Temporal Investigations Agency
This section is classified under the Temporal Prime Directive; all unauthorized persons who have gained access to this documentation are cautioned that reading further will place you in violation of Federation law.
It is now over one hundred years since the USS Enterprise made the first – accidental – trip a few minutes into the past, and the Federation remains the only known Alpha Quadrant power to posses temporal technology. As such, we bear a heavy burden of responsibility. Initially, the experts were convinced that the past must be fixed and immutable – the so called ‘law of conservation of reality’. As a result Starfleet began sending historical research missions to several parts of Federation history, but within less than a year it was clear that the past was not in fact fixed, but highly sensitive to change. When another accident hurled the Enterprise into 1966, the crews unintentional interference with the past threatened to jeopardize future history significantly. Although Starfleet began to re-appraise its policies on time travel, historical research missions continued for some time until it became obvious that the dangers were simply too high.
By 2268 Starfleet instituted the Temporal Prime Directive. This policy, like its standard Prime Directive cousin, was a massively complex set of rules which basically boiled down to one sentence : no Federation vessel or crew would willingly jeopardize past history under any circumstances. As a consequence of the TPD, all Federation time travel was halted and the very existence of this technology was classified at the highest possible level. The Federation determined that it would be best if the very existence of temporal technology was quietly forgotten.
Unfortunately, it didn’t work out that way. The Federation has since found itself dealing with a bewilderingly wide variety of cases involving time travel via long forgotten alien devices, natural and artificial anomalies, accidents and deliberate sabotage. The Federation response to this situation was the formation of the Temporal Investigation Agency in 2273; officially Temporal Investigations would be responsible for investigating all known instances of time travel, assessing the impact upon the timeline and, if necessary, assigning blame to those involved.
Less well known are the TIA’s other roles. These have expanded over the years to include the use of highly classified temporal scanning devices to monitor the creation and state of alternate timelines, engaging in covert activity in order to ensure the lid of secrecy remained tightly closed over all temporal technology, and even acting to restore the timeline after it had been altered by accident or design.
Temporal Investigations continues in operation to this day, and contact with time travellers from the future indicates that it will continue in some form for many centuries to come. This section will detail some of the more intriguing cases that the agency has investigated in its one hundred and two year history.
Past / Future Incursions : This type of case is the most common one encountered by the Temporal Investigations Agency. A Future Incursion involves an object moving along the time axis at a rate, from the point of view of the present in the preferred timeline, greater than one second per second; hence, the objects and/or personnel involved will move into the future. A Past Incursion involves an object moving along the time axis at any negative rate, hence travelling into the past. Such incursions, more commonly called ‘time jumps’ or more simply ‘time travel’, unusually involve movement at a rate vastly higher than normal, so that the journey itself can be virtually instant. Temporal Investigations has dealt with many past and future incursions, and is authorized to make such incursions itself when circumstances require it.
All wormholes have two endpoints, which can be located anywhere in space-time and are connected by a tunnel of finite length. The remarkable aspect of the wormhole is that its internal length Di seems to be entirely independent of the external distance De between its endpoints. Thus Di can be very much greater or less than De. The large majority of known wormholes have a value for Di which is very much less than De – for example the Bajoran wormhole has a value for De of 70,000 light years but Di is only some 200,000 km, or 3.3 trillion times less. This would make wormholes ideal for long range travel – but unfortunately the endpoints of a wormhole are notoriously prone to sudden and massive changes in their position. The Bajoran wormhole remains unique in that both ends are stable.
While wormhole endpoints can be separated by huge distances, it is common for both ends to be located at the same point in time. However, some examples have been discovered in which the endpoints are widely spaced in time, with little or no spatial displacement. Wormholes of this sort are commonly responsible for past/future incursions encountered by Temporal Investigations.
The rarest of all wormholes are those demonstrate significant time and space displacement. Such a one was discovered by USS Voyager in 2371. The Bajoran wormhole, which is unique in many respects, has also demonstrated time displacement on occasion.
