When On Romulus….

Even on deep space stations, tasting rooms have a certain level of pretense.

I’m in Los Olivos today, which is north of Santa Barbara. It is beautiful countryside, and it is good to be out of Los Angeles for just a bit. I like living in L.A., but a change of scenery is a good idea, especially on vacation. This area is well known for its wine tasting, so invariably I will be taking my drawing board to tasting rooms today. It mitigates the kind of conversations in tasting rooms that I find grating.

Most people think I’m somehow furiously taking notes, or somehow grading the grapes. That’s the level of pretense, True Believers.

Obviously, when drawing beforehand, I wanted to have some kind of “Star Trek” antagonist that embodied that kind of smugly elegant pretense. I think the Romulan commander in today’s art does the job pretty well, although her weird quilted uniform was a big hassle to draw. During this summer plot involving the Original Series, I haven’t yet depicted Romulans, although we have gotten a fair share of Klingons. It’s a bit ironic, because in terms of the series itself, the Romulans appeared first.

So…brief book report on Romulans, for those of you that aren’t Trekkies. First appearing in the original “Star Trek” series in the 1966 episode “Balance of Terror.” That episode involved the “cloaking device” which makes a starship undetectable, and watches like a submarine movie does. Tense strategy, planning, a cunning opponent…it set the tone for them.Tthey have since made appearances in ALL the later Star Trek series.
Throughout the series, they are generally depicted as antagonists, and are usually at war with or in a tenuous truce with the United Federation of Planets.

The Romulans also act as a counterpoint to the logical Vulcan race, whom they resemble and with whom they share a common ancestry. As such, the Romulans are characterized as passionate, cunning, and opportunistic — in every way the opposite of the logical and “cold” Vulcans.

The Romulans were created by Paul Schneider, who said “it was a matter of developing a good Romanesque set of admirable antagonists … an extension of the Roman civilization to the point of space travel”. See…that’s how you get the name “Romulan.” According to his basic backstory, The Romulans began as a group of Vulcan revolutionaries who refused to accept the Vulcan philosopher Surak’s teachings of the complete suppression of emotions. At some point in their shared history, this group left the planet Vulcan, eventually settling on the planets Romulus and Remus. Pretty heavy on the Roman stuff, what with the names of the planets.

So…there we have it. A mini book report. The Romulans have fewer appearances in the Original Series than the Klingons, and are generally less well known, but definitely fun bad guys, because they are depicted as more cultured thinkers than the “rough around the edges” Klingon warriors.

Time to collect my drawing board, and go on an expedition into the surrounding town! Excelsior!

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