"Children of Time" Plot-hole Question

Discussion in 'Deep Space Nine' started by Admiral_Sisko, Oct 6, 2012.

  1. Jerikka Dawn

    Jerikka Dawn Commander Red Shirt

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    True, but the Great Link has consistently been spoken of as a collection of individual entities by the Female changeling, even saying to Odo in "Broken Link" that there was great disagreement as to what to do with him.
     
  2. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    A single entity can be said to be of "two minds" on a subject.

    The languages of solids may not be adequately equipped to convey the reality of the Great Link - "individuals", "minds", "communication" may all be approximations of the reality of what is going on when changelings link.
     
  3. chrinFinity

    chrinFinity Captain Captain

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    Well, I know the literature isn't canon, but I've always had an interpretation of the Great Link which matches how they were later portrayed in the novels.

    Even in the show, Odo and the Female Changeling have both come and gone from the Great Link many times, and they always remained independent entities.
     
  4. Damien87

    Damien87 Ensign Newbie

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    Sisko, you make an interesting point. The Changelings need to have photographic memory with all 5 senses to shapeshift accurately. So it follows that the older Odo must have an incredibly detailed, step-by-step memory of how to shift into various forms. That would include his human face. Since the primary form of communication between Changelings is linking, it also follows that that's how they teach their young to shapeshift. That would explain why all the other Changelings are better at it than Odo, who never received proper instruction. His style is more clever improvisation than systematic knowledge. That's why the other Changelings have assumed forms that never even occurred to him. Given that the older Odo has a perfect memory and that Changelings teach by linking, it follows that older Odo should have taught younger Odo more about shapeshifting.

    That being said, one of the best things about DS9 was Odo's slow, awkward adolescence. Learning to appear human would be too great a leap forward, and would have deprived the character of that great sense of being isolated from the others.
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2012
  5. Damien87

    Damien87 Ensign Newbie

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    Also, the real plot hole in Children of Time is the way they erased the civilization from the planet. They never actually had a choice, because if they were interracting with the descendants, then they already did go back in time and create the civilization.

    Look at the sequence of events. They meet an older Odo, he sabotages the ship and prevents them from going back, that Odo was never created, so he didn't sabotage the ship, so they hit the barrier and went back in time...

    Star Trek XI had the same plot-hole. If Nero went back in time and blew up Vulcan, then by his time there was no Vulcan to go back and blow up. So he never went back. So he never destroyed Vulcan. So there was something to blow up. So he went back and blew it up. Its a paradox that keeps negating itself.

    That's not at all the same as what happened in Trek IV, where they went back in time to bring a solution to the future, not prevent the problem from ever existing. You can alter history with time travel but you can't remove your original reason for travelling back.
     
  6. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    Your view of time travel is too restrictive. The timeline isn't strictly linear and unmutable. Clearly the descendants of the Defiant's crew ceased to exist permanently. The situation didn't vacillate between existence and non-existence. New timelines can branch off, creating new histories.

    Presumably, the first time Dax convinced everyone to visit the planet eventually known as Gaia, there was no settlement and no colonists, just the barrier. When they tried to leave, they were thrown back in time. Then, their descendants lived until the Defiant showed up again, this time with colonists and an Old Odo to change the course of events. They didn't pass through the barrier in the same way, so didn't go back in time.

    Should the colony have persisted in this new timeline? Maybe. The mechanisms of time travel haven't always been consistent, but that could be a result of the different methods of time travel employed.
     
  7. Damien87

    Damien87 Ensign Newbie

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    There was a TNG where Data was learning to tell jokes (badly) from Tip O'Neil. O'Neil told a joke about a guy using a fish for a briefcase. Data asked what was funny about an amphibian briefcase. Fish aren't amphibians. Does Data saying that they are make it true in the star trek universe? Did they just change a basic rule in biology, or did the writers make a harmless mistake?

