Romulan Society - Totalitarianism?

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by Project Fear, Jul 24, 2017.

  1. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Aug 26, 2003
    Also, sorry about the multi-posting, but I'd like to keep this distinct:

    The Romulan thing lies about 2,000 years in the past of our heroes. Surely it can be treated as myth from their viewpoint, especially when they themselves believe in it as an undisputed fact?

    Timo Saloniemi
  2. thewanderingjack

    thewanderingjack Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Jul 18, 2017
    Only because all the information we get is the Vulcan version of history... those assertions may not in fact be true (even if they are believed by Vulcans)... post apocalypse and long time ago as it was...
  3. Ricky Spanish

    Ricky Spanish Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Jan 30, 2001
    Unless you can prove Surak was peddling misinformation in Archer's head, then its canon.
  4. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Aug 26, 2003
    But one of the big scenarios here would be that Surak was a villain. :devil:

    We could see parallels here to Sargon's folks worming themselves into the salvation of our heroes' heads through insincerities. Surely Surak would believe in the primacy of self-preservation in this encounter with a random alien gullible enough to allow for his survival?

    Timo Saloniemi
    thewanderingjack likes this.
  5. thewanderingjack

    thewanderingjack Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Jul 18, 2017
    Very interesting thoughts... as to that last part yeah, there are many such examples in-world... but they've never made much sense to me... without changing canon, we can assume that those especies we're not always as "rabid" (or otherwise one dimensional, like the Ferengi Greed) as they currently seem... in the case of the Klingons for example, it would make a lot of sense to me that the current culture is actually a result of an uprising by the warrior caste (post most technological development) that has enveloped their whole society, and that perhaps a lot of their society had put their aggressiveness and warrior spirit into non-war endeavors, and that this was socially acceptable (unlike now, currently, where non warriors are pretty much trash/failures/honorless) and thus produced most of their advanced technology during that time. The current versions of course have enough interest in those technologies to keep them going, and improving (mostly or their war-like agendas).
  6. thewanderingjack

    thewanderingjack Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Jul 18, 2017
    I can prove Vulcans lie, so then the possibility exists... we could also go over it word for word and discuss his meaning. :)
  7. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Aug 26, 2003
    Why exactly would warriors be less inclined to develop technology than non-warriors? It's not as if they are undermining their home base of resources and innovation by trying to conquer outer space. Idle "pure" research might suffer - but that's only desirable, making it all the likelier that the myriad cultures of Trek evolve to the same plateau of tech and then stay there, fighting the minor improvements of the enemy blow by blow.

    OTOH, conquest might introduce new techologies as war spoils. War certainly typically promotes mobility of ideas, as war is such a mobile thing to begin with.

    Turning inwards is a choice, but one unlikely to do much good in Trek - Romulans have to constantly fight for their right not to fight, and even the superior Paxans and Aldeans ultimately succumbed, perhaps exactly because of being such one-trick ponies and never learning about new ways of staying in isolation?

    Timo Saloniemi
  8. JRTStarlight

    JRTStarlight Captain Captain

    Jun 2, 2017
    Astral Plane
    Since the high command at the time was in cahoots, that information likely didn't get passed along to the new government.

    The UT is another invisible bit of tech that makes little sense in that aliens are apparently unaware of it at times? But the use of the UT in ST6 was just ghastly. Even if the klingons might recognize it, why would they feel the need to translate the klingon's request manually and not use the UT themselves? They have a lot of time to waste or something? Am I remembering that wrong?

    Two power systems, but both used the same screws, right? Well, it doesn't matter.

    When they started using those is questionable. But it would require Scotty making a mistake to blow off the idea they only had impulse power. But the sub analogy doesn't work when that gives them an alternative means of escape besides hiding and hoping for the best.

    Proof? No of course not. Even Romulus is close to the neutral zone from what I've seen and not far from it, but I bet it's still light years away, and with impulse only, if would take a long time to get there and back. But while it's possible they may have had warp drive, I don't think I'd accept it without more convincing proof than it could have been true.

    I think they would have said if they were both visible and moving FTL - hey, Scotty, looks like you were wrong.

    The desire to go slower, or the requirement to go slower while cloaked? I don't recall a modern Romulan saying we can't go faster while cloaked, but maybe they did.

    The plasma bolt took so much energy, the high energy requirement of the cloak couldn't be used simultaneously, and you think that also made them STL, or the cloak made them SLT, but they could travel FTL when not cloaked or using weapons? Well, that sounds like speculation without real proof. And the Romulans sure never mention the option of going FTL.

    The Romulans were already in the zone - Kirk had to lure them back. If they wanted to survive, they could have. Deceus' insistence they attack, and the commander's inability to say no to the politically connected jerk, killed them all. IIRC.

    Because of ST: ENT? Well, even if they had it, not every ship need have it. The idea the STL scouts and FTL carriers could still be true – just an aging fleet, still using cattlecar technology, and still good enough to test the enemy's defenses and try out some new experimental weapons. And if they lose the scout, so what? A commander who was showing signs he thought the praetor was wrong, and a silly upstart who was a pain in the ass, an old man, and a few nobodies. Good riddance to them.

