DTI: The Collectors Annotations

DTI The Collectors coverThis document explains the continuity references, allusions, in-jokes, and scientific concepts contained in Star Trek: Department of Temporal Investigations: The Collectors (TC).   I assume that the reader is familiar with the basic characters and background of the Trek universe.  Readers seeking further information on references to past Trek episodes or movies are advised to consult the Memory Alpha Star Trek wiki.  Information about Star Trek novels can be found at the Memory Beta wiki.

In particular, this novella is a sequel to DTI: Watching the Clock (WTC) and DTI: Forgotten History (FH), and builds on numerous concepts and story threads from the former work.  Further information on the characters and scientific concepts herein can be found in my WTC annotations and FH annotations.

Be aware that this document contains spoilers for the whole of TC and for numerous episodes, films, and novels from all Trek series, particularly the original and animated series.  I would strongly recommend not reading it until one has completed the novella, since many of the notes contain spoilers for things not revealed until later scenes or chapters.

Episode and short-story titles are in quotes, while film and book titles are italicized.


ENT — Enterprise TOS — The Original Series TAS — The Animated Series
TNG — Next Generation DS9 — Deep Space Nine VGR — Voyager
VNG — Vanguard SCE — Starfleet Corps of Engineers
WTC — Watching the Clock FH – Forgotten History


