Since the Beginning of the Romulan Star Empire
In its prime, the Tal Shiar was perhaps the most feared policing and intelligence agency in the quadrant. It was highly respected and greatly feared on both its own homeworld and the homeworlds of its enemies due to the tactics of sowing mistrust among its enemies' ranks. The Tal Shiar answered directly to the Emperor/Empress or, after 1698, the Praetor of the Senate. It was this power and authority that the Praetor used to keep the Senate in line with his wishes and demands. However, after the Hobus disaster and the Shinzon Incident, the sphere of control that the Tal Shiar enjoyed was much reduced.
- 1 History
- 2 Organization
- 3 Uniforms
It is unknown at what precise date the Tal Shiar was founded due to the fact that no one knows what date the Romulan Star Empire was founded, however it is clear that the Tal Shiar was founded when the Empire had its first Empress. The woman declared herself Empress over the ruling council of the two worlds and created the Tal Shiar to ensure that the people were being loyal to her. After many decadent emperors and empresses, the Imperial Senate abolished the position of Empress or Emperor in favor of the position of Praetor who would conduct the senate meetings and control the military, though the Praetor kept the Tal Shiar in tact, unbeknownst to the people of the two worlds. However, people could not help but notice that their friends disappeared when they spoke out against the Praetor. This practice developed an atmosphere of suspicion and paranoia, leading some historians and sociologists to believe that this led to the extreme xenophobia that the Romulans have practiced since they emerged from their borders in the 2100s.
Though it is unclear what the Tal Shiar's external activities were during the term from its inception to the 2000s, what is clear is that as far back as 2050 the Tal Shiar was influencing the Vulcan High Command to go into cold war status with the Andorian people. Perhaps first and foremost among the examples of this influence were the planetoid Weytahn, the skirmish at Coridan, and the monastery of P'Jem. Romulan agents hidden in the Vulcan High Command aggravated the war in nearly every possible way, very nearly bringing the cold war to a full scale conflict in 2152. However, with the death of V'Las and the reformation of the Vulcan government, the Tal Shiar told their superiors that the real threat to their security was not the Vulcans as they had thought, but the humans of Earth.
The Tal Shiar began to saturate the newsnets of the Coalition of Planets in 2155 in order to gather intelligence of what the humans knew or did not know and also to gather medical data for weapons and future use while ordering the newsnets in their own systems to stand down. The Tal Shiar planted agents in the services of Tellar, Andoria, Earth, and Vulcan to sow distrust among their enemies, which soon became a favorite tactic of the Tal Shiar.
In the year 2269, the Tal Shiar ordered Commander Keral to test a cloaking device to see if it would pass the detection net along the Federation side of the Neutral Zone. However, Captain James T. Kirk and Commander Spock received orders to enter the Neutral Zone and retrieve said technology. Commander Spock was captured and invoked the Right of Statement, delaying long enough for Captain Kirk to retrieve both Spock and the cloaking technology. Furious with her failure, the Tal Shiar agent aboard Keral's ship told his superiors about the commander's failure, allowing Kirk to discover what they look like, and urging them to ask the Praetor to banish her, which indeed happened.
Later in the year 2269 a small group of Tal Shiar special forces led by Commander Dellas managed to gain control of a cloaked planet called Deployment Base Alpha. Operated by agents who worked for the secret organization known as Aegis, the planet was the top secret site of a test bed for a technology that would allow the user to monitor time itself and alter it by traveling through it. Reviewing the history of the late 23rd and early 24th centuries, Dellas realized that one man would be instrumental in the alliance formed between the Federation and the Klingon Empire: then-Commander Spock. She began planning his assassination, though the plan was foiled when key members of the crew of the USS Enterprise learned of the situation and managed to stop her. Dellas and her entire team were killed, and the planet base destroyed, keeping it beyond the reach of any power.
In the year 2346, the Tal Shiar learned that the Klingons were close to a breakthrough concerning biogenic weapons on the outlying colony of Khitomer. Fearful that the Klingons would use this new weaponry against the Empire, the Tal Shiar ordered a fleet to be sent to the colony to eradicate it. They were aided by Ja'rod, the father of Duras, Lursa and B'Etor, in that he supplied the security codes for the colony's ground-based shields. Armed with this information, they ensured that very few survived the attack, though Lieutenant Commander Worf, Son of Mogh, and his nursemaid were among them.
Later that century in the year 2356, the Tal Shiar, without the knowledge nor consent of the current Praetor, sponsored a number of experiments involving wormholes and cloaking devices that utilized dark matter, which was similar in composition to the gases found in dark matter nebulas such as the Mar Oscura. The experiments were performed by Dr Telek R'Mor and Ambassador Lhiau and by late 2356 the exercises had proven successful. The Chairman of the Tal Shiar had 13 D'deridex-class warbirds equipped with dark matter cloaking devices and sent them through an artificial wormhole to travel to the 2370s to bring the USS Voyager back to reverse engineer its more advanced technology. Unable to gain the Voyager, the Tal Shiar instead ordered that 4,000 vessels mass along the Romulan Neutral Zone and prepared to attack the Federation colonies along the border and prepared to use their new cloaks to attack Earth, Vulcan, Bolarus IX, and Starbases 12, 74, and 212. R'Mor, appalled by the use to which his technology was being used, returned to the Romulan homeworld to inform the Imperial Senate of the Tal Shiar's plans to invade the Federation. The Praetor recalled the assault, externally labeling the entire matter a simple military exercise and ordered that all dark matter technology be removed from service.
Learning of the potential threat that the Dominion posed to the Romulan people, the Tal Shiar formed a temporary alliance with the Obsidian Order after being contacted by that organization's head, Enabran Tain. Together, they formed a fleet to make a preemptive strike against the homeworld of the Founders. To ensure that the operation did not fail, several former Obsidian Order operatives were assassinated though Elim Garak managed to evade the attempts on his life and discovered the plan and joined them. Together the Tal Shiar and Obsidian Order went through the Bajoran Womhole and arrived around the target planet where they opened fire, destroying much of the planet's crust, only to discover that the plan had gotten out and reached the ears of the Dominion. The Founders were not on the planet at all and a Jem'Hadar armada surrounded them and destroyed every ship though some life pods managed to make their way back to the wormhole and to Romulus. The agents and military officers involved were disgraced and sentenced to hard labor in the mines of Remus.
It took 3 years for the Tal Shiar to fully recover at which time it attempted to steal the prototype starship USS Prometheus. Neutralizing the crew with their own intruder suppression system, the Tal Shiar boarded and nearly won the Prometheus, had it not been for the efforts of the ship's EMH Mark IV program and the EMH Mark I of the USS Voyager. Again, the intruder suppression system on the bridge was used and the two holograms managed to remove the crew of the Prometheus from the brig and move the Romulan crew into the holding cells. Because of this failure, the captured head of the mission killed himself while he was in a Federation prison.
Later in 2374 the Tal Shiar investigated the wreakage of Senator Vreenak's shuttle. The preliminary report showed sabotage on the Dominion's part, supported by the isolinear datarod that had been damaged aboard the senator's shuttle. Outraged, the Chairman of the Tal Shiar urged the Praetor to declare war upon the Dominion, with whom they had, until that point, a non-aggression pact.
An Organization Reduced
Editor's Note: This section has been altered in that the duties of the Tal Shiar were reduced.
After the disaster of the Shinzon Incident, the Tal Shiar was one of the factions competing for control of the Romulan Empire. Director Rehaek, taking the place of the murdered chairman, led the Tal Shiar to securing a power base in the new government that was struggling to form. However, after the death of Praetor Tal'Aura, the Tal Shiar were investigating her death rather than struggling for control.
