Star Trek Online timeline divergence

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

  1. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    As I said, the set of reachable universes is not infinite. Remember, we're talking about two separate explanations for parallel realities. One is Many Worlds quantum theory: that our own, single universe is constantly branching into multiple parallel histories, all linked by a common origin but having events unfold differently following the point of divergence. (Which can be a divergence caused by time travel, like the Abramsverse, or a spontaneous quantum branching, like the timelines in "Parallels.") In that explanation, it makes sense that different timelines would be connected and potentially reachable, because they literally occupy the same physical space, just out of phase with each other. And their similarities are explained by their shared origin -- which means they can't have fundamental divergences like different physical laws.

    The other is the random-chance argument: that in an infinite multiverse containing an infinite number of universes, every possible universe would inevitably exist somewhere, so duplicates of Earth and humanity and ourselves as individuals would just randomly happen to exist in those universes, despite the immense improbability of such duplication by chance. And this model is also often used as a rationalization for alternate realities that can't be explained as parallel timelines because they have different physical laws or different planets and alien species, rather than simply different histories. And my objection to that as an explanation for alternate universes in fiction is that those universes, while they might technically exist in principle, would be unreachable due to the infinite time it would take to search through all the infinite universes and find such a duplicate. (The argument is not that any other universe would be unreachable, but that those that coincidentally happened to duplicate ours would be infinitely outnumbered by those that were profoundly alien in every way. Although any of these other universes would probably be at an inconceivably large physical distance anyway, and thus unreachable in that sense too.)

    So the idea is that, since the Mirror Universe is reachable, it must logically be a divergent timeline of our universe, with its similarities arising not from random chance but from a common origin with our universe. The interpretation from the Abramsverse comics, that it's just one randomly occurring duplicate out of an infinite set, doesn't really work from a mathematical standpoint.


    Now, that's where I can see the appeal of the "everything happens in infinity" model, because it allows justifying even the most bizarrely unlikely of coincidences. But it's hard to reconcile with the easy reachability of the MU. Perhaps the answer is some blend of the two: Out of all the different parallel timelines branching off from our universe, which is a finite but still very large set, the MU just coincidentally has a lot of the same people despite having a very different history.

    Although the problem with that take is that most of the other alternate realities we've seen, in "Parallels," Myriad Universes, and the like, also tend to have the same people in them, often in similar roles. So maybe there's some quantum-probabilistic resonance between timelines that causes similar events to occur and the same people to be born. There's a case to be made that most timelines tend toward the most probable course of events and thus would be likely to converge in certain ways (although one would expect that it would be larger-scale events that would converge while smaller-scale events like who gets born or who gets what job would be different).

    Or -- here's a thought -- maybe there's some quirk of quantum probability that means a given individual whose worldline intersects with other timelines is most likely to intersect those that have other iterations of the same individual. So it's a selection bias: As long as we follow the adventures of certain characters, we'll only see them visit those alternate realities that have their counterparts in them, or have had them in the past.
     
  2. Enterprise1701

    Enterprise1701 Commodore Commodore

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    Exactly. Has STO said anything new about the physics of fluidic space that wasn't already stated in Star Trek: Voyager. As far as I can tell, it hasn't.
     
  3. Markonian

    Markonian Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Not yet, unfortunately. The most recent specified nod was to KRAD: There's a Qas DevwI (sp?) on the KDF flagship Bortasqu'.

    STO hasn't said anything new about the physics of fluidic space, except for adding clumps. FS is one and the same universe in both continuities.
     