Chapter Annotations

Dedication The names listed here are the first names of the thirteen primary actors to play the various incarnations of the lead character in Doctor Who, which had its 50th anniversary around the time I wrote this novella: William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy, Paul McGann, John Hurt (retroactively), Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant, Matt Smith, and the current portrayer as of this writing, Peter Capaldi.
6 The Casimir effect is a real phenomenon that creates a localized negative energy density between narrowly separated plates as described in the text. It often comes up in theoretical discussions of warp drives, wormholes, and time warps, all of which would involve negative energy to stabilize their spacetime geometries. So I figured a really powerful time machine would need a really strong Casimir effect.
Bazel, Janyl, and Rhea are making a return appearance after their debut in TNG: Greater Than the Sum (GTTS).
7 Hawking radiation is a kind of blackbody thermal radiation given off by black hole event horizons. It also comes into play in theoretical spacetime warps. For more on gravitomagnetic fields, see the p. 18 notes on  Forgotten History.
The description of the terrain is loosely inspired by Vasquez Rocks, the frequent ST filming location seen in episodes of TOS such as “Arena” and “Friday’s Child.”
The Tormandar were a throwaway species in GTTS, but here I tried to come up with some specifics about their appearance. For some reason, very few of Michael Westmore’s alien designs in the 24th-century shows (and ENT) included fur, so I like to throw in the occasional furry species for variety.
8 “Megafauna” simply means “large animals,” specifically those larger than humans – e.g. bears, rhinos, elephants, and all the really big extinct critters like mammoths and megatheriums and certain prehistoric giants that will come up again later in the story.
Quantum dating was established in ENT: “The Expanse” and made no damn sense. I tried to rationalize it in Ch. IX of WTC..
9 The Type 11 shuttlecraft was a large model of shuttle introduced in TNG: Insurrection. It was the largest shuttle I could find that was contemporary to the period of the story. Its length has been estimated at 16 meters (52 feet), which makes these ungulates about the size of a large hadrosaur, or twice the size of a triceratops. Which is actually bigger than I thought when I wrote the line, but it still works.
Chapter I
10 The Eridian Vault was established in Ch. 10 of WTC.
10-11 The idea of using an orbital tether seemed reasonable to me when I considered the need to handle temporal artifacts with great delicacy. The concept of a space elevator has been around for decades and was popularized by Arthur C. Clarke’s novel The Fountains of Paradise. The term “orbital tether” was established as the Trek-universe version in VGR: “Rise,” although that episode hugely underestimated the necessary length of such a tether if it were to be used on a planet with Earthlike rotation and gravity. A lower-gravity object like Eris could make do with a shorter tether, but our current estimates of Eris’s mass and gravity are uncertain enough that I chose to keep the figures vague, just within an appropriate range (also I can’t track down my calculations now).
11 Twelve days on a slipstream ship is relatively slow, but I established in WTC that Starfleet slipstream vessels generally use their slipstream drives intermittently in brief hops, with conventional warp drive used in between, in order to minimize the deterioration of the rare benamite crystals on which the drive depends.
12 The Typhon Pact went public in A Singular Destiny by Keith R.A. DeCandido, who co-created the Pact with editor Marco Palmieri. Their cooperation with the Temporal Accords was established in WTC. The Breen’s pursuit of the alternate-reality ship was depicted in Cold Equations Book II: Silent Weapons by David Mack.
The interstellar geography described here is based on Star Trek Star Charts by Geoffrey Mandel.
13 Rom’s experience with transtemporal displacement (time travel) was shown in DS9: “Little Green Men,” while his allohistorical displacement (cross-timeline travel) was his visit to the Mirror Universe in DS9: “The Emperor’s New Cloak.”
“Vortex manipulator” is a term used in Doctor Who and Torchwood for the personal time-travel wristband worn by Captain Jack Harkness. The Redheri are an alien race I introduced in my TOS: Constellations story “As Others See Us.” I keep wanting to do more with them, but opportunities are elusive.
The discussion 10 years, 6 months, and 25 days ago that Lucsly refers to was in Ch. XIV of WTC, taking place immediately after the film First Contact. The resolution of the Temporal Cold War front was the climax of WTC.
Dulmur mentions the Breen’s gloves rather than their hands because the Breen are never seen outside their containment suits, and few know what they look like underneath, except those who have read David Mack’s Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game.
14 The last line on the page about most of the Eridian artifacts being nonfunctional was added to reconcile with Kirsten Beyer’s portrayal of the Vault in VGR: The Eternal Tide.
15 Warain is named in honor of Waris Hussein, the director of the pilot of Doctor Who. The Mervynians are a nod to Mervyn Pinfield, Who’s original associate producer and technical-effects designer. Both these men were portrayed in the docudrama An Adventure in Space and Time, which debuted shortly before I wrote this section. I used chroniton polarization as a basis for a time vortex in Ch. IV of WTC.
Caldonians were introduced as a scientifically oriented people in TNG: “The Price.”
