A comprehensive sequencing of all recorded polyversal activity surrounding Earth, Nova and their inhabitants can be found here.
Since the beginning of time, there have been different versions of reality. We don’t know the exact mechanism by which time sometimes splinters, but it sometimes happens. The outdated terminology of alternate realities or parallel universes is not preferred within the Temporal Bureau because it doesn’t accurately describe the phenomenon. These terms imply that other versions of reality are stable enough to be called full universes, and though sometimes they run parallel to the so-called ‘main’ universe, usually it’s only for a short period before they collapse. For this reason, the Bureau prefers to describe a broad polyverse comprised of several individual verses.
We call the main timeline vers-0, because it’s the originating timeline from which most other verses spring. I guess nobody ever told whoever named it that that’s not actually the function of the number zero in mathematics. Secondary verses are numbered based on the order they were noted in, except that isn’t really true, because we found vers-1, then we found vers-2, then we found a bunch of other verses, then vers-1 collapsed, and then the next vers we found got called vers-1 even though it should have been vers-43. I just think the system of filling in the blanks is a bad system, because it confuses the issue of how stable the various verses actually are. The most long-standing secondary vers we’ve recorded is actually vers-82, and in my personal opinion is that it should be vers-1.
Anyway, vers-0 is, to put it bluntly, the only timeline that actually matters, because it’s the one that actually exists independent of any other vers. The Temporal Bureau’s efforts at timeline maintenance and policing are almost exclusive to vers-0, and though we monitor other verses, we don’t usually interfere with them. Most verses eventually collapse harmlessly, but once in a while they collide with each other or with vers-0, which can cause changes in timelines that are hard to predict if we don’t know the specifics of the divergences. The most notable time when this happened recently was when vers-7 collided with vers-0, the main alteration resultant from which pertained to the inhuman experiments of a Novan sorcerer named Solomon. That ended with a higher demon dying and creating a paradox, which was a big problem. Secondary verses can also collide with each other, which usually destroys both of them, but sometimes just augments one, which is what happened when vers-73 and vers-2 hit each other, creating a vers where fashion norms on Nova are very…creative, while at the same time (figuratively speaking), Earth’s culture developed rapid interstellar travel. This is why the Department of Research keeps a working group dedicated to polyverse monitoring. We’re pretty sure the Department of Temporal Coherence also has one, but they never tell anyone what they’re doing so who knows if that’s actually true.
One thing we do know, though, is that the time mafia likes to make bases in secondary verses, pretty much because we don’t actually police them ever. They pretty famously used to have a base in vers-6 before it collapsed, from which they launched a series of temporal attacks against vers-0. The Bureau believes their current base in is vers-31, but hasn’t confirmed that. Recently, they were known to have been operating in vers-41, though it’s not clear if they have a base there or if they’re just trying to do some work there. They sometimes intentionally try to merge elements of different verses as part of their plans to change the timeline of vers-0.
There are hundreds of known verses, but a disproportionate number of them centre around Earth and Nova, with little or no recorded changes to any other part of the universe. Though the number of verses spawned by those planets is very high compared to other planets, it is worth noting that those two planets are also the centre of a far higher than average number of temporal phenomena, not least the Split, which happened when Earth was destroyed, or the temporal mirroring between the two worlds nearing their respective destructions. It’s almost certain that that’s why the inhabitants of Nova and Earth are so much more likely to be the centre of polyversal activity.
A particularly ripe moment for the creation of secondary verses appears to be the vers-0 kidnapping of a Novan prince named Gavin ven Sancte on the date locally referred to as the tenth of Novan, DN 1990. It’s not clear if this event is actually of any temporal importance, but at least a dozen secondary verses have this moment as their clear fracture point. A fracture point is the presumed point at which the timeline diverges and creates a secondary vers. Gavin ven Sancte has been kidnapped by other dragons, rescued by different people, or different people have been kidnapped by the same dragon, or the rescue went differently, or any number of other differences, and those changes spawn other changes in the timelines. Again, most verses collapse after not very long, but verses spawned from different iterations of this one event show particular strength. The Department of Research still doesn’t know why this is true.
Vers-8 represents a unique phenomenon in the polyverse. It is the closest secondary vers to vers-0 in terms of its events, and it tends to bleed into vers-0 with some regularity. The Bureau has long thought that these two verses would eventually merge, but this still isn’t happening and the temporal dissonance between the two verses is just high enough to keep them separate, but low enough that they occasionally intersect. The Department of Temporal Coherence must really have a hard time with vers-8 since so many elements of its timeline seem to eventually synchronize with vers-0. From what I hear, it’s kind of a lost cause trying to prevent that from happening, it just sort of does once in a while and then vers-0 will get several new temporal events, and it just accepts them without trouble. It’s almost like the relationship between the two verses is symbiotic. Vers-0 provides all the base temporal material for vers-8 to remain stable, and vers-8 provides vers-0 with new temporal data points once in a while. It’s very interesting.
It’s important to add that secondary verses are different from whatever happened with the Split. What actually happened with the Split is way above my clearance level, but as I understand it, it created a secondary timeline. We don’t call that a vers because it’s not accessible to us and it’s just an instantiation of the rest of vers-0, I think? I’m sorry, I tried really hard to understand why this was true but so many of the files about it were redacted and it just doesn’t make sense. The destruction of Earth is obviously a fracture point; we even call the event the Split. So whatever’s on the other side of it from vers-0 should probably be considered vers-1. But I guess I only think that because I don’t know anything about it.
The location of the Temporal Bureau’s office is rumoured to be in a secondary vers somewhere. Or at least that’s the rumour I’ve heard from other recruits in the locker room. But that actually isn’t true; Bureau headquarters exists in vers-0, but outside of the linear spacetime structure that coheres it.
This report researched and submitted by Senior Cadet Augustus Quasar as part of his Department of Research training rotation.
P.S. Sorry for any mistakes!!!!! I tried really hard so you’re not allowed to get mad!! >_<;
2 thoughts on “Friday Lore Post: The Polyverse”
So the non-zero verses are the various Moments and prompts and other short stories, right? And verse-8 is those that fit neatly into canon? That is, whether or not they are “official” canon, they don’t contradict the canon timeline and might well have happened “offscreen” of the main stories?
Which makes the linked Google doc a convenient index of Moments and other side-stories, sorted by continuity rather than order of writing?
That’s correct! Lots of Moments do take place in vers-0 but most of them don’t, and everything that happens in vers-8 could theoretically be canon. A common reason why I assign a Moment to vers-8 is because it’s for an interaction that happens in the future of the main story and I don’t want to make anything “official” canon that hasn’t technically happened yet.
So basically yes, the linked doc is exactly that. Every Moment is in it (I update it every time I post new Moments) and yes, they’re sorted by continuity. I figured that was the easiest way to keep track of which ones were 100% canon vs. which ones technically fit into canon vs. which ones are in complete AUs, without having to add like five dozen new tags to the website, haha. I like being able to have the clear visual of which Moments are following the same rules/changes as one another, personally.
I hope you find it helpful in navigating the huge amount of Moments out there!