  4. Enterprise1701

    Enterprise1701 Commodore Commodore

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    None that I can see. Another possible contradiction between your work and STO is STO's cosmozoans (or rather since that term isn't used in STO, spaceborne lifeforms) A recently deleted STO mission named the "Galaxy's Child" species as the Gekli and said that they are symbiotic with a humanoid species called the Hylasa. Both are from fluidic space and are actively persecuted/genocided by the Undine. Meanwhile, more crystalline entities like the one from "Datalore" attack outlying colonies in Federation space in non-story-based missions and there is no indication that the Pa'haquel or that the Gum Nebula exist in STO.
    And as you pointed out in your annotations for Watching the Clock, the STO tie-in novel The Needs of the Many has a different take on DTI Agents Lucsly and Dulmur.
    STO and the novelverse are two completely separately managed media projects. Are you saying that STO has stated that its fluidic space is the same as that of the novelverse? Because there is nothing like that in STO. The multiversal singularity interpretation of fluidic space is something unique to the novelverse mostly since Christopher is a novel author with the initiative to incorporate complex real-life physics into a Star Trek work.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2014
  5. Ayelbourne

    Ayelbourne Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Well, for starters, the station is still our good old Terok Nor. :rommie:
     
  6. publiusr

    publiusr Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Well, Worf might wind up with multiple Enterprises popping up once again, so you never know. It might be nice to see what happened with the one where the Borg wound up wiping everyone out....
     
  7. Ayelbourne

    Ayelbourne Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I believe there's actually a (quite good) Foundry mission on STO revisiting that reality. However, since all Foundry missions are player made, they aren't even part of the official STO lore.

    As for the nature of the "entanglement" of the STO-verse and the novelverse, i'm with Cristopher. There simply is none.
    They can't be branching timelines for one simple fact:
    Nero
    STO claims that Nero originated from the game's own timeline. All the evidence is there. Nero is mentioned by name, the Vault exists in game, Romulus is gone, the Tal Shiar builds more Narada-like ships etc.

    Now, I don't see the novels not including the destruction of Romulus and Nero's involvement later on, as those events are hard canon.

    So that's where we run into a bit of a problem. Nero (and by extension, Spock) can't originate from two alternate realities at the same time.
     
  8. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Okay, never mind my work, that's a departure from actual screen canon. As Kes said of Species 8472 in "Scorpion," "They come from a place where they're alone. Nothing else lives there." Which I interpreted in Places of Exile to mean that all of fluidic space is a single collective organism with Species 8472 as its "immune system," essentially, fighting off infection.

    "Scorpion" also established that fluidic space has no planetary bodies -- which was why I interpreted the tripedal, walking creatures we've seen as specially engineered to function in our universe, transformed using the technology we saw in "In the Flesh." So it's hard to see how humanoids could possibly exist in fluidic space. (Is there a reason this mission was deleted? Does that mean it's been removed from STO continuity, or just that it's been completed?)

    In any case, that appears to prove that STO's version of fluidic space is incompatible with both the novelverse and screen canon, which seems to rule out the idea of STO as an alternate timeline of the novelverse -- unless you go for the soft canon/literary agent/unreliable narrator interpretation.
     
  9. Ayelbourne

    Ayelbourne Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    It's been retconned as part of a revamp of all highlevel Borg/Undine-missions.
    You lead a joint taskforce into fluidic space in order to clean up a Borg "infection", hoping to quell Undine aggression. While on that mission you witness unregistered Fed/KDF/Romulan ships attacking Undine forces. Analysis of said ship's wrecks reveals Iconian origin.
    The Gekli and Hylasa involvement is gone. However in one of the new Undine 5-man missions, there's an optional objective to heal up a wounded Gekli on the way, so their origin still seems to be fluidic space.
     
  10. Enterprise1701

    Enterprise1701 Commodore Commodore

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    What about the mission with that telepath of an unnamed species who tries to negotiate with the Undine, fails, but leads the player character to an Iconian gateway constructed within fluidic space, proving that Iconians have been manipulating the Undine? Adding to that, how did the Iconians get into fluidic space in the first place?

    I'm not sure if this concept has remained after the revamp to Borg/Undine front missions or not, but STO also showed solid/semisolid "planets" within fluidic space.

