2448 Time travel proved viable by Xan Ti at Shenyang University
c2550 Large scale govt sponsored time experiments begin at Geneva and Shenyang
2561 First sighting of Yiion
2573 Yiion War begins
2574 TI7 founded as Worldcom.gov pours all resources into the Yiion War. Time Marines and Yiion fight open warfare across the timescape, and make 'a bit of a mess.'
2585 Conventional war on earth begins against invading Yiion ground forces.
2586 Yiion Time War declared unfeasible after time marines are out manoeuvred at every turn, and part of history goes missing. Much of earth civilisation destroyed. TI7 (and all time marine) ops 'shut down.' TI7 continues clandestine guerrilla defense of earth through fractured timeline.
Many theories were made to explain this. The multi dimensional parallel earth ones garnered the most support. As the changes occurred, conventional navigation through time, always a vastly complicated affair, became increasingly difficult. Not even the latest mega computers could calculate timespace coordinates reliably. Worldcom.gov turned to the misfit time-sensitives (commonly 'witches') to work in conjunction with their computers in order to rectify this. The human -machine interface seemed to do the trick and travel through time became more reliable.
Then a time researcher on a routine trip to 18th Century France came across an alien presence. The thing was a tall, greenish lizard-like creature, able to cloak itself in a human facade. It's time signature gave it away, to the researcher, and although the creature escaped, this was clear proof that the human timeline was being shared by an alien, or transdimensional presence.
Soon, human researchers from all over the timeline began to disappear, or get attacked. The Time Marines, were formed in order to fight back. They were sent throughout the timeline, towards any trace of time anomaly, in order to eradicate the Yiion threat. After some initial successes, it was not long before it became clear that they were fighting a losing battle.
As the war was waged, it became apparent that time was increasingly mutating. It became ever harder to navigate, and temporal anomalies increasingly more difficult to track down. All this coincided with defeat after defeat in the Yiion Time War, and then the sudden emergence on a Yiion army in the present day.
As the Yiion army won victories in a conventional war, worldcom.gov concluded that the fracturing of the timeline caused by the Time War was a direct contributor to the Yiion invasion. Therefore it was decided that the time war would be abruptly ended; the hope being that this would mean the Yiion army would not be able to call on reinforcements, as the timeline repaired itself.
However, certain strings were pulled in the high ranking escelons of .gov and one of the special ops orgs from the time war was kept going. It was felt that a smaller, elite, much more focused guerrilla action, throughout time, could help defeat the Yiion. The special ops group was kept top secret, and codenamed TI7.
It is even rumoured that a coven of witches actually runs the org, but that's more of a joke than a real rumour. Certainly though, the operations and time-jumps are coordinated by witches plugged into machines; it's the only way to do it, at the present.
TI7 continues to hunt for time-sensitives and recruits them to the cause, and combined with scientists and technicians from Shenyang and Geneva, and marine veterans from the time war, this makes up the bulk of the active service personnel of the org. In addition, the org has any number of deep-cover operatives throughout time, many of which have been lost to the org, through time fracturing and other anomalous activity.
Gord: Time Marines: Mission to find and eliminate all traces of Yiion presence in the earth timeline. Why? Is the belief that by eliminating the threat to the timeline this will defeat the invasion in the present? Do they believe they can completely eliminate the threat to the timeline? How does this sit with the conventional belief that by leaving the timeline alone it will repair itself? Can it repair itself if the Yiions are still able to timetravel? Can they, in fact, time travel if humans don't?
Clive: I say Yiions can travel if Humans don't. But it makes it harder for them to invade because the humans aren't kicking up a huge temporal anomaly that can be tracked and exploited by the Yiions. I was thinking that common (and simple) plot hooks will be these sudden anomalies appearing and sensed by witches, etc, and TI7 piling in just to see what's happening.
I think there are a few theories going around the human side, and disagreements even among the govt. And TI7 is just part of the theory that this sort of action can help. I don't think they've got proof. Or that we need to know which theories are true just yet. I would like to think that TI7 can make a big difference, though, otherwise it will make our game worse.
