Follow TV Tropes


Literature / Star Trek: Department of Temporal Investigations

Go To

"We do this, Agent Garcia, for the same reasons we exist as an agency in the first place. Because time is vast and needs the vigilance of every eye that can be brought to bear. Because the priorities of the future may differ from those of the present, and someone needs to speak and act on behalf of our generation. And because, at the very least, we deserve to know what our uptime partners in the Temporal Accords are doing in the name of our defense. We deserve to have a say in it, to ensure that their methods to defend us do not go against the very things we stand for."
Laarin Andos, Director, Department of Temporal Investigations

Part of the Star Trek Novelverse. A Day in the Limelight for the titular Department of Temporal Investigations, which monitors the integrity of the timeline and protects the history of the Star Trek universe from attempted Cosmic Retcons.

The series was spun off from the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Trials and Tribbleations", the DTI's only on-screen appearance. The two characters introduced there, Lucsly and Dulmur, start as the main protagonists, but soon become only one part of an Ensemble Cast.

The series includes:

  • Watching the Clock, which sets up the initial backstory and later splits into two parallel storylines. One has the DTI team up with their uptime allies to fight an emerging front of the Temporal Cold War (from Star Trek: Enterprise); the other concerns the Axis of Time, a powerful temporal conduit, and those who seek to control it for good or ill.
  • Advertisement:
  • Forgotten History, which is set mostly in Kirk's era and tells the story of how the organization was founded.
  • "The Collectors", an e-book novella about a temporal artifact that pulls three of the heroes into a hostile, adulterated future from which they must escape.
  • "Time Lock", an e-book novella about a mercenary raid on the Eridian Vault led by an alien woman with a mysterious agenda.
  • "Shield of the Gods", an e-book novella that continues from Time Lock's Sequel Hook, as the antagonist's motives become clear and the DTI must chase her down before she can change the past.


These books contain examples of:

