Have our heroes actually made the timeline *worse?*

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by WarpTenLizard, Sep 23, 2021.


Which alternate future was the worst/saddest, for you?

  1. TNG "All Good Things"

    0 vote(s)
  2. DS9 "The Visitor

    0 vote(s)
  3. VOY "Before and After"

  4. VOY "Shattered"

  5. VOY "Endgame"

    0 vote(s)
  6. ENT "E²"

  1. WarpTenLizard

    WarpTenLizard Captain Captain

    Mar 7, 2015
    Planet Spaceball

    One of the most classic tropes in "Star Trek" is the "alternate future," where our heroes get a taste of what their lives could be like down the road. The hero witnessing this future often takes actions that change it, supposedly for the better.

    Or do they?

    As I sift through the alternate futures that never came to be, many of them were "bad" futures...but only for certain characters. After these alternate futures were changed, the real timeline that ends up playing out looks considerably worse, in many ways at least.


    TNG: "All Good Things"

    The "Bad" future: Everyone has a long and prestigious career, except Deanna Troi who died young. Worf and Riker live relatively good lives, but have regret-angst over cock-blocking each other for Troi. Data is alive and thriving decades in the future, with a mansion, a maid and a pipe.

    After Picard returns to the "present," he gives his friends some advice, that butterfly-effects the above future out of existence. The result:

    New Timeine: Data goes boom at a relatively young age (for an android at least). Romulus goes boom a couple decades later; the Mars Massacre happens, indirectly leading to the death of Troi and Riker's son; prejudice against AIs goes rampant; Stafleet abandons its ideals; Picard resigns, and accidently ruins his friend Raffi's career.

    DS9: "The Visitor"

    The "Bad" Future: Captain Sisko gets trapped within a negative space-wedgie, that allows him visitation rights only every other decade or so; Mini-Sisko grows up to be a popular author, but is depressed and unmarried. There is no indication that the Dominion War has happened, and Jadzia is still alive and well. Naturally, Jake and his dad take actions to change this timeline.

    The New Future: Ben Sisko STILL gets sucked up into a negative space-wedgie and separated from Jake, albeit for religious purposes this time. Jadzia dies young, Ezri is unwillingly forced into a bad joining. Oh, and the Dominion War kills a frak-ton of people.

    Voyager: "Before and After"

    The Bad Future: Voyager's still lost after 9 years, and most of the best characters have either died young or are still Borg drones. Miral Paris is never born, and the Borg are presumably still at large. To say nothing of those Klingons without their Kuva'magh, or those poor schmucks in Unimatrix Zero. Oh, and someone made the hedgehog in Chief of Security. (Shudder.)

    But Kes has a nice life aboard Voyager, earning the title of doctor, and having a (creepy) family, and Harry got a promotion and a (creepy) relationship that actually lasted. And then, in a rare instance, Kes does something that actually makes me really like her, and warns Janeway about the Krenim, saving her and B'Elanna, at the cost of Kes's own daughter and grandson.

    New Timeline: Considerably better for most everyone else, except Kes. No wonder she was so bitter in "Fury." Harry is also still an ensign. All in all, this may not even belong on the list, as it seems Kes actually did make the timeline better on the whole; but it's a glaring irony that she made it better for everyone except herself (and her erased daughter and grandkid).

    Voyager: "Shattered"

    "Bad Future:" Voyager's still (seemingly) lost after several decades, and Chakotay and Janeway are both dead. But Icheb's a command officer, and alive and well. Chak cleans up this temporal clusterf**k, resulting in this future never happening.

    New Future: Not good for Icheb. 8(

    Voyager: "Endgame"

    "Bad" Future: Okay, as a Seven of Nine fan, her fate really does hit me hard here. But one friend dying young, one other going crazy, and the third living to a pretty regular old age, and only 22 others out of a crew of 145 croaking in 16 years...doesn't seem that bad. Bar Tuvok, Seven and the Chuck, all the other main characters seem to be doing well; the Doctor's got a trophy bride, Tom and B'Elanna are still married, Miral seems alright, Tom's a holonovelist, Naomi has a daughter, and the Dweeb finally made captain.

    New Future: Seven is alive but depressed, after the grizzly death of Icheb. And while we don't for a fact know if Data, Hugh and Bruce Maddox would've been any better off in the above timeline, they definitely weren't in this one. No word yet on whether Harry Kim is still an ensign.

