The Great Chronological Run-Through

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Deranged Nasat, Jul 28, 2014.

  1. Deranged Nasat

    Deranged Nasat Vice Admiral Admiral

    "Balance of Terror"

    This one is a character piece for Kirk, of course, examining the burdens of command and giving him a worthy adversary to match wits and compare dutiful expectations with. In terms of this project, though, I'm more interested in what is here "the return of the Romulans" in more ways than one, as opposed to the original "return" which was also their introduction. The Romulans have spent a hundred years in isolation, with generally static borders (or at least having made no move into those areas they coveted before; no testing of Federation or Klingon borders, and the implication seems to be a general lack of violent expansion). A century isn't quite as long for a Romulan as it is for a Human, but it's long enough for their society to have entered a new equilibrium. They're statesmen and old guardsmen, not bloodied warriors. Their sense of identity has begun to shift again, though, moving toward the expansionist 'manifest destiny' pole and away from the pole of cautious conservatism that's dominated for a while. Perhaps the decline of Praetor Vrax, as he ages, has something to do with this? (He'll be replaced as of Storming Heaven). Even as certain Humans remember family tales of the Romulan War and fear the Romulans' return, the generation of Romulans who were politically active during the war are being phased out by, I assume, people like Decius. It's interesting to consider that the vivid memory of the war, kept alive in different ways within the two societies, is responsible for the reasoned peace of the Romulans as much as for the heated paranoia of certain Humans. The lure of consolidation and reflection still holds sway over the Romulans, but it's started to show signs of weakness, and not just in terms of political challenge. We see that in the Romulans it is almost self-defeating; the Commander and the Centurion are all too easily resigned to their role in what, to them, is politically-motivated foolishness because they're beings with a inherently dutiful outlook. The Romulans do contain their passions, only in a different manner from the Vulcans (though quite how dissimilar they actually are is a very worthy topic to pursue). They're a rigid people, and when their social zeitgeist starts bleeding over into active, aggressive paranoia and glory-seeking, abandoning their entrenched cautious, behind-the-walls wariness, the control that defines the latter actually seems to exacerbate the situation rather than work at reversing it. Romulans can't bend.

    Although there's been a hundred years of silence and no indication of danger - so much so that the asteroid outposts along the Neutral Zone are seen as easy assignments, apparently - the memory of the Romulan War persists in the culture of certain Humans. We indeed saw Stiles' family during the Romulan War books, which makes his presence more interesting, and his own paranoia is easier perhaps to understand when we remember that the expansionist Romulans trashed entire worlds and slaughtered their way across the map for no other reasons than xenophobia and a sense of inherent supremacy. Romulans are a very real boogeyman.

    Continuity

    This Romulan mission to test the borders and probe their former enemies was discussed in Summon the Thunder, which (as I noted in the relevant post) was perhaps the first time in this chronology that the Romulans were depicted as a protagonist nation in their own right. Both their ships have now been destroyed; both in an act of Final Honour.

    Here, the crew of Enterprise learn that the Romulans are an offshoot of the Vulcans. This will apparently become common knowledge in local space from here on, although I don't know if we actually get any fallout on the matter. (Between this and the tensions surrounding the admittance of Coridan, it seems that internal Federation politics is a subject matter woefully and disappointingly neglected during this time period). Stiles is probably in a minority - not that many people are from proud military families who took heavy losses during the Romulan War - but we'll see more like him in time ("Blackjack" Harriman comes to mind), and so he's representative enough of certain Human (and Andorian, I'm betting?) officers. Given that Vulcan is underrepresented in the defensive and exploratory branches of the fleet, I feel that there's a lot of potential for interesting tensions to crop up here, on a wider and more general scale than "a crewman mistrusts Spock" . The Vanguard series has done such wonders for stringing the 2260s together politically in terms of the various empires and Starfleet's overall activities, but one thing we haven't seen is an equivalent project for the Federation itself. We'll see in Amok Time, for example, just how much influence T'Pau still wields in the Federation - she can wave her hand and say "nah, I've got this, chill" and everyone goes along with it unquestioningly, but we know also that Vulcan is squabbling with Tellar over the Coridan issue and that things are getting heated in general. Given Spock's assessment that if Romulans are indeed of Vulcan stock then they're incredibly dangerous and Enterprise must press its attack, one wonders what position the Vulcan government would take on the presumably soon-to-be-commencing Federation/Romulan relationship. This is all begging to be explored in greater detail. We don't need any more generic five-year-mission, planet-of-the-week stories (well, a few, for those readers who enjoy them), we need insight into how the Federation dealt with the return of its nemesis-catalyst.

    The Federation also learns here that the Romulans have mastered the cloaking device. In addition, of course, the Romulan Star Empire has essentially announced its return to the galactic stage.

