Romulan Star Empire

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Romulan Star Empire logo.png
Romulan Star Empire
Basic information
Major Species:
Homeworld(s):
Founded:

320 (Earth Year)

Warp Capable:

320 (Earth Year)

Official Language:

Romulan

Official Currency:

Takhse

Political Information
Government:

Republic

Leader:
  • Praetor
  • Imperial Senate
  • Continuing Committee
Military Branches:
Template:Government

The Romulan Star Empire was founded approximately two thousand years ago by Vulcans who rejected Surak's path of logic and emotional suppression. It expanded slowly but steadily for over a millennium, until coming into contact with the Human race. Dealt a stinging defeat in the Earth-Romulan War, the Empire was held behind the Romulan Neutral Zone but continued to expand away from what is now Federation space. An alliance with the Klingon Empire in Earth's 23rd century gave the Romulans advanced warp power and ensured them a place as one of the great powers of the Beta Quadrant. After the collapse of the Klingon alliance and a narrowly averted war with the Federation, the Empire again isolated itself and expanded outward once more, while fighting intense wars with the Klingons and others. The Borg threat and Federation expansion led to more active engagement, including an attempt to co-opt the Klingon government; but contact with the Dominion soon pre-empted such concerns. The Star Empire was initially neutral in the Dominion War, but its entry turned the tide in favor of the allied powers. After the war, relations with the Federation and Klingons quickly cooled again, but a recent shake-up in the Romulan government has led to more cordial relations across the Neutral Zone.

Government

The floor of the Romulan Senate
The building that hosts the Romulan Senate
The Romulan Star Empire, despite its authoritarian nature, follows a republican structure of government. Supreme authority is placed in a Senate composed of 44 members, which is overseen by a Praetor whom the Senate selects. Both Praetor and Senators serve until retirement or death. Senators are selected by election or legislative appointment; most represent an entire Romulan world, though Romulus possesses multiple Senators and special arrangements are made for Romulans living on predominately alien worlds. The Senate is responsible for setting legislation to decide all foreign and many domestic matters; the execution of Romulan law is overseen by a series of Consuls, who are appointed on a basis of one per sector. The Proconsul directly controls this apparatus; while having no seat on the Senate, the position is viewed as an ideal stepping-stone to Praetorship. The Senate, and by extension the Praetor, has direct command over the fleet commanders and thusly the Star Navy. This highly centralized command structure allows for smooth, efficient military operations.

An extension of the Senate is the Continuing Committee, an executive body headed by the Praetor which will at times meet separately from the Senate at large to decide matters of particular importance with speed. Most Committee members are also Senators, though this is not a requirement and other high officials (such as the chairman of the Tal'Shiar or, rarely, the Proconsul) may at times be appointed as well. The Praetor is the only permanent member of the Committee; all other members serve staggered eight-year terms, then must be reappointed by the other seven and confirmed by the Senate at large.

Non-Romulan worlds are represented in a separate assembly, in which they are accorded a number of representatives proportional to their size. (Remus, though not the most populous of these "alien" worlds, has the most representatives due to its homeworld status.) The Assembly meets in the twilight region of Remus' north pole and includes 690 members; it may petition the Senate and has some jurisdiction over alien worlds, but little real power.

All Romulan worlds except Romulus and Remus are overseen by a governor. In the case of Romulan worlds, this official is elected and then confirmed by the Senate; for alien worlds, the governor is appointed by the Senate directly. Alien worlds, however, may use whatever political structure they possess to select a Viceroy to serve with the governor in a dual-executive capacity. The Viceroy need not be confirmed by the Senate, but the degree of power the office holds is dictated on a world-by-world basis by Senatorial edict. On some well-favored alien worlds, the Viceroy's power eclipses that of the governor; but on others, the office of Viceroy is essentially meaningless and the governor exercises complete control. (The fact that Remus has no governor has not necessarily enhanced the Viceroy's authority, as the world is often run directly by the Senate.)

History

Surak and Rihan (CE 230-410)

The Time of Awakening was marked by decades of nuclear warfare on Vulcan.

The history of the Romulan people begins during the Time of Awakening on Vulcan. Prior to the philosophical emergence of Surak, the Vulcan people had fought catastrophic series of wars that may be among the most brutal waged by any prewarp species in the known galaxy. Surak's teachings of total logic appealed broadly to a populace weary of destruction; but a sizable minority rejected the emotional suppression inherent to his philosophy; soon, Surak's teachings had themselves become the subject of another massive nuclear war. In time, Surak's followers were victorious, though he himself had been killed.

What happened next is not clearly known. Many Romulans contest that Surak's followers, following a path of cold logic perhaps more extreme than Surak's own, demanded that all Vulcans either undergo Kohlinar and purge themselves of emotion, or leave the world forever. Other historians believe that the Romulans were self-exiled, although the first theory would better explain the near-uniformity of Surak's teachings in contemporary Vulcan thought. In any case, in the centuries following the Awakening, these Vulcan rejectionistss took what ships they could find and set out by the millions to find a home of their own.

The design of ship used by the Romulans when they fled Vulcan.

The diaspora was extremely difficult on these ex-Vulcans; very few warp ships existed on Vulcan, and still fewer found their way to the exiles; they generally traveled in sublight sleeper or generational ships. In signs of some early coordination, most set off in close to the same direction, but many lacked effective navigation equipment. Becoming lost, they settled on the first world that might support life; some of these civilizations survived for a time, and a few still exist today, developing a remarkable cultural diversity that has fascinated Federation and Romulan sociologists alike.

The bulk of the exiles, however, did remain together, in a convoy numbering thousands of ships in all. It is said that this fleet was guided from its launch by an individual named Rihan, who lived to be well over 300 and was the only person to see the journey from beginning to end. (Rihannsu, the Romulans' original name for themselves, may be translated as "Rihan's people".) While elements of his story may be exaggerated—he may not have existed at all—but a sizable number of ex-Vulcans did find their way to the twin worlds that would become Romulus and Remus.

It seems that these settlers, who would become the core of the Romulan people, had in mind very early on that they wished to return to the stars. (The dream of a triumphant return to Vulcan, Surak's argument once and for all, may have been a driving factor.) The Romulans cannibalized their fleet of ships for equipment and jumped straight into an industrial society; the first city sprung up near the fleet's first landing site within months, and is the Romulan capital to this day. Although plagued by disease and weather – the proximity of Remus produced strong tides and seismic activity – the Romulans' physical hardiness, plus the drive that had kept them united through their centuries-long trek through space, allowed them to thrive.

The Star Empire (CE 410-2100)

The Romulan calendar begins with the year of Rihan's arrival on Romulus and the founding of the Romulan capital, which is analogous to the Earth date of January, 410 CE. One year on Romulus (and Remus) is slightly shorter than one Earth year.

By the Earth year 527, the Romulans had returned to space. The first object of interest was Remus, due to its obvious proximity and (somewhat) habitable environment. Being tidally locked with the Romulan sun, Remus' only temperate zones were the stretches of land along the terminator between night and day; but the planet was incredibly mineral-rich, and some Romulans considered it worth the effort to mine. (In this period, however, they had little use for dilithium, which is Remus' most abundant resource.) Oddly, it was on Remus rather than the far more temperate Romulus where indigenous life had evolved; these would become the Remans known today after centuries of interbreeding and deliberate genetic manipulation (often by Remans themselves)—an often unsavory process that contributed to the disdain for Remans in contemporary Romulan culture.

As the Romulans expanded into space, their first priority was to reestablish contact with those ex-Vulcans who had settled on other worlds. None of these settlements had been as successful as Romulus and Remus, and willingly joined the political entity that became known as the Romulan Star Empire. Although warp drive would not become entirely practical for another millennium due to the Romulans' dependence on nuclear-based engines, these "exile worlds" provided a jump-start for further territorial expansion.

During this period, the Romulans began to encounter worlds populated by alien species, most of which had not yet attained space travel. As it was not yet considered feasible to transport enough troops through space to subjugate whole planets, it was quickly decided to employ more subtle means in establishing Romulan sovereignty. At times, simple negotiation with the promise of advanced Romulan knowledge would suffice; but some worlds reacted with fear or hostility to the Romulan visitors. In these cases, the Romulans' now-famous talent for subversion was often applied. Since every species in the region was technologically inferior to the Romulans themselves, these contacts did much to reinforce an impression of Romulans' natural superiority. Generally, this was meant in a cultural sense as a rejection of Surak's way, though certain schools of thought suggested that the Romulans' advantage was even genetic in nature. This was bad news for Remus, as its people were increasingly looked upon as a lesser degree of being; the Empire's two homeworlds were no longer equal.

The Romulans' first contact with another warp-capable species was not until Earth's twenty-first century, with the appearance of Klingon scouts. As Klingon vessels of the period were markedly superior to Romulan craft, the Romulans chose to avoid confrontation—which was not difficult, since their territories were still far apart at the time. Relations were inconsistent, but a significant cultural exchange would take place between the two star forces: the design (and name) of the Klingon Bird of Prey types are not dissimilar to those of contemporary Romulan interceptors, and Klingon vessels sport a stylized bird pattern on their hulls to this day. For their part, certain aspects of Klingon honor (though not their somewhat anarchic command structure) found its way into Romulan military culture.

By this time, the Romulan Star Empire included more than a dozen worlds in all, and its necessarily slow expansion provided time for an excellent transport network to evolve. And the Romulans had convinced themselves that theirs was the most powerful empire in the galaxy: despite the Klingons' technology, most who had not seen a Klingon themselves considered them too barbaric to take seriously. Likewise, the reclusive Tholians did not inspire much concern when their tiny scouts began to appear at the edge of Romulan sensor range. Discovery of the Tellarites and Andorians provided a shock to this Romulan complacency; but it was the Humans, a species that had barely known what outer space was when the twin worlds first were settled, who would finally spur the Romulans into action, igniting perhaps the most defining conflict in the Empire's history.

The Earth-Romulan War (CE 2100-60)

Romulan agents re-established clandestine contact with the Vulcans around the Earth year 2100. While the harsh form of logic observed by Vulcan's current leaders struck the Romulans as precisely what their ancestors had left to avoid, they quickly determined that these Vulcans' shortsightedness could be used to Romulan advantage. Some even dreamed that Vulcan could be incorporated with the Romulan Empire as a third homeworld; "triple worlds" emblems are sometimes still seen in relation to the current Unification movement.

The Vulcans had been fighting a long series of wars with the Andorians, who in turn enjoyed foul relations with more or less everybody. Wishing to avoid direct attention due to the inferiority of their technology, the Romulans applied long-practiced skills at covert influence, working to exacerbate regional conflicts between the powers, keeping them occupied while the groundwork was laid for a swift, decisive assault. Several star systems that had not been colonized due to their inhospitality became Romulan forward garrisons, where ships lurked within striking distance of key Andorian and Tellarite systems. Romulan ships' low power signatures lent themselves well to sensor-stealth technology, and it was believed that a swift surprise assault would do enough damage to these powers that they would be unable to organize and repel the Romulans' onslaught, which would eventually take them all the way to Vulcan.

However, due to the slow speed of Romulan ships, this plan took time to set in place. Although the groundwork was laid with remarkable secrecy, the rapid ascendance in interstellar affairs of the Human worlds made the Romulan plans obsolete before they could even be implemented. Not only was Human space was too distant from the Romulan Empire to be effectively struck, but the Humans proved quite adept at mediating disputes between the feuding local powers. Plan after plan was hastily devised to counteract the Human factor; these became increasingly brazen into the 2150s to the point where their subterfuge was exposed, sending alarms through the other powers. The Romlulan leadership essentially panicked, ordering the military to end Human expansion immediately, with all necessary force.

Human territory, combined with the fairly low speed of most Earth vessels (only slightly faster than Romulan craft), had resulted in the establishment of space stations to resupply Earth ships far from home. One of these stations, Salem One in the Tarod system, gained particular importance due to its proximity to Andorian and Tellarite space. This also placed it within range of a Romulan force that had originally been tasked with striking the Tellarites. The assignment of several advanced Earth ships to the system made it an irresistibly inviting target. The entire Romulan force was dispatched against the system, but in true Romulan fashion, they did not attack head-on. Gaining the station's communications codes, a Romulan fleet managed to dismantle the station's defenses while leading the Earth vessels on a wild-goose chase through the system. Every Earth ship that did not retreat was destroyed, at a cost of over four thousand dead. The Earth forces never even learned how many Romulan ships had participated in the attack.

A Romulan Bird of Prey. Variants on this type of vessel were a common sight on Romulan battle lines throughout the next century.
Quickly capitalizing on the Earth fleet's weakened state, the Romulans launched forays to place Andor and Tellar on the defensive while the initial force drove relentlessly toward Earth. While the third force, attacking Tellar, was weaker than planned, it was expected that the third force could quickly break through Andorian space to reinforce it. The Andorians were every bit as badly hurt as had been anticipated, and the first force broke past a hastily organized Earth defense at Ross 128. But as the Romulan force was advancing on Sol, a Tellarite fleet circled behind the lines of the Romulan second force, destroying its supply lines and relieving the pressure on the Andorian front.

The Tellarite willingness to aid the Andorians caught the Romulans by surprise; the failure of their assault on Andoria quickly left their second force isolated in Andorian space. Unable to break through the combined Andorian and Tellarite fleets, both forces struck out for Earth space, suffering heavy losses before joining the first force at the edge of Sol. There, a Human force augmented by Andorian and Tellarite ships finally managed to drive the Romulans from the system after more than two months of fighting.

Without an effective mechanism to counteract attrition on the front lines, the Romulans found the tide quickly turning against them. An attempt by the retreating Romulans to strike at Alpha Centauri was easily repulsed, and the last ships were finally destroyed at Wolf 359. Andorian and Tellarite forces, striking into Romulan territory, obliterated the Romulans' offensive capacity at Draken, while a Romulan counteroffensive was quickly halted in deep space, thanks in part to the intervention of the Zakdorn League.

Despite the Romulan offensive's lack of staying power, it had succeeded in crippling the various powers' capacity to mount a serious counterstrike into Romulan space; after the Andorians were fought to a standstill in Devron, the Romulans began to gear up for a second, more gradual advance. This was to be mounted from the Forward Military Yards at Cheron, a mineral-rich system that had been occupied for the specific purpose of fielding a massive attack force and keeping it supplied. However, the Humans, unwilling to wait for a second attack on the Romulans' terms, resolved to exact revenge for Salem One. A Human fleet, despite being severely outnumbered, managed to obliterate the Romulans' military yards; the Romulan vessels not destroyed were forced to withdraw due to lack of supplies.

The defeat at Cheron, being the first in which Romulan forces had been obviously superior to the enemy's, was also a crushing blow to Romulan morale; a shell-shocked Senate ignored the military's assurances that the war could still be won and immediately sued for peace. While the armistice did little more than reaffirm the existing borders to be buffered by the Romulan Neutral Zone, this amounted to a total failure of the Romulan forces to achieve any of their objectives at the start of hostilities. Facing a tremendous crisis of faith, the Romulans severed all their contacts with outside powers, observing the formation of the United Federation of Planets in silence.

The First Isolation (CE 2160-2267)

It would be over a century before the Romulans made contact with Earth again. In the interim, they committed themselves to expanding their borders in every other direction, rebuilding their fleets and strengthening infrastructure. Advances in nuclear fusion allowed the Empire to expand its borders to the point where it finally ran up against Klingon space; the Gorn would be encountered not long after. Moreover, the Romulans became pioneers in plasma-based weaponry, constructing ships that could pack a punch that was highly disproportionate to their size.

After the total failure of their attempts to sew division among the powers that would found the United Federation of Planets, the Romulans adopted a more straightforward approach to diplomacy. Decades of détente with the Klingons ultimately led to a cautious alliance, once a Romulan raid on the Federation Neutral Zone convinced the Klingons that the Star Empire possessed both the technology and spirit to make it a worthy ally. The Romulans were given a dozen Klingon D7-class battlecruisers and the technology to construct a dilithium-based reaction chamber, while the Klingons in return were given cloaking technology and a substantial amount of dilithium from the Reman mines, which the Romulans had previously found little use for. (The growing importance of dilithium can be related to a substantial decline in Remans' status in the Empire, as they were sent en masse into the mines.)

Relations with the Gorn were more complicated due to the xenophobia of the Gorn regime, but to some degree Romulan influence may be credited with the Gorn's disastrous first contact with the Federation. The Romulans attempted also to make overtures to the Tholians and Breen, but were thoroughly rebuffed.

The Critical Peace (CE 2268-2311)

This Bird of Prey destroyed several Federation outposts along the Neutral Zone. This is the last large Romulan ship class to use fusion-powered warp drive
Renewed contact with the Federation during this period came gradually; initially, the Senate decided to launch an incursion against Federation outposts to test both their new cloaking device and Federation resolve, while demonstrating their "warrior spirit" to the Klingons. The cloaking device proved a success and the Klingons were very impressed, but Federation resolve proved strong and the Neutral Zone was quickly re-fortified. Short years later, Starfleet caused what is known as "the Enterprise incident", where Federation agents stole a state-of-the-art Romulan cloaking device from an Imperial battlecruiser. The military, embarrassed and infuriated by this incident, was ready to invade Federation space to retrieve the cloak, but the Federation hastily pledged to use the device only to develop countermeasures against Romulan ships, not to build a cloak of their own. Although skeptical, the Senate agreed, stipulating that violation of this pledge would be considered an act of war.

In the incident's aftermath, progressives in the two governments engaged in a diplomatic push for measures to advance galactic peace; the Romulans at this time were leery of confronting the Federation head-on, especially after the Organian Treaty forestalled any Federation-Klingon conflict, lending mainstream support to this approach of peaceful influence. Most notable in this approach was the settlement of various worlds inside the Neutral Zone as joint colonies, some of which the Klingons contributed to as well. Most were total failures, particularly Nimbus III which became a haven for privateers and a diplomatic embarrassment. Other colonies, most notably the Federation-Romulan venture on Qualor III, proved more successful, but their populations remain highly divided to this day.

Despite the closeness of the Klingon-Romulan alliance, the two empires were never quite at ease with each other, for the same reasons as always: The Klingons disapproved of the Romulans' version of honor, while the Romulans felt Klingon society was dangerously barbaric. Early flare-ups began not long after the alliance came into effect, most notably the Klingons' claim of the Klach D'Kel Brakt—which the Romulans had been using as a surveillance post on the Federation for the better part of a century, but held spiritual significance for the Klingons.

A rogue group of warships captured the Klach D'Kel Brakt a few years after the Enterprise incident, and the Klingon High Council refused to return the territory, it seemed to validate Romulan suspicions that the Klingons were too barbaric to honor any agreement with an alien species; this incident signaled the beginning of the end of their alliance. The Romulans soon began making diplomatic overtures to the Federation, and when Klingon-Federation relations began to sour once again over the Genesis Incident, the Star Empire declared itself neutral. The Klingons were furious, and the alliance quickly dissolved; for the Romulans, this was a wash, as due to the skilled maneuvering of the Romulan Ambassador Nanclaus, it soon found itself in close confidence with the Federation at its highest levels. For a time, it seemed as if these two powers could form a united front against the Klingon foe.

However, like with the Klingons, too much animosity remained between the two peoples; although their leaders viewed reconciliation as valuable, domestic pressures prevented such ambitions from being played out. When the Klingon moon Praxis exploded and Chancellor Gorkon made overtures for peace with the Federation, the Senate chose to continue playing both against each other; although Nanclaus himself lobbied against this course of action, his role became symbolic of Romulan treachery for a new generation of Federation youth. And while the Star Empire continued to participate in the Khitomer peace talks, the Romulan populace was becoming impatient; the upcoming anniversary (the eighteen hundredth, which in Romulan numbering is fairly significant) of Romulus' settlement gave rise to a millennial fervor and the belief that the Romulans' time had come to conquer the galaxy. As this sentiment filtered into the Senate, the Romulans' position at Khitomer became ever more untenable; eventually the Star Empire pulled out entirely, claiming that the Federation was being too favorable to the Klingons. Parties on both sides began gearing for war.

Tensions came to a head in the Tomed Incident, a brief but violent confrontation that left thousands dead and nearly expanded to full-scale war. The Romulans view the incident as being sparked by the Federation's illegal development of cloaking technology based on the device taken during the Enterprise incident nearly half a century earlier; while the Federation cited Romulan incursions into the Neutral Zone, which had become somewhat porous over the past few decades. A frantic series of talks led to the Treaty of Algeron, which reinforced the Neutral Zone, ceded all joint colonies to one power or the other, and prohibited the Federation from ever developing cloaking technology of any sort.