    If the Borg would just take volunteers, or the terminally ill, we could have worked with them.
  9. thewanderingjack

    thewanderingjack Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Jul 18, 2017
    For warriors, all your assertions make a lot of sense... but for the way early Vulcans are described, and current Klingons act, where their rampant aggression often seems to turn inward to a great degree (honor duels, family feuds, clan wars etc etc everything to the death) this seems a lot less likely.... it's all kill or die... not a lot of time to work on stuff. Especially if all your friends are calling you a pussy for playing around with engines when we could all be kicking ass somewhere The honor codes and other conventions seem to be a response to that, and I'd argue that they're proof that without tight controls these species would have a hard time achieving much (that is the Vulcan's own assertion about themselves)... possible yes, it would just be a much harder and longer struggle.
  10. thewanderingjack

    thewanderingjack Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Jul 18, 2017
    Except that the Borg don't negotiate. Also, despite what is implied, it seems clear that the Borg consciousness has within it one coe consciousness which is what drives them... it it was forces them to forget their individuality and why despite their "we will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own" line, the Borg adapt but never change, and why the consciousness is never affected by the feelings and beliefs o the (X)illions of people whose experiences they've assimilated.
  11. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Aug 26, 2003
    But it isn't "at the time", it's that Romulans were talking with all sorts of strangers so freely in their own lingo. What would be the chances of effective censorship? It's not even a matter of keeping all Vulcan citizens in line, it's a daunting task of censoring all sorts of aliens who overhear the Romulaneseian.

    We might choose to think that it takes an advanced society familiar with UTs to notice the difference. Or even that Klingon listening outposts are specially equipped to deal with the UT.

    Indeed. The novelization says Valeris sabotaged the UT; the story is unclear on whether an early script version also said that, and whether Chekov was in fact filmed stating so and then reshot. A bad idea in any case.

    Yup. And for all we know, impulse and warp use the same coils in some ship designs (especially those that lack the impulse "nozzles", perhaps?). The power source is fundamentally different, though, and that's what Scotty was talking about, too.

    And Scotty can make mistakes.

    What means is that? Visible/surface running and invisible/underwater running or hiding appear to be the two or three choices in both cases.

    Or then mere lightminutes, depending on the scale. A sublight chase through a single star system, with comets and all, would be a good interpretation of this one episode - but not of the greater Romulan saga, which is what should take precedence.

    Well, they had it before those events. What harms "Balance of Terror" is that our heroes know so little about the events and technologies from just a century prior - wasn't Kirk always going through all sorts of "required reading" at the Academy? Modern officers learn about trebuchets and medieval siege warfare, or even obscurities like Gaugamela, and they have much lower odds of ever meeting anything that odd out there.

    Why embarrass the poor man?

    Kirk did use maximum speed to evade the plasma bolt, and then to re-span the distance. Against an invisible STL opponent, there'd be a serious risk of overshooting... But hitting an invisible FTL opponent should be tricky, too, even with "proximity" weapons.

    The Romulan cloak of the Defiant was said to limit the warp performance of that ship (that is, high performance would ruin the invisibility effect) in "The Search". And Romulans in TNG were always obsessing about stealth, "running silent" where Klingons recklessly armed weapons while cloaked.

    On the other hand, cloaking in the 24th century consumes minimal power - a cloaking device can render itself invisible even when not hooked to a power source. And the cloak was the last thing to fail in ST4:TVH, with even the transporters going before invisibility (and transporters don't stop working when ships catastrophically lose power, as we see many transporter evacuations in such scenarios!).

    The Romulan society knowing how to warp is a foregone conclusion outside this episode. This particular ship being a regular warp vessel or an unusual sublight tank hinges on the aforementioned issues of map scale, and we'd prefer to disbelieve in small scale in light of the later establishing of a vast Romulan Star Empire. So it's desirable speculation, albeit without proof.

    Nobody mentions shields in that episode, either, but we might surmise those were utilized nevertheless...

    Or then the Commander valiantly commanded his ship to certain destruction, knowing that this would help avert a war. But being able to survive would again hinge on the scale - how thick is the RNZ? In TNG "The Enemy", it takes four hours for a superfast Warbird to cross, so a sublight ship would have real trouble outliving the ordeal.

    That's perhaps the most interesting aspect of the episode - why exactly does the fate of this one vessel result in "no war" when she was launched on a mission of "yes war"? What are the powers and goals of the Praetor? How many ships partook, and who knew and approved?

    They do ask for volunteers every time!

    Timo Saloniemi
  12. The Overlord

    The Overlord Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Nov 26, 2010
    Perhaps Romulan Society is a authoritarian rather then totalitarian. It doesn't seem like Romulan society has a bill of rights, considering the Tal Shair can drag people off for little reason and Balance of Terror seemed to suggest the Praetor has a lot of power.

    Perhaps the Senators are appointed by the Praetor, made up of members of powerful families in the Romulan Empire or maybe these powerful families put fourth members to be appointed for the Senate and the Praetor usually agrees with these appointments.

    The Romulan Empire could be a corrupt Democracy, where there are elections for the Senate, but they are rigged to favor who ever the Praetor wants to win.

    The Romulan Empire seems more like an oligarchy then a one man dictatorship, I think the Praetor needs to appease powerful members of Romulan society to stay in power.
  13. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Aug 26, 2003
    We don't really know who leads the Star Empire even in formal terms. Praetor would be an odd choice if there are Emperors (and, as per "Death Wish", Empresses) around. Also, Shinzon could not easily become Emperor if there were lineage issues involved, but Praetor would be an elected office, and he'd just skip a few steps there...

    Praetors would be natural leaders of audacious expeditionary wars in the Roman setup, thus in essence dictating foreign policy over the heads of the Senate or indeed the Emperor.

    Clearly the fate of a Praetor (we don't know how many there are at any given time) seems to hinge on elections, which in turn may hinge on the successes of the Praetor's exploits. This would keep the leadership very dynamic and competitive (for the supreme retirement position among all the posh retirement positions) while any legislative bodies could lead more sedate and systematic lives.