These occur when a person or object involved in a Temporal Incursion initiates an event which results in that person or object becoming a causal factor in the original incursion. Loops of this kind rarely reset themselves perfectly, and as a result there is a slight departure from the original sequence of events within each repetition. The cumulative nature of the alterations makes it certain that, after a sufficient number of cycles, conditions within any time loop will alter so much that the initiating event would be avoided. Such loops must therefore be of limited life span.
The universe we see around us is the end result of an apparently infinite number of events interacting with each other in a particular order. Each one of these events generates alternate timelines – ‘what might have been’ universes in which every possible outcome is played out. Any temporal incursion which alters any past event will therefore generate an alternate timeline; and since an ‘event’ in this context constitutes any degree of interference, even the disturbing of a single atom, then all incursions generate not one but many alternates.
This has led to the concept of the ‘preferred timeline’. Temporal Investigations originally defined this as the timeline which would exist if temporal technology had never been created, but this has since been updated and the preferred timeline is now said to be the timeline which would exist if no further incursions occurred. Temporal scanning has recorded the signature of the preferred timeline, and this is used as the basis for comparison between timelines. The Temporal Prime Directive states that in cases involving temporal phenomena, Starfleet must act so as to minimize disruption to the preferred timeline. TI generally accepts changes to the preferred timeline if such changes are judged to be within certain limits – the actions of Captain Benjamin Sisko in deliberately meeting with Captain James Kirk during a recent temporal incursion is one example. Many people – both outside TI and within it – have complained that this means that the preferred timeline has thus become ‘the timeline that the Federation wants to exist in’, and this criticism has some justification. Nevertheless, repeated attempts to correct the timeline would likely generate even worse distortion. Strictly speaking this invalidates the concept of the preferred timeline, but some standard is required if Temporal Investigations is to fulfil its function and so the agency continues to act on this basis.
Location of Event Typhon Expanse
Stardate of Event 45652.1
Nature of Event Future incursion and natural time loop
This time loop was caused by an apparently natural phenomena located within the Typhon Expanse. In 2278 the USS Bozeman entered the expanse and encountered the anomaly; the ship was catapulted through time to the year 2268. At this time the Enterprise-D had just located the anomaly and was investigating; the Bozeman emerged her time trip on a collision course with the Enterprise, and despite the efforts of both ships the Bozeman struck the Enterprise’s Starboard nacelle.
At the time the Enterprise was suffering a large scale power loss, and had no shields or structural integrity fields in place. The impact thus caused massive systems damage, resulting in a warp core breech. The energy release interacted with the anomaly, causing a ‘temporal reset’ which threw both ships back in space-time to their relative positions of about twenty four hours earlier. The whole situation then recycled itself over and over in a classic time loop, each time resetting with the destruction of the Enterprise-D.
As with all time loops, however, the reset was not perfect but rather involved small variations on the original situation. These variations were cumulative, and so gradually built up to the point where they fell within the range of conscious perception. The crew of the Enterprise-D experienced this distortion as an increasingly strong sense of Deja-Vu, which eventually became strong enough to cause them to investigate the situation. In addition, events of some preceding cycles intruded on the current cycle to a small degree – manifesting themselves as sounds of various kinds. The crew of the Enterprise was able to bring these clues together and use the information to avoid the impact with the Bozeman, breaking the loop after seventeen cycles.
The ultimate impact of the anomaly was to bring the Bozeman forward in time; Captain Bateson requested permission to return to his own time via a stellar slingshot, and his crew offered to undergo memory erasure in order to avoid Temporal Prime Directive concerns. However, detailed scanning indicated that the disappearance of the Bozeman was a part of the preferred timeline and so this request was denied. Captain Bateson and many of his crew continued to serve in Starfleet after undergoing re-training. The anomaly dissipated when the loop was broken; a class one probe remains in place at the location and has since detected no signs of a return.
Location of Event Gamma Quadrant
Stardate of Event 50800 approx.
Nature of Event Alternate timeline
In 2373 the USS Defiant was returning from a patrol mission in the Gamma Quadrant when it discovered a planet enclosed within some form of energy field. The ship passed through the field and discovered a colony of some 8,000 people on the surface. On beaming down, Captain Sisko was surprised to find that the colony was composed of the descendants of the Defiants crew! They told Sisko that when the ship took off in three days it would pass through an anomaly in the energy field which would throw it some 300 years into the past and disable the flight, causing it to crash. The survivors of the crash would found the colony.
