A Case for Cloaks...

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Chrystian Merlin
Engineering - Commander
Engineering - Commander
Posts: 151
Joined: 090116.2327
Duty Post: Strategic Operations Officer | Cochrane
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I wanted to bring up ... once again ... the subject of cloaking devices and the viability of using them on UFS starships. I understand that the main objection is probably that they provide too much god-mode like power to our ships, but that's something we've always struggled against. The better solution is probably education and guidance rather than prohibition.

The justification for denying the use of cloaks is the Treaty of Algernon established between the Federation of Planets (FP) and the Romulan Empire (RE) in 2311 which expressly forbids the deployment of cloaking technology on FP starships. I stated it this way deliberately because the treaty obviously does not forbid development and deployment of cloaking technology that is NOT used on starships. We cloak our observation posts when doing anthropological surveys of pre-warp cultures, we cloak self-replicating mines, etc. and the RE doesn't seem to have an issue with this. This leads us to the obvious conclusion that the PURPOSE of the treaty is that they don't want to lose the tactical advantage that a cloak gives them in a conflict situation. We also know that there are credibly sourced rumors that a cloaked FP starship based somewhere within Bajoran space was allowed to operate in the Gamma Quadrant (GQ) during the Dominion War.

Considering these facts, I would like to put forth a few suppositions:

The purpose of the treaty is to prohibit use of FP cloaking technology against the RE
The treaty does not prohibit use of cloaking technology in scientific or (presumably) humanitarian situations
or in the defense against races NOT allied with the RE
There is precedence that cloaking technology has been allowed outside the Alpha and Beta Quadrants

If these presuppositions are supportable the following statements COULD be true:

Situated in the Gama Quadrant, the UFS is tens of thousands of lightyears away from the Alpha or Beta Quadrants
It is virtually impossible that FP will come into major conflict with the RE outside the AQ or BQ
There are many occasions when a cloak would be useful in scientific or humanitarian situations
There have been and presumably will be many situations when a cloak would be useful in conflict situations involving races NOT allied with the RE

Given the above, it seems both counter-productive and unnecessarily restrictive to maintain such strict adherence to a 75-year old treaty with an empire 50 or 60 thousand lightyears away in an entirely different quadrant of the galaxy. I believe that there is sufficient evidence to support the position that violating the LETTER of the treaty would not be violating the PURPOSE and SPIRIT of the treaty. In my opinion, we should consider taking advantage of a Federation technology that will help to safeguard the personnel, assets, and interests of the Federation. As most starship captains will tell you, there will always be situations that will justify violation of ANY treaty... or even the prime directive.

In conclusion, if the Romulans don't like it they are free to drop by and file a complaint.

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"I think God is as much a basic ingredient in the universe as neutrons and positrons. This is the prime force, when we look around the universe."
--Gene Roddenberry
Valerius Swansong
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Joined: 090901.0348
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The official view of the Command Branch, and one that I have discussed with Admiral Calhoun, is that we are not developing Cloaking Technology. From an RP perspective it creates the opportunity to god-mod and it is felt that cloaking technology is not an area of active research we should b e pursuing. Also, as Admiral Calhoun pointed out to me "Gene Roddenberry always stated that the Federation didnt go sneaking around..."

To put this into a Canon perspective, the Treaty of Algeron was signed in 2311 and contained two specific clauses. It not only reinforced and redefined the Romulan Neutral Zone, it made it clear that any violations of the Zone without adequate notification, by either side, would be considered an act of war.

The second part of the Treaty expressly prohibited the development or use of cloaking device technology by the Federation. In 2371, to try to discover more information concerning the Dominion threat to the Alpha and Beta Quadrant a secret amendment was added to the treaty. This allowed for the limited supervised use of at least one cloaking device which was on loan from the Romulans. The treaty stipulated that the operation of the cloaking device was to be limited to the Gamma Quadrant and that all information and materials concerning the Dominion were to be shared. As such, the Defiant was the only Federation ship to be permanently equipped with a cloaking device.

In 2381, the Romulan Star Empire, Tzenkethi Coalition, Breen Confederacy, Gorn Hegemony, Tholian Assembly and the Holy Order of the Kinshaya signed up to the Typhon Pact. This Pact reinforced and upheld a number of existing treaties that were developed between the Federation and individual governments. This included the Treaty of Algeron:

For further reading on this affair please see the following link: viewtopic.php?p=144884#p144884

So, whilst I can see many valid points in your argument, it is the official policy of UFS that we are not developing any cloaking technology for Federation vessels.
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