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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 January 23 2014, 06:06 PM   #1
dg1379
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Can an immortal being still be killed?

I just watched "The Survivors" last night and was curious. If an immortal being, like the Douwd, can take any form it wants is it still capable of reassembling itself if there were a transporter malfunction? It is stated that if there is a transport problem the pattern will degrade and each atom scattered across the universe. Since clearly this alien can be transported, would scattering his atoms kill him?
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Old January 23 2014, 11:18 PM   #2
bigboojeg
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Re: Can an immortal being still be killed?

I don't think so. Being like him, Trelane, and Q don't abide to realities rules.
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Old January 24 2014, 01:35 AM   #3
treknician1701
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Re: Can an immortal being still be killed?

Everyone knows that any "Immortal" being isn't really immortal, just with such a long lifespan, that it seems immortal. Being immortal, and being invincible are two separate things! Having both would be a good thing.
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Old January 25 2014, 12:16 AM   #4
JirinPanthosa
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Re: Can an immortal being still be killed?

By the literal definition of the word it means you can't die. In scifi it usually means you don't die of natural causes but you can be killed in other ways.

It wasn't clear whether Uxbridge was an energy being taking a physical form or a very powerful physical being. I'd say physical beings can be killed that way but energy beings like Q can't.
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Old January 25 2014, 12:27 AM   #5
dg1379
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Re: Can an immortal being still be killed?

That's what I was thinking. Q is an energy being so I doubt he would even allow himself to be transported. Uxbridge actually being a physical form would probably die.
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Old January 25 2014, 01:26 AM   #6
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Re: Can an immortal being still be killed?

I think ending all of spacetime might do the trick.

In fiction, generally there is usually some secret formula or procedure that breaks immortality and allows the death of an immortal. Like for Q: convince the rest of the Continuum to strip his powers from him, and then he can die from an infected paper cut.
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Old January 25 2014, 02:34 AM   #7
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Re: Can an immortal being still be killed?

Can mortal beings be killed in Star Trek? I mean, all you have to do is initiate temporal transport, beam their brain out a moment before their death, beam it into a new body and have Dr. Crusher do her job. She resurrected three long-dead people in Season 1, so apparently nobody is really dead as long as freezing or time travel are at your disposal. We can never know if people really died.

Call me cruel and immoral, but if I had a transporter and time travel at my hands, all I would do the whole day would be taking historical figures at their death to my place and showing them the fruits of their work. Just like Q liked to do.
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Old January 25 2014, 03:02 AM   #8
Geoff Peterson
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Re: Can an immortal being still be killed?

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Old January 25 2014, 07:03 AM   #9
Mojochi
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Re: Can an immortal being still be killed?

If by mortality we mean being perishable. Humans are perishable. They age & eventually become nonviable at which point they decay. Q do not, but that by no means is to suggest that a Q could be immune from some outer force destroying it. The case we've seen specifically is due to the actions of other Q. I get the sense that the Q could dispatch Uxbridge too if they were so inclined

Being all powerful & being of supreme power aren't the same. We've seen creatures which posses all the imaginable powers, but to my recollection, none of them possess supreme power which went unchecked. They always had a force more powerful than them, i.e Q vs the Continuum, or Trelane vs, his parents. Uxbridge wasn't shown to have a force more powerful than him, but his powers were easily lesser than a Q

Being capable of loss of life & being designed to expire are two different things in this sense. We've seen countless beings that are not designed to expire. Hell, Data could have even been one of them, but his life could still be taken, by some force greater than him, but ultimately nothing in the universe is immortal, because the universe itself is mortal
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Old January 25 2014, 08:34 PM   #10
treknician1701
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Re: Can an immortal being still be killed?

What about that war that was going on in that "Voyager" episode, there were members of the "Q" that were killed in that one. Really, when you think about it, nothing lasts forever.

not really.
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Old January 26 2014, 02:19 PM   #11
BillJ
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Re: Can an immortal being still be killed?

Redjac was destroyed while inhabiting a human body during "A Wolf in the Fold" (TOS).
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Old January 26 2014, 02:59 PM   #12
Green Shirt
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Re: Can an immortal being still be killed?

BillJ wrote: View Post
Redjac was destroyed while inhabiting a human body during "A Wolf in the Fold" (TOS).
Yeah, but it was Tigger's body.
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Old January 26 2014, 03:16 PM   #13
Christopher
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Re: Can an immortal being still be killed?

As a rule, the word "immortal" is rarely used literally. Indeed, it can't be literally defined; you can never truly say that someone will never die, just that they haven't died yet. So generally it's used to mean a being that doesn't undergo aging and natural death the way most beings do. But it's usually assumed that such immortal beings can be killed by at least certain acts of violence. The classic example is vampires; they're theoretically able to live forever, but only if they avoid stakes to the heart, decapitation, sunlight, garlic, holy water, or a bunch of other things they're vulnerable to. (Although the sunlight thing was coined by the silent movie Nosferatu; vampires before that, and some since, have been unharmed by sunlight.)

Although there are various classes of immortal character. Some just live indefinitely unless they fall prey to deadly violence, like Tolkien elves. Others have regenerative ability that lets them heal completely from otherwise mortal wounds, like Flint, Vandal Savage, the Immortals of Highlander, or Wolverine (although it's unclear whether he's truly immortal or just slow-aging; he does have gray hair in "Days of Future Past"). But generally it's assumed that an extreme enough injury would be terminal, such as in the case of decapitation or being blown up for a Highlander immortal. Then there are the extreme cases like Captain Jack Harkness of Doctor Who/Torchwood where absolutely nothing can kill them; Jack even comes back from being blown to pieces. Or Demona and Macbeth from Gargoyles, who are cursed so that neither can die from any cause unless one of them kills the other.

In short, some "immortals" are more immortal than others, so the answer to the title question is "It depends."
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Old January 26 2014, 03:41 PM   #14
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Re: Can an immortal being still be killed?

Yup, "immortal" and "invulnerable" are two different things.
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