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Deep Space Nine What We Left Behind, we will always have here.

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Old June 2 2014, 05:17 AM   #1
Albertese
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Interesting Detail in "Past Tense"

I'm rewatching DS9 for the first time since the 90s. I noticed an interesting detail in the alternate timeline created by the early death of Gabriel Bell.

O'Brien says that closest subspace activity is a Romulan signal from Alpha Centauri. This got me thinking about the alternate history that would have lead to that situation.

Sisko earlier tells Bashir that the Bell Riots begin a wave of reforms that helped turn around the American economy. I imagine that without those reforms, America fairs much worse in the upcoming WWIII, which alters conditions for Zepheram Chochrane that make his warp-flight experiments happen at another time (or not at all) which prevents first contact with the Vulcan and makes Earth not be involved with interstellar activities, making the Romulans fight their war against a different enemy (Andorians? Tellarites? whoever...) and win, thus giving them control of the sector for the next few hundred years.

Has anyone else thought about this sequence? What series of events can you imagine between the absence of the Bell Riots and a 24th Century with Romulans being the only high-tech civilization within four lightyears of Earth?

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Old June 2 2014, 11:26 AM   #2
Timo
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Re: Interesting Detail in "Past Tense"

It might also be that without the Bell Riots, America as seen in the episode would be much stronger and pursue a more aggressive foreign policy, plunging her into a much more devastating WWIII. Or, alternatively, more prosperous and unlikely to contribute to WWIII or indeed allow it to happen, meaning Zep Cochrane would never get funding for harebrained experiments of potential but very far-fetched strategic significance, or an opportunity to toy with abandoned military hardware. So Earth does invent warp, but a few decades too late to catch Vulcan attention and perhaps divert Vulcans from a conflict with Romulus that the Surakists would lose.

It might also be that a civilization led by a nation still believing in Sanctuary Districts and the like would develop a warp drive and attain dominance of local space, but would be considered much more a threat to Vulcan than the apocalyptic ruin from which Cochrane's Phoenix rose. So Vulcans would bombard Earth (or assassinate key leaders, or otherwise destructively interfere, much as with Coridan) in the name of galactic security, and as the result be defeated first by Andorians and then by Romulans in wars that Archer's meddling would have avoided.

The thing is, 21st and 22nd century events of local interstellar significance tend to be pretty random affairs with major consequences. To start with, the butterfly effect could make things swing in different directions fairly easily when there is no single locally dominant culture. But add to that the odd significance that Earth holds in the greater scheme of things, possibly as the result of all sorts of powerful time travelers linking the history of the universe back to her, and you get an amplified butterfly effect from anything having to do with Earth.

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Old June 2 2014, 04:01 PM   #3
Tom
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Re: Interesting Detail in "Past Tense"

Well I would think it would be more the Klingons than the Romulans since their technically closer to Earth.
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Old June 2 2014, 07:25 PM   #4
Timo
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Re: Interesting Detail in "Past Tense"

It's difficult to tell who is the closest. Supposedly, Romulans are ancient refugees from Vulcan, and Vulcan is also very close to Earth... If ships in ye olden days were slower than today, Romulus might be right next door to Earth, really.

That is, Vulcan is the one alien world whose homestar has the strongest "semi-official" identity as a real star - 41 Eridani A, some 16 lightyears from here. Klingons are close, but probably much farther away than 16 lightyears because a detour of 15 lightyears was considered acceptable in the mission from Earth to Klingon space in "Broken Bow".

FWIW, the Romulan homestar in some novels (written by or borrowing from Diane Duane) is assumed to be 128 Trianguli, but that's not a real star. And Triangulum is a constellation that's all over the space in three dimensions, so there's no telling where a fictional "128" would fit in.

(Then again, Triangulum Australe or the Southern Triangle is a very compact constellation suitably close to Earth and even in the direction generally assumed for Romulan space, antispinward from Earth... If that's where the Romulan Star Empire lies, it's probably about 100-150 ly from Earth on the average. Is that closer or farther away than Klingon space? Search me. But amusingly, Alpha Centauri would indeed be between Earth and that general direction. And Gamma Hydra would be in that direction, too, at roughly that distance.)

