Are there ethical problems with Janeway's time travel in 'Endgame'?

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Voyager' started by at Quark's, Mar 25, 2019.

  1. at Quark's

    at Quark's Commodore Commodore

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    This is not meant as a Janeway bashing thread, but I would like to know what you think.

    See this YouTube video.

    Basically (if I recall correctly, watched this about a week ago), he nominates Janeway as the most reckless time traveler, since (according to him) in Endgame she is willing to change the existing prime timeline for one she considers more favourable - something he says is unprecedented in Trek before Voyager (though he admits Harry Kim does essentially the same in Timeless) . In his opinion, time travel in earlier series was either accidental or done only to correct a timeline to what it was before. He thinks Janeway's attitude is beyond arrogant, is hubris, that up until Voyager would only be considered fitting for the mindset of a villain, not for the mindset of a Starship captain.

    Now of course, you can make all kinds of arguments in the vein of ("but alt-Picard was changing his prime timeline, and he had only the word of Guinan that 'things are not supposed to be like this' to go on"), or ("how do you know it isn't 'supposed' to be like the changed timeline"), -- I suppose he is looking from an "outside universe" viewpoint - the viewpoint of us, as viewers that in a way have an "absolute" reference to a prime timeline.

    What do you think? Did Janeway cross a fundamental barrier here, or is it perfectly acceptable for a Starfleet captain to attempt to change the existing timeline for "something better"? I haven't made up my own mind yet…
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2019
  2. Kor

    Kor Admiral Admiral

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    It is what it is. If Janeway's timeline changes were really that big of a deal in the grand, universal scheme of things, then I'm sure Captain Braxton or one of his colleagues would have shown up and tried to stop her plans.

    Kor
     
  3. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    Better for whom?
    Who gets to say what is better?
    How do you know your changes will make things better?

    In the case of "Endgame"

    Why not go back a few weeks earlier and save Carey as well?

    Why not go back and prevent VOY from being stranded in the DQ in the first place and save all of your crew?
     
  4. at Quark's

    at Quark's Commodore Commodore

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    Which is interesting, since it appears she makes some changes that would appear massive at first sight. She's not only changing the fates of 150 shipmates, but she also hands over some tech that are 20-30 years more advanced than what earth is 'suppposed' to have at the time. She destroys that transwarp hub, and quite possibly a significant chunk of the Borg Collective or perhaps even the Collective itself - which in turn would affect the fate of countless species. If that isn't "a big deal" does that mean that the Borg were supposed to take a huge hit somewhen around this time anyway?
     
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  5. c0rnedfr0g

    c0rnedfr0g Commodore Commodore

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    Remember, Future Janeway chose that spot in the D.Q. because of its place in space, less so because of its place in time. When Carey died, the Voyager hadn't yet reached the Borg Super Nexus thing. And the Caretaker Array was way too far away.
     
  6. gakelly

    gakelly Commander Red Shirt

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    The whole idea of time travel seems preposterous. If it is so easy and common place, any one could travel back in time and destroy any time line, getting rid of future enemies, etc.
     
  7. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    Exactly it hadn't yet reached that point, so you could go back a few weeks and you would still reach that point in space albeit with at least 1 more crew member alive.

    Yes but you could travel back in time to when VOY was battling the Kazon at the Caretaker's array, those advanced weapons on the shuttle would make short work of the Kazon then use the Array to get the ship(s) home. Likely saving the lives of those lost during VOY's trip home.
     
  8. c0rnedfr0g

    c0rnedfr0g Commodore Commodore

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    Sure, and while she's at it, prevent the Val Jean and Voyager from entering the Badlands to begin with. Then kill Hitler and prevent the Borg from forming, just for good measure. My point is that for time travel to work in a story, the audience has to go along w/ the arbitrary limitations placed on it.
     
  9. Refuge

    Refuge Vice Admiral Admiral

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    It's kind of a contradiction... but you can't put the genie back in the bottle, and yet you can! By that I mean once time travel became an option it was always going to be a consideration. A consideration to the point where someone might choose to revert or change events. Be it 'Year of Hell' or 'Relativity' 'Future's End' and 'Endgame', be it Braxton, Janeway, Kim or Annorax , the temptation to change time and events challenged the ethics of these choices. I always felt that by the time 'Relativity' was screened (and 'Future's End') we knew that time travel was to become something to be policed, that it was an ongoing issue.

    It makes one wonder about Annorax and his relentless (and futile) tries at getting his old life and wife back, when ultimately it was the destruction of his ship and its temporal core that served the purpose of getting him what he wanted. Take away the very thing he thought would salvage his past and he got it back. It was almost like a lesson that re-setting time isn't going to necessarily affect fate - he couldn't force it. However, 'Voyager' also went the other way and rewarded messing with time by having new timelines stand.

    Yes, Admiral Janeway went for it in 'Endgame'. Funny but she then had to settle on a course of events negotiated with her younger self! These time/temporal stories do my head in. To answer the question it was more than just an ethical decision Janeway went with and although ethics isn't a numbers game, the fact she needed existing Klingon tech to do it does set the stage somewhat that it wasn't necessarily unique technology. Still I think ethically it was playing God.
     
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  10. NewHeavensNewEarth

    NewHeavensNewEarth Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Of course it was unethical. That's why Starfleet was totally against it. There was no way to know the consequences of her actions, especially if her plan failed to have the desired effect on the Borg. If the Borg had successfully adapted her future tech, the whole Alpha Quadrant would've easily fallen because of Janeway. It made for a semi-compelling finale, full of plot holes as usual, but they had to wrap it up somehow.
     
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  11. Dukhat

    Dukhat Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I don't have to watch that video to make an opinion of my own, since I watched the episode in question. And yes, Janeway had no right whatsoever to change the timeline for her own personal benefit, especially since the only real reason she did it was because she wanted an older man and a young woman to have a relationship instead of dying. The future timeline as shown had no real problems to speak of. There was no rational reason why some old bitter woman should have been allowed to change it for the stupid reason she did.

    Like many others, you put way too much faith in the so-called 'time cops.' In both episodes where they were shown, it turned out that they were actually responsible for the problems they were sent to fix. I don't exactly have a lot of faith that they are actually good at their jobs.

    Exactly.

    Going back a few more weeks wouldn't have changed the outcome. And it doesn't matter how far away the Caretaker Array was if you have to power of time travel to be able to go back far enough so that Voyager doesn't get stranded in the DQ in the first place. But that's all irrelevant. The only thing Janeway cared about was making sure Chakotay and Seven didn't die.

    Except one still needs the story to make sense, or else its logic is ripe for being picked apart. Remember Star Trek: Generations? Once in the Nexus, Picard could travel back to any point in time he wanted. Why on Earth did he choose the moment right before the Nexus hit Veridian III and have to drag Kirk back to fight Soran right before launching his missile? Why didn't he go back, say, a week before and arrest Soran while he was still on the Amargosa station building his torpedo? Or better yet, why not go back in time to right before his brother and nephew died in that fire, and then deal with Soran? See how none of this 'arbitrary limitations' thing makes any sense?
     
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  12. Akiraprise

    Akiraprise Vice Admiral Moderator

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    I felt that Voyager went to the time travel well a bit too often. In the third episode of VOY that aired we already had a time travel reboot episode. Those stories are easy cop outs for writers and show producers. They can do totally outrageous things to the cast and ship and *poof* all better at the end. That's not to say I don't like them, in fact I think they are fun, but I also like there to be consequences to the ongoing story arc. Janeway going back in time, bringing her crew home early, violating the temporal prime directive by installing all that future tech, and giving the Borg one big bloody nose at the end screams for some kind of follow up. But all we got was a The End.

    The ethical issue lies with the writers completely mischaracterizing the Janeway character. I don't buy that Admiral Janeway became so jaded to do what she did. She would have mourned the deaths of her friends and crew lost on the longer journey home but I don't see her throwing all of her principles out the window to totally change the timeline as she did.
     
  13. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    That's pretty much exactly my take on it.

    She might have done it for a higher purpose, one example being to take the Borg out to avoid a (truly catastrophic) catastrophe of some kind, but that was not given as her motivation.

    There was a recent "reimagine Endgame" type thread, and my answer was to completely excise the time travel nonsense. It's not even necessary. Just simply have Janeway, Seven, and the whole team devise a bold strategy to take advantage of the transwarp hub they stumble upon. It can even be the real Janeway who the Queen captures and have a fake-out/crew disobeys orders and rescues her anyway kind of deal. It could have been genuinely exciting instead of utterly lame.
     
  14. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    And Tuvok didn't lose his mind.
     
  15. Dukhat

    Dukhat Vice Admiral Admiral

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    That was completely secondary to her main motive.
     
  16. Akiraprise

    Akiraprise Vice Admiral Moderator

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    Plus Janeway hates time travel. It gives her a headache. :lol:
     
  17. Guy Gardener

    Guy Gardener Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Janeway had to leave 2404.

    The POPO were coming to get her.

    That Ferengi was working with her, or for her.

    Life imprisonment.

    Reputation ruined.

    Might as well kill herself, or the rest of the entire universe.

    One or the other, doesn't matter which.
     
  18. Gov Kodos

    Gov Kodos Admiral Admiral

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    The various crews over the course of Trek have mucked with time travel so many times any idea of an original timeline is ridiculous. The Academy Oath probably comes with a disclaimer about inevitable changes subject to the antics of past, current, and future graduates.
     
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  19. captainkirk

    captainkirk Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    This isn't limited to just Endgame but applies to other stories as well. I don't see a problem with changing history to make it better. Obviously, this runs counter to the lesson of every time-travel story ever, but hear me out. So the argument that they always give is that we have no idea what disastrous events may happen as the result of even minor changes. But why can only bad changes occur? In everyday life, we make countless decisions, big and small, and we never try to predict what ripple effect they might have on history for centuries to come. We just try to do the best we can based on the information we have.
     
  20. at Quark's

    at Quark's Commodore Commodore

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    Time travel was already somewhat controllable 80 years before that. Kirk's Enterprise did time travel with slingshots around the sun and whateever, going on missions to study historical earth and such. So the technology shouldn't have been an issue anyway, though perhaps it was (wisely) restricted by Starfleet.