So it was with trepidation that I went to my morning lecture, Temporal Science. To be honest, I wasn't even sure what Temporal Science was, but I wasn't going to make myself look stupid and ask someone. I did have the nonce to look it up in the Academy database though.
Anyway, the topic to introduce us to the subject was the 'Theory of Infinite Realities'; the subject of mirror, alternate or parallel realities (call them what you will), and I've discovered I like Temporal Science. It's not so much a science as a supposition, which means there is plenty of room for debate.
I'm not going to bleat on and fill my logs with everything new that I learn each day (that would be dull), but it was so exhilarating to stretch my mind and this was a significant event for me, so I am going to record it, just this once.
To summarise, the existence of alternate realities is proven. The Enterprise, under the command of Captain James T Kirk, first encountered the phenomenon in 2267, and then Commander Nerys Kira, First Officer, Deep Space 9 encountered a similar universe in 2370.
The 'Infinite Reality Theory' states that for every decision we make in life, an alternative reality is born, one for each decision path that could have been taken, and that there are, thus, billions upon billions of alternate realities.
Having had the theory explained to us, Mr Dreganan, our lecturer, asked a student for his thoughts. He said that it seemed to make sense to him.
"And you, Ms Terran," Dreganan suddenly asked me. "What do you think?"
I baulked at the question and sat rigid for a moment, thinking. I had two options. I could either agree, even though I didn't, or I could tell him what I really thought.
"Sorry sir, but it sounds like complete balderdash to me."
The room gasp but Mr Dreganan merely laughed, and then he asked me to explain the basis upon which I had drawn that conclusion, so I did, and it goes something like this.
No two people are exactly alike. That is because each person gets their genetic data as a combination of information from an egg and a sperm. For the same person to be born in two different realities, the same two people that parented that child would not only have to parent that child together, but would have had to come together and procreate at the same point in time in both of those realities. This would also be true for their parents, the parents of those parents and, in fact, everybody from whom they were ever descended.
That the realities we know of must have existed for some time for their civilizations to have evolved to a point so dramatically different from ours but with identical people, suggests that the theory must be false.
One could argue that there is no way to guarantee that the same egg would be released at the same point in time, just as you can't guarantee that the same sperm would have won the race to the egg in an alternate reality, but that also further disproves the theory, as the chances then of creating a physically identical person in two realities become even more remote.
Yet, James Kirk not only met another physically identical version of himself, but one that was similarly assigned to a ship called Enterprise, with a First Officer called Spock who was a mirror image of his own Spock. The chances of that occurring in another reality in the Infinite Realities Theory would be incredibly small. The chances of our Kirk then finding that reality among the billions of possibilities claimed by the Theory would be even smaller.
Further, that when Nerys visited an alternate reality, it appears to have been the same one that Kirk experienced, (supported by the history retold to her by her counterpart). What are the chances of her stumbling into the same alternate reality as Kirk if there are billions to choose from?
In the Infinite Reality Theory, the population would not be anything like ourselves. They would be entirely different people and, thus, I dispute it.
What I suggest is that an alternate reality is only created when a significant temporal incursion takes place. For example: if you go back in time and kill someone's father to stop them from being born, are you changing your own reality, or creating a new one?
In support of this, we only have to look at the Tasha Yar incident.
Lieutenant Natasha Yar, was a serving officer of the USS Enterprise-E. She was born in 2337 and died in 2364 yet, during the period from 2344 to 2349, she appears to have existed as both a seven-year-old girl living on Turkana IV with her sister, and as a 27-year-old Starfleet officer imprisoned by the Romulans.
This latter existence is, granted, only proven by some very vague Romulan records and rumours from household servants who were there at the time, but Romulan children speak of it.
Yar senior claimed to have come from a reality where she did not die on Vagra II. In fact, she had never been to Vagra II. She existed in a reality where Starfleet was still fighting a war against the Klingons. In that existence, a temporal event took place that drew the Enterprise-C from 2344 into her timeline in 2366. She then returned through the temporal event with the crew of the Enterprise-C to aid in the defence of the Klingon outpost at Narendra III against the Romulans. This event, as we know, helped to secure peace with the Klingon Empire.
So, let's assume that the Enterprise-C did disappear through a temporal rift of some kind. If the Enterprise-C had not returned to Narendra III to aid in its defence, the Klingons would not have made peace with the Federation. Her timeline would probably have evolved in the way that it did. That is certainly what she theorised.
But, the Enterprise-C did return through the rift and paved the way for peace between the Klingons and the Federation. So, did Yar create our timeline from that single significant temporal event, and if so, did Yar's original reality suddenly cease to exist? Did she change events, create a second reality or just put right something that went wrong?
The Lecture Hall remained silent after I had finished. Mr Dreganan eventually broke it.
"I've read reports about a Romulan Commander named Sela who made fleeting claims of such things, but I've never seen any records supporting them, Romulan or otherwise, and they have been investigated. You say your information comes from children? It sounds far too thorough for that."
"When I first heard the rumours, it intrigued me so I investigated it further. I was about eight years old at the time. Children are less guarded in what they say, and we were just children. Our cultural differences were not important to us. We didn't understand the conflict between our races."
"And who were these Romulan children?"
"A Romulan transporter was destroyed from which Starfleet rescued one adult and five children. The Romulan adult was in a critical condition so was hospitalised. The children came into the care of my matriarch. I spent about three weeks with them and they told me their stories. I accessed Earth and Federation records in the public domain and questioned my Romulan friends."
"And what did you learn from them?"
"Sela was born to a Romulan officer and Natasha Yar who had become his consort in exchange for the lives of the crew of the Enterprise-C. When she was four, Yar bundled her daughter up and stole her away in the middle of the night to escape the Romulans, but Sela didn't want to go. She was a Romulan and she loved her father. She cried out. They were discovered and, as a result of it, Yar was executed. Sela was quite proud of her heroism and that she had betrayed her own mother. Adults speak of it in whispers, but children have ears and children love secrets."
Dreganan looked sceptically at me.
"Your dates are very precise."
"I merely pieced them together and they fit."
"How do you know these tales aren't the work of the Tal Shiar?"
"They could be, but for what reason? And I suspect even the Tal Shiar have an age requirement for their agents."
"I see," he mused, and then he smiled. "Well Ms Terran, you may go to the top of the class. Not for your theories, but rather because you have very succinctly illustrated the complexity of Temporal Science and because you had the nerve to voice your theory. Not many First Year students have that courage, let alone one in their first week."
So you see, little Jenny Terran who never did amount to much at school, never got the opportunity to do so, has made a mark. Sorry, it may seem like a very small victory but it means something to me, something very special.