In TNG "Time Squared", Picard meets himself from the not-so-distant future. Trying to prevent the future Picard from making the same mistake again (which led to the destruction of Enterprise in an alternative timeline), he takes out a phaser and kills him as he was entering the shuttle.

The question is: couldn't he just stun him?

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    It's a well known fact of parallel worlds that by killing your parallel self, you consume their power. There can be only one! – joshbirk Mar 31 '14 at 15:54
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    NICE. "I am JEAN-LUC! I am NOOOObody's bitch!" – Stick Mar 31 '14 at 15:55
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    It always struck me that the alt-Picard was unlike the real Picard. His attitude and demeanour were dramatically different. – Valorum Mar 31 '14 at 17:31

I don't think it's clear from the events that he intentionally kills his future self, or even that he actually does - at least not with the phaser. The solution to their problem effectively erases the second Picard from existence, so he was doomed from the start.

  • The future Picard is a mess. He is barely recovered from being 'out of sync' with the current time frame; previously he was delirious beyond ability to even communicate at all. Sometimes, injured or unstable life-forms/starships which would normally be disabled by a low-intensity phaser blast end up dying without any intent to kill on behalf of the aggressor. The phaser blast may have simply been more than his scrambled neural pathways could handle.

  • In support of the previous point; he pulls the phaser directly from storage and fires without changing the settings. Typically phasers have to be set to kill; they don't just come on with 'kill' as the default setting. Indeed a phaser with the raw energy to disrupt rock faces would be a horribly dangerous weapon if it didn't require being manually set to such a setting before being fired. It's a bit like a television that doesn't turn itself down after being powered off -- annoying as hell, only substitute "incredibly deadly" for "annoying". If indeed it was intended to remember its previous setting, then surely some Ensign somewhere is about to get a negative mark on their quarterly review for stowing a weapon on a kill setting!

  • I'm fairly certain that no one has a chance to monitor his vitals or affirm his status before he phases out during the resolution of the episode. I'm wrong on this, he does appear quite dead after being monitored by Dr. Pulaski! However -- even if Picard had merely intended to stun him, he'd have ceased to exist anyway, which is arguably on a par with killing, depending on your view of temporal mechanics as they apply to such causality violations. (how can he travel back in time if he successfully escapes the anomaly?)

Really, there was never going to be a chance to keep the second Picard within the context of this episode. He was instantiated after the first failed attempt to escape the anomaly, which then caused the first attempt to be altered by giving them vital information about how not to proceed, so the alt-first attempt having succeeded, time-travelin' Picard can never have been created in the first place. It's a bit wibbly.

  • Doesn't O'Brien report to the bridge on the alternate Picard being dead? – Xantec Mar 31 '14 at 16:17
  • He reports in that he's ceased to exist, so kind of -- youtube.com/watch?v=WY7_Dbgx9Xs – Stick Mar 31 '14 at 16:24
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    Unrelated, O'Brien is the only person not holding on for dear life while the ship is shaking to bits and the shuttlebay door is still open. He just stands there. Like a boss. – Stick Mar 31 '14 at 16:28
  • "However -- even if Picard had merely intended to stun him, he'd have ceased to exist anyway, which is arguably on a par with killing" -- But did Picard actually know that's what would have happened? Unless this type of situation has cropped up before, he couldn't have been sure that the other Picard wouldn't just be able to continue on with his own life after recovering from being stunned (as Riker's double would in a later ep). Maybe Picard just didn't really see him as a separate individual since so little time had passed since their histories diverged, so he wouldn't consider it murder. – Hypnosifl Mar 31 '14 at 18:17
  • I don't think there's a basis for comparison between Picard2 in this episode and Riker2 in Second Chances, but moving on - Starfleet personnel have been versed in temporal mechanics and temporal ethics to the best understanding of the times, though they leave it to the Spocks and Datas to do the intellectual heavy lifting. If Spock is able to compute warp slingshots to get to and from the 20th century, others may have borrowed against this knowledge to conduct causality experiments. That's conjecture, of course! In this situation, I submit he can hazard an 'educated guess' at least. – Stick Mar 31 '14 at 18:35

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