"Second Chances" and its disturbing implications

Discussion in 'The Next Generation' started by polyharmonic, Aug 25, 2013.

  1. polyharmonic

    polyharmonic Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    In the episode "Second Chances", some kind of transporter "accident" causes Riker to split into two people. To beam Riker back, two transport beams of Riker were created to ensure his pattern could get through the planet's "distortion field". The two beams were supposed to be "recombined" back on the ship before re-materializing.

    But instead one beamed back aboard safely while the other beam reflected back and rematerialized back on the planet. Eight years later they find the second Riker.

    According to the episode, Will asks which one of them is real and Dr Crusher answers that they "both are". But I'm not sure if that makes the most sense.

    Other possibilities are:
    - One of the two is real and a continuation of the "original Riker". The other is a DUPLICATE.

    - BOTH are duplicates. The original Riker is DEAD! And if so it is very possible that whenever someone transports, it is their DUPLICATE that rematerializes. The original is DEAD!

    This episode strongly suggests that transporters are capable of "creating" new life out of thin air essentially. And if so, then it also stands to reason that it is also destroying life as well!
     
  2. The Old Mixer

    The Old Mixer Clean Old Mod Moderator

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    The idea that a person is killed and copied whenever they use a transporter has been around for a long time in offscreen lore. I read about it in the early novel Spock Must Die!

    Regarding the transporter being able to make two equally valid versions of one person, there is precedent in Trek. In "The Enemy Within", neither half of Kirk is the whole package...each possesses qualities that are integral to his personality. Both are equal duplicates physically, however. There was no such clear division between the Riker duplicates, other than the circumstances under which they'd lived after the accident.
     
  3. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    Post deleted.
     
  4. vulcan redshirt

    vulcan redshirt Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I would assume that episodes such as TNG Realm of Fear, and ENT Vanishing Point were deliberately written to 'assure' viewers that their favourite characters were not being killed off (and merely duplicated) each time they stepped onto a transporter pad. This is on the basis of an apparent continuity of consciousness of the person being transported.

    Another disturbing implication of the Riker style duplication, is that it would seem perfectly plausible to create a clone (or more) of oneself for nefaroius purposes.
     
  5. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    But apparently it isn't murder if you kill your own clone, as Riker did in Up the Long Ladder, so at least there's a contractual loophole to get out that inconvenient implication.
     
  6. Mojochi

    Mojochi Commodore Commodore

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    Such a recreation of the events which generated a second Riker could be nearly impossible to achieve. As I understand it, Riker was beaming through a planet wide distortion field at the specific time a massive energy burst occurred. Two containment beams were initiated, which turned out to be unnecessary as the 1st was sufficient. When the 2nd was shut down, it was reflected off the distortion field, in its highly charged state, back to the beam out point

    So it's arguable that the nature of that specific distortion field, during that random energy fluctuation was as much, if not more, the reason for the 2nd beam resulting in a full pattern materialization of an additional Riker than just initiating 2 beams on one target
     
  7. E-DUB

    E-DUB Captain Captain

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    One recent novel has someone recreating that effect for purposes of building up the Andorian population. (Can't remember title, though.)
     
  8. The Librarian

    The Librarian Commodore Commodore

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    Actually, it is, per one of the early DS9 episodes. The only difference between the two is that Riker's clone wasn't fully formed and conscious yet. If he had tried to kill Tom or if the UPLL clone had been walking and talking, it would have been murder, no questions asked.
     
  9. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Sorry, I'm not buying that as it's a cop out meant to save face on one of the main characters doing something heinous. Unless you really mean because a child isn't fully formed yet, killing them isn't a crime.
     
  10. Makarov

    Makarov Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    In real life I would never step on the transporter pad, because the real you "dying" is the only explanation that makes sense to me. Not to mention both versions of "The Fly" freak me out.

    However, I'm sure the intention by the creators is that it's a pretty harmless quick way of transportation, not a death machine.
     
  11. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I'd think the UTLL scenario is more akin to aborting a child conceived by rape. Riker never gave his consent.
     
