F-473 Timestream Maintenance Network
A timestream-spanning neural network computing system built on resonance technology. Resonance technology operates on the assumption that if string theory is correct, all matter is subject on some level to wave-theory.
A subject designation is technically a specific chronometric wavelength signature, but the term is also used to refer to the person a subject designation identifies (the correct term for the person himself is subject or subject designate). The Network does not expend resources to assign separate designations for every minute decision a subject could make; it will only assign a new designation if a branch point results in a significant divergence of timelines (so there could be, for example, several versions of a person, all sharing the same subject designation, who had different things for breakfast on a given morning). A designation consists of the subjects name (as entered by a Keeper, or as exists in legal documentation if the Keeper has not manually identified the subject), a bundle prefix (two letters for primary and secondary bundles, three for tertiary bundles, usually entered by the Keeper who first visits and maps the bundle), and a three-digit number. Occasionally, this is appended by an iteration suffix. Take Wade Wilson BT562-Omega: Wade Wilson is the subjects name, BT is his home timestream bundle, 562 is his specific designation, and the suffix omega identifies him as a Keeper.
Frequently abbreviated resit (rez′-it, not rē′-sit) or iteration. Resonant iterations are otherwise-unrelated subjects that hold some major event or decision in common. For instance, gamma iterations of Nathan Summers or Nathan Dayspring are subjects who experienced an unintended lateral-timeslide phenomenon between the years 2400 and 4000. Iteration suffixes are assigned in order as they are identified by Data Analysts or the Database Administrator. The suffix omega is reserved for Keeper designations.
Frequently abbreviated Concordat or Netcon. A cabinet-style group of thirteen elected officials who oversee Network Operations. They are required to be at least twenty years of age, native to the Network Cores timeline, and unaffiliated with corporate entities. Each member must pass an annual examination to prove their intellectual qualification for the position; the test covers timestream theory and Network Law, as well as a certain amount of subtle ethical scrutiny. Nominally, all their decisions are made by a vote (requiring majority to pass) and must be ratified by the Sysadmin, but there is some debate about the possibility of corruption and political puppetry. The thirteen chairs of the Network Concordat are (in no particular order) legal, academics and competency, theory, engineering and programming, data analysis, treasury, infrastructure and communications, transit, medical, housing and labor, planning and beautification, commerce and trade, and defense.
Short for System Administrator. The Sysadmin, Keeper 001, is responsible for coordinating and approving all Network operations. Supposedly, this shadowy, rarely-seen man created the Network and its Core, but a theory shared by most experienced Network Proctors and Data Analysts holds that he was simply appointed by the creator of the Network, as it is unlikely that an engineer would possess the degree of intuition required to operate even a part of the Network with any amount of finesse. Radical conspiracy theorists claim that the Sysadmin is nothing but a public face, and the work he would do is taken care of by a sentient Nodethe Core itselfbut there is no evidence to suggest the Core is sentient.
Frequently abbreviated Core. The main processor of the Network, as well as its immediate surroundings. The Core itself is thought to be Node 001, but this cannot be verified (by laymen) because physical contact with it is strictly forbidden.
The physical processing unit and memory storage of the Network Core. It is a cylindrical captive-photon database approximately eight hundred feet in exterior diameter, three hundred feet in interior diameter, and eight thousand feet in height (at least two thousand of which extend below ground). The tower comprises over five hundred levels (one hundred and fifty of which are underground), each split into six equal sections called Sectors; the Sector at magnetic north is Sector 1, and numbering proceeds clockwise. There is a lift serving each sector, as well as a central lift that only serves the aboveground levels of the Tower. As a general rule, it does not store timestream data farther downstream than the Grey Bandthat data is stored only on the Central Database. A significant portion of the most reliable and protected part of the tower stores backup information for certain subjects crucial to the maintenance of the timestream, including thirty-eight Keepers. The storage space required for a perfect copy of a persons consciousness is much larger than the space required for the genetic information necessary to regrow part or all of his physical body, so both are stored simply as a matter of course. By law, only a subject whose death generates significant chronometric entropy can be replaced, pending the approval of the Network Concordat and Sysadmin. Subject backup information is stored near system-critical data in the highly secured lowest ten levels of the Tower, which are accessible only to Programmers, Engineers, and members of the Network Concordat. The data itself can only be accessed through the isolation libraries, which can only be opened by Programmers, and only a Head Programmer can retrieve the data held there (for purposes such as maintenance or re-growth).
