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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Star Trek TV Series > The Next Generation

The Next Generation All Good Things come to an end...but not here.

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Old May 21 2013, 07:20 PM   #16
Pavonis
Commodore
 
Re: Will & Thomas

Taking the topic a bit too seriously, R. Star. It's an idle thought.

Would a transporter duplicate have the legal right to claim the William Riker persona? Or would he be considered an accident, and be legally summarily corrected (i.e., executed)?

Obviously, the humane thing to do would be what was done - get him back on his feet and send him on his way. I'm just wondering what his legal status would be. With all the weird technologies and demi-god aliens in Trek, would the judicial and legislative systems of the Federation have some kind of precedents to refer to in the case of duplicate beings, at least those that aren't clones? What kind of weird laws might be on the books in the Federation, where transporters can either split a person into "good" and "evil" beings, or duplicate them wholesale? With all the presumably millions of people transporting every day (it really is the safest way to travel, Reg), there must be a few similar accidents occurring yearly, or at least every decade. What would happen legally to these "people"?

Just an idle thought that crossed my mind. Don't assume I'm some racist douchebag because of it.
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Old May 21 2013, 08:22 PM   #17
Silvercrest
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Location: Lost in Moria (Arlington, WA, USA)
Re: Will & Thomas

Even if there were laws covering duplicate people, I think first you'd have to prove which one was the duplicate.

Just because one Riker made it back to the ship doesn't automatically make him the original. I haven't seen the episode in a while, but I don't recall that it makes that point explicit. The only reason they treated Will as the original is that he had a history with Starfleet during that time, and Tom didn't.

Unless there's some other way of proving it, then I'd say, yes, Tom had as much legal right to claim the persona as Will did. At least until someone wrote a new law to cover it.

Is there a way of proving that someone's not the original? If there is, then Harry Kim would be in for a hard time when Voyager got back.
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Old May 22 2013, 04:31 AM   #18
Mutai Sho-Rin
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Re: Will & Thomas

R. Star wrote:

So you're really arguing that because someone is different than everyone else, they have no fundamental rights to be alive, to have an identity and personal freedoms? It doesn't matter if he was born out of a womb, in a testtube or a transporter accident. Once he's alive, he's a person. May as well say he's less of a person because of the color of his skin.
OK, enough of the extreme over-reacting. This is beyond silly.
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Old May 22 2013, 01:45 PM   #19
Marsden
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Re: Will & Thomas

^I think that's his stock answer for transporter accidents, he said about the same thing in the Tuvix threads.


I think the one that returned to the ship was considered the "original" because whenever someone, anyone, beams up the others don't all say, " are you the original or is that copy on the surface the original" In other less silly words, you beam up, it's you. There's no doubt, it's still you. Also, when Thomas materialized, the people on the ship didn't know. So they were both the original at that time. But then one continued on like normal and the other live a lonely and harsh time just trying to survive. To the prospective of his peers, Riker was just Riker, then the other Riker was discovered much later. Will never left and Thomas was marooned, except for the duplication, it isn't much different than if just another officer was marooned, no one would come back the same from that ordeal. So Will gets back first, therefore in the logic of this episode, he is the "original" although I reject that myself because by the same logic if both materialised on the pad, then they would both be original.

You really have to wonder about the transporter with episodes like this, Tuvix, Unatural Selection, and some others.

Some of the posts in the Tuvix thread implied that everytime the transporter beams someone it actually kills them and creates a copy.

Then in Unatural Selection they take a page out of the animated series book (Counter Clock Incident) and use it to fix everyone.

But, in it's basic function, the transporter is a disintegrator. But it does it carefully and with the intent to reintegrate the person at another destination. So the person is matter and is converted to energy to "beam" them to the destination. The transporter carefully stores a pattern to put the person back together from the energy of the original disintigration. What if you just keep adding energy? You could make copies of everyone. Need security? Beam up 7 Worfs, and they can all get knocked on their asses. I think there is a saftey of a sort to prevent that, but we all know computer programs can be modified. It's quite a subject, really.
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Old May 22 2013, 04:19 PM   #20
Silvercrest
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Re: Will & Thomas

Yeah, that's what I mean. There's no particular reason Will should be considered the original except from the perspective of his peers. If there were still people on the ground when Tom rematerialized there, he'd have witnesses and people ready to argue that he was the original.

And after all, what if the entire beam was reflected and just one Riker materialized on the ground? If getting through to the ship is what defines the original, does that mean he's not? I doubt he would be considered a copy merely because he didn't make it to the ship. (That is: any more than anyone else is considered a copy by screwy transporter logic.)
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Old May 22 2013, 06:05 PM   #21
Pavonis
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Re: Will & Thomas

Tom Riker was the result of a freak interaction between the ttansporter's confinement beam and the planet's unique force field. Presumably, doubling the confinement beam is an unusual procedure. In this case, the transport subject, Will Riker, made it through with just one of the beams. The other was "discarded" by the transporter operator. I assume that normally a discarded confinement beam just dissipates. This time, though, it interacted with the planet's doohickey field, and directly caused the materialization of Tom Riker. That's why I think Tom could be considered the duplicate, while Will is the "original".

The subject that makes it through a normal transport cycle is considered the same person in Trek. Tom did not make it through a normal transport cycle, and it wasn't a failed transport, either. Since both Rikers had the same mass, one of them had to get his mass from somewhere else. I assume the transporter's interaction with the planet's doohickey field caused the energy of the field to be converted to mass, which materialized as Tom Riker. Will Riker's original mass made it through to the ship. Hence, Tom is a duplicate, while Will is not.
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Old May 22 2013, 08:28 PM   #22
Silvercrest
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Location: Lost in Moria (Arlington, WA, USA)
Re: Will & Thomas

I can see that. Then he might have either a "confinement duplicate" tag assigned by the transporter to keep things straight, or his mass might read unusually to sensors due to its source. In either case they could legally prove he's a duplicate.

What happens then (legally) is anyone's guess. But apparently duplicated humans are authorized to hold rank in Starfleet, or they wouldn't have returned him to duty. So duplicates have at least as many rights as Data has.
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Old May 22 2013, 09:21 PM   #23
Pavonis
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Re: Will & Thomas

I'm still surprised that Tom was just shipped off to another posting like it was no big deal. Even if he wasn't a transporter duplicate, the fact that he'd been stranded alone for eight years should have earned him some medical leave. Surely he can't be considered fit for duty!

Then there's the lab specimen aspect of his existence. You'd think transporter experts would want to study his accident, and medical doctors would want to examine him more closely - is he really a perfect duplicate?

And what about the paperwork side? Is he issued a new, separate birth certificate? What's Tom's date of birth, anyway? Is it the same as Will's, or is it the date of the accident? Is Tom entitled to half of Will's estate, whatever that may be?
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Old May 22 2013, 11:02 PM   #24
Silvercrest
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Location: Lost in Moria (Arlington, WA, USA)
Re: Will & Thomas

On your first point: it doesn't really bear scrutiny but I just took it as a given to prove that he has some legal rights.

On your second point: Starfleet scientists are probably overwhelmed with all the mysterious artifacts, Borg technology, and dead aliens the Enterprise keeps sending back. When the topic of "duplicate human" came up, they put their hands over their ears and went, "LA LA LA!"

Not to mention that they're conducting witch-hunts for Changelings, Augments, and Dr. Bashir. Starfleet Security might have clamped a lid on this one immediately.

On your third point: As posted earlier, there are probably lots of weird Federation laws on the books. If there weren't before, they wrote some new ones after this.
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