Wednesday, May 15, 2019

A Matter of Time

TNG Season 5 Episode 9
Air Date: November 18th, 1991

The Enterprise is on it's way to Penthera IV to assist in recovering from a asteroid collision which threatens to decrease the planets temperature causing an ice age, maybe destruction of all life. On their way they pass a temperal distortion and find a time traveler named Professor Berlingoff Rasmussen from the 26th century. Rasmussen says he is there to observe only and he can't tell anyone anything about the future.

Lt. Cmdr. La Forge comes up with a plan to use the Enterprise's phasers to expose pockets of CO2 to help keep the planets heat in at least for a while. But their attempts goes the other way and it causes numerous volcanoes and earthquakes. The volcanoes and the asteroid together put so much ash and dust into the atmosphere that no amount of CO2 would help. La Forge comes up with one other option, ionizing the atmosphere and discharging the ions into space. Only there is a risk that it could instead burn off the atmosphere killing all life on the planet.

Captain Picard asks Rasmussen for advice which he refuses to give. But the conversation makes a realize that the future isn't written for the people in the present and his choice is what makes life interesting. He chooses to save everyone and they succeed.

As Rasmussen goes to leave, he is greeted by the entire bridge staff. He is accused of stealing items from the ship which turns out to be true. He reveals to Lt. Cmdr. Data that he is from the past and stole the ship from a time traveler from the 26th century. They take him into custody and the time ship disappears.

Picard references Khan Singh in the same light as Adolf Hitler.


"I hate questionnaires." - Lt. Worf

"Who said these moments were any less exciting when you know the outcome." - Rasmussen
"I know of no one who said that, Professor." - Lt. Cmdr. Data

"What in God's name is that?" - Rasmussen
"Music, Professor." - Lt. Cmdr. Data
"Music?" - Rasmussen
"Yes, sir. Mozart's Jupiter Symphony in C major, Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 3, Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, 2nd Movement, molto vivace, and La Donna e Mobile, from Verdi's Rigoletto." - Lt. Cmdr. Data

"You're not supposed to be influencing the past, remember? And I am beginning to feel just a little bit influenced. Anyway, I could be your great-great-great-great-grandmother." - Doctor Crusher

"How can you be comfortable watching people die?" - Captain Picard
"Let me put it to you this way. If I were to tell you that none of those people died, you'd easily conclude that you tried your solution and it succeeded. So, you'd confidently try again. No harm in that. But, what if I were to tell you they all died? What then? Obviously, you'd decide not to make the same mistake twice. Now, what if one of those people grew up" - Rasmussen
"Yes, Professor, I know. What if one of those lives I save down there is a child who grows up to be the next Adolf Hitler, or Khan Singh? Every first-year philosophy student has been asked that question since the earliest wormholes were discovered." - Captain Picard

"So, you've made your choice after all. And without my help." - Rasmussen
"Oh, on the contrary, Professor. You were quite helpful." - Captain Picard
"How's that?" - Rasmussen
"By refusing to help me, you left me with the same choice I had to begin with, to try or not to try, to take a risk or to play it safe. And your arguments have reminded me how precious the right to choose is. Because I've never been one to play it safe." - Captain Picard

"I assume your hand print will open this door, whether you are conscious or not." - Lt. Cmdr Data

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