Network Core District
Also called the Fidelis District. A sovereign district attached to the coastal city of Pacifica (capital city of the United Western Territories, the government which originally sponsored and created the Network). The Core District is situated on a man-made island with land area of 24.2 square miles (slightly larger than Manhattan), connected to Pacifica by two bridges (one suspension and one modular). Almost all buildings on the island are vertically situated with the goal of keeping as much ground area open for beautification as possible. Except for the Core Tower, the tallest buildings are the employee housing complexthree towers connected at ground-level by a slender ring-shaped building with a spacious courtyard in the centerstanding at 2,102 feet. The average building height is 790 feet. Additionally, there is an extensive commerce district below ground, as deep down as 400 feet, with glass-ceilinged sections abutting the surface and glass-walled sections with a view of the ocean depths. Due to the nature of Network Operations, the district is almost completely autonomous, operating on its own legal system. Citizens of Pacifica are scanned at birth (or immigration) and registered with the Network; all Network employees are scanned and registered, as well. Unregistered subjects are prohibited in the Core District, and will be turned away at the bridge checkpoints or detained if found on the island.
A subject designate who works for the Network. There are several departments, representing the separate disciplines involved in Network operations. Network Proctors oversee all human resources tasks, including but not limited to such things as recruiting, specialized training, and payroll. Engineers fabricate and repair most machinery used by the Network. Theorists study resonance and the timestream in order to gain a more exact understanding of the impact of actions.
Programmers create, update, and maintain all software (and some hardware) used by the Network. Programmers with the skill to work on the Network and its Nodes are so rare and indispensable that great lengths are taken to ensure their longevityProgrammer 002 (Reed Richards), the oldest living Programmer, is more than three thousand years old. Most programming and development for the Network Core compounds infrastructure, administration, and logistics is done by Underprogrammers, who also have the task of organizing any miscellaneous code or data given to them by the Programmers. There is a specific team of Underprogrammers assigned to sort through the plethora of information transmitted from Programmer 006s datapen. There are only three Head Programmers at a given time.
Network Data Analyst
Data Analysts monitor the data sent to the Network by the Nodes in order to observe the overall stability of the timestream. This is generally done via TMS. Analysts are usually given entire segments of the timestream to monitor, due to its immensity. Their daily shifts are eight hours long, with a mandatory lunch break and two mandatory rest breaks to prevent eyestrain. They alternate active and reserve duty, the frequency of which depends on the importance of the segment being monitored but is usually every one or two weeks. Generally, only one Analyst works a segment, but if a bundle is in danger of undesirable collapse, it may be monitored by two or more Analysts, so that it can be kept under constant observation; this manpower is supplied from reserve duty. Otherwise, an Analyst will view the recorded data at three- to four-times speed, catching up from the shift of the previous day. At any given time, there are twenty to thirty Analysts on active duty, plus ten Senior Analysts and two Head Analysts. The Senior Analysts are split into night shift and day shift, slightly offset from the day shift of other Analysts to prevent the presence of a large dead-zone in monitoring. The Head Analysts work constantly in alternating six-hour shifts with relief by understudies, and are required to oversee the entire Grey Bandthe scale of the task makes it difficult for anyone without reflex-enhancing mutant or meta-human abilities, and the nonstop pace demands an enhanced metabolism that requires far less sleep than that of the average human.
A Network employee who does field work for the Network. Most agents are high-resonance or high-entropy subjects, matched to the tasks the Network requires them to perform.
Keeper of Fate
A Network agent given custody of a Fate Node. Keepers are numbered in the order in which they were assigned. Most Keepers are assigned to directly oversee the stability of structure-critical timestream bundles, and are recruited from within those bundles. Some Keepers are intentionally given custody of multiple Nodes, which they move around through the timestream as needed to relay information to the Core.
Point of Operation
Frequently abbreviated PO or point-oh. The exact present, as determined by the Network Operations timescale; the moment at which all Nodes actually physically exist. Upstream of the Point of Operation, all knowledge of the timestream is purely conjecture based on the resonance patterns observed by Nodes. Most work is done a good distance downstream, where timeline interactions are more certainhowever, there is plainly the risk that the farther back the tuning is done, the more wide-sweeping the consequences will be, so the more inexact the tuning becomes.
The Grey Band, abbreviated GB or greb, is the span of the timestream where all tuning is performed. Its upper boundary is one standard day (twenty-four hours) downstream of the Point of Operation, because any tuning farther up would not be noticeable. Its lower boundary varies depending on the shape of a specific timeline, but is generally no farther than five thousand years downstream of the Point of Operation, because any tuning farther down would be too inexact and unpredictable; the lower boundary is set even with one thousand years downstream of the Point of Operation in the Network Cores home timeline. By law, no tuning can take place below the greb without an emergency order from the Network Concordat.
