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about Time travel.
Time travel allows an individual or group of individuals to move to either either forward or backward in time, in such a way as to be able to interact with the surroundings and occupants of that time. Depending upon the nature of the universe occupied by the time traveller(s), it may be possible to alter the past in a way that the travellers’ personal timelines are rewritten. (Which might make a paradox.) Other continuities include divergent timelines in which any change creates a new reality.
Types of time travel
Across the Transformers continuities, time travel has been used on several occasions. Most of these have been the result of deliberate technological attempts, while others have been a side effect of an existing technology. More rarely, time travel has been the result of a natural phenomenon. The most common use of deliberate time travel is to return to the past to alter history to the advantage of the traveller.
Generation One animated continuity
The first example of time travel was a natural phenomena caused by the Decepticons stealing energy from Dinobot Island. For unknown reasons this caused random time rifts to appear across the globe. Each time rift was connected to a different time period and soon closed naturally. Once the energy stolen from Dinobot Island was returned by destroying the Decepticons' Energon cubes the time rifts ceased.During one of their many battles, the Autobots and Decepticons discovered a time machince called the Dragon Mound. This was a large domed structure inside a stone circle. Inside the dome, touching a strip of runes on the walls activated the device and sent anyone inside back to the Arthurian period of 6th Century England. The wizard Beorht professed to have created it to use as a "time transporter," but he had been unable to use it due to a dragon taking up residence within the mound (hence its name).
Megatron and Shockwave developed a time machine they called a Kronosphere. This was a large green platform, made of several levels of disc-like constructions. To use the device a traveller would stand on the topmost disc. The device operator would program a time zone into the control console to activate the device. The device seems to send its users gradually back through time rather than having them simply arrive at their chosen time zone. If this journey is interrupted, the travellers will be deposited in the time zone they are currently passing through. The Kronosphere was later destroyed in a battle between the Autobots and Decepticons.
The Quintessons later developed a time travel device called a Time Window. This was a large triangular device with a control console attached to the base. Once a destination was programmed into it, the center of the triangle became a portal through which travellers and objects could pass. A copy of the triangular portion of the window appears at the destination time zone. This allows travel back to the departure time zone. While the time window is active it leaks dangerous Chronal energy. This, if left unchecked, can cause time distortions such as time loops and turning back time. Eventually the chronal energy would cause irreparable damage to space-time.
Marvel comics continuity
Time travel technology was developed some time before the year 2006. It is not known if this was an Autobot or Decepticon invention. Both sides appear to have had access to the technology, however. Early examples look like a modern art sculpture. Standing in front of the device allows one or more individuals to be transported to their selected time zone. A later version was designed as a door-shaped hole in the wall. When activated, the ‘doorway’ is filled with a swirling red and black vortex. Walking into the doorway will transport an individual to the location selected.
To enable a successful time jump, the balance of mass in the destination time zone must be maintained. To facilitate this, the time machine selects a being of equivalent mass to displace into a holding dimension called Limbo. Those who are displaced, vanish leaving only a pile of ash behind. Once the time traveller(s) return to their own time the displaced individuals reappear.
Bypassing this mass substitution process can have catastrophic consequences for the fabric of space-time. The dark god Unicron forced the Junkions to create a time portal that did just this. It was a giant circular device large enough to reach his arm through. He intended to use the portal to snatch Galvatron back from the past. He was destroyed before he could follow through on his plan, but the Decepticons, Cyclonus and Scourge along with the
bounty hunter freelance peacekeeping agent Death's Head were cast through the portal. Cyclonus and Scourge ended up in Earth's past but Death's Head was lost in time.
Beast era continuity
Time travel technology appears to be commonplace in this era. Cybertronian ships are equipped with Transwarp drives. This opens wormholes to different time zones. The ship must then fly through the wormhole to arrive at its destination. This process leaves a detectable signature that can be traced and followed by others.
Beast Wars cartoon
The Beast Wars over, the remaining Maximals, in an Autobot shuttle with Megatron cuffed to the outside, travel forward in time to their Cybertron.
IDW Beast Wars comic
Seeking the protoforms of the Axalon and under the pretense of getting Megatron, Magmatron and his Predacons travel back in time to prehistoric Earth. They are invisible to the Beast Wars by being out of phase in time. A freak accident traps Magmatron in an existence that can observe all time, but not interact with anything physical.
Universe: Featuring the Wreckers
Cryotek wants to
MUFFGLRL MUUGGREAGG MURRRAGGHH conquer time.
G.I. Joe vs. the Transformers continuity
The sentient computer Teletran 3 accidentally transported a number of Transformers through time using wormhole technology. This threatened to cause an apocalypse if they were not returned to their own time.
Can history be changed?
Types of Universe
Time travel theory allows for three basic types of universe in which time travel can occur.
- Type 1 - History is immutable. The timeline cannot be changed. Any time traveller attempting to alter history is either doomed to failure for reasons beyond the time traveller’s control or else may result in an alternate timeline being created.
- Type 2 – The timeline is flexible and can be changed by the actions of a time traveller.
- Type 3 – The timeline is internally consistent. Events can be changed, but only if the change cannot be verified by the time traveller. Any alteration will be unable to prevent the attempt to create the alteration.
The different Transformer continuities appear to exist in different universe types and so each will be discussed separately.
Generation One animated continuity
This continuity would appear to exist in either a Type 1 or Type 3 universe. Both War Dawn and Forever is a Long Time Coming show the time travellers becoming a part of the history they are visiting. In both cases the past remains unaltered. This is consistent with a Type 1 universe in which the timeline cannot be changed (and does not feature divergent timelines). It is also consistent with a Type 3 universe in which the timeline cannot be altered in a way in which the time travellers can verify.
A Decepticon Raider in King Arthur's Court doesn’t really offer much evidence to support this, the time machine being little more than a plot device to place the characters in a non-technological society. However, the introduction of a number of anachronisms, such as Starscream’s dynamo and the gunpowder, do not appear to have any impact on the future. This could also imply either a Type 1 or Type 3 universe.
The Beast Wars would appear to take place in a Type 2 universe. Evidence that the timeline can be altered was presented by Megatron who projected an image of a mountain recorded on the golden disc in the future. After locating the mountain in the past he destroyed part of it and then checked the golden disc again to find that the image had changed to reflect the damage he had caused. The future had therefore been altered.
At the same time, however, some comments were made to suggest a Type 3 universe. When Blackarachnia remarked that the history tracks on the Ark had failed to mentioned the presence of an additional Autobot shuttle, Rhinox remarked that "history's still being made," indicating that the Maximals' very use of the shuttle in taking down the Nemesis was the reason that the history tracks did not mention it.
As this is a set in the same universe as Beast Wars, this must also be a Type 2 universe.
Marvel Comics continuity
This would appear to be a Type 1 universe that includes divergent timelines. The main evidence for this is that the creation of a new timeline would violate mass/energy balance between the old and new timelines. One solution to this is a mass/energy exchange between past and future at the point of time travel.
This sounds very similar to the ‘mass substitution’ process used throughout the UK comic run. There are also a number of ‘futures’ shown throughout the series. Some examples are: the original Transformers: The Movie timeline, the alternate future that Rodimus and company return to after Time Wars, the future where Unicron attacks Cybertron in US#75 and is destroyed, and the alternate future in which Cybertron is destroyed that Galvatron II comes from.
Further evidence of a Type 1 universe is the fact that for the most part the future characters seem to have no memory of events in the past to which they are travelling. The only time a character has any foreknowledge is during Time Wars when Galvatron remembers the battle through Megatron’s eyes. However, his memories of the battle are different. Again this could also imply a Type 2 universe and because the memories of those involved would change as the past changes, it would be difficult for an observer to know if they were in a Type 1 or Type 2 universe.