Are Romulans telepathic now?

nycblkboy

Are Romulans telepathic now?

December 06 2017
So, I asked that question in the game today. We had a very lively discussion about the topic. Memory alpha and beta tell us that Romulans were telepathic but they aren't right now. I watched just about every single Star Trek episode, except discovery, and I have never seen any psychic abilities in Romulans.

I guess the first question is really are Romulans a different species then Vulcans? In the episodes gambit, part one and two Picard and the Enterprise crew find the stone of gol which is a psionic resonator that focuses telepathic energy. The resonator was used before the Romulans and Vulcans split and before the time of awakening when Vulcans didn't control their emotions like they do today. Vulcans and the Romulans act differently but are they different species?

Memory alpha lists various conflicting explanations for why Romulans are no longer telepathic. We discussed those reasons and others but didn't come up with a good explanation. Some people thought the gene might have become dormant and/or died out. Some thought that the Romulans who left didn't have the telepathic gene at all. Even others thought it had something to do with Pon Farr. It was suggested that the act of Pon Farr might turn on the gene or create the pathways for telepathy. Since Romulans don't have Pon Far or express it differently telepathy isn't activated in their children.

What do you guys think? How did Romulans lose their psychic abilities? And are Romulans and Vulcans separate species? 

Memory Alpha on Romulans: http://memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/Romulan
Memory alpha Gambit episodes: http://memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/Gambit,_Part_I_(episode) http://memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/Gambit,_Part_II_(episode)
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Edited December 06 2017 by nycblkboy

Are Romulans telepathic now?

December 07 2017
Well, in the game Romulans have the Limited Telepathy trait, so there's that
Teknomancer

Teknomancer

Are Romulans telepathic now?

December 09 2017
Quote by nycblkboy
What do you guys think? How did Romulans lose their psychic abilities? And are Romulans and Vulcans separate species? 

I dunno about speciation since the usual biological definition means "cannot interbreed to produce fertile offspring." We don't know about the Human-Vulcan hybrid Spock since he didn't marry or have any known children. However, this definition would indicate that Humans and Klingons aren't a separate species (as we now define the term) because K'Ehleyr, the half-Human half-Klingon mother of Alexander Rozhenko, was clearly fertile. The same goes for B'ellana Torres and her daughter Miral Paris; neither could have been anyone's mother if not. Vulcans and Romulans descended from a common ancestor so they would presumably be closer physiologically than any Human-Klingon pairing. So...let's just back away from that whole topic and wave it away with space magic time travel whatever blah. :P As for the loss of telepathy, let's try to retcon it.

*Ahem*

During the early alliance with the Klingons, the Romulan Star Empire got its hands on not only Klingon ships, but it had the Tal Shiar extract Klingon research as well. This included data on the Augment virus, which the Tal Shiar immediately began testing. Due to the differences in physiology, the virus created cranial ridges in Romulans where it destroyed them in Klingons, and the virus' genetic damage caused only minor behavioral differences but did erase the limited telepathy that Romulans had possessed. Unfortunately, the Tal Shiar's quarantine protocols were inadequate and the virus swept through the population, being much more aggressively contagious than it had been for the Klingons. This pandemic caused the Romulans in 2311 to retreat into isolation behind the Neutral Zone until encountering Captain Picard and the USS Enterprise-D on Stardate 41986.0, when their now-permanent appearance change became known to the outside for the first time.

Or not. But hey, it's as plausible as any of the other retconning that happens in Trek...
Edited December 09 2017 by Teknomancer

Are Romulans telepathic now?

December 12 2017
I think, and obviously this isn't canonical, but the Romulans likely do have some dormant psychic capabilities. Remember that in the era of Enterprise, the Vulcans thought psychic abilities were a rare mutation and were heavily discriminating against those who showed those capabilities. Later, we discovered that the Vulcan government was being influenced by Romulans at the highest levels, so it doesn't seem unreasonable to me to assume that those prejudices exist in Romulan society even today. So Romulans who are more psychic are still probably going to keep those abilities to themselves, and the less aggressively psychic ones probably don't even know they have those dormant abilities.

That's just my personal theory, and I think that it also explains the limited telepathy racial trait in STO.
Viridian Green

viridian74

Are Romulans telepathic now?

December 17 2017
I've been thinking that if Romulans have any psychic abilities, they ought to be similar to vulcan psychic abilities because of common ancestry. What I can think of is mind melds, control of autonomous bodily functions, using the katra, emotional projection (when Sarek has Bendi Syndrome, or Vorik during pon'farr) and that instance where Spock senses the death of a starship's crew.
Mind melds were perfected by the Syrannites, and since a mind meld done wrong can cause physical harm, the ability to control autonomous bodily functions might be a side-effect of learning proper mind melding. Since the Romulans rejected Surak's teachings, no Syrannite psychic techniques for them. They might well have dormant abilities, though, who knows? We've seen very little of them on screen.
As for emotional projection, both Sarek and Vorik were suffering from neurological imbalance, so that might only happen to neurologically imbalanced Romulans, too. So the count is down to Spock sensing the death of that crew -he "hears their death scream" which sounds like the "limited telepathy" Romulans get in the game. (The episode is "Immunity Syndrome", TOS).

Maybe the Romulans also simply don't have the same psychic potential as Vulcans because their neurological and endocrine makeup is different. This would explain why Dr Crusher couldn't treat that Romulan who had neurological damage. Genetic experiments, the augment virus as said above, and interbreeding with other species could definitely cause that! Or maybe the later Romulans already were a related, but different species back on Vulcan. Perhaps the later Vulcans were highly emotional and more on the in-your-face aggressive side, and the later Romulans were highly emotional and more on the hyperfearful, hyperaggressive-when-cornered side. They're best known for cloaking devices, disruptors (and Romulan Ale), after all ;) So their psychic abilities might give them a "danger sense" rather than full telepathy.

Perhaps to compensate for what they don't have naturally, Romulans developed technology that copies psychic abilities (mind probes, the brainwashing tech used on Geordi in "In the Mind's Eye" and a telepathic interface for the drone ship in ENT! ) Perhaps through studying Remans and remembering bits of ancient Vulcan lore? Abusing Remans and other species as experimental material rather than risk their own species sounds like something the Tal Shiar would do.

Just me playing with ideas, as far as I know there is no definite answer to this :)