The pinnacle of Romulan starship evolution in the late 24th Century, the Romulan Warbird Valdore was a sleek, powerful and intimidating hunter that would keep their already-mighty fleet a force to be reckoned with. Ironically, who would figure that two of these ships would help save the Romulan Star Empire, as well as one of their most hated enemies, the Federation?
The Valdore Namesake
The Valdore can trace its history all the way back to the 2150’s. In a plot to engulf the quadrant in war, Admiral Valdore was the mastermind behind another Romulan warship. Converting two contemporary warbirds into drone ships, he used multispectral holographic emitters and triphasic disruptors to give the ships the ability to disguise themselves as other vessels. With the flip of a switch, the tiny drone was suddenly a Tellarite cruiser, an Andorian Kumari class, or even the Starfleet’s Enterprise NX-01. The Romulans used this deception to cause chaos amongst the other powers by provoking old rivalries and attempting to start new ones. Admiral Valdore used an Aenar, a blind Andorian with extraordinary mental powers, to control the drone ships from the safety of a facility on Romulus. (ENT: “Babel One,” “United,” and “The Aenar.”)
The drones had extraordinary maneuverability and firepower for ships of their size. Despite this, they were eventually defeated by a combined alliance led by the Enterprise NX-01. Ironically, the chaos and war the Romulans hoped to start helped pave the way for the Federation. Admiral Valdore failed in his gambit. Nevertheless, he was still remembered in the Romulan Empire with the namesake of this 24th-century warbird.
24th-Century Romulan Innovation
At 603 meters in length, the Valdore was not a small vessel. Its sleek design carried familiar characteristics that were a staple of Romulan design. The feather-like patterns that adorned the hull could trace their lineage back to the 22nd-century Romulan Bird of Prey, as well as the 23rd. The previous warbird, the D’deridex Class, featured a similar outstretched neck with large wings containing warp nacelles at their edge. The D’deridex however, featured a bottom wing span with a large open space in between the two halves. The Valdore streamlined that design into a much leaner and sharper swooping bird.
The ship sported disruptor cannons and torpedoes for weapons with implacements all over the hull. It also featured a cloaking device, which had been a key piece of technology for the Romulans for more than 100 years. Unfortunately, the Treaty of Algeron prevented the Federation from using or even researching cloaking technology. This would leave them at a significant disadvantage for many years. But, of course, there are always those who ignore the rules.
The Valdore was a dark green color, typical of Romulan vessels. However, a brown version also exists. Whether that is a base materials difference, another type/mission-specific ship, or is simply an aesthetic choice by the shipyard or designer is unknown at this time. Nevertheless, it is worth noting.
In a glass, darkly...
The Valdore, along with another ship of its type, took part in a battle that could have led to the end of both the Romulan Empire and the Federation. Shinzon of Remus instigated a takeover of the Senate by eliminating those who opposed him with the use of a thalaron radiation device. Thalaron radiation destroys all organic matter within seconds, and he would choose to make this technology the basis for his flagship, the Reman warbird Scimitar.
Shinzon was a human, a clone of Federation Captain Jean-Luc Picard, that the Romulans created in the hopes of replacing the real Picard with their agent clone. Ultimately, the plan was cancelled and he was sent to the slave mines on Remus. The Remans took him in as one of their own, identifying with him as another being cast away by the Romulan Star Empire, forced against his will to mine for the Romulans.
Shinzon somehow managed to gain considerable power, despite his rough youth. The Scimitar was constructed at a secret base without the knowledge of the Romulans. He plotted his revenge carefully, also setting his sights on Captain Picard, wanting to make his own mark on the face of the galaxy. He lured the U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-E to Romulus under the guise of peace talks, only to spring his trap shortly thereafter. The Enterprise narrowly escaped and attempted to rendezvous with a fleet that could stop Shinzon and the Scimitar from laying waste to the Federation. The Enterprise would never reach them.
The enemy of my enemy…
Fortunately for the Romulans and Federation, one of Shinzon’s co-conspirators had second thoughts. Commander Donatra, who had originally supported Shinzon’s coup, turned when she learned of the thalaron weapon and the devastation it could cause.
Shinzon followed the Enterprise and found the perfect spot for an ambush inside a nebula. This cut off all contact with the waiting Federation fleet and the Enterprise was nearly crippled. Commander Donatra, commanding the Valdore, caught up. They were joined with another Valdore-type ship and the odds seemed more in the Enterprise’s favor.
Another key component of the Scimitar was its ability to fire with its perfect cloak. The only way for the Enterprise or Valdore to find the Scimitar was to fire blindly and hope the weapons fire would make contact. The group managed to get a few hits on the Scimitar before it nearly obliterated the other Valdore-type ship, blasting off one of its wings. The fierce battle continued and it looked like the Enterprise and Valdore had damaged the Scimitar. Unfortunately for them, Shinzon feigned a cloak failure in order to lure in the Valdore and hit them in their vulnerable ventral section. The Valdore was out for the count, but Commander Donatra and some of her crew survived.
The Enterprise continued the fight to an old-fashioned showdown. Picard gambled that Shinzon would predict how he would react and Shinzon failed to consider ramming speed.” Shinzon panicked, but it was too late. The Enterprise collided with the Scimitar, locking the two ships together. In the end, only with the heroic self-sacrifice of humanoid android Lt. Commander Data, was Shinzon and his twisted plot for revenge finally stopped.
Commander Donatra and the crew of the Valdore rendered aid and assistance via shuttlecraft to the very crippled Enterprise, giving hope to real peace one day. (Star Trek Nemesis)
The Great Bird of the Empire
The Valdore only appeared on screen one time, in Star Trek Nemesis. Its outstanding design and look are the work of Trek veteran John Eaves. Hopefully, sometime in the future, the Valdore will return as friend or foe to fight for the Romulan Star Empire once again.
Ian Kisluk is an avid Star Trek fan and collector. Trek model and prop building as well as stage acting are his most prolific passions. Follow him @Starchwreck on Twitter and check out Starchwreck Props and Models on Facebook.