Headscratchers / Heroes Daphne

What is that trail that follows Daphne around?

What is it, that speed trail behind Daphne when she uses her abilities? I thought it was the distortion of air and light, but why would she have one at all if she was frozen. Everyone should have one if that was the case.

Why did Hiro's timestop affect Daphne at all?
In the first episode of the new season, Hiro stops time, and then follows the red trail over to a frozen Daphne. Upon the trail catching up with her, she abruptly un-freezes and has a brief conversation with Hiro. My question is, why did she stop in the first place? She shouldn't have needed to.
  • Presumably, Hiro initially was able to stop time to a degree that even Daphne was "frozen", but after several seconds his concentration lapsed a little, and time microscopically sped up enough for Daphne to move normally.
    • Well-made point, and my doubts are soothed. Good work!
    • Huh. I'd assumed she was never frozen, but suddenly found herself moving at a subjective "normal" pace in a roomful of human statues. Realizing that this was different from how her own power worked, and that another Ability-user must be responsible, she deliberately held still until the cause of this new weirdness showed himself, so she could observe him discreetly before confronting him.
  • The show explained this. Daphne told Hiro he obviously couldn't stop time completely if she was able to move. While her word is suspect, she does have physics on her side since - if Hiro honestly did stop time completely - he'd be blind since light would be frozen too. There's also the fact that in Season One - when Hiro made his first attempt at stealing the Kensei sword - he was unable to stop time but did slow it down to such a degree that he was able to grab the sword and leave the museum without being seen.
    • This fits with my theory: Daphne's "normal" pace is equivalent to jogging, but she can put on more speed if it's needed. So Hiro slowed time enough to bring her jogging to a standstill... and then she sped up to make up for it.
    • Yeah, Daphne wasn't running at her full potential, but notice that her trial sped up when she probably noticed hiro in her pereforal vision. on a side note, what is that trail that follows daphne around?
      • Note that, since an Ando-boosted Daphne was capable of exceeding lightspeed, this implies that normal Daphne could hit a non-trivial percentage of lightspeed. If someone has to accelerate to 1% the speed of light to interact with your "time stop" at normal speeds, that doesn't say anything bad about the time stop.
  • The issue with this, is that there's no way she should be able to talk if that's what's going on. She would be moving faster than sound, thus she and Hiro couldn't possibly be having a conversation.

In the pilot episode, Zack had to point out to Claire that her ribs were outside her body.
The weird thing here is that Claire did not have immunity to pain until the third season. So, how could she not notice ribs poking out of her body in the form of terrible pain?
  • Either the endorphins were working overtime, her body was going into shock, or the nerves in her body weren't sending pain signals to her brain. Sometimes when a person is injured they just won't feel it.
  • I've assumed from the first season that although Claire feels pain, she doesn't feel anywhere near as much as an ordinary person. There's just no way she'd injure herself so casually otherwise. She's never said so, but how would she know?
  • Perhaps the ribs' injury had already healed as far as it could, without them being pushed back into place, so her pain had abated somewhat. She might've thought it was just a lingering ache from the injury, not a sign that the repairs weren't complete.

How did Daphne travel forwards in time?
With Ando's help she can run faster than the speed of light, thereby moving backwards in time. OK I can suspend disbelief enough to accept that, but after finding Hiro she is suddenly able to jump 16 years into the future despite there being nothing about her power that should allow this.
  • Actually, that's the easier bit, the in simple terms the fast you go the slower time goes for you. So by moving close to the speed of light without breaking it, only seconds pass for you while years pass in the outside world, effectively time travel. I'm not good enough with physics to say the going faster than the speed of light thing is bollocks, but I'm fairly sure it is, as relativity states you can't go fast than light. Not that we haven't accepted that in damn near all sci fi ever, but if you're going to actually cite relativity and then not mention that...
    • Actually, faster than light travel is only "impossible" because mass increases with velocity, thus increasing the energy needed to power movement. In short, you become heavier and harder to move the closer you get to light speed and require more and more energy to continue moving even a little bit. However, these problems are academic considering the bigger issue - namely, that any person with speed-powers would spontaneously combust long before they got anywhere close to light-speed. Friction is a harsh mistress. So if you're going to nit-pick Daphne being able to time-travel by out-running time, you might as well nit-pick the idea of super-speed itself.
    • So, she goes really fast to go back in time, and then goes really fast to go forwards in time? It may just be me, but I think the writers need to pick one. It seems like it was just a matter of the writers thinking: "Holy crap, Hiro's stuck in the past and nobody can Space-Time travel anymore.. how the heck do we get out of this one?" and then doing copious amounts of drugs.
    • Actually, more like Daphne goes really fast to go back in time... and then goes really fast, but not as fast, to go forward in time. The first one breaks the light barrier to cause time travel, the second uses more familiar relativistic effects. Nice catch on that one, Above Troper. I'd actually completely forgotten about that side of relativity and how it could've been used here.
    • Yeah I was going to say that the Theory of Relativity DOES NOT WORK THAT WAY...contrary to what the original writer of this IJBM entry says, it's the backwards time travel, not the forward time travel, that should be impossible with the superspeed ability.
      • Well I feel silly. I was going to say she just ran backwards. ;)
      • Actually, the Theory of Relativity does work that way. According to special relativity, things going slower than the speed of light see time moving in what we define as the forwards direction, things moving faster than the speed of light see time moving in the reverse direction, and things moving at the speed of light don't move through time at all. The problem is that that speed-of-light barrier requires infinite energy to cross, but the regenerating characters seem to suggest that free energy isn't an issue, so I let that one slide.
    • I was personally more confused as to how she was able to control her time travel, especially since it went perfectly on the second try after she didn't even know what happened on the first.
      • My guess would be: For the same reason she didn't just jump as soon as Ando touched her again, and actually stuck around long enough for Ando to spread the charge back to himself. Improved control for both of them. Remember that Daphne's superspeed also comes with Time Stands Still-level reflexes - once she started paying attention, these probably translated into the timejump to the point where she could at least tell what happened.
      • But how did she choose whether to go forwards or backwards in time? I can't get the silly image of her running forwards to go towards the future and backwards to go towards the past out of my head.
      • It's a simple matter of speed control. Basically, to go forwards, stay on this side of the speed-of-light-barrier, and to go backwards, do the impossible and hop to the other side of the light barrier. I'd presume, once properly controlled, deciding to cross the barrier or not would be very... voluntary.
  • WARNING! THIS IJBM IS DEEPLY DISTURBING! The biggest problem I had with this was that the time travel thing works dependant on precise speed control to determine the rate you shift through time. One problem: This would require Daphne to go the exact same speed over her entire body. Since her super-speed works by running, she needs to cycle her legs, meaning they're going at different speeds relative to the rest of her — forward and back with each step — meaning they would time shift by a different amount than the rest of her. Same goes for things like blood in her circulatory system, or even any of her muscles tensing and un-tensing. Any difference in speed between parts of her body would send parts of her back in time different amounts, even if it's only off by a split second, the earlier appearance of, say, her liver, would mean gravity would affect it and pull it out of alignment with the rest of her as she appeared. She would basically be turned into a pile of infinitely thin ribbons.
    • What? Her super-speed affects her whole body, otherwise only her legs would be immune to Hiro's time control (among other things which would make no sense). Based on the visual effect used for Daphne traveling in time, I'm assuming she just vibrated her whole body (and Ando's too, I guess) faster than light to go back in time.
      • True, her power does speed up her entire body. However; that has nothing to do with my point of how a human being moves. Besides, my point was less to do with Daphne being able to time travel at all, so much as an inherent problem with time travel via exceeding the speed of light. My example using her cycling legs was just because it's the most obvious example of parts of the body moving at different rates. Sorry for causing confusion, I probably should have made myself clearer.

How did Daphne travel back past the eclipse?
I will ignore for the moment all the other issues with her method of time travel. The point is that unlike Hiro, who jumps point-to-point in spacetime, Daphne must run through every moment between her starting and ending times. Not long before she started running, there was an eclipse which nullified all powers. So, how did she get past the eclipse on the way to 16 years in the past?
  • Easy-peasy. If Daphne can run fast enough to break the speed of light and time-travel, then logically she must be moving faster than the revolution speed of the moon, which is blocking the sun and causing the eclipse. Simply put, by the time her body registers the change of the moon's position, she's at a point where it's a non-issue. Her mass and momentum are such that it would allow her to "coast" through any rough-spots caused by an eclipse.

Lightspeed >> Escape velocity
If Daphne ran fast enough to travel in time, she should have flung herself straight out into space.
  • While unconfirmed by Word of God, it is generally assumed that all powered-people have an immunity to any detrimental affects their power might cause. Meredith, for instance, cannot be burned by fire and apparently isn't bothered by smoke-inhalation. Nathan doesn't have his clothes ripped off by the winds generated by his supersonic flights. And Tracy doesn't even turn cold, much less develop the hypothermia you'd expect when a person freezes things with a touch. Given all that - and the fact that the friction would set her on fire long before she'd reach escape veolcity - it seems likely that Daphne has some form of friction-absorbing aura, ala The Flash.
    • So there's some inexplicable force holding her to the ground? For her, and her alone, the Earth has the gravitational pull of a black hole? That's really weird. Can she jump?
      • Nah, the in-character explanation is just garbage. Her power is simply that travel takes less time than it does for normal people. For example, a 1 hour trip takes 59 minutes, 50 seconds less, so she arrives ten seconds later. Supercharging her power makes it take 1 year and an hour less, so she arrives a year in the past. Makes perfect sense. :b
    • Heroes has been breaking the laws of physics since day one. This is no different. If somebody generated fire in their hand, they'd lose that hand. If somebody flew around at the speeds of Nathan, they'd have their skin ripped off. Wait how does he fly in the first place? How does Elle generate that much electricity? What makes telekinesis work? How does Ted generate that much nuclear power? Don't even get me started on Hiro's powers.
      • I'm OK when the show breaks the rules intentionally as part of the premise. Still, the universe is supposed to be Like Reality Unless Noted. When they seem to break rules accidentally and in ignorance, it tends to break my suspension of disbelief.
      • Simple. Let's just say that one of the "notes" of the "Unless Noted" is "Daphne doesn't need to worry about inertia and friction problems". It may not have been stated outright, but neither is "Nathan doesn't need to worry about friction problems", and we've all accepted that one by now.