A Fistful Of…. Other Worlds
Beyond the final frontier lies worlds even stranger than those encountered by heroic starship crews week after week. Running parallel to our world are many more. Some slightly different, some dramatically so and with each possibility time splinters into further alternate realities where everything that could be, is.
Star Trek has never been shy in exploring these worlds with Discovery’s last season delving into the effects of travelling between realities while the Bad Robot produced movies starting in 2009 explore those alternate lives in whats known as the Kelvin Timeline. And as we look forward to the return of Star Trek Picard, it looks as if we’ll visit another broken timeline.
Looking back at all those alternate worlds and perspectives, we’re picking out five of the best times we saw our favourite Starfleet officers find themselves outside the “Prime” timeline.
Next Generation (Season 3)
Investigating an anomaly, the crew of the Enterprise witness the ships predecessor, The Enterprise-C, emerge, displaced from it’s own time. Instantly things change; their exploration mission non existent as we see a Starfleet in war mode against an increasingly aggressive Klingon Empire.
History recorded the Enterprise-C being destroyed after responding to a Klingon distress call, hekping to solidify peace between the two. But ambushed by Romulans it was thrown forward in time and as a result, none of that happened. Only Guinan has the spidey sense to realise something went horribly wrong, knowing tactical officer Tasha Yar shouldn’t exist.
Having faith in his close adviser, and knowing that the Federations on the edge of defeat, Picard and his predecessor Captain Garrett decide to send the Enterprise-C back to where it left, save the Klingons and hope to avert the war with Yar going with them to have the meaningful death she was denied in the prime timeline.
In A Mirror Darkly
Enterprise (Season 4)
First in the Original Series in a one off, the Mirror Universe made a return several times on Deep Space Nine where we learned of the Cardassian-Klingon Alliance era before making an impact on Discovery as the entire universe was reimagined in a more sinister light.
However, for a special two parter, Enterprise was the first series to show us the Terrans from their perspective without an outsider from our Prime reality dropping in. Connecting the early stages of the Terran Empire’s conquest into space to finding the USS Defiant from the Original Series lost through time and space, In A Mirror Darkly showed us the trials and treacherous tactics a Terran has to deal with in a backstabbing and power hungry reality.
Voyager (Season 5)
Utilising the slipstream drive technology discovered during the events of Hope And Fear, Voyager managed to retrofit their warp drive and find a way home by having Chakotay and Harry Kim fly ahead and feed back information to Voyager to help it survive the trip (bit more complex than that , but lets keep it to TLDR here!).
Harry’s eagerness to save the day outweighs everything else. That eagerness leads to a mistake he cant cover in time. Chakotay and Harry get home with the Flyer. Voyager is thrown out of the slipstream and straight into a crash landing killing the entire crew.
Timeless is far from Voyagers best episode. But Harry Kim is close to the shows Chief O’Brien, so seeing an older and bitter version of him and Chakotay fighting to change the timeline they knew always sets a level of intrigue, especially when intercepted by Captain Geordie La Forge…
Next Generation (Season 7)
When it comes to roads not taken, Season 7’s dimension jumping adventure gave us a look at how timelines can branch off with subtle changes as well as dramatic difference. That was the case for Worf when reality begins to change little by little and he realised he wasn’t in Kansas any more.
Skipping through different versions of his life, including a world where Geordie dies and Riker gained full time command of the Enterprise following the battle of Wolf 359, it showed him different aspects of what could have been from joining the command track to entering a relationship with Commander Troi.
Of course he does venture back to his own universe by the end, but would be inspired to try and change some aspects of his life that we’d see in the years that followed.
Deep Space Nine (Season 4)
One of Deep Space Nine’s finest hours of storytelling came down to a young man who lost his father. During a tragic accident, Captain Sisko and Jake end up in Engineering fixing up the Defiant and with a burst of energy, the elder Sisko vanishes in front of his sons eyes.
In the years that followed, Starfleet would withdraw from DS9 and the political landscape would change without the Emissary. But then The Sisko appears again, trapped in time only returning for moments at a time. Growing up without his fathers influence, Jake would become successful but over time obsessive over finding a way to save his father. Realising that their lives are tethered due to the accident, he tries and fails the scientific route before realising there’s only one way to break the connection and reset the timeline; End his own life.
Told from the perspective of an older Jake Sisko recounting his life to an aspiring writer, The Visitor’s alternate timeline and sci fi leanings are secondary to Jake’s story of loss, suffering and love for the father he feels responsible for and would, in the end, give his life to save.
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