  12. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    If you take a starfish and either cut or rip it in half, the two halves will regrow a entire starfish, complete with any physical abnormalities the orginal starfish possessed. Identical in DNA too.

    An interesting detail about this episode is, according to Deanna after the transporter incident Riker changed, his romance with her became less important and his career gained importance.

    While less than with the two Kirk, perhaps the Riker who beamed up wasn't quite the same Riker. There was a psychological difference.

    :)
     
  13. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    Will Riker is the evil Riker? Makes sense.
     
  14. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Or for beneficial, altruist, beautiful, wonderful purposes, for that matter. Why should one concentrate on "nefarious" here?

    Human existence is all about creating new human existence anyway. What's so negative about cloning as opposed to other types of breeding?

    "A Man Alone". But we don't know whose law we're talking about there. Bajoran law might be far more "archaic" in this respect than UFP law...

    In most places, it isn't.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  15. Push The Button

    Push The Button Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I have always understood the process as matter being converted to energy, then back to matter at the destination point. If it is your own original atoms being reassembled in another place, it isn't a copy of you, it is you.

    If, on the other hand, the transporter is merely sending your "blueprint" somewhere, and you are being recreated out of the atoms on-hand at the destination point, that would be making a copy of you.
     
  16. polyharmonic

    polyharmonic Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    So in the case of Will and Tom Riker, how does one square this "original atoms" theory then?

    Clearly it is not possible for both Will and Tom Riker to both come from the "original atoms" of the original Riker pre-transporter accident. One of the two or even both of them are created from "new" atoms as it were.
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2013
  17. polyharmonic

    polyharmonic Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Okay but suppose fully sentient beings could regrow themselves like starfish, it might still be clear that one of the two "regrown" beings was actually a new duplicate being with a new consciousness while the other is a continuation of the "original" consciousness.

    Consider this:
    A person is sliced in half "horizontally" around the waist into two parts. The upper half person continues to function mentally and continues to maintain his consciousness. Meanwhile the lower half part, since not yet having a head/brain, is now unconscious. But it regrows the entire upper half including his head and brain. Let's say this head and brain regrew to contain all the memories of the original pre-sliced person. Well in this example clearly the upper half regrown person is the original while the lower half person is a duplicate.

    Of course if you sliced the person "vertically" in half from the head downward, it becomes somewhat more difficult to determine which half is the original. This is even more so if cutting in half vertically makes BOTH halves lose their consciousness and both halves then regain consciousness at a later time once fully regenerated into whole persons. In THIS case, it is certainly a possibility then that the ORIGINAL consciousness has died and two NEW consciousness but inheriting the memories of the original have been created!
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2013
  18. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I don't really understand why people get hung up on the whole "the transporter kills you" thing.

    However the transporter does what it does, the end product appears to be identical to the original in all respects. I suppose there might be some metaphysical concerns ("Where did my soul go?") but aside from that, on a practical level it seems like a difference that makes no difference.
     
  19. Nine of Four

    Nine of Four Commander Red Shirt

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    A similar incident occurred in TOS Episode 5, "The Enemy Within", when a transporter accident caused Kirk to Split in two, one good, one evil. In that story, Kirk was successfully rebonded with his duplicate.

    -:klingon:
     
  20. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    In that story, he supposedly needed to be rebonded. Not because one half was "good" (that is, wussy and indecisive) and one was "evil" (that is, impulsive and selfish), and not because these faults seemed to be deepening with time, but because the splitting was having consequences on the physique of both the duplicates, meaning both would die soon.

    In "Second Chances", the two Rikers were neither mentally nor physically deteriorating, and if where were any changes in mental or physical capacity originally, those were too slight to be observed.

    But there might be legal issues there, or moral ones not yet written into law. Tuvix was an opposite case, a viable and stable merger of two people, and there existed an obligation to restore the two people, as per 24th century morals and perhaps laws as well. Possibly such morals stem from the same thing as the 24th century deep hatred towards cloning or other duplication. Nevertheless, nobody suggests merging the two Rikers... Say, averaging their minds (the necessary transfer technologies are known to exist in other Trek episodes) and killing one of the bodies.

    Timo Saloniemi