    open/close all folders 

    Series Tropes 
  • Arc Welding: Every single Time Travel episode gets at least a Shout-Out. The Arc Welding is particularly notable in Forgotten History, which links all of Captain Kirk's time-travel experiences (in the Original Series and the animated series) to create the story of the DTI's origins and early activities. In Watching the Clock, the temporal duplicate of Picard from "Time Squared" is explained as a result of the Manheim Effect from "We'll Always Have Paris", and all the Mysterious Travellers From the Future in various Trek series are on one side or another of Star Trek: Enterprise's Temporal Cold War.
  • Artifact of Doom: The DTI has an entire vault way out on the edge of the Sol system where they secretly squirrel away various temporal knick-knacks to prevent them from being accidentally or maliciously activated, in keeping with their strict policy of non-intervention. Not all of them are terribly dangerous, but at least some of them are.
  • Ascended Extra: Dulmur and Lucsly were one-off characters as part of a Framing Device for the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Trials and Tribble-ations". The DTI as a whole fits this trope as well, as it was never mentioned again on television after that episode.
  • Catching Up on History: The Temporal Displacement Division is tasked with helping those who end up being flung (either by accident or deliberately) into the 24th century get acclimated to their new home. Two of the more notable cases they handle are Lts. M'Ress and Arex, who both found their way there via very different means of time travel.
  • Continuity Nod: Many. Forgotten History is largely set in a similar timeframe to Star Trek: The Motion Picture and the novel ''Ex Machina'', and there are references to both. Among other nods is a mention of relief efforts to Mestiko.
  • Continuity Porn: Almost every time-travel story in Trek canon and the Star Trek Novelverse gets a mention. Other nods are more integral to the plot - the Null from Star Trek: Titan is referenced as the reason why the Axis of Time has only just made contact with the modern era. Only when galactic drift brought them past the Null was it felt acceptable for the Axis to send out scouts into our time, explaining why it's only now been discovered.
  • Cosmic Retcon: A large part of the DTI's purpose is to protect the timeline from these, and much of the Temporal Cold War revolves around trying to cause them without actively being seen to violate the Temporal Accords. In Watching the Clock, a particularly disturbing Cosmic Retcon occurs, when Agent Shelan is maliciously deleted from history by the primary villain.
  • Crazy-Prepared: The DTI databases are designed to be ripple-effect proof. So when or if anything is changed, like an agent being erased from history, they'll know.
  • Double-Meaning Title:
    • Watching the Clock refers both to the DTI's role in protecting and monitoring the timeline, and to the mundane nature of its agents, who are most certainly not Starfleet-style adventurers. The DTI know that if they're having an adventure, they've already screwed up, and it's going to pay hell with the paperwork. No, they're 9-to-5 government employees, and like to keep things as unchaotic and, ideally, dull as possible.
    • Forgotten History looks at Lucsly and Dulmur researching the history of the Department to explain the appearance of Timeship Twowhen history has no record of such a ship; the title both refers to them researching the fine details of the Department's history and learning the exact chain of events that led to the existence of Timeship Two.
    • And the 'Department of Temporal Investigation' is itself a double meaning in-story. During the creation of the department, it's set up to both investigate temporal incursions and lawbreaking, and to investigate (research) time itself. The research aspect gets massively curtailed due to the problems that happened in Forgotten History, and now is almost entirely restricted to purely theoretical work along with observation of known temporal anomalies.
  • Embarrassing First Name: Marion Dulmur.
  • Emotions vs. Stoicism: Actually somewhat avoided with the Deltans. As a large part of their characterization revolves around their emotional maturity, they embrace their passions fully yet also demonstrate a calm and reserved demeanour much of the time. However, their conflict with the Carreon is partly this trope, though more on the Carreon side. Deltans are a flexible Ethical Slut culture, free with their emotions and desires (albeit also strongly disciplined), while Carreon are stoic and reserved, and rather intolerant of such openness. The Carreon also have a tendency to hypocritically show great interest in the Deltans' sexual nature while loudly condemning it.
  • Expecting Someone Taller: Dulmur thinks this about Kirk after finally coming face-to-face with him. As for Lucsly, he was expecting someone far more reckless.
  • The Fettered: This trope holds true for the Federation as a whole, but particularly for the DTI and its allies. The size and volatility of time has taught those who police it the importance of unity, lest they all suffer the consequences together.
  • Fish out of Temporal Water: Quite a bit, to the point that the DTI has a Temporal Displacement Division to deal with people who suddenly find themselves in the 24th century. In "The Collectors", Dulmur, Lucsly and Jena Noi get flung to a point 20 million years into the future.
  • A God Am I: During the Great Psionic War, millennia before the rise of the Federation, many of the advanced telepathic races ended up calling themselves divine and insisting that "lesser" races worship them as deities. Their psionic gifts were offered as proof of divinity.
  • Gotta Catch 'Em All: One of Lucsly and Dulmur's assignments involved tracking down 13 Ky'rha artifacts (time travel devices) scattered across the quadrant and being sold on the black market.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Lucsly and Dulmur, despite their opposing personalities.
  • Interplay of Sex and Violence: The Deltan armed forces draw from those Deltans who have a...more combative...element to their sexuality. This being Deltans, it's usually well-controlled and healthy, but, put simply, the Deltan armed forces equate controlled force with sexuality. As a Deltan character says, if their rivals the Carreon insist on wanting conflict, who are the Deltans to deny it, particularly if some of their own can find a healthy outlet for their desires in the process?
  • Jurisdiction Friction: It is a de facto rule that temporal police from future centuries (such as Jena Noi) have authority over earlier ones, since they have more knowledge and more capabilities, but this is only grudgingly accepted by the DTI. Mostly, it's because the Temporal Prime Directive mandates that they be kept in the dark, which makes it hard to trust the future time cops they sometimes have to work with. Andos explains as much to Garcia, reminding her that they cannot take for granted that uptime agencies, even those from the Federation, necessarily have the same values and priorities as they do. Noi gets a taste of this herself in "The Collectors", which makes her a bit more sympathetic towards Lucsly and Dulmur (who reassure her that they have nothing against her personally, they just feel a lot more comfortable when she's not messing with their own century).
  • Meaningful Name: Dulmur and Lucsly are anagrams of Mulder and Scully.
  • Nerves of Steel: An absolute necessity in the Department of Temporal Investigations, if you're to handle the existential uncertainties of it all. It's noted that humans are a minority in the department - other Federation species more renowned for mental discipline, like Vulcans, Zakdorn, Deltans, Benzites and Rhaandarites, are much more common.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: This is how the DTI comes off to a lot of lay people, particularly those who try to alter time and end up in handcuffs for it. Few people outside the department realize just how dangerous and volatile time travel is, which makes the rules seem pointlessly cruel when they get in the way of preventing tragedy.
  • Precursors: Among others, the Arret Empire. Two species in partnership - one standard Humanoid, the other Vulcanoid - spread themselves across the stars and founded countless colonies. Many of the Federation's member races, including Deltans and Vulcans, are strongly implied to be descendants of these colonies.
  • Ripple Effect-Proof Memory: The Department of Temporal Investigations keeps records protected by phase discriminators, shielding the data from alterations in the timeline. Although the agents themselves will have no knowledge of the previous history, they can research their own files to determine if changes have been made.
  • Science Marches On: In-Universe, fear of this is part of the reason time-fiction author Vaacith sh'Lesinas is so conservative about actual time travel; her work could look very dated if actual methods and limitations of time travel were established and widely known.
  • Secret Government Warehouse: The Vault on Eris is where the DTI stores all its confiscated time travel tech, including among other things, a large blue box and an antique temporal carriage.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: As a rule, the only time anyone is supposed to deliberately get involved in the timeline is to stop someone or something from changing established history (which is what the DTI's shielded archives are for). It is forbidden for one to change the past just because they don't like how things turned out. This causes the DTI some awkwardness with the Time Police from the future, since sometimes temporal crimes that the former are supposed to stop are considered by the latter to be their established history.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Felbog the Choblik is a reference to Nebogipfel, the Morlock from Baxter's The Time Ships. Tigellan Chronic Hysteresis, meanwhile, is a nod to Doctor Who.
    • Admiral Antonio Delgado shares his names and beard with two of the actors who played the Master: Anthony Ainley and Roger Delgado.
    • Taranium, the mysterious rare element that facilitates time travel, is another Doctor Who reference, being the power source of Dalek time ships and the Time Destructor in "The Daleks' Master Plan".
    • The Black Star, and its orbiting Warlock Station, are named after the title character and his dragon in the animated series Blackstar. (In-universe, Warlock Station's name comes from a work by Andorian sf author Vaacith sh'Lesinas ... which has the same plot as Blackstar). Mara Kadray, the commander of Warlock Station, is based on Mara the Sorceress, her Tellarite predecessor Rif jav Balkar is named after two of Blackstar's dwarflike sidekicks, and Balkar's wife Sagar is named after the planet Blackstar ended up on.
  • Shown Their Work: The author, Christopher L. Bennett, has a degree in Physics and it shows.
  • Space Elves:
    • The Deltans are fleshed out in Watching the Clock, and have aspects of this trope.
    • The Vedala in Forgotten History fit the bill. They're generally benevolent, older than other spacefaring races, very advanced and isolationist, and seem ever-so-slightly smug about their status in relation to younger "child" races. Behind their reasonable manner is the clear belief that Vedala are better than you.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork:
    • Despite its claim to unity, the Typhon Pact is still riddled with rivalries and the various member states' government agencies have yet to form a shared bureau for dealing with temporal integrity.
    • The DTI and their 29th-century, 31st-century, etc. equivalents. The DTI dislike the 29th century for their incredibly reckless approach to time-travel (as seen in "Relativity"), arresting people for crimes they haven't committed yet, and just being smug berks.
    • Likewise, the DTI with regular Starfleet crews. The DTI regard Starfleet as reckless idiots who'd fly headfirst into the nearest temporal anomaly in the name of science, while Starfleet regard them as humourless bureaucratic stiffs.
  • Temporal Mutability: The overall theory of time that the series describes puts it closest to category 4. Changes to the timeline, even large ones, will not snowball indefinitely into the future, but still have the potential to cause radical, long-lasting effects lasting upwards of hundreds or thousands of years. The physics also allow for both branching and overwriting timelines. If large enough, a change will spawn an alternate timeline, which exists in superposition with the original and may eventually overwrite it.note  When there are a lot of time travel shenanigans going on in the same time and place, things can get messy.
  • Time Police: The DTI is one, while there's also the Temporal Integrity Commission and the Federation Temporal Agency further uptime. Most major Alpha Quadrant races have agencies of their own. They mostly get along with each other, even when their governments don't see eye to eye, since they are all uniquely aware of how destructive it could be if they don't cooperate.
  • Time-Travel Tense Trouble: The books deal heavily with the logic and philosophy behind this trope. Its concluded that the simplest solution is to look at things from the perspective of someone outside time and pretend everything is happening at once, and as such simply use present tense for everything.
    • It helps that there is no such thing as meta-time, despite reality appearing to change from certain people's POV. So no one has to use convoluted ways of having to describe things 'before' and 'after' something changed history, which is the really confusing part of talking about time travel. Instead, they describe it as there were two timelines, one with the change and one without, and when those timelines hit the point the time traveler went back, the original got merged into the one with the change. (It couldn't merge before, because that would cause a paradox by erasing the origin of the change.) And everything 'always' happened like that.
    • This is given a snarky Lampshade Hanging by the first book, which uses the Trope Naming speech for Timey-Wimey Ball before the opening page. It proves most apt.
    • The usual "past, present, and future" terms are somewhat ambiguous when time travel is involved, since they could be in reference to the speaker's native time period or a different one, depending on the context. "Uptime" and "downtime" are more objective terms, favored by temporal agencies, that refer to the future and past of the current time, respectively.
  • Time Travel: The books feature this, of course, but it's important to note that the DTI wants to avoid it wherever possible. The department exists to protect against time travel and clean up the mess that results, not travel in time themselves.
  • Timey-Wimey Ball: Averted. The books aim for consistancy regarding how time travel works in the Trek universe. Given that the onscreen source material is often guilty of the Timey-Wimey Ball approach, that's a tall order, but the author was able to tie most of the existing examples of time travel into a coherent theory on Trek temporal physics. Since the physics are so complicated, it helps justify conflicting explanations elsewhere in the franchise, since they usually come from people who are not experts, have outdated knowledge, or are oversimplifying for ease of conversation.
  • Unfazed Everyman: This is a job requirement at the DTI. On a bad day, agents have to deal with all sorts of impossible situations, armed only with their wits and their primitive (compared to future centuries) technology. Many end up burning out or going crazy over the existential challenges they are faced with, which is why the DTI is chronically understaffed.
  • Weirdness Magnet: Establishes that temporal anomalies turn you into one of these, explaining a great deal about Star Trek as a whole. Once you're exposed to one, probability is altered such that it becomes inevitable that you end up exposed to a whole lot more.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: The mutability of time makes this a... complicated trope. Technically, there's not supposed to be such a thing as fate, since the future is unwritten. However, one person's future is another person's past, so this isn't strictly true. As a rule, the "good" factions are supposed to shut their eyes and ears (sometimes literally) to any knowledge of their future, because while to them the future can be changed, those who live in the future have their own version of events that they are supposed to preserve. So ultimately, it's not that you can't fight fate, but that you shouldn't, or the future will be angry. Yet another reason why DTI agents have existential crises: do they really have free will when there are cops from the future who will railroad them if they wander too far from the timeline?

    Watching the Clock 
  • Accidental Misnaming: Professor Vard refers to Dulmur as Agent Duller, Agent Dummer, and Agent Dombler, among others. It turns out to be a recurring problem with him.
  • Actor Allusion: Dulmer notes that Dr. Paul Manheim resembles Sigmund Freud. Rod Loomis played both Manheim in "We'll Always Have Paris" and Freud in Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure.
  • Alien Geometries: Due to the properties of the finite pocket dimension which forms the Axis of Time, its Council Hub station touches its own opposite end, forming a Moebius Structure. Its public transport can be ridden in a straight line that ends up back where it started.
  • The Alliance: The Colloquium of Progress, a multi-species civilization represented in the Axis of Time. Plus, of course, the United Federation of Planets, and its new rival, the Typhon Pact.
  • Almighty Janitor: The Temporal Defense Grid project is spearheaded by Lucsly, who gathers together the rank-and-file bureaucrats from temporal agencies across the Alpha Quadrant. He gives a speech explaining why they, the nameless functionaries without whom galactic society could not exist, are the ones sufficiently Beneath Notice to undertake the monumental task of creating a defense grid in such a way that no one from the present will know it's happening, and no one from the future will know how to undo it.
  • Alternative Calendar: As well as multiple real-life calendars, including Christian, Islamic, Hindu and Mayan examples, the chapters offer dating systems from many Star Trek cultures, including Vulcan, Andorian, Cardassian, Klingon, Deltan, Tandaran and Risian. Most of these have been plotted out in full by the author, according to his annotations.
  • Amplifier Artifact: The Selakar used crystals that amplified their psionic abilities, for use as power sources, weapons, etc. Their most powerful allows them to permanently enslave other minds to their service, augmenting their natural ability to influence people.
  • And I Must Scream:
    • Apparently, the Temporal Disruptor weapon causes its victims to "feel like it takes an age to die". This is largely why even those factions fighting against the Temporal Accords rarely use them.
    • The Call-Back to Cause and Effect also explains that the crew of the Bozeman experienced a similar sensation when they were caught in the 90-year time loop that also trapped the Enterprise (which they couldn't escape from on their own, since 23rd Century Technobabble wasn't up to the challenge).
  • Arc Welding:
    • The events of "We'll Always Have Paris" and "Time Squared" from TNG are revealed to be related (the anomaly from the latter was a side-effect of Manheim's experiment in the former).
    • "Future Guy" and his utterly inexplicable deeds in Enterprise are given an actual explanation: Trying to start a Klingon civil war was meant to Retgone Korath long before he could be born. The same with attacking the Tandarans (only replace "Korath" with "Vard").
    • The events of Star Trek: First Contact are laid at the feet of the Sphere Builders, who went to the Borg after the Xindi business went bad.
    • Jena Noi swears Future Guy had some involvement with humanity's genetic experimentations, and the Eugenics Wars. Despite some very thorough checking, neither she nor the Aegis can find any proof.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Agent George Faunt suffers a breakdown, attacks his colleagues, takes a researcher hostage and turns the DTI branch office into a seige zone. He also makes a lame time-related pun. Dulmur notes this last in a manner suggesting it's almost as serious as the other offenses.
  • Batman Gambit: It's revealed that the Tandarans, under attack by the Suliban Cabal, knew that a future agency was sponsoring the enemy. They believed the Cabal was attempting to prevent Tandar Prime's ascension as a leading authority in temporal science, when in fact it was the knowledge that they were under attack from the future that led Tandar to pursue temporal research so aggressively. The Tandarans kept their knowledge secret so that the enemy would continue inadvertently strengthening them by attacking them. However, it's then revealed that the Cabal's Sponsor, AKA Future Guy, knew what they were doing all along, and was encouraging it. Tandaran pursuit of temporal research led to his own creation, so he was manipulating them into ensuring that he would exist.
  • The Big Damn Kiss: Between Noi and Lucsly, of all people.
  • Call-Back:
    • Lucsly and Dulmur handled clean-up for many time-travel related issues, including helping with the aftermath of "Captain's Holiday", and debriefing Janeway on her return from the Delta Quadrant, or dealing with the fall-out from "We'll Always Have Paris" (which ties in to "Time Squared").
    • Enterprise and its Temporal Cold War are given major focus.
    • The part of the climax dealing with Lucsly and Dulmur has the local area go to hell in the same way the Enterprise did in "We'll Always Have Paris".
  • Call-Forward: Korath appears, dabbling in time-travel technology. The Sponsor notes he will create the Temporal Deflector, despite the changes Janeway caused in "Endgame".
  • Charm Person: Lirahn and other Selakar have this ability.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Shelan's last recording as she dies, which Lucsly manages to use to figure out when and where she broadcast it from.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • During Garcia's training, they discuss the events of Star Trek: First Contact (with some helping of Lampshade Hanging).
    • The chapter focusing on Janeway's debriefing mentions pretty much every Voyager time-travel episode, including "Parallax", "Future's End", "Before & After", "Year of Hell" and "Fury". It also makes mention of DS9's Gaia incident ("Children of Time"), the Red Orb incident, Kira using the Orb of Time ("Wrongs Darker Than Death or Night"), and the destruction of the Paraagan colony from Enterprise's "Shockwave, part 1", or the events of the animated series' "Yesteryear", both which Dulmur uses an example of temporal mutability.
    • Among the temporal disasters caused is one that apparently set the Ferengi's space-faring ability back by two centuries, which occurred in the 2150s, neatly explaining how the Ferengi could be around and about in Enterprise yet utterly absent during The Original Series and treated as newcomers in TNG.
    • As she's going over the history of the Selakar, Garcia brings up other major empires that have collapsed, such as the Talosians.
  • Continuity Porn: Pretty much every time-travel related episode from throughout Star Trek's history gets brought up or involved in some way or another. The ones that don't get brought up next book.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Cyral Nine, after quitting the Aegis. Lucsly, for a short time.
  • Great Offscreen War: The Great Psionic War, which took place several thousand years ago, between the Sargonians and the Selakar (among others). It ended decisively with the Selakar losing.
  • Gut Feeling: Shortly into his partnership with Lucsly, Dulmur has one of these regarding a connection between the Manheim effect of the previous year and the vortex phenomenon they're currently investigating. Lucsly advises against "gut feelings", saying that everything the DTI deals with is counter-intuitive anyway. Nonetheless, Lucsly doesn't entirely dismiss Dulmur's insight, but insists on waiting until he has supporting evidence.
  • Guy-on-Guy Is Hot: When Ranjea mentions the possibility of having some intimate relations with another male Deltan who happens to be around, Garcia can't help but be tempted to invite herself as a spectator. Chances are they would have been up for it, but by this point her relationship with Ranjea was on its way to becoming Like Brother and Sister, so she puts it aside.
  • Heroic Willpower: An important part of the Deltans' characterization.
  • Higher-Tech Species: The Vedala.
  • Hope Spot: Toward the end, there seems to be a chance to restore Shelan. Nope. The Sponsor makes it clear he put in an awful lot of time and effort to make sure that couldn't happen.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: One of the reasons Lucsly dislikes Janeway so much is her utterly unapologetic attitude towards messing with time (besides messing with time in the first place).
  • I Say What I Say: When President Bacco is temporarily duplicated (long story), the two presidents respond to a compliment with a simultaneous (somewhat sarcastic) "oh, please!" Amusingly, they also snark at each other for making the exact sort of grumpy, sarcastic comments that Bacco always makes.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: One of the two Baccos makes the "beside myself" joke, to the great pain of her duplicate.
  • Insufferable Genius: Vard.
  • Jumped at the Call: Subverted. We meet an eager young recruit who can't wait to have "adventures" as a Temporal Agent, but is told very quickly that the whole point of the DTI is to avoid adventure. In fact, if time travel happens the mission's already a failure. The recruit drops out the next day.