Year of Network Operation
The timescale era used by the Network. The calendar and all units of time are based on Earth Standard. Year One (the first year in which the Network was operational) took place in the year AD 2538 in the Network Cores home timeline. The standard date format is month-day-year. If the date is the eighth of August in 3651, it would be written August 8, 3651 and abbreviated 8-08-51. The year itself would be referred to as Network Operations 3651, or NO 3651. In official Network facilities, it is common practice to specify whether the date and time are Local Standard or Core Standard.
Also called Timestream Coiling. The visual effect on a timestream monitoring simulation when viewing a branch with an accelerated timescale. At the point-oh, all parts of the timestream are points, and for a very small amount of time (less than a nanosecond) all branches appear to be straight lines; after that fraction of a nanosecond, only the slowest-moving branch being monitored appears to be a line, and all others begin to spread to accommodate their extra length, like rope being lowered or smoke beginning to disperse. Due to the shifting nature of timescales, many branches experience alternating periods of straight-line progression and coiling progression.
Frequently abbreviated CDB. The enormous quantum database structure responsible for storing timestream data in a non-volatile state (that is, if any part of the Network crashed or lost power, the data would remain intact). All data below the Grey Band is migrated from the Core Tower to the Central Database automatically on a daily basis. The database stores billions of exabytes of information by encoding it in the molecular structure of terrain on the surface of the structure, which is shaped like a blossom with sixteen petals, with the control center in the stamen-like spire in the junction of the petals. Its total surface area is approximately two thousand square miles (about the same as the state of Missouri, or half that of California).
Frequently abbreviated DBA. Keeper 003 (Hope Dayspring DB088-Omega), custodian of Node 002 Atropos. She is responsible for the physical storage of all timestream data. She accomplishes her job by using her Node as a conduit between the Database and the Networkwhen she receives data from a Node, she stores that data and makes note of any related data, and when a Node requests data, she retrieves it and anything she finds relevant. She is able to do this by sensing and manipulating photonic resonance, which manifests as a play of colored light over the surface of her Node, Atropos. As a failsafe, the Databases system does not allow the Database Administrator to create datashe can only transfer it and add certain standard notifications (such as alerts for missing data or agents).
An abbreviated form of the phrase hyperbolic chronometric wavelength signature. The exact resonant signature of a particular subject designation. It is affected subtly by every choice a subject makes, many choices made by people around the subject, and certain events that take place in a given timeline while the subject is present. A subjects chronometric signature is almost always slightly out-of-phase with the surrounding timelinethis discrepancy is referred to as chronometric entropy or resonance (depending on its magnitude). Only artificially engineered subjects can have chronometric signatures that align perfectly with a segment of the timestream. The power behind a chronometric signature can vary as well, with more powerful signatures exerting more influence over the resonance phase of the surrounding timeline.
The compound chronometric signature of an entire section of the timestream, formed by the combination of all signatures present in the timeline. Conceptually, the resonance phase (like all chronometric signatures) is a waveform, and the greater its amplitude, the greater the timelines stability. The closer a resonance phase comes to level, the closer it is to collapsing.
The process of two or more timelines merging due to extreme resonance phase similarity. This can only occur during the formation of a resonance locus. When the re-tuning of a timeline leads to the formation of a locus at very different points in the involved timelines, there is still a small possibility that the timelines will mergethis special case is called delayed echo absorption.
The process of two or more timelines with low resonance phase similarity forming resonance loci. When this occurs by two dissimilar timelines simply merging and sharing the rest of their events (referred to as timeline braiding), the collision is called non-intrusive. When it occurs because two dissimilar timelines actually intersect in normal space, the collision is called intrusive. The paperwork short forms for these terms are noncol and intcol, respectively.
The quality of two or more timelines sharing such properties as population, subject catalog, geography, and major historical events. If the similarity between timelines is less than forty percent, or there is an extreme difference such as the Allies lost WWII, the timelines are considered to be non-compliant. If the similarity between timelines is between forty-one percent and seventy-five percent, or there is a major difference such as George W. Bush was never President, the timelines are considered to be partly-compliant. If the similarity between timelines is greater than seventy-five percent, the timelines are considered to be compliant. There is no such thing as full compliance, because timelines with greater than about ninety-five percent compliance always merge. The paperwork short forms for these terms are non-comp, par-comp, and comp.
The full list of all subjects (with chronometric signatures) residing in a given branch or bundle. The vast majority of a typical branchs catalog is made up of arbitrary numerical designationsonly particularly influential subjects receive a name-bundle-number-iteration designation. The Core is able to match subjects across timelines by key similarities in their chronometric wavelengths, and occasionally re-numbers them accordingly.
A specific type of timestream branch marked by the Network Core. Marking a timestream branch red is akin to hanging a do not disturb sign on it. Red Branches are not to be interfered with, or only by one Keeper with specific authorization from the Sysadmin. These include any branches that house Network compounds, several structurally-critical branches within the primary bundles, and any branch that poses a threat to the security of the Network. If extremely high-precision tuning is required, a branch will likely be marked red. Aside from designation numbers, all information about red branches is top-classified, available only inside the Network Core compound or to Keepers (unless a Node is specifically unlocked by its Keeper). The Smart Node Laws make it impossible for a locked Smart Node to divulge information about red branches to anyone but their Keepers, even under direct order. A branch is called red-locked if it has been marked red and travel to and from it are strictly forbidden without an order ratified by the Sysadmin.
A measure of the phase-discrepancy between a subject and the timeframe in which he currently exists. The larger the discrepancy, the greater the entropy. This measure varies depending on where in the timestream a subject is placed, and can often be lowered by relocating a subject. A high-entropy subject is one likely to damage the stability of any given timeline (that is, he could be relocated to nearly any timeline and contribute to its collapse).
A measure of the phase-discrepancy between a subject and the timeframe in which he currently exists. The smaller the discrepancy, the greater the resonance. This measure varies depending on where in the timestream a subject is placed, and can often be raised by relocating the subject. A high-resonance subject is one likely to reinforce the stability of any given timeline (that is, he could be relocated to nearly any timeline and prevent its collapse).
An individual component of the Network (there are two hundred and fifty, seven of which are currently missing or non-functioning). Each Node is capable of independent computing, but they solve problems much faster when they interact and split tasks (as with any neural network). All Nodes operate on photonic vibration; it is the movement of photons through a Node that powers its calculations. Nearly all Nodes are spherical, and most are between two and five inches in diameter. They vary in color and materials and are capable of plotting and initiating bodyslides and timeslides. They are not capable of initiating a slide without a command from someone in physical contact with them, nor are they capable of deliberately providing false information. All Nodes are capable of hyperbolic chronometric wavelength scanning, the process which allows them to map the timestream and identify subjects, but their capacity to store this information varies greatly. Nodes are numbered in the order in which they were created.
A sentient Node. Smart Nodes are capable of complex decision-making and can therefore plan and react. They have a tendency to form personalities and are usually quite loyal to their Keepersthey do, however, have their own priorities, and can therefore decide to take drastic measures to accomplish goals. While they, like all Nodes, are incapable of lying, they are perfectly capable of giving evasive responses or creatively interpreting commands. The danger of such independence is limited by a set of rules that govern all smart Nodes: only a Nodes authorized Keeper may ask questions about the locations of other Nodes, a Node cannot directly countermand a slide destination given by its authorized Keeper (but it may refuse to initiate the slide), a Node cannot knowingly endanger its authorized Keeper, and a command from the Network Core supersedes any current assignment or orders from a lesser authority. These rules are referred to as the Smart Node Laws. The presence of sentience in Smart Nodes makes them readable by telepaths, to a certain extent.
A non-sentient Node. Some dumb Nodes are capable of performing very complicated specialized calculations independent of the Network. Lacking sentience, they are incapable of independent decision-making, and will not perform any action without being specifically ordered to do so by a Keeper or the Network. Also, dumb Nodes generally have a very limited memory for tasks; on average, they can only queue three to five calculations or queries, and cannot store the results for long.
The process of a subjects hyperbolic chronometric wavelength growing stronger. The more solid a subjects phase grows, the greater the likelihood that any physical changes to the subject will propagate through the timestream (and the greater the subjects effect on his surrounding resonance phase). If a subject is killed, increased phase solidification will result in a lower possibility that any versions of the subject will survive. Solidification occurs naturally at resonant loci, but is artificially induced by physical contact with a Node (rather than resonant contact, which is the way nearly all Keepers utilize their Nodes). Most high-resonance and high-entropy subjects do not have especially high levels of phase solidificationthis is because their chronometric signatures tend to blend in with a timelines resonance phase, a phenomenon called resonance masking.
A point where multiple timelines agree or overlap. Since sentient beings have a much higher effect on the timestream (because they can make choices), resonance loci are usually people. They are categorized by the number of timelines involved. A tertiary locus involves four or fewer distinct bundles. A secondary locus involves between five and nine distinct bundles. A primary locus involves ten or more distinct bundles. The greater the number of bundles involved in a locus, the greater the phase solidification of the subject. The phase solidification of a primary locus is high enough that if the subject is killed, all the corresponding designations will be killed and remain so even after their home timelines diverge.
Short for resonance phase-leveling. The process by which a subject or timelines existence (or lack thereof) ceases to affect the timestream. In the case of a subject, this nearly always equates to multiple assassinations. In the case of a timeline, this requires the timelines collapse. It is impossible for a living sentient being to have a completely level resonance phase; even comatose, a subjects existence has some minor affect on the shape of the timestream.
Short for resonance phasic tuning. The act of altering the upstream shape of the timestream by manipulating a subject or timelines effect on the timestream near the top of the Grey Band. Analogous to changing the future. Also used as a general term for all timestream-shaping.
Short for resonance phasic re-tuning. The act of forcibly altering the downstream shape of the timestream by manipulating a subject or timelines effect on the timestream. This can be accomplished through the collapse or reinforcement of a timeline. It can also be accomplished by the death or relocation of a subject. Tuning by relocation requires matching a subjects resonance phase to the phase of a given segment of the timestream. Analogous to changing the past.
Short for resonance phasic pre-tuning. The act of altering the shape of the timestream by entering a timeline, causing a specific event, and then leaving the timeline in question at least two weeks before the event actually takes place.
The act of re-tuning someone in such a way as to destroy his entire subject designation (in other words, there is no timestream branch in which that exact person managed to survive). A person (or thing) can only be erased if his phase is sufficiently solidified (either at a primary resonance locus or through physical contact with more than one Node).
Frequently abbreviated incog. Any tuning-related or scanning-related act that is performed (or meant to be performed) without the knowledge of a timelines residents. By Network law, any society considered to be uninitiated (i.e. any society which has not made contact with the Network) should be kept as ignorant as possible of Network Operations. This regulation is in place to prevent the untimely discovery of the Network and its technology by other timestream observers or by cultures not ready for such advanced technology. There are several lateral-capable Keepers who specialize in incognito tuning because of their ability to conceal themselves and their influence.
The general term for the sciences of timestream physics, especially probabilities and causalities. Important aspects of chronometry include chronometric architecture (the study of branch stability) and chronometric analysis (the study of interpreting timestream events from resonant data).
The study of the timestreams shape and how it is influenced by various events and resonance phenomena. Major areas of interest include leyline geography, histriographic similarity, and the Fidelis Effect.
The hybrid study of the effects of timestream travel and resonance phenomena on the human mind. Brainsliding is a direct result of intense chrononeurological study.
Unauthorized Upstream Tuning
Frequently abbreviated unup (ən′-əp). As the name suggests, any resonance tuning activity which takes place above the grey band without the express authorization of the Netcon and Sysadmin. This can only occur one of two ways: reality-altering magic or the artificial formation of time loops by bringing objects below the point of operation from above the point of operation (i.e. bringing things into the present from the future). Upstream tuning is illegal because it can have incredibly unpredictable effects on the timestream and its stability.
Also called Tesseract Technology. A travel technology based on the gravimetric mutability of space and time. It creates a tunnel connecting two points in the timestream by using gravity to distort space-time until the two points intersect. While the foundational technology is fairly simplistic, it requires incredible calculation and cataloging for the amount of precision needed to make its use safe. Only a few major bundles use this technology, all of them part of the Network. The chief advantage of curved-space tech is the ability to cheaply move large amounts of inanimate mass laterally through the timestreamtimesliding can only accommodate large masses if they possess sentience (and therefore a distinct chronometric signature), and requires a proportionately large source of energy to do so, while the energy use of curved-space tech is independent of the size or mass of the objects being transported. The primary use of curved-space tech is not actually travel, but communicationit is relatively simple and inexpensive to create a tunnel just wide enough to allow undistorted real-time data transmission, so most inter-branch communication is accomplished through curved-space tech.
Gravitic power is obtained through the same atomic interaction utilized by gravimetric barriers. While gravimetric barriers manipulate the interaction to create a nigh-impassable (gravimetric barriers do not interfere with resonance-based phenomena such as light or sound) surface, gravitic power uses plasma excitation to convert the atoms of a power-source material (often a junk material), and then collects the energy created by their ongoing movement. The excited particles experience a predictable rate of atomic decay and can be replaced accordingly. Lacking a good excitation process (or the energy to instigate it), a gravitic converter can still draw a very low amount of power from the normal gravitational movement of its fuel atoms. With sufficient fuel and an efficient containment system, gravitic power is the best and cleanest power source next to photonic power.
Photonic power is obtained through the vibration of photons (light particles) through certain reactive materials. All Nodes function by photonic power, though their materials and construction vary. Photonic power can be impaired or stopped by vibrational dampening or sufficient deprivation of lightand though the average Node would need to be kept in utter darkness for more than fifty standard Earth years to lose all power, it could recharge to working condition in less than an hour. It is possible to interfere with photonic power with extremely high frequency focused vibration (such as lasers). Some photonic converters are composed of materials that create waste in their construction, but aside from this (and a very small alteration to the wave characteristics of the light passing through the converters) photonic power creates absolutely no byproducts. So long as the converter does not suffer catastrophic damage, photonic power is completely clean and renewable.
Nearly all Nodes physically exist above greb, usually at the point-oh. Their apparent presence at other points in the timestream is purely an effect of complex resonance-projection. For a very small set of tasks, a Node may require solid-phase (i.e. physical) interaction, at which point it must be transported physically to the point of interaction. This can only be accomplished by enacting a timeslide on the Node while it is dormant, because a sleeping Nodes chronometric signature is static (it is dynamic when the Node is awake). By law, the Database Administrator can only supply a branch designation and branch-relative date for a Node downstream of its physical location. She can only supply exact timestream coordinates for the Nodes physical location. The Smart Node Laws prevent a Smart Node from directly supplying these coordinates to anyone but other Nodes or the Database Administrator (some of them can be made to timeslide to the coordinates, however). The Smart Node Laws also prevent a Smart Node from supplying a branch-relative location for another Node if it is in the same branch (to make it impossible to obtain coordinates piecemeal).
Short for relativistic chronometer. A timekeeping device of extreme precision, keyed with resonance to keep accurate relative time through any number of timeslides. Chrons can have an analog display, but are usually digital, and calculate date as well as time. Most chrons used by the Network keep multiple timesNetwork Operations time and the time in an individuals home or work timeline. Most lateral-traveling Network agents wear chrons that have a rescalable third face to keep time according to any timeline in which they will be working, but this rescalable face still requires a transmission from a Node in order to set the date and time properly (much like wearing an accurate watch between time zones). The adjustment that a chron makes in order to keep accurate relative time is based on a principle of photo-chronologic relativity: the speed of light is constant, but relative to the timeframe in which it exists. The chron measures the speed of light wherever it is and compares it to the speed of light in the Networks timeframe to adjust the rate at which it keeps time (a chron must be exposed to some form of light to adjust its timekeeping). Chrons operate on photonic vibration, just like Nodes, so they require light to charge, but the amount given off by a penlight for five seconds would be sufficient to power a chron for several days.
Frequently abbreviated DP or deep. A computerized stylus that can store or transmit anything written with it, by law granted only to Head Programmers. The size varies based on the users preference, and the data is usually transmitted to the users home computer, but there are a few function buttons that can alter thisthe messaging button allows the user to send the writing to a recipient of his choosing (like an email or instant message); the work button sends the writing to a designated work server for storage; the go-live button connects the pen to the wireless subnetwork that connects infrastructure computers in the Network Core compound to the Core itself, and is generally used only for manually enacting a software update. Civilians use a scaled-down version called a pseudo-pen, which can only connect to personal computers or computing accessories. Typically, a screen (or screen-like eyewear) is required to see what is being written.
Short for identify. The verbal command used for retrieving background files on a subject designation. Also short for identity, when confirming authorization codes and tuning orders.
Short for confirm. The verbal command used for comparing timestream data to identify timestream anomalies.
System Administrator Priority Order
Frequently abbreviated sapo (sæ′-po). An order given directly to a Network employee by the Sysadmin without ratification by the Netcon or any other Network authority. A sapo is only given in an emergency or when Network authorities might attempt to countermand the strict enforcement of Network Law (to the detriment of overall stability). It can be appealed after the fact with sufficient proof that recanting the order would not cause significant loss of stability and with unanimous approval of all thirteen members of the Netcon and all senior members of all departments. Very few appeals have ever been attempted, and none have ever succeededfor example, an attempt was made to end the incarceration of the Founder, but the appeal was not approved by the Head Warder of the time (Robert Reynolds NC099), the Head Proctor (Leonard Samson NC113-Beta), Programmer 004 (Hope NC005-Prime), or any of the Senior Theorists of the time (Reed Richards NC286-Alpha [direct resonant precursor to Programmer 002], Loki Odinsdottir NC020-Omega [direct resonant precursor to Keeper 015], Stephen Strange NC110, and Wade Wilson DR801 [direct resonant precursor to Keeper 056]).
Timestream Monitoring Simulation
Frequently abbreviated TMS or sim. A computerized visual representation of a part of the timestream, enabling observers to perform complex chronology at a glance. The concept of translating raw data into a visual simulation was proposed and enacted by Network Programmer 002, Reed Richards. A simulation projection resembles a loose column of glowing filaments that shift and twine like living things. An Analysts monitoring station facilitates interaction with the sim by use of positional-sensing and a piece of screen eyewear called a visor.