    You're saying the time travel must be valid because we saw it in the episode. That means any mistake the writers make becomes true. If you accept that, then there's no point in talking about plot holes in the first place. Because there's no such thing.

    Look at Trek XI. Nero went back in time and blew up Vulcan. So by the present its already destroyed. So why would he go back in time and blow it up, if it doesn't exist to threaten him?

    If the older Odo doesn't exist, how can he sabotage the ship and prevent them from traveling back? In the show they didn't say the colony existed for a time. They said the colony never existed. That's correct, since they never traveled back to found it. But since they never traveled back, how can colonists who don't exist prevent their own existence?

    Also, I don't see how using different time travel tech would change the laws of physics. Gauss' Law of Electricity is always true, regardless of what type of sensor you use to observe electric fields.
     
  8. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    So you can't accept that time travel can lead to alternate timelines? That's the usual view of people who assume time is strictly linear and completely unmutable. Maybe that's the case in reality, but in Trek we've seen that time can be altered, and that there are many different ways to travel through time - slingshot effects, wormholes, orbs, time travel pods, even temporal transporters.

    You're assuming that the only time travel that can occur is if it is a predestination paradox, which isn't the case. Calling other instances of time travel that don't result in predestination paradoxes "plot holes" is incorrect.
     
  9. Damien87

    Damien87 Ensign Newbie

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    This gets tricky. You make an interesting point about alternate timelines, and it may explain the plot. The DS9 crew actually continued the show in a different timeline from that point on. That happened in another episode where their O'Brien dies but is replaced by another one from an alternate timeline, who is a few hours older.

    The reason I'm arguing against that here is b/c of what the characters said in the show. They didn't say that they've now crossed into an alternate timeline where there's no colony. They said the colony never existed. That was the major ethical dilemma. Sisko eloquently summed it up by saying that as long as they exist in memories, they existed. All of that suggests that the real issue is that Odo wiped the colony from existence. Yet if he never existed, then how could he have prevented his own existence?

    I'm not saying this is the only way to handle time travel, just that its how the writers handled it in this episode. Without resolving the contradiction. That's how I saw it. You may have seen it differently.
     
  10. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    You're perturbed that no character said that "now we're in an alternate timeline"? Of course they're in an alternate timeline - they're in a timeline where the colony wasn't founded because the Defiant made it back to the station.

    Maybe the Gaia colony persists in another timeline where the Defiant simply disappeared from the colony's viewpoint. Must there be only one timeline in this case?
     
  11. Damien87

    Damien87 Ensign Newbie

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    If they knew that they were simply in an alternate timeline, then why were they all so upset that the colony was gone? Why did they need to duplicate the Defiant to maintain it? Why was Kira willing to die to preserve it? Why was she furious with Odo at the end? The whole crux of the episode is that these people either live or die, based on their decision. If they jumped timelines, as you suggest, then what's the problem?
     
  12. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Everything the heroes ever experience is an "alternate timeline" - all timelines are "alternate" to each other. The only thing that matters for the heroes is the timeline in which they themselves exist, though. Except when they have the luxury of making life happier for people in other timelines as well. Which is more or less what this episode was about - the characters arguing whether they had the luxury.

    In a typical grandfather "paradox", two timelines will keep flipflopping. If you go back to shoot your grandfather, you don't disappear because you were born, once. But the guy who will go back to kill the grandfather will not be born now, so a timeline emerges where the grandfather lives, and the guy will be born and will go back to kill the grandfather. It's self-perpetuating and in no way paradoxical, and all that matters is whether the camera in the past follows the murderous-intent you, or a timeline where no murderous you was present and everything panned out just fine for your grandfather.

    In "Children of Time", the camera happens to follow a bunch of heroes who vacillate between their intentions. Many of the Mirror Universe stories have the same theme: it doesn't really matter to the heroes, but they have the power to do good, so why not?

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  13. Sindatur

    Sindatur Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Pssst, that's not a plot hole, because a new timeline was created when Nero went back in time. So, yes, by the time, time has past until TNG Era in this new Time line, there will be no Vulcan and all the other changes, however, the Timeline Nero left from, is still intact marching forward
     
  14. Damien87

    Damien87 Ensign Newbie

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    There are two basic ways of treating time travel in fiction:
    1. There is one timeline. If you travel back in time to cause an event, then that event is predestined. You will do it because you've already done it. Any story that has characters change the timeline is contradictory.
    2. There are alternate timelines. Any time you change the timeline, you're actually crossing into an alternate one. In this case, the crew can either travel back in time or not. If they choose to, then its a predestined event in their own timeline. If they choose not to, then they are crossing into another timeline where there never was a colony. As you say, this is only possible when characters from the colony timeline interact with characters from the non-colony timeline. This is not contradictory.

    This is sci fi, so the writers could be using either scenario. If you & Pavonis are correct, then they're using scenario 2 and there's no paradox. The reason I don't believe they are is that the major ethical issue was whether to go home and erase the colony from existence. If there are alternate timelines, then they could just go home and the colony would still exist in another timeline. We know this is true because the colonists in the first timeline must exist to erase the colony in the second.

    The structure is either a loop back to itself or a cross to another timeline. They chose the second option. But if they've crossed, then they left rather than erased the colony. The colonists still exist in the first timeline, and never existed in the second timeline. So they did no harm by leaving.

    The ethical issue only arises if they're actually erasing those people. And they're only erasing them with the single-timeline premise. But this is contradictory. Maybe you guys are right and I'm misunderstand the writer's intentions. If that's the case and there are alternate timelines, then what's the ethical dilemma with leaving?
     
  15. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    First of all, Bashir clearly stated that Odo was infected in a Stardate 49XXX, which would be in season 4, and Children of Time was season 5, so Odo clearly was infected.

    Is it that hard to accept that the writers just hadn't thought of Sector 31 at that time and forgot about Children of Time when they came up with the timeline of the infection? It's just a TV show, and every scifi show not featuring Edward James Olmos has plot holes.

    Second, yeah, there's no reason the skills to mimic a better face would have transferred.

    Third, before Abrams Star Trek clearly used the one-timeline approach to time travel. Those people never existed. The only scifi before the Abrams Star Trek I've seen which uses the 'alternate universe' approach to scifi is an obscure webcomic called Fans.

    Edit: And for that matter, why didn't Odo make any attempt to cure Las?
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2012
  16. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    No, it didn't.
     
  17. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Of course not. That's clearly what happened.

    But this particular one was neatly patched afterwards, so it doesn't count. Episodes aren't self-contained things, least of all in a franchise spanning millennia, and plot holes only exist in context...

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  18. Tiberius

    Tiberius Commodore Commodore

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    Except that Odo wasn't always a changeling in that time. He was made into a solid, which eliminated the virus from his morphogenic matrix - as he no longer had a morphogenic matrix! So by the time we get to "Children of Time", Odo has had the virus removed from his body. Indeed, it would have been when Odo was judged in the great Link that he was both cured and passed the Virus on to the rest of the Link!

    Odo was then re-infected at the beginning of Season Six, when he linked with the female changeling.

    Seriously, why is there even a debate about this?
     
  19. Jerikka Dawn

    Jerikka Dawn Commander Red Shirt

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    Because dialog in "When It Rains..." clearly establishes that, based on the progression of the disease in a sample Odo left, Odo was infected on stardate 49419 - "the day Odo was at Starfleet Medical." Bashir explicitly noted he was thrown off by assuming that he was infected when he linked with the FC.

    The revelation that Odo was infected at Starfleet Medical, and ultimately by Section 31, hinges on the disease in that sample having uninterrupted progression since before Odo was made into a solid.

    The plot hole is actually in "When It Rains..." and not "Children of Time."
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2012
  20. Tiberius

    Tiberius Commodore Commodore

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    But if the disease is constantly mutating, Bashir would be able to estimate how long it had been going for before Odo was re-infected.