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Forgotten History

by Ross Fertel, Forward Thinking

27th October 2018

Time travel has been an integral part of fiction almost as long as fiction was a concept.  Even putting aside pieces set is different time periods, you still have A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthurs’ Court by Mark Twain, which doesn’t go into much detail about the mechanics behind the time travel, through H.G . Wells’ The Time Machine, in which the mechanics are central to the plot.


In manifesting the film versions of these stories, studios have created whole backlots of long-gone time periods ready to go.  One of the most famous would probably be the old west, something that no less than half of the live action series have used as a long-lost settlement, holodeck fantasy and … a bare bones recreation.  Using these standing sets help keep costs down on a show that regularly beams people down to and from various locations.  One of the selling points of The Original Series , after ‘Wagon Train to the Stars,’ was to make use of these existing pieces.  Season three was possible due to using these ready made sets as a cost saving measure.


So when Kirk manages to get caught up in the mid sixties or when Archer has to go back to the early turn of the millennium, it’s for practical reasons. 


The writers don’t dip into the time travel well all that often, but when they do, it’s the main characters who usually get caught up in it.  This week’s contest had you looking back at the saga as a whole and find out who had experienced the most time travel.  The caveat was the ‘standard’ method of time travel (i.e. waiting) didn’t count.  This means Scotty’s trip to the 24th century counts but Spock’s doesn’t.  We were also looking at them even after they left the series, so Kes’ hijinks in Fury were fair game.  Tie-in were off the table, be it novels, comics, video games or roleplaying games,


In fact, there were a lot of incidents that looked like they were verified, but really weren’t.  Take “All Good Things” for instance.  Picard is jumping around in order to save the humanity, but the dialogue at the end makes it clear that it wasn’t any more real than Sherwood Forest.  And “Cause and Effect?”  They were in a loop, but that loop kept repeating in such a way that they were going through time at the normal speed.  To pick on another series, “Year of Hell” didn’t have any actual time travel at all.  Neither did “Coda” although that is a bit more obvious.


In looking at the saga and seeing just how many occurrences of time travel each character went through, there were some that hadn’t had the this particular set of circumstance happen to them.  It’s probably not too shocking that they’re the youngest members of the cast either with Jake Sisko and Wesley Crusher being left out of the party.  They were not present in on the occasions where the entire ship traveled through time such as “Children of Time” or “Children of TIme.”


A lot of them are in the ‘double digits’ club.  The big three of The Original Series, for example along with captains Picard and Archer as well.  Sadly, none of them are the right answer.  For that, we have to look at Deep Space Nine.


The ‘winner’ is Miles O’Brien.  He got a staggering twelve trips back and forth through time in “Visionary” helped along with the eight trips in “Past Tense.”  Those alone put him in the twenties, something unique to him.


I hope you’ve enjoyed this article and all the wonderful contests in the Spotlight Series.  Any time we get to think about Star Trek is a good thing.

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