  • Lampshade Hanging:
    • Garcia and her fellow trainees discuss how out-of-character the whole "Borg travelling through time" thing from First Contact was, and eventually conclude someone gave them time-travel tech on purpose. They're right.
    • When the subject of the Guardian of Forever comes up, T'Viss is apparently of the opinion that something that declares it's meant to protect time only to then let one crazed medical officer break history isn't doing its job. T'Viss speculates it's just a long broken-down piece of junk.
    • Agent Daniels gets brought up, with more than a few jabs at his actions. One particular line of his, on how schoolchildren in the 31st century apparently have temporal communicators at their desks, is shot to pieces, with Shelan pointing out this is utterly idiotic and nonsensical. Jenna Noi basically says Daniels was making it up (and some other things he said) to convince Archer to trust him, and it's implied Daniels is infamous among his fellow agents for this sort of thing.
    • During Janeway's debriefing, it's noted she and her crew tended to get bailed out of disaster by their future selves a surprising amount.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: At one point during the middle of the book, several DTI trainees discuss the nature of time-travel and timelines. They conclude that a newly created timeline altered by something like, say, the destruction of a planet will never Retgone the original. Never ever ever.
  • Look on My Works, Ye Mighty, and Despair!: Most of the races represented in the Axis of Time have to deal with this. In the time periods they consider to be "the present", they're often thriving cultures, indeed the leading races of their interstellar communities. But thanks to the Axis they know that a few thousand years later and they'll have been forgotten, being at best archaeological curiosities to the next group of spacefaring cultures and at worst lost to history.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Lirahn. And Future Guy.
  • Mind Rape: Lirahn uses her powers of coercion to force Ranjea and Garcia into a sexual frenzy. Though they both are able to cope, it kills Garcia's desire for her partner. This is tragic in one way, since it means they can't have a physical relationship,note  but it also paves the way for them to form a comfortably platonic bond, free from Unresolved Sexual Tension.
  • Mythology Gag: The Sponsor was eventually caught in the 25th century, having caused an unspecified disaster with Omega Particles that nearly ruined the Alpha Quadrant. This was the plot of one attempted online Star Trek game.
  • The Needs of the Many: Captain Janeway gets away with her multiple violations of the timeline because if she hadn't, the events of Star Trek: Destiny wouldn't have occurred, and the Borg would've conquered the entire galaxy by the 27th century.
  • Parental Favoritism: Paul Manheim insists that his brother was the favorite, explaining his subconscious resentment of said brother.
  • Place Beyond Time: The Axis of Time, a pocket dimension that allows travel between various eras while itself existing outside normal space-time.
  • Ret-Gone: Agent Shelan is erased from history by The Sponsor. But what really makes it a direct insult is that they went the extra mile to make sure nothing else in the timeline changed as a result. Everything Shelan did as an agent is carefully preserved, either done by someone else or through engineered coincidence, making it clear that it served no other purpose than as a big "fuck you" to the DTI.
    Dulmur: Somebody's exterminated one of our own, and they didn't even leave us our memories. We can't even grieve properly.
  • The Reveal: The climax of the book finally gives the Sponsor a name and identity: Jamran Harnoth, of the 28th century.
  • Revenge Before Reason: The Sponsor has a little of this:
    "If that revenge backfired and led to my arrest, then all the more need for the revenge itself to stand".
  • Sequel Hook: Sort of. Before he is captured at the end of Watching the Clock, "Future Guy" is said to have been hiding in the 22nd Century during the Earth-Romulan War. In other words, the time frame of the Star Trek: Enterprise Relaunch.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong:
    • Averted. The crew of the Verity, shot forward in time to find their planet in ruins following the Borg Invasion, want to try and return to their original time to give warning. They're prevented from doing so, and it's explained why their decision was the wrong one, no matter how subjectively understandable the desire.
    • Agent Faunt was tempted to do the same thing while exploring a time portal on a world devastated by the Borg. When he found out the portal also led to an alternate dimension and wouldn't fix things, he suffered the psychotic break that kicks off Watching The Clock.
    • Lucsly thinks this is what should be done after Janeway's actions in "Endgame", only to be overruled by the uptime police, who judge Janeway's actions to be correct.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The temporal researcher Agent Faunt takes hostage at the beginning is named Rani Mohindra.
    • George Faunt himself is a twofer shoutout, his first name being that of the main character of The Time Machine (1960) and his last name a reference to Jason Faunt, the actor who played Red Ranger Wes in Power Rangers Time Force.
    • The three Bozeman security guards who help Lt. Whitcomb break into the The Vault are named for the actors who played Biff's "gang" in Back to the Future.
  • Stable Time Loop:
    • There is a short one during the firefight in the Vault, during which Dulmur uses one of the time gizmos lying around to travel back in time a few minutes to help himself neutralize the renegade Bozeman crew. Lucsly is predictably upset, since they're not supposed to do that, but Dulmur points out that he already saw his future self during the fight, so he had to travel back in order to preserve the timeline. Lucsly grudgingly concedes that he's right. (Perhaps this is why Lucsly hates time loops.)
    • The Tandarans have long been at the forefront of temporal physics, which has made them a frequent target in the Temporal Cold War, since they provide much of the R&D that the Federation's future agencies use in the war. What their uptime enemies don't realize is that the very attacks they launched against Tandar's past to preemptively sabotage their work are what impelled them to invest in temporal research to begin with (which also makes it a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy). It later turns out that the Sponsor did know that and that's why he did it — he's part-Tandaran and is using their technology.
    • Likewise, the Sponsor's genetic gifts to the Suliban and others are what caused him and those like him in the first place.
    • The epilogue: All this fuss over the point where maybe the temporal integration grid was invented has left Lucsly determined that someone has to invent the thing, and needs to do it in actual secrecy.
  • 10-Minute Retirement:
    • Lucsly, after his faith that the DTI will protect the timeline's integrity is shattered when, on advice from a future agency, he is refused permission to prosecute Janeway for her actions in "Endgame". Dulmur talks him into returning.
    • Averted with Dulmur, however, who quits when the demands of his job threaten his marriage. It is several months before he eventually decides to return.
  • Time Crash: One occurs during the climax, caused by a Gambit Pileup involving at least a dozen temporal factions and Insufferable Genius Vard.
  • Timey-Wimey Ball: The Axis is quite literally fuelled by one. Since it exists simultaneously in every point of its own history, the energy of its destruction via supernova is used to empower it from it's creation.
  • Two Lines, No Waiting: For most of the story, there are two distinct plotlines being followed: the emerging front for the Temporal Cold War, care of Lucsly and Dulmur, and the Axis of Time, care of Ranjea and Garcia. The occasional chapter flashes back to other incidents in Lucsly and Dulmur's careers.
  • The Unreveal: It's speculated that the real ones pulling the strings of the Aegis are the animal sidekicks. No-one gets any confirmation either way.
  • Unusual Chapter Numbers: Each chapter has a subtitle with an Alternative Calendar date:
    Chapter XI - Décade II Quartidi Frimaire, Année DXC de la République, French Republican Calendar - A Fridaynote 
  • Vestigial Empire: A willingly vestigial one in the case of the Deltans. They turned inwards centuries ago and now control only a few star systems, considering space travel and colonization a “noble savage” sort of concept. They still get annoyed when the Carreon try to settle their old holdings, though.
  • Wham Line: At the end, courtesy of Shiiem of the Zcham, a species from 800,000 years into the future: "We're only human, after all."