    Timo Saloniemi
  14. The Overlord

    The Overlord Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Nov 26, 2010
    I have not seen anything to suggest the Romulan Empire is run by a Emperor by the 23rd/24th century (Q's throwaway line about a Romulan Empress doesn't mean much, considering he could just go back in time to meet her, it doesn't suggest she exists in the present), the government consists of the Praetor, the Procousel, the Vice Porcounsel and the Senate.

    The Praetor's fate may not be tied to elections, but may be tied to powerful Romulan families who make up the Senate. Do we know if the Senate is elected or appointed?
  15. JRTStarlight

    JRTStarlight Captain Captain

    Jun 2, 2017
    Astral Plane
    So your best explanation for why Spock was so in the dark about the Romulan/Vulcan connection is what? I mean he later admitted it was possible, but he was clueless it was so until he saw them. So he knew the lost tribe was out there, but had no idea the Romulans were they.

    It's hard to chose to think more primitive aliens don't notice the tech, nor the lag between them saying it, the UT translating it, you answering, the UT translating that, repeat. I understand nobody wants to watch that tedious process on T.V., but to simply act like it's not happening and you can pass for a native speaking their native tongue is ridiculous. You'd need something like two babble fish or the Tardis' translation circuit for that, short of learning the native language yourself.

    So you're saying Scotty saw the power signature in use (impulse) and just assumed that's all they had? I wouldn't have made that assumption.

    Everyone can, so even when they say something in dialogue, we still can't be sure it's 100% reliable and true and canon fact, for they could be wrong, or lying, or exaggerating. Still, I'd give him the benefit of the doubt until I see more convincing evidence that scout ship had warp capability.

    The sub is trapped and can only hide in those movies, or kill. But here, they are already in the neutral zone, and realized "they will not enter"

    DECIUS: Still no sign of movement, Commander.
    COMMANDER: We've damaged ourselves. Our fuel reserve is gone.
    DECIUS: And it is our duty to crush the Praetor's enemies.
    COMMANDER: I do not trust their Captain.
    DECIUS: We are in the Neutral Zone. They will not enter. If you refuse, permit me the glory of the kill, Commander.
    COMMANDER: We will attack, but on my order.

    They had the means of escape. Even at impulse, if they wanted, though Kirk might have gone after them. But at warp, and already in Romulan space, they could have gotten clean away.

    Would you accept a buffer zone that small, only a few light minutes wide? I wouldn't.

    You mean from ENT? IMO, that was poorly done. If I insisted on using warp, I'd not give them ICs so they couldn't man their ships - only remote controlled ones then. But then trapping a couple Feds on board wouldn't have worked for a story, but I'd have foregone that to preserve the lore.

    Was there ever any behind the scene TOS stuff you've seen that suggested they intended the scout ship to be warp capable? Anything about ENT's decision to give warp to the Romulans years ahead of time?

    Getting back to one's original coordinates probably could be done with pinpoint accuracy. Hitting any FTL ship should be tricky, and an invisible one, probably impossible with their current sensor tech vs that cloak. Proximity phasers were a wild stroke of luck, but the hero can get lucky sometimes.

    Yeah, I recall they could run as fast while cloaked, but it did slightly increase the chance they might be detected. But wasn't that a result of slight damage or improper calibration? Well, it doesn't matter for here too much.

    Also without proof, I found the FTL carrier idea more desirable, and as an natural escalation of aircraft carriers or their very idea, it might be more plausible, too.

    Or we might assume beyond ablative plating, they had none, relying on their cloak.

    Tor they just need to get back to the mother ship. But if they ran out of fuel, they could row home. Now that would be quite an oar deal. Large, solar sail type oars, you understand.

    I assumed they surmised they best bird was trashed, so they weren't yet strong enough to take on the Feds.

    You lost me there. They always announce their attention to assimilate you, whether you like it or not. When do they ask for volunteers?
  16. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Aug 26, 2003
    I guess it'd have to be "We don't like to discuss it with outsiders". That is, Spock's distressing ignorance of basically everything relating to Romulans was a devious lie designed to protect the asses of Vulcans, perhaps including his granddad or whatnot.

    Mind you, it's not just the Romulans who are out there, but the Debrune and possible others - their planets lying outside the RNZ as per TNG "Gambit". Vulcans might be ignorant of all of them, or aware of all of them, or anything in between. But Vulcans were active players in the 22nd century, and not having them meet the apparently equally active Romulans would be odd indeed.

    I doubt there's much lag there. If the whole phrase drags but one word behind the speaker, the brain easily accepts the whole, even if the translation is far from correct - the UT is entitled to making lightning-fast wild guesses that barely hit the ballpark because that's how language works anyway.

    Mind you, the brain also apparently accepts lipsynch that isn't there, and cannot be (multilanguage situations vs. only one set of lips). So basically the UT drugs the listener into not being too critical.

    Why not? It's not as if he'd need to postulate weapons on a ship that evidently has none, or shuttlecraft on a ship that evidently has none. Why warp?

    (Assuming we're still talking about the small-scale theater of operations, like the writer apparently assumed. But finding sublight ships in deep space may be more common than we realize. Certainly Scotty's observation fails to make our heroes believe in warp carriers, or they'd worry about meeting one!)

    Many subs in WWII escaped depth-charging by diving away. They weren't trapped unless they could be spotted again and again and again - and while Spock can detect maneuvers, he can't detect mere presence or movement, largely similar to the situation with WWII subs.

    This isn't actually established - none of the characters suggest they would be able to reach safety or return home. Possibly their fates were sealed by the previous instances of great fuel consumption or accumulating damage, making it all the more logical for the Commander to choose meaningful suicide.

    Yes. Which is why it's significant that both Decius and the Commander want to attack instead, for apparently opposite reasons.

    Again two vastly different models. If Romulans don't know the secrets of warp when the RNZ is created, then it can be really thin. If they do, then it ought to be deep enough that there's a meaningful chance of detection and perhaps also of intercept.

    Although it might be that only the introduction of cloaks would make detection so difficult that the originally thin Zone would have to be expanded to be lightyears thick.

    I just don't feel there's much worth preserving in "Balance of Terror", an unimaginative episode that always ill fitted continuity, even back in the sixties. But if any preserving is to be done, it ought to work around the major shortcomings of "BoT" rather than reinforce them.

    I doubt the writers really knew warp from impulse back then. But the ship was a carbon copy of Kirk's, just sans the secondary hull...

    What else would have been possible? Romulans fought Earth. They'd need FTL for that, and if they didn't by some exceptional circumstance, then this circumstance should have been highlighted. It wasn't, and Romulans thus always had warp (the only argument being whether they gave it to our Commander and Centurion to play with or not).

    But in the time that transpired, even a STL ship would have moved on (indeed, it's stated that they did, visible this time). And our heroes can only track maneuvers, as opposed to movement; no maneuvering is mentioned after the Romulans reengage cloak. So the situation is complicated - but if Kirk could really run rings around the enemy, why doesn't he? Why is his always visible, always warp-capable ship just trailing behind, even after the need for subterfuge is gone?

    The thing is, Kirk never raises shields, either. Mundane commands just don't get shown on-camera every time.

    But the ship punched a hole through the RNZ defenses easily enough. Why not exploit that hole, with lesser ships if necessary? Why wait for the triumphant return of the heroic Commander, or even for news from him?

    It's the "You will power down your weapons and join us at your own free will. Of course you will. You won't? Why does nobody ever want to? Sigh... Fire all weapons." bit. They do politely ask, even if in the imperative form.

    Timo Saloniemi
  17. JRTStarlight

    JRTStarlight Captain Captain

    Jun 2, 2017
    Astral Plane
    If you mean Spock knew but lied to his captain, I reject that notion. If you mean Spock chose Starfleet and not the VSA, and the vulcan powers that be have been feeding him lies and false information on this matter every since, I could see that. But I would prefer the Vulcans are not lying their arses off to the Federation about such important matters, and somehow, however unlikely, they made some huge erroneous assumptions that left them clueless enough for this to happen.

    They may have met, via non visual communications, and the Roms just said,

    Yeah, we know your language. We know lots of languages. WTF do you want? And get off my lawn while you're at it, or I'll show you the meaning of killing.

    To which the vulcans replied,

    Hey, sorry, I didn't know you just planted space grass and we have no wish to trespass, so unless you force a war on us, we will acquiesce. Live long and prosper.

    And your mother, you son of a pacifist. Get!

    Without lag, the UT is talking over the speaker. How annoying. And you don't think a primitive native will notice this? And you could knock me over with a feather if the UT could translate idioms.

    Because of personal vast experience a ship can be at impulse and yet have warp drive, too. So I wouldn't see impulse and think, well, that's all she's got, Captain, so you can rely on that.

    They should have been worried about more cloaked ships, certainly, for what's a sub if not possibly part of a wolf pack? But they can only deal with what they can see, scan, or have evidence of, and will have to deal with other stuff when and if it comes up. Until then, fire!

    I seem to recall the commander was estimating he barely had enough to get home and Kirk was trying to make him waste it, which is why he was reluctant to attack. Maybe he crossed the line at some point so went all in with a pair of nukes.

    So it takes two keys?

    They may know of warp – sure, they would know others had it, even if they hadn't cracked the ICs yet or something, so the RNZ would have to be a pretty thick percentage. Ha.

    Yeah, I think a FTL carrier would do that.

    The humans had other STL ships that got pretty far out there (SS Valiant) so maybe that war was fought STL, or the Romulans were using Cattlecar tech and the humans only fought those and never saw the carefully hidden carriers. So the Romulans lost, naturally. While I agree they must have had warp, I don't agree every ship must have had it.

    That plasma torpedo is a killer, and if he doesn't get lucky with proximity phasers, the scout ship could be right on him before he knows it, so he had to play it safe.

    They were probably up. I doubt they'd survive the nuke if they weren't up. ENT say just being at red alert puts the shields up automatically, doesn't it?

    How much and what information was transmitted back to Romulus? How long before it gets home? how quickly can they respond? Do they know they kicked arse on the outposts, or did that information die with them? Or did they just assume since they died, they lost too much and maybe would lose lots more without overwhelming forces at their command, which, turns out, they don't have. Yet. Better to wait.
  18. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Aug 26, 2003
    I'd think that the more important the matter, the more deserving of a lie. These are state secrets of the greatest kind, after all. And despite choosing a Starfleet career, Spock doesn't exactly hate Vulcan (or even his dad) and isn't inclined to engage in treason out of (however repressed) emotion.

    That Spock placates Kirk with a string of "maybes", "theoreticallies" and "possibles" is exactly how Vulcans lie...

    Those would have to be rather purposeful assumptions. "I calculate approximately 4.7% odds that these people using classic Romulan symbology on their ships and waging a war in the direction where the Romulans left and now trying to sue for peace in a Vulcan dialect might in fact be random folks unrelated to Romulans. Please advice Earth Starfleet Command that this is our informed conclusion. But leave out the bit about Romulans."

    The episode offers us many whoppers, about invisibility, faceless wars, Vulcanoid exodus and technological asymmetry. These would be fun to preserve, considering they are far more ambitious than most scifi concepts in Trek. But the faceless war needs extreme measures in order to be feasible; invisibility helps there a lot but in itself is difficult to portray as novel to our heroes; and the history of Vulcanoids is the flexible element where the natural secretiveness of the species helps a lot.