Sisko was naturally reluctant to purposely crash his ship, but the colonists claimed to have a way to ensure that the energy field created a duplicate Defiant which would allow one version to crash and another to escape. However, it transpired that they were lying in order to ensure that the ship did in fact crash as it originally had. The crew initially wanted to leave the planet, but after spending some time with the locals they decided to go through with the crash in order to preserve the culture which had evolved there.
Unknownst to anybody in the colony or ship, Odo had decided to program the Defiants computer to avoid the anomaly. The Constable was in love with Kira Nerys, who had originally been killed after the crash. Odo was willing to sacrifice the 8,000 inhabitants in order to preserve her life. His plan worked, and the colony was erased from existence when the Defiant exited the energy field.
This event showed a large degree of poor thinking by the Defiants crew. Had the ship avoided the accident they would not be killing anybody as such; the colonists would never have existed in the first place. On the other hand, the very real friends and relatives of the Defiant crew would suffer from the loss of their comrades and loved ones. It was also suggested that account should be taken of those offspring who might be born to the crew if they continued with their normal lives, but this seemed to be a trivial concern next to those who were alive at that moment. Ultimately they decided that the loss of the Defiant was a price worth paying for preserving those lives.
Unfortunately, this fails to take into account the changes that had already been introduced. Given that the original crash was an accident, then the simple fact that the Defiant personnel were now aware of what was going to happen in the future would constitute more than enough change to create a timeline which would be significantly different. Once they had gained fore-knowledge of the accident, then the colony was essentially doomed no matter what happened and the best the Defiants crew could do would be to create a somewhat similar colony. However, in doing this they were essentially sacrificing real lives for hypothetical future lives – exactly the action that they had decided was not worthwhile earlier.
Temporal Investigations investigated this matter thoroughly and decided that no censure of the crew was needed, although Captain Sisko was required to take a refresher course in temporal logic. No further action has been taken and the case file has been closed.
Location of Event Alpha Quadrant
Stardate of Event 3242.8 approx
Nature of Event Accidental creation of alternate timeline
This case file predates the creation of the Temporal Investigation Agency by several years, and so there is limited information available. The logs of the Starship Enterprise NCC 1701 indicate that whilst the ship investigating unusual temporal phenomena the ships Doctor, Leonard McCoy, was accidentally injected with a massive overdose of cordrazine. Suffering from paranoid delusions as a result, he beamed down to the alien planet which was the source of the phenomena. The landing party which persued him discovered what appeared to be an ancient artefact capable of transporting objects through large amounts of both time and space. The artefact appeared to be sentient; in response to their voices it explained that it had been waiting for “a question… since before your sun burned hot in space and before your race was born” – a period of at least five billion years. The artefact called itself the Guardian of Forever, a gateway to other times and places.
Whilst the landing party was distracted McCoy entered the device and was transported to 1930’s Earth. His actions there created an alternate timeline which differed from the preferred one in many respects; most notably, the Federation was never created in this timeline. The landing party was isolated from these changes, apparently as a result of their proximity to the artefact.
The Enterprise Captain, James T. Kirk, and the science officer Spock followed McCoy, emerging some weeks before him. They were able to use tricorder records of the Guardian to discover the key event which McCoy had altered – he had saved the life of a woman named Edith Keeler, who had gone on to prevent US entry into World War II. Germany thus developed atomic weapons first and conquered the world with them. In the preferred timeline the war was followed by decades of fierce international technological competition which, amongst other things, resulted in the development of space flight. Temporal scanning has shown that in the altered timeline the world-spanning German Empire lacked any such motivations, and so never pushed out into space.
Although Kirk’s logs do not describe his time on Earth in any detail, it is widely rumoured that he developed considerable personal feelings for Edith Keeler. Nevertheless, when he located McCoy he prevented him from saving her life.