    On the other hand, the Borg Collective is mostly defeated. So maybe this example doesn't belong on this list after all...

    In Conclusion:

    While we only saw bits and pieces of these alternate timelines, what we're shown onscreen makes it look like our heroes have made things a lot worse.

    There was no Mars Massacre, exploding Romulus, exploding Data, or murdered Hugh before Picard altered the course of the future. There was apparently no Dominion War without Benjamin Sisko. And Icheb, at the very least, was far better off when Voyager stayed lost.

  2. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Aug 26, 2003
    I gather the hypothesis is sort of its own undoing: if it's that easy to have Romulus blow up, then odds are that in the "better", "not fixed" timeline, Betazed collapsed instead, or Vulcan flew off to another dimension. For every bit of "a lot worse", we would probably be missing the bits that were horribly bad in the unmeddled-with timelines, simply because those would not have direct plot value. (Picard in the "AGT" future: "Oh, and Geordi, did I remember to mention that Bolarus is still in the stomach of that Space Cachalot? And that nothing has changed as regards the Bubonic Hiccups that keep Wes iron lung -ridden since we last spoke?")

    I mean, the galaxy is a horrible place in general, by default, and the fact that our heroes run into some of its more Lovecraftian aspects just statisically proves it's just as bad elsewhere and elsewhen. And this in a galaxy where all this timeline meddling takes place - so it adding a lost homeworld is likely to detract another lost homeworld from somewhere and somewhen, since what we observe is basically a balance.

    That said, good examples all around!

    Timo Saloniemi
  3. Dukhat

    Dukhat Vice Admiral Admiral

    Dec 26, 2007
    Maryland, USA
    Good topic!

    So yeah, it seems like the 'original' timelines in all of these instances don't seem as bad once you analyze them. And if you subscribe to the Abrams view of time travel, then those timelines actually still exist and were not written over; the newly created timelines are just from the point of view of the person who changed the old timeline in the first place.

    But let's assume for the moment that all those previous timelines did indeed get erased. By far the most egregious example of the original timeline being better was in "Endgame." The only negative aspects of that timeline were Tuvok's condition (which may very well still happen in the new timeline), and Chakotay and 7 of 9 being dead (and honestly, who really cares about that? Even Admiral Janeway's paper-thin excuse for wanting Chakotay and Seven back alive - so that they can be together - is invalidated by what we see in PIC, where 7 of 9 is some bisexual vigilante who has left her Voyager past behind. And it's not like Janeway really cared about Chakotay any further than that.) Old Janeway's entire reason for wanting to change history was to bring those two back to life at the expense of decades of history and people living their lives just fine. And why did Miral even help her, knowing that she and everything she knows will cease to exist if Janeway succeeds? The whole scenario makes extremely little sense.
    Unimatrix Q and jackoverfull like this.
  4. Kor

    Kor Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Jul 31, 2001
    My mansion on Qo'noS
    I don't think AGT showed a "real" future, but an imaginary scenario concocted by Q to mess with Picard.

    jackoverfull and Jinn like this.
  5. Sakonna

    Sakonna Commodore Commodore

    Dec 15, 2015
    "Endgame" + Streaming Trek really makes a compelling argument for Janeway as one of the most selfish & destructive villains in the entire Trekverse. In the "Endgame" flash-forward, the holograms have achieved equal rights. After Janeway's temporal meddling, they're still subjugated slave beings all the way into Disco's 32nd century.

    But hey, a thousand years of slavery is a small price to pay for a few more Chakotay/Seven picnics!
  6. Orphalesion

    Orphalesion Commodore Commodore

    Oct 19, 2014
    That's a bit of an issue that shows up in many long-running franchises that involve time travel or visions of the future. Even the "dark futures" from 10-20 years ago might end up less "dark" than what the franchise evolved into over those years.

    Endgame ruined Janeway as a character. I can only cope with it by excluding it from my head-canon.
    Sakonna likes this.
  7. Kor

    Kor Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Jul 31, 2001
    My mansion on Qo'noS
    The future Admiral Janeway seemed to have been somewhat unhinged. But I don't think her behavior reflects completely on "present-day" Janeway, whose immediate dilemma in the "here and now" was whether to destroy the Borg transport hub and save millions of lives throughout the galaxy, or to get the ship home right away and save Seven (and twenty other crew members who would die) and get Tuvok his cure (of course they were able to do both, in typical "neat and tidy" narrative fashion).

