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A map of a section of the Romulan Neutral Zone.

The Romulan Neutral Zone, also known to the Romulans as the Outmarches (Romulan: "Avrrhinul"), and as "The Romulan Zone" in the Federation, is an area of space between the borders of the United Federation of Planets and the Romulan Star Empire. (TNG episode: "The Enemy") It was established in 2161 at the conclusion of the Earth-Romulan War by the Treaty of Alpha Trianguli. (TOS episode: "Balance of Terror"; TOS - Rihannsu novels: My Enemy, My Ally, The Romulan Way)


The treaty called for a 1 light-year area between both powers, and neither side would be allowed to cross into the zone without prior agreement from the other side, or war would be declared. Any vessel found to have crossed into the zone would be impounded and its crew sent home after they were processed. To monitor the zone, both Starfleet and the Romulans established a number of outposts along the border which would monitor activity in the zone. By the 24th century the Federation's outposts numbered 43, stretching along the entire western periphery of the Neutral Zone. (TOS episode: "Balance of Terror"; ST references: Star Fleet Technical Manual, Star Charts)

The Zone stretched from just west of the star Garadius, westward to sectors Z-6 and Bolarus, southeast past Starbase 23 to Lambda Hydrae, then northeast along the border with the Klingon Empire and the Federation's eastern regions before terminating between Lambda Crateris and Delta Doradus. (ST reference: Star Charts)

Sectors 130, 134 and 142 were all located on the Federation border of the Neutral Zone. (TNG episode: "The Measure of a Man")

These sectors was mentioned as part of mission information visible on a computer viewscreen at Data's JAG hearing.

History of the Neutral Zone

Early development

The creation of a Neutral Zone that separated the Romulan state and that of the Coalition of Planets was first proposed by the Vulcan and Andorian delegations in the middle part of the 22nd century. This was due to rising hostilities with both the Romulan and Klingon Empires due to a number of raids on the space of the newly formed Coalition. (ENT novel: Kobayashi Maru)

23rd century

In 2243, the Federation colony ship SS Rosenberg was trapped in an ion storm within Federation space. With no other vessel fast enough to rescue the crew before they died, Starfleet dispatched the incomplete USS Enterprise to rescue them. Unfortunately, the Enterprise's warp drive was sabotaged by Romulan agents, causing the ship to warp into Romulan space. However, they managed to escape with the help of a Romulan field primus and rescued the crew of the Rosenberg. (TOS novel: Final Frontier)

In 2249, war nearly broke out between the Federation and the Romulans when a Federation passenger vessel, Brass Ring, inadvertently entered the Neutral Zone. Fortunately, negotiations were able to proceed quickly and parts of the Treaty of Gamma Trianguli were redefined. This incident became known as the Brass Ring Incident to Starfleet Command. (TOS novel: Bloodthirst)

A task force of five Larson-class starships entered an area of uncontrolled space near the Neutral Zone in 2260. After a month, contact was lost with all five ships. Shortly afterward, a second task force arrived only to find a single warp nacelle in an asteroid cluster. Romulan forces were suspected, but no proof was ever found of their involvement. (FASA RPG module: Star Trek IV Sourcebook Update)

In 2264, an ion storm once again swept through the zone and disabled many of Starfleet's outposts, causing the most damage to Outpost 5 which lost its PXK reactor. Starfleet Command feared that the Romulans might take advantage of the situation and attack, even though there had been no official contact for over a century. Thankfully, the crew of the USS Lovell, with help from Montgomery Scott, managed to repair all of the outposts to working order. (SCE eBook: Foundations, Book One)

The Romulan Bird-of-Prey at the Battle of Icarus IV.