Gord: Presumably the Time Marines will need a variety of skills including in-depth historical knowledge, covert and espionage skills and, of course, weapon skills. Would weapon skills be dependent on the time travelled to? So would the Time Marines only use weapons of the period? What about tech? Would they take any modern tech back with them? Surveillance stuff? Tracking Yiion stuff? Time shift stuff? How can they defeat Yiions without any if not? Do the Yiions work under the same restrictions? How do they hide under a human facade? And can the Time Marines time travel from one date in the past to another...say from 1801 to 1066 if they were chasing Yiions? Or can they only travel to one specific point and then return to the present? Can Yiions?
Clive: This is an interesting part of the game. I would be happy for someone one else to design the marine combat manual, with rules of engagement and tech gadgets, etc. I think the rules of engagement should be somewhat limiting just because it will make it harder for us, and give us interesting decisions to make. But we should also have freedom to do what we want once we're on a mission. I was thinking we could take loads of gadgets with us, but just have to be careful not to leave them behind. I think they should have a timeshift locator (ot two) with them at all times, coz they need it to home in on the jumpthing. And it will be funner when they lose them.
I think the Yiions are higher tech, so they will be seen to have an advantage. they have their own powers and restrictions, but I htink we should see what they are as we play. I was thinking their facade was a visual/force field generator coupled with a psychological camouflage element, which means witches will be able to see through the disguise if they roll well, and tech gadgets will be able to detect them if they're close.
I was thinkng every jump is there and back, and nowhere else, but maybe there could be exceptions, and maybe the Yiions are exceptions. Perhaps a powerful witch can jump around on the fly, too. In fact, thinking about it, I think any jump is possible, but there and back is the only one, with the present tech, where you're fairly confident you're gonna end up where you want. If you go up and back and sideways, etc, from different places, you're gonna need luck, etc. Maybe we should think about this some more, coz we limit outrselves if we just say 'there and back again'. Otoh, it's a very easy plot device to control and you can be sure of having one mission per session, coz if you haven't accomplished it by home time, the alarm goes and the jumpshift turns up.
Gord: The witch/magic side of things...so 'magic' is more a psychic thing than an overtly magic thing? Is it also inseperable from the timetravel side of things?
Clive: I was thinking psychics, or whatever, can be atuned to time, and obviously they're the most likely to be at TI7. But there's no reason we can't use other types of psychic. The difference between that and magic is pretty much about terminology and feel, rather than actual differences, I would say. You just have pyro-psychosis, instead of fireball. I think you can have psychics who aren't time sensitive if you want, etc.
Gord: Character types then: presumably all will have basic military expertise seeing as the mission is to eliminate Yiions but special skills will be needed....covert/espionage type? period weapon expert? witch/psychic type? academic/historian type? period tech\engineer type?
Clive: Rogue, fighter, magic user, cleric. Because it's a heirarchical org, we should also bear in mind that there will be command structures and ranks etc, involved, which can change group dynamics.
Gord: On a different note...it might be cool to have rogue Time Marines...or perhaps one specific Rogue Time Marine leader with his own personal agenda and agents who are trying to 'dominate the world' or 'change time for his own reasons' or 'win the interdepartmental favour of worldcom.gov'. And so adding a third strand/enemy to the mix.
If I were in Geneva, in 2587surrounded by an advancing Yiion army, I'd go to 18th Century France, with a load of cool crap looted from other time periods, and buy a chateau, and live like a king.
Stealing a time machine and a witch, and going for world domination would be a close second.
When the Shenyang and Geneva experimenters thought they had gone back in time, they had actually gone to parallel universes where time was running slower. The timelines of the universes closest to "home" haven't diverged significantly from the home timeline. As the experimenters went further away from "home", as well as encountering parallels further into the past, they encountered parallels where the timeline had diverged noticeably (e.g. parallels where the Americans lost the War of Independance, or where the Spanish Armada conquered England, or where the Chinese expanded their empire to Australia, etc, etc.) At first the experimenters thought these were some kind of time paradox, but eventually they realised the truth.
They also found some (but not many) parallels where time is running faster (i.e. they appear to be in the future), although none of the ones discovered so far are more than 300 years ahead. There are also some parallels where technological progress has happened much faster than on the home timeline, so they had futuristic technology even though their "current date" is in the past. One thing all the timelines have in common was that none of them had discovered the secret of interdimensional travel between the parallels (except of course the Yiion).
The researchers talk in terms of "distance" between our "home" universe and the parallel universes, but of course there is no physical distance. However, the further away a parallel is in time, and the further it has diverged from our timeline, the harder it is to travel to. Not only does it take more energy, but the navigational calculations become much harder. There are no parallels that are very close to "home". They all seem to be either over 150 years away in time, or have significantly diverged histories. Therefore there is no chance that you will meet your "double" in a parallel universe.
The further away from "home" the researchers tried to go, the harder it became to navigate to the parallel they wanted to get to, and the more likely they became to end up at the wrong destination. This became increasingly dangerous: some parallels are very dangerous to travel to (insane cannibalistic natives, toxic atmospheres, velociraptors everywhere, etc), a couple of parallels had no planet where Earth should be, and there are some parallels that nothing ever comes back from. By using individuals who are somehow psychically sensitive to the parallel dimensions (known as "witches") in conjunction with the computers calculating the "jumps", the researchers managed to overcome these problems (for now at least). The current limitation on "distance" for travelling is the energy required, which means no-one has been able to travel to parallels that are more than 2000 years in the past. Some of the witches claim that this "distance" is actually an illusion.
At some point during the war with the Yiions, the closest parallels (non-diverged timelines where the "current date" was between 2220 and 2300) disappeared. No-one is sure whether they no longer exist, or whether they are still there but something is blocking travel to them. Popular theories of why either of these might have happened include a) the Yiions did it, b) the volume of interdimensional travel that was happening on these timelines destabilised them in some way, and c) the open appearance of home and Yiion forces on these timelines prompted the natives to develop their own "time-travel" technology (maybe they developed blocking technology, maybe their experiments destroyed their universe).
At the Yiion war progressed, the researchers also realised that there was a correspondence between the amount of travel we were doing to a parallel, and the number of Yiions who would appear there. They concluded that our method of travel to the parallels in some way "opens a door" to allow the Yiions in. When worldcom.gov banned all travel to the parallels, the Yiion army was indeed cut off. Without reinforcements or ongoing supplies, they were eventually defeated.
No-one knows where the Yiion come from. Scientists theorise that they come from a timeline that diverged millions of years in the past, where dinosaurs remained dominant and some of them evolved into a sentient species. Such a parallel would be a long way from "home", way beyond the current range of TI7's systems.
So, we get rid of any possibility of time paradoxes. As far as anyone knows, new parallels don't just pop into existence. No-one knows how the existing parallels were created, no-one knows how one might be destroyed. No-one knows why some parallels seem to follow the same timeline as "home", while others have diverged from it. Travel into the "future" is possible, but there are no parallels that are more than a few hundred years ahead of the "home" time.
There are lots of good reasons for TI7 teams to operate with a prime directive: the existence of travel between parallel unverses, and the techniques for achieving it, must be kept secret. Not doing so opens up too many uncomfortable possibilities. Oother hi-tech timelines might develop the ability, and decide to either block us from their timeline or take us over; and the Yiions might be able to steal their systems, which would remove their current limitation of only being able to use someone else's "path" between the parallels.
One thing we have to decide is whether all the parallels have the same laws of physics, or whether they are somewhat different. For example, magic might only work in certain parallels. Certain "scientific" principles might only work in certain parallels (to allow pulp science and pulp scifi gadgets there). Alternatively these things might work everywhere, but only have been understood properly in certain parallels. From a game point of view, the simplest answer is to have one set of physics, but restrict it so that it allows only lower-power magic and/or gadgets.
Another thing we have to decide is how the mechanics of travel between parallels works? I can see a few possibilities:
1. You appear out of nowhere in the parallel you have been sent to (in the same location as on the home parallel perhaps). After a pre-determined length of time, you disappear and return to home.
2. As 1, but you will only get brought home if you return to the place you appeared.
3. As 1, but you have some kind of gizmo you all have to be touching in order to return home.
4. As 3, but you there is no pre-determined time. You don't return home until you press the button on the gizmo.
5. You make the journey in some sort of box (which no doubt gets disguised as something innocuous like a shipping container). To return, you get back in the box. The box will return at a pre-determined time.
6. As 5, but there is no pre-determined time. You don't return home until you press the button inside the box.
I favour 4 or 6 myself.
I am thinking that the Yiions did get to "home" Earth, and that they were winning the conventional war until .gov stopped the jumps. At that point, they could no longer keep their army supplied or reinforced, and they retreated quickly.
I would say though that the correspondance between us using para-travel and the Yiions being able to use it is not exact. Even during the months of the war when para-travel was banned absolutely, a few of Yiion scouts appeared. But by halting the movement of thousands of troops by para-travel, it seemed the Yiions ability to move similar numbers of troops was removed. They can (and do) still send individuals or small groups occasionally. It is assumed they can still send small groups to the other parallels too.
There are still a number of reasons to use para-travel though. There was open warfare between "home" and the Yiions on a number of worlds. These worlds now have every reason to investigate para-travel themselves, and worldcom.gov needs to monitor this. They are especially worried by worlds where use of magic or psychic powers is more mainstream, and worlds with exotic technologies. The .gov are also worried about what might happen to various caches of equipment that the Time Marines left behind. Careful study of these might enable a parallel to advance their technology much faster than would otherwise have been the case. Even worse, before the Yiion war really started, there was an ultra-secret project to establish para-travel bases on distant timelines, in an attempt to travel further than could be done from "home". The .gov now needs the equipment left in these bases to be returned or destroyed.
The witches are still finding new parallels. Sometimes they can "sense" stuff about them, sometimes not. Standard procedure is to send robotic probes to find out more, and then if there is anything of interest, send a team to explore further.
GORD: Re the Yiions and travel between worlds...perhaps it would make more sense (and provide more adventure/story opportunities) to have the Yiions discovering how to travel between worlds and using this to loot other parallel worlds of resources or science/invade/whatever. This, in turn enabled us to discover the same science (perhaps once discovered all parallel worlds simultaneously discover it and use the science for different purposes). When the destabilizing effects are discovered and the fact that some parallel worlds are disappearing we try reason with Yiions envoys in order to ban travel (perhaps along with other envoys from other worlds) but the Yiions (and others) refuse and thus begins the war. The Time Warrior mission is to neutralize the Yiion threat by any means possible and on any scale before the universe as we know it is destroyed. This way the power is in their hands and it gives us reason to keep travelling (to stop them as they are not stopping travel).
JOHN: "Slight geological differences on the Vinci-5 timeline meant that Cyprus has no brown ochre, so their renaissance painters had to use a mixture of burnt umber and yellow ochre from France. As you can see, the difference shows up quite clearly under ultraviolet light. I'm afraid this Mona Lisa has been illegally smuggled from Vinci-5. Now sir, perhaps you should tell us who sold you this work?"
As for the buzzword, "paratime" seems quite popular in the fiction. GURPS uses "parachronics". I'd go for "D-brane transformation" myself.
*** Danger: pseudo-science ahead ***
In accordance with M-theory
Naturally, TI7 operatives refer to the temporary membranes as
And of course, the gizmo's are known to everyone in TI7 as
The witches are correct, the "distance" is actually an illusion ;)
At some point, someone will come along who has a) immense knowledge of
superstring physics, b) psychic dimensional sensitivity, and c) a
brain the size of a planet. This person will sort it all out with a
proper theoretical basis for bat-wing jumping. Until then, impossible
jumps might just happen by accident (i.e. at the GM's convenience).
Naturally, TI7 operatives refer to the temporary membranes as "bat-wings"...
And of course, the gizmo's are known to everyone in TI7 as "broomsticks"
The witches are correct, the "distance" is actually an illusion ;)
At some point, someone will come along who has a) immense knowledge of superstring physics, b) psychic dimensional sensitivity, and c) a brain the size of a planet. This person will sort it all out with a proper theoretical basis for bat-wing jumping. Until then, impossible jumps might just happen by accident (i.e. at the GM's convenience).