The Second Isolation (CE 2311-64)

While the Treaty of Algeron was if anything favorable to the Romulans, the Tomed Incident served to strengthen the Federation's alliance with the Klingons and spelled the end of Romulan-Federation dÈtente. Following the conclusion of talks at Algeron, the Romulan Empire closed its embassy in Paris and probibited any official contact, on any level, with either the Federation or Klingon Empire.

As in the first isolation, the Romulans dedicated their energy to the frontier, expanding rapidly and making contact with the Trigati, C'hakilians and Krazzle. Romulan expansion reached the point where the Gorn were being boxed in between the Star Empire and Tholian Assembly, sparking a brief but intense Romulan-Gorn war that resulted in a net loss of territory for the Gorn. Some of the captured space was later annexed by the Tholians, and the Gorn regained a few systems in the confusion; the three-way war eventually ended with the Romulans and Tholians splitting the advantage. Development of the forced quantum singularity as a power source allowed the construction of massive new Warbirds, which aided tremendously in the expansion of the Star Empire's borders. Ships equipped with the new drive entered service just in time to ward off a major border challenge by the Chodak, a powerful but tactically inept species who are members of the reclusive Interstellar Concordium.

After a decade of relative quiet on the Klingon-Federation front, a surprise assault by the Breen signaled a new period of conflict; though the Romulans fought them to a stalemate, the fighting eventually spilled over into Klingon space, resulting in a decades-long war that resolved very little. The Romulans enjoyed modest successes, which only served to infuriate the Klingons more. (In one battle, at Nerendra III, the Federation starship Enterprise intervened on the Klingons' behalf; the ship was destroyed, but some crewmembers were captured and brought back to Romulus in the most significant Federation-Romulan encounter of the period.)

Re-Engagement (CE 2365-71)

The Iconian Encounter. The Romulan D'Deridex-class Warbird was the first to be at least a match for the its Federation counterpart.
53 years after the Tomed incident, several Romulan outposts along the Federation Neutral Zone were obliterated by a heretofore unknown force. Although speculation that some new Starfleet weapon might be responsible proved unwarranted, the Romulans did discover that the Federation had expanded tremendously, and advanced technologically just as quickly as the Romulans themselves. The Senate determined isolation to have been a failure, and quickly adopted a more active policy—a decision that was soon reinforced with the discovery of the supposedly mythical Iconian homeworld by the Federation starship Yamato. Frontier expansion slowed as Romulan attention turned once more across the Neutral Zone.

Ever since the last Romulan-Klingon war, the Empire had maintained contacts with the Klingon House of Duras, an influential force in the High Council. Romulan agents assisted Duras in his covert assassination of Chancellor K'mpec and, later, supported his sisters Lursa and B'etor in the following civil war, until an intervention force led by Captain Jean-Luc Picard uncovered their involvement and placed the Romulans in an untenable position. Even though their ultimate goal failed, the Klingon Empire was seriously weakened in the process, with several subject worlds claiming independence.

Re-engagement, however, faced consequences as well; renewed focus on the Federation led to a fledgeling underground movement aiming to re-unify the Romulan and Vulcan peoples; an attempt to subvert the movement and invade Vulcan was foiled - again by Captain Picard - and the movement went on to claim defections within the military and from governmental officials as important as Vice-Proconsul M'ret, who escaped to the Federation with the aid of a Starfleet officer impersonating a Tal'Shiar operative. This was the clearest sign yet that the Tal'Shiar was not adapting well to its foreign obligations; a top-level shakeup would not help matters. (The unification movement lost some support after "the Pegasus incident", when it was revealed that the Federation had pursued cloaking technology in violation of the Treaty of Algeron. Still, the Federation's conduct – a formal apology followed by the release of all information related to the device – was difficult to fault.)

As in the Federation, a looming threat overshadowed all Romulan maneuverings over the period. Although the Borg apparently deemed both the Federation and Romulans unsuited for assimilation based on their outdated Neutral Zone outposts, they soon encountered the starship Enterprise-D and resolved to assimilate the Federation. It is speculated that their assimilation of captain Picard led to their interest in the Romulans, as a Borg vessel appeared on the Star Empire's frontier a few years after their first incursion was stopped at Earth. The Romulans managed to stop the Borg ship only at tremendous losses to their fleet; Admiral Mendak, who commanded the defense, famously remarked, "The Empire cannot survive many victories such as this."

The Dominion (CE 2371-75)

While the Romulans took only a passing interest in the initial discovery of the Bajoran Wormhole, the information coming out of the Gamma Quadrant about the mysterious Dominion quickly caused alarm within the Romulan Tal'Shiar. After the destruction of the Federation starship Odyssey at the hands of the Jem'hadar, the Senate agreed to cooperate with a Starfleet fact-finding mission by lending a specially fitted cloaking device to the starship Defiant. That vessel's mission fared little better, and caused significant worry within the Romulan government.

The extent of the Dominion's knowledge of the Alpha and Beta Quadrant powers brought the Tal'Shiar to near hysteria. After the Unification debacle, the Senate was in no mood to endorse any more Tal'Shiar adventures, so the agency determined to take matters into its own hands. Although an uncharacteristically blunderous attempt to destroy Deep Space Nine and the wormhole tipped off the Senate to the Tal'Shiar's efforts, the extent of their agenda did not become revealed until too late to interfere.

Colonel Lovok, at the time the Tal'Shiar's interim director, found an ally in the Cardassian Obsidian Order. A fleet of eight D'Deridex-class Warbirds joined twelve Cardassian Keldon-class cruisers in a full-scale assault on the Founders' homeworld in the Omarian Nebula. Lovok, however, was in actuality a Changeling infiltrator who had led the fleet into an ambush; although heavy casualties were inflicted on the Jem'Hadar ships, the entire combined fleet was destroyed, leaving the Tal'Shiar crippled and humiliated. (This episode resulted in another top-level shakeup of the agency, which led to the ascendancy of General Koval, who would go on to disgrace the agency even further.)

Having lost its primary foreign intelligence arm and several state-of-the-art Warbirds all in one stroke, the Senate was at a loss regarding how best to face the Dominion threat. For a time, it was hoped that the Dominion would focus on the Federation and Klingon Empire, allowing the Romulans time to regroup; this gamble proved accurate, but provided only a temporary reprieve. When the Cardassian government was overthrown and the military junta aligned itself with the Dominion, the Senate determined that it was past time to wait on the sidelines, and dispatched a fleet of Warbirds to Deep Space Nine. This fleet, however, was nearly destroyed when a Changeling attempted to ignite the Bajoran star with a protomatter device, handing the Romulans another intelligence fiasco and further cause for alarm.

Romulan vessels at the Second Battle of Chin'toka.
After an intense, drawn-out debate in the Senate, the Romulans followed the examples of the Tholians and Miradorn in signing non-aggression treaties with the Dominion; again, it was hoped that letting the Dominion busy itself with the Federation and Klingons for a time would give the Star Empire time to regroup. However, the early months of the Dominion War were mostly characterized by internecine fighting within the Tal'Shiar, most prominently on display during the theft of the Federation prototype vessel Prometheus. Although the Romulans gained valuable information from the vessel's design plans, they lost the ship itself and one of the Warbirds sent to intercept it; General Koval, who had opposed the mission from the start, declared it counterproductive and had its planners imprisoned.

The Romulans' eventual entry into the Dominion War was as confused as every other aspect of its dealings with the Gamma Quadrant. After the death of Senator Vreenak, who had been a leading opponent of entry, somewhat evidence pointed to imminent Dominion invasion plans and suggested that Vreenak had been killed to suppress it. The Tal'Shiar under Koval gave this evidence a ringing confirmation; the Tal Diann found it highly dubious, but most members wanted to enter the war anyway, viewing the major powers' combined forces as the only effective defense against Dominion aggression. The Romulans launched a surprise assault of their own, making the first inroads into Cardassian space of any power in the course of the war.

Starting with the First Battle of Chin'toka, Romulan forces played a major role in the war, even helping to liberate Dominion-occupied Federation space (though the Klingons refused to allow Romulans into even occupied Klingon territory. Although a Romulan' attempt to arm a hospital on one of Bajor's moons nearly led to war with the Bajorans, the alliance held firm through to the Battle of Cardassia, and Romulan diplomats were heavily involved in the negotiation of the Treaty of Bajor which ended the war.

The Post War (CE 2376-present)

The allied victory over the Dominion was expected to signal the end of the three-way alliance, and for the Klingons and Romulans this was certainly the case. Romulan relations with the Federation were somewhat muddled; the expansion of Starfleet into the Raeyan sector on the far side of Romulan space was tolerated, but Romulan ships launched numerous attacks on Federation craft; though they always did so without explicit orders from the Senate, the atmosphere on Romulus was not one that held the Federation alliance in high regard.

The Bassen Rift Incident. The encounter marked the debut of the Valdore-class Warbird in direct combat, and exposed certain design weaknesses that have been mostly corrected.

When General Koval, still head of the Tal'Shiar, was discovered to be a Federation double agent, the Romulans became absolutely furious, and plans were made for a full-scale invasion of Federation space. When the Senate backed away from these plans expressing concern for their still-depleted fleet levels, the military became especially frustrated. Several officers were receptive to overtures from Shinzon of Remus, who convinced key officers to assist him in overthrowing the Senate and installing himself as Praetor.

Shinzon's agenda quickly lost its Romulan support, however. His coup d'état, in which nearly the entire Senate was assassinated, seemed dangerously vicious; every Romulan who heard about it was ready to revolt. When it became clear that Shinzon meant to do repeat the massacre on Earth, the military elements decided to correct their error, staging a more conventional counter-coup. Romulan forces invaded Remus, aided in no small degree by loyalist Reman commandoes, while Warbirds raced to aid the starship Enterprise in its efforts to stop Shinzon during the Bassen Rift Incident. This encounter, and the rise of younger, less reactionary elements in the Romulan Senate, led to a notable warming of relations between the Star Empire and Federation: officer-exchange programs, which would previously be unheard of, began very quickly, and the Romulans were closely involved in the exploration of the Iconian Portals, although their first discovery had been at one of the low points in Federation-Romulan relations.

