How could the Romulans expect to invade a planet like Vulcan, in Federation space, with a small invasion force of 2000 troops in three small ships accompanied with one warbird? There must have been dozens of Vulcan ships to defend the home world and the Vulcans would have fought off that ridiculously small force.
Do they not know this is an act of war against the Federation that would have escalated to total war? Why take the risk?
Did Commander Sela never think of where Picard and Data were going to and from (I mean the Klingon ship)? Did they not attempt to search for any ship?
- The Federation's military is Starfleet, and Sela plans to become entrenched on Vulcan before they can respond.
- I have a vague memory of a planet's military getting absorbed into Starfleet upon joining the Federation, but I can't remember from where. If true, then Vulcan doesn't have military ships of its own to defend the planet.
- The Romulans were using Vulcan ships as a peace envoy. There would initially be nothing to fight against, if Sela's speech had gotten out.
- Additionally where else would a peace envoy go, but the capital? That was their goal, taking over Vulcan, so where better to do that. Sela never let on how they would have gained the foothold, so taking the High Council as hostages was certainly a possibility. (Remember, Romulans tend to think with their emotions, unlike the logical Vulcans)
- Starfleet had very recently lost a lot of ships at the Battle of Wolf 359.
- It's likely the Romulans thought they would be ready. Vulcan is one of the founding members of the Federation - a surprise takeover like this may have caught the Federation leadership off-guard, starting the war in their favor.
- I am, however, inclined to think that Sela thought it wasn't in the Federation's nature to start a war, and that they'd try to reclaim Vulcan but do nothing else.
- Klingon ships have their own cloaking devices. This would explain why it was not found.
- The Romulans may have assumed that Picard arrived on Romulus same way as Spock, and that their transportation was not currently nearby. No need to show a scene for that and detract from the plot, then.
Aside, I tend to agree with JohnO on at least these two episodes. They were used to close the Sela arc, and ended up turning her into just another scheming Romulan commander...
I have an idea. We know that close to the end, a warbird de-cloaked and destroyed the vessels less than a minute after the big reveal. It's possible that there were other cloaked ships there. Perhaps a big chunk of the Romulan fleet was there, and the 3 frankensteined vessels were a cover so that nobody would be suspicious of a set of warp fields being detected along the neutral zone border. This would be an excellent way to hide the fleet until it was too late, and it would be cheap, since it only requires stolen components that were going to be left to gather dust anyway.