did romulans have warp drive in kirk's era?

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did romulans have warp drive in kirk's era?

Postby D7_1991 » Sat Nov 03, 2012 4:30 am

maybe am thinking old school trek but I read in the chronology book that romulan vessles didnt have warp drive in 23rd century, and that century before that's what cost them the war with
humanity. I read further that it wasn't until there brief alliance with the klingons that they developed warp drive in exchanged the romulans gave klingons cloaking techology. The klingons also gave them some of there d7 battle crusiers. what do you think?
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Re: did romulans have warp drive in kirk's era?

Postby Vic » Sat Nov 03, 2012 7:19 am

Ah, this is one that is a perennial favorite. Let the fun begin!
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Re: did romulans have warp drive in kirk's era?

Postby Captain Seafort » Sat Nov 03, 2012 11:44 am

D7_1991 wrote:maybe am thinking old school trek but I read in the chronology book that romulan vessles didnt have warp drive in 23rd century, and that century before that's what cost them the war with humanity. I read further that it wasn't until there brief alliance with the klingons that they developed warp drive in exchanged the romulans gave klingons cloaking techology. The klingons also gave them some of there d7 battle crusiers. what do you think?


It's all based on an unthinking interpretation of Scotty's comment in Balance of Terror that the BoP's power was "simple impulse", and the E-nil could therefore easily outrun it. This has been taken to mean that the BoP's propulsion was limited to impulse only, but this makes no sense whatsoever:

Most importantly, it's difficult to imagine the Romulans even becoming aware of other space-faring civilisations without warp drive. Even the shortest interstellar journeys would take years, and the sort that would be needed to reach deep enough into the heart of what later became the Federation would take centuries. Given that, at the time of the war, Earth and her allies already had several Warp 5-capable ships and a fleet of slower warp vessels, the strategic advantage this would have given them against a non-warp civilisation would have been so great as to allow them to crush the Romulans with ease - they would have been able to pick their targets, hit them with the full strength of their fleet, and still been able to intercept any Romulan counterstrike.
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Re: did romulans have warp drive in kirk's era?

Postby Graham Kennedy » Sat Nov 03, 2012 12:17 pm

I'd say that the comment Scotty made in Balance of Terror that the Bird of Prey had "simple impulse power" and was thus slower than the Enterprise indicates that the writers in TOS probably had in mind that the Romulans didn't have warp drive.

However, I think that was probably because the writers in TOS really didn't appreciate how utterly necessary warp drive would be for an interstellar society. For all practical purposes, a ship without warp drive isn't so much slow as stationary - the difference in speed between Warp 8 and full impulse is comparable to the difference between doing Mach 5 and walking. Without warp drive the Bird of Prey would have taken a year or more just to cross the neutral zone, and her whole mission to hit the outposts and go home would have taken at least a decade.

Not to mention that it's completely laughable to suggest that a Romulan Empire without warp drive could have fought a devastating war with Earth in the 2100s. It wouldn't have been called the Earth/Romulan war, it would have been called the Great Romulan Turkey Shoot.

So whilst it's probably what the writers had in mind, in a vague sense, I think this is one of those occasions where common sense wins the day. Especially given that the wording of Scotty's statement is ambiguous enough to allow for warp drive since he refers to the Bird of Prey's power being simple impulse, rather than their speed or engine. Which is why DITL speculates that what he meant was that the Bird of Prey had a fusion power system powering a warp drive, giving warp speeds but low ones.

Hell, there are even warp nacelles right there on the ship.

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Re: did romulans have warp drive in kirk's era?

Postby RK_Striker_JK_5 » Sat Nov 03, 2012 4:11 pm

Yeah. I think it can be seen as fusion for their power source. Being STL makes pretty much no sense.
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Re: did romulans have warp drive in kirk's era?

Postby D7_1991 » Sat Nov 03, 2012 11:02 pm

so if they had warp drive how fast could those warbirds go compared to enterprise? and the other points i brought up about the roms sharing cloaking technology with the klingons and the klingons giving them warships. i read that those two powers united to provoke the federation. was that true? and that later on what ended there alliance was a "bitter" disagreement that cause racial hatred between them for over 75 yrs. wonder what the disagreement was about.
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Re: did romulans have warp drive in kirk's era?

Postby Tinadrin Chelnor » Sat Nov 03, 2012 11:13 pm

I would suggest that the Romulan's warp drives were slower than that of the Enterprise.

The Klingon-Romulan Alliance that saw the Klingons acquire cloaking technology, and the Romulans acquire Klingon warships (perhaps primarily for the more advanced warp drives), happened in the 2260's during Kirk's command of the Enterprise 1701. the Alliance probably had broken down by the time of the Khitomer Accords, as the Romulan Ambassador was on the side of those advocating war with the Klingons while they were crippled. Though being the Romulans, they may still have been allies at that point.

The Romulans attacked the Klingon outposts on Narendra and Khitomer in the 2340's, so clearly they had become bitter enemies by that point.
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Re: did romulans have warp drive in kirk's era?

Postby Graham Kennedy » Sun Nov 04, 2012 1:50 am

D7_1991 wrote:so if they had warp drive how fast could those warbirds go compared to enterprise?

One can only really speculate. I - by which I mean DITL - speculated that a TOS era Warbird could do Warp 3.5, which is about five times slower than the Warp 6 cruise of the Enterprise.

and the other points i brought up about the roms sharing cloaking technology with the Klingons and the Klingons giving them warships. i read that those two powers united to provoke the federation. was that true? and that later on what ended there alliance was a "bitter" disagreement that cause racial hatred between them for over 75 yrs. wonder what the disagreement was about.

There's not a lot of canon on the subject of the Romulan / Klingon relations during TOS. You may want to consider the novels, which pretty consistently paint the relationship as being not a very good one. The way they depict it, the Romulans were very much the poorer and weaker of the big three powers - if you think of the Federation as being like the Allies in World War II, and the Klingons as being Nazi Germany, then the Romulans are basically Italy.

According to the books, the Klingons pretty much looked down on the Romulans and pretty much screwed them over the technology exchange - they swapped a bunch of D5s for the cloaking technology, but the ships they gave them proved to be rather elderly vessels that had been poorly maintained and not kept current on upgrades, rather than the fresh-from-the-shipyard top of the line models the Romulans expected. And given Romulan politics, the crews of these ships were then blamed and punished for not performing well with them!

I always liked the way the Romulans were depicted in this. But then of course it's just novels and not canon, so you may not want to pay any attention to it.

As to what led to the big split, I don't really recall that we've ever heard much about it. But if their relationship was as fractious as it seems, then it's not really a surprise that they turned on one another.
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Re: did romulans have warp drive in kirk's era?

Postby RK_Striker_JK_5 » Sun Nov 04, 2012 6:48 am

One wonders how the Romulans were able to recover after being screwed over like that.
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Re: did romulans have warp drive in kirk's era?

Postby Mikey » Mon Nov 05, 2012 4:40 am

Being Romulans, I'd say a fair bit of bet-hedging had been occurring all along.
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Re: did romulans have warp drive in kirk's era?

Postby Graham Kennedy » Mon Nov 05, 2012 5:53 pm

They went AWOL from contact with the Federation after the "Tomed Incident" in 2311. All we know of it canonically is that it cost thousands of lives and led to the treaty banning the Federation from using cloaking devices - a treaty that Picard said had avoided a major war. The fact that the Federation agreed to that indicates that the threatened war would have been a hard and costly one for them, implying that the Romulans improved things a fair bit in the 40 years between TOS and Tomed.

And the fact that they seem to have at least kept pace with the Federation in the 50 years between Tomed and TNG season 1, if not closed the gap, indicates quite a powerful period of expansion and advancement there, too.

Where the money/resources to fund all that would come from is a big question. For speculation... everything we know about the Romulans concerns their border with the Federation on one side and the Klingons on the other. But that leaves a huge area on the opposite side of Romulan space. The large bulk of the Beta quadrant is open to Romulan expansion, so who knows what they might have found there. Perhaps they discovered a whole string of planets perfect for colonisation and rich in resources. Maybe they found a giant asteroid made of dilithium and earned a fortune mining it out and selling it across half the Beta quadrant. Maybe some advanced race gave them a leg-up on their technology - that last would explain how they came to start using artificial quantum singularities for power, maybe.
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Re: did romulans have warp drive in kirk's era?

Postby Deepcrush » Mon Nov 05, 2012 11:10 pm

Could also be that with the relations being as harsh as they were between the UFP and KE, that risking a war with the RSE wasn't worth the cost. The long peace that followed gave the RSE several decades without interference to develop just about anything they want.
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