What happens if someone from the past shows up...

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Drago-Kazov, Oct 7, 2012.

  1. Drago-Kazov

    Drago-Kazov Fleet Captain

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    What happens if someone from the past shows up in the enlightened society of the Federation and we know tha he commited crimes by "todays" standards?

    What would happen to a temporaly displaced Djingis Khan.

    I will let Flint go because him butchering people as Alexander was such a long time ago. But what happens if in the characters life the crimes were fairly recent?

    Would that temporarily displaced person stand trial?

    Is there a special DTI jury and judge for these people?

    I think an episode about this moral question would had made great Trek episode.

    What do you guys think?
     
  2. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    You just answered your own question. Alexander and Genghis were much alike -- both mighty conquerors who were ruthless to their enemies but benevolent and tolerant to those who accepted their rule, both figures who built the greatest empires of their era and spread civilization widely, and whose successors split their empires into multiple smaller ones. The main difference between them is that Genghis was a lot more successful; his empire was far bigger and lasted far longer. The West glorifies Alexander and demonizes Genghis, but that's simple ethnocentrism; in East Asia, particularly Mongolia, Genghis is revered just as much as Alexander has traditionally been in Europe. ("The Savage Curtain"'s portrayal of Genghis as nothing more than a mute henchman on the "evil" side was probably the most racist thing that ever happened in Star Trek.)


    You'll probably find your answer in this post from the Law and the Multiverse blog:

    http://lawandthemultiverse.com/2011/02/21/time-travel-suspended-animation-statute-limitations/

    See also Isaac Asimov's short-short story "A Loint of Paw."
     
  3. Drago-Kazov

    Drago-Kazov Fleet Captain

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    The difference between Flint and Genghis is that we can say that Flint had evolved out of being that civilised barbarian who was responsible for the death of thousands. Genghis on the other hand if temporarily displaced had done nothing to redeem himself he did not evolve along with humanity.


    I will check out your link.
     
  4. E-DUB

    E-DUB Captain Captain

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    Not to threadjack but I think that the most racist thing in Trek was "Code of Honor", in which the whole "black guy lusting after white woman" thing was played to the hilt.
     
  5. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    My understanding is that we ditch them on Ceti Alpha V . . ..
     
  6. Timewalker

    Timewalker Cat-lovin', Star Trekkin' Time Lady Premium Member

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    Poor Chekov (et al.). :( Just think of all the jaywalking and trespassing they did back in 20th century San Francisco! McCoy even impersonated a doctor (sort of)! And what about Gillian Taylor? Did she ever have parking tickets? Did she shoplift a chocolate bar when she was a little kid?

    Damn, you're cruel to your characters. [​IMG]
     
  7. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Well, except it wasn't written that way; in the script, the Ligonians were originally reptilian aliens and the writers based them on samurai culture. The way it turned out has been blamed by some on the director, and there are anecdotes that he treated the guest actors in a racist way and got fired midway through, but the same director went on to do many episodes of In the Heat of the Night, which seems hard to reconcile with those allegations. So at worst, there was racism injected by the director that wasn't in the script. The treatment of Genghis Khan, one of the most effective military and political leaders in the history of the world, as nothing more than a mute thug was there in the writing from the beginning.
     
  8. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    And I hear Kirk let some poor woman be hit a truck. Surely that qualifies as negligent homicide or something . . .
     
  9. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk The Real Me Premium Member

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    You send them back to their home time ASAP, because they have stuff to do.
     
  10. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I don't know about 1930s New York City law, but generally there's no duty to rescue. Law and the Multiverse has covered the subject several times, including here.
    Maybe you could argue that since Edith was crossing the street because Kirk had done so and she was coming over to see what he was doing, that could mean he created the hazardous condition. But I don't think that would hold up, since it was her own choice to cross the street -- and Kirk did specifically tell her, twice, to stay right there.

    And while Kirk may have felt he had a responsibility to Edith, he had no formal responsibility for her in the eyes of the law. If anything, he was the one dependent on her for his room and board.

    I'm not sure whether actively preventing someone else from rescuing her would be illegal, though. But in Kirk's case one could argue self-defense, since his action saved himself, his crew, and the entire Federation.
     
  11. trekmom

    trekmom Ensign Red Shirt

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    What if you can't send them back? Keep in mind that in the "present day" Trek Lit world of approximately 2385ish or so, punishment is on a pretty nice penal colony. Gardens, exercise, fresh air, education and rehabilitation. If we punish past criminals according to "current" law, it will seem like an amazing vacation to them with much better living conditions than they were used to-for the most part. I think they should be prosecuted according to modern day law, so we don't unleash someone with a murderous/criminal past onto Federation society.
     
  12. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Except that along with that more benevolent penal system is a far more sophisticated system for rehabilitating criminals. That's what prison is supposed to do, after all -- not just lock people away for a while, not "punish" them by subjecting them to more trauma which will make them even more dangerous and antisocial when they get out, but reform them so they won't be criminals anymore. The American penal system these days has forgotten that basic principle, but clearly the Federation has remembered it and made it work, because they've successfully banished virtually all crime.

    Besides, aren't you conflating two separate parts of the process, prosecution and sentencing?
     
  13. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk The Real Me Premium Member

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    Well the example is Genghis Khan. Who has a life to lead and things to do before he dies at the time recorded by history. You have to send him back to the time he left or risk screwing up the time line.

    Another quandary: What if it's Genghis prior to him committing his crimes? Should be tried for thing he'll do in the future?
     
  14. rfmcdpei

    rfmcdpei Captain Captain

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    Leaving aside the unethical act of prosecuting someone for crimes that the person has not committed, doing anything that would radically rewrite the history of Earth with completely unknown consequences for the rest of the quadrant is something that the DTI would strictly guard against.
     
  15. Timewalker

    Timewalker Cat-lovin', Star Trekkin' Time Lady Premium Member

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    Also, Kirk and Spock stole clothes, assaulted a police officer, Spock stole tools... At least McCoy losing his phaser didn't matter this time, since it was disintegrated along with the bum.

    But it's totally McCoy's fault that all that milk and broken glass ended up on the street. I don't blame the bum for being scared and dropping it; how else would somebody feel when a raving lunatic suddenly appears out of thin air?

    I never realized what a degenerate bunch of people my favorite crew is! :eek:
     
  16. JRoss

    JRoss Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Hard to classify something as a crime when you're dealing with the man who codified the law.

    I know that this is way off-topic, but please, people, go read Genghis Khan, Emperor of All Men by Harold Lamb, and also March of the Barbarians by the same author.
     
  17. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    Plus, of course, they broke into a high-security NASA installation, and aided and abetted in the destruction of an orbiting weapons platform.

    And then there was the time they destroyed a U.S. fighter jet with their tractor beam . . . . .
     
  18. BritishSeaPower

    BritishSeaPower Captain Captain

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    And they kidnapped those whales.
     
  19. Markonian

    Markonian Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    There may be an actual case in ST: B. Rasmussen.
    He committed a crime in the past and was stranded in the future by Starfleet, and prosecuted. He was treated as criminal in Indistinguishable from Magic.
     
  20. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^Well, technically I think Rasmussen was prosecuted for the crimes he committed in the 24th century, i.e. stealing a bunch of Starfleet equipment, trying to kidnap Data, and attempted erasure of the entire timeline.

    I'm not sure it would be practical to try someone for crimes committed centuries ago, since there'd be no surviving witnesses to testify (unless, say, a young Vulcan had been present during Rasmussen's theft of the time pod). There'd also be little intact evidence to build a case on.