Short for Monitoring Station Visor, frequently abbreviated vize. A piece of peripheral hardware that allows an Analyst to interact with his monitoring station. Shaped like a pair of sports sunglasses, the vize shows a three-dimensional view of the Analysts virtual console, displaying the forms, commands, and controls. The earpieces of the vize transmit any vocal feedback from the station confidentially by use of gentle vibration against the skull. The station itself senses the position and motion of the Analysts hands and provides corresponding force-feedback to make control motions feel more natural.
Frequently abbreviated Z-Space. A matter storage system that relies on dimensional compression (similar to Flatspace technology from UltraViolet). Most Z-Space devices operate on a strict last-in-first-out (LIFO) basis; that is, objects can only be withdrawn from them in the reverse of the order in which they were stored. Because of this, a person likely to need to use his Z-Space deck on short notice will usually only store either a few items or a lot of the same item (such as ammunition). A Z-Space decks capacity depends on its power source. Inferior versions of Z-Space decks (such as those that work on plasmic power sources) store single items or parts of items (such as with a Z-Space scabbard storing the blade of a sword).
A matter storage system that relies on gravimetric conduits (tesseract tunnels) to instantaneously transport weapons and equipment from a remote location to a small matter constructor. A gravitic constructor pad (GCP) is generally about an inch wide and six inches long, which is sufficient to reassemble the molecules of an object with a breadth up to three times its surface area (and arbitrary length). Objects can be withdrawn from a GCP in any order by accessing an inventory list or a set of programmable buttons. The most prominent user of GCPs was the first Auditor, who used his mostly for weapons.
A matter storage system that uses photonic matter-conversion to turn nearby matter into stored objects by constructing them based on templates. The system is ill-suited to reproducing specially modified items (such as firearms with individually zeroed scopes). The most frequent use of photonic storage is for food and medication.
Short for Isolation Console. A computer system with no data interaction with the outside world except through portable media input. There are several iso consoles in the lower reaches of the Core Tower, for use when performing maintenance on sensitive data such as Keeper back-ups.
Short for Isolation Plate. An optical panel, exactly one centimeter thick, twenty-two centimeters wide, and forty centimeters long. The photoresonant equivalent of a USB drive. Iso plates store captive-photon bits (sixteen-dimensional quantum vibration data) for transfer to an iso console or genetic fabrication facilities. They have sufficient capacity to store multiple Keeper back-ups. When an iso plate is withdrawn from the Core Tower, its port locks down. The plates data cannot be returned to the Core Tower without the authorization of a Head Programmer; this is to prevent the risk of virus injection. An empty plate is perfectly transparent; one with static data will appear to be a mess of tiny points of colored light; one with dynamic data (such as a consciousness imprint) will appear to be a shifting array of color.
The Null-Resonance Detention Facility
A major fixture in Earth-505 is the Networks Null-Resonance (Null-res) Detention Facility, colloquially nicknamed The Fridge. Below the Network compound is a large cryogenic suspension chamber that houses more than two hundred subjects who voluntarily submitted to incarceration rather than being erased. Each cell in the chamber buffers its occupant from the outside world in such a way as to prevent the interaction of their resonance signatures by use of a Null-res Field. Even if they were not cryogenically frozen, the Null-res Field would render them incapable of thought or movement. Just outside the main chamber is a low security chamber with another fifty cells that house limited subjectssubjects whose super-human abilities can be artificially dampened enough to allow them to be conscious and ambulatory without risking harm to the timestream. Each of their cells is gated with a Null-res barrier and can be completely encompassed in a Null-res Field if required. A limited subject can be moved to cold-storage upon request. The Detention Facility is independently powered by three redundant systems, and is gated by a Null-res barrier.
The Genetic Fabrication Facility
Frequently abbreviated gen-fab. An important resource of the Network, located at the Network Core. Capable of growing humans to exacting specifications, for purposes such as reproduction or Keeper replacement. Reproductive services are simple and fairly inexpensive, and use one-time samples acquired on-site. By contrast, single-sample or engineered products require more resources, are heavily investigated, and require authorization from the Sysadmin. The major Network use for the Genetic Fabrication Facility is the creation of Hope subjects, men and women genetically engineered by the Sysadmin to stabilize specific branches of the timestream.
While minor forms of magic have very little effect on the overall shape of a timeline, powerful arcane magic actually deforms the timestream. That is, when a decision would create a branch point, magic instead alters the existing branch, creating powerful, unnatural changes in the resonant interactions of neighboring branches that usually manifest as cataclysmic events. For this reason, all powerful practitioners are carefully monitored by the Network. Several of them, such as designations of Steven Strange, realize the danger of their powers and behave with a corresponding amount of responsibility. Multiple designations of Wanda Maximoff and Wanda Lensherr have been erased due to catastrophic re-tuning of the timestream, some of them voluntarily. At least one set of her twins is held at the Null-res Detention Facility; their compliance and the effectiveness of Limiters on their mutant powers gives them some modicum of freedom there.
