anwar

    Anwar Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Actually, we DID have at least one story of a Romulan spy posing as a Vulcan in TNG.
     
  20. DevilEyes

    DevilEyes Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Then I must have forgotten it, because they didn't use it a lot. But we also had not just Vulcans but humans and androids posing as Romulans, and all sorts of other combinations (humans posing as Klingons in DS9, Cardassian posing as Bajoran and vice versa, etc.) through the extremely convient surgical alterations, which seem like the easiest thing ever in Trek. :rommie: I guess nobody ever gives those people medical checkups or thinks of checking their DNA. But speaking of DNA - shouldn't Romulans and Vulcans be the same species? There has been so much inconsistency on that matter in ST. There's even a scene in DS9 in which someone asks Bashir "aren't Romulans identical to Vulcans?" (I guess they thought the forehead ridges were just some kind of hat, eh? :p) and Bashir answers: "Yes, but there are genetical differences"?! :wtf::confused: