Extended Lifespan In The Trek Universe

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Relayer1, Jun 9, 2012.

  1. Relayer1

    Relayer1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    It was discussed a while ago in the Enterprise relaunch thread, re the possibility of Archer living into the TOS era and it was (kind of) agreed that top end life expectancy as established by McCoy in TNG was around 150 years. In the real world I would expect that to be on the low side for the 23rd / 24th centuries, but this is about the Trekverse.

    In the novels it has been established that all of the main TOS crew have survived (except Sulu ?) into the TNG era and beyond, most going the 'long' route and living through each year.

    I would think it statistically unlikely that any non related group of people would all be naturally long lived and, having been watching reruns of TOS wondered if they have a common experience that would explain it.

    In 'Miri' there could have been a 'leftover' effect of the disease that extended lifespan, but not all of the command crew were exposed. However, in 'This Side Of Paradise' the whole crew is exposed to the spores which as a side effect grant perfect health. This would have two effects - firstly to reset cellular degeneration back to that of an infant : the thirty something crew would effectively be zero years old again, and secondly, with perfect health as a starting point (which is near-impossible in nature) a very long life free of any disease other than those developed through infection seems likely.

    What do you think ? Are the TOS crew all unusually long lived, and would that explain it ? Are there any events in other episodes that may be responsible ?
     
  2. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    I don't mind most of the TOS crew being alive in the TNG era, but I have issues with what some of them are doing - like Uhura running Starfleet Intelligence, which sounds (and admittedly I haven't read "Vulcan's Soul" yet) like bad fanfic.

    I do like to think maybe Jonathan Archer's Enterprise was the first Earth ship to visit Cereberus II ("To Short a Season"), or Archer skipped a few years with Daniels, simply because I find the idea of Archer and Kirk interacting at Starfleet Academy mind-blowingly awesome.
     
  3. Relayer1

    Relayer1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Well, a lot of time has passed - plenty enough fo a career change or two !

    Well, for that matter, what could have happened to Archer (and crew ?) - I'd certainly like to see someone (or two) in the post Vanguard TOS era. T'Pol should certainly have made it, but what of the humans or Phlox ?

    If you are going to carry characters forward like that, there has to be a reasonable explanation though.
     
  4. Shon T'Hara

    Shon T'Hara Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Well the Trek Lit writers seem to assume that McCoy's lifespan is entirely typical, what with Picard being a frontline commander in his 80s who sees nothing problematic about having a child at that late age, and Vaughn being over a hundred and still kicking ass. And of course, Losing the Peace establishes that McCoy's still a practicing doctor more than fifteen years after "Encounter at Farpoint".

    On the other hand, such longevity isn't compatible with the TOS era where Kirk was complaining about getting old when he was still in his 40s. The only logical conclusion is that there were some major medical breakthroughs in the late 2200s -- although even that's problematic since "Too Short a Season" shows Admiral Jameson as a doddering old man in his 70s.
     
  5. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Even today, different people age at different rates. Some people look old and decrepit by their 50s while others still look relatively youthful and robust in their 60s. And if future medical science improves longevity, then not everyone might benefit from the same advances.

    Although as I see it, "Too Short a Season" straight-up goofed by ignoring the longevity increase implied by "Farpoint."
     
  6. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Pretty much this. McCoy reaching 137 was more the rare exception than the rule, but it seems like it's now the benchmark for all Humans.

    Even an average lifespan of 120 would be a significant improvement over today, IMO.
     
  7. captcalhoun

    captcalhoun Admiral Admiral

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    Maybe Jameson was so decrepit cuz he got too stressed out, drank, smoke and didn't exercise enough...?
     
  8. E-DUB

    E-DUB Captain Captain

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    McCoys exceptionalism has, I believe been attributed to his encounter with Fabrini medical know-how. But why him and no one else hasn't been adequately explained. The oldest people now don't really live all that much longer than the oldest people did a hundred years ago, it's just that more people are "maxing out" due to improved medical technology. What also skews the averages is that we don't have as much childhood death as we used to. I suspect that by Trek times the story is much the same. Some small improvement in "maximum lifespan", much increase in "average lifespan". McCoy, well, he's just to onery to die.
     
  9. Relayer1

    Relayer1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    But are there any other 'in-universe' explanations to the long life of the TOS crew such as in my original post ?
     
  10. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I don't see the need. McCoy's age of 137 in "Farpoint" and Jadzia's prediction in one episode that O'Brien would live to 140 suggest that that's a fairly typical life expectancy for humans in the 24th century, or toward the upper limit of life expectancy. Since O'Brien was included, it's clearly not limited to the TOS cast; and it's simple enough to conclude that future geriatric medicine is sufficient to explain the longevity increase.

    Besides, the only canonical example we have of a human TOS character living that long is McCoy, plus Uhura and Chekov in the prose. That's at most three out of 400-odd crewmembers (considerably more if you count all the various comings and goings over the years). Okay, if you limit it to the core command crew that stuck together for decades, that's fully half the human population of the core group, a bit less if you count Chapel. Three out of a random sampling of six or seven living close to the maximum life expectancy (if it is maximum rather than average) would be anomalous, but this is three members of a closely associated group, so it's logical that they would've had common lifestyle factors affecting their longevity. As Starfleet officers they'd all stay in excellent physical condition, and they'd all have access to the finest medical care. The only problem is that, as Starfleet officers, they'd also be exposed to frequent danger, injury, radiation exposure, alien diseases and toxins, and other factors that would tend to shorten their life expectancy, statistically speaking. But if they managed to survive their years of active duty and ultimately end up in desk jobs, then their survival for decades beyond that is not unlikely if they maintained the good fitness habits they'd acquired and continued to have access to the finest medical care -- both reasonable expectations if they remained in Starfleet.
     
  11. USS Intrepid

    USS Intrepid Commodore Commodore

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    Wasn't Jameson dying from a disease? Perhaps that prematurely aged him.
     
  12. captcalhoun

    captcalhoun Admiral Admiral

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    he was dying from Iverson's Disease. he was also (according to Mem Alpha) 85 at the time of his death, not in his 70s like Shon said.
     
  13. USS Intrepid

    USS Intrepid Commodore Commodore

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    So he could potentially have prematurely-aged as a result of the disease.
     
  14. captcalhoun

    captcalhoun Admiral Admiral

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  15. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    Intriguingly, that episode was supposedly pitched as a "return of Kirk/Shatner" episode, IIRC.
     
  16. USS Intrepid

    USS Intrepid Commodore Commodore

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    I'd never heard that, but can see how it would have worked. Imagine the furore if they'd killed Kirk off in that episode. :)
     
  17. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    ...And cursing his ailment for preventing him from pursuing an active career as a starship captain at that age! If anything, I'd take the episode as further proof that people live longer in that time and age. That is, although they still spend their last three decades addled in various ways, they now remain active till their eighties or nineties.

    Also, the episode seems to point to this being a "recent" development, because Robert April at a comparable age in "Counter-Clock Incident" was officially declared a useless relic who could no longer serve in a frontline role.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  18. EliyahuQeoni

    EliyahuQeoni Commodore Commodore

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    I'm not sure its been referenced so far, but Roddenberry's TMP novelization mentions expected lifespans in the 23rd Century, which may offer some insight into his view on it:

     
  19. Ian Keldon

    Ian Keldon Fleet Captain

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    Yep, and it shows too with the whole "reversal" of the outcome of "A Private Little War".

    Remember this was written during S1 when GR was busy disavowing as much of TOS philosophically as he could.
     
  20. USS Intrepid

    USS Intrepid Commodore Commodore

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    If that had actually been a sequel to 'A Private Little War' it cud have been pretty good. As it stands, it's already one of the better season one episodes.

    Damn, quite a missed opportunity.
     

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