The Ups and Downs and Star Trek Maps

Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by Crazy Eddie, Nov 24, 2016.

  1. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I noticed years ago that every map I have ever seen attempting to chart the Star Trek universe looks something like this:

    [​IMG]

    Which is essentially a two dimensional projection from a "top down" perspective, assuming the Milky Way to be a relatively flat "disk", the thickness of which can safely be ignored. It's just 1000 light years, after all, and the Federation is (some would think) bigger than that anyway so you don't need to worry about thickness.

    This has always bothered me on a fundamental way, not least of which because of the fact that in a disk 1000 light years thick, you could easily have as many as 500 stars layered on top of each other that would all appear to be in almost the exact same spot in a 2D map. If a number of those stars are inhabited or strategically important, that would make the "top down" projection less than useless for any practical purposes.

    But after a couple of months playing Elite Dangerous and getting used to the idea of trying to navigate in the true vastness of 3D space, I happened to make a surprisingly long and annoying errand for remarkably wealthy tourist and I noticed something interesting:


    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Space is BIG.

    You can actually stack several irregularly-shaped spheroid regions on top of each other in various complex arrangements, encompassing literally HUNDREDS of stars and planets each, and all of that with plenty of space in between (neutral planets for them to fight over) without going more than 500 light years from Sol.

    It occurred to me, for example, that in my annoying tourist mission and the followup supply run that I had actually passed through systems controlled by three completely different governments in less than an hour. I was struck by the fact that if you were looking at the galaxy map from directly above the plane, this would seem really weird; the Empire, Independent and Federation holdings are more or less on opposite sides of the map from each other. But when you rotate the field and look at it from different perspectives you see they aren't "next" to each other at all, but actually wrapped around each other in complicated, winding blobs whose shape is determined almost entirely by how successful they are in holding on to systems in that region of space.

    This is the thing that seems to screw up so many would-be start chart makers: the obsession with 2D. In a three dimensional galaxy, it doesn't take a whole lot of volume to encompass a very large number of stars and planets. The entire Romulan Empire could easily fit into a sphere just twenty light years in diameter and could still contain over a hundred stars and planetary systems; so, too, could the Klingon Empire still contain a huge number of stars and planets without actually being "large" in any absolute or relative sense. This would also explain why we can't figure out from dialog where the hell any of these big empires are in relation to each other and why it seems so weird that every major power in the galaxy somehow shares a border with every OTHER major power. It's because they DO, and because the sphere of influence of each empire are all packed together like pomegranate seeds inside the larger sphere of what most people not-quite-accurately refer to as "explored space."

    tl;dr: Star Trek star charts don't make any sense when confined to two dimensions. They should quite literally have "ups" and "downs" in the scale of their various empires and one would expect that several of them would be "above" and "below" federation space while others are "next to" or even "wrapped around" it in some ways. It's also unlikely that any of these empires are going to have a regular, perfectly rounded shape or even be entirely contiguous: it could be common practice for governments to bypass huge regions of totally useless systems that consist of nothing but brown dwarfs and iceballs and then truck out sixty light years to annex a star with an Earthlike planet and then five of its neighbors for good measure.
     
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  2. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    The older ST Maps did have coordinates to go with the individual stars. That doesn't make a 3D setup any more intuitively accessible to the reader, alas. No matter which viewing angle you choose, something will be obscured by something else, just like in those top-down charts. Which is why 3D is fine for the adventures themselves, perhaps to be used for a key holographic representation that moves the plot along, but no good for publications, and is deliberately avoided by 'em Trek mapmakers both- on and offscreen.

    It's just a big game of pretend, in which all the interesting features just "happen" to lie on the same plane. (Call it a subspace plane and you have an excuse, perhaps.)

    OTOH, Trek cultures in general do not share borders. There is virtually no mention of them doing so, save for the Feds bordering on a select few of their enemies (say, an explicit border, or at least a stretch thereof, with Romulans and Cardassians, but none mentioned with Tholians or Talarians or Breen or whatever). That's another way to play the "space is big" card: no matter how ambitious an empire, it just plain won't expand enough to actually brush against its neighbors, nor can it ever hope to control a border surface against intrusion. Thanks to warp drive, heroes and villains just access the territories of each other without even noticing whether there's a border there.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  3. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I'm just saying, with some better graphics design it wouldn't be overly difficult to depict a 3D star chart in print. The Elite Dangerous Galaxy map manages to do exactly this with transparencies, and the maps in some RPGs depict a semi-realistic elevation map showing the relative positions and heights of mountains and valleys. So with a print edition, it might work to have the "exploded" view of the local galaxy; this little kidney bean shaped thing is Federation space, the Banana over there is the Tholian assembly, and the peanut-shaped enclave underneath and between them all is the Romulan Star Empire.

