What is a Neutral Zone?

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by T'Girl, Sep 1, 2012.

  1. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    First off, who does it belong to anyway? Is it considered neither the property of the Federation, nor The People (Romulan, Klingon or other party) on the other side?

    Is it in some way "joint property" of both parties?

    Maybe the neutral zone is the modern equivalent of international waters, no one owns it, and while the Federation and the Empire can't enter it, third parties can employ it, work it, travel it, maybe colonize it, to their hearts content. Another possibility is that it's a "dead zone," no one can enter it, regardless of who you are, this would prevent the Federation/Empire from using mercenaries to conduct espionage and covert operations.

    How big is it? Balance of Terror suggest that the RNZ really isn't too thick, a few light years. TNG didn't get specific, but it seemed to imply a greater thickness, something that took time to traverse. The Federation and Klingon Empire would seem to have a NZ only at certain points, in other places the Federation and Empire come together with a "normal" border. The NZ seen in the Kobayashi Maru test (Saavik's) looked more like a bubble, than a wall in space.

    Does the existence of a NZ serve any useful purpose? Or is it just as good to have my territory come into direct contact with yours?

    :)
     
  2. CorporalClegg

    CorporalClegg Admiral Admiral

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    I honestly think it was always meant to be a bit ambiguous and really just a future sci-fi play on "the demilitarized zone."

    I suppose it's just supposed to be an area of space between two territories that neither faction can enter and act as a buffer between them. So they don't take pot shots over the fence, if you will.
     
  3. tighr

    tighr Commodore Commodore

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    I think the purpose would be to minimize the squabble over where exactly my space ends and yours begins. If neither of us can enter a certain area, we can't mutually claim systems/planets/resources. You can't very well build a fence in space, not really practical.

    There's no bodies of water in outer space, but there is vast emptyness; so its almost like an international waters type thing. Sometimes we heard that there were planets and outposts in the neutral zones, but I think the whole situation was poorly explained, and perhaps done so on purpose merely for plot reasons.
     
  4. GSchnitzer

    GSchnitzer Co-Executive Producer Moderator

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    In 1922, Saudi Arabia and Iraq couldn't make up their minds where the border between their countries should be. So a small area ("the border is somewhere in there" area) was created. (A smaller one was also created at the Saudi Arabia and Kuwait "border.") As spelled out in the Protocol of Uqair, no government could build fortifications or station troops in or near the zones, or near the border generally--but nomadic tribes (who pretty much decided that sand is sand) could come and go as they please.

    The actual "neutral zones" were dismantled in 1970. (Everyone pretty much agreed on the borders by then.)

    My hunch is that the Romulan Neutral Zone and/or the Klingon Neutral Zone derive conceptually from those actual neutral zones.
     
  5. Tiberius

    Tiberius Commodore Commodore

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    A neutral zone is a region between two political entities which belongs to neither, and (due to an agreement) is out-of-bounds for either political entity.
     
  6. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I think there was initially a Romulan Neutral Zone and then later, a Klingon Neutral Zone. As a result of the Khitomer Accords (or perhaps more specifically, the Narendra III incident involving the Enterprise-C), the Klingon Neutral Zone was eventually disbanded by the time of TNG.

    The Romulan Neutral Zone probably was wide enough to hold several neutral star systems.
     
  7. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Supposedly, Iconia and Nelvana were in star systems inside the Romulan Neutral Zone, rather than on either side of it. Or at least Varley was adamant that Iconia was "in" the RNZ, and the Romulan presence there was as much a violation as the Starfleet one. And the same was true of the supposed base on Nelvana III, with "within" and "in" used to describe the location.

    Even a Zone only one lightyear thick could of course have numerous star systems within its shell thickness by sheer chance if it were wide enough overall. But we don't know the overall dimensions of the RNZ - although we know that parts of it appear close to Earth while others appear very distant, suggesting at least a few hundred lightyears for the diameter of the barrier between Earth and Romulus.

    And whether that barrier is a 2D disk or a 3D eggshell, we still don't know for sure...

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  8. skilzkid

    skilzkid Ensign Red Shirt

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    Nice history lesson GSchnitzer.

    For Star Trek (please correct me if I'm wrong), it always seemed that the second NCC-1701D entered the neutral zone, the Romulans were sending ships. It's been a few year since I watched it, but it also seemed that Romulans often had business with planets inside the neutral zone or were encroaching more often and with less consequence than the Federation. And you know they probably had a whole bunch of cloaked ships in there :)

    Little summary I found with some help from Google:
    http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Romulan_Neutral_Zone
     
  9. Methos

    Methos Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    an area of the forums filled with bitching, arguing, stupidity and... wait, wrong definition...

    M
     
  10. Shawnster

    Shawnster Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I always took it the Neutral Zone was lived from the concept of the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea established in 1953 or the DMZ between North and South Vietnam established in 1954. Thanks for pointing out there were others.

    In TOS the only Neutral Zone mentioned was the Romulan Neutral Zone. In Star Trek II the Neutral Zone suddenly became the Klingon Neutral Zone. This is because an early draft of the script had the Kobyashi Maru depicting Romulans until Harve Bennette changed them to Klingons. One evidence of this is that the Kobyashi Maru was stranded in the Gamma Hydra system. Gamma Hydra was depicted as belonging to the Romulans in TOS "The Deadly Years."

    It is interesting to note that the Kobyashi Maru was, according to dialog, in the Neutral Zone.

    In TOS "The Trouble with Tribbles," Sherman's planet was in disputed space. According to the Organian treaty, both the Federation and Klingons had equal right to see which society could best care for the planet. Also according to treaty the Klingons had full docking privileges at stations like K-7. No mention of a Neutral Zone was given in this episode.