    Forgotten History 
  • Alien Non-Interference Clause: Kirk insists he and his crew cannot interfere in the alternate universe's problems. Spock, not so much. But then, he's not interfering. He just happens to be showing T'Pring the kir'shara, and if he happens to let her know where the original is...
  • Alternate History: One is explored to some degree, almost in the tradition of the Star Trek: Myriad Universes series.
  • Arc Welding: The time-travel episodes of TOS are tied together with the thread of Admiral Delgado's attempts at figuring out time-travel.
  • Big Damn Heroes: At the conclusion, the Enterprise is saved from a Compact ship by... Command T'Pring, from the alternate timeline's 24th century.
  • Break the Badass: We get to see Kirk immediately after "The City on the Edge of Forever". The death of Edith Keeler has burnt out any and all desire to study time travel in him.
  • Broken Pedestal: Lucsly faces this regarding Meijan Grey. Also inverted, as Lucsly gradually realizes that Kirk is not the reckless character he was expecting.
  • Call-Back:
    • Archer's inclusion in the Temporal Cold War comes up in Delgado's first time debriefing Kirk and Spock.
    • "All Our Yesterdays" is recapped in full. Delgado points out how idiotic and farcical the whole thing was.
    • "Amok Time" proves vastly important to the events of the middle story.
  • Call-Forward:
    • In the Flashback sequence, Spock is surprised that his human collegue thinks of the Onlies planet (a parallel Earth where most of humanity died) as "home". He then reflects that he doesn't know how he'd react if he encountered a timeline where Vulcan was destroyed.
    • The first time the Enterprise tries a slingshot, Spock has brief glimpses of the events of "Assignment: Earth", just as Kirk had brief glimpses of the future in "The Voyage Home".
    • The mission that ends Enterprise's five year journey is filled with them. Chapel, having given up on her crush on Spock, is thinking of becoming an M.D.. Kirk's getting bored with the heartbreak of captaining and is looking to pack it all in. Spock reflects on the many times he's lost emotional control over the original and animated series, thinking maybe it's time he got around to taking the kohlinahr.
    • Griswold, the commissioner sent to ruin Kirk, has attitudes on the Prime Directive more similar to that of Picard's era (i.e., refuse to lift a finger to help people who are dying, even when there's no real risk). It also serves as a transition between the way the Directive is treated in Kirk's era, and that of the TNG era.
    • The fate of the first timeship is similar to the events of "Time Squared", disappearing from existence when the events that caused it to be destroyed don't happen.
    • Scotty, thinking about that Probert fellow he's heard of, mentions the man has ideas about making the saucer sections of starships bigger. In a handful of decades, those ideas will be implement, with Enterprise-D and E having incredibly large saucers.
    • Also, Scott's meeting with Kirk shows the man has shifted from the bold explorer of the original series, to the weary man seen in "The Motion Picture".
    • Spock, post-V'Ger merging, has become more accepting of emotions, reflecting his character development from Wrath of Khan. Another reason the Vulcans are so alarmed by this is because he's reminding them a bit too much of Sybok.
    • Spock is also mentioned to have adopted Saavik.
    • At the climax, T'Pring mentions in the alternate timeline, the Klingons were forced to give peace with the Vulcans a chance after... something happened, but they immediately clam up, just in case they say too much.
    • Alternate T'Pring's parting words to Spock mention an increase in Vulcan-Romulan relations, something Spock finds fascinating...
  • Cassandra Truth: Kirk's first foray into time-travel ("All Our Yesterdays") is met with skepticism by the Starfleet brass. Not helping is that the ship's computer still has a bug, so they think someone's playing a massive practical joke on them.
  • Continuity Nod: Any episode from TOS and TAS involving time-travel gets a nod or mention somewhere, and a few others beside.
    • During the events of "Assignment: Earth", the Enterprise has a new historian, to replace Marla McGivers, after her "departure" at the end of "Space Seed".
    • A younger T'Viss is dubious of the Guardian of Forever, as was established in "Watching the Clock".
    • Kirk already has a public reputation for being the first Starfleet captain to be court martialled (from "Court Martial"). In defending himself, he brings up all the times he's messed with the Prime Directive, like saving stagnant societies from computers, or outside interference.
    • While thinking of Kirk's promotion, Scotty thinks on Captain Pike, and his twelve year service on Enterprise.
    • After realizing where they are, the Enterprise crew and T'Viss discuss the events of the Forge trilogy from Enterprise. In the same discussing, Kirk's inner monologue notes he's been studying up on Vulcan history after not recognising Surak during "The Savage Curtain".
    • Without Archer's presence, the events that occurred in "Cease Fire" went badly for both sides. Soval ended up getting killed.
  • Cultural Posturing: A little of this from T'Viss (though she probably sees it as quashing Kirk's own "posturing"). She acknowledges that Jonathan Archer provided some assistance to T'Pau in rediscovering Surak's original writings and reforming Vulcan society. Some.
  • Doppelgänger Gets Same Sentiment: When the Enterprise is essentially switched with a ship from the Onlies' universe, Spock finds his pon'farr being triggered due to his time spent with the alternate version of T'Pring.
  • Dramatic Irony: Kirk approves of Decker, even considering him his protégé, and selected the man to take over Enterprise for him. He'll change his tune in time. For added irony, he asks Scotty if the man has a problem with Decker.
  • Chekhov's Gun: It's made clear early on that the star slingshot method of time travel only works with the Enterprise's unique chroniton-emitting engines, due to an unreplicatable accident in The Naked Time. However, Kirk was later able to do it with a run-of-the-mill Klingon ship in The Voyage Home. DTI agents have long been frustrated trying to figure out how Kirk pulled that off, and it's one of the main reasons why they dislike him. In the climax, Lucsly and Kirk are trying to solve a Time Crash, but while the former's Technobabble is insufficient to directly solve the crisis, Kirk relays enough of it to Spock and Scotty that they are able to figure out how make their current engines emit chronitons, which helps fix both the current problem and the whale probe crisis much later. Lucsly, for his part, is unhappy when he figures this out, but begrudgingly goes along with it.
  • Enemy Mine: Discussed in the alternate timeline, where the Andorians, their homeworld under Vulcan occupation, have formed a strong alliance with the Klingons. A Klingon representative cheerfully acknowledges that had they not found a common foe in the Vulcans, the Klingons would likely consider Andorians their enemy too.
  • Exact Words: Simok tells that Spock and alternate!T'Pring are working on a way to solve the problem and increase their efficiency. Fortunately, no-one asks why this requires them to be alone and out of communication for two days...
  • Failsafe Failure: Discussed. The forcefield belts of the "Motion Picture"-era uniforms were quickly phased out because they were pretty terrible at their job of keeping people alive.
  • For Want of a Nail: The Onlies timeline meant there was no Zefram Cochrane, without whom there was no Starfleet, and no Archer. As a result, the true teachings of Surak weren't found, and Romulus' influence of Vulcan was never broken, and so the Vulcan High Command - and the Enterprise-era Vulcans' nasty attitudes, are still there.
  • Heroic BSoD: Late in the plot, Spock deduces that Admiral Delgado and Director Grey, longtime ideological enemies, have been secretly cooperating on a highly-illegal time travel experiment that's Gone Horribly Wrong, and they admit to it. Lucsly, listening via Timey-Wimey Ball, freaks out, as he built much of his career following the legendarily spotless example of Grey, who apparently would never have done anything like this. Thankfully, he snaps out of it eventually.
  • Hoist by Their Own Petard: The Romulans of the alternate timeline made the Vulcans militaristic in preparation to invade them. Somehow, this wound up with the Romulans getting conquered instead.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Lucsly, seeing Spock wrangle a confession out of Grey, suffers dissonance so bad he declares Spock must be covering for Kirk's actions, somehow. Dulmer calls him on this.
  • In Spite of a Nail: In the alternate timeline, T'Pring still exists, and married Stonn, though with less complication since there was no Spock.
  • Internal Retcon: Why did no-one know about time travel when Archer encountered it a lot? Some time after the Federation was founded, Archer was convinced to hide all the evidence, and Starfleet has been working very hard to supress any knowledge since.
  • It's All About Me: Delgado is obsessive about getting his way. Neatly shown when the Enterprise crew breaks up, and Spock goes back to Vulcan. Delgado wonders if the man did it solely to hide his knowledge of time travel from him.
  • Kicked Upstairs: Kirk. Partly because of the sheer controversy of his actions, partly because his reputation with the public. Admiral Nogura, for his part, isn't actually doing it to punish Kirk at all. He legitimately thinks Kirk would be good at it.
  • Lampshade Hanging: "The Omega Glory" is done over with a fine-toothed comb, as the illogic of much of the last act's twist is pointed out (like how the supposedly ancient flag looks very new).
  • Manipulative Bastard: Admiral Delgado is very good at being persuasive, knowing just how to get on people's good side or find a way to talk them around to his way of thinking. His motives are relatively good, but his methods aren't.
  • Meaningful Echo: "Having is not so pleasing a thing as wanting."
  • A Million Is a Statistic:
    • Outright invoked by Griswold, when she's saying Kirk should've left some innocent people to die because they were just "statistics".
    • Later on, used by Garcia as she's looking at the crew of the time-ship, and thinks how it was easier to dismiss going back in time with the Verity because the millions killed by the Borg were an abstract. Actually seeing people dead or dying is a lot harder to cope with.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Meijan Grey's reaction to causing the events of "Yesteryear", and by extension nearly erasing Spock from history.
  • Mythology Gag: When seeing the Enterprise being refit, Scotty mentions a fellow called Probert who's got some good ideas about ship-design. Probert was the name of one of the conceptual artists involved with TNG.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: Admiral Delgado places one aboard the Enterprise, knowing that Kirk will earn her ire through his disregard for the letter of the law.
  • Oh, Crap!: Spock's reaction on seeing the Muroc's science officer, one sub-commander T'Pring.
  • Once Done, Never Forgotten: Lucsly's still not letting Dulmur live down that time he told Sisko he wanted to meet Kirk.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: Lucsly, on realising Director Grey knew of and authorised the timeship experiment, has a breakdown, complete with punching the wall in anger.
  • Other Me Annoys Me:
    • T'Viss is scandalized to learn her alternate universe self is not a physicist, but a reclusive artist on Vulcan.
    • The alternate T'Pring expresses a degree of contempt when she learns what her local counterpart did to Spock, after her own experience losing a mate.
  • Papa Wolf: Scotty's still bent on protecting his bairns (i.e., the Enterprise engines). He's heartbroken at seeing the ship refitted and refurbished into a museum, likening it to stuffing and mounting her.
  • The Paranoiac: The Vulcans of the alternate timeline are considerably more Romulan - paranoid and unreasonably hostile, though still logical underneath.
  • The Red Baron: DTI agents of the 24th century refer to Kirk as "the Time Pirate".
  • Retcon:
    • A subtle one; Kirk being Kicked Upstairs at the end of his five-year mission, with Enterprise given a major refit, was established in Star Trek: The Motion Picture and explored further in the novel Ex Machina. In Forgotten History, this is now shown to happen in part due to influence from Admiral Delgado, to further his well-meaning, if overzealous, ambitions for time travel experiments. Specifically, with the Enterprise undergoing a major refit, its old engines are his for the taking, along with their unique properties allowing artificial time travel.
    • Less subtly, the idea from the original series that "sometimes alien planets have cultures exactly like Earth because that's just a thing that happens" gets retconned away; the identical-to-Earth planet from "Miri" is actually an Earth that fell into our universe from a parallel reality, and the planet from "The Omega Glory" that had the US flag and constitution turned out to be cultural contamination.
  • Saying Too Much: Lucsly, forced into assisting Kirk, accidentally lets slip he's not a native to Kirk's time.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Antonio Delgado is based on the two most influential actors who played the Master in the original run of Doctor Who, Roger Delgado and Anthony Ainley. So it's probably not a coincidence that early on his stated goal is to "master" time-travel.
    • On downtime, Kirk reads a book on Vulcan history written by a "Duane". Diane Duane wrote many Star Trek books on Vulcan and Vulcans.
  • Stable Time Loop: Kirk, Spock and Scotty only know how to slingshot with warp engines other than Enterprise's because Lucsly shows Kirk how. Luscly is not happy.
  • Time Crash: A time travel experiment Goes Horribly Wrong creating a "confluence" where the past and present of two separate timelines overlap, with the potential that people could stumble between universes and / or times and accidentally rewrite each others' histories.
  • The Vamp: Kirk encounters one on the fateful mission that gets him Kicked Upstairs. She's the one ruling what's left of her planet, and tries seducing Kirk. Since he's getting bored of the whole "seduce the beautiful but villainous woman" thing, he tells her to get lost.
  • Widow Woman: Alternate T'Pring lost her version of Stonn to war. On the plus side, her grief from losing him means she's a hell of a lot more empathetic than her counterpart.