A “recursive retrocausal anomaly” would be a time loop where an event is its own cause. This is, in fact, allowed by the equations of physics, because it’s a mathematically consistent solution. See the Novikov self-consistency principle.
20 The Axis of Time was introduced and featured in WTC. Dulmur’s line establishes that it’s still accessible as of 2384.
Cherenkov radiation is… well, let Wikipedia explain it.
Chapter II
22 The Gororm and the Carnelian Regnancy are from TNG: The Buried Age. ENT: “Future Tense” implied that multispecies hybrids were common in the era of the Temporal Agents, as did Agent Danies’s line in “Cold Front” that he was “more or less” human.
Feynman curves as a term for closed timelike curves (time-travel trajectories) comes from the DS9 Millennium trilogy by Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens.
25 Yes, the android officer is the same one who looks part-Romulan. Why would an android look like a multispecies hybrid? Well, why not? Maybe she’s a formerly biological part-Romulan who uploaded her mind into an android duplicate. Or maybe she’s an artificial intelligence who chose a multispecies design on purpose rather than claim allegiance to any single biological species.
31 A holoconversion would presumably be similar to the technique used in VGR: “Lifesigns” to upload Dr. Danara Pel’s consciousness into a holographic body, or that used by Ira Graves in TNG: “The Schizoid Man” to upload into Data’s body.
Chapter III
32 ENT established that Andoria was a glaciated world in the 22nd century, whereas earlier novels set in the 24th century showed a more temperate world. Subsequent books have implied that some degree of terraforming was used to warm the planet, so the “last Andorian ice age” would be a thing of the past.
33 The Andorian creatures introduced in ENT: “The Aenar” are called simply ice bores, but I had Warain call them “ice bore worms” for clarity. Since he’s not Andorian, the atypical usage is plausible.
35 The shielded DTI records were introduced in William Leisner’s “Gods, Fate, and Fractals” in Strange New Worlds II, and I featured them in WTC. Afterward, I found there was some confusion about how those records were made and how comprehensive they were, so I chose to clarify it here.
Probably the most famous example of a time traveler leaving a letter to be read generations later was the ending of Back to the Future Part II, but examples of the trope go back much earlier, including Isaac Asimov’s The End of Eternity. TV Tropes has a whole page about this trope: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/WriteBackToTheFuture
36-37 As in WTC, I’m populating the Eridian Vault with a number of in-joke artifacts. The flat square temporal transporter resembles Doctor Doom’s rather minimalist time machine, as introduced in Doom’s debut story back in Fantastic Four #5 in 1962. The angular hovercar is a rather obvious nod to the DeLorean from Back to the Future, although it clearly has a different origin. The spherical time capsule is an homage to the “time kettles” from The End of Eternity. The idea of using future technology to become a 20th-century superhero is a nod to DC Comics’s Booster Gold.
37ff The inconsistencies in the descriptions of Garcia and Ranjea over the remainder of the chapter are, of course, intentional indications of the shifting realities in this sequence. When I wrote the manuscript, I used MS Word’s comment feature to add a note to this effect for the benefit of the editor and copyeditors, since I knew they’d wonder about it. Somehow, though, my appended comments got lost in transition and I got asked at three separate stages whether these inconsistencies were supposed to be there.
38 The worldline destabilizer’s physical appearance is a nod to the quantum mirror, a device in Stargate SG-1 allowing passage into alternate timelines.
39 Faunt was Ranjea’s prior partner in WTC, retiring from the Department after a nervous breakdown. His musing about other destabilizers floating about the galaxy is a largely facetious proposal on my part for explaining the various continuity errors across the breadth of the Trek franchise.
I’m a little disappointed that I put Garcia through so many changes (and even a replacement) yet was unable to think of more than one change for Ranjea. But then, Ranjea was standing farther from the device.
40 The robot in Bay D11 is not an homage to anything. I just thought it was funny.
Chapter IV
42 Day 266 of a non-leap year is September 23. “West Eurasia” is, of course, Europe. Treating Europe as a separate continent from Asia is a conceit of European mapmakers; geographically speaking, it’s really more of a large peninsula, comparable to Siberia on the other end of the land mass. A more globalized, less Eurocentric future civilization might outgrow the convention of treating Europe as its own continent.
In WTC, I tended to avoid writing from Jena Noi’s point of view to keep her more mysterious. Here, though, she’s arguably a more central character than Lucsly and Dulmur and her POV carries most of the future scenes. This time I wanted to flesh out the far-future Federation she comes from, although sending her to an alternate future allows some wiggle room about just what her own reality is like.
43 Vomnin are a species introduced in TTN: Orion’s Hounds, semi-humanoids with wide heads and an apelike posture. Zetregans are a race not yet contacted by the 24th-century Federation.
The term “artilect” is most specifically associated with Hugo de Garis’s predictions of artificial intelligences that surpass human intelligence and become a threat to human survival, a la Skynet in The Terminator, but it has come to be used in science fiction as a  general synonym for AI. I use it here in the more general sense.
