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Old April 19 2015, 03:05 AM   #1
Sran
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The DTI's Stance on the MU

What is the Department of Temporal Investigations' position regarding the Mirror Universe, specifically the ongoing interactions between the MU and the primary universe? Both sides have established safeguards to minimize tampering, but were any of these spurred by the DTI? Thanks!

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Old April 19 2015, 03:48 AM   #2
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Re: The DTI's Stance on the MU

I doubt the DTI cares, or even knows, what happens in the MU. That's an entire alternate universe, after all. The DTI is concerned about what happens in *its* universe, not any other.
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Old April 19 2015, 04:19 AM   #3
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Re: The DTI's Stance on the MU

What Mr. Laser Beam said; it's not a branched timeline, it's a completely separate reality. The DTI's only about time travel, and there's none involved in travel to and from the MU.
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Old April 19 2015, 04:24 AM   #4
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Re: The DTI's Stance on the MU

Idran wrote: View Post
What Mr. Laser Beam said; it's not a branched timeline, it's a completely separate reality. The DTI's only about time travel, and there's none involved in travel to and from the MU.
There actually was with the USS Defiant traveling back to 2155 on ENT, but in that case, it's not really all that clear whether that particular information ever made it back to the Prime universe or not during the various crossovers -- the DTI may still have no idea yet that this even occurred.
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Old April 19 2015, 04:35 AM   #5
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Re: The DTI's Stance on the MU

Leto_II wrote: View Post
Idran wrote: View Post
What Mr. Laser Beam said; it's not a branched timeline, it's a completely separate reality. The DTI's only about time travel, and there's none involved in travel to and from the MU.
There actually was with the USS Defiant traveling back to 2155 on ENT, but in that case, it's not really all that clear whether that particular information ever made it back to the Prime universe or not during the various crossovers -- the DTI may still have no idea yet that this even occurred.
Fair enough! I almost mentioned that, but I skipped over it because not only is it possible that the DTI doesn't know about that incident, but it's from 100 years before the DTI existed, and it's only time travel into the MU; there was no time travel within the Prime universe, so it's still not really in the DTI's jurisdiction.
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Old April 19 2015, 07:21 AM   #6
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Re: The DTI's Stance on the MU

Presumably, their official stance can be boiled down to 'It's a headache.'

But yeah, it probably falls out of their jurisdiction, because it's not particularly about time travel. It's an alternate timeline, but its present and the DTI's present are concurrent. Parallel lines, instead of trying to hop points on the timeline.
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Old April 19 2015, 03:19 PM   #7
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Re: The DTI's Stance on the MU

Idran wrote: View Post
What Mr. Laser Beam said; it's not a branched timeline, it's a completely separate reality.
That's a spurious distinction. Of course it's a branched timeline -- just a spontaneously occurring one like those seen in "Parallels" or Myriad Universes rather than one created by time travel. It has the same stars and planets, the same species and individuals, and many of the same past events, just happening a little differently. That's the very essence of a branched timeline. If it were an entirely separate universe, it would have entirely different stars, planets, and species, even different laws of physics.

Sure, if you invoke the "infinite universes" excuse, you can claim that any random combination of particles is bound to occur somewhere just by chance, so that there would be near-duplicate realities that weren't related by being branching timelines; but as I've pointed out before, the counterargument there is that if there were an infinite number of possibilities, the odds of reaching a given one would be infinitesimal. The fact that the Prime and Mirror Universes interact so frequently, on top of the persistent parallelisms between them despite their differences, just drives home that it has to be a closely associated quantum variation of the same physical universe, i.e. an alternate timeline.

I'm always bewildered by the assumption that a time travel-created branching is somehow a fundamentally different thing from a spontaneous branching. That's like saying that a lake created by a human-built dam is somehow fundamentally different from a lake created by a naturally occurring rockslide or something. Or that a piece of ice that comes from your freezer is a totally different substance from a piece of ice chipped off a glacier. The physics and properties are the same regardless of the difference in the causes.


DGCatAniSiri wrote: View Post
But yeah, it probably falls out of their jurisdiction, because it's not particularly about time travel. It's an alternate timeline, but its present and the DTI's present are concurrent. Parallel lines, instead of trying to hop points on the timeline.
Actually, I've shown in both my DTI novels that parallel timelines do fall under the DTI's jurisdiction. They handle anything involving time -- not just time travel, but parallel timelines, counseling time-displaced people (even those awoken from cryogenic stasis), you name it. Not everything they do has the same existential stakes as guarding against the rewriting of history.

After all, it's the Department of Temporal Investigations, not just Enforcement. That means learning all they can about any time-related matters, both to assess any potential threat and simply to gain further understanding of how time works and how to manage its risks. Alternate timelines are a part of that.
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Old April 19 2015, 05:18 PM   #8
Idran
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Re: The DTI's Stance on the MU

I guess my understanding of the time travel physics you introduced in DTI is mistaken? I thought that branches formed by time travel were more "unstable" in a sense, as they can overwrite or be overwritten fairly easily, while spontaneous branches had a more solid existence regardless of travel back and forth between them.

