History And The Arms Race
Humanity's first encounter with cloaking technology came in the year 1986 in the Bering Sea where Admiral James T. Kirk decloaked a Klingon Bird-of-Prey to waylay and frighten some whale hunters from killing two humpback whales. Humanity did not encounter cloaking technology again until 2151 when they encountered the Suliban and shortly thereafter received technology from the 29th century via Ensign Daniels that enabled them to counter the cloak and be able to detect the ships. The next year, the Enterprise NX-01 encountered a cloaked minefield protecting a planet claimed by the Romulan Star Empire. The quantum beacon given to the Enterprise by Daniels proved effective against the minefield, but was unable to allow them to detect two Romulan birds-of-prey before they opened fire.
In the 2266, the USS Enterprise detected an anomaly that a Romulan bird-of-prey used to cross the Romulan Neutral Zone and wipe out several Earth Outpost Stations. In 2268, James T. Kirk and Spock managed to steal a Romulan cloaking device from a Romulan commander and bring it to the Starfleet Corps of Engineers where it was studied to create a counter technology with sensors. As a result of the Romulan-Klingon Alliance of the 2200s, cloaking devices began to be used on Klingon ships as well, one of the first being used on Dahar Master Kor's ship, the IKS Klothos and in 2286 the Federation acquired one of these cloaks as well in order to be able to produce sensors to counter the cloak.
In 2356, Starfleet Intelligence and the Corps of Engineers built a prototype cloaking device and tested it aboard the USS Pegasus. However, being unused to this type of technology, the Pegasus uncloaked inside an asteroid, killing everyone aboard.
The Treaty of Algeron in 2311 prevents the Federation from developing cloaking technology, though over 50 years later the Romulans allowed the USS Defiant to use a Romulan cloaking device in the Gamma Quadrant on the condition that the Federation share all intelligence on the Dominion gained while in the Gamma Quadrant. The Dominion used an anti-proton beam to attempt to penetrate the cloaking device used by the Defiant and causing the need to power down all nonessential systems in order to avoid detection. Unfortunately, this did not always work.
It is possible for an entire planetary body to be rendered invisible, though not many races had the technology. Among them are the Jenefrans, Negarians, Myaz and Ritorians. In order for the planet to be cloaked, the cloaking particles must be countered before touching the stratosphere in order to prevent a cascading entropic failure in the atmosphere and rendering the planet uninhabitable.
Mechanics of a Cloak
In order to function, a cloaking device needs to be tied into a ship's deflector shield grid. Along with high power consumption, this explains why a cloaking device and a ship's shields cannot be raised at the same time, though the Romulans are believed to be close to a solution. Romulan cloaking devices are heavier than Klingon, and though they both work similarly, the Klingon cloaks work at a higher frequency to allow for the higher energy output of the ship due to the weapons systems. The cloaking particles are also part of what allows the ship to become invisible to both sensors and to the naked eye. These particles are similar to tetryon particles and break down into tetryons and a biproduct that are then stored to be used to create more cloaking particles later, in addition to the replication unit which is used to create the particles from the tetryons and the biproduct, though eventually the ship will need to procure more supplies. The projection matrix is what projects, or rather hides, the image of the cloaked ship using the particles.
- projection matrix
- tetryon compositor
- cloaking particles
- tetryon particles