In 2380, Ambassador Spock urged the Romulan Senate to order the evacuation of the Romulan homesystem due to the coming nova of the Hobus star. Mistrustful of anyone who was not Romulan, the Chairman of the Tal Shiar assured the Praetor that there was no such threat. However, when the star began showing signs of entering the first stage of a supernova, the Praetor and the Senate realized how far out of control the Tal Shiar had become. With the deaths of millions on their hands, the Tal Shiar had a reduced external capacity, though the internal workings remained as active as ever.
Editor's Note: The Divisions have been added to by Pegasus Fleet in that we have added to their duties and missions.
Similar to the Star Navy, the Tal Shiar has a hierarchy system though its operations are still secret and sometimes violating its own chain of command for convenience or due to necessity. The head of the Tal Shiar, called the Chairman, is appointed by the Praetor, to whom the Chairman directly reports or, if there is one, the Emperor or Empress. However, the Chairman has extreme discretionary powers over the Tal Shiar and often exercises it. The Tal Shiar is divided into numerous sub-divisions which each are given a specific task. There is some competition between these divisions, but agents are often transferred from one branch to another in order to discourage it. Part of the Chairman's job is to encourage the members to work as a unified whole inordered to fulfill the mutual purpose of protecting the Romulan Star Empire. The security clearance of an agent usually determined how much they knew about current operations with some being known to all while other operations were so secret that only the Chairman and a select few even knew of their existence.
Internal Security Division
This branch of the Tal Shiar was the one that was tasked with monitoring the population in order to discover signs of disloyalty and arreest those that would commit treason against the Empire. Its agents had huge discretionary powers in determining what was disloyal or a threat though sometimes the individual was allowed to escape either to locate their cohorts or to spread word of what disloyalty meant. Unaware of where or when the Internal Security Division would attack next, many citizens lived in a constant state of fear or paranoia, fearful that they would be next. Some of the citizenry believe that the Internal Security Division has too much power, though they are afraid to say this openly.
Their interrogation methods are known to be brutal from torture to holographic environments used to trick the traitor into speaking his/her mind. Some Romulans believe these actions were necessary in the Empire's youth to enforce authority as well as suppress rebellions, though this is little comfort to the people whom the ISD has killed or "disappeared".
Military Affairs Division
The Military Affairs Division works similarly to the Internal Affairs Division but its charges are the Romulan Star Navy and its ground forces and works to ensure loyalty in military personnel from the lowest crewman to the Admirals themselves. The agents constantly keep tabs on oficers throughout the various fleets and ground personnel by networks of spies that are well compensated for their information. These agents maintain cover idetntities within the military while reporting everything they see or hear or learn to their superiors in the Tal Shiar. Military personnel fear the Tal Shiar even more than do the common citizens and are used to being watched, causing many to worry that uttering a single word could end their careers or cause the deaths of both themselves and their families. The MAD of the Tal Shiar acts as liaisons from the Tal Shiar to the military where they can reacquisition ships or troops for operations and can even order these people or vessels across the Neutral Zone. They not required to explain themselves other than it is a Tal Shiar operation. This causes a great deal of resentment from the military, particularly the ship commanders and the admirals. They see the Tal Shiar as an affront to their oath to the Empire and believe that while the Tal Shiar spies on them, the military personnel die in servivce to the state. Like the public, the military officers rarely speak their minds in regards to the Tal Shiar as they know it can cause the end of their careers or their deaths
Special Operations Division
Among the Tal Shiar, the Special Operations Division is known to handle emergency situations and serious threats to the Empire though publicly it controls operations outside the government, namely missions in other interstellar states such as the Klingon Empire, the Federation or the Cardassian Union. It is one of the Tal Shiar's most secretive branches as many of its undertakings are illegal under treaties with other governments. As its primary goal is gathering information on other species that live outside the Empire, many of its agents have undergone intensive plastic surgery to appear as humans, Klingons, and others. SOme are capable of acting as Vulcans though this necessitates extensive training in order to go from the passionate Romulan mindset to that of the logical one used by Vulcans. Beyond this, its known that they use such methods as blackmail to order officials on other worlds to put their planet's security at risk in some way for exploitation by the Empire or to use them to gather more important information
The data collected by this arm of the Tal Shiar is used to plan military operations as the Empire prefers to test their enemies' weaknesses before going to war. Given this, the Special Operations Division often tests other civilizations to see if they are capable of challenging the Romulan Empire. They also work to destabilize threats to Romulan security such as the Coalition of Planets in the 2100s and the Klingon/Federation alliance in the last 2200s. This is achieved through covert means such as sleeper agents that are made through brainwashing techniques or undercover operations. These techniques and others employed by the Tal Shiar are meant to sew distrust and fear among their enemies.