    Apparently it was only the Federation that couldn't violate the Neutral Zone. On screen evidence from TOS and TNG depicted the Romulans and Klingons violating the zone all the time. The Romulans and Klingons get trigger happy whenever a Starfleet vessel violates the Zone, but the Federation always wait until the enemy ships are on their side of the border.
     
  11. Hando

    Hando Commander Red Shirt

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    An explanation of the KNZ in STII could be that it was a simulation along the lines of expect the unexpected, so it doesn't have to align with "reality".

    One must look on the reason for creation to guess the function of an NZ.
    The Romulan one was created after a war, so it serves more like a buffer, or perhaps the Iron Curtain is a better example.

    While the Klingon one was more an Organian no-fight zone. So theoretically a Klingon fleet could cross the Zone and conquer Federation worlds. And there were concrete rules as to to whom a planet would belong.

    But it is true that the NZs don't seem to work as Federation/Romulan and Federation/Klingon ships see each other face to face too often for my tastes.
     
  12. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Space is big and Neutral Zones likely don't extend into infinity. Areas where the Federation may clash with Klingon ships during the 23rd-Century could be in territories claimed by neither side.

    As far as violations of the Romulan Neutral Zone (by either the Federation or the Romulans), they tended to be treated like violations of treaty/hostile acts each time. In Star Trek X, though, it seemed as if the Enterprise was given special diplomatic permission to approach Romulus. I imagine a similar scenario was played out for the ships of both the Klingon and Romulan ambassadors to Earth in Star Treks IV and VI respectively.
     
  13. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    ...Although the dialogue introducing the concept did specify that the RNZ was "between the planets Romulus and Remus and the rest of the galaxy", supposedly leaving no openings through which legitimate Romulan excursions to the galaxy could take place. Yet after the first few seasons of TNG, such excursions did take place. I think it was first in "Tin Man" that the presence of Romulan vessels in the same space with our heroes wasn't automatically considered an act of war. Thereafter it became commonplace, in "The Next Phase" or "The Pegasus" or basically every Romulan-related DS9 episode.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  14. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Given that neither Earth nor Romulus (supposedly) owns the entire Galaxy, such a claim can't be taken too literally. At best, the Zone extends until it reaches territory owned by third parties. But it could very well be that the Zone only covers where Federation space meets Romulans space.
    Which could support an idea that there are limits to how far the Neutral Zone extends if those encounters take place in territory claimed by neither the Federation nor the Romulans.
     
  15. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Alternately, the wording could quite literally mean that the RNZ is a sphere surrounding Romulus and Remus, separating them from the rest of the universe. Minimal "ownership" would then have universe-wide consequences.

    The curvature shown in the "Balance of Terror" map would already be more indicative of a manageable eggshell RNZ than a grandiose flat-plane-that-divides-all-that-is one, IMHO.

    There are political limits to the UFP's ability to enforce even a fully enclosing, eggshell RNZ. Namely, other empires border on the Romulans, too - Klingons are explicitly quoted as sharing a border, at which no "neutrality" is being practiced. All it would take to unleash the Romulans, then, would be another bordering empire that doesn't share even the tiny bit of understanding for the UFP that the Klingon Empire does...

    It helps matters that Romulans found outside their RNZ confines tend to be violating interstellar laws, treaties or good manners in so many ways already that the actual Zone breach is seldom a prime concern!

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  16. Anwar

    Anwar Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I think, when Balance of Terror was written, that the idea was supposed to be the same as the Kzinti in Larry Niven's "Known Space" series: After they lost the war, they were punished by being confined to their home star system and only their home star system. The Neutral Zone really was supposed to be a cage to keep the Romulans out of the rest of the Galaxy.

    Obviously, they changed their minds after that.
     
  17. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    ...Good that the phrasing in the inaugural Romulan episode didn't paint them completely in the corner, then.

    Having the RNZ form a shell around the inner parts of the Romulan home system works well on many levels. It allows for the long-tailed comet, for example. But the map with Romulus and Romii (or Rom II or whatever) doesn't look much like the map of a single star system, regardless of what the viewing angle might be. There was probably quite a bit of confusion at the time of the writing, then, about what was actually being depicted. And again, we should be thankful for that...

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  18. Neutral Zone

    Neutral Zone Captain Captain

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    Simple .... ME!
     
  19. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    [​IMG]


    Having the outposts be about where the orbit of Mars would be relative to Earth, makes the map shown in Balance of Terror work quite nicely. The neutral zone would just inside of that orbit.

    It allows for the long-tailed comet we saw, Scotty's comment about impulse power makes more sense, and the outposts being situated in a solid iron asteroids could indict that the outposts are located in a Romulan's asteroid belt.

    With the spread we see, a single ring of the inner Romulan star system would be comprised of approximately 140 outposts.

    Of course this map doesn't work for any other episode involving the Romulans.

    :)
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2012
  20. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    It's an interesting coincidence in this model that the outpost carrying the number 1 is close to the twin worlds at the time of the episode... A possible further argument for a setup of greater scale and thus greater stability?

    The point could also be made that the companion world of Romulus is named Remus in this episode already, not Romii or RomII - making it difficult to explain why those two spots would be close to each other in a map of a single star system.

    But the main advantage of the single-system model, the explanation for the impulse reference, is intriguing enough. And never mind that high warp is used in the episode a lot, too. After all, other TOS episodes suggest that high warp inside a star system is actually really slow.

    Timo Saloniemi
     

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