In the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Deadlock", the USS Voyager is duplicated by an anomaly. Which one of the Voyagers is the original and which one is the duplicate? Or are they both duplicates? Or are they both originals?
Both ships are identical. In the script, it's made explictly clear that a "spatial scission" has caused the ships to diverge by identically duplicating each particle of matter. Since both occupy the same space (albeit separated by a spacial rift), it follows that there is no practical way to identify which is the original.
I've edited for brevity and clarity:
TORRES 2: So I ran a multispectral analysis on the subspace turbulence. It was more than just turbulence. It was some kind of divergence field. And the moment we passed through it, all of our sensor readings doubled. Mass, energy output, bio-signatures, everything. Every particle of matter on this ship seems to have been duplicated in that instant.
JANEWAY 2: Quantum theorists at Kent State University ran an experiment in which a single particle of matter was duplicated using a divergence of subspace fields, a spatial scission.
CHAKOTAY 2: If the same forces were at work inside the plasma cloud, they may have duplicated every particle of matter on Voyager.
I have a different take....
When Janeway describes the ships separation and explains the experiment at Kent State, she states that the matter was duplicated but not the anti-matter. So the original ship would have the anti-matter.
*JANEWAY 2: Matter. But not antimatter.
KIM 2: Captain?
JANEWAY 2: In that Kent State experiment, they were able to duplicate normal matter, but when they tried to duplicate antimatter particles, the experiment failed.
TORRES 2: So the antimatter on the ships wasn't duplicated. Both engines have been trying to draw power from a single source of antimatter.*
And if you recall in the episode the ship that was torn apart was having problems because it appears it didn't have anti-matter flowing in the warp drive while the original ship was bombarding the it's warp drive with the anti-protons. The "healthy" ship for lack of a better term even offered to split it's anti-matter with the other ship, begging the question how could healthy Janeway offer something she was splitting? So one might think the healthy ship was the original one and the one that was torn apart was the duplicate.
Janeway also said the experiment didn't work for long and the two ships couldn't survive in the same space.
*JANEWAY 2: By my estimates, our antimatter supply will run out in less than half an hour.
JANEWAY: The attempt to merge our ships is throwing us further out of phase. The quantum cohesion on both Voyagers is breaking down.
JANEWAY 2: Just like original Kent State experiment. The duplicate atoms couldn't occupy the same point in space time for very long before*
The cohesion issue does does not direct us as to which would survive but just that they couldn't survive in the same space. But why wouldn't they move one of the particles in the experiment into a different space so they could both survive? Why would healthy Janeway know about the anti-matter status but not unhealthy Janeway? This leads us to believe that again the original healthy Janeway has to be original. And one would think that moving the ships further out of phase would help them occupy the same space better.
*JANEWAY 2: We've been boarded. The Vidiians are on the verge of taking over our ship. Are they on yours?
JANEWAY [on viewscreen]: No. We don't think they can detect our ship. Captain, we can have a security detachment cross the spatial rift and board your ship within five minutes.*
The Vidiians could not see the unhealthy one but could see the healthy one. So therefore it would seem that the original ship is the healthy one since they are in phase and more easily discernable and the unhealthy voyager ship is invisible to the Vidiians. This is further evidence of the healthy ship being the original one.
I would argue that the original ship was the healthy one. It acted faster, had access to the anti-matter, the vidiians could see it, and wasn't losing cohesion in the same way the unhealthy one was. What I don't understand is how the unhealthy one was able to fly off unscathed. Hmmm...
I am going to open a new question(s) about this episode any as I have several that aren't really related to this one.
I think it's a plot hole that allows the unhealthy ship to leave so easily and freely at the end.
Technically both are the same ship. "Every particle of matter was duplicated", according to Memory Alpha. The event sounds similar to what a transporter does, more specifically, what happened to William and Thomas Riker.
"This isn't really my ship and you're not really my captain and yet you are and there's no difference. But I know there's a difference. Or is there? It's all a little weird." "Mr. Kim, we're Starfleet officers. Weird is part of the job."
- Kim and Janeway
I know this question is old, but I was so engrossed I feel compelled to give my opinion on the matter for any who google this in the future.
Both are Voyager.
It is explained what had occurred was the duplication of all matter within contact to Voyager. This is not the case of a cell splitting that leaves the original behind and a 'new' clone of itself next to it. This is a case of the molecules diverting from a singular space. Both Voyagers are the Original, by all accounts.
Take for example the Parallel Universe Theory.
It states that every action or inaction creates from itself an entirely new universe that diverts from another. Whether you chose A or B or C, all three occur and are valid extensions of the timeline originating from before a decision was enacted. The Individual you might meet by crossing to a Parallel Universe is you. Both gain separate consciousnesses when their universes split, but both are exact continuations of the singular entity all three once were.
You and your counterpart are both duplicates and yet, the Originals.
While both Voyagers held different power reserves - The Undamaged Voyager notably retaining a far superior power reserve - this is simply due to the 'Pristine' Voyager's use of Proton Bursts. The act of doing so began to damage the Second Voyager seemingly out of nowhere, catching them by surprise and halting their advances towards doing the same. The system and structural damage occurring forced them to attempt to compensate, using up much more power while systems began to fail and break down under the stress.
Both Voyagers were siphoning off a singular reserve of Anti-Matter, the Pristine Voyager simply had larger power reserves left to keep it operational.
In the end you could say the Original Voyager was both destroyed and saved. Both occupied the same space, it's just one overlapped the other. The one on the top layer was the one that was invaded.
I'm gonna go out on a limb here and disagree. The Voyager at the beginning of the ep is being bombarded with the proton bursts--the unhealthy ship. "Unhealthy" Kes accidentally crosses the rift to the healthy Voyager. At the end of the ep, the healthy ship is destroyed so we're "following" the same ship we started with. To me this suggests that the unhealthy ship is the original.
Now...in a later season we get a twist on this. Voyager encounters "the silver blood " which duplicates the crew. In a later episode, we witness the crew's bodies breaking down--because they're the duplicates that left the demon planet. The original Voyager wanders by after the duplicate ship "reliquifies."