    Possibly. But Archer was told that they are the Rumalin. Why would other folks not be told the same? Half the galaxy ought to know about the Rumalin who fly under the raptor's wings - Vulcans would simply have to hum real loud and push at least two fingers in each ear in order to not be disingenuous about the issue.

    That Spock a full century later might be genuinely misinformed is a possibility. But he must be the victim of some pretty extreme cultural indoctrination, to be aware of the early colonization period but not of the specific Romulan issue despite this having been big news in Archer's day. Again, Romulan/Rumalin - industrial-grade blinders required.

    That is, it would be much easier if the raptor folks had been called something else altogether those two millennia ago. But the strong impression from "Minefield" is that T'Pol is stating the historical name of the dissidents - and it's that very same name that was associated with the people who fought Earth in the 2150s or so.

    This assuming the UT is a loudspeaker connected to a translator. The Ferengi at least have a different system - an implant that makes them speak a foreign language with their voice organs. But the other option is sound management, with a loudspeaker that damps out the original sound at least at the location of the listener and replaces it with the translation. Heck, this might be multitargeting for multiple listeners and multiple different translations.

    Who says it can? Annoyingly, only English speakers are entitled to idioms - there are no alien idioms in Star Trek. Perhaps exactly because the UT refuses to even try and tackle them.

    The thing here is, Scotty specifies that simple impulse is their "power". He isn't seeing screws - he's hearing electric motors and not hearing diesels. If his experience is on surface ships, and he knows their diesels always make the telltale sound (okay, here's where we must go fully Trek and drop the analogy, but bear with me), the concept of inactive diesels waiting for their turn might be utterly alien to him. And indeed we are to think here that Scotty has never heard of a submarine/cloakship before.

    And here's another thing significantly affecting our analyses of ship speeds. Did the Commander's cloakship travel from Outposts 2 and 3 to Outpost 4, destroying all in turn, or did three separate ships hit three separate Outposts in the best synchronicity they could achieve under radio silence?

    Perhaps so. But if their goal is to prevent the enemy from returning to the RNZ, and they feel he arrived via carrier, then shouldn't the carrier be their only concern, the fighting ship being irrelevant to the issue of return? Or even to the issue of further strikes, as the plasma-belcher is now stranded in the vicinity of Outpost 4 and cannot reach Outpost 5 on his own?

    An intriguing idea, although not shown, alas! This would make the Commander's actions even more of a chess game. (But IMHO Decius appears to be a pawn with connections rather than a factually powerful Politruk...)

    Nothing was said about the speed of the Valiant as such, so the STL/FTL fight must be fought with blanks again. Here goes:

    - After having identified the Valiant by her callsign, Kirk still speculates whether she tried to probe out of the galaxy, which wouldn't be plausible for a STL ship. Even if friendly pixies deployed her on the edge of the galaxy, any "probing" would involve dozens of lightyears of travel and not be manageable at sublight.

    - Heck, Kirk thinks it flat out "impossible" for any ship, apparently including warp-powered ones immediately preceding his, to be at this spot. But our heroes have experience on friendly pixies and the like; they readily accept "magnetic storms" as displacing ships, and now just have to accept more of the same. So that part is neutral on the drive systems of the Valiant.

    - The Valiant was swept about half a lightyear outside the galaxy (and never mind how many thousands of lightyears off course here), and Spock felt her attempt to retrace this half a lightyear was viable. If the attempt were to involve more than six months, then the comments about "urgency" in fighting the onboard Gods feel false. The ship did blow up only at the end of her apparently successful attempt to get back, or else the recorder marker wouldn't be where Kirk finds it.

    - The Valiant failed to clear the magnetic storm because "the old impulse engines weren't strong enough". But Kirk's ship has impulse engines, too, and still is FTL. Apparently, magnetic storms are tackled at impulse, is all. No statement is made of impulse having been used at the other legs of the voyage of the Valiant.

    - Finally, we don't know the original mission of the Valiant. But she "disappeared", under unknown conditions, meaning nobody saw the magnetic storm that got her. The timing of her launch, "over" 200 years before the episode, allows Earth to operate warpships, if only barely. If the Valiant wasn't one of those, and was milling about near Earth, why didn't the ones equipped with warp witness the storm?

    And that's fine - I'm only concerned with debunking the idea that the Romulan society (in the 22nd or the 23rd century) did not know the secrets of traveling at FTL to crush their interstellar enemies.

    An odd choice if his chief weapon is superior speed and a fanatical devotion to preventing the return of the Romulans. Why does the ability to run rings around the enemy never manifest in the actual fight?

    TOS certainly had auto-shields. But we know this because the heroes always commented on it. In this episode, we must assume either that the camera missed the bits where the shields go up (and for some reason, this never happens in any other episode of Star Trek, although some apparently miss the moment shields are dropped again for transport), or that there was some advantage to not raising the shields (and this is a big mystery in Trek - why do the shields remain down most of the time, even in war zones?). I'd rather believe in the former, in which case I just have to accept that other moments of militaryspeak were probably "edited out" as well.

    Well, Decius did phone home. If the breach was to be exploited at all, the Praetor's main armada should already be waiting to pounce, and the pouncing would happen at the end of Decius' call, or possibly already when the ringtone was first heard. Better be victorious than safe and sorry! (Unless the idea all along was for the annoying Commander to die in seeming vain, in furtherance of some goal of the Praetor or another.)

    EDIT: Whoops, a mega-post again... Goes to show one shouldn't type when feverish. But perhaps this is still tangentially on-topic, what with Romulans largely being defined by their military technology, with their weapons and tactics reflecting their society and vice versa.

    Timo Saloniemi
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2017
    thewanderingjack likes this.
  19. JRTStarlight

    JRTStarlight Captain Captain

    Jun 2, 2017
    Astral Plane
    But his oath is to Star Fleet, as long as he wears that uniform, not the vulcan government, so withholding information from his captain would be the treason – not the revelation of some Vulcan embarrassment or why they would even keep that fact secret. But since Spock isn't in the Vulcan military or government, why would he have those state secrets? Not that I'm impressed at all with the notion this is even a state secret worth keeping.

    The very idea in space and at those distances during war you can easily discern hull markings is itself a bit of a joke. And like not remembering some Vulcans took off, remembering the direction they went shouldn't be assumed. And using subspace radio and the Romulans using the Vulcan language and lying about just accommodating them would keep their identity a secret. They may wish to hide that fact from Vulcan, but I don't know why Vulcan would want to hide that fact from the galaxy or the Federation, even assuming they knew it.

    Simply choosing not to show themselves visually isn't that hard to accept. And if the Roms left because they didn't like the Vulcans they left behind, maybe they wish to keep their ID a secret from them, too, but I still don't get why Vulcans, post Surak/Archer, would want to.

    Being told they are Rumalin or Romulan doesn't tell them they are also Vulcan offshoots. And being painted as a bird of Prey isn't such a conclusive link to a group called raptor's wings a couple thousand years ago.

    I forget. What am I missing? Who cares if they are identified as Romulans? The important part is to identify them as Vulcan offshoots. Or did their group proudly sport the name Romulan 2 thousand years ago, too? Spock is full of tidbits of useless information, so vaguely knowing Vulcans were spacefaring and colonizing a couple millennia ago before they lost warp for a while isn't surprising. Not knowing what happened to those that left isn't a huge mystery, either. They probably failed and died.

    That was not my impression. T'Pol has a vulcan database of what they have learned, who they have contacted, what others have told them, since they started space travel again. Some races have "met" this race before, like many others, and through rumors shared with the vulcan, they have gleaned their name, Romulan, and what they are like (aggressive, territorial), but the high command has never made direct contact with them. This information is not from some historical source about a group called Romulans, or Raptors under the wing, but recently acquired stuff (perhaps in the last few decades or centuries). How long have Vulcans been back in space, anyway? So everybody and his brother could know about a race called Romulans, where they are, what they're like (but not what they look like or how they are related to Vulcans). I see no mention of raptors or wing or anything like that in "Minefield" to suggest this was from some historical source. It just recently acquired knwoeldge.

    Implants would help, though Archer didn't have those, IIRC, and if they do by TOS, I have never seen that. Apart from the Ferengi, I don't think I've ever seen that – but it makes sense. But the native doesn't have a unit or implant, so a person can't talk to them - they have to talk to a UT, which in turn talks to the native (who may not even know of electronics, let alone a UT., and so should be impressed buy the UT and never believe the operators is just another run of the mill native like then.)

    But the inactive diesels would be just like the Enterprise traveling on Impulse only and not using the warp drive, and he knows they do that a lot, particularly inside stellar systems or near planets. Heard, speculated, no, but experienced? Yeah. Spock said the cloak idea had a huge problem working, the energy costs were enormous, so maybe these boys figured out how to make it work. So it seems new thing then.

    Ohhhhhhh. Multiple ships did that attack. A distinct possibility. And from one FTL carrier, another possibility. But it makes it harder to understand why they didn't come back if 2 out of 3 survived. Did they need total victory to launch an all out attack, and proof the humans had nothing that could touch them? How far apart are those outposts, anyway? Not so far it was impractical to haul asteroids into position. Or is this a whole string of uninhabited stellar systems?

    Even if they thought a carrier might be there on the other side of the RNZ, Kirk's orders wouldn't allow him to go look for it.

    Yeah, a politically or socially connected knob. He wasn't nearly as nasty as Lt. Scott Padget in Damn The Defiant (1962) – he really put the screws to Captain Crawford (Alec Guinness).

    The old impulse engines weren't strong enough.

    The edge of the galaxy could be just leaving the main disc, that 2D plane, and not going to the outer perimeter. Or leaving the spiral arm. But I'm not sure how many lightyears they are out. Delta Vega gives us an idea, though, since it's so far off the beaten path even ore ships only call once every 20 years.

    Anything that sweeps the ship a half light year one direction can sweep it back, so it needn't have returned on its own power, but riding a barrier wave.

    I think it was implied, and the Enterprise didn't tackle that at impulse but at warp. I don't think the Valiant had warp.

    200 years ago, 100 years before Archer, so about the time of Cochrane, I would think the Valiant couldn't be a warp capable vessel, but one like Botany Bay or the older STL stuff that takes years to get anywhere, but they still go. What? A lone ship in a storm should have been witnessed? I just feel the Valiant, whatever it was doing – maybe getting ore from Delta Vega, when it got close enough to the barrier to see it since it normally doesn't show up on longer ranged instrument, went to look. Any cat would.

    Without warp, it would be more difficult to crush the praetor's enemies, to see them driven before him, and to hear the lamentation of their women.

    Running rings around them doesn't inflict damage to them. Quite frankly, I'd be happier if all FTL ships had to fight at STL speeds in order to find, see, and hit one another. This seeing stuff, aiming at it, and hitting it at FTL speeds is mind boggling. And pivoting at warp? What is that? Just at c you could spin the ship around millions of time in a tiny fraction of a second. I don't get it.

    Full power shields wouldn't be up all the time to save energy, but deflectors are a type of shield, I think, to keep the dust out traveling near light speed from hitting you. There's always some level of shielding up if you're moving.

