A temporal distortion is an effect of horrible writing often encountered by agents while dealing with badfic. The Department of Temporal Offenses was created partly to address particularly complicated temporal distortions.
Temporal distortions have strange and unpredictable effects, and can be anything from merely disorienting to outright deadly.
Temporal distortion is a charge.
Temporal Distortion EffectsEdit
- Time Skips: When the passage of time is not mentioned or inadequately described, the story can skip ahead hours or, for that matter, years, dragging agents along with it. The skipped time passes in an instant and is experienced by agents as extremely short, but other effects of time's passage may still be present—the story's action will have progressed and traveling characters will have skipped ahead in their journeys. Agents are usually left behind by traveling targets, which must be located again after the time skip, or else may be dragged along the whole path in an instant.
- Time Crunch/Stretch: Time crunch occurs when events seem to progress at more than one second per second. This is different from Fast Forward Syndrome (below) in that it does not have to do with unrealistically undetailed, quick description or dismissal of canon events, but has to do with the actual stated times in the canon. If an event takes a single day to happen, a time crunch can make a whole day's events happen in mere hours or even minutes. Time stretch is the opposite: events in a fic are stretched out and background activities might appear in slow motion. Time stretch can allow days or even weeks to pass in what should be one day or even only a few canoncial hours.
- Time Shifts or Time Rifts: Time shifts are similar to time skips, except that the shift is a poorly described scene break where the action resