Star Trek Online timeline divergence

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Mojomoe, Apr 30, 2014.

  1. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I have no problem with that. :shrug:

    I mean, in an infinite multiverse, literally anything is possible. Including this.
     
  2. Enterprise1701

    Enterprise1701 Commodore Commodore

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    Including the laws of physics?
     
  3. Markonian

    Markonian Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    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?
     
  4. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    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.


    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?
     
  5. Enterprise1701

    Enterprise1701 Commodore Commodore

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    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?
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2014
  6. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    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.


    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.


    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 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?)
     
  7. EliyahuQeoni

    EliyahuQeoni Commodore Commodore

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    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?
     
  8. Markonian

    Markonian Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    In STO, Fluidic Space is a single universe with no parallel continuities. There's no contradiction to the novelverse.
     
  9. Mojomoe

    Mojomoe Commander Red Shirt

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    ^ 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.
     
  10. Mojomoe

    Mojomoe Commander Red Shirt

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    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 ... :techman:
     
  11. Enterprise1701

    Enterprise1701 Commodore Commodore

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    Uhhhh, the main point of Star Trek Online is that the United Federation of Planets and the Klingon Empire are at war again because of Undine infiltration and Iconian manipulation. Haven't you played any recent featured episodes?
     
  12. Enterprise1701

    Enterprise1701 Commodore Commodore

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    A note about this: while I agree that in STO the Undine are somewhat irrational, it's only because the Iconians manipulated them into attacking Milky Way powers.

    So in STO the same fluidic space that is accessed from the prime reality can be accessed from the mirror universe? Since when?
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2014
  13. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Well, there's still going to be a Star Wars Expanded Universe -- it'll just be a different continuity from the old one, just like the modern Trek Lit continuity is different from the pre-TNG one that existed in the '80s. Although it sounds like they're going to try for a more integrated film/book/comic canon this time, i.e. attempt to do for real what they claimed they were doing before even though they weren't really.


    But why does it have to be one or the other? Why can't it be both? Sure, it's fun for stories to fit together, but that doesn't mean that every single story ever made has to be forced into the same continuity. There's no reason you can't have multiple different continuities that each have a bunch of interconnected stories within them. For instance, the DC Animated Universe encompasses over a half-dozen different TV series, but it's distinct from the universe of the Nolan Batman trilogy or the universe of, say, Young Justice (whose canon encompasses both the TV series and its tie-in comic). Or, the shared universe that included the '90s Spider-Man and X-Men cartoons is (probably) separate from the universe that included the '90s Iron Man, Fantastic Four, and Incredible Hulk cartoons, as well as from the current universe that encompasses Ultimate Spider-Man, Avengers Assemble, and Hulk and the Agents of SMASH. You're allowed to have more than one set of interconnected works. They don't all have to be reconciled just because some subsets of them are.
     
  14. Deranged Nasat

    Deranged Nasat Vice Admiral Admiral

    Put another way, they haven't learnt a thing. :lol:

    [​IMG]

    "Citizens of the civilized fandom, on this day we mark a transition. For decades, the Star Wars saga stood as the crowning achievement of civilized beings. But there were those who would set us against one another, and we took up arms to defend our commercial way of life against the obsessive continuity purists. The EU defenders had conspired to create the shadow of Separatism. They had hoped to grind the franchise into convoluted ruin.

    The remaining novels will be hunted down and defeated! Any fan collaborators will suffer the same fate. These have been trying times, but we have passed the test. The attempt on my reputation has left me scarred and deformed, but I assure you my resolve has never been stronger. The canon war is over. The EU has been defeated, and the fan rebellion has been foiled. We stand on the threshold of a new beginning. In order to ensure our security and continuing stability, the Star Wars canon will be reorganized into the first Disney Empire, for a safe and secure canon, which I assure you will last for ten thousand years.

    Under the Mouse's New Order, our most cherished characters will be safeguarded (no moons dropped on Wookies, so there). We will defend our ideals by force of Lucas. We will give no ground to our enemies and will stand together against attacks from within or without. Let the enemies of the new order take heed: those who challenge Disney's resolve will be crushed.

    We have been tested, but we have emerged stronger. We move forward as one fandom: the loyal followers of the one true canon. We will prevail. Ten thousand years of Star Wars begins today".
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2014
  15. Markonian

    Markonian Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Fluidic Space (or is it fluidic space? :confused:) has not yet been accessed from any of the mirror universes. But there's no reason it couldn't be, seeing that FS has already been accessed by the Delta Coalition, Armada, STO and novelverse timeline. After all, FS is only a quantum singularity away (if your space permits it - the AQ in the novelverse is hard to pierce for the Groundskeepers).
     
  16. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^Umm, that's kind of circular argument, because your justification for why STO can be counted as a parallel timeline includes the assumption that STO can be counted as a parallel timeline. You can't use that as evidence for itself.
     
  17. Markonian

    Markonian Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Why shouldn't fluidic space be accessible from the mirror unvierse? In Places of Exile it was accessible from numerous timelines of our universe, just like the STO timeline and mirror timelines are.
     