    Oh, and as part of The Path to 2409 backstory to Star Trek Online, the Klingon Empire negotiates a treaty with the Orion Syndicate, explaining why KDF ships have Orion crewmembers. That, however, seems to conflict with I.K.S. Gorkon/Klingon Empire's notion that non-Klingons can only be menial crewmembers aboard KDF ships although things could possibly have changed in 30 years. But the Empire negotiates with a crime organization? What happened to the Orion state, the Orion Colonies? Also, STO may or may not acknowledge Rise of the Federation's concept of elite Orion lineages having the most effective pheromones.
     
  11. Ayelbourne

    Ayelbourne Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    As i said, it's been retconned into what i wrote above.
    Through a quantum singularity just like everybody else. Which makes sense, considering they are deliberately trying to pose as the alpha quadrant powers.

    The "clumps" serving as landmasses are still there. They lack artificial biodomes now, so beaming down would not be a good idea.
     
  12. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    But ones virtually indistinguishable could originate from two similar realities. Which versions appeared in the Abramsverse 2233 and 2258 would be up to the reader to decide.

    One could always use the discontinuities between movies and comics or movies and novels as a deciding factor as to which arrived where.
     
  13. Enterprise1701

    Enterprise1701 Commodore Commodore

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    I've remembered that in IDW's Alien Spotlight - "Borg", the Enterprise-E encounters assimilated members of Species 8472. Assuming that one believes that all Star Trek media are part of the same multiverse, which I don't, how does that factor into this debate?
     
  14. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    Weren't they from some kind of future or alternate universe? I read the issue when it first came out but don't remember the details. I just remember they weren't normal Borg.
     
  15. Markonian

    Markonian Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    In STO, the Borg succeed once to assimilate several Undine. The Borg and its Undine are destroyed and all data pertaining to their assimilation are wiped from the vinculum by Starlfeet/KDF/RRF, preventing the Colelctive from introducing Undine drones... for now.

    STO does not contradict FS as presented in the novelverse. The absence of contradiction means its the same thing. That's how Memory Beta handles it. Presuming they're different because they happen to be produced by different media companies? I guess that means the Shore Leave Planet can't be the same either because one appeared in life-action and the other in animated form?

    That's no problem at all. There weren't just one Nero and Spock traveling back in time, it where infinite Neros and Spocks across the multiverse. A pair of them ended up in one permutation of the mirror universe, for example,. (Star Trek Ongoing: Mirrored) There is another hypothetical precedent: The Defiant from "The Tholian Web" may not be the same as the one from "In a Mirror, Darkly". Christopher noticed they have different insignia. Who knows how many Defiants travelled back in time across the interdimensional divides?
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2014
  16. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    It's already been established that it does blatantly contradict it, at least where its take on the "Galaxy's Child" space creatures and their humanoid symbionts is concerned. Although I'm not clear on whether that's been deleted from the game or not. And I'm sure STO doesn't portray Sp. 8472 the way I did, as using a flippered form to travel through fluidic space and only adopting a walking form to operate in our universe.


    Memory Beta isn't an arbiter of "reality," it's just a catalog of content from authorized tie-ins. It's descriptive rather than prescriptive. We're free as individual fans to make our own choices about how to interpret tie-in content. If two portrayals are compatible, that means it's possible to treat them as part of the same continuity if an individual fan chooses to. But it's hardly mandatory. We novelists are under contract and so we're obligated to follow certain rules from our employers -- but nobody's paying you to be a Trek fan. Memory Beta certainly isn't. So you're not obligated to treat its suggestions as inviolable commands.


    That's a poor comparison. STO is made by a game company under license from CBS. TAS was produced by the company that owned the property at the time, Roddenberry's Norway Corporation, in direct collaboration with Filmation Associates.

    Anyway, the answer is no. Companies have nothing to do with it. There are comics from Wildstorm and IDW that are in continuity with the Pocket novels. STO and Pocket could have chosen to do compatible continuities if they'd wanted to, but they didn't want to because the logistics would've been too difficult and the two projects had very dissimilar needs. And certainly as a fan you're free to reconcile any two things you think are reconcilable, since fandom is an exercise in individual choice and imagination rather than a service to a higher authority.


    I've already explained why that doesn't work. When dealing with timelines that actually interact with one another within a finite span of time, you're by definition dealing with a finite set of timelines, not an infinite one.