    Oh, you're a vicious bastard. Grease 'em all? O.K.

    Yeah – the praetor and who he his, what he does, what he wants, and how he commands, all fit into this. Even Deceus might have been the grand nephew of the Empress, and everyone would want to be his friend, and friends of his kind mean power. And power is danger.
  20. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Aug 26, 2003
    It's a conflict of interest where divulging the secret would potentially do the greater damage. What incentive does Spock have for coming clean? He's already telling Kirk to blast the enemy out of the sky. Hopefully this will happen before the face of the enemy is glimpsed.

    It doesn't take much. Pon farr is a state secret - humans in general are utterly ignorant of all things Vulcan. But telling everybody that one practices perverse mating involving snuffing is one thing. Telling everybody the facts from which it becomes evident that Vulcans were killing humans in droves a century ago is another.

    But the fact would not remain unknown for a century if not active keeping. All we are left to wonder about is the How - the Why is alien and incomprehensible, just as with pon farr.

    Except in Trek, where visual range fighting is pretty much the norm (perhaps dictated by the nature of those death rays?).

    It would be military information of immense strategic significance. Unless archives were deliberately sealed or destroyed before the war (and preferably 300 years before, so that nobody would be alive to remember them personally), Vulcan in the 2150s should have been highly interested in dusting off that information and seeing whether there's a match.

    Not that the Romulans would have told. But the Vulcans would have been interested in finding out. And I can see two scenarios here: Romulans already live offworld and just sever ties with Vulcan, or Romulans leave Vulcan in an armada of ships. In the first case, Vulcan should already know where Romulus is; in the second, it should be assumed Vulcans would also have at least some ships to do some shadowing.

    Certainly - from ignorami. Not from Vulcans, though. Unless they specifically chose not to believe.

    Since Vulcans fancy themselves the only logical critters in the UFP, they should expect a certain reaction from those other beasts when it is revealed Vulcans fought against Earth. It may not be a realistic expectation from other points of view, but only the Vulcan one would matter to them.

    And again, where's the downside? The enemy remaining faceless would not have made Kirk's job more difficult in "BoT".

    ...Unless their name in Vulcan is "Romulan", as T'Pol states (and then clamshells). Where else would that bit of information come from but Vulcan knowledge of their own history?

    T'Pol may already have said too much there. But luckily for her, this didn't ring any bells for non-Vulcans. There's little chance of it not ringing bells for Vulcans, though - "The Romulans Are Back" would be a fact known to the Vulcan military from that point on.

    Did the military undergo such deep purges after ENT that this key fact was forgotten? Despite the purges having been because of Romulans?

    Which is why there would be that 4.7% chance of these folks being somebody else. But "conclusive" is hardly relevant here. What the Vulcans would desperately need is hard evidence that these aren't the Romulans. And they aren't getting that, because, well, they are the Romulans.

    What other possibility is there? How would T'Pol otherwise know that Rumalin "ought" to be pronounced Romulan even when the Romulans pronounce it Rumalin?

    Except they are suddenly making contact with all sorts of Archers. Surely "Romulans, long thought dead, in fact survive" would be a tidbit clinging to Spock's mind? Unless this was considered a state secret back in the 2150s already.

    It's not a matter of failing to recognize a ship painted with a tweetybird in the 2260s. It's a matter of failing to understand what happened a century ago, or to come clean about it. Spock might not know who flies the enemy ship (indeed, with Romulans the answer might be surprising!), but he ought to know who the Romulans are.

    But their name is not Romulan. It's Rumalin, as Sato clearly heard. Why do they have a special Vulcan name? Archer doesn't go correcting Duras "Your species is named Klingot, not Klingon". Why does T'Pol correct Sato?

    We don't know if they ever really left. But it could be they've only been meddling with the neighborhood for a century or so (the minimum estimate from "Carbon Creek" and the like).

    Archer's bunch was the only one to use a handheld translator device as part of their routine gear. We're neutral on whether he had an implant for lesser translation needs. Heroes from Kirk on would really benefit, as they deal with people who decidedly lack translators of their own, and don't use handheld units of their own (or any hardware other than their uniforms) in the typical case.

    But if the UT is an implant, then the native sees nothing and merely hears her own language spoken. And we don't learn whether the translation really is any good, because our ears get the English version (evidently, our TV sets have UTs of their own). For all we know, all the aliens get misheard because our UT fails us and just placates us with pleasant but incorrect English.

    Except not - this is where I said the analogy breaks down. Scotty's conventional wisdom would be that diesels are always on, even when idled, and the lack of their noise would then be clear evidence of absence. (Indeed, shutting down the warp powerplant for impulse travel never happens AFAWK - see "Skin of Evil" where an actual shutdown basically darkens the whole ship and is considered highly exceptional and apparently requiring the services of a rare expert who is aware of his importance!)

    Scotty is reading power signatures to determine "their power is X". If warp power is off, the mistake is understandable. If warp power is rerouted to the plasma mortar, this logic fails - the power signature should still be there, regardless of the application. But other setups are possible, too.

    There's another problem right there - why is Spock speculating on a specific theoretical method of invisibility, with specific tactical shortcomings, when he has seen enemies pop out of nowhere before by means that apparently did not have these shortcomings?

    Of course, if Spock is trying to obfuscate, then he may say "theoretical" without his lie-detector subroutine punishing him too severely, while fully well knowing that Romulans as per ENT are traditional users of invisibility devices and holo-camouflage and indeed do have the shortcomings he informs his captain about. Or at least did.

    Also, the Commander's ship is described in superlative. Why is one of the Praetor's many ships better than the others?