With no major adversary occupying the Romulan consciousness, frontier expansion is increasing rapidly, and in CE 2381 the Romulan fleet surpassed its prewar strength. Despite tensions regarding the recent Gorn coup, Trigati maneuvers into neutral territory and new C'hakilian invasion, the Star Empire was as strong as it has ever been.

In 2382 the Neh'Rihar Fleet Yards was attacked and seized by a Tholian force of over a hundred warships, and in a counter attack the Romulan Military was able to coordinate and mobilize within a week a fleet capable of retaking the fleet yards. Led by three admirals, the force headed forward and recaptured the fleet yards, forcing the Tholian fleet to retreat, with minimal losses to their own forces. A call for war was made by many military officials to press forward, however at least two of the admirals in charge of the recapture force as well as many senators agreed that the empire should focus on internal efforts before deciding to expand outwards in military expenditures. Forgiving the Tholian attack the Romulans refocused their efforts on other fronts having an expanding, stable military and an even more stable government for the first time in over a century.

Romulan Star Navy

The Romulan Star Navy, better known to the Romulan people as the Galae Command, Imperial Command or the Romulan Guard, is a collection of warships and support craft that compose the Romulan military are organized under the Galae Command, which is formally tasked with tactical and strategic missions at the Senate's discretion. Its authority is entirely logistica, however, as the Star Navy is controlled directly by either the Continuing Committee or the Senate at large; and within the military itself command is centralized at Galae Command on ch'Rihan. The highest military position a Romulan can achieve is command of an Imperial Fleet -- one of the five fleets which make up the entire military force. However there are also sector commanders, also known as squadron commanders some times, which make for the major stepping stone to possibly achieving a position as a fleet commander. There is intentionally a great deal of overlap in these operating areas as this structure gives Romulan admirals considerable autonomy, they are expected to keep each other in check to a certain degree. The five Imperial Fleets are typically broken up into squadrons which are then broken up into wings. Each squadron will typically be assigned to a specific sector or area of operations.

All Romulans are required to perform service in some public institution or other, and the Star Navy's membershp is therefore substantially larger than its Federation counterpart (though still slightly smaller than the Klingon Defense Force). Moreover, the political nature of the Star Navy's command structure tends to lend itself to maneuvering and power plays within and between military units; the Senate tolerates this as a means of honing its soldiers' skills, but looks very unkindly on any action that harms Romulan personnel, assets or interests. While it is not uncommon for political influence to dictate the assignment of certain officers, ranks are awarded on an entirely meritocratic basis; an older officer with a desirable assignment but low rank is not well looked upon.

The Star Navy does operate its own intelligence agency, known as the Tal Diann, which is only slightly more organized than the Romulan fleet itself. Officially, its purpose is to gather "battlefield intelligence" to assist Romulan ships in combat zones, but its members devote a considerable amount of energy to keeping tabs on the Tal'Shiar as well. Regular military officers tend to disapprove of the Tal'Shiar, but recognze it is too powerful to dispute; military intelligence, however, has a somewhat lesser interest in self-preservation.

Currently serving commanders of the five fleets:

First Imperial Fleet: unknown
Second Imperial Fleet: Admiral Ravik tr'Caos
Third Imperial Fleet: Admiral Tolak tr'Servek
Fourth Imperial Fleet: unknown
Fifth Imperial Fleet: unknown

Tal Diann

The Tal Diann is the Romulan Star Navy’s Intelligence division and as such fills a multi-function role in the Romulan military.

Many years ago, when the Tal Shiar began to assume a role of major importance in Romulan society and politics, the Romulan navy realized that trusting to the intelligence service’s good graces might prove unwise. Since the Tal Shiar seemed intent on subjecting the military to the same stringent scrutiny as the rest of the populace, and began exercising its sweeping powers of conscription more and more frequently, the military created its own intelligence service, originally not to gather information on the Empire’s enemies, but to keep tabs on the Tal Shiar. The Tal Diann polices its own, and operates counter-intelligence operations against the Tal Shiar.

In Romulan society, individual Senators can amass a great deal of power. Many rose through the military ranks, and commanded fleets of their own, which presents certain logistical problems. Aristocratic families placed their sons and daughters in the military, giving them de facto control of certain fleets, which eventually became hereditary prerogatives. Praetors could not necessarily count on the loyalty of these Senatorial Fleets, who sometimes paid more homage to their individual Senator, rather than the Empire as a whole. In an effort to ensure the Empire’s control, in 2268 Praetor Kanetar conferred more political duties upon the Tal Diann, as a fail-safe to the Tal Shiar. Today, the Tal Diann maintains and monitors relations between the Star Command and the various fleets, as well as between fleets themselves.

Lastly, in addition to policing the military, the Tal Diann operates as the military intelligence branch of the Romulan military. Because of the secretive, some might privately say conspiratorial, nature of the Tal Shiar, it might choose to distribute (or not distribute) information to the navy based on what was best for the Tal Shiar, not what was best for the navy. To ensure it received all the intelligence it needed to do its job properly and keep its ships and crews safe, the Tal Diann executes espionage activities against the Empire’s enemies.