  18. Mojomoe

    Mojomoe Commander Red Shirt

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    Hmm. I suppose, from my perspective, a hard line approach isn't necessary. I have less interest in proving definitively that STO is or must be a parallel timeline, since it seems apparent that differing views on the nature of fluidic space are impasse zones, depending on your perspective.

    While it may be either a parallel timeline, or a divergent timeline, or simply a parallel story, it seems apparent that the creators of STO intend for it to be a continuation of "our" Star Trek timeline, whatever that may mean to each of us. And since its drawing on common events - Titan, Hobus, Shinzon, etc. - it seems possible to draw a divergence point. Whether it's the STO timeline diverging from OUR timeline, or the STO timeline continuing on its parallel track in the multiverse, yet diverging from its similar events with our timeline, seems largely irrelevant: at some point in the past (Titan, Shinzon) the STO timeline was very like our own, if not completely identical (Elachi, 8472). Somewhere around 2379-81, it began to divert. I'm curious why that is, or what may have happened (or not happened)in both timelines to cause the split.

    It's interesting to note, however, that whatever diverted the timeline (or detailed the parallel track; whatever) could not stop Hobus: it happened in both timelines regardless. Whether it happened the same way, or for the same reasons is up to speculation. Possibly we'll find out in 2387?

    One further thought I had, continuing on the whole Vaughn theory, was about the Cardassian freighter that carried the Orb of Memory. Since it was adrift in the badlands from the 2340s, could timeline fluctuations in plasma currents simply have caused it not to intersect the Enterprise in 2376? ...Thoughts?
     
  19. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    But you're just restating the assumption that we're trying to examine the vailidity of. Does STO really portray fluidic space in a way that's consistent with that alternate-timeline interpretation? That's the question we need to resolve before we can treat that interpretation as an axiom.



    I think the intent was for it to be a continuation of the canonical timeline, but since they needed to build a larger open-world (?) universe for the game, they drew on whatever useful material they could find in the novels and comics just so they could pad it out. It wasn't because they wanted to posit some kind of timeline divergence, it was because they needed material and this was material.

    There's a long history of different extensions of a franchise drawing on each other's ideas. I've recently been listening to the old Adventures of Superman radio series from the '40s (available on the Internet Archive), and it's interesting to note the areas of cross-pollination with other versions of Superman. The radio series introduced the Daily Planet, Perry White, Jimmy Olsen, and kryptonite, which were adopted by all other versions; it also established the basic opening narration later used in the Fleischer cartoons and '50s TV show. But it was different in a number of ways, too. Its Jimmy was a blond, 14-year-old copyboy rather than the redheaded and (I think) slightly older photographer of the comics. Its Superman was more secretive, at least in the first couple of years of the series, and tried to avoid revealing himself openly. And it never used comics villains like Lex Luthor, instead featuring its own recurring villains that never showed up in the comics. (There's an interesting one called the Laugher, a morbidly obese, jewel-adorned criminal genius who's constantly laughing at others' misfortune and counts Superman as the one worthy rival to his superior intellect. He's basically a mix of Luthor, the Joker, and the Kingpin. I'm still listening to his debut serial, though, so I don't know yet if he'll be recurring.) But mere weeks after the second Fleischer cartoon, The Mechanical Monsters, was released, the radio series did a storyline with an almost identical "Mechanical Man" playing a very different role (and not used very well, since up to that point the radio show was unaccustomed to pitting Superman against such comic-book dangers, generally going more for gangsters and saboteurs and avalanches and fake tribal curses and the like).

    So a branch of a franchise borrowing ideas from another branch doesn't imply an attempt to suggest a shared continuity. It's just taking advantage of shared ideas, an indirect creative collaboration of sorts. We're all playing with the same toys, and if someone else adds a new toy to the box, the rest of us may want to play with it too.

    (By the way, out of curiosity, does STO use any of the characters or concepts that I introduced in the novelverse? I know they disregard my take on Species 8472, and their "Elachi" thing doesn't mesh with my take on the "Silent Enemy" aliens, but is there anything of mine they do use? Well, not "mine," since CBS owns it all, but anything or anyone I came up with?)
     
  20. SicOne

    SicOne Commodore Commodore

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    I'm puzzled about something in relation not to the STO universe, but the aforementioned Mirror Universe from a page back. If in an infinite multiverse the chances of reaching or detecting any given universe are one over infinity, what is the explanation for so much canon interaction with the Mirror Universe, not to mention all of the non-canon extra interaction? There's been a lot of alternate timelines and universes shown, but none as frequently as the Mirror Universe.

    (There's likely a suitable explanation in one of Christopher's DTI books, but it eludes me at present...)

    Come to think of it, is there/has there been an explanation of why so many of the major franchise characters exist in the Mirror Universe in positions equal, or comparable, to their mainstream counterparts? It would seem to defy sense that the natural evolution of the Mirror Universe would result in characters of the exact same age, physicality, etc, when obviously their histories would have been radically different from those in the mainstream Trek universe.