In "Half a Life," Dr. Timicin (played by the fantastic actor David Ogden Stiers) tries to help save Kaelon II, his homeworld. On the Enterprise, he works with Data and Geordi.

The Kaelons have a law on their world that once a person reaches the age of 60, he or she must be put to death. Once Dr. Timicin nears this age, the Kaelons no longer accept additional research/work from him. His work is of utmost importance, of course.

I believe it's stated in the episode that Timicin is to be "wined and dined" for a few hours/days before he's executed. I assume the latter, since the Kaelons are sure insistent that Timicin beam down to the world, apparently a few days before he turns 60.

I suppose that's the reason that they don't want Timicin to continue working on the ship: the festivities need to begin on the planet ASAP. However, why wasn't his work accepted? He wasn't yet 60 when he attempted to send new information to the Kaelon officials. You'd think that they'd gladly accept Timicin's work up until he turned 59.999999999 years old, not start to refuse it at an arbitrary time before he turned 60.

1 Answer 1


Although they did expect him to attend the "wining and dining" portion of the ceremony, specifically what triggered them refusing his research seemed to be his request for Asylum. They also launched warships which was a pretty aggressive move.

B'TARDAT: If you attempt to leave orbit with him on board, our ships have been ordered to open fire.

And it was only after this that his work was rejected:

TIMICIN: We must transmit the new analysis of the neutron migration immediately... if I can make them see the direction I've taken...

GEORDI: We've already tried...

DATA: They refuse to accept furthur reports from you, Doctor.

TIMICIN: But they have to accept them...If I can re-establish computer interface with the science ministry...

GEORDI: They've disengaged the link-up, sir...

Clearly, Timicin seems surprised by this development, that they would refuse to accept his report.

Later, he makes the connection himself:

TIMICIN: Even if I find the solution, they would not accept it! Because I do not terminate my life, they terminate my work. Alive, I am a greater threat to my world than a dying sun.

It seems to be his refusal to go through with the Resolution, not the arbitrary time he was near to it that triggered their rejection of his reports.

It's never outright stated, but one could imagine a situation where Dr. Timicin said, instead, "I'd like to keep working, right up until the day of the Resolution," the society might respect that and accept his research. Or if he attended the wining and dining, but had a miraculous insight in the final five minutes, one imagines it would not be refused. But when he's specifically flouting the whole culture's most sacred tradition, that causes them to shut him off... it's sort of the equivalent of us refusing to use medical research that was gathered by torture, because to do so would be to suggest, in some small way, that it was okay. To this society, rejection of the ritual suicide is a choice that they wish to repudiate just as strongly.

  • Great analogy. You have my +1
    – Valorum
    Jul 27, 2016 at 7:56

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