The Romulans

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by C57D, Dec 18, 2018.

  1. uniderth

    uniderth Commodore Commodore

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    Ok, but your torpedoes still have to travel to their target. So you have time for defensive measures there. I think you're relying a bit to much on the "before they have a chance to respond". What does that even mean? What does response time look like? How fast can your ship launch a volley of torpedoes? There's just too many variables to make a precise conclusion. I think we'd have to come up with some actual criteria so we could come up with actual conclusions.

    Aside from the actual logistics, my first response would be to send up satellites to gather as much data on the attackers as I could. What effects does their FTL drives produce. Then I would try affecting their drives through various means. The goal being to knock at least one of their ships out of commission so I could reverse engineer their drive. I'd try and set up a trap to lure these FTL ships in to a small an area as possible. Space is big so a good chance to have an impact would be to bring them in close.

    It would be a fascinating exercise to contemplate.


    This is an interesting idea. What would a "border" in space even look like? In the vast distances between star systems, how are you going to detect ships crossing an imaginary plane? How are you going to secure and monitor such a thing? Thinking about it, "borders" have to be inherently based on star system spheres of influence. so your "border" would be more like a bubble rather than an arbitrary plane drawn through space.
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2018
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  2. Marsden

    Marsden Commodore Commodore

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    Marsden is very sad.
    It all boils down to does Warp = the only way to go FTL. There doesn't seem to be a question that the Enterprise is faster but the Enterprise rarely was concerned about running out of fuel, either. When it did it was in unusual circumstances, like the Warp drive was out running from the doomsday machine on impulse as fast as it could. So I still think Mr. Scott is talking about "source of power" rather than speed limit.
     
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  3. johnnybear

    johnnybear Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The Romulan ships or Klingon technology exchange vessels in The Enterprise Incident could travel at warp speeds and with their cloaking technology, which they gave to the Klingons, would have presented them as a real threat to the United Federation of Planets I'm sure! :rommie:
    JB
     
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  4. Nerroth

    Nerroth Commodore Commodore

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    For what it's worth, "simple impulse" is referred to in the Star Fleet Universe as fusion-based "non-tactical warp"; as noted in this extract from GURPS Prime Directive 4th Edition, NTW allows a ship to cruise at about nine parsecs a day, yet slow to (near-) light speed in order to fight.

    So far as the SFU timeline tells it, the first Federation-Romulan war was fought while both sides possessed non-tactical warp drives, as well as "sublight" weapons such as lasers and atomic missiles. The Romulans were also fighting the Gorns around that time, who in the SFU are coreward of Romulan space (and who use "Gorns" in plural in SFU terms). In terms of scale, each hex on that map is 500 parsecs across, while this SFU galaxy map shows these territories - and these ones - relative to the Milky Way at large.

    However, while both the Federation and Gorns developed antimatter-based "tactical warp drive", which allows ships to travel at faster warp speeds and to fight at low warp (eventually up to warp 3.14, or Speed 31 in Star Fleet Battles terms) - as well as to develop "warp-class" weapons and technologies such as phasers and transporters - the Romulans stagnated for more than a century; they would not gain access to tactical warp drive until the Treaty of Smarba signed with the Klingons. (The Gorns could perhaps have driven the Romulans from space and blockaded their planets until they decided to give up their "conquer the galaxy" philosophy, yet they chose to stay their hand after a similar policy resulted in unexpected consequences for another early Gorn enemy, the bird-like Paravians.)

    Based on the portrayal of the Romulan Star Empire in works such as the Romulan sourcebook for the Prime Directive, the SFU Romulans are divided into numerous Great Houses, which constantly bicker and scheme against one another while carefully maintaining an outward facade of "honour". It was this fractiousness which largely prevented the Romulans from developing tactical warp drive on their own, and which ultimately led the Empire into Civil War later in the SFU timeline. Also, while the Federation has various member species (from which they can pool resources), and the Klingons in the SFU have numerous subject planets (from which they may claim tribute), the Romulans are virtually "alone" in their home territory, and thus have to rely solely on their own population in order to found new colonies - which puts them several steps behind the UFP and the Klingon Empire in logistical terms.
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2018
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  5. MAGolding

    MAGolding Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I think that having warp drive as opposed to slower than light drive would give the Earth government a vast advantage.

    If Earth knows when and where Romulans have been attacking, it should be fairly easy to predict when and where Romulans will strike next, and have large battle fleets warp in and wait for the Romulan attackers to arrive on the predicted times.

    If Earth knows where the Romulans have attacked and knows where Romulan planets are not, that should give them a good idea where Romulan planets are. So Earth could send many FTL scout ships and probes to many stars in regions where the Romulans might have bases and colonies.

    If a ship or probe sends a subspace or courier drone report that there are no Romulans in a system and it is going on to the next system in its list, fine, Earth knows it is not a Romulan system. If a ship or probe sends a subspace or courier drone report or returns with a report that there are Romulans in a specific system, fine, Earth knows it is a Romulan system. If a ship or probe sends no subspace or courier drone report after a scheduled visit to a system on its list, then it was probably destroyed by Romulans in that system, and fine, Earth knows it is a Romulan system.

    If the Romulans are limited to communication by radio waves or slower than light ships, it may take years, decades, or centuries for a Romulan system that destroys an earth scout or probe to report it to the nearest Romulan outposts and/or to Romulus. And it may take hours, days, weeks, or months for Earth to learn that a scout or probe has been destroyed there and add that system to its list of targets.

    So Earth would send large battle fleets to each and every Romulan outpost, settlement, or base that was reported by scouts and probes, a fleet large enough to handle the reported Romulan armaments with ease. The battle fleets would zoom to each target system, take battle position at each base, settlement, or outpost, and blast it, smashing the defense system and then destroying all Romulan buildings and structures on every planet and asteroid in that system, before moving on to the next target.

    When all the reported Romulan bases, outposts, and settlements had been destroyed, the fleets would unite and one by one hit every system where their scouts or probes had been destroyed and hit those systems with everything they had. With slower than light travel and light speed communications, Romulan colonies and Romulus itself would only learn that Earth was striking back against the Romulans when an Earth fleet arrived with overwhelming force. Remember that Earth ships would arrive before any reflected radar beams of them or any radio warnings arrived.

    So if Earth had faster than light travel and maybe communications during the Roman War and the Romulans did not, the only two ways the war should have ended would be 1) total extermination of all Romulans or 2) total conquest of the Romulan Empire.

    Thus I find it almost totally impossible to believe that the Romulans didn't have some form of faster than light drive during the Romulan War.
     
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  6. Mytran

    Mytran Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Well put. It's always baffled me that anyone could think that a STL Romulan fleet would have any chance against a FTL Earth fleet.
     
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  7. uniderth

    uniderth Commodore Commodore

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    This is a good analysis. Though I still think we would need actual parameters to come to any reasonable conclusion. You've used words like "large battle fleets" and "many FTL scout ships and probes" but just how large are they? How many is "many"? It's easy to engineer a scenario where Earth wins when we give them every advantage.

    While I personally do think that Romulans had FTL during this era, I find the idea of combat between STL and FTL civilizations to be fascinating. But to continue the discussion in any meaningful way we would need to know the details. Things like, "Did the Romulans have subspace communication?" matter a great deal to the outcome. The yield of atomic weapons in the conflict matter. The sensor abilities of the two sides matter.

    What started the conflict? Could you even have interplanetary war with an STL civilization? For example, if we had a colony on Alpha Centauri and they started a conflict with an FTL civilization; would that even be an human vs alien conflict? Or would it be an Alpha Centauri Colony vs Alien conflict? Because we wouldn't even know it happened until four years after the fact. So would the enemies perceive us as one whole or as individual isolated colonies each responsible for their own actions? All these motivations and action would need to be analyzed before we could even start the war games.

    I'm not saying that FTL drive isn't an advantage, nor am I saying that FTL drive wouldn't give a high chance of victory. I'm just saying that just becasue you have FTL drive doesn't guarantee you a 100% chance of victory.

    Now, war is al about finding advantages. So if there was a war between a STL Roulan Empire and an FTL humanity then out of necessity the Romulans couldn't remain STL for long. While they could have some remote chance of victory(however you define that) by remaining STL, their greatest chance of victory would come from living long enough to aquire FTL technology and fighting humans on those terms. As I mentioned in my previous post if I were the Romulans, that would be my main goal: acquire and reverse engineer an FTL drive.