    In A Less Perfect Union, we met the Romulan Commander's alternate timeline counterpart, who was given the sdrawkcab name, Keras. I see no reason not to use that here.

    Because the Enterprise is now engaging in submarine warfare (I'm not complaining as such, it's a good episode), there's now a chain of commands to the phaser room in order to coordinate weapons fire. I don't think we ever see that again; is it a consequence of their silent running?

    Next Time: I iz logical Klingon. :klingon: Romulans are back. Now I must prepare for potential war...with the Federation! It's The Edge of The Sword.
     
  2. William Leisner

    William Leisner Scribbler Rear Admiral

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    In fact, it was not used in ALPU; I very purposely left the character as nameless in my story as he was in the episode.
     
  3. Deranged Nasat

    Deranged Nasat Vice Admiral Admiral

    My mistake. :)

    Hmm, I wonder how I got that idea? Where does the name originate?
     
  4. Enterprise1701

    Enterprise1701 Commodore Commodore

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    The Star Trek Customizable Card Game. The same source that gives Mark Lenard's Klingon character in Star Trek: The Motion Picture the name "Krase", as opposed to the name "Barak" from an early draft of the script.

    http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Unnamed_Romulans_%2823rd_century%29
     
  5. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Yeah, Memory Beta kind of overreaches here, I think, referring to the character as Keras even though nothing except the card game ever called him that. They even have an entry on the ChR Keras as the ship in John Byrne's Schisms miniseries that was named for the Commander, even though Byrne does not name the character or the ship.

    And really, whose lame idea was it to call him "Sarek" spelled backwards? I could come up with a much better name for him! Like... ummm... Dranel Kram! Yeah, that's it! :D
     
  6. rfmcdpei

    rfmcdpei Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Is that the case? The dialogue of the Centurion and the Commander suggests that both have seen extensive amounts of war in their military careers.

    The Romulans may not have been fighting the Federation or the Klingons, but they seem to have been fighting someone. Civilizations in the Romulan interior, perhaps?
     
  7. Deranged Nasat

    Deranged Nasat Vice Admiral Admiral

    Memory Beta has done its damage, I'm afraid. I think of him as Keras. :lol: To the extent, apparently, of misremembering the name as having been in use where it wasn't.

    Given the characters' relative age, I assumed that those campaigns were largely a reference to the original war with Earth and other conflicts at the time (Haakona, etc.), with smaller military actions since - a military campaign doesn't equate to a full-scale war; perhaps they were quelling uprisings on the outworlds, dealing with pirate bands and dissident groups like the Ejhoi Ormiin. The Romulans have kept busy in the last century, but I think all the evidence points to their relative peace. Although I agree that there could have been expansion into the deep Beta Quadrant.
     
  8. Enterprise1701

    Enterprise1701 Commodore Commodore

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    Meanwhile, IDW's The Khitomer Conflict comic arc names him via his Abramsverse counterpart "L'Nar".

    Meh, what do you expect from a crowdsourced encyclopedia? Memory Beta identifies the Voth ship featured in Acts of Contrition as the Citadel class from Star Trek Online despite the fact that Acts of Contrition gave no identifier to it at all, merely smaller than a city ship. Memory Beta notes that the Siri from DTI - Watching the Clock could have been the Fett, a species from a 1987 FASA RPG module. And they frequently label the Destiny and Star Trek Online fates of a character as two different timelines rather than two separate continuities. I think all these are inappropriate. YMMV.
     
  9. TheAlmanac

    TheAlmanac Writer Captain

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    I can understand the desire to make an in-universe distinction between an alternate timeline (say, that of "Yesterday's Enterprise") and an alternate reality (say, that of the X-Men), but Memory Beta could stand to have a more consistent methodology about such differentiation.
     
  10. Enterprise1701

    Enterprise1701 Commodore Commodore

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    I'm not sure you understand what I mean. Alternate timelines and alternate quantum realities are distinct things, but what I am referring to completely different parts of the franchise that should not be considered to intersect in any way. The X-Men are from a different quantum reality than the Federation in their Star Trek work, but that work should be labeled on Memory Beta as a different continuity from, for example, the mainstream novelverse.
     
  11. TheAlmanac

    TheAlmanac Writer Captain

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    I know exactly what you mean, but how do you make that distinction from an in-universe POV, as Memory Beta is written? That narrative perspective doesn't allow for the idea that something like "Second Contact" and "the mainstream novelverse" aren't part of the same history.

    "Continuity" doesn't work--that's not an in-universe distinction. "Timeline" and "Reality" are what they've got, but if you have an alternate suggestion (See what I did there? :p)...it's a wiki. Go ahead and change it yourself.
     
  12. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^Some entries in fiction wikis use phrasing like "According to certain accounts," such-and-such happened. Which indicates that it's not the definitive answer, just one version of events. And I've seen some Memory Beta articles that use separate section headings for different continuities, at least when they're in significant conflict.
     
  13. William Skywalker

    William Skywalker Admiral Admiral

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    I still wish there was a wiki devoted solely to the novelverse canon and its related materials. :sigh:
     
  14. Deranged Nasat

    Deranged Nasat Vice Admiral Admiral

    I sort of have a private one that I work on when I can (of course, work, family, other hobbies and various other inconveniences get in the way ;)). I posted a few excerpts here on occasion.
     
  15. Markonian

    Markonian Fleet Admiral Moderator

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    You could make one. There's no rule forbidding it, and there are a lot of letters left in the Greek alphabet. :bolian:
     
  16. William Skywalker

    William Skywalker Admiral Admiral

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    I don't really have the requisite knowledge of the novelverse. I only started getting into it very recently and I've still got a long way to go before I catch up. :ouch:
     
  17. TheAlmanac

    TheAlmanac Writer Captain

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    The problem with this notion is that people would disagree on what older/peripheral works to include as part of the novelverse and, being a wiki, those people would just add this and add that until you had...most of the material that's already on Memory Beta. :lol:
     
  18. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I don't think it'd be a great idea to segregate everything into a separate wiki. It's all part of the tie-in continuum, and the borders between different continuities aren't always all that well-defined. You'd be hard-pressed to find two people who'd agree completely on what the novelverse does or doesn't incorporate, and elements from one continuity are sometimes borrowed by another even when they largely contradict each other.

    I think it would be enough just to categorize the different continuities within Memory Beta -- e.g. this is from the novelverse, that is from other novels, this is from ST Online, that's from DC or Marvel or IDW, etc., rather than pretending that it's all one continuous whole. All the information would be available, but not homogenized, so it wouldn't promote misconceptions like the name "Keras" being used outside of the card game.

    There are other wikis, like the ones for Transformers, Godzilla, DC, and Marvel, that cover all the distinct continuities without blending them together -- any event or fact that gets mentioned is under the heading of whatever distinct universe it belongs to. Granted, it's a bit different for Trek, since all the various tie-in universes share common elements from canon; but the principle is sound. There doesn't need to be a separate wiki for each Godzilla universe, say.

    Granted, sometimes a tie-in version of a universe will have a separate wiki, e.g. the Star Trek Online wiki, the Marvel Cinematic Universe Wiki, the Arrow/The Flash Wiki, etc. But I'm not sure the novelverse stands as far apart from other versions as those do.
     
  19. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    This, this. So much this. The Federation's internal politics seem to have stabilized by the late 2260s in DTI: Forgotten History, but I really hope that someday, we get a book that examines what appears to have been the political turmoil of the early-to-mid Wescott Administration. Given that tensions between Federation Member State Ambassadors in "Journey to Babel" (2266) appeared on the verge of violence over the admission of the People's Republic of Coridan to the UFP, and given what almost certainly was a shocked reaction to the discovery that the Romulans are an offshoot of Vulcans, it would appear that the Federation suffered a very severe crisis of political authority in the 2260s (perhaps mirroring the crises of authority the U.S. suffered in the 1960s?).

    Take Me To Your Leader: Jumping ahead a bit, we know from DTI: Forgotten History that Kenneth Wescott of United Earth was Federation President for the term of office ending in January 2269. Vanguard: Harbinger refers to the President in 2265 as having been running for for-election in 2264. Assuming a standard 4-year term of office, this would mean that Kenneth Wescott was President from 2261 to 2269. So we're well into Wescott's second term of office right now.

    I have some thoughts on the implications for internal Federation politics, given Vulcan and Tellarite conflicts over its admission to the Federation, but I'll keep them until you get to "Journey to Babel."

    Well, I think the thing to remember is that Spock does have a very aggressive, ruthless streak to him when it comes to potential threats. This is, after all, the same guy who was urging Kirk to strand or kill Gary Mitchell before he actually made any threats to any crew members.

    Yeah, well, Memory Beta has become the private fiefdom of certain of the admins. It's really no fun anymore.

    Memory Epsilon? Memory Theta? Memory Sigma? Memory Kappa?

    It's all starting to sound like a particularly nerdy frat house... ;)
     
  20. Idran

    Idran Commodore Premium Member

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    I finally realized that myself when I put up an AFD to get two identical pages merged, like it says is the procedure and like has been the procedure on most every wiki I've ever seen, and I got derided for not just posting on the talk page about it. If the admins don't care about their own procedures, then what's the point of having them?

    Didn't Psi Phi already take that title years back? :p