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Old June 2 2014, 09:51 PM   #5
JirinPanthosa
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Re: Interesting Detail in "Past Tense"

Timo wrote: View Post
It might also be that without the Bell Riots, America as seen in the episode would be much stronger and pursue a more aggressive foreign policy, plunging her into a much more devastating WWIII. Or, alternatively, more prosperous and unlikely to contribute to WWIII or indeed allow it to happen, meaning Zep Cochrane would never get funding for harebrained experiments of potential but very far-fetched strategic significance, or an opportunity to toy with abandoned military hardware. So Earth does invent warp, but a few decades too late to catch Vulcan attention and perhaps divert Vulcans from a conflict with Romulus that the Surakists would lose.
Interesting, what makes you think that treating the poor like garbage would make the country stronger? That sounds like a FoxNews headline, but it's never really historically panned out that laissez faire economics has actually led to a stronger economy in the long term.

My explanation would be, with America continuing its laissez-faire policies, the self perpetuating wealth gap causes competition to be nonexistent and leading to a less self sufficient, educated, independent population save for a very small percentage of it. The economy never recovers, thus innovation stagnates and technology hasn't advanced enough for Cochrane to be able to invent warp drive.

Or maybe Zephram Cochrane was sent to a sanctuary district as a young child, so without the Bell Riots he spent his entire childhood there, never got any education, and thus never became a scientist.
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Old June 3 2014, 11:28 AM   #6
Timo
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Re: Interesting Detail in "Past Tense"

Interesting, what makes you think that treating the poor like garbage would make the country stronger?
It's the other way around: if a nation can afford to do that, it's probably quite well off and bullish for even more!

I mean, it takes investment and effort to set up concentration camps for the poor - probably not quite as much as building a welfare state to help them out, but still more than letting them contribute (positively or negatively) without oversight. A bearish market would be the one to pay attention to the needs of the poor, or at least lip service.

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Old June 3 2014, 09:20 PM   #7
JirinPanthosa
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Re: Interesting Detail in "Past Tense"

On the other hand, if the economy was particularly strong at any given moment, there wouldn't be need to spend a lot of money on dealing the the poor in the first place. It was pretty clear the economy was in really bad shape in 2024, because the number of poor and unemployed was referred to as being out of control. We heard stories of factories closing and jobs drying up, so it's clear the unemployment rate was extremely high.

Also by any metric, building huge cages and incarcerating people indefinitely is far more expensive than giving them sustenance income and cheap housing for a month or two. The sanctuary districts were never a true cost cutting measure but more getting them out of sight so they could be out of mind, and so the violent among them could rob each other, far away from our 'Good decent neighborhoods'.

Now I want to make a Youtube video now that shows FoxNews reacting to the Bell Riots, cut with scenes from DS9.
"Now, do these testimonials make you any more sympathetic for the people in Sanctuary districts?"
"No, not at all. We have to remember that these people wound up in these districts for a reason, because they're losers! If they weren't losers they would be trying to get jobs instead of asking for handouts."
"Yeah, I agree. This Gabriel Bell is nothing more than a glorified thug, and the military should be dealing with him as harshly as possible."
"And what about Brynner?"
"Brynner is a national traitor, and should be hung for helping these thugs spread their message!"
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Old June 3 2014, 10:40 PM   #8
Nebusj
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Re: Interesting Detail in "Past Tense"

JirinPanthosa wrote: View Post
Also by any metric, building huge cages and incarcerating people indefinitely is far more expensive than giving them sustenance income and cheap housing for a month or two.
That may be so, but organizations are always more willing to spend money on new hardware (including buildings) than they are on people (or on maintenance). I suspect it's an empire-building impulse; it's easy to get remembered as the person who built the Brooklyn Bridge, not so easy to be one of the people who kept it in good repair during the 70s.
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Old June 4 2014, 12:56 PM   #9
Timo
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Re: Interesting Detail in "Past Tense"

The sanctuary districts were never a true cost cutting measure
Which is my argument: if the US can afford them, it's a case of the nation buying luxury for the well-off, an action typical of an economy in an upswing.

The thing is, nations can be in an upswing even when there's major unemployment; all it takes is a suitably stratified society where different classes have what amounts to separate economies. The classic welfare states were built by nations on the postwar downswing, too, later reaping the benefits. And still later the costs, which just goes to show that economy and economic measures aren't necessarily temporally tightly connected.

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Old June 4 2014, 01:43 PM   #10
Bad Thoughts
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Re: Interesting Detail in "Past Tense"

Maybe it's simpler: Cochrane would have been the type to have been trapped in a sanctuary.
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