Time Travel, Alternate Timelines

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Admiral Jean-Luc Picard, Jul 28, 2020.

  1. Kirk Prime

    Kirk Prime Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    You can do a lot in sci-fi, but once you change previously established rules like that, it tends to become a different franchise. It's not really overthinking. Star Trek rules are quite clear.

    At any time though, they can follow up and change everything. Just do another story.
     
  2. Captain Kris Kringle Pike

    Captain Kris Kringle Pike Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I don't see why it becomes a "different franchise." Having an "alternate timeline" is, to me, just another way of saying that the timeline branched. That's why Parallels works so well for me is that you have things that can cause branches.

    I don't think the changing of the rules necessitates a different franchise. That's rather black and white thinking in a franchise that utilizes different approaches to time travel and alternate timelines (Mirror Universe, Lazarus, Mr. Atoz, Guardian of Forever). Parallels was just an addition to those rules, not breaking them. "An alternate reality" to quote Uhura from the film.

    All ST 09 did was introduce a new mechanic in red matter.
     
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  3. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    And what makes one alternate history an alternate timeline and another an alternate universe? When in the episodes is it stated which is which in a manner precluding any possibility of the two terms being interchangeable?

    That Our Heroes believe preserving the timeline is important doesn't make it so, nor do they necessarily have any way of knowing whether they're in their own timeline or have transited to an alternate timeline.

    You're presenting your own theories as facts.
     
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  4. Kirk Prime

    Kirk Prime Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Parallels is a different animal. So when I mean different franchise, when someone creates a franchise like this, and make rules for time travel, if you change them, you're changing a fundamental principle of the franchise. It would be like saying transporter technology is impossible in Star Trek. Parallels does not counter anything established in Star Trek before or since. It does create an interesting question as to why the mirror universe and the prime universe are so connected, but that's another topic.

    Parallels was an addition, not a contradiction.

    It is a completely different thing than time travel though.


    Red Matter is an out if they choose to use it at another time. But "alternate reality" does not mean the original reality still exists. All time travel changes create alternate realities, no matter how small.

    If I erase the timeline or if I create a new universe, it's an alternate reality.

    It was very poor words at a point where they should have made it really clear.

    In the world of Star Trek, these are facts. It's just the way they set it up.

    I keep saying though that it IS possible to make it so the prime universe exists. But as it stands, in canon, it needs a new chapter to the story.

    It's just the english language--they don't mean the same thing. A different universe is a different location.
     
  5. Captain Kris Kringle Pike

    Captain Kris Kringle Pike Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    It was clear to me...and Prime Spock's behavior is further evidence of the Prime Universe's continual existence. So, I don't need another story to clarify what I feel is clear enough and the rest is semantics. But, I can see the confusion-I just don't agree with it, nor do I think that Trek rules are so hard and fast as to be inflexible.
     
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  6. JD

    JD Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    They've never actually established solid rules for time travel, yes most of the time travel stories have involved resetting the timeline, but we've never gotten any indication that that is the only way time travel works. All the first Kelvin Universe movie did was introduce a new way for it to work.
    Kirk Prime, I highly recommend you read DTI: Watching the Clock, it establishes a specific time travel system that does manages to include both time travel systems in a way that makes sense.
     
  7. The Borgified Corpse

    The Borgified Corpse Admiral Admiral

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    Perhaps, unless a specific phenomena is protecting them (e.g. the Borg Sphere's temporal wake in First Contact), the time traveler is protected up until the point where either (1) their existence is completely precluded by events in the new timeline or (2) they catch up to the point from which they left. So, perhaps the alternate Tasha Yar from "Yesterday's Enterprise," had she not been executed by the Romulans, would have spontaneously disappeared either once the original Tasha Yar died in "Skin of Evil" or once the date of the original events of "Yesterday's Enterprise" had passed. Similarly, perhaps Spock Prime, had he not died of old age, would have survived until either young Spock died or until the new timeline caught up with the moment when he & Nero left the old one.

    To throw another Star Trek example out there to complicate things more-- "Time Squared." IIRC, the future versions of Captain Picard & the shuttle suddenly disappeared once the present version of Captain Picard took decisive action that precluded that other past from ever happening.

    I'm guessing that Olga & Ramsey take turns.:evil:

    BTW, I was just watching Back to the Future, Part III last night and something occurred to me. In the original timeline, Clara fell into the ravine, which is why they renamed it Clayton Ravine. In the final altered timeline, it's been changed to Eastwood Ravine. So..... what exactly do the people of Hill Valley think happened? Young Eastwood, after narrowly surviving a fight with Mad Dog Tannen, proceeded to hijack a train at gunpoint, stole nothing from the passengers, decoupled the rest of the cars from the engine, switched over to an uncompleted section of track, and then RAN THE TRAIN OFF A CLIFF for...... reasons? I mean, we know what really happened but I'd be fascinated to know what the official story is and what everyone else thought of it. Did they just think he was an idiot? Suicidal? Or is it just one of those strange unsolved mysteries of history, like the Mary Celeste or the lost colony of Roanoke? (BTW, the Mary Celeste was abandoned because it was attacked by Daleks.:D)
     
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  8. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    There's a lot of unanswered questions there. I mean, Doc and Clara are still in the past and it must have taken Doc a significant amount of time (sorry) to build the TimeTrain, so did they return to Hill Valley or start lives elsewhere to avoid anyone connecting them with Eastwood's death? How did Doc avoid contaminating the timeline (not that he seemed to have been worried about it previously)? Was Doc being in the past a predestination paradox? Was there a timeline before Doc was stuck in the past, and if so, how did it differ?

    Oh, and what happened to the Hoverboard? :p
     
  9. The Borgified Corpse

    The Borgified Corpse Admiral Admiral

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    Given the presence of the Hoverboard, maybe that gave Doc a lot of the technology he needed to create the Time Train.
     
  10. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I assume he adapted the Hoverboard tech to make the train capable of flight, but in terms of time travel, I would think they'd be entirely different fields. :)
     
  11. Leroy

    Leroy Commodore Commodore

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    I'd like to see a story that's about Annorax (voy 'Year of Hell') completing his weapon ship and alters history, only to find that his family was erased forcing him and his crew to endure a torturous existence attempting to correct his mistake only for him to fail over and over for hundreds of years. I know the episode touched on this but it would be a neat story to be realized.

    The episodes Yesterday's Enterprise, Timeless', and Endgame bring up the topic of altering the timeline, it's ok for Captain Picard, Janeway, Kim or Chakotay to alter history but someone like Annorax can't? Who gets to be the arbiter of the timeline?
     
  12. Guy Gardener

    Guy Gardener Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    In the lap of squalor I assure you.
    The signitors of the temporal accords.
     
  13. theenglish

    theenglish Vice Admiral Admiral

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    This makes it so.

    In fiction, we go with this until we are given reason to believe otherwise.

    To be fair, you are doing the same.
     
  14. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    No, I'm presenting my theories as opinions. I'm not claiming that Trek ever established rules, because I don't believe it ever did. Even if TOS had established rules, it was a show created in the '60s and reflects an understanding of science from that time period.

    In any case, I don't see any reason to believe that "alternate timeline" and "alternate universe" couldn't have been being used interchangeably. I'm willing to bet plenty of posters to this forum have used the terms interchangeably, so why not Our Heroes?

    Hell, there's plenty of people in this forum who use the term "cannon" interchangeably with "personal continuity", for multiple reasons.
     
  15. theenglish

    theenglish Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I'll accept that, but even going back and looking at the posts your tone is pretty similar to KP's. For what it is worth, I am on Kirk Prime's in this regard--canon is what is seen onscreen until demonstrated otherwise. It is fun to surmise and connect dots, and overthink things more than writers ever did, but until stated onscreen it is conjecture.
     
  16. JD

    JD Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I don't see where either of those things would effect the time traveler, since by that point them and the other version of them would be totally different indviduals, and it's different timeline, so it wouldn't matter if they reached the same point left from.

    It's been while since I read it, but they do touch on this a bit in the framing story for the first arc in the Back to The Future comic book series from IDW. I think in it Doc and the family had stayed put in Hill Valley, and he pretty much focused most of his energy on the train and as soon as it was done they set off for the 1980s.
     
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  17. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ^That seems like the safest course he could possibly pursue, though even that would run the risk of contaminating the timeline.
     
  18. Kirk Prime

    Kirk Prime Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Prime Spock's behavior was out of character. It showed bad writing, not a statement one way or the other.

    But how is it clear? We don't get any evidence that there was anything special or different by this method of time travel. Look, I'm all for the prime universe still existing--but the writers didn't make that happen. Certain rules, once made, must be hard and fast. You can't establish that if you travel in time, history can be changed, and later say it can't. The two views are polar opposites.

    I will try to remember to check this book out, but I find that often, book writers are simply better than TV and movie writers in Star Trek. That's why I was such a big advocate for Star Trek to hire Judith and Gar Reeves Stevens. I was rewarded with a clear improvement when they actually did. Granted, they were sprinkling sugar on a turd at that point, but there was a definite upgrade and a frustration as to what could have been had they been there at the start.

    Regarding a means of time travel where you go to another universe--again, I am not saying that it can't happen. It would be something like what happened to the Tholian Web Defiant. That ship went back in time 100 years AND moved to another universe. However, they made that very clear in the show. They did NOT do that in ST09. Books are not canon, much as I wish some of them were. I would LOVE a story that proves me wrong.

    It CAN be done. It just has not been done. I actually think it would make a great story too.

    This is a harder one. But we do have examples of the time traveler being protected in a variety of ways. Time Squared was a specific phenomenon that seemed to be different than other examples. For example, why couldn't that version of Picard just have a conversation? It made no sense. Sometimes they carve out different things. But when they do, they are fairly clear.

    The prime universe could still exist post-Kelvin. We just haven't had any concrete proof.

    There are some amazing fan fics out there by an author named Mary Jean Holmes. Novel length and level. Continues the stories. If you can find them, they are worth the read.

    Doc would have had to somehow use his knowledge of the future to make money. As much as he would hate the idea, he could justify it by saying it was to bring his family to the future, not for actual personal gain, and he would spend every penny he made to fund the train, which would not leave an estate behind.

    Universe and timeline are completely different terms. They aren't interchangeable. Neither are personal continuity and canon.

    There is nothing in 2020 that has changed since 1966 that would show anything about time travel is wrong. No one has gone to the past that we know of.

    With that in mind, nothing can be right or wrong in the real world.

    Doing that is a weakness of the writing, but a strength of the fans. Sometimes you have no choice, like when there is a blatant contradiction. Valtane is one such contradiction which invalidates the episode Flashback. But something like this? We have to go with what we saw, and wait until they fix. Fortunately, fixing this is doable and a strong story can come from it.
     
  19. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    To be clear, I wasn't arguing that the terms -should be- interchangeable, I was observing that people often use them interchangeably and typically everyone involved in the conversation understands what's meant.

    I still think you're arguing for the existence of rules that were never actually established. Precedents perhaps, but not rules.
     
  20. Captain Kris Kringle Pike

    Captain Kris Kringle Pike Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Honestly, I don't see that. For starters, the only canon evidence we have is what is on screen, by your own admission. Books and comics don't count. So, we have to accept that Spock's behavior is in fact in character for the situation. Since Spock has seen time travel before, as well as alternate universes, then he would be familiar with the mechanics of it. No, it's not one the nose but Spock's behavior is sufficient explanation for me. Similarly with Kelvin Spock's own response to Uhura's "an alternate timeline."

    Quite so, yes. How many different types of time travel have we seen in Star Trek? In TOS I think I can recall at least 3 possibly 4. We also have the Defiant traveling both back in time as well as jumping universes. Then there's the whole timeship thing which is able to reintegrate people from multiple timelines back in to one person. You have multiple quantum realities occurring in Parallels with nigh infinite branches from singular events. At some point in time any "rules" are going to become guidelines without much of an eye bat.

    Kind of reminds me of the Jim Gaffigan joke regarding Catholics: "Only eat fish on Fridays. Unless you forget. Ah, do whatever the hell you want."
     
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