The very presence of the three officers in the past would normally mean that the original timeline would not be perfectly restored. Temporal scanning has proved that at least one other resident of Earth died as a direct result of McCoys arrival, when he stole the Doctors phaser and accidentally activated it. Many other minor changes would also have been introduced as a matter of course. However, the Guradian indicated to Kirk that all aspects of the original timeline had been restored after his arrival. Detailed temporal scanning has indicated that the events of this trip into the past had an overall zero impact – something that is normally conisdered impossible. There is as yet no satisfactory explanation for this, although many suspect that the Guardian itself could have somehow “repaired” the timeline.
Considerable study has been made of the Guardian of Forever over the last century. Unfortunately, the object still defies all analysis. Despite decades of exhaustive scanning no mechanisms have ever been discovered within the Guardians structure; it appears to have nothing remotely similar to information processing systems or moving parts, nor any kind of any generation system – although it must be able to generate and control massive amounts of energy in order to do what it does. The Guardian itself is quite willing to converse with researchers, but maintains that its operating principles are beyond our comprehension.
Location of Event Delta Quadrant
Stardate of Event 48579.4
Nature of Event Past / Future incursion via wormhole
In 2371 the Federation Intrepid class Starship Voyager was abducted by an alien being known as the Caretaker and deposited in the Delta Quadrant. The ship has been attempting to return home ever since via normal travel methods, but in addition they crew have been investigating various forms of spatial anomaly and unique technologies.
Some weeks after arriving in the quadrant, the ship encountered a wormhole which could possibly have offered them a way home. Initial investigation proved disappointing – the wormhole was in its final stages of collapse, only centimetres across. However, a small probe was able to penetrate deeply enough to broadcast a message through to the other side. The far endpoint was in Sector 1385 of the Alpha Quadrant, in Romulan space. A Romulan vessel picked up Voyagers transmissions and two way communication was soon established. Voyager was eventually successful in modifying the transporters to allow beaming through the wormhole, and a Romulan officer was brought on board. Unfortunately, it was discovered that the wormhole also had a temporal displacement – the Romulan end was located in 2351. The Romulan crewman was returned with messages from Voyagers crew, to be delivered to Starfleet shortly after the ships disappearance. Unfortunately, Voyagers records indicated that the officer died in 2367 and was unable to send the messages.
Location of Event Penthara IV
Stardate of Event 45349.1
Nature of Event Past / future time incursion
While attempting to correct the ecological damage wrought by an asteroid impact, the Enterprise-D was visited by a time pod from the 26th century. The pilot, one Professor Berlinghoff Rasmussen, claimed to be a historian conducting research into the Enterprise’s role in the Penthara IV situation. He stayed on board the ship for two days, interviewing several of the senior officers and passing around detailed questionnaires. Rasmussen declined all invitations to comment on the success or failure of the Enterprise’s efforts on Penthara IV or other present day events.
During the mission, the Enterprise drilled into several large pockets of carbon dioxide on the planets surface in order to boost the greenhouse effect. Unfortunately, the crust around the drill sites became unstable and extensive volcanic activity threw a great deal of dust into the atmosphere, compounding the original problem. It was suggested that the Enterprise could use the navigational deflector to place a charge on the debris in the atmosphere and then use the ships shields to act as a ‘lightning rod’, drawing the debris out of the atmosphere and into space. Unfortunately, calculations indicated that there was relatively little margin for error in the procedure – and should the procedure fail, there would be a cascade reaction in the atmosphere which would destroy all life on the planet.
Captain Picard again asked Rasmussen for some clue as to the eventual outcome, and was declined. He proceeded with the attempt anyway, and was successful in clearing the debris from the atmosphere.
Subsequently it was learned that Professor Rasmussen had been stealing various items of technology from the Enterprise; Captain Picard ordered Lieutenant Commander Data to accompany the Professor into his time pod in order to establish his guilt or innocence. Once inside, Rasmussen revealed that he was in fact from the 22nd century, where he had killed a genuine time traveller and stolen the time pod. Rasmussen was arrested and placed in the brig, and subsequently sent to a Starbase for trial.