    The fact that Captain Braxton or somebody else from the Temporal Integrity Commission didn't show up and put the kibosh on all this... doesn't actually tell us much, since that hardly ever happened. :shifty:

  8. Sad Kelpian Child

    Sad Kelpian Child Admiral Admiral

    Nov 20, 2012
    What about Timeless? Turned out pretty well for everyone except Voyager.

    It is a major conceit of time travel episodes that the people we know are the only of consequence.

    All Good Things is probably the biggest example here. Maybe in that timeline, Spock got to Romulus just in time. But if the Klingons were able to conquer them they must not be destroyed. But I guess we don’t know if Klingon aggression caused other problems for more worlds.

    Combining that with Visitor we can speculate that when Klingons control the wormhole they prevent the war by just never allowing ships through.

    But we can probably also consider the events of Endgame the only way the Borg do not win. That’s probably why Relativity gives Voyager so much leeway resetting timelines. They know uploading the Trojan horse virus directly to the Queen is one of the biggest inflection points in all of history.
    WarpTenLizard and Unimatrix Q like this.
  9. F. King Daniel

    F. King Daniel Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Nov 5, 2008
    King Daniel Beyond
    Did The Burn happen athousand years past those timelines? Whatever happens in the late 24th century pales in comparison to that.

    But yeah, during Picard season one I was thinking, "Seven came all the way across the galaxy for this?" (and I say that as a fan of PIC, and who thoroughly enjoyed Seven's path of vengeance)
  10. JesterFace

    JesterFace Fleet Captain Commodore

    Jun 1, 2014
    Suomi Finland
    Not the exact quote but like Data said in the end of AGT: "Since the antitime anomaly didn't happen there have already been changes in the timeline the captain experienced."
    So telling a story of his experience in Q's adventure shouldn't have any effects. It might but who knows. And if something would go wrong Q can fix it. =)
  11. FederationHistorian

    FederationHistorian Captain Captain

    Feb 6, 2020
    There is also one that is shared by ENT and DIS that might be worth mentioning. ENT: Shockwave & DIS S3

    The bad future: 31st century – time portals are destroyed after Archer is pulled from the 22nd century. The Federation ceases to exist prior to the 31st century. Earth is in ruins with no signs of life anywhere, and there’s not even electricity available. Books are used instead of electronically-stored records. But there is no indication that the rest of the galaxy is doing badly, just Earth. Daniels manages to get Archer back to the 22nd century with the help of Archer’s crew to restore the timeline, as without Archer, the Federation does not form the way is should.

    The new future: 31st century - The Federation faces a dilithium shortage and fail to find an alternative fuel source. Then the Burn occurs after dilithium is rendered inert, killing millions and resulting in a loss in long range contact. Interstellar travel is deemed untenable. Also, time travel is made illegal, and the Federation has been greatly reduced in size after existing for nearly 1000 years. Earth is no longer a part of the Federation, reverting back to its United Earth designation. Nether is Vulcan, which is renamed Ni’Var after reunification with the Romulans was successful.
    WarpTenLizard likes this.
  12. Oddish

    Oddish Rear Admiral Commodore

    Sep 7, 2020
    Before and After actually wasn't so bad, as long as you simply accept the nature of Ocampa-human relationships. For us, a nine-year-old is still in the "playing with barbie dolls" stage of life. For them, it's a person who's matured, married, had children, raised them, aged, and is facing the end of their life's journey. Tom and Harry found genuine love, and made the decision to pursue it, with the bittersweet knowledge that their spouses and children would pass on long before they did. There's sorrow in that, but not tragedy.
    WarpTenLizard likes this.
  13. Omega-Trekker

    Omega-Trekker Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Sep 14, 2021
    Sol 3
    Repair the timeline shorts


    Qonundrum likes this.
  14. Bork359

    Bork359 Lieutenant Newbie

    Oct 6, 2021
    Yes, everything in Picard and Discovery has made the timeline worse for the characters, because those series are dark, violent, depressing hell slogs. I wish I had irumodic syndrome so I could forget those abortions they call new trek even exist.