    The Collectors 
  • Crapsack World: Zig-zagged a bit with the alternate future that the heroes end up in. On the one hand, their Federation is just as advanced, diverse, and thriving as Noi's Federation, but only because they have become aggressive warhawks who relentlessly pursue and subjugate their enemies across time. This is not entirely their fault, since it is impossible to adopt a defensive strategy when anyone can attack at any time and place, but it's a far bleaker existence than the prime universe.
  • Evil Me Scares Me: Jena Noi encounters an alternate version of herself. They do not get along well at all, since the alternate Noi's timeline is much more militaristic and cynical.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Noi's relationship with Lucsly and Dulmur was always a bit strained, since their interactions were limited to Noi showing up unannounced and throwing her authority around. Not to mention their different philosophies on protecting time (Noi describes the DTI's attitude as "puritanical"). Their mutual struggle in this story changes the dynamic of their relationship substantially. Lucsly and Dulmur see that Noi's agency still respects the Federation's core ideals, while Noi gains a better appreciation for the DTI's steadfast commitment to protecting their shared timeline, despite how disadvantaged they are technologically.
  • For Want of a Nail: When the artifact takes Noi, Lucsly, and Dulmur into the future, this also causes a change in the timeline in which the temporal defense grid was never invented (the details of which have been kept secret to prevent ne'er-do-wells from doing just that). This initially confuses Noi, who has no choice but to conclude that Lucsly and/or Dulmur, both considered minor pawns in the grand scheme of things, must have some role to play in this galaxy-changing event.
  • Heel Realization: Jena Noi from the alternate future realizes, after peering into the thoughts of her counterpart, just how much of a Crapsack World she's living in by comparison, making her much more self-conscious about the things she's done. It's enough to convince her to help restore the original timeline, even knowing she will be erased in the process.
  • Knight Templar: The alternate Federation's Temporal Intervention Agency. Though they ostensibly uphold the same principles of peace and cooperation as the prime Federation, it's hinted that over time, their need for more offensive strategies have caused them to take things a bit too far.
  • The Load: Lucsly and Dulmur are completely clueless and defenseless in a future they know nothing about. Noi is still glad to have them along, even if they have trouble keeping up, and they have the advantage of being Beneath Notice when the trouble starts, since nobody considers them a threat.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Borg Tyrannosaurus.
  • Redemption Equals Death:
    • Danlen expresses a moment of regret in his final moments of life, before sacrificing himself to save the heroes from the borged T-rex.
      "Maybe you were right. This was supposed to be... about protecting lives. Maybe we forgot that."
    • Averted for the alternate Jena Noi. With her timeline gone, she decides to stay in the Collectors' era, where she can continue her work in a non-violent capacity.
  • Super Soldier: One of the Eridian Vault's guests is a suspended Mro soldier, one of an ancient race of deadly crustacean-like conquerors who had, among other things, biologically integrated energy weapons and a psionic gaze that would render insane any humanoid unfortunate enough to look one in the eye. When Garcia hears that the Mro's stasis field is about to fail, it's almost enough to cause a code brown.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: This is how the alternate future Federation is portrayed, due to existing in a timeline where there are no protections against unauthorized temporal incursions. The temporal authorities have thus evolved to be more aggressive and interventionist, preferring to take the fight to its enemies and never hold back.