    Now, you mentioned two options I think your second option would be the most likely; total conquest. Mainly becasue moral humans generally reject the idea of total destruction of non-combatants. That option alone means that there is still a window of opportunity for gains on the side of the Romulans. Even if the opposition has to exist as an underground in a human controlled system until they can rise up later to finish the job.

    Let me finish with this, defeat for an STL Romulan society would be highly likely if they refused to advance their technology into the FTL realm. Just as happens in nature, evolve or die.
     
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  8. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Well, two fleets might slug it out more or less evenly at STL even if one additionally had FTL drives, insofar as Trek-style point blank combat is concerned.

    But if two armies clash, and one has railroads but the other does not, the performance at battle matters little. The trains decide the outcome of the entire war by placing one army where the other one is, or is not, as appropriate. FTL is automatic strategic victory by a factor of hundreds or thousands at least (that is, by as much as FTL beats STL, which probably always is a lot); speed defeats numbers by putting the lesser numbers where they count.

    But yes, what happens when the FTL side wins is fascinating to say the least...

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  9. Henoch

    Henoch Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    I imagine 100 years ago, even the Federation needed to drop out of FTL to conduct combat using early lasers and atomic missile weapons. There were no phasers and photon torpedos. Ship to ship battles were STL to STL. FTL only gets you into and out of the battle; still a huge advantage, and you can bring the battle to the Romulan door step which was exactly the outcome of the war.

    As to whether the new BoP has FTL, I think it does. Here are some quotes (not in script order):
    UHURA: Outpost 4 reported under attack, sir. Then message terminates.
    SPOCK: Verified, Captain.
    SULU: Our speed is now maximum, sir.
    STILES: Position, eight minutes from Outpost four at this velocity, sir.
    ...
    KIRK: Outpost 2 was the first to go silent, Lieutenant?
    UHURA: Yes, Captain, then Outpost three an hour later.​
    Looking at the map graphic of the RNZ, the Enterprise is traveling at maximum warp (at least hundreds the speed of light) and appears to be covering about one grid per minute on their view screen, plus Outpost 4 is 8 minutes away and on the map it looked like 8-9 grids away. Kirk is told that Outpost 3 went quiet about 1 hour after Outpost 2. On the map, Outpost 2 and 3 are about 1 to 1.25 grids apart. Assuming it was attacked by the same ship (there could be one ship per outpost attacked...), the BoP covered the distance in 1 hour or about 1/60th the speed of the Enterprise, or somewhere around tens the speed of light or about Warp 2. Faster than Warp 2 if they dawdled around to recharge their plasma weapon. No speed match to the Enterprise, but certainly FTL. The BoP was probably uncloaked during transit and quickly burning non-regenerating fuel reserves which was another weakness as compared to Federation MAM fueled starships.

    In addition, based on these speeds, the relative area of this map is fairly small; much less than one light year across, maybe only the equivalence of one solar system, hence the visible comet tail and asteroids outposts (built in an Ort cloud or asteroid belt.)
     
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  10. uniderth

    uniderth Commodore Commodore

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    That is something I hadn't considered before. What is the scale of the map based on dialogue and estimated times/speeds in the episode?
     
  11. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Heck, they still do that in the 24th century, with their late phasers and antimatter missile weapons. And even when Klingons "warp strafe" in "Elaan of Troyius", the actual firing part appears to take place during a brief drop to sublight at point blank range. Seems this is the most effective way to use all these varied weapons.

    ENT says there were, and nothing really suggests there shouldn't have been. Worf in "A Matter of Time" is asked what great breakthroughs have been made in technology since the 22nd century, and he says there were no phasers in the 22nd century - but in context this can be taken to mean they were introduced in that century, after the timepoint implicitly specified by the fraud "Berlinghoff Rasmussen". And Spock speaks of "primitive atomic weapons", but in context may be saying that the modern heroes use modern atomic weapons, and photon torpedoes have always belonged in that category.

    Even with FTL on both sides, one ought to be capable of bringing the battle to the other's doorstep - blockades in deep space should be impossible, and barricades right next to the planets themselves the only viable defense, FTL or not. Which is pretty much what we see happen in all the FTL wars depicted in Trek.

    Yet, according to the most straightforward interpretation of Scotty's infamous utterance, the heroes don't.