    But I was absolutely not claiming them as randomly parallel realities in an "infinite" multiverse. As I've explained before, I reject that explanation in favor of the Many-Worlds parallel-timeline model, in which different timelines actually diverge from a common origin. I'm talking about two Defiants existing in slightly divergent quantum histories of the same universe, with the kind of trivial, cosmetic discrepancies we saw in the first half of TNG: "Parallels" or in the VGR novel Echoes. Both those works depict large numbers of parallels, but of course "large" is no closer to "infinite" than "one" is.
     
  17. Enterprise1701

    Enterprise1701 Commodore Commodore

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    ^Exactly what Christopher said. Markonian, you arrived at your conclusion on the basis of Memory Beta? Haven't you ever noticed all of the blatant contradictions on Memory Beta? Like with Tiaru Jarok? http://memory-beta.wikia.com/wiki/Tiaru_Jarok
    There is no way that Tiaru Jarok of the novelverse and STO can have the same background. And in any case, Places of Exile concluded with the Groundskeepers/Species 8472 receiving that "Torres generator". So how do you explain how the Iconians of STO still managed to get into fluidic space? Or how Starfleet/KDF/RRF ships easily travel into fluidic space? I see a big contradiction in that.

    That's a plausible idea, but the Defiant insignia issue is a costuming error in production that doesn't necessarily have to have an in-universe explanation.

    So Christopher, do you agree with the concept that an interaction with an interphasic phenomenon can spawn multiple offshoots of objects that travel through (i.e. the artificial black hole in 2387 multiplied the Narada and Jellyfish so that there is one set each for Abramsverse, mirror, Abramsverse, possibly the gender-swapped Abramsverse, etc?)
     
  18. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Err, no, that doesn't follow. For one thing, a black hole isn't interphasic. For another, you're mistaking my suggestion. After all, if the two Defiants (the one recovered by the da Vinci in Invincible and the one that fell into the 22nd-century Mirror Universe) have different uniform insignia, then obviously their divergence was not caused by entering the interphase in Tholian space; they were already different before that point. I'm proposing two pre-existing, spontaneously branched quantum parallels that had near-identical histories, so that in both, the events of "The Tholian Web" happened essentially identically, with a trivial difference in the Defiant insignia design, a difference that would have arisen years earlier but had no measurable effect on the flow of history.

    The idea that the interphase itself caused the ship to split was my old hypothesis, before I learned of the insignia discrepancy. Obviously if one Defiant went in and was split into more than one, they would all have the same insignia.
     
  19. Markonian

    Markonian Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Memory Beta I cited as an example; it isn't the origin of my perception. I chose to perceive everything existing in one multiverse because I like the thought of "anything goes". :drool:

    I admit, however, that under close scrutiny, it doesn't make much sense based on the various arguments in this thread. In another review thread, Dark Mirror is explained to incompatible with modern novelverse continuity not because the Empire lived but the physics are significantly different (plot point) and yet history is largely the same in the primary universe. :vulcan:

    I began reading ST fiction just two years before STO launched, so it has been perfectly normal for me to deal with two conflicting timelines. Three German sci-fi/"phantastic" series I've been reading each feature divergent timelines, and because they had the same mother company there were hints that the different series might actually take place in the same multiverse.

    For example, the comet Christopher-Floyd hits/misses Earth (depending on timeline) in two series (one set in a ST-like space opera, the other in the postapolyptic Sol System). One of my favourite novel titles is Maddrax No. 321 "Around the Day in 80 Worlds" (Cover image (German): http://www.maddrax.de/main.php?uid=bc3a06f9dfbfa77eb8fd83a2565dad57&id=serie.heftnav.nr.321)

    Anyway, I yield. :alienblush:

    (Just for fun: MX No. 44: http://www.maddrax.de/main.php?uid=bc3a06f9dfbfa77eb8fd83a2565dad57&id=serie.heftnav.nr.44
    Anything familiar? :rommie:)