The Schrödinger-Dread Interaction
The feeling of dread produces a strong resonant effect on the timestream. The interaction of dread, partial knowledge, uncertainty, and possibility creates a peculiar phenomenon in which the dual-nature of unobserved existence and nonexistence begins to favor one possibility over the other. In terms of the Schrödingers Cat example, if the observer dreads the cat is dead, it becomes more likely that when he opens the box, the cat will, in fact, be dead (this is where the interaction phenomenon gets its name). The occurrence of this altered probability is approximately halfthat is, about half the time, dreading an outcome will create a reduced-entropy resonant paradox that causes the outcome to occur. Truly random outcomes can only be achieved through ambivalence.
Fidelis Standardized Ethical Diagnostic
Similar in structure to the Voight-Kampff empathy test. A series of over three hundred scenarios, ranging in complexity, designed to chart the exact ethical disposition of a sentient being (defining ethics as the philosophical examination, understanding, and application of morality). Only certain designated high-level Network employees are authorized to chart and interpret the results, and they must undergo extensive training to do so. When the diagnostic is administered to a being with a physical body, several biorhythms are monitored to alert the examiner to involuntary responses such as heartbeat, body temperature, and pupil dilation. When the diagnostic is administered to a data-only being such as a Smart Node, Programmer 004 monitors the raw-data equivalent of these involuntary responses. Keeper backups undergo ethical diagnostics every two to five years to verify that there has been no personality decay in storage. Members of the Network Concordat undergo ethical diagnostics annually. All Network employees undergo ethical diagnostics every three years. Smart Nodes only undergo ethical diagnostics when certain error codes are received, or at the specific request of their Keepers. Due to subtle variations in attitude, upbringing, and preferences, the first ethical diagnostic a sentient being undergoes is almost never completely accuratetherefore, each time the subject undergoes an ethical diagnostic, notes are made to adjust future diagnostics for more accurate results. All ethical scenarios and the wording of their presentation are carefully crafted to induce the most descriptive response. Unless specifically noted otherwise, all generic hypothetical lifeforms are female. Most scenarios involve sole responsibility and a lack of observers. For maximum effectiveness, references to the test subjects loved ones should be made sparingly. In the case of a Smart Node, the Sysadmin takes the role of father and the Nodes Keeper is substituted for any other loved ones. Semi-sentient or non-sentient beings, such as Dumb Nodes, have a tendency to get tangled in over-examination of the scenarios posed to them and fail spectacularly at displaying a true sense of ethics.
The Fidelis Effect
A resonance phenomenon whereby objects, animals, and people spontaneously take on some traits of other objects, animals, and people with resonant similarity. These traits include knowledge, memory, super-human ability, X-gene mutation, coloration, scarring, injury, and location. The shared knowledge of Wade Wilson subjects is likely due to the Fidelis Effect.
Bifrost-Based Ether-Resonance Transit
In most timestream bundles, there are massive interstellar leylines (called ether-resonance paths) connecting nine worlds. By focusing a certain amount of a certain kind of power through a crystalline material called Bifrost, a conduit can be formed along those leylines that allows travel between the nine worlds. Different amounts of power are required to bridge different distances, and the conduit should only be kept open as long as is required to complete a journey, as it can cause physical damage to anything that remains too long in its path. The volatile wall of the conduit, however, encloses a breathable atmosphere and fends off most kinds of space debris.
A form of transit not designed (or not able) to be interrupted. Includes all forms of gravitic tunneling (such as Tesseracts), molecular disassembly/reassembly (like Star Trek transporters), and most forms of timesliding. In some cases, disruption of the phenomenon in question will lead to such things as dismemberment. In most varieties of timeslide, the subject will land at some point between the point of departure and the destination, which can be highly unpredictable.
Flatscale timesliding is a point-to-point transition across physical distance only; that is, the point of departure and the destination share an exact time branch within a matter of seconds. The typical form of flatscale slide is called a bodyslide.
Frequently abbreviated comp-int. A human consciousness that has been digitized. The process is not always successful and has a high incidence of autism. The two most successful examples of comp-ints are the Sysadmin and the Savant.
Frequently abbreviated medi-halt. An order given by a Medic or Proctor which relieves a Network employee of duty for health reasons.
Mandatory Psychological Wellness Leave
Frequently abbreviated either MPWL or simply leave. All Network Agents are required to take three days of leave for every six months on active duty. Agents under higher stress, such as Keepers, may be required by their Proctors to take more leave. For inter-branch Agents, leave implies a return to their home timelines. Leave can be deferred by a Proctor if the situation warrantsotherwise, failure to take mandatory leave is grounds for a medi-halt.