The Romulan Enigma, and Straight Up Punching.
Sometimes, you just need to smack down a Romulan or two.
The Romulans are a fictional extraterrestrial humanoid species in the science fiction franchise Star Trek. First appearing in the original Star Trek series in the 1966 episode “Balance of Terror”. That episode was @#$%ing brilliant, basically a space borne submarine thriller. The Romulans are portrayed as intelligent but deceptive, using stealth instead of force…although, they have no shortage of force at their disposal. Each one being at least as tough as Mr. Spock (due to shared alien heritage) but without his Vulcan scruples, they were antagonists that brought the strength of Klingons to the table, but tempered with the intelligence of a more sophisticated enemy.
So why is our hero laying out a generic Romulan soldier? Good question.
I thought it was time to return to 1980’s era basics…both in life, and in the strip. In the early eighties, there was not yet any Star Trek with Picard, but just a very serious fandom, 79 episodes, and a film series. Novels were coming out, and there were comics. Klingons and Romulans were the main heavies, and if you were having a Star Trek themed Bar Mitzvah, the centerpieces would most probably be a rotating glitter covered Enterprise, and a Romulan Bird of Prey. With their cloaking device, and more elegant strategies, the Romulans were by far the more troubling heavies.
Why the image of our hero laying out a Romulan centurion? Good question. See…for the week, I was struggling with the idea of our protagonist just laying out an alien of some kind. I waffled back and forth on the subject of what kind of alien, etcetera. With her “chuck you into the Sun” level of strength, I was trying to even think of what sort of alien could survive such a hit. (BTW…a Romulan could not.) When i finally sat down to draw it, the events of the week made me think….Romulan.
Remember…the Romulans invented the Cloaking Device. They are about stealth, spying, and deception. All of the things that our hero, and to a similar level me, can’t @#$%ing stand. On a par with Skrulls, but at the same time paying homage to my inner Trekkie. At school, I have been dealing with leaders that have plans within plans, one cover up to hide a shell game, which has a fortune cookie in it, the note inside leading to a scavenger hunt. Metaphorically, I have needed to punch a Romulan or two in the face for some time, in order to get to the bottom of things.
Which I did today. Without going ballistic or jeopardizing the Plan, I was pretty direct about uncovering that which people thought was cloaked. I pointed out to Darth himself, in a meeting, some of the ugly truths that we are trying to hide, as a school. I pointed out similarly ugly things to various underlings, but at no point suggested a deeper, cleverer plan. Instead, the presentation was that of the “lone ranger,” acting out of ethics, academic integrity, and general angst. Just enough was suggested to not be fake, to suggest the discomfort that I might feel with our school’s dysfunction…but the Plan is still intact. It’s a good Plan.
I finally figured out why I keep drawing the more formal version of the tactical outfit, the one that suggests SHIELD and legit super agencies. Firstly…it suggests playing ball, being on the reservation, as it were…being a good super soldier, like Cap himself. Secondly…we all know that SHIELD is an espionage directorate. Our hero wearing that suit…suggests the plans withing plans, the assembling of documents for a stealth operation of her own…maybe of our own, as it were…to win a larger game.
As a brilliant fencing master once told me…”The guy in front of you don’t @#$% matter. Ya gotta beat him…but then ya gotta beat every other #$%@ in the room.” Its much harder to look at that long game. Sometime you have to think like a SHIELD agent, or like a Romulan, and sacrifice the short term, for the present. Sometimes, the small skirmishes that you have, like slapping down an individual Romulan Centurion, provide the cover for the larger action.
My big @#$% mouth took on a number of those individual Romulan Centurions today. Sadly, most of them then handed me material for the longer, bigger picture game without looking at that. That’s fine…it serves me well.
As I drew this, and wrote the tiny amounts of text, I thought about our hero’s anti-Romulan sentiment. Meh. The Romulans are imperialistic, meanspirited, and isolationist in most of their appearances, in a culture with a rigid caste structure. In keeping with their xenophobic and arguably racist attitudes, the Romulans tend to conquer species rather than form alliances with them, and individual Romulans tend to treat other species with varying degrees of disdain.
Bottom line…the protagonist an Pony would generally have issue with their repressive culture. I’m not thinking she’s being too much of a jerk with her speech balloon. Romulans are the bad guys you love to hate.
Bottom line…today, I had some skirmishes with individual Centurions. Enough of a ruse to make it look like their isn’t a major, cloaked, stealth operation in motion. Some days, you do that, and you hope that the long game is the best thing…for both you, your team, and the students that you are entrusted with.
Next Issue: Shark Attack!