Temporal scanning determined that Rasmussen had indeed vanished without trace from the preferred timeline in the 22nd century. Temporal Investigations therefore allowed him to remain in the present, where he has now been released from his rehabilitation centre and become a unique source of information for historians.
Location of Event Near Ennan VI
Stardate of Event 42679.2
Nature of Event Time loop
This time loop was apparently initiated by some form of intelligence which was interested in the USS Enterprise-D and its Captain, Jean-Luc Picard. While travelling to Ennan VI the Enterprise encountered a Starfleet shuttle craft damaged and adrift; on recovering the craft they found it to carry the markings of one of the ships own support vessels, which was still located in a shuttle bay. Within the craft was an unconscious Captain Picard.
Initial attempts to activate the shuttles onboard systems failed due to an odd inverted phase effect; a similar effect gave the Enterprise’s CMO difficulty in treating the unconscious duplicate of the Captain. However, Chief Engineer LaForge was eventually able to recover part of the shuttles log which showed the craft departing from the Enterprise, which was apparently trapped in some form of vortex. As the shuttle broke free and left the scene, the Enterprise was destroyed by an energy discharge within the vortex.
The Enterprise continued on its way to Ennan VI while investigations proceeded; as they approached the time of the event the phase difference within the shuttle and the duplicate Picard began to slowly diminish, although little more was learned from either. Some three hours after first discovering the problem the vortex opened beneath the ship, dragging it out of warp. Despite seriously over stressing the engines, the ship was slowly dragged into the vortex. With the Enterprise unable to break free, Councillor Troi reported that she sensed an intelligence from within the vortex and that this intelligence was focused on Captain Picard rather than the ship itself. Picard determined that the logical course of action was for him to leave the ship in hopes of distracting the entity from its harassment of the Enterprise; but convinced that his duplicate self had taken this course of action and failed, Picard determined to prevent the loop from repeating. He attempted to reason with the duplicate as it began to repeat its earlier actions, but failed to do so. As the duplicate boarded the shuttle Picard drew a phaser and killed him. Returning to the bridge, Picard ordered the ship to cease all efforts to escape and set a course directly ahead into the vortex. The ship passed through and escaped undamaged.
With the loop broken, the body of the duplicate Picard and the shuttle were both erased from the timeline. Extensive investigation has revealed no further effects due to this incident and the case remains open.
Location of Event Delta Quadrant
Stardate of Event 51300 – 52300 approx.
Nature of Event Deliberate creation of alternate timelines
One of the most difficult and intriguing propositions that Temporal Investigations has ever investigated, the so called “Year of Hell” event sequence occurred when a Krenim scientist created a weapon system capable of erasing key events from a timeline in order to create another which would be more favourable to the users. The weapon, built into a large spacecraft dubbed a Timeship, was used by its commander Annorax in an attempt to restore the Krenim Empire to prominence after it had been defeated by an enemy race.
The case became of interest to Temporal Investigations when the Krenim encountered the USS Voyager in one of the alternate timelines. This variation on the Empire was equipped with Chronaton torpedoes, capable of penetrating Voyagers shield system. As Voyager passed through their space on its way home the Krenim launched many attacks, inflicting considerable damage on the Federation ship. Voyager replied by constructing a temporal shielding system; this also served to insulate them from further changes to the timeline caused by the Krenim Timeship.
Unfortunately for the Krenim, this introduced an unpredictable variable into Annorax’s calculations. The Timeship was equipped with temporal scanning technology similar to that used by Temporal Investigations itself, and careful calculations were required in order to ensure that the weapon worked correctly. The presence of a temporally shielded Voyager threatened to provide a constant random factor into these calculations. Annorax attacked Voyager, again inflicting severe damage which ultimately caused the ship to be abandoned by the large majority of its crew.
After conducting some hasty repairs and equipping a few allies with temporal shielding, Voyager led an attack on the Timeship. The vessel was ultimately destroyed when it was rammed by Voyager, deleting the alternate timelines and restoring the situation to its original state.