If nothing else, I suppose this gives me an excuse to reread WTC and refresh myself on this stuff
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Old April 19 2015, 05:30 PM   #9
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Re: The DTI's Stance on the MU

^A number of physicists have hypothesized that time is obdurate and doesn't want to be changed. In other words, an individual traveling back in time to prevent his next-door neighbor from being born will find his path obstructed by numerous obstacles in order to preserve the timeline. In the event that he manages to effect a change, something else will happen later to restore the proper flow of history.

Stephen King's novel 11/22/63 explores this topic extensively, as it features a high-school English teacher who travels back in time to learn the truth about and prevent President Kennedy's assassination. During his time in the past, the teacher also attempts to prevent his high school's janitor from being crippled by his drunken father and a young girl from being paralyzed by an errant gun shot--and discovers that the difficulty he encounters in making changes to the events in question is directly proportional to their significance.

He eventually succeeds in stopping Lee Harvey Oswald from shooting Kennedy (by killing Oswald himself), which causes significant changes to the timeline--including a series of earthquakes in California between November 22 and 23 that threaten to dump the West Coast into the Pacific Ocean. To his horror, he realizes that his meddling with events in the past likely resulted in the deaths of thousands of people who would have otherwise survived.

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Old April 19 2015, 05:58 PM   #10
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Re: The DTI's Stance on the MU

I know that theory, yeah, but I'm talking specifically about the timeline physics from the DTI novels.
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Old April 19 2015, 06:04 PM   #11
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Re: The DTI's Stance on the MU

Idran wrote: View Post
I guess my understanding of the time travel physics you introduced in DTI is mistaken? I thought that branches formed by time travel were more "unstable" in a sense, as they can overwrite or be overwritten fairly easily, while spontaneous branches had a more solid existence regardless of travel back and forth between them.
Well, yes, but they're just variations on the same underlying physics. They're both different quantum states of the same physical universe, but in the case of a timeline created by time travel, an entanglement is created between those states that can, in some circumstances, cause them to reconverge. So they're both the same thing at root, and they both follow the same laws of physics (because everything does), but one has an extra factor added that causes it to behave somewhat differently.

And there are circumstances where timelines created by time travel can be stable. The Abramsverse is stable because it was created via a one-way interaction, so the entanglement isn't mutual. The "Yesteryear" timeline is also stable judging from The Chimes at Midnight, but there must be some other factor responsible for that (I'm thinking it's because it's necessary to sustain the causal Moebius loop where Spock had to learn of his death as a child in order to prevent it).

Really, by all rights, all timelines should be permanently stable. The idea of a timeline being erased or collapsing is rather absurd; once two quantum states/timelines diverge, they rapidly diverge further and the odds of them ever coming together again shrink rapidly to zero -- sort of like the odds that the pieces of a pulverized sheet of glass would spontaneously reassemble themselves into an intact sheet of glass. So I had to invent an imaginary mechanism that operated against entropy in order to force two timelines back together, something that really shouldn't happen at all despite how "normal" it's shown to be in fiction. It really should be the exception, not the rule.
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Old April 19 2015, 06:54 PM   #12
Avro Arrow
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Re: The DTI's Stance on the MU

Sran wrote: View Post
Stephen King's novel 11/22/63 explores this topic extensively, as it features
Well, I'm glad I already read that book, so that I didn't just have all that spoiled for me in a thread unrelated to the book itself.

I know, I know, three and a half years old and all, but c'mon...
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Old April 19 2015, 07:11 PM   #13
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Re: The DTI's Stance on the MU

Avro Arrow wrote: View Post
Sran wrote: View Post
Stephen King's novel 11/22/63 explores this topic extensively, as it features
Well, I'm glad I already read that book, so that I didn't just have all that spoiled for me in a thread unrelated to the book itself.

I know, I know, three and a half years old and all, but c'mon...
Eh, I haven't read that book, but plan to at some point, and reading all that didn't bother me in the slightest. With my memory, 30 minutes from now I'll most likely forget all that anyway. Hell I'm not even out of the thread an some of the details are already getting fuzzy.

No joke.
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Old April 19 2015, 07:18 PM   #14
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Re: The DTI's Stance on the MU

Interesting question.


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Old April 19 2015, 07:19 PM   #15
Avro Arrow
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Re: The DTI's Stance on the MU

RandyS wrote: View Post
Eh, I haven't read that book, but plan to at some point, and reading all that didn't bother me in the slightest. With my memory, 30 minutes from now I'll most likely forget all that anyway. Hell I'm not even out of the thread an some of the details are already getting fuzzy.

No joke.
Yeah, it's possible I'm overly sensitive about this, since I'm generally an "avoid spoilers like the plague" type of person.

I'm still annoyed that I recently read a Game of Thrones season 4 spoiler, when I've only finished season 3... in something that was completely unrelated to GoT. So I guess I'm a little touchy about it!
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