Playing with time

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We haven't played a time travel game since the silly games of high school, but I felt like theorizing, so here we go... - RooK

The manipulation of time is grouped into four distinct categories, each with successive levels of difficulty in terms of scientific knowledge required to obtain. They are slowing/stopping time, accelerating time, travelling through time, and time anchoring.

Slowing/Stopping Time

This method of manipulating time is by far the most common and is actually within reach of most extremely wealthy organisations or significantly capable scientists. It is the ability to create an area of space where time is either stopped, or slowed to an extremely slow rate. It is used primarily for preserving items, either living or not living, such that the passage of time does not affect them at all.

It is commonly called a ‘time dam’; with the most common apparatus being a completely enclosed container with the time dam generated within. A more exotic variety can create the time dam outside of the apparatus with a projected energy field. Nothing outside the time dam can react with what is within, so the energy field appears as a solid black shell. Some attempts were made in converting this technology into effective armour, but the cost was deemed too high to be worthwhile.

The time dam is not locked in three dimensional space, but moves relative to the time dam generator. To create a time dam requires the knowledge of at least a sixth stage physicist. The approximate cost is 150,000 credits per cubic meter of volume, not counting any fees of the scientist(s).

Accelerating Time

This involves making time move faster in a volume, relative to outside the apparatus. When used, it is often to allow people to accomplish a task in a fraction of the time needed outside the apparatus. This can be extremely useful to anyone trying to do something in a hurry, where the benefit of getting the task done quickly outweighs the cost of creating the accelerated time apparatus.

To create an area of time acceleration requires the knowledge of at least a seventh stage physicist. The approximate cost is 500,000 credits per cubic meter of volume, per multiplier in the rate of time.

Travelling Through Time

All recorded attempts to travel through time have resulted in some form of failure.

Obviously, you can do one of two things when travelling through time: travel to the future, or travel to the past.

If you travel to the past, you are affecting the past, and thus, changing the future, which was your present. Therefore, you can never get back to the original timeline you left from. This is why all attempts to go into the past have resulting in the person or object never returning. They may have been able to return to the future from their perspective, but because the past was changed, they went forward in a different timeline. It is possible, that one from a different timeline could go back and then come forward to your timeline, but there have been no confirmed cases of this yet.

If you travel to the future, it is quite easy to travel back to the past in the same timeline in which you left, but you could never visit the same future twice because of reasons described previously. You may be able to visit the future twice and have it seem as if nothing has changed, but this is only because the changes are not within your field of perception. On the other hand, the changes could be extreme, as described in the following example.

You travel forward in time, visit, but don’t take anything back with you except perhaps a little bit of pollen from a flower you passed. Upon your return, the pollen makes a colleague of yours sneeze. This causes another colleague to break his stride for just a moment to say something polite to the one that sneezed. This colleague is now two seconds behind of where he would have normally been in the original time line. At the end of the day he crosses a street and is hit by a car. Because he was two seconds behind where he would have been in the original timeline, he is only paralysed instead of killed. His survival could have significant ramifications on the timeline, and thus when the time traveller returns to the future, it is a future quite different from the one he visited originally.

While this example may seem unlikely (and way too similar to a certain Star Trek episode), it is intended to demonstrate that it is impossible to not affect the future when you travel into the past. Even if the past is where you started from.

It is estimated that a team of fifteen to twenty tenth stage scientists could create a time machine. It would be accomplished at astronomical cost.

Time Anchoring

Time anchoring is the ability to ignore the problems described in the previous section. It is the ability to choose the timeline you travel forward to when travelling to the future. You can only do this by visiting there first and configuring your equipment to be able to return there – or ‘anchoring’ the equipment to that timeline. Hence, you can travel backward in time, and then travel forward to the exact timeline you left from because you have an anchor to it.

There have been no confirmed cases of this being successfully accomplished.

Beyond time anchoring there is the ability to simply jump timelines, and travel among the different timelines at will. This is deep in the realm of theoretical, as no organisation in AIF has ever come close to achieving this.

...At least in the AIF timeline we usually play in.