In 2266, the Romulans sent a lone bird-of-prey, the ChR Gal Gath'thong, across the zone to attack the outposts. They were able to destroy four of the outposts with their plasma weapon, before they were intercepted by the USS Enterprise, in what became known as the Battle of Icarus IV. After a deadly game of cat-and-mouse and a return run to Romulus, the Bird-of-Prey was defeated by the Enterprise. (TOS episode: "Balance of Terror")

In 2267, the Enterprise violated the zone when Commodore George Stocker assumed command. He was determined to get the ship to Starbase 10 so that he could obtain medical help for Captain James T. Kirk and other members of the crew who were succumbing to a rapid-aging virus. Shortly after entering the Zone, the Enterprise was surrounded by Romulan warships and Stocker lacked the combat experience. Thankfully, a cure was found and Kirk was able to bluff their way out. (TOS episode: "The Deadly Years")

The USS Enterprise surrounded.

In 2268, the Enterprise was ordered to violate the Zone by Admiral Cartwright in order to obtain a cloaking device. Only Captain Kirk and Commander Spock were aware of their true assignment, as they were surrounded by D7-class warships commanded by Charvanek. While Kirk was supposedly killed by Spock for going insane and trying to kill him, Spock began to ingratiate himself with Chavron. When Kirk's "body" was returned to the Enterprise, Dr. Leonard McCoy surgically altered Kirk to appear Romulan, and Kirk managed to beam aboard the Romulan ship and obtained the cloak. The Enterprise managed to escape with the cloaking device and Commander Chavron along as a prisoner. (TOS episode: "The Enterprise Incident"; TOS novel: Cloak)

In 2269, the Romulans used a Vendorian agent to pose as Carter Winston so he could board the Enterprise. The Vendorian was charged with commandeering the Enterprise and taking it into the Zone, so a waiting Romulan task force could attack them. The Enterprise crew were able to capture the Vendorian and escape from Romulan space. (TAS episode: "The Survivor")

In late 2269, violent ion storm activity in the vicinity of the Zone was changing the magnetic field markers that designated the boundaries of the zone. While this held no major problems for the Federation as a whole, the planet Arachnae would find itself in Romulan space. Captain Kirk and Commander Maximus Thrax of the ChR Decius were dispatched to monitor the planet's vote to join the Romulan Star Empire. (TOS novel: Vulcan!)

Shortly afterwards, peace talks between the Federation and the Romulans were conducted on Détente Station One located in the Zone. The peace talks were not entirely successful, as several Federation ambassadors were murdered en route to the conference aboard the Enterprise. (TOS novel: Death's Angel)

24th century

Following the Tomed Incident in 2311, representatives from the Federation and the Romulans signed the Treaty of Algeron which reinforced and redefined the Zone, and increased the size to 2.5 light years. Following the signing of the treaty, the Romulans retreated behind the Zone and no official contact was had with them until 2364. (TNG episode: "The Neutral Zone"; ENT episode: "These Are the Voyages...")

The USS Enterprise-D is confronted by a D'Deridex-class warbird.

In late 2364, a number of Starfleet and Romulan outposts along the Zone was destroyed by an unknown force. Starfleet and the Romulans both accused the other of responsibility. In order to be certain, the USS Enterprise-D was dispatched to investigate. On arrival, the Enterprise encountered a D'deridex-class warbird, the IRW Harax, commanded by Commander Tebok. Tebok informed Jean-Luc Picard about the attack on the Romulan outposts, and the two agreed to work together to investigate the attacks. It was not until late 2365, that the Enterprise-D crew discovered that the Borg were responsible, when the Enterprise observed a similar method of destruction on several planets in System J-25. (TNG episodes: "The Neutral Zone", "Q Who?"; ST comic: "Operation Assimilation")

In late 2365, the USS Yamato, under the command of Captain Donald Varley, crossed into the Zone in order to find the location of the legendary planet of Iconia. After evading Romulan patrols for several weeks, they were able to locate the planet and were scanned by an Iconian probe. The probe contained a computer virus that rewrote the Yamato's systems and following a rendezvous with the Enterprise-D, the ship self-destructed. The virus was also transmitted to the Enterprise and to a cloaked warbird that was monitoring the two ships. The virus was eventually purged from their systems and both ships returned home. (TNG episode: "Contagion")

The Enterprise-D, the Klingons and the Romulans face off against each other

With the return of the Romulans to the galactic stage, an attack against the Federation seemed imminent in 2366. Starfleet increased its patrols of the Zone in anticipation of an attack, and on Romulus, plans were being devised for the attack. In early 2366, Admiral Alidar Jarok defected and was rescued by the Enterprise-D. Jarok informed them of the imminent invasion and the construction of a secret base in the Zone on Nelvana III. A number of starships were posted along the border, and the Enterprise crossed into the zone to investigate. When it was all revealed to be a plot to weed out Jarok and get the Federation to instigate a war, the Romulans threatened to destroy the Enterprise. However, Captain Picard and Lieutenant Worf had previously arranged for some back-up from the Klingons, and were subsequently allowed to leave. (TNG episode: "The Defector")

The USS Enterprise-E patrols the zone in 2373

In mid-2373, the USS Enterprise-E was assigned to patrol the Zone to ward off any attempt by the Romulans to launch an attack while the bulk of the fleet was engaging a Borg cube in the Typhon Sector. However, the real reason the Enterprise was assigned to the Zone was because Starfleet was concerned about Captain Picard once again engaging the Borg. When the Borg broke through Starfleet lines and headed for Earth, Picard defied orders and took the Enterprise into the battle. (TNG movie: Star Trek: First Contact)

A few months later, with the Alpha Quadrant poised on the brink of war with the Dominion, the Romulans signed a non-aggression pact with them to ensure their own safety. As a result, the Jem'Hadar used the Zone as a hunting ground for unsuspecting Starfleet vessels that were dispatched along the Zone. The Jem'Hadar destroyed several vessels, including the USS Cairo. However, this practice ended when the Romulans joined the Federation Alliance in late 2374. (DS9 episode: "In the Pale Moonlight")

In 2377, the Starfleet special operations vessel USS Incursion crossed the Zone a number of times holographically disguised as a warbird while tracking the activities of the Wardens. (ST video game: Away Team)

Following the rise of Praetor Shinzon in 2379, he proposed that the Neutral Zone be abolished as the start of a new era of peace between the Federation and the Romulans, although his intentions weren't peaceful at all. (TNG movie: Star Trek Nemesis)

Following the near-collapse of the Romulan Star Empire in the wake of Shinzon's death shortly after, the newly installed Praetor Tal'Aura allowed Starfleet and Klingon vessels to cross the zone to lend aid to the collapsing infrastructure. The first joint task force was led by Captain William T. Riker and the USS Titan. Captain Riker and Admiral Leonard James Akaar were sent to Romulus to deal with the ever mounting problems of the Empire, including the plight of the Remans. An agreement was eventually reached which made the Remans a protectorate of the Klingon Empire. (TNG movie: Star Trek Nemesis; TTN novel: Taking Wing)

In 2384, Starfleet dispatched additional ships to patrol the Neutral Zone due to the ongoing Romulan governmental crisis, considering it a threat to Federation national security. (STO website: The Path to 2409)

Hobus and aftermath

In 2387, Starfleet ordered every available vessel to cross the Neutral Zone to render humanitarian aid in the crisis sparked by the destruction of Romulus and Remus in the Hobus supernova. Several of these ships were attacked by the Narada under Captain Nero, who blamed the Federation, among others, for the loss of his wife Mandana and their unborn son in the disaster. Starfleet dispatched additional vessels across the Zone to fly escort for relief vessels.

On stardate 73963.51 (2396) the USS Cochrane was on assignment to monitor the Neutral Zone when Captain T'Vix, her first officer, and her chief of security were removed from their posts. The Cochrane was recalled to Earth Spacedock and her crew dispersed among a dozen other posts. (STO website: The Path to 2409)

T'Vix was later revealed in STO mission: "Facility 4028" to have been replaced by an Undine, Inmate 98639.

In 2400, Commander Harry Kim was appointed as chief of security for Starbase 11, with part of his assignment being to improve the defenses at outposts along the Neutral Zone. (STO website: The Path to 2409)

Locations in the Zone

Romulan Neutral Zone on a Beta Quadrant star chart.

Star systems


See also



External link

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