What happened to 'time travel at will'/slingshotting?

Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by Dale Sams, Jan 10, 2013.

  1. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Is this surprising? Classified missions happen all the time in the military. Any potentially dangerous information is probably kept on a need-to-know basis. Probably quite a few missions we saw in TOS were classified. "The Enterprise Incident," obviously. No doubt the orders to go to Organia in "Errand of Mercy" were classified so that the Klingons wouldn't get word of it. Same for other overtly military missions like "Balance of Terror" -- which has the added issue of the Romulans' relationship to the Vulcans, which was probably kept secret at first out of fear of racial backlash against the Vulcans (and which, according to some tie-ins, had been known as far back as the Earth-Romulan War but kept secret ever since for just that reason).

    Given the dangers that time travel poses, it's just common sense that the details of how to travel in time, or the location of something like the Guardian of Forever, would be highly classified. Certainly a free society couldn't and wouldn't restrict theoretical research into temporal physics, but there could be legal restrictions on actually attempting time travel or possessing a time machine -- analogously to how there's no US law against studying how to build a nuclear bomb or publishing the instructions, but it is highly illegal to possess unlicensed nuclear material or explosives in general.
     
  2. YARN

    YARN Fleet Captain

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    Star Trek was more Athens (an open society willing to deal with the risks of being an open society - see Pericles' funeral oration) than a paranoid postwar nuclear power. There were some secrets, but the federation was constructed around openness, trust, and free exchange.

    It's saddening that we now take it for granted that governments of, by, and for the people regularly keep secrets from them on the grounds that they "know best." It is hard to see how a democracy can really work when the population is so easily kept in the dark whenever governments play the national security card.

    As a writer, it is disappointing to me that you appear to accept such "realities" so casually. I'd recommend reading books like Bomb Power by Gary Wills which discuss how our sensibilities about gov't policies have been warped by perpetual "exigencies" which have licensed all sorts of secret programs.

    One thing I give props to TNG narratives for is there exploration of the dark side of privileged secrets in the name of security.
     
  3. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    The surprising thing about it is the apparent low priority of the 1960s mission. The heroes aren't explicitly about to do anything comparable to their other time travel hijinks - no saving the universe, no saving the Earth, even. There should be a thousand time travel sorties more pressing than that. So the implication is that Starfleet is sending thousands of time travelers to do things ranging from the fantastic all the way down to this ho-hum observation mission. Which makes secrecy unlikely, and any uniqueness of the Enterprise or its heroes in time travel ability implausible.

    As for the need for secrecy, well, there does factually exist something of a gulf between those who really know the best, and the downright idiotic bulk of the population. It's just a question of whether the better-knowers are actually in charge of the secret things, or whether a sub-group of the idiots is... Democracy and openness doesn't help in that respect a bit.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  4. UssGlenn

    UssGlenn Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    The other possibility is that The Enterprise trip was the first attempt at a sanctioned starfleet time travel mission, and they chose a simple observation mission to see how it would work. The fact that it got complicated may have convinced Starfleet not to try again.
     
  5. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Observing the nineteen-sixties is wrought with complications, as the people of the era would be exceptionally wary of space invaders: the civilians, from the red planet, the military, from the red continent. Observing the eighteen-sixties would have been safer: still well within the historical period so that observation results could be compared against existing records, but without the risk that the observers would end up being credibly recorded themselves (few cameras around, none that could take snapshots of aliens in the cornfield or flying saucer sections; no radars). Both periods would perhaps have had world history hanging by a thread, but the 1860s still quite a bit less so...

    Nevertheless, perhaps Starfleet had good reasons to pick the 1960s Earth as their proof-of-concept target. For all we know, it was the only time in world history when the skies above Earth were not crowded by alien spacecraft...

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  6. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    Well apparently the deflector shields of the Enterprise allowed them to "remain unobserved". That's pretty impressive considering that the world powers of Earth at that time had orbiting nuclear weapons and would've had their sensors aimed up at the sky to monitor an attack!
     
  7. E-DUB

    E-DUB Captain Captain

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    The size of the ship might be an issue. The BOP was unscather. The Enterprise was a little beaten up. Maybe the D is just too big.
     
  8. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    Well it would certainly have got Voyager home in "Future's End" a quick sling shot around Sol and hey presto 24th century Earth.
     
  9. Silvercrest

    Silvercrest Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I imagine Bateson's ears pricked up when he heard the Enterprise-E had traveled back into the past following the Borg attack. "A way back to my own time? Tell me more!" Remember, the Bozeman was right there at the scene.

    Whether Starfleet would let him do it is another question, of course.
     
  10. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    No kidding. There really isn't any difference being shot forward in time like Enterprise-C or getting stuck in a time loop and coming out of it in the future. Imagine what TNG could be like if the Bozeman went back to when it left. Who knows, they might've done something to cause Q to meet up with the E-D at a later time thus allowing more time for the Federation to get stronger before encountering the Borg... :D
     
  11. SicOne

    SicOne Commodore Commodore

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    I had been under the impression that although the Bozeman had been at that battle, the ship had already been destroyed. Granted, Bateman survived to appear in the Destiny books, but I thought Bozeman was wiped.
     
  12. SicOne

    SicOne Commodore Commodore

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    Reading these comments have led me to thinking about the episode, and three questions come to mind regarding "Yesterday's Enterprise". Surely these have been asked before, probably several times...

    (1) Was it ever determined, whether on-screen or in Trek literature, if the Enterprise-C was completely destroyed by the Romulans at Narendra 3? Or was the ship either captured or salvaged? I know that Yar bartered herself in return for the survival of the, well, survivors, but not HOW they survived or how many of the one hundred-ish that had made it to 2366 survived the confrontation with the Romulans when they came back to 2344.

    (2) If the C was indeed captured or salvaged, was it ever determined if the Romulans discovered that the ship had indeed been to their future and returned? I would imagine the ship's chronometers would have been off by however many hours it spent in 2366...

    (3) Were the C survivors that Yar traded herself for repatriated to the Federation at some point? Or, like the Khitomer survivors in the TNG episode, were they left to live their lives on a remote planet?

    It also occurs to me that at some point the Romulans discovered they had a future history Tasha Yar in their possession and would have interrogated her for all she knew in terms of history (though clearly it had changed, certainly she would have some insights) and technology...thereby giving the Romulans of 2344 somewhat of an advantage over the Federation and the Klingons of that time. All we know of Yar is that Sela told Picard she was executed when Sela was a small child, but I don't know that it's ever been told in Trek literature of what Yar went through between the time of the events of "Yesterday's Enterprise" and when the Romulan general who was Sela's father took Yar into his protection and begat Sela...or any interrogations that may have occured between Sela's birth and Yar's death.

    And...how do we really know that Yar is indeed dead? Considering Sela's manipulations and deceit over the years, could Yar's "death" have been a way to explain to a young Sela why her mother was no longer in her life, while her father transferred Yar over to the loving arms of the Tal Shiar for mind-sifting in return for some political advantage?

    Inquiring minds wanna know...
     
  13. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    Ah - I meant, if the Bozeman was sent back in time right after they were found in "Cause and Effect" that jokingly, they could've caused future events to shift which could have resulted in a delayed first meeting with the Borg via Q or a meeting with the Borg at a later time when the Federation would've been able to resist the Borg. :)
     
  14. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    The difference is in the history.

    History recorded the Ent-C was lost at the Battle of Narendra III
    History recorded the Bozeman was simply lost presumed destroyed
     
  15. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    Not exactly. Think of it like this:

    "Yesterday's Enterprise"
    Timeline 1: TNG's "normal" timeline where Ent-C fought the Romulans and helped convince the Klingons that the Feds are their friends.

    Timeline 2: The post-Narendra-III "Fed-Klingon War" timeline where the Ent-C disappeared and was simply lost, presumed destroyed and the Klingons went to war.

    We're shown both timelines.
    ----
    "Cause and Effect"
    Timeline 3: This is Bozeman's timeline up till they were caught in a loop. We have no idea what this would look like if they went back to it, hence my joke about the Bozeman could've been part of something to cause a radical change in TNG's "normal" timeline.

    Timeline 4: TNG's "normal" timeline that we've been watching on TV since in this timeline, the Bozeman disappeared and was lost, presumed destroyed.

    We're only shown one timeline.

    Both ships ended up forward in time but the difference is that in "Cause and Effect" we're not shown what the timeline would look like if they were sent back (or not lost). There are multiple histories going on, or as "Parallels" shows us, many variations to history. It's likely that in one of those quantum universes that the Bozeman went back. Hopefully it wasn't to the one with Crazy Riker ;)
     
  16. Dale Sams

    Dale Sams Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I believe Picard had some line to the effect of, "I don't believe everything Sela is telling me"...which I took to mean they wanted to leave their options open.
     
  17. SicOne

    SicOne Commodore Commodore

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    I understand some guy has done some poorly-written fanfic about "rescuing" Tasha Yar from the Romulans, but I'm a little disappointed that Next Gen never did a follow-up of this episode. I am hoping that there is some published Trek literature that takes this up.
     
  18. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    This story is not told on screen, in "Redemption" or in other episodes or movies. It's told in the Sherman&Shwartz book Vulcan's Heart, where the E-C destroys some of the Romulans attacking Narendra III, Romulan infighting claims more of those ships, and afterwards the attacking Romulans discuss (within earshot of their Federation and Romulan prisoners) the reasons for the defeated E-C unexpectedly exploding on them after the actual battle.

    We don't learn whether the warp drive of the E-C really "degraded" on its own, whether the E-C crew heroically scuttled their own ship, or whether these particular Romulans are just lying their eyes and pointed ears full in order to conceal the fact that the Starfleet ship was indeed captured.

    Vulcan's Heart does not delve into this, and one possibility there is that the Romulans never had a chance to study the ship much. Certainly none of the heroes or villains express knowledge of time travel. But it appears likely that Tasha Yar would at some point reveal this to her captor, as there's no real reason she should attempt to keep it a secret, and there would be many obvious "unexplainables" about the affair, prompting the Romulans to investigate and interrogate.

    AFAIK, this is not really followed up in the S&S books. Yar is the only prisoner who in Vulcan's Heart is ascertained to survive beyond the last page, but Castillo appears alive in the SNW short story The Fourth Toast by Kelly Cairo, a minor continuity hiccup the closer specs of which I don't know.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  19. E-DUB

    E-DUB Captain Captain

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    I've often wondered if Sela was a product of a Tal Shiar attempt to produce a Romulan equivalent of Spock, crossbreeding with a human to see if a superior result could be produced and the story they told her about her mother's death was an attempt to "steer" her to loyality to Romulus.
     
  20. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Why the fuck would you want the mechanics of successful time-travel to be widely known? It makes sense that the Federation would want to keep a lid on something that could be used to wipe it out before it ever began.