    This long after they have witnessed the Romulans silencing outpost after outpost. Perhaps Kirk initially thinks there are multiple Romulan ships out there doing the silencing?

    The episode is open to all sorts of interpretations, complicated by the writer's poor understanding of astronomy. The bit where the ships spend aeons going through the tail of a comet is strongly at odds with any great speed of travel, say. But we may always argue both that the heroes know better and are leaving out important bits, and that the heroes are out of their depth and making incorrect assumptions and again leaving out the bits where they acknowledge their errors.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  12. uniderth

    uniderth Commodore Commodore

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    Like Henoch said, there were no phasers and photon torpedoes in that era.

    Which I'm kind of glad for, becasue 50+ years later we are still debating and analyzing. If the episode was boring, we wouldn't care.
     
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  13. Henoch

    Henoch Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    It all depends on what is "max speed" and what is the Warp speed conversion compared to the speed of light. :brickwall:
    1. The max speed of the Enterprise in "Arena" was Warp 8. Using Memory Alpha, etc. conversions put this at 512 times the speed of light (I personally think this is too slow but lets use it for this analysis.) In one minute at this speed, ~5720M miles are travelled, hence a possible scale for one large grid. One grid is about the orbital diameter of Neptune, so, all the our planets (less Pluto) and our sun would fit inside one grid square.
    2. On another hand, if Warp 8 is ten times that conversion speed or ~5000 times the speed of light (this is very fast even for Star Trek), you travel ~57B miles in one minute or about 1/100th of a light year per large grid. Even at this higher speed, 10 grids is 1/10th of a light year.
    3. Anyway you look at it, the on-screen evidence shows that as the Enterprise warps onto the map, the Outposts, the RNZ, Romulus and Romii, all takes place in the neighborhood of one large solar system or perhaps a binary star system, with the Outposts built around the equivalence of our Oort cloud orbit.
    4. If there are multiple BoP ships involved in the incursion, one per outpost, then these distances still support a FTL Romulan drive system. With the worst case (#2 above), if their speed was .25 the speed of light, the time to get from Outpost 4 to the RNZ would be ~8 days but the time indicated in the episode is that they will make it in about 1 hour, or 192 times faster. In the best case (#1 above, 10x shorter distances) and double their speed to .5 light speed, they can make the NZ in about 10 hours. To make it in 1 hour, they still need to go 10 times their speed again, or about 5 times the speed of light or FTL.
    5. The only way to get STL travel to make the NZ in 1 hour is to divide the distances in #1 by 10 which would put the RNZ at about the orbit of Neptune from Romulus on the map. This means the max warp speed of the Enterprise is only 50x the speed of light (very slow). Maybe max speed was max speed through their Kuiper Belt asteroid field. Maybe the map is nonsense. Maybe this analysis is nonsense. I need some Saurian Brandy.
    I'm also glad that Star Trek still stimulates discussions after 50 years.:beer:
     
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  14. C57D

    C57D Guest

    So, the next scintillating BoT question is, was the mission a success or a failure?
    Pros are a number of listening outposts destroyed. Given that intrincintly carving out an asteroid and building a base inside can't just be a two minute job, even with Fed tech. So it created a (strategically medium term) hole in Fed defences. Although since it never got to report back to base the Rom's probably remain blissfully unaware of that!
    Cons are that although the two new super weapons were fine against static bases, they both failed to overcome and defeat an enemy ship in a highly mobile duel. Seems the two bits of supertech were held back by both their own limitations (range for thr plasma torpedo and partial effectiveness for the cloak) and the inefficient, slow, fuel guzzling "simple impulse" (fusion powered warp imho) engines.
    So, overall I think it was a (very, very) limited success in the short term, but a failure in the long term. And so the Roms became a prime market to buy a few older Klingon (MAM!!) cruisers.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 28, 2018
  15. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Why wouldn't there be? Nothing in TOS suggests they would be missing at any point of interstellar history. And nobody insinuates that Earth would have invented those; they probably were out there on the open market a million years before Hiram Maxim was born.

    Naah. The episode is derivative crap, albeit with more pew-pew than TOS could usually afford, But it's one of those slapped together so haphazardly that even things that are intuitive to the 1960s or 2010s audiences are left jumbled, therefore catering for debate at any era of viewing.

    It's much harder to debate whether an interdimensional corridor ought to freeze time or not than to point out errors in conversion from submarine to starship speeds...

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  16. Guy Gardener

    Guy Gardener Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    L Ron Hubbard's Operation Earth had a "plan" that foretasted the next thousand years plus of incremental invasions rolling across the galaxy, and the Romulans may have done the same, planning their invasions of several Federation Planets hundreds of years in advance, so that they can surround their target, unaware (that centuries later) that their target has subspace radio and a fleet that can respond to any such attack in hours, and not decades.

    The Federation colonies/member worlds would not have been Federation planets when the ancient Romulans drew up their plans for galactic conquest using ships and torpedoes that travel at 15 percent of light speed, 750 years earlier. It's unlikely that their plan to take over the galaxy considered that FTL was possible, which means that their plan became bull shit as soon as they started to fight ships with ftl torpedoes and pinpoint accuracy 6 light years off into the yonder.

    Between time dilatation, the deep freeze (sleeper ships just make more sense for this type of war.) and no access to subspace radio, the Romulan forces creeping across the galaxy had no idea that the Federation existed, or that the worlds that they targeted were connected politically, but what the Romulan strike force had going for it, was that they could allow that 200 years in the future, that 200 ships, will strike 200 targets (planets and moons that might not even be inhabited, and how could they know the value of their target 400 years, and 80 light years ago?) inside of the restraints of the same 200 minutes, and simultaneously claim 200 sectors of the galaxy for the glory of the Romulan Star Empire.

    If that's true...

    After that happened once, the Federation trawls known space for any other 200 Romluan ships, plodding along at sublight intent on striking another 200 targets in maybe another 200 years that could also be Federation worlds, if not now, then they may be Federation worlds in 200 years, given the UFPs' own plans for expansion.

    So sublight expansion is about faith and patience, and the Federation spent four (2256-2260) excruciating years sniffing for Romulan sleeper ships to fight in the expanse between star systems, so that their great great grand children didn't have to.

    As soon as Romulus licked Warp speed, you have to wonder what they did about the 10s of thousands of sublight ships out there, still centuries away from laying waste to targets to plant the Star Empire's flag?
     
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  17. Commishsleer

    Commishsleer Commodore Commodore

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    Its only in retrospect that we have problem with the speeds. Impulse/warp speeds hadn't been truly nutted out at that point. In "The Managerie they even had a shuttle that could almost match the speed of the Enterprise.
    On initial viewing I'm sure that people were captivated by the drama, writing and acting to be too concerned about what exactly sub light speeds were in relation to the speeds of the Enterprise.
    I think we got it that the Enterprise was just a bit faster than the Romulan ship for whatever reason and that they were playing a cat and mouse game in space.

    If Scott had just said that the Enterprise was faster than the Romulan ship then we wouldn't be debating it now (that aspect of the episode anyway).
     
  18. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Alas, it's not that simple. It is built in to the structure of the chase here that the ships must be moving at a crawl through that comet, and that this is the same speed at which the entire chase was conducted. Neither FTL nor any STL faster than crawling speed (say, 50 mph) is acceptable for the comet scene. But 50 mph isn't acceptable for any episode of Star Trek (except perhaps in DS9 when heroes perform precision maneuvers next to their precious wormhole).

    We can decide that Trek features comets fifty AUs across, along with supernovae that threaten the entire galaxy and whatnot; it's not that big an issue. But that's just one hurdle out of the many in this episode cleared. It's a clusterfuck of ill-defined conversion factors - and would be much better off if it weren't a conversion of an existing piece of drama, but something thoroughly fantastic and uprooted from Earthly reality.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  19. uniderth

    uniderth Commodore Commodore

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    That was great!

    I suppose that all boils down to our interpretation of interstellar history. My interpretation is that Zefram Cochrane discovered the space-warp and humanity brought that technology to other species. Meaning, aside from some lost times in the ancient past, there was no interstellar market. I'm not saying humanity invented phasers, or transporters, or shields, etc. But because nobody else could trade them as interstellar travel took decades/centuries, humanity didn't have them in the 2150s. Perhaps the world that had phaser technology wouldn't be contacted until the 2200s. We just don't know. But what we do know is that it is implied that the circumstances of the Earth-Romulan conflict were much more primitive than that of our heroes.

    I didn't say it was amazing, I just said wasn't boring and thus provides us with decades of discussion material. That being said I do thing that as derivative pew-pew crap, it's pretty fricking amazing, in my opinion.

    But it is more fun. I think the internal conframbulator causes the rombustat to link with the chronometrictransistor to slow the passage of time.

    I was doing some calculations based off the map. And if the Romulans took a fairly straight course from Outpost 4 to Romulus and it took them one hour to go from the Outpost to the Neutral Zone. Then the Enterprise's max speed to Outpost four is about 68.75x faster than the Romulan's "Outpost four to Neutral Zone" speed. The only problem is that there are no stars on the map between outpost four and the neutral zone on a course for Romulus. So how did the comet Icarus 4 get it's tail? Comets have to be relatively close to a star before the form a tail. Perhaps Icarus is orbiting that white dot just to the right of outpost four.

    Based on the travel times and map I'm putting forward this as my analysis:

    All the dots on the map we see are stars. I think it's clear that we are not looking at objects within on star system. So the dots marked Romulus and Romii are not planets, but stars. However, it's apparent that we are still dealing with fairly "small" scales. Looking at the proximity of the other dots, I think Romulus is part of a very densely packed cluster of stars. Maybe they are orbiting each other, maybe they are orbiting an off screen black hole. I like the theory that the outposts are built in some sort of Oort cloud-like area. But I think we are looking at cross section of a three dimensional boundary that combines parts of Oort cloud areas, basically becoming a giant wall in space. Maybe, because these stars are so closely packed, there is an "interstellar" asteroid belt (or cloud) and that's where the zone was created.

    In short, no it's not as big as some were proposing, and not it's not as small as some where proposing. And yes the Romulans did have FTL, though it was significantly slower than the Enterprise.

    And while all of this is speculation, one thing is certain...I need to get a life.


    My get out of jail free card with this is that we don't know the chase was conducted at the same speed. We do know that Sulu was ordered to match course AND speed so that they appeared to be a reflection. So if the Romulans changed speed Sulu would have automatically done so without an order from Kirk. And we were on the Enterprise during that time so we wouldn't have seen the Romulan Commander giving the order to slow. We also cut straight from the briefing room(where we learn they are changing course for the comet), to the bridge. The change in speed could have happened during this time. Or the change in speed could have happened when the Commander ordered escape maneuver one. Another thing that could gain us some speed is it the ships were headed for the comets tail at an oblique angle. Yes it looks like we're coming at to from the side. But we could be coming in rearward toward the front. The million km long tail than would appear as short as it does on the viewscreen.

    Of course none of that is definitive. It would have been nice had they actually thought all the details through, but then we'd be out of a job.
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2018
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  20. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    My problem with that is Klingons. Did Earth, that is, Cochrane, invent all of Earth's interstellar enemies by giving them warp?

    Also, TOS features a broad range of civilizations and lifeforms, perhaps broader than most scifi shows or even most Trek spinoffs. There are ancients, and more ancients; there are critters weak and powerful; there are plenty of players who know more about us than we know about them. Warp being limited to Earth and her beneficiaries sounds really hollow when the galaxy is oyster to so many others.

    Agreed. But there are many ways to view that. WWI or the Crimean War were really primitive in comparison with Vietnam or Gulf, but not particularly different in the end...

    ...So does Lazarus suffocate when Lazarus strangles him for a billion years, or not? Yes, I love those sorts of discussions, too - it's just that certain episode titles seem to discourage debate as a thing. :(

    Yet most Trek graphics of this sort feature "background" stars which seriously confuse the issue. In theory, every starmap ought to be a mass of uninterrupted white, with a (distant) star to each pixel. In practice, some stars are included while others are not. But two dots may still end up being fifty kilometers from each other and still representing stars (which are fifty lightyears from each other in 3D).

    It's easy to agree with all this. But should we? Where would we have learned that the Romulans truly were slower than our heroes? Even if they were slightly faster, the conservative Commander would not dare try and outrun Kirk out in the open. But there's no speed contest involved in the actual adventure, so we really can't tell.

    ...Why on Earth? It eats seriously into your TrekBBS hours, I tell you.

    Timo Saloniemi