44 “Chronergy” is meant to be future shorthand for temporal energy. “Final-killed” is a reminder that 31st-century medical technology makes death a reversible condition in many circumstances.
The Na’kuhl are the space-Nazi aliens from ENT: “Storm Front,” although their species name was never given onscreen.
45 As I mentioned in my WTC notes, “prochronistic” refers to an anachronism from the future while “parachronistic” is for one from the past. In my previous two books, I’ve managed to work in the former term but not the latter. So I made sure to work in both terms here—“parachronistic” on this page and p. 125 and “prochronistic” on p. 83.
46 An internal holoemitter makes more sense to me than one worn on the surface like the Doctor’s holoemitter from VGR. It’s better protected inside the force fields that generate the “body.” (The principle is much like the “light bee” that generated the holographic Arnold Rimmer in Red Dwarf.)
The Aegis, named by Howard Weinstein in DC Comics’s Star Trek Vol. 2 #49-50, is the organization employing Gary Seven from TOS: “Assignment: Earth.” It was prominently featured in WTC as a major temporal agency, building on Howie’s portrayal.
47 Tandar Prime was established in ENT: “Detained” as a world at war with the Suliban Cabal; in WTC I established it as a major center of temporal research. Star Charts places it at 39 Tauri, which is 55 light-years from Earth.
Subspace transporters were established in TNG: “Bloodlines” as a pre-existing but impractically dangerous technology. I tend to assume they’re the same technology as the “transwarp beaming” explained by Spock Prime in the 2009 Star Trek movie. A lot of fans forget “Bloodlines” (it wasn’t really that memorable an episode) and assume that transwarp beaming must be something invented between Nemesis in 2379 and the 2387 events of the ’09 film, so I threw this reference in to remind readers that it wasn’t really a new technology.
52 The “Spock loop” is a reference to the events of TAS: “Yesteryear,” in which Spock’s knowledge of a timeline wherein he died as a child was essential to his role in preventing that death.
Chapter V
56 Ranjea is referring to the events of Ch. XIII of WTC.
57 The small black stone is the “prism” from VGR: The Eternal Tide, though the DTI is unaware of its true nature.
58 The term “ansible” was coined by SF author Ursula K. LeGuin to refer to an instantaneous interstellar communication system. I gather the name was derived from “answerable.”
In addition to the Mervynians, Teresa throws in another Doctor Who reference here, specifically to the 1965 serial “The Time Meddler.” I have no idea whether the Mervynians actually were “little” or if Teresa is using the term idiomatically.
59 Don’t ask me why artworks from the future are falling through time warps. Perhaps the work of some sort of time bandits…?
The Mro were an extinct race I mentioned as a throwaway in Chapter 5 of The Buried Age. Their description is loosely based on a predatory alien I created for my original writing long ago, but modified somewhat, since I may want to reuse that species someday.
62 T’Lem and Teyak are Vulcan DTI employees who played minor roles in WTC.
Chapter VI
65 The transporter’s “biofilter” capability was established early in TNG. The transporter was used to neutralize a weapon in TNG: “The Most Toys” and “delete” weapons in DS9: “To the Death.” It repaired accelerated aging due to genetic damage in TNG: “Unnatural Selection” and a different form of accelerated aging in TAS: “The Lorelei Signal.”
Techniques for consciousness transfer encountered by the Federation include, in addition to those mentioned in the p. 31 note, such mechanisms as the Camusian life transference machine in TOS: “Turnabout Intruder,” Rao Vantika’s consciousness-transfer technique in DS9: “The Passenger,” and Tieran’s mind-transfer technique in VGR: “Warlord,” as well as telepathic methods such as Vulcan katra transfer and the mind transfers used by Sargon’s people in TOS: “Return to Tomorrow.”
66 The holocommunicator was seen in DS9’s “For the Uniform” and “Doctor Bashir, I Presume,” then quietly abandoned, although similar devices were used by aliens in VGR: ‘Think Tank” and Nemesis.
This conversation is a reflection of my own frustration at Star Trek’s tendency to resist progress, to introduce new technologies that should revolutionize life and then ignore them subsequently—or simply to fail to develop the potential inherent in the technologies they do use. It should be possible to use transporters to heal injuries by beaming bodies back into an intact configuration, or to reverse aging along the same lines—even to modify the body in transit to give it new attributes. (See Wil McCarthy’s tetralogy The Queendom of Sol for an illustration of the full potential of a transporter-like technology.) It should also be possible to use the technologies shown in “The Schizoid Man” and “Lifesigns” to transfer minds into android or holographic bodies, granting effective immortality. Or one could use Vantika’s technology (“The Passenger”) to transfer one’s mind into a quick-clone (DS9: “A Man Alone”), or use the nanites from DS9: “Battle Lines” to grant immunity from death. There are just so damn many routes to immortality in Trek that it’s ridiculous that they all get forgotten after one appearance. Not to mention the effect on interstellar travel if the subspace transporter from “Bloodlines” could be perfected. I wanted to portray the 31st century as the world that the Federation could be if it really used all the technologies-of-the-week that Trek has introduced and forgotten.