Intelligence Analysis Division
This division studies the informations collected by all the other divisions and draws conclusions and possible courses of action from them. They are experts in code breaking and decryption procedures that use extremely advanced algorithms. This division is responsible for the security systems of the information network in the Romulan Empire, that used by both the Tal Shiar and the military. The division director reports to the Chairman and the Praetor or Emperor/Empress to keep them both appraised of information inside the Romulan Empire and outside it. These reports are the most accurate though the Praetor may leave some information out for public security.
This division also compiles information on the more serious threats to the state such as that of the Borg.
Research and Development Division
This division enables the Tal Shiar to create new technology to use for its work such a cloaking devices or possibly the still-unfinished personal cloak. The main purpose of this division is to design and test new technology for the use of the Tal Shiar and, eventually, the military. It analyzes data gathered by agents in the Special Operations Division, including technologies stolen from other powers to reverse engineer for use by the Romulan Empire. Some say the Research and Development Division is more concerned with getting results than the safety of the scientists or even testing the technology in question. This combined with the classified nature of their work means that the R&D facilities are often located in deep space or on distant planets or moons. The location of these bases are only known to a few as they are considered a state secret that only the Tal Shiar and certain military officers know about. In the latter of these, the officers are often the commanders of supply ships carrying foodstuffs or machine parts and usually have no idea the purpose of the facilities they keep stocked.
This division is known to work on weapons, defense and cloaking systems along with tools for espionage. They developed the Veron-T type disruptor which tore its target apart on a molecular basis from the inside out. They also developed replicas of Federation, Klingon, and Cardassian weapons used to make their shis' shields more effective and for espionage missions to make them believe that the Tal Shiar was selling them illegally gained weapons. However, these weapons use Romulan energy sources and, upon detailed inspection, leave a Romulan energy signature.
The Reasearch and Development Division also recently developed better cloaking technology and have looked for a practical means of cloaking an entire planet. Two recently developed yet failed creations was a cloak for a space station which ended in its destruction and the personal cloaking device which caused the death of the person using it. Due to these failures, the planetary cloaking device remains out of their grasp. The Division also made miniaturized and concealed sensors, computer devices, surveillance equipment, explosives, concealed personal armor, incapacitating drugs and other chemicals along with may other types of technology and chemicals.
Mind War Division
This division is devoted to the development and fine tuning of new technologies and techniques for interrogation, brainwashing, intelligence gathering, and psionic warfare. Similar to the R&D Division, Mind War sometimes crosses into the fields of the other Divisions and at times causes changes throughout the Tal Shiar with its discoveries and methods. Originally a sub-division of R&D it grew rapidly to the point where it was given its own separate division. Despirte that, Mind War and R&D often worked closely in the development of new technologies such as the mind scanner device.
Temporal Assessment Group
This Division is similar to the Federation's Department of Temporal Investigations.
See also: Tal Shiar Ranks
The uniforms of the Tal Shiar are very similar to that of the Romulan Star Navy and its ground forces though a much lighter grey and the pattern is black lines rather than gold, silver, and brown squares. Sashes worn across the body are earned through feats of cunning, bravery, or, in some cases, feats of intellect. It uses much the same rank insignia as the Star Navy but instead of being silver, they are gold. The same six rank pips are used for officers and enlisted personnel, though the uniforms are slightly different.