The navy recruits Tal Diann agents from among soldiers undergoing basic training. It removes from regular military training those individuals who show promise on certain aptitude tests and send them to an espionage training camp on the world Coravus Prime. They spend approximately one year there studying the ships and military technology of the Star Empire’s enemies, perfecting basic espionage techniques, and receiving political indoctrination. At the end of this year, the navy posts each new agent to the Tal Diann cell where it feels that agent’s talents can best serve it. For example, an agent with a talent for traffic analysis might receive an assignment to a Tal Diann listening post on the edge of the Federation Neutral Zone, while a particularly clever agent from Pallor, home to Senator Kassus, might end up on one of Kassus’ ships, as a junior officer.

The navy designates the head of the Tal Diann as "Chief of Military Intelligence," or CMI. The CMI holds the ranks of Admiral in the Romulan navy, and thus stands on equal footing with the other Star Command leaders. The CMI also holds a seat on the Continuing Committee, much to the consternation of the Tal Shiar. Like so much of Romulan society, with its Byzantine network of connections, the CMI also reports directly to the Praetor.

Several junior officials, each holding the rank of Commander, serve under the CMI. These include the Chief of Planetary Forces Intelligence, Chief of Stellar Forces Intelligence, and Chief of Operations. The latter holds the responsibility for planning and executing those operations against the Empire’s enemies it dares not trust to the Tal Shiar. Meanwhile, the agents under the Chief of Planetary Forces Intelligence and Chief of Stellar Forces Intelligence work to ensure the loyalty of soldiers within their respective commands, ferret out traitorous soldiers before the Tal Shiar can, and execute counter-intelligence missions against the Tal Shiar.

Tal'Shiar

The Tal Shiar, coequally referenced as the Tal'Shiar and Tal Shi'ar, is closely intertwined with the Romulan government, though it is in certain ways a governing body unto itself. Its oldest and most powerful division is the Tal Shiar Court, which is the Empire's supreme judicial authority. The Court's members are recommended by the Praetor, and must be confirmed separately by the Continuing Committee, the Senate, and the Court itself. All matters of constitutional law and final legal appeals depend on the decisions of the Court.

The Tal Shiar Court operates independently from - and is often at odds with - the more infamous Tal Shiar divisions of Intelligence and Internal Security. Unlike the Court, these two agencies are nominally controlled by the Tal Shiar High Command, which is almost entirely independent of any other agency: it selects its own members without any outside input, with the sole exception of the Vice Chairman's position, which goes to a Romulan Senator. Even the High Command, however, exerts limited operational control over the two divisions; rather, it monitors the bureaucracy to ensure the efficiency of its function.

The Intelligence Division is the Empire's primary agency for espionage and counterintelligence and covert influence abroad, a task at which it is extremely effective. Internal Security controls the secret police, who have made the Tal Shiar infamous with the Romulan populace. Its task is to ensure the loyalty of the Romulan people, a charge that critics argue is often abused to stifle legitimate political expression or even cultural thoughts deemed to be inappropriate. (Such critics have a tendency to disappear without explanation.) Certainly the agency is ruthless in the prosecution of its task, and even feuds with the Tal Prai'ex and military intelligence divisions over this point.

Much as the Romulan Star Navy possesses its own intelligence division, the Tal Shiar also operates its own fleet of ships, the exact number of which is unknown to most.

The current Chairperson of the Tal'Shiar is General Sonara T'Daran

Tal Prai'ex

Formally the Praetor's personal guard, the responsibilities of the Tal Prai'ex essentially involve the protection of anyone and anything deemed of special importance by the Praetor. This includes the Praetor, the chambers of government and high government officials (such as the Senators and Proconsul), the Romulan home system itself, and other person or object specifically designated by the Praetor. Prai'ex are appointed by the Praetor and confirmed by the Continuing Committee from the ranks of the Star Navy; only the most highly decorated officers are even considered.

Due to the Prai'ex's elite nature, their numbers are highly limited, and they are rarely active outside the Empire except in times of war. They, too, operate a force of Warbirds, but unlike the regular military, Praetorian officers are under the direct control of the Praetor and subject to strict oversight by the Senate. The Praetorians' responsibilities at times place them at odds with the Tal'Shiar, whose tactics of espionage and assassination do not necessarily exclude governmental officials as targets. Actual confrontations are somewhat rare, however; the Praetorians are the one force within the Empire that the Tal'Shiar is rarely willing to challenge.

Reman Commando Corps

Remans are the only non-Romulan species to have any major presence in the Imperial military. This is not necessarily a positive distinction: Remans have often been dispatched on the most dangerous missions so as to minimize Romulan losses. Despite certain physical handicaps (most notably their sensitivity to light), Remans have proven effective fighters, and their extensive use as commandos has given rise to a regimented, warrior culture; now, Remans are essentially bred for the service.

Especially since the Dominion War, where they acquitted themseves well, Reman commandos have become an essential force in the Imperial military structure. They are only placed aboard vessels of the regular Star Navy (the Praetorians and Tal'Shiar only use commandoes selected from within their own ranks) alongside Romulan units; Remans are more generally more strictly controlled, and usually overseen by a Romulan officer, while a Reman sub-commander normally leads the force in battle.

Although the Reman uprising following Shinzon's coup d'tat might have provoked severe Romulan backlash after the military reasserted control, the subsequent sacrifice of many Reman commandoes in attempting to restore Imperial sovereignty to their own planet generated unexpected support; the status and treatment of the Commando Corps is currently under review at the highest levels of government.