    One way to go would be to say multiple Praetors launched their own attacks, quite competitively as usual, and all had different political motivations, few of these involving war. The Mad Dog Praetor whose flagship the Commander had the misfortune to command was the one risking disaster - otherwise, it was just a general test run and a show of force, risking nothing much and ultimately demonstrating that the Romulans were back and the RNZ no longer held much practical meaning.

    Might be the asteroids are "natural", the fortresses within relying on stealth and any act of towing therefore a danger to their safety. This goes well with the small-scale model that we probably should discard for other reasons. Certainly one outpost is ignorant of the fate of others in an engagement - possibly because stealth is paramount and there is no communications traffic, except at cleverly scheduled times.

    The ignorance being due to distance is less likely, although this is one of the Trek episodes to feature the concept of commlag. But Romulans ought to be close to Earth in order to be a threat to a Starfleet preceding Kirk's by a century. We might wish to claim that comms around here are abnormally slow, perhaps because of natural circumstances, perhaps because the Romulans jam a lot (and shout propaganda over subspace loudspeakers and whatnot).

    But if the distances on this side of the RNZ are short enough not to require the carrier, then we're back to the small-scale model and wondering why Kirk doesn't use his immense speed advantage more effectively.

    Kirk has new impulse engines. Does this make his ship STL?

    In fact, the edge in Trek is a purple band at an unknown location. Which is very nice, because things like "main disk" or "spiral arm" should not have anything definable as an edge as such. Kirk should be asking "are we in or out?" for the better part of a month at high warp if just plain leaving the real-world galaxy.

    Which is great. But this seems to be the local Antarctica: nothing absolutely theoretically impossible about somebody having been at the South Pole before Amundsen, by log canoe and two good feet, but in practice it's flat out impossible that anybody could have made it. (Without that helpful Kansas-to-Pole tornado express, that is.)

    Who built it and how? It's next door to where Kirk comes out of the purple thing. Couldn't its builders have snuck a peek out of the galaxy?

    I'm envisioning Antarctica again, only high tech: Starfleet has built Delta Vega (and Alpha, Beta and Gamma Vega) as supply stashes and fuel depots for the gradual and measured push outside the galaxy, first using robotics and then risking a manned scouting mission before the actual exploration can begin. It would be impossible for the duty-bound builders to have attempted breaching the barrier, then. But its existence would probably be known (even if it cannot be seen from Earth today), and indeed Kirk expresses little surprise at that.

    Never thought of that... Odd that Spock only mentions the outbound sweeping and then speaks of "heading" back, though.

    But the tackling involved the magnetic storm, not the barrier.

    Why not? Why wait much after Cochrane's flight? If Cochrane could bolt his warp engine to a piece of garage garbage, then bolting it to a proper spacecraft ought to be a breeze, and an achievement nobody would dare miss attempting.

    Indeed, ENT shows them bolting warp to a big ship just a few years after Cochrane's flight. And this is not experimental a such - the use of the ship for colonization is. (Incidentally suggesting that interstellar colonization at STL never was a thing, and potentially leaving a STL Valiant out of a credible job.)

    This would be a matter of timing. Why immediately declare missing a ship that takes years to get anywhere (she was both launched and lost two centuries prior)? It's not as there could have been realtime knowledge of a disaster (the magnetic storm was news to them, and realtime subspace radio wasn't a thing back then anyway) - do they declare departed ships missing as a matter of routine, until otherwise proven?

    It's the speed difference. If a rowboat today goes missing, a SAR jet could trivially cover the area where she could possibly be found. If a fellow jet goes missing, then without a flightplan the task of the SAR jet becomes nontrivial. If (for whatever reason) Earth Space Central decided the STL Valiant was in distress, then the warpships of the time ought to have been quite capable of determining the exact circumstances of the loss. Unless the STL ship was already halfway across to Regulus or something - but you can't do that at STL.

    So now the ship is capable of reaching the edge of the galaxy on her own, with performance to spare for curiosity? Kirk wouldn't consider her presence there impossible at all, then.

    Indeed. Or even to see the whites of their polar caps. You need FTL to get to another star system if you plan on a) raiding and escaping or b) maiming and getting logistical support for it. If the Romulans just trundled on STL with the intent of committing suicide at the destination, would that be "war"?

    But Kirk's task is primarily herding. If the Romulans stay on the UFP side, all is fine and well, and their guilt undisputed. Laying obstacles on their path and then spotting their attempts at maneuvers to dodge the obstacles would seem a tactically preferable approach.

    If ships can move at FTL, it takes just a tiny extra assumption to allow sensors to move at FTL, too. Beyond that, it's a matter of reaction times. And they have computers for that - not that they'd do lots of rapid-paced FTL firing anyway.

    Or then choose to pivot at twenty degrees per second while moving forward at twenty lightyears per hour. Warp is your linear speed, pivoting comes on top of that. Although Scotty seemed to be saying that warp is maneuverability. But perhaps he meant warp power to the engines (inertia manipulation thingamabobs, whatnot) that do the turning?

    Why not full power combat shields? When they do get raised, we never hear any comment on energy consumption. Indeed, the only thing consuming fuel seems to be impulse travel, in "Doomsday Machine". If shields did consume lots of power, we'd expect to hear "Keptin, ve cannot mainntainn shields much longer" or "Capt'n, me bairns cannae take it - ye have to give th' shields a wee rest!" a lot more often than the zero times we get.

    Thanks. And so are Romulans - perhaps here as well.

    ...The interesting question is, are Vulcans any better?

    Timo Saloniemi
    Yeah – the praetor and who he his, what he does, what he wants, and how he commands, all fit into this. Even Deceus might have been the grand nephew of the Empress, and everyone would want to be his friend, and friends of his kind mean power. And power is danger.[/QUOTE]