Star Trek and Time Lines
Alright, so The Female Man ended with the big reveal that Joanna, Janet, Jeannine, and Jael are are all technically the same person, but from different timelines or universes. Jael had brought them together in the hope of creating points in time to which she could expand her war on men to. “‘So?’ says Jael. ‘Do we do business?'” is what she asks the other three in regards to her plan. Jeannine says “‘Oh, sure'”, while Janet says, “‘No, sorry'” (Russ 210-1). And then in class we went on a relatively long discussion about multiverse theory in term of world lines. We also brought up Star Trek and the gender roles it had. This got me thinking on Star Trek’s version of time travel. To illustrate this, I will use Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG) episode: “All Good Things…” and Star Trek Voyager episode: “Endgame” part one and two. Starting with TNG, Captain Picard is thrown between three points in time, past, present and future, and has to close a spatial anomaly. It is determined that Picard’s efforts to close the anomaly are actually sustaining it use the three ship from the different timelines. At this point, the ships can see each other physically. Now the reason why I bring this up is because Picard’s situation is similar to the 4 “J”s. They are all present in one universe, despite coming from others. So the concept of bringing multiple “selves” from different realities a plot point in The Female Man but what is the impact of doing so? In Voyager’s Endgame, Captain Janeway’s future self appears and convinces Janeway to shortcut her way home by 16 years ahead of what the timeline would do. As a result of her actions, she saves the lives of multiple crew members (they would’ve died on the 16 year trip home) while making it home 16 years in advance. In The Female Man Jael tells Janet that “It is I who gave you your ‘plague’…” claiming that it is because of Jael’s efforts in her time, that creates Janet’s time (Russ 211). The idea is that the future can impact the past, but is also determined by the actions of the past. Janet’s involvement in the past could impact her future, as well as it being determined by Jael’s actions.
Alright, I know the above paragraph is confusing, but that’s the nature of time travel. So here is my version of time travel (notable near/is identical to the show Steins;Gate). I am going to follow World line theory. So imagine our world is world line A. Line A holds all the choices made up to this point. Any differences made create branches off the line. Some differences could be big changes such as World War two not existing. Now put another line next to line A, this one shall be line B. Line A and B are different realities but are connected by larger branches that join together. For instance, if line A and B did not have World War two, that branch would be connected to both world lines. These lines then converge on the same point through this branch. This is now Group AA. There are multiple groups that have drastic differences between them that result in different convergence points (Fixed points/events in time) between the groups. While these groups are linked by minor choices, them converging on different events forces a difference. Time travel inherently bring difference choices to the world line that is moved to. The differences caused by the time jump, if large enough, could force a person from Group AA to a different group, or if it is small, they won’t change groups and will continue to witness the fixed event in that group (convergence point). This the the major point of world lines and convergence so I won’t continue unless prompted because explaining lines that are not in groups will take a bit. So in the mean time, here is a video of the Super Best Friends talking about time ethics.