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In “Where Silence Has Lease,” Nagilum traps the Enterprise with plans to experiment on at least 1/3 of the crew, so that it can study death. Does this imply that Nagilum is immortal (incapable of dying from “old age” or natural causes, but not accident or murder)? Or perhaps its species is simply extremely long-lived, and so none of them had yet died at the point when Nagilum met Picard and company.

Could Nagilum be eternal, existing before the ”Beginning?” This seems unlikely, as only the Q in Star Trek have claimed such a thing about themselves. Though Nagilum very well could be a “brute fact,” without any explanation whatever.

  • Or perhaps its memory has a half-life and Nagilum forgot what death was and meant. – Lexible Sep 8 '14 at 20:53
  • I guess that's possible. But Nagilum seemed so advanced and it just seems unlikely that it'd have a "flaw" in its mind that humans, Klingons, and Bolians do not. – user30592 Sep 8 '14 at 20:54
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    If you think human memory does not have a half-life I have a bridge to sell you... – Lexible Sep 8 '14 at 20:55
  • I am not aware of the "half-life" term concerning human memory capacity. Some people have excellent memories. Others, not so much. If this "half-life" concept were true then I shouldn't have any memories of things that occurred years ago. And yet I do. – user30592 Sep 8 '14 at 20:58
  • I have an excellent long term memory. It provokes comments of astoundment from those who know me. Dates of events from years ago pop into my head. And yet: memory fades. Perhaps your would find the phrase memory decays (inexorably) more palatable than memory has a half-life (I think you do not understand what "half-life" means: read up on the half-lives of plutonium and cesium-134). Have you never forgoten something? – Lexible Sep 8 '14 at 21:02
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The very clear implication is that Nagilum is immortal, in the fullest sense of the word. He is eternally living. Our best evidence is that, for want of a better explanation he seems to lack any experience of, or even the concept of death.

Is it also true that you have only a limited existence?...You exist -- and then you cease to exist? Your minds call it "death."


Nagilum himself (itself?) seems to exist in a pocket universe of his own devising. Data describes it as a...

Lack of dimension

rather than an alternate dimension (like fluidic space) or a subspace realm like we see in Schisms.

Given his obvious level of control over this region of non-space, and the fact that such a place (or non-place, to be precise) would survive the end of our universe, there's no special reason to assume that he would be subject to the same mortality as other more mundane energy life-forms.

  • When you say, "in the fullest sense of the word," do you not think that Q or perhaps a Douwd could dispatch of Nagilum? Also, I figured that Nagilum's void was part of the universe as a whole, and thus would not be immune to the effects of the end of the universe. – user30592 Sep 8 '14 at 22:32
  • @T-1000 - Data describes it as being 'not a dimension', rather than a separate dimension. That would seem to indicate that it's not bound to our own 11-dimensional universe. As to the question of which god would win in a fist-fight, my money would be on Nagilum. – Valorum Sep 8 '14 at 22:37
  • Interesting. I thought everyone considered Q the top dog in Star Trek. – user30592 Sep 8 '14 at 22:40
  • @T-1000, alas they seem alarmingly mortal after the events of "The Q and the Grey". – Valorum Sep 8 '14 at 22:56
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    There's no real evidence of the comparative strength of Qs and Nagilum, unlike between Qs and say, Douwd. So the most we can say is; "they both be powerful, y'all." – James Sheridan Sep 8 '14 at 23:11
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If the concept of existing since the dawn of time bothers you, then how about this: Nagilum's species evolved over time and its life expectancy continued to increase until its life expectancy got so long that it became longer than the life of the universe, or at least so long that Nagilum could not remember anyone around him ever dying. Perhaps this is an example of extreme punctuated equilibrium - Nagilum's race was fairly normal until at one point a rapid change led to them becoming immortal or close to it.

Basically what I'm trying to say is that immortality doesn't necessarily imply being eternal.

  • I don't have a problem with immortal beings in the Star Trek universe. The Douwd claims immortality and I fully believe that this is true---to a point. I think that the Douwd, like Nagilum, is immortal from aging. Kevin Uxbridge could sit in a chair for eternity (provided the universe didn't end), and he'd never cease to exist from natural causes. However, I do think that Nagilum and the Douwd can die from accident or murder. "Eternal" is a different matter: it suggests that a being has no explanation, but is rather like a "brute fact." I think only the Q would fall into this category. – user30592 Sep 16 '14 at 18:25

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