68 The description of FTA graphics is based on Daniels’s temporal observatory from ENT: “Cold Front.”
71 Gre’thor is the Klingon realm of the dishonored dead, essentially Hell.
The Borg Redemption is from David Mack’s Destiny trilogy, and was established in WTC as a pivotal event in galactic history. The Body Electric endangered the entire galaxy and more in Mack’s novel of the same name, Book 3 of the TNG Cold Equations trilogy. The Ekpyrotics are my own coinage, an unspecified threat from some future century. Judging from the name, they may have endangered the entire universe by attempting to bring about its collision with another universe, a threat similar to those seen in the early Pocket TOS novels The Wounded Sky by Diane Duane and The Three-Minute Universe by Barbara Paul. (For some reason, the entire universe is endangered far more often in Star Trek novels than it ever has been onscreen.)
72 The bonsai metaphor is influenced by the Gene Roddenberry’s Andromeda episodes “Angel Dark, Demon Bright” and “The Dark Backward.”
73 The Carina Arm is the arm of the galaxy adjacent to our own Orion Arm in the antispinward/coreward direction. It lies between the Federation and the Delta Quadrant, home of the Voth (VGR: “Distant Origin”). Clearly the Federation has continued to expand quite a bit by the 27th century.
76 The blood-boiling effect of Ocampa telekinesis was seen in VGR: “Cold Fire.”
Chapter VII
82 I’m afraid I cheated here a bit. Since the curve tracer can track into alternate timelines, it shouldn’t have lost the trace from Jena when she diverted the obelisk. But perhaps the interaction of her temporal tech with the obelisk caused some kind of interference or disentanglement.
86 Garcia’s closing line here is an intentional echo (on my part, not hers) of Kirk’s closing line from “The City on the Edge of Forever.” It seemed fitting.
Chapter VIII
88 This may get a bit confusing, since I was referring to our heroine as “Noi” up until now, but her “evil twin” becomes “Noi” for the rest of the story. It couldn’t be helped, though, since “Jena” sounds friendlier, so it made more sense to apply it to the good one. I initally attempted to identify them as Agent Noi and Supervisor Noi, but that confused the hell out of me, so it would’ve been even worse for the reader. And something like “Noi-1” and “Noi-2” would’ve been inelegant.
89 My first reflex was to make Supervisor Noi more vampy and seductive, but I realized that would be self-indulgent and pandering, and would play too much into the stereotype of “sexy = evil.” One Intendant Kira was enough. And while the idea of a woman seducing her own duplicate might be titillating to a male observer, I realized it might not really be much fun to make out with oneself. It might be like kissing one’s sibling, only more so—hardly exciting and possibly even repulsive. So I made Supervisor Noi tough and ambitious instead and focused on the rivalry between the two.
90 The transporter-merging technique derives from the climax of TOS: “Tomorrow is Yesterday,” though I elaborated on it in WTC as a technique used by uptime agencies to merge duplicates.
92 The term “panreality” is a bit of a cheat, since it pairs a Greek prefix (meaning “all”) with a Latin root. But it wouldn’t be the first such English construct, and I prefer for characters from the future to use a more unusual term than “the multiverse.”
93 Jena’s hyperspeed capability may be something similar to Scalosian acceleration from TOS: “Wink of an Eye.”
The Melikaz would be another species not yet contacted as of the 24th century. Jena’s genome is getting complicated: Vulcan, Ocampa, Cygnian, Melikaz, probably Tandaran, and probably a few others, since I wanted to leave some mystery. Note also that the Federation of Jena’s time has outgrown the 24th century’s Luddite fears of genetic engineering.
A Soong-breed android would be a descendant of Data, in the context of the novel continuity in which such descendants are now a possibility (as established in The Body Electric and in The Light Fantastic by Jeffrey Lang). Darro is named in honor of John Vernon’s character from Roddenberry’s pilot The Questor Tapes, about an android who was the main antecedent of the Data character.
“Phase polarity” is a handwave to address the perennial question raised by stories where characters go “out of phase” to become invisible and intangible: How come they don’t fall through the floor? The implication is that they’re only “phased” with regard to horizontal motion, so they can pass through walls but not floors or chairs. Unless they adjust their polarity 90 degrees or so. Note that in Forgotten History I justified the same conceit as a function of starship gravity plating, but since this scene is on a planet surface, I needed another explanation.
94 I wondered during this scene if I was making Jena too much of a superhero or Mary Sue, giving her too many time powers. But as with my desire to embrace more extensive futurism in my portrayal of the 31st century, I also wanted to cut loose with the transhumanism and give my imagination free rein. A number of the advantages I give her—such as enhanced strength, nanotech bio-repair, and a smart uniform that assists in support and healing—are among the assets of Emerald Blair in Only Superhuman, and that novel is set in the early 22nd century; so it only seemed reasonable to give them to Jena in the 31st. In-story, though, one can surmise that Jena is pulling out all the stops, driving herself unusually hard and using every trick in her arsenal due to the emergency.
“Backstep” was the terminology used by the series Seven Days for its fixed-length time jumps into the past. I wasn’t too fond of that show, but the term was convenient and effective.
