Cause and Effect - why didn't they...

Discussion in 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' started by King Daniel Beyond, Jul 16, 2013.

  1. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    The big problem here is in the concept of the time loop, not in our heroes' treatment of it. The loop must be nearly unavoidable by definition, or else it would not exist.

    1) If the loop depends on this super-accurate collision with a fellow starship, then it must follow that the collision is going to happen no matter what course the E-D takes, although perhaps within certain limits. If changes in course were relevant, then the random fluctuations of the loop would preclude the collision most of the time, and there could be no loop. Somehow, the E-D must be a disaster magnet, causing the Bozeman to pop out of the past at the exact millisecond and location that will result in a collision, regardless of where the E-D herself is and when. Although, I guess, still within the Typhon Expanse... (But the ship isn't allowed to leave the Expanse - her orders are to study it. And if it eats starships, then all the more reason to poke around and make the area secure for further visitors!)

    2) If our heroes knew the above, they should not worry about course changes, but they should worry about ways to survive an unavoidable collision. And this is indeed the conclusion they reach in the discussion. However, the heroes in each of the loops, even the final one, are unaware that there is going to be a super-accurate collision with a fellow starship. All they know in the very final loop is that they are going to die in a collision with something, perhaps an unavoidably large object or entity. That's in some ways even less reason to think that changing the course will change the future - but in other ways, it gives hope, as the concept of a "safe course" might still theoretically exist. The episode as written makes good sense if the heroes assume the collision will be with a small object, though, even if they never voice this sentiment.

    3) The heroes don't even know when disaster is going to strike. Today? Tomorrow? Three years from now, as per the mysterious "signs of three"? Stopping to worry, to launch probes, or otherwise prevaricate, is unthinkable in those circumstances; Starfleet officers can't afford to be paralyzed like that. And luckily the episode doesn't feature them immediately springing to rash action; rather, it has the disaster visit them again before there is time to decide between action and inaction.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  2. Tiberius

    Tiberius Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2005
    I get what you're saying, Timo, but the episode does not say in any way that changing course would not avoid the collision. All they say in the episode is:

    PICARD
    If you're right about this...
    perhaps we could escape the loop
    by avoiding the collision...

    GEORDI
    That's our guess.

    WORF
    Maybe we should reverse course.

    RIKER
    For all we know, reversing course
    might be what leads us into the
    crash.

    Picard thinks a moment, then shakes his head.

    PICARD
    We can't afford to start
    second-guessing ourselves. We'll
    stay on our present course until
    we have reason to change it.
    (beat)
    In the meantime, let's do
    everything we can to avoid a
    collision.

    They just somehow assume that changing course will do nothing. No explanation is giving for this decision. We can come up with fanwank explanations after the fact, but it doesn't matter. Our speculation isn't canon, and there's no logical reason why they shouldn't at least TRY. After all, what's the worst that could happen if it fails? They'll crash and get stuck in a repeating timeloop?
     
  3. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2012
    Location:
    Shangri-La
    I just always wonder if Morgan Bateson's ship was like the movie Down Periscope. :)
     
  4. Squiggy

    Squiggy FrozenToad Admiral

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2006
    Location:
    Trump Tower
    Don't hold your breath.
     
  5. Hartzilla2007

    Hartzilla2007 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2006
    Location:
    Star Trekkin Across the universe.
    Maybe it was because Worf suggested it and they never listen to Worf. :)
     
  6. Captain Ransom

    Captain Ransom Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2011
    Location:
    lost in the Delta Quadrant, I think
    These are a couple of my favorite TNG episodes - "Time Squared" and "Cause and Effect" (along with "Clues" and "Conundrum," among others).

    Or, we end up with "When the Bough Breaks... A Tragic Tale"

    If the worst were to happen, how would you explain to all the starfleet parents that you just send one section (lets say the one with all the day-care units) to its doom? =O

    You made me think of a question.

    By connecting the two ships with a tractor beam, did they allow for the Enterprise to experience the same repeating time loop that the Bozeman was caught in - and in the final "run-through" when they make it out, would they have died if they hadn't been successful, since they weren't connected by tractor beam?

    It could be like a combination of this episode with the repeating time loop and the Voyager episode where the crew and the ship are duplicated - we could end up with dozens of spare saucer sections and starfleet personnel !

    I got the feeling they were all morbidly curious to see what would happen if they just kept going. (Like I would have been >_>)

    Hahaha! I love this! I have to tell my boyfriend about this comment!

    That's true!
     
  7. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    But why should the Bozeman be in a time loop? We never got any indication that this ship would have been re-experiencing any events. All she ever did was emerge from the past to the late 24th century, at an unfortunate moment when there was a time-looping starship there right in front of them. The Bozeman would really only need to do that once.

    Cool idea anyway!

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  8. Captain Ransom

    Captain Ransom Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2011
    Location:
    lost in the Delta Quadrant, I think

    My original assumption must be wrong. For some reason, until just now, I always assumed the Bozeman was "stuck" sort of... "hovering?" in its own repeating time-loop outside of normal space, and could only have emerged with the aid of outside influence.

    Think "Night Terrors." I'm not confusing it with that- and I only know I'm not confusing it with it because I know the episode (Night Terrors) much too well, having watched it dozens of times (because the scene in sick bay is soo deliciously creepy, and because it is one of the few TNG episodes I own). My original thinking was just similar to the situation in Night Terrors - with the two ships aiding one another to escape the anomaly, and escape not being possible without two ships.

    I think the main reason I thought the Bozeman was in its own time-loop was because the timing seemed to be much too convenient - that the Bozeman would emerge just at the same moment the Enterprise was passing directly in front of its flight path.

    With the universe being so (supposedly) huge, one would think this event to be a bit more unlikely - but then... Janeway did run into the one other Federation ship in the Delta Quadrant, and also just happened to find the missile B'Elanna launched without permission as a Maquis, not to mention finding the Hadrosaurs still alive, well and much more evolved. But I digress... >_>

    Thank you so much for explaining that!
     
  9. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    I'm rather convinced the writers didn't think of it in those terms, if at all. But I personally think it works fine in a couple of alternate ways:

    1) The loop consists of the E-D fumbling around in the Typhon Expanse, and at some point hitting a zone that sucks in another starship from the past (also within the Expanse but not necessarily in the same spot) and spits it exactly at the E-D; the collision causes an explosion that resets things. In that version, the Bozeman does experience a loop, but it only lasts for a couple of seconds from their point of view, leaving them no chance to even observe that something might be amiss. And the E-D is a "disaster magnet" that tickles Typhon the exact right way to create perfect collisions every time.

    2) The loop consists of the E-D always going to the same spot of the Typhon Expanse where the local "natural feature" is a starship that has just arrived from the past. They collide with it and are flung a few days to the past, but the Bozeman really isn't; it has always been destined to emerge from the past at that time and in that spot, and only ever does it once (but it's an "once" that our heroes live multiple times). In that version, the E-D just happens to hit the "sweet spot" of collision-inducing space-time coordinates, perhaps because Starfleet regulations describe a standard way to maneuver within Typhon and to react to things off the starboard bow - so even if the E-D is a few minutes early or late or too much to port or up, the conn officer automatically adjusts the ship back to a specified "safe studying position" with respect to the mysterious phenomenon. And that "safe" position is the one that will cause the collision.

    There are no doubt other ways to introduce a "mechanism" that ensures collision despite the massive odds against it.

    Still loving the tractor beam idea, though.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  10. picsiskvinechef

    picsiskvinechef Lieutenant

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2013
    One thing I don't get is why nobody is leaving their post as Picard orders the crew to abandon ship. But then they died soon after that, so no court martial from Starfleet. :techman:
     
  11. Squiggy

    Squiggy FrozenToad Admiral

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2006
    Location:
    Trump Tower
    Because the ship blew up as he was ordering the crew to abandon ship.
     
  12. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2012
    Location:
    Shangri-La
    I would've liked it if they did change course in one of the loops and they still ended up running into the anomaly. Kinda like a fish hook that's already caught you, even if you can move around still before you get reeled in.
     
  13. Mojochi

    Mojochi Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2007
    I've always just assumed it was this. Not sure why. It just seems like the course of events will always lead back to the collision which resets the loop, & the phenomenon exists in both times, similar to the anomaly in All Good Things... I suppose there'd be more credence to it were there to have been a scene where the crew, knowing their fate, tried some wild ideas to avoid it. So little to go on

    It really is a small temporal window they are working in. Late night poker game, sleep, morning briefing, boom. What... maybe 10 hours? the majority of which everyone is asleep

    Right