    Time Lock 
  • Closed Circle: The time lock is designed to contain any security breaches within the vault, similar to the more traditional Star Trek Self-Destruct Mechanism, except rather than destroy the vault, it places it in what is essentially temporal stasis if it is not deactivated within a few hours. Though it is possible for those inside to communicate with the outside, they are otherwise on their own until the time lock is released.
  • Determinator: It becomes clear fairly early on that Daiyar has a completely different objective than her mercs, who are just after some expensive goodies to fence. It's not clear what that is, exactly, only that she will stop at nothing to achieve it.
    Lucsly: She was absolutely driven. Haunted. I'd say obsessed if she hadn't been so rational about it.
  • The Dragon: Kvolan, who heads the mercenaries in Daiyar's employ.
  • Enemy Mine: One of Daiyar's plans gone wrong forces the two sides to work together to disable the time lock. Against their better judgement, they let Daiyar throw the switch so that Lucsly won't have to make a Heroic Sacrifice. She comes through, but manages to escape afterwards, despite the DTI's best efforts.
  • Even Mooks Have Loved Ones: A major point of friction between Daiyar and her mercs is that they have friends and families they want to see again, while Daiyar seems unconcerned by the rapidly increasing time lock dilation. Though she tries to reassure them, they eventually realize that she has her own agenda, which does not make their survival a priority.
  • Gambit Pileup: It stands to reason that, in a facility populated with multitudes of bizarre temporal devices, those involved in the siege have plenty of opportunities to MacGuyver them into unexpected weapons and tools. In fact, Daiyar's skill for doing just that makes it clear that she had foreknowledge of the vault's contents.
  • Interspecies Romance: Dulmur develops a relationship with the liaison he works with at the new DTI branch office on Denobula, Cymmen, who is emotionally supportive through the long months of waiting while events slowly unfold in the Eridian Vault. Though hesitant at first, since Denobulans are polyamorous, Dulmur nevertheless eventually becomes Cymmen's third husband. This turns out to be advantageous for him, as his shared marital responsibilities mean the demands of his job (which are what doomed his first marriage) are much less of a strain.
  • Ludicrous Precision: Lucsly wishes Dulmur a happy birthday at the end of one of his messages from within the time locked vault, much to Dulmur's amusement. This means that Lucsly, with his usual clockwork precision, had been keeping track of the time differential despite the fact that, by that point, days outside the vault were seconds inside.
  • No Sense of Humor: Lucsly normally plays this trope dead straight, but attempts to subvert it in Dulmur's absence with a few very dry jokes.
  • Only Mostly Dead: Felbog appears to be dead following Kvolan's impulsive use of a temporal accelerator on him, but fortunately, his cybernetic implants manage to keep him barely alive long enough for Andos and Lucsly to get him to sickbay.
  • Sequel Hook: Daiyar escapes Eris with an incomplete temporal device, her intentions still unclear. Lucsly resolves to track her down with the one lead they have: the limited number of places where she might find the technology to repair her device.
  • Tempting Fate: Dulmur curses the cruel irony that the trouble on Eris started only seconds after he said farewell to Lucsly by wishing him an uneventful day.
  • Trojan Horse: This is how the raiders get inside the vault. They hide themselves in a device that appears to open a temporal portal, when it is actually an interdimensional portal. The Eridian Vault is designed to protect against the former, not the latter.
  • Worthy Opponent: Daiyar clearly enjoys matching wits with her DTI opponents and is impressed by some of their tricks.
  • Year Outside, Hour Inside: This is how the eponymous time lock protocol works, causing time to slow within the Eridian Vault at an exponentially increasing rate. Thus the dilation is small at first, but within hours will reach the point where minutes inside are months, years, or even decades outside.

