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ROMULANS WITH CLOAKS - WORKS FOR ME (Balance of Terror Addendum Coming Soon)
Well, after Minefield and the heated debate on cloaking Romulan ships, I decided to re-watch The Enterprise Incident. After doing so, I came away with the conclusion that the there were no continuity problems with the Romulans cloaking during Minefield. Why? Two points.
Point One: Lets follow along with the assumption that Archer's Romulans had cloaks. Fast forward roughly 100 years -- in The Enterprise Incident it was stated the Romulans created a cloaking device which rendered Starfleet tracking systems useless. In the conference room, while discussing the Romulans, Kirk asked Spock:
"Mr. Spock, you said you had a theory on why your sensors didn't pick up the new ships until they were upon us?"
And Spock replied: "I believe the Romulans have created a cloaking device which renders our tracking systems useless."
This sounds like to me that prior to The Enterprise Incident, all Starfleet ships could easily track cloaked Romulan ships (by using Archer's Quantum Beacons TM as seen in Minefield maybe?).
Point Two: During Spock's Romulan Right of Statement, Spock states: "My crime is sabotage, I freely admit my guilt. The oath I swore as a Starfleet Officer is both specific and binding. As long as I wear the uniform, my duty is to protect the security of the Federation. Clearly, your new cloaking device is a threat to that security."
Did he say new cloaking device?
Let me rewind the tape to be sure: "...blah blah blah ... your new cloaking device ... blah blah blah." Hmmm... yes he did. I guess the Romulans were tired of having Starfleet seeing through their old cloaking devices. I guess if that doesn't hammer home point one, I don't know what does.
During The Enterprise Incident, the issue of the Romulans having a cloaking device was brought up only twice, which were both listed above. Now I don't know about you, but if Starfleet had never seen a cloaking device before, I would have expected the dialogue to go something along these lines:
Kirk: "Where the (dramatic Kirk pauseTM) hell did those ships come from (dramatic Kirk pauseTM) and why couldn't we see them on our scanners?" (adjusts toupee)
Spock: "Apparently they have some sort of cloaking technology, captain."