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|Romulan Star Empire|
320 (Earth Year)
320 (Earth Year)
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 it's entry turned the tide in favor of the allied powers. After the war, relations with the Federation and Klingons quickly cooled again, followed by a shake-up in the Romulan government, which led to more cordial relations across the Neutral Zone. In 2385 when it was discovered that the Romulan star would go supernova within 2 years, the Federation offered assistance in evacuating the Romulan star system. However, the failed attempt led to a fracturing of the Romulan Star Empire into multiple successor states, one of which is the original Romulan Star Empire, which now calls Rator III home. Unlike the other states, the current Romulan Star Empire holds largely onto the traditions of the last 2,000 years and has remained largely unchanged in policies.
The Romulan Star Empire, despite its authoritarian nature, follows a republican structure of government, even after the reformed government settled on Rator III. 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 however, following the Romulan Supernova which destroyed the Romulan system, there have been no new members elected to the Senate in order to stabilise and provide consistency within government. Most represent an entire Romulan world or systems, though Romulus possesses multiple Senators and special arrangements are made for Romulans living on predominantly 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 in 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 thus 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. Previously, this has commonly been made up of 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. The Commander of the Romulan Navy currently sits on the continuing committee due to the ongoing crisis following the supernova event.
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.)
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 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.
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)
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 prohibited 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. 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)
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.
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 Star Navy 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 2376-2385)
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.
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 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 commandos, 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.
By 2385 relations between the two nations had never been better, but a dark cloud was looming. Scientists from all around the galaxy converged on Romulus to confirm what Romulan and Federation scientists had already suspected: the Romulan star was on the verge of supernova within the next few years. The Federation Council decided, in a contentious vote, to assist the Romulan people by forming the largest space-born armada ever known to exist. An engineering mega feat in itself, the fleet was mostly composed of older mothballed Starfleet vessels that were being retrofitted to accommodate passengers.
Tensions were already high as several Federation member worlds were staunchly against assisting the Federations oldest blood rival, some even threatening to pull out of the Federation. On top of that, the Romulan Senate had priorities that didn’t line up with Federation values. Notably, Romulans were prioritizing their own upper class Romulan citizens to the detriment of the disadvantaged and non-Romulans like the Remans, who they were content to let go extinct. Tragedy struck on April 5th, 2385 when the evacuation armada was destroyed by synths, leading to a ban on synthetic lifeforms in the Federation and effectively ending the rescue attempt of the Romulan people.
The Supernova (CE 2385-Current)
Following the destruction of Romulus and Remus as a result of the supernova, the Empire split into multiple factions in various sizes and volumes of power. The Romulan Star Empire relocated to Rator III, led by the Preator and largely supported by the Romulan Star Navy, the Romulan Free State is supported by the vast majority of the Tal Shiar, managing to keep the Free State in line, and the Romulan Republic, a democratic state within the former Empire supported by a more modern, yet smaller military. The entirety of Romulan space is in dispute by the major factions and consistently hindered by smaller pirate, rogue or rebel factions, all vying for control of Romulan space.
There is varying degrees of hostility from the Star Empire towards the Federation following their abandoned rescue plan and relief effort. Starfleets Task Force 93 has taken the brunt of this hostility over the years.
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 Star Empire military, 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 Rator III. 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 sometimes, 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 membership 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.
Since the Romulan supernova, the Romulan Star Navy has largely remained intact and loyal to the Star Empire, with some elements of it defecting to the Romulan Republic over the years. However, the Star Navy has also largely suffered from the inability to build new ship classes over the years due to limited resources, and has been fielding the same military hardware for over a decade with few new ship classes at their disposal.
- For more information on the Tal Shiar, please see Romulan Free State
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 persons or objects 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.
Following the Romulan supernova, the duties and members of the Tal Prai’ex were folded into the Romulan Star Navy.
Reman Commando Corps
Remans were 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 themselves 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 commandos 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 commandos in attempting to restore Imperial sovereignty to their own planet generated unexpected support. Following the Romulan supernova, the Remans who did survive largely swore off the Star Empire for their attempted genocide of the Reman people, and the Remans still loyal are far and few in between making the Reman Command Corps effectively dissolved.