TARDIS Technical Index

Time Column

(aka Time Rotor)

A time column

Time Columns are found in the Secondary and Tertiary Control Rooms. Many (but not all) Primary Control Rooms are also equipped with them. The central Time Column is made of glass and contains a crystalline assembly made up of multiple motors and rotors, including the Time Rotor, the Energy Storage Unit, Codium Links, Conceptual Geometer Relay, and navigational instruments. All Type 97 TARDISes have their Time Vector Generator installed in the central column. For this reason the Type 97 column looks very different than the one found on a Mark I Console. Indeed each Type of TARDIS has a unique Type of Time Rotor that must be matched with the Main Space-Time Element to ensure proper operation.

Codium Links are found in the heart of a Time Rotor. They can be used to compress dark matter like WIMPs (Weakly interacting Massive Particles). The Conceptual Geometer probably measures imaginary spaces and might be necessary to travel through Time (but not space) in the Vortex. It must be deactivated before major modifications are made to the TARDIS. The Geometer is equipped with an agronomic trigger and field separator. The Conceptual Geometer can be found near the Ancillary Power Station and its Relay is found inside the Time Column. The base of the rotor's pedestal is connected to the Sonic Booster. The interior of the Time Column pressurized a transparent gas that turns white when exposed to a G Type environment. Should the glass of the column be breached this gas will escape into the control room. While not dangerous to Gallifreyans the gas is toxic to humans.

The power necessary for a TARDIS to make complete a trip through time is many orders of magnitude more then that of a star (the Earth's sun has an output of 4x1026 watts). Because of its immense power requirements the Time Column is located directly over one of the Hearts of the TARDIS - the Main Space Time Element. Thus the Rotor provides access to the richest source of temporal energy on a TARDIS. The Rotor holds the power of the Heart of the TARDIS in check by "weighing it down" to prevent its escape. In this way it controls the power of the counter-magnetization thrusts emitted by the Space Time Element. Each space-time jump drains the Time Rotor's Energy Storage Unit to the point where it can only travel a few seconds into the future. It takes a TARDIS 12 minutes to charge the Energy Storage Unit with Temporal Energy for another space-time jump. This is done using the Temporal Reactors fuelled by Artron Energy. The Temporal Reactors are filled with chronoplasmic energy, which is contained by Zybanium shields.

The Time Rotor has a progress display on the console. Using this, the drive systems can be tested to ensure that the time rotor is primed for dematerialization. During flight the Time Rotor rises and falls in time with the cycling of the Dimensional Stabilizers. The time rotor pulses with artron energy during Vortex travel. When it lowers, it performs a complete scan of all TARDIS power "thrust" systems. When it rises it provides the operator with a status report on the time changes of these systems and indicates the amount of the power-thrust delivered. The frequency of its cycling slows as a TARDIS prepares to materialize. The Column can only move when the power to the drive systems is on. When fully materialized the column will be retracted and unlit. But if a TARDIS is in hover mode the rotor will continue to glow. The central column appears not to oscillate when travelling through Inner Time (such as on Gallifrey). When some types of 5-dimensional Scanning Modes are enabled, the Time Rotor will rotate within the Column, presenting the operator with an approximation of the ship's current space-time coordinates.

If the Time Column was to stop moving while in the Vortex the TARDIS could fly right through the Time Spiral. The column holds the power down and prevents it from escaping. But this restraint could be overridden with a magnetic field if it was as strong as the fields of an entire solar system combined. It would take 5 minutes for such a field to pull the Time Column all the way out of a Console, releasing the power from the Heart of the TARDIS. The escaping Artron Energy from would flood a TARDIS, and the crew would be blown to atoms in seconds.

To remove the TARDIS Locking Mechanism while in flight, the Time Rotor must be disconnected. This is necessary to override the fail-safes designed to prevent tampering with the lock while in the Vortex. Care should be taken when removing the protective Column from the Rotor. Contamination of the Time Rotor by psychic pollen can lead the crew to experience severe telepathic hallucinations caused by the symbiotically linked Time Lord's unconscious. In such a case the Dark Side of the Time Lord's mind might rise above his normal repression to inflict damage.

Color Key

The following color code is used:

  • Black: For information from the TV Series, including Dimensions in Time, and 1996 TV Movie.
  • Blue: For information from the Novels and Audios including Target, Virgin, BCC, and Big Finish.
  • Green: For information from 'licensed' reference sources such as the Technical Manual, Doctor Who Magazine, and the Role Playing Games.
  • Red: For information from unofficial sources -The Faction Paradox series, behind the scenes interviews, author's speculation, and popular fan belief.
  • The TARDIS Technical Index is copyright Will B Swift.

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