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Temporal Prime Headache


Temporal Prime Headache  

21 members have voted

  1. 1. A time traveler from the future asks you to change a mission, assuring it will change nothing else but saving his fiancé’s life. You would not be violating any regulation, but she definitely is. Would you help her?

    • No, I do not believe the changes can be so contained.
    • No, even if the changes were contained, it is wrong to change the timeline.
    • Yes, it is only a minor change.
    • Yes, you would not be changing your past, so it is not something you should be against.
    • Other options (let us know)

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Your ship has discovered an abandoned starbase. It’s old, it appears to have been abandoned for centuries, and yet the technology is very advanced, so you set out to explore it. Before you send your away teams there, however, a shuttle appears out of nowhere. It has an Starfleet look, but it’s not one you can recognize. As it hails you, the one crewmember indentifies herself as a traveler from the 27th century.

She tells you he needs you to avoid that starbase altogether. The fact that you enter will put in motion a chain of events that will end with the death of her fiancé in three hundred years. Apparently you will activate the station defenses, afterwards putting a message for Starfleet to avoid that region of space in the future. A message that the future archeologist in her fiancé will find, and it will draw him towards the station. That together with the station defenses, will end with his premature death, along with his team.

Also, she assures you nothing else will change by your action, since the changes are confined to the station. However you find that hard to believe, knowing enough about temporal mechanics and chaos theory to know that even a minor change can have huge repercussions in the long run. 

You know that, even if you did, you would not be violating the Temporal Prime Directive since you will be changing your future, not your past. But she is openly violating it. Would you help her?

This is a new edition of our category Morals of Trek, where you are in the shoes of a Starfleet Captain facing a dilemma any of our favourite characters could have faced in Star Trek. If your crew has faced any such dilemmas and you want to see it featured in a Poll of the Week, let us know!

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The fact that the woman is his fiance suggests that if she survives, they will marry and produce offspring. Each life will have myriad ramifications for the future and change countless lives. In addition, each of those offspring might make momentous discoveries, inventions, etc, which could further change the entire culture.

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Answering IC for the fun of it:

For Lt Taelon, the answer would be a difficult maybe - is it the knowledge itself that causes the death? Is it investigating the station on foot that causes the issue? He would be intrigued by the mystery and drawn to knowledge that might be forbidden. If it is indeed the knowledge that causes the issue...is it knowledge worth dying for? Could it save people (or indeed entire worlds) in the future? If so, it's worth one life - however painful that decision might be. 

For Counselor Ruwon, it's a little clearer cut - the timeline should be stable, whatever its outcome. Casualty demands that the default timeline should be the ones less interfered with; if everyone came back in time to stop their loved ones from dying, life would be nothing but a series of interruptions. (And in a cold way - his entire capitol planet is gone. What's one life, weighed against that? Where are the time travelers hoping to save the billions killed there?) 

I think the both of them would want more information before deciding, but ultimately their similar backgrounds would demand they side towards keeping the timeline as-is...even if neither of them likes having to make that call. 

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I do not believe, in reality, that changes to the timeline would even be possible.  However, in Star Trek canon things do seem to be able to change.  In that case, I believe that this may be a valid reason to do so.

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