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Old April 30 2014, 03:59 PM   #16
Mojomoe
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Re: Star Trek Online timeline divergence

Exactly, it's a fun mental exercise to see if you can trace the source events. Even though it would end up being a hypothesis that is neither testable nor disprovable . I'm still keen to trace a single source event as the start, if that's even possible. Not having read the Mirror U books, but didn't ENT paint Zephram Cochrane as the divergent agent in the primary Mirror Universe? Though I never understood his need to shoot poor Solkar.

...so wait, fluidic space is a constant across all multiverses...? That's... interesting. Meaning there's only ONE 8472/Undine, invading all the timelines...? That's a lot to wrap my head around.

As for the Gorn, is the planetary loss you discuss the one in Seize the Fire? You're suggesting that might have caused the genetic discrepancies we see by 2401?

Also, Markonian - how far back would you need to draw a divergent event to explain the Elachi?
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Old April 30 2014, 04:12 PM   #17
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Re: Star Trek Online timeline divergence

Christopher, you bring up further good points about the nature of game narratives in general.

It's long been my assumption, playing strongly narrative based games (Metal Gear Solid, Uncharted) that there are "canon" events within the game's story, and player-driven or game conceit events that should be ignored. If its not mentioned when you get to the next cutscene, it didn't "really happen" within the game - as in, were a book written about the game's story (which many have been), the player hopping around in a corner, or carrying several hundred items, would be omitted.

That's the way I look at STO, which admittedly would be giving it too much credit if it didn't also manage to create a reasonably compelling game universe and continuity all its own. To speak to your points, I'd assume *someone*, possibly multiple someones l, completed all those in-game missions. Ships are normal-sized and officers don't have massive inventories. However, much like NuTrek, there is a rash tendency to promote officers young (perhaps not AS young as shown) and the fleet is a little more slapdash and cavalier - a return to the 'wild west' of TOS maybe?

It certainly can't be looked at as 100% hard canon, to be sure. That's silly. But, just as Mass Effect creates a very compelling narrative if one ignores all the small player mistakes or game conceits, so does STO create a reasonably compelling vision of the 25 th century that is at least internally consistent, and fascinating in the amount of canon and soft-canon research put into making it so, which is what intrigues me .
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Old April 30 2014, 04:13 PM   #18
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Re: Star Trek Online timeline divergence

Mojomoe wrote: View Post
Not having read the Mirror U books, but didn't ENT paint Zephram Cochrane as the divergent agent in the primary Mirror Universe? Though I never understood his need to shoot poor Solkar.
No, that wasn't the point of divergence. Phlox's dialogue in Part 2 of "In a Mirror, Darkly" made it clear that Mirror Earth had a more violent history at least as far back as Shakespeare, and implicitly far longer. The Cochrane scene was just meant to show how the more violent humans of Mirror Earth reacted differently to First Contact.



...so wait, fluidic space is a constant across all multiverses...? That's... interesting. Meaning there's only ONE 8472/Undine, invading all the timelines...? That's a lot to wrap my head around.
See Myriad Universes: Infinity's Prism: Places of Exile by yours truly.

And in my take there's only one Species 8472/Groundskeepers being invaded by Borg from many different timelines, and reacting defensively. STO's more violent interpretation is one reason I'm reluctant to accept it as an alternate timeline of the novelverse.
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Old April 30 2014, 09:33 PM   #19
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Re: Star Trek Online timeline divergence

Sci wrote: View Post
Instead of thinking of them as branching rivers, think of them more as parallel rivers that follow similar courses but never actually intersected.
"Sounds like my parents in bed." - Arnold Rimmer
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Old April 30 2014, 10:00 PM   #20
Enterprise1701
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Re: Star Trek Online timeline divergence

STO and the novelverse can't be considered different realities within the same multiverse unless you also potentially consider pre-1990s Star Trek novels, the DC comics, etc as different quantum realities within the same multiverse. Just think of all the ways that physics, species, etc are different between STO and the novelverse such as how it would be impossible in STO for fluidic space to be a multiversal singularity or for the progenitor humanoids to be the Preservers in the novelverse. The way I see it, The Needs of the Many's reference to the Borg Invasion of 2381 is only a reference to a timeline similar the novelverse in the STO multiverse. Heck, is The Needs of the Many even compatible with the game? It doesn't even have anything about the Iconians!

Now if you do consider the novelverse and STO to be in the same multiverse, here are some other things to consider:
The Iconians in the novelverse and STO are totally different. In the former they are 2.5-meter tall haired humanoids who may or may not have been despotic conquerors. In the latter they are human-sized, have glowing blue skin, and have been plotting all 24th century and possibly even earlier to re-conquer the Milky Way Galaxy. So that probably puts the divergence at least before circa 200,000 B.C.E.
The Tholians in STO are technology-hungry and steal ships from other realities and the future because apparently the Tholian Assembly's space has weak walls of reality. In the novelverse the Tholian Chronological Defense Corps has been patrolling the timeline for centuries. And I don't see how STO could integrate the Shedai into the Tholian backstory.
In STO the Na'kuhl contacted the Klingons at some point and told them the location of a "doomsday machine" in failed hopes of gaining their loyalty. That's how B'Vat got his planet killer.
In the novelverse Antaak's son (ordinary 23rd century Klingon) was the one who devised the cure for the Qu'Vat virus. In STO it was the temporally-displaced Miral Paris whose blood provided the cure.
According to The Needs of the Many, MACO still exists in the 25th century. In the novelverse MACO was integrated into the Federation Starfleet upon its inception.
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Old May 1 2014, 12:12 AM   #21
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Re: Star Trek Online timeline divergence

Enterprise1701 wrote: View Post
STO and the novelverse can't be considered different realities within the same multiverse unless you also potentially consider pre-1990s Star Trek novels, the DC comics, etc as different quantum realities within the same multiverse.
I have no problem with that.

I mean, in an infinite multiverse, literally anything is possible. Including this.
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Old May 1 2014, 02:09 AM   #22
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Re: Star Trek Online timeline divergence

Mr. Laser Beam wrote: View Post
Enterprise1701 wrote: View Post
STO and the novelverse can't be considered different realities within the same multiverse unless you also potentially consider pre-1990s Star Trek novels, the DC comics, etc as different quantum realities within the same multiverse.
I have no problem with that.

I mean, in an infinite multiverse, literally anything is possible. Including this.
Including the laws of physics?
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Old May 1 2014, 01:29 PM   #23
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Re: Star Trek Online timeline divergence

Enterprise1701 wrote: View Post
Mr. Laser Beam wrote: View Post
Enterprise1701 wrote: View Post
STO and the novelverse can't be considered different realities within the same multiverse unless you also potentially consider pre-1990s Star Trek novels, the DC comics, etc as different quantum realities within the same multiverse.
I have no problem with that.

I mean, in an infinite multiverse, literally anything is possible. Including this.
Including the laws of physics?
Yes, in the multiverse anything goes. Presumably, we primarily meet Federation-dominated universes because they're in our universal neighborhood.

There are known universes where laws of physics are different, including: Fluidic Space, Megas and Elysia, the X-Men's world, etc.

Inclusion and exclusion into an overarching multiverse by judging the production medium is arbitrary. So, live-action and novelverse can be one but games not? What about the Star Trek: Armada timeline - not part of our universe?
What about the RPGs, SOTL, comics, animation?
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Old May 1 2014, 02:16 PM   #24
Christopher
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Re: Star Trek Online timeline divergence

Markonian wrote: View Post
Yes, in the multiverse anything goes. Presumably, we primarily meet Federation-dominated universes because they're in our universal neighborhood.
Doesn't work that way. The conceit is that in an infinite multiverse, every possible combination of things is bound to happen, so even something as absurdly unlikely as a universe that duplicates the history of Earth and other worlds exactly despite having subtly different laws of physics is bound to happen somewhere. But the corollary that's usually overlooked is that, in an infinite multiverse, the chances of ever reaching or detecting any given universe are one over infinity, which equals zero. So sure, you can argue as an exercise in sophistry that such a universe must exist, but if you're talking about universes that are actually reachable, then the probability that those universes include such a coincidental parallel is zero. If you're talking about universes that can actually interact, then it's cheating to fall back on the "infinity" excuse, because you're not dealing with an infinite set there. You can't have it both ways.

So we have to limit it to universes that have a reasonable probability of existing. And that means that if they have different laws of physics, they couldn't have duplicates of anything we'd recognize from our universe, and conversely if they do have duplicate Earths or Enterprises or whatever, they must be parallel timelines branched off from the Prime universe and therefore must share identical physics and a common history before the point of divergence.


Inclusion and exclusion into an overarching multiverse by judging the production medium is arbitrary. So, live-action and novelverse can be one but games not? What about the Star Trek: Armada timeline - not part of our universe?
What about the RPGs, SOTL, comics, animation?
I don't see the need to bother rationalizing those things as parts of an "infinite multiverse." I mean, again, even if you buy the premise that all things must exist in an infinite reality, the odds of reaching any given one are zero, so they cannot be said to exist in any practical or functional sense. They're still completely separate and isolated from the main fictional universe and interaction is impossible. So what difference does it make? What's wrong with just letting them be stories?
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Old May 1 2014, 10:32 PM   #25
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Re: Star Trek Online timeline divergence

Markonian wrote: View Post
Enterprise1701 wrote: View Post
Mr. Laser Beam wrote: View Post

I have no problem with that.

I mean, in an infinite multiverse, literally anything is possible. Including this.
Including the laws of physics?
Yes, in the multiverse anything goes. Presumably, we primarily meet Federation-dominated universes because they're in our universal neighborhood.

There are known universes where laws of physics are different, including: Fluidic Space, Megas and Elysia, the X-Men's world, etc.

Inclusion and exclusion into an overarching multiverse by judging the production medium is arbitrary. So, live-action and novelverse can be one but games not? What about the Star Trek: Armada timeline - not part of our universe?
What about the RPGs, SOTL, comics, animation?
Firstly, fluidic space and Elysia aren't different quantum realities. The best term for them would be pocket dimensions. Every quantum reality would have their own pocket dimensions. And secondly, you mistake me for referring to real-life laws of physics. I'm talking about Star Trek laws of physics, which aren't always realistic but have to have some consistency for Star Trek to be coherent fiction. For instance in the novelverse fluidic space is some kind of multiversal singularity. There is only 1 fluidic space that interacts with all the different quantum realities in the novelverse. Star Trek Online and other works by contrast have no such concept and judging from their descriptions of temporal/quantum physics, they portray fluidic space as a pocket dimension with every quantum reality/timeline having its own fluidic space. So then how can STO and the novelverse be in the same multiverse? Or standalone comic series like Assimilation2 or Legion of Superheroes? In those works' multiverses, the laws of transdimensional physics are different.

For instance let's say that there's a Star Trek/Star Wars crossover. And in it, it is stated that all along in any quantum reality: the novelverse, Star Trek Online, Doctor Who, Legion of Super-Heroes, etc it is indeed possible for the Force to exist in that non-Star Wars reality if someone time-travels to the dawn of time and prevents some cataclysm of midi-chlorians. Would you want that?

Or let's say this: in some upcoming novelverse Q work, Q observes someone playing a holoprogram that is similar to the real-life Star Wars franchise. And somehow in a rare moment of pure honesty, Q says, "Psh. Microscopic organisms exist to allow humans and other beings supernatural powers? What garbage. I have traveled to an unfathomable numbers of places. Physics is nothing like that!" And then the Star Wars/Star Trek crossover happens. How would you reconcile that? Say that there are quantum realities in the multiverse that are completely and utterly unknown to Q?

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Old May 1 2014, 11:38 PM   #26
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Re: Star Trek Online timeline divergence

Enterprise1701 wrote: View Post
[Firstly, fluidic space and Elysia aren't different quantum realities. The best term for them would be pocket dimensions. Every quantum reality would have their own pocket dimensions.
Well, no; that would be true of Elysia, but fluidic space is a pretty good example of an actual separate universe with differing physical laws. For one thing, it would need a very high cosmological constant/dark energy force to counteract the gravity of a fluid-filled universe and keep it from collapsing in on itself.


And secondly, you mistake me for referring to real-life laws of physics. I'm talking about Star Trek laws of physics, which aren't always realistic but have to have some consistency for Star Trek to be coherent fiction. For instance in the novelverse fluidic space is some kind of multiversal singularity. There is only 1 fluidic space that interacts with all the different quantum realities in the novelverse.
The idea in Places of Exile is that, since fluidic space is a separate universe altogether, it exists independently of the multiple quantum states of our universe. Also, because its physics are different, it resists splitting into alternates even when it interacts (and therefore quantum-correlates) with ours. Basically there's so much interaction among its more abundant and densely packed particles that any macroscopic superposition of states is damped out before it can spread, so any timelines that might potentially branch off collapse within nanoseconds.


Star Trek Online and other works by contrast have no such concept and judging from their descriptions of temporal/quantum physics, they portray fluidic space as a pocket dimension with every quantum reality/timeline having its own fluidic space. So then how can STO and the novelverse be in the same multiverse?
They can't. We're just different storytellers coming up with different interpretations of a fictional concept.

Although if you wanted to play the "soft canon" card, you could say that one version or the other was using poetic license in its portrayal of fluidic space, or just plain getting it wrong. So you could argue that the two versions were more or less imperfect representations of actual parallel timelines. But if you're going to resort to the Literary Agent Hypothesis, to claim that something is a story based on "actual" events in some reality, why not just treat it as a story, period?


Or standalone comic series like Assimilation2 or Legion of Superheroes? In those works' multiverses, the laws of transdimensional physics are different.
Or the Trek/X-Men crossovers Marvel did. I see things like that as simply "imaginary stories," literary thought experiments. It's generally problematical to cross over different SF or fantasy franchises, because they have such different physics, cosmologies, and histories. Any such stories almost always gloss over the contradictions and continuity problems they create. (For instance, we know that Star Trek is a work of fiction within the Marvel Universe and the Doctor Who universe, so how could characters from those universes cross over into the actual Star Trek universe at all, let alone not recognize it as a fictional world?)
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Old May 2 2014, 07:33 PM   #27
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Re: Star Trek Online timeline divergence

Christopher wrote: View Post
What's wrong with just letting them be stories?
Exactly. This is a viewpoint I find myself coming back to more and more. Are these stories any less enjoyable if they're not in continuity with one another?
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Old May 2 2014, 09:23 PM   #28
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Re: Star Trek Online timeline divergence

In STO, Fluidic Space is a single universe with no parallel continuities. There's no contradiction to the novelverse.
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Old May 2 2014, 10:48 PM   #29
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Re: Star Trek Online timeline divergence

^ I think the contradiction is that they're both single continuums, just different continuums - one is more aggressive - making them incompatible.

I do recognize the sentiment - "why not let them be stories?" Which is completely valid for some people. I can only answer for myself, and it's that the larger interconnected nature of the universe being worked on by so many different minds is what compels me about Trek Lit, and what is so disappointing to see dismissed in the Star Wars EU.

Were I to do so philosophically and not aggressively, I could ask the same question of the Trek Lit stories that we all read and love. Why have them be interconnected at all, and not separate? For me, it's the interconnectedness that makes them special.

That's what I find intriguing about the question of the point of divergence for STO. The game itself is rather slapdash and fairly clunky, and the stories are often delivered poorly, but I'm continually amazed at how much research has gone into them and what huge fans of even the smallest bit of continuity the developers are. The universe, whether it's one's cup of tea or not, is amazingly consistent - very much unlike many other licensed interactive products - and aside from these few inconsistencies which are correctly being called out - could very possibly be rationalized as a parallel history. The same can simply not be said of the Star Trek /X-Men crossover, to pick one example.
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Old May 2 2014, 11:02 PM   #30
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Re: Star Trek Online timeline divergence

I'll also point out that the soft-canon approach, or "Spockam's Razor," is what I'm falling back on intellectually here:

The incompatibilities that have been stated for STO are the fact that it generally ignores much of the DS9 Relaunch, and Destiny apparently never happened - things that have had attention drawn to them, and almost seem to be calling for someone to explain away. They're primary elements, dealing with major series events.

The things that have been cited as incompatible - namely the Elachi and the Undine - are - well, I'll admit. They're both minor events - both in the game and in their respective source series - and they're areas of the game that despite playing for 2-3 years, I haven't even encountered. Right now I'd called them 'bonus content.'

It seems like a slightly extreme measure to call the entire series incompatible based on the discrepancies between two minor species - as much as it would have been to call Titan and the rest of the Trek Lit universe incompatible because of different statements about Ogawa :P What seems more likely in this case is to treat the universe-at-large compatible where possible, and the smaller stuff can be left to 'artistic differences.'

Unless, of course, there's a way to find a point of divergence that explains away such things ...
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