95 User-encoded guns are another bit of futurism that ST really should embrace but doesn’t.
Okay, the last paragraph on this page is damn confusing and cumbersomely written despite my best efforts. I’m trying to differentiate four iterations of the same woman, earlier and later versions from each of two different timelines.
100 In case it isn’t clear, the version of Supervisor Noi who survived is the “later,” backstepped Noi, the one who held Jena while her slightly earlier self killed the earlier Jena. I’m not sure how she dealt with her murderous counterpart, since killing her would’ve made her just as bad, unless it was self-defense. More likely they merged back together. Maybe once this Noi melded with Jena and had her epiphany, it let her convince the other Noi she’d done wrong and allow herself to be merged back down.
Chapter IX
103 Star Trek Into Darkness established that London has become far more dominated by vast skyscrapers in the 23rd century, and presumably this is still the case in the 24th. True, the film is an alternate timeline, but one that diverged only 26 years beforehand, so the city can’t be too different. (I relied on Google Maps’ Street View to determine the view from the location of DTI headquarters.)
Chapter X
110 “Orbital torus” is a slightly genericized term for the type of megastructure known simply as an Orbital in Iain M. Banks’s Culture universe, which is kind of like the Federation with far more transhumanism and far more advanced technology (and more moral ambiguity). It also has similarities to a Halo from the video game series of that name, though Halo rings are much smaller than Culture Orbitals, more along the lines of the theoretical Bishop Ring.
111 I wanted the Collectors to look like the kind of alien that might have appeared in an episode of Star Trek: The Animated Series. Their hover skirts resemble steamer baskets because I was washing the dishes when I thought of them.
112 If the Collectors’ eyes are on the underside of their bodies, they would have a very limited visual range. Implicitly, the Collectors rely primarily on other senses, probably including psionics (as hinted by Dulmur’s sense of being under intense scrutiny), with vision being a more limited sense, perhaps used primarily for eating.
115 I’ve been complaining for years about the fan tendency to equate the Preservers from TOS: “The Paradise Syndrome” with the Progenitors from TNG: “The Chase” despite the fact that they existed in hugely distant eras and did completely different things—not to mention the tendency to generally ascribe all sorts of godlike powers and ancientness to the Preservers, even though “Syndrome” clearly depicted them as a relatively modern race or organization (they wouldn’t have transplanted endangered Native Americans until those populations became endangered, in the 17th century or so) and one with no extraordinary technologies beyond starships, repulsor beams, and memory-erasure beams, all of which are well within 24th-century Federation capabilities. Nonetheless, there are various other books that do use the name “Preservers” in ways that I find inconsistent with the canonical evidence and with one another. Hence my suggestion that scholars have ascribed the term to various different groups.
116 The day/night terminator is diagonal because the torus is tilted relative to the system’s star, allowing half of it to be in shadow as it rotates. Unlike a Niven Ringworld, a torus of this type orbits a sun rather than encircling it, hence the term “Orbital.” A Ringworld would actually be unstable since its center of mass is inside the star rather than orbiting it; this realization was what prompted Niven to write the first sequel, The Ringworld Engineers, and explain how it maintained stability. In the case of an Orbital, the center of mass itself is orbiting the star, and the Orbital (of course) surrounds the CoM.
117 The sucker-mouthed humanoids are the ancestors of the M113 creature (“Salt Vampire”) from TOS: “The Man Trap.” The rodents are unafraid because the creatures are using their hypnotic powers to project benign illusions, as in the episode. But Lucsly and Dulmur do not recognize the species, since their expertise in Kirk’s missions is limited to his temporal escapades.
The Lactran menagerie was seen in TAS: “The Eye of the Beholder.” And yes, I just said L&D wouldn’t be familiar with Kirk’s non-temporal missions, but presumably others in the Federation have interacted with the Lactrans in the century and change since that episode.
118 The question of where to draw the line between sapient and nonsapient species, or between those that deserve rights and those that do not, is coming to be seen today as a complicated issue, as we have learned more about the intelligence of creatures like apes, dolphins, and cephalopods and begun to debate their personhood, even filing lawsuits to have chimpanzees or dolphins declared non-human persons so that they will no longer be imprisoned and experimented upon. Recent research with functional MRI has suggested that even dogs may have consciousness and intelligence comparable to human children of age 2-3, raising questions about the awareness of mammals in general. The Collectors are far beyond humans, so they might not see our intelligence as unambiguously as we do.
120 That’s right, T. rex had feathers. Deal with it. Well, actually there’s still debate over just how feathery the theropod dinosaurs were; I decided to favor an intermediate interpretation. Note that TOS: First Frontier, which I count as part of the same continuity as DTI, portrayed theropod dinosaurs and their descendants without feathers, since the book was written before certain discoveries had been made; however, it’s easy enough to assume that the book’s descriptions were simply incomplete.
122 This story was partly inspired by the Impossible Pictures series Prehistoric Park, a blend of documentary and fiction involving a team of naturalists time-traveling to bring extinct species forward to a rather slapdash nature preserve—something of an intermediate stage between IP’s earlier Walking with Dinosaurs pseudo-documentary and their later time-travel adventure drama Primeval. The titular preserve was really just a conceit to frame the educational content, but I couldn’t help thinking about what a bad idea it would be, for much the same reasons Lucsly explicates here.
123-4 The Collectors’ attitudes toward the post-corporeal plane is something of a satire of a certain category of Star Trek fans who are similarly closed-minded toward any new incarnation of the franchise, wishing to cling to the past rather than see the franchise evolve or advance into the future. We see this attitude expressed today toward the Abrams movies, but the same reactions were seen toward Enterprise a decade earlier, TNG before that, The Motion Picture and/or The Wrath of Khan before that, the animated series before that, etc. There are always some who are uneasy toward the new and different—which has always struck me as missing the whole point of Star Trek.
Chapter XI
129 I gave Darro a golden face to suggest he resembled Data, but in retrospect, I remember that Data’s skin was actually pearlescent white; it just looked gold when he was in a gold uniform, because of the way it reflected the light. Still, Soong-breeds could look however they wanted, so it isn’t necessarily an error.
135 It’s a bit of a cheat to have Dulmur independently arrive at the same Jena vs. Noi nomenclatural convention that Danlen devised earlier, but necessary for clarity. I suppose they could both be reacting to the difference in personality between the friendlier “Jena” and the more aloof “Noi.”
138 I originally described the T. rex as roaring, but fortunately I learned in time for final revisions that tyrannosaurs probably lacked the vocal anatomy. Since crocodiles and mammals use a larynx to produce sound and birds use a different organ called a syrinx, they probably evolved the organs independently after they (and dinosaurs) diverged from the common ancestor. Dinosaurs are closer to birds and would therefore be more likely to have a syrinx, which (unlike the larynx) does leave signs in the fossil record. But there’s no evidence that non-avian theropods had syrinxes. Tyrannosaurs might instead have made deep, gravelly hisses like Komodo dragons. For more on the subject, here’s a good article: http://tyranno-teen.blogspot.com/2012/01/dinosaur-communication-and-vocalization.html
There is precedent in the literature for the Borg assimilating nonsapient animals. The Return, by William Shatner and Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens, features a pair of assimilated Dobermans in Chapter 7.
140 I wanted Lucsly’s line here to be “They never died out—they just grew wings.” But that would’ve been too figurative for Lucsly.
Sauropsids are the taxonomic category that includes reptiles, birds, and dinosaurs.
“Anthropocene” is an informal term for the geologic epoch shaped by human activity, including the present and the 24th century.
141 Little is known about tyrannosaur tongues, since soft tissues generally don’t fossilize. However, tongues evolved much earlier and are found in most vertebrates, so it stands to reason a T. rex would have had a tongue of some sort. (By the way, Googling “tyrannosaur tongue” can be tricky, since dinosaur erotica is an actual thing these days…)
Chapter XII
143 There is no connection intended between the Time Guardians and the Guardian of Forever. It’s a common word. And really, as Dr. T’Viss observed in WTC, the Guardian of Forever didn’t do a very good job of guarding, what with the way it actively invited people to rummage around in history.
146 It is largely by coincidence that the visit to the Cretaceous is in Bozeman, Montana, the site of Zefrem Cochrane’s first warp flight in TNG: First Contact. In determining the setting for this scene, I discovered that Montana is one of the main sites where T. rex fossils have been found. The Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman houses the largest collection of dinosaur fossils in the US.
147 The birds are meant to be Enantiornis or something similar. Here’s the link to the article I mentioned in the acknowledgments: http://dinogoss.blogspot.com/2012/04/what-is-enantiornis.html
148 Dulmur is, of course, thinking of the events of First Contact, and his and Lucsly’s investigation of those events as shown in TNG: Section 31: Rogue (by Andy Mangels and Mike Martin) and WTC.
And Lucsly’s panic about the butterfly is, of course, a nod to Ray Bradbury’s “A Sound of Thunder,” which I believe I’ve referenced in all three DTI tales. It was a little too on-the-nose, but I couldn’t resist. Butterfly fossils have been found dating back 130 million years, so they would’ve been around at the end of the Cretaceous.
150 Doctor Sullivan is another Doctor Who nod, a reference to Harry Sullivan, a companion of the Doctor played by the late Ian Marter from 1974-75.
152 I didn’t originally intend for Jena to lie to Lucsly & Dulmur about how much advance knowledge she had of the event. But by the time I reached the end of the story, I realized it was inevitable that she’d know more than she’d been saying. I went back and added some subtle ambivalence in her earlier scenes to hint at this.