    Graphic designers are probably going to do better with this than mapmakers, since the spatial arrangements will be very complicated to nail down.

    The Romulan and Klingon border in "Redemption"

    The Romulan/Federation neutral zone.

    The Klingon/Federation Neutral zone, which is somehow very close to the Romulan-Federation neutral zone.

    Klingon/Cardassian border with occasional skirmishes (The Betreka Nebula)

    The Romulan/Cardassian border (Unefra System).

    So all four of these empires have borders with each other and with the Federation, so this gives some clues as to their shape and arrangement. They pretty much HAVE to be arranged in complex 3D geometry, and they also have to be shaped kind of weirdly to "reach around" each other in some points. There's also the fact that none of them are really "penned in" on more than two sides by any of their neighbors, so the border regions probably aren't even that large either.
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2016
  4. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    The Big Three share borders. The Cardassians and the Klingons do not need to share a border at Betreka - they just skirmish there. Instead, when Klingons invade Cardassia, they do so through Federation space!

    Similarly, Unefra is not at any "Cardassian-Romulan" border - it is at the "Cardassian" border, supposedly bordering on empty space because a) the Romulans are such an unexpected fixture there when Odo and Garak arrive, and b) they arrive at the Cardassian border from the outside, a maneuver the Romulans would not tolerate if this outside belonged to them.

    Sure, for certain types of print. Say, an overview of how the Trek empires interact could be done in the scale of the pair of pictures in your post. But a map with labels for individual star systems might have to be the size of a bedsheet for the same effect to work.

    Naturally, I'd pay top dollar for a sufficiently pretty virtual map I could rotate at will on my computer. Mere Celestia-with-colored-bubbles wouldn't be cool enough, though.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  5. Go-Captain

    Go-Captain Commander Red Shirt

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    @Crazy Eddie You've hit on a point I've thought about on and off. There are peculiarities of national proximity in Star Trek which none of the maps cover. Some of them cover some of things, especially obvious ones like the Federation-Romulan Neutral Zone, but they ignore or are ignorant of how the Romulans could somehow access DS9 without traversing Klingon or Federation space.

    Three dimensions handily explains the oddities. For instance, Klingon space could be riding on top of the Federation, rather than on a Galactic southerly boarder. Romulan space doesn't have to completely block the Federation's North East boarder, it could even be below the Federation to some extent. Given the Milky Way is 1,000 light year thick, it leaves lots of room to stack empires in the galactic disk. It also makes more sense because a 250 light year diameter space can hold 250,000 stars. If the Federation has 5,000 worlds, that only requires 2% of stars being naturally life bearing.
     
  6. Lakenheath 72

    Lakenheath 72 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    In the episode "In the Pale Moonlight", Sisko says,

    I'd pick the side most likely to leave us in peace when the dust settles. Maybe you're right. Maybe the Dominion will win in the end. Then the Founders will control what we now call Cardassia, the Klingon Empire and the Federation. So, instead of facing three separate opponents with three separate agendas, you'll find yourselves facing the same opponent on every side. There's a word for that. Surrounded.

    I have interpreted this as that the Romulan Star Empire was an "island" in the galactic map. It shares borders with the three other great powers, and these borders are connected. This is contrary to what is seen in the Insurrection map, which shows the Romulan Star Empire as being in the Beta Quadrant, far from Cardassian space. This is has been never depicted in any map of the Star Trek Universe. Personally, I like the former, as it gives more insight into Romulan policy.
     
  7. Tomalak

    Tomalak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Even the Mandel Star Charts in the first image in the top post hint at the 3D nature of space - the Federation appears split in two between the core worlds and the rest of their planets on the other side of a belligerent empire and a sometime friend.

    But I think this is a necessity of producing a paper map of space. It's probably that the three powers have "core" territories, but further out they break down into smaller neighbouring systems under different jurisdictions. Nimbus III is an example of a world in the middle of a region of space with interests of all three. You wouldn't have "borders" in space in the same way we do on land, so I think these are much more fluid and much less defined than maps could show. The Mandel charts perhaps more accurately define "spheres of influence".