    Shield of the Gods 
  • Artifact Domination: Daiyar's fancy Aegis-designed stylus has the power to enthrall other humanoids, which she uses to kidnap Ranjea when confronted by him. She allows him to keep most of his free will, but he remains unable to impede her or refuse her demands. Despite his mental discipline, his memories of Riroa and her past relationship with Daiyar prevent him from resisting.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Riroa Nadamé, a Posthumous Character for the whole series except for one early Flashback, turns out to have huge importance in this story. She was a Deltan temporal cop from the future who passed her "soul" on to Ranjea and impelled him to follow in her footsteps, and as it turns out, she once shared an emotional bond with Daiyar, which she and Ranjea both feel when they meet. It makes them both more receptive to each other, for better or worse.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: Ranjea knows Riroa used to call Daiyar Shaiyu, though he doesn't know what it means since it's from her language, not his. Supposedly, it was an endearing In-Joke between the two of them once upon a time, but Daiyar is too embarrassed to explain further. It also served as an unexpected Trust Password, since it proved Ranjea's connection with Riroa.
  • I Choose to Stay: After convincing Daiyar to abandon her plan and redeem herself, Ranjea, who had been longing for a deeper personal connection with someone, chooses to stay in the past with her and help her heal. He leaves a future-dated message for Garcia to explain why he did it and to say goodbye.
  • I Just Like Saying the Word: The black market station where the DTI first looks for Daiyar has an... unusual name.
    Ranjea: Admit it, Teresa— you just can't get enough of saying 'Qhembembem.'
    Garcia: It's fun, you should try it. Qhembembembembembem... Come on, say it with me.
    Ranjea: I'm good, thank you.
  • Meaningful Name: We learn the reason why the English word for the Aegis is what it is: because they use their temporal abilities to protect developing races from destruction until they are mature enough to survive on their own. The title of the novella is a popular translation of the word.
  • The Watson: Vlik, the representative from Fereginar's temporal regulatory bureau, gives Lucsly an excuse to fill in some of the backstory since she and her bureau are a recent addition to the fraternity.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: