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Towards the end of All Good Things when Picard convinces his crew to return to the scene of the anomaly: His point is that if he was right, then it would just be forming and they could stop it. When they got there they saw it starting and still quite small.

However, if all three ships had sent that pulse to that place and caused the anomaly which gets bigger as it goes back through time then surely they would not be able to see it when they went back as it started at the point Riker's enterprise buzzed it and it grew backwards in time.

Did I miss something?

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You're not missing anything; I remember wondering the same thing.

However, all that was known is that it grew backwards in time. It was never actually stated by Q what happened forwards from its creation point, so there is a good chance it grew in both directions in time. It is described as an anti-time eruption, after all.

  • However that causes the question as to how picard knew it would be there as all of the information supplied stated it went back in time? – Stefan Jun 30 '12 at 10:36
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    @Stefan I just pulled up the episode to take a look. When Picard is convincing them to turn back and take another look in the future time period, Data's theorizing makes it sound like the tachyon pulses are simply weakening the barrier, that the eruption happened at some point after they left - and they might be able to see the initial formation when they go back, the point at which the eruption starts. Once there, Geordi said it looks like it formed within the past 6 hours, and Picard says "We must stop it here, so it can't travel back in time." – Izkata Jun 30 '12 at 16:28
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    @Stefan Best guess, they intended to return before the eruption happened, so they could witness it. But they arrived after it happened, and that's how they knew it was also growing forward in time. Picard seems to have assumed it would reach a certain point then start traveling backwards, but there's no real indication of that, either. – Izkata Jun 30 '12 at 16:32
  • that sounds reasonable. – Stefan Jun 30 '12 at 17:20
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Part of the paradox was the fact they could see the anomoly before they started the inverse tachyon pulse. With temproal mechanics one of the hardest things to grasp is that effect can preceed cause.

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    Not sure I agree here, are there any references in the episode to confirm this? I thought that the paradox was that the anomaly was traveling backward in time and destroyed humanity thus preventing itself from being created? – Stefan Jun 30 '12 at 10:34
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Think of it this way, part of the paradox was that it grew more so the farther back in time it went, the other part is that it even existed at all, as it's like the chicken and the egg. If it starts in the future, it cannot grow backwards in the past since it wouldn't have existed yet, but the fact that it not only exists, but is larger in the past would suggest that it did exist before the future timeline, thus the paradox.

Also, remember that the tachyon pulses were found to be sustaining the anomaly, and that according to this logic, the future timeline actually created the problem with the anomaly with the tachyon pulses, which is why it was bigger in the past. It may never have happened at all, and might just have been a random, harmless phenomena had the tachyon pulses not been fed into it. It took all three timeline Enterprises to go into the anomaly and create static warp shells to collapse it. The collapse of the anomaly caused the ships cores to be breach, but once it collapsed it didn't matter, as the result of what the future timeline had done to cause the problem in the first place had been reversed, causing the past and present to be restored.

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