    It might also explain the weird, spherical "Klingon Neutral Zone" in the Kobayashi Maru simulation. It could surround a disputed system in one of those regions. Quite why the treaty would allow a "neutral zone" to be full of Klingon ships, but banned for Starfleet, is anyone's guess.
     
  8. Nebusj

    Nebusj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    It's the Romulan Neutral Zone. We don't have any reason to suppose Klingons would have any reason to stay out of it, other than not annoying the Romulans.

    (And given its premise as an unfair war-game scenario it's not as though an excuse for Klingons to be there is necessary.)
     
  9. Tomalak

    Tomalak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    So what's the Klingon Neutral Zone mentioned in TUC?
     
  10. Nebusj

    Nebusj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    There is no 'Klingon Neutral Zone' mentioned in The Undiscovered Country. There's a Neutral Zone mentioned, but without description, and the only one ever named in that era is the Romulan. Given the obvious closeness of the Federation and Romulan governments at the time it's more reasonable to suppose the Romulan Neutral Zone is, at that era, serving as the boundary between Klingon and Federation spheres of influence.

    That much, I grant, is speculation. But the Kobayashi Maru scenario is unmistakably set at the Romulan Neutral Zone. They're explicitly patrolling near Gamma Hydra, which makes Romulan space the nearby border. The Enterprise had even been to that specific spot and nearly got destroyed before Kirk had a clever idea.
     
  11. Tomalak

    Tomalak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Come on, "a dismantling of our space stations and starbases along the neutral zone, an end to fifty years of unremitting hostility which the Klingons can no longer afford" isn't a reference to the zone established after the Earth-Romulan War which 'Balance of Terror' describes. Later Kirk talks about not being ready for "no more neutral zone", a direct consequence of Gorkon's reforms. Kerla specifically tells Sulu to stay out of the zone, putting it between the Excelsior and Praxis. There's no suggestion Sulu is anywhere near Romulan space.

    I like the possibility of the Romulans being somewhat neutral arbiters in this period, or even full Federation allies - the only times we see them, they are either participating in a Planet of Galactic Peace (and the possibility of them sending a ship isn't even mentioned), or sitting in on top secret Federation Presidential military briefings. A curio to be sure.

    But I don't think TUC supports the idea that Spock is talking about a Romulan Neutral Zone, and it certainly isn't the same one we know from TOS.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2016
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  12. Unicron

    Unicron Continuity Spackle Moderator

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    IIRC, the Organian Treaty created a neutral zone between the Federation and the Klingon Empire (or something similar), with the specific provision that neither side could have armed vessels or outposts within the zone. They could have unarmed vessels pass through though.
     
  13. Tomalak

    Tomalak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Indeed, that's the logical origin. But whereas the Organians sought cooperation, that zone seemed to become another buffer like the Romulan neutral zone.
     
  14. jimcat

    jimcat Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Hello everyone,

    I have been dithering about whether to post anything for a while now until this thread came up, because ultimately how closely maps of the Star Trek galaxy have to match “real” outer space is entirely a matter of personal preference.

    I’ve never really liked the “borders” of the Federation as they are shown in the Star Trek Star Charts, even if it is carefully researched and as accurate as possible. Do the borders just extend up and down vertically? If not, how effectively do the maps show the actual extent of things like the Cardassian DMZ, or the Romulan Neutral Zone? What’s the point of all those Federation border stations if they’re all on a single plane? Do they zig-zag up and down vertically? How effective would that be if they do?

    All these problems go back to the moment a star map of the Romulan Neutral Zone appeared in “Balance of Terror”, so it’s nothing new.

    Rather than just wonder about it, I’ve done some rough work at trying to produce a “side view” based on the Star Trek Star Charts and the positions of real stars:

    http://atavachron.wdfiles.com/local--files/calendars:base-maps/UFPXZ.png

    The conclusion I reached is that I’d really have to start again from scratch, and try to plot the star positions so that the view sideways on would give the same sort of close groupings as the conventional “top” view. Anything else just doesn’t make sense to me.

    And that’s where the GAIA star mapping mission comes in. The first release of data a few months ago is incomplete, but it drastically increases the accuracy of the coordinates in 3D space for the stars it covers. One of the stars is HIP 62527, a real star that’s been matched up to the position of “Bajor” in the Star Trek Star Charts. Once I’d calculated the coordinates, I produced an updated map:

    http://atavachron.wdfiles.com/local--files/calendars:gaia-and-bajor/SmallCardxy1.png

    I’ve used Astrosynthesis software to generate the map, and the star positions are a combination of the GAIA data and David Nash’s HYG star data. Since it was meant to be the first stage in creating a better map of Cardassian space, the figures in brackets after each star name don’t represent the “z-coordinate” in relation to Earth, but to the distance above or below a plane 100 light years “above” the Earth, so “Bajor” is 103 light years vertically above our Sun, and “Cardassia” is 99 light years. As you can see, the new position of “Bajor” is hopelessly off, and the amount of “wriggle room” in the new data is very small, far too tiny to fix the problem.

    The first big release of GAIA data won’t be until well into next year, so I’m waiting for that before going any further. My vague plan is to try and find some new candidates for “Cardassia” and “Bajor” in roughly the right relation to the coordinate grid and each other. The bad news is that the Star Trek Star Charts are in need of revision if you want the stars to match up with real objects in the sky (although you’re always going to be out of luck identifying the Badlands or any of the other nearby nebulae in Star Trek; they’re all entirely fictional as far as I can see). The good news is that 3D maps of the near Galaxy should get much, much more accurate, to the point that any further big revisions are unlikely to be needed.

    If the interest is there, I’d be happy to post the GAIA star data once it’s available, with Star Trek Star Charts style x, y and z coordinates (standard Galactic coordinates, but with the top of the map pointing to the Galactic Centre). It won’t be complete (over a billion stars is going to be a HUGE file), but I’m optimistic that all the stars out to about 500 light years (that’ll be a cube 1,000 light years on a side with Earth at the centre, using Star Charts sectors) shouldn’t be too big to be impossible to use, or to create without crashing my computer. My current “mash up” file isn’t really usable, because there hasn’t been any concerted attempt to match up the star data from GAIA with existing stars. One of the longest jobs I had in creating my map of Cardassian space was weeding out stars from the HYG data that had been replaced by GAIA. There’s no easy way to match them up.

    My own experience, as you can see for yourselves in my own attempts, is that Crazy Eddie is absolutely right when he says artists and graphic designers make nicer maps. I have nothing but admiration for Geoffrey Mandel’s work on the Star Trek Maps, the Star Trek Star Charts and Stellar Cartography, and I hope he has the chance to do some updated maps himself, preferably with three dimensions. I’d buy them.

    This has turned out to be a long post, but my advice to anyone thinking of creating a “reality-based” star map is: “Wait for GAIA!”

    Best wishes,

    Timon
     
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  15. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Two thoughts on this:

    1) The whole concept of a "neutral zone" is only really meaningful in terms of military maneuvers, and those zones would basically HAVE to be open for civilian traffic. This is so, because otherwise those zones become lawless zones of anarchy where no meaningful law enforcement can be conducted and criminals and renegades can hide in them with impunity knowing that military forces from either side cannot pursue them. So civilian development within the neutral zone plus civilian law enforcement is undoubtedly in occurrence. Between the Romulan and Federation zones, the fact that the Romulans are staunch isolationists seems to dissuade them from trying to colonize the zone and therefore opening themselves up to contact with humans. The Klingons, however, don't have this problem, so under the Organian Treaty they were obliged to try various co-development arrangements with Federation colonists and such. I like to think there was a bit of proxy warfare going on too, not unlike the Cardassian/Federation DMZ of a century later, which would explain Spocks" unremitting hostility" comment in TUC.

    2) I always interpreted the disarmament as the fact that the Klingons were ending their proxy warfare campaign because they needed to resettle a huge portion of their population off the homeworld and the disputed planets in the neutral zone were their best option. That is probably the reason for the almost war in the first place: the Klingons and the Federation were fighting over a handful of garden worlds that the Klingons desperately needed to deal with their overpopulation issues and didn't feel like sharing. Now that Praxis had blown up, they weren't really in a position to make demands and were willing to accept settlement and development on whatever terms the Federation would give them (desperation breeds strange bedfellows, or "Beggars can't be choosers.")


    This is another time where 3D space might be helpful in understanding this: there is no reason to think the neutral zone is a "buffer" between Klingon and Federation space. It might not even be BETWEEN their respective territories, and there are reasons to think it probably isn't. The spherical projection in the Kobyashi Maru scenario certainly hints at this: the neutral zone could simply be a cluster of very attractive systems that both governments were trying to exploit at the same time and came to blows over, relatively close to but not necessarily contiguous with either's real border. Arguably it's closer to Klingon space than Federation territory since Kerla has to remind Sulu to "remain outside the neutral zone" after the explosion.
     
  16. publiusr

    publiusr Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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  17. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    We could argue that the Romulan Neutral Zone is one famous location where the UFP and the Klingons face off each other "safely", artificially and conveniently constrained by elements external to their conflict. Romulan space might be teeming with Klingon activity, and Klingons might be demanding free passage, but Feds would piously say "we can't let your cloakships through, they could be Romulan cloakships" even when the relations between the two combatants are at their most cordial. The role of outposts at the Zone would be almost purely to piss off the Klingons, and removing them would be a concession the UFP could easily make if it decided not to hate the Klingons any more.

    This part completely dismantles the above idea, though.

    And whatever the role of the Romulans here, I don't think they would really be interested in the dissolution of their precious Zone. Who knows, perhaps it was them who erected it in the first place, rather than Earth?

    This is a possibility, considering the vastness of the zone (at least two star systems within it, rather than inside the territory of one or the other star empire). However, there is real-world precedent for neutral zones that indeed are lawless in the sense that only outlaws can dwell there - the very act of dwelling outlaws you, and then you die. This is easier to do in the wastes of northern Africa than in space, because survival in the former requires cross-border traffic which can be lethally intercepted, while survival on Planet Eden without any cross-border interaction is a distinct possibility (provided you have a good supply of Rennies).

    Would lawlessness be undesirable to either party, though? Kirk and McCoy like their smuggling, and the intel agencies on both sides no doubt love the idea of at least some communication going on. Criminals can be a problem to the enemy. Etc.

    The one big problem here: we have no evidence of anybody ever settling inside anybody's neutral zone in Trek. Or even moving there without this being an offense warranting several minutes of pompous posturing and empty threats of war.

    There's the demilitarized zone between the UFP and the Cardassian Union, heavily settled and trafficked by civilians, but no part of it was ever suggested to be neutral: it's all either UFP or CU, supposedly.

    Makes sense. Of course, the ultimate solution to the Praxis problem seems to have involved a different type of resources reallocation, an effort to save the original homeworld, possibly even without major evacuations. But this is unlikely to have occurred to the primitive Klingons of the 2290s.

    Also, habitable worlds are not in short supply in the TNG era when the Praxis problem finds its unknown solution. But they still seem to have strategic significance an sich in "Errand of Mercy" and the like. Although specifically as means to promote an invasion campaign, rather than as places of habitation, it seems. But perhaps Klingons coveted KNZ worlds for that other common TOS reason - for their key resources? Certain Federation colonies were specifically stated to depend on these very resources, so Klingons might also find it difficult to create or sustain refugee camps without said resources.

    Tellingly, the putative KNZ never explicitly affects our heroes' trip to rescue Kirk and McCoy from within Klingon territory.

    There is some conflict between the idea of Neutral Zones popping up left and right and the exclusive dialog usage of "THE Neutral Zone", without a risk of confusion. If it were just a question of choosing the right capital letter to go before NZ, it would be easy to justify the ambivalent dialog: TUC dialog should not involve the R or the possible T or G or whatever, only the K. But would the Klingon conflict only involve a single example of this putative resources-encasing eggshell?

    It would be a delight to try and fit the slices into a 3D stack! Too bad that there tends to be conflict with basic anchorpoints already: while Sol is Sol and there is consensus of sorts about the special role of 40 Eri, the homestars of Klingons, Romulans or even Andorians differ from interpretation to interpretation.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  18. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I don't really think we could, considering the ROMULAN neutral zone still exists a century later and is implied to be the same one that was established in the 22nd century.

    Also, the Klingon/Federation neutral zone seems to be established on different terms: it isn't "between" the two governments so much as it is off limits to their respective militaries in a complex co-development scheme, but at the same time, both sides are poised right the edge of the neutral zone ready to fly in to war if the other side violates it.

    The idea of it being an Earth imposition is supported by the fact that the Earth side is guarded by heavily fortified listening posts intended to keep the Romulans from coming out of it. We have never had any indication that a similar picket line exists on the Romulan side, despite it being much closer to their homeworld. So it's a lot more likely that the neutral zone was established by a mostly-victorious Earth that had beaten the Romulans back to their home territory but didn't want to deal with a "fight to the last man" resistance and occupation of Romulus and couldn't really afford to try. The radio negotiations would then have the subtext of "We don't want to kill you and you don't want to die. But your leaders can't surrender without losing face because your culture is crazy. So let's create a neutral zone and create an armistice, you guys can pretend you pwned our invasion fleet and stopped us cold, and we won't have to live with annihilating your entire species. Subspace shake on it?"

    That last part is the problem. Since neither Federation nor Romulan military forces can actually go in there and ENFORCE the exclusion zone, then where does the "then you die" part come from? Civilian ships could go in and out of the neutral zone with impunity, knowing that Starfleet or the Romulans can't chase them without potentially starting a war.

    In fact this is probably the whole reason why Romulan Ale is illegal. Civilian ships transporting goods across the neutral zone make obvious vectors for the transport of spies and saboteurs (at least from the Romulan side) and the Federation is working hard to discourage that sort of behavior.

    Absolutely. For one thing, the Trek universe is one in which piracy is still a semi-major threat to commercial shipping, and the neutral zone would make a very convenient hideout for, say, Nausican pirates or Orion slavers looking to knock off some of those fat and wealthy Earth liners. Likewise, the Romulans need a way to guarantee that dissidents and subversives aren't setting up camps in the neutral zone as bases to launch their seditious campaigns against the Glory of the Empire. There's also the fact that people not party to the conflict and not loyal to either side could enter the zone any time they want and create all kinds of mischief, so SOMEBODY would have to have the authority to go into the zone and keep that from happening.

    So the zone must by BY DEFINITION open to civilian traffic, provided those civilians are not on formal business from any government that was a party to the original conflict.

    This is mainly because we never hear of the existence of settlements AT ALL until they start sending out distress calls. The Enterprise never seems to visit anywhere that isn't already in a shitload of trouble. Neutral zone settlements would be exempt from this rule because, probably, they have some specialized organization (the Colonial Spaceguard? The Neutrality Police? The U.N. Spacy? The Systems Alliance Navy?) that is technically sovereign and, while accountable to both sides, answers to neither of them SPECIFICALLY.

    Would make an interesting TV series...

    In retrospect, it was probably a combination of both. Khitomer, for example, is described as being "a neutral site" by Azetbur; 60 years later it's a fully incorporated Klingon colony that gets massacred by the Romulans. So I'm guessing that Khitomer is actually a planet INSIDE the original neutral zone and was one -- if not the most important -- of the planets ceded to the Klingons in the Khitomer Accords. This would put a new spin on the battle between Chang and the Enterprise, AND it would explain why Excelsior knew about the location. If that fight took place inside the neutral zone, then NEITHER side was supposed to have any ships in the area and Enterprise took a humongous risk just by going in there.

    Of course not. Probably because the Khitomer Accords allowed the Klingons to finally ACCESS a big collection of those habitable worlds without having to fight the Federation for control of them.

    Why? The Klingons might only recognize a "neutral zone" with the Federation; the Romulan/Federation neutral zone isn't binding on them, and they can go there whenever the hell they want since they didn't sign that treaty. In the same way, the Romulans don't give a shit about the Klingon/Federation neutral zone because THEY never agreed to stay out of it either.

    Also, I'm pretty sure the Klingons usually qualify which zone they're talking about. Kruge specifically refers to the "Federation Neutral Zone" in TSFS, implying that he means the zone that they agreed to be neutral in a treaty with the Federation.

    It would if all of those planets were in the same general region of space. Say, if the entire spherical region within a twelve light year radius of Khitomer was considered to be off limits, since that radius included MOST of the planets that both sides wanted and didn't want to share. The Klingons probably conceded their claims to a few outlying systems to get this zone, as did the Federation, since the worlds WITHIN the zone were too valuable for either to let go of.

    Within twenty four light years, that could be anywhere between 50 and 200 star systems, perhaps a third of which might be M-class and/or have valuable resources coveted by both sides. So anywhere between 20 and 60 planets might be in dispute here.
     
  19. Ithekro

    Ithekro Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Romulan Ale is probably illegal for similar reasons to Cuban cigars are illegal in the United States...trade embargo.
     
  20. ian128K

    ian128K Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    I always assumed the Neutral Zones were akin to the DMZ between North and South Korea. Entry by military and civilians is forbidden by both sides. Of course, Space Is Big™, so that would naturally be pretty hard to enforce. Plus, even the Korean DMZ has been violated from time to time.