1. 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.

  2. Do they not know this is an act of war against the Federation that would have escalated to total war? Why take the risk?

  3. 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?

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    The answer to TNG questions is, more often than not, "bad writing". Most of these talentless hacks were no better at war or international politics writing than they were at science fiction. – John O Dec 23 '12 at 21:08
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    @JohnO: As someone who had the chance to work with one of the writers in several pitch sessions, and who had to tailor his work to what they were looking for, and read their writer's guides (yes, plural), and who had glimpses at the inside of how things were handled, I find that statement not only far from truth, but way uninformed. The focus was on characters and and the choices they had to make, which is the focus of any good writing. Without knowing how any show resolves decisions in the final editing process, it's tough to know if some decisions were made by writers or or other staff. – Tango Dec 23 '12 at 22:06
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    @TangoOversway And yet, the Romulans were going to send in 2000 troops. On a planet populated by billions. Billions of people who controlled their fear and were often willing to sacrifice their very lives. I'm sorry, but it was always shitty writing. What are characters if there is no story to tell that is even minimally plausible... and let's face it, plausible in science fiction is basically free of all hard restrictions. I love the show too, but we shouldn't make excuses for it. – John O Dec 23 '12 at 22:14
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    Billions of pacifists. The point, in many shows, is not to spend hours on technical background and details that will bore most viewers, but to focus on the characters. It's a lot like a McGuffin. It doesn't matter what it is, what matters is that people want it or it's a threat. – Tango Dec 24 '12 at 6:30
  • Near the end of the episode, when the deception is revealed, a single warbird drops its cloak and destroys the stolen Vulcan ships. There is no evidence in the episode one way or the other but it wouldn't make sense for that to be the only escort. If Sela is any kind of strategist, she would have an entire cloaked fleet (several dozen ships at least) escorting the ground troops. The ground troops could beam down and take important targets on the surface while the fleet attacks any ships and defenses in orbit. – geewhiz Jan 19 '15 at 15:56

On 1)

  • 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.

On 2)

  • 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.

On 3)

  • 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...

  • Wonderful thanks. But 1) Is it not that any planet not having its own defense grid with all these hostilities kind of absurd. Would not that have been logical for the Vulcans especially after their encounter with the Borg. Not necessarily starfleet ships but planetary defense? 2) I agree to some extent. 3) But could not the transporter trace or the attempts to access the security network from the ship by data have given out their location? – The Byzantine Dec 23 '12 at 21:57
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    @TheByzantine Planetary defense systems are rather rare in the Federation. If more exist, they weren't mentioned. If I recall correctly, transporter traces have to be specially scanned for, and you don't get a direction, just evidence that a transport occurred recently in a given location. – Izkata Dec 23 '12 at 23:15
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    Leaving a Capital planet unprotected is not logical. – Morgan Apr 26 '13 at 2:05
  • Like Betazed during the Dominion war, Vulcan probably had outdated defenses. – Xantec Jan 19 '15 at 14:07

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.

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