Eridian Vault inventory (as of 2384—partial list)


Here are the artifacts currently known to be in the Eridian Vault, as established in Watching the Clock, The Buried Age, The Eternal Tide, and The Collectors.


Aisle C:

Antique time carriage, origin unknown

Blue boxlike artifact, properties unknown


Aisle D:

Bay D4: Temporal transporter platform, square

Bay D5: 25th-century hovercar with prototype temporal deflector

Bay D7: Large spherical time capsule

Bay D9: Worldline destabilizer: Glossy black slab causing “continuity errors,” altering persons/events in proximity

Bay D11: Large black android, inactive, probably of uptime origin


Aisle F:

Bay F6: Remains of stasis field generator and Mro corpse from c. 212,000 BCE

Various large anachronistic artworks and artifacts


Aisle G:

Golana time portals (multiple)


Aisle H:

Bay H20: Psionic temporal communicator: Allows telepaths to connect with minds in the past or future

Vemlar IV artifact: Allows communication with self in near future (secured by U.S.S. Kyushu in 2363)


Aisle J:

Bay J18: Mervynian Feynman curve tracer: Allows tracking paths through time

Bay J32: Unidentified small black stone, massive chroniton emitter

Mervynian chroniton polarizers (multiple)

Mervynian ansible beacons (multiple)

Unidentified Mervynian artifact


Aisle K:

Bay K42: Power packs for Ky’rha Artifacts

Bay K44: Ky’rha Artifacts (personal time-displacement units): 2 functional, c. 10 nonfunctional

Ancient vortex manipulator (discovered by Redheri, acquired and traded to DTI by Nagus Rom)

  1. February 20, 2017 at 7:44 am

    The Borg T. Rex was life-changing. And now I’m glad to see how much thought and research went into it.

  2. Brandon Harbeke
    June 4, 2018 at 1:02 pm

    Once again, thank you for these annotations. Finding out about the references, allusions, real science, and thought process behind the final story is extremely valuable.

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: