Updated October 6, 2013

Most sapient species have evolved in a single coherent linear timestream, and find it difficult to comprehend the intricacies of Temporal Mechanics. This glossary is intended to clarify some of the more commonly used terms for the temporal layman.

Alternate Universe:
A timestream which splits off from a past event and progresses in a different manner from the base timestream. In the TNG episode Parallels Lieutenant Worf actually travels to Alternate Universes.

A theoretical progressive Temporal Rupture which progresses backwards in time annihilating all congruent timelines. First proposed by Jean-Luc Picard, who claimed in 2371 to have experienced an Anti-Time rupture caused by the being known as Q.

An elementary quantum particle associated with the flow of time. A buildup of Chronitons can signal a Temporal Anomaly.

Chronometric Distortion:
A detectable phenomenon associated with time travel. A buildup of Chronitons is an example of a Chronometric Distortion.

A Displaced Being. A colloquial term for a person in a time-frame from which he does not originate with no ability to treturn. Also known as a Temporally Displaced Person.

Grandfather Paradox
A pre-Temporal Mecahnics misconception about the nature of causality. In the Grandfather Paradox, a Time Traveller accidentally kills his own grandfather or otherwise prevents his own birth, thus preventing him from killing his grandfather, thus allowing him to kill his grandfather, thus preventing . . . and so on. This type of Temporal Loop does not occur because the Time Traveller's existance and actions are not negated by his actions - in reality, the prevention of one's own birth merely results in the creation of an alternate timeline in which the subject never existed. Travelling back to the future along this timeline merely results in a the traveller having no past in the local timeline. In every respect, it is simply as if he had travelled to an Alternate Universe.

Inevitability Factor:
A colloquial term for Temporal Drag.

An apparent break in temporal causality where cause of an event follows or appears to follow the event itself.

Parallel Universe:
A timestream which resembles the base timestream and where similar events occur for wildly different reasons. The so-called Mirror Universe in 2266 was a Parallel Universe, but a change made by James T. Kirk in that timeline caused it to spawnan Alternate Universe by 2370 (although still retaining many features of a Parallel Universe). The past time-frame to which Ambassador Spock pursued Nero was also a Parallel Universe, though Nero's actions also spawned an Alternate Universe to that one.

Phase Discriminator
A device which manipluates subspace to keep an FTL computer logic circuit in synchronisation with the local space-time continuum. A Phase Discriminator can be modified to project a field which can take an object or being out of phase with the local timestream.

Predestination Paradox:
A Predestination Paradox occurs when a traveller from the future unwittingly causes an event which had already happened in his/her past.

Quantum Fissure:
A fixed point in the space-time continuum opening a doorway into other quantum realities. A person or object entering a quantum fissure will shift to different realities randomly.

Quantum Realities:
Alternate and Parallel Universes are both varieties of Quantum Realities.

Slingshot Effect
In Temporal Physics, a method of achieving time travel by entering a high-gravity environment (such as a stellar corona) at high warp velocities, typically 1000c or higher (WF 8.0+).

Spatial Scission:
A subspace divergence field, also known as a "spatial scission," is a phenomenon which has the capability to duplicating particles of matter. This phenomenon was first observed by quantum theorists at Kent State University in the 24th century. In this experiment, the scientists were able to duplicate a single particle of matter using a divergence of subspace fields, although the duplicate atoms could not occupy the same point in spacetime for an extended period of time before the quantum cohesion began to break down, causing the atoms to experience mutual annihilation. Although the experiment proved successful in duplicating normal matter, it failed when the scientists attempted to duplicate antimatter.

Space/Time Matrix:
The pattern of four-dimensional forces (ie, space and time) in a temporal stream.

A primitive and energy-intensive method for remaining out of Temporal Phase by fluttering back and forth around a particular point in the time-flow.

Temporal Anomaly:
Any discrepancy in the flow of time.

Temporal Conduit:
A fixed temporal wormhole linking two points in space-time. Generally, both ends of the conduit move forward in time, usually at the same rate. These are referred to as Stable Temporal Conduits. Occasionally, one end will move backwards in time. Conduits where the "past" end moves forward in time faster than the "future" end, or where the "future" end moves backward while the "past" end moves forward will eventually close.

Temporal Disruption:
A major change in a timeline caused by an action by a time traveller or their prevention of an action. Extremely difficult to detect and prove.

Temporal Drag:
The tendency for the timeline to resist change. Known colloquially by DTI and later Timefleet as the Inevitability Factor.

Temporal Fluctuations:
A detectable energy phenomena which can occur when an object or person travels to another time continuum.

Temporal Fissure:
A rip in the space-time continuum, exiting into a Temporal Bubble, Conduit, Loop or Nexus. A Fissure may be created by a number of sunbspace disruptions, typically a high energy discharge (such as an antimatter detonation) in a high-gravity environment, such as a stellar corona or near a singularity.

Temporal Incursion:
The appearance of an object or person in a Temporal Locus other than the one from which it originated.

Temporal Inertia:
The tendency for minor temporal changes to "mend" themselves.

Temporal Locus:
A specific set of coordinates in the Space/Time Matrix.

Temporal Loop:
A Temporal Conduit which folds back upon itself, causing a repeated Predestination Paradox. Unless the loop is detected and the past Temporal Disrurtion repaired of prevented, it will become an unrepairable Closed Temporal Loop.

Temporal Mechanics:
The branch of Quantum Mechanics dealing with time.

Temporal Nexus:
A point in space-time which is especially temporally "active." Events or beings from other space-time coordinates tend to intrude on this point.

Temporal Physics:
The branch of Quantum Physics dealing with time.

Temporal Portal:
One end of a temporal conduit.

Temporal Repair:
An attempt by a time traveller to reverse or prevent a Temporal Disruption. Temporal Disruptions have a high Temporal Drag, making them difficult to reverse, but if a change in successful, Temporal Inertia tends to make it take hold.

Temporal Rupture:
A breakdown of both Temporal Drag and Temporal Inertia surrounding a Temporal Nexus, causing multiple Parallel and Alternate Timelines to either manifest or annihilate one another. Generally considered unrepairable.

Temporal Signature:
A detectable phenomenon which defines an object's position or origin point in space/time.

Temporally Displaced Person:
A person in a time-frame from which he does not originate with no ability to treturn. Also known as a D-Bee or Displaced Being. Ensign Harry Kim and Naomi Wildman are temporally displaced persons who travelled to this reality from a very recent alternate timeline when their counterparts in this timeline were killed (VGR: "Deadlock"). Senior Chief Petty Officer is a temporally displaced person from a timeline 5 hours into the future (DS9: "Visionary").

Time Tracks:
A colloquial term for a residual Temporal Signature.

Time Traveller:
A being or object which has moved or is capable of moving outside the normal flow of time.

This page ©2003 Owen E. Oulton