Location of Event Near Archer IV
Stardate of Event 43625.2
Nature of Event Accidental creation of alternate timeline
In the early 2340’s, relations between the Federation and Klingon Empire were at a very low ebb. The Federation refused political backing to the Klingons foreign policy on several occasions due to Prime Directive concerns, something which the Klingon population regarded as a betrayal of the alliance. Public opinion in the Klingon Empire swung around to the view that the Federation was dishonourable and not to be trusted. Tensions escalated, until by 2344 many on both sides were openly talking of imminent warfare. During this year the Romulans attacked the Klingon outpost of Narendra III; the Enterprise-C detected the raid on her long range sensors and moved to assist despite facing a force of four Warbirds. The Enterprise-C managed to dispatch one of the Warbirds before being destroyed herself. The action of Captain Garrett in entering a hopeless battle and sacrificing herself and her ship over a point of principle was regarded by the Klingons as a profoundly honourable one, and led to a considerable easing of tensions. The Second Khittomer Accords were signed later in the year, leading to over twenty years of peaceful co-existence.
Recent temporal scans indicate that during the Narendra III battle, the detonation of several photon torpedoes opened a space-time rift through which the Enterprise-C passed. This created an alternate event sequence in which the Enterprise-C had been apparently destroyed before the Klingon outpost had realized that it was present and defending them from the Romulan attack. In this timeline, therefore, no record of the Enterprise C’s involvement was made and the ship was marked as simply missing presumed lost.
Without the involvement of the Enterprise at Narendra III, a Klingon / Federation war began later in the year with an all out pre-emptive strike by the entire Klingon fleet. Starfleet fought delaying tactics, holding the Klingon advance up as much as possible, and this led to a prolonged war of attrition which lasted for some twenty two years and cost sixty billion lives.
Many elements of the preferred timeline remained in the alternate; the Enterprise-D was still constructed, but as a Battleship rather than an Explorer. This ship was devoid of families, and designed for heavy ship-to-ship combat and troop carrying. Much of the crew was different, although many of the senior officers remained the same. The most significant alteration was the Enterprise D’s security officer, Lieutenant Natasha Yar; killed in 2364 in the preferred timeline, she was still alive in the alternate.
The Enterprise-D set about repairing the Enterprise-C for a return to Starfleet. However, an El-Aurian on board the D named Guinan proved to be sensitive to the changes in the timeline. Guinan explained to Captain Picard that the Enterprise-C must return to it’s own time in order to restore the timeline; trusting in her intentions and sensitive to the possibility of an altered history, both Picard and Captain Garrett agreed to the plan.
Unfortunately, Captain Garrett was killed in a Klingon attack shortly afterwards. Command of the Enterprise-C passed to the ships First officer, Lieutenant Castillo, who was determined to carry on with the plan. After being told by Guinan of her fate in the preferred timeline, Lieutenant Yar requested and received permission to accompany the Enterprise-C as tactical officer.
The Klingons subsequently returned to the area and attacked both ships; the Enterprise-D remained in order to protect the C until it could travel through the rift. Although the D was destroyed in this battle, it succeeded in its mission and the C was returned to its own time.
However, this restoration was not an ideal one; the presence of Natasha Yar on board gave the Enterprise-C a much more experienced tactical officer, and this allowed the ship to both destroy two Warbirds rather than one, and to survive long enough without shields that the Romulans decided to attempt a boarding. Although Captain Castillo initiated a self-destruct sequence which was successfully completed, several dozen officers were captured – including the alternate Lieutenant Yar.
Yar subsequently agreed to become the consort of a Romulan officer in return for a guarantee that the other Enterprise-C officers would be allowed to live. She bore him a daughter, Sela, and lived on Romulus for five years. In 2349 Yar attempted to escape Romulus with her daughter, then four years old, but Sela raised the alarm and Yar was executed shortly afterwards. Sela later became an operative in the Romulan Tal’Shiar, and has been mostly concerned with attempts to disrupt the Federation / Klingon alliance.
Temporal Investigations ruled that the alterations to the original timeline, while significant, would be virtually impossible to correct since it would involve interfering with an battle which involved at least three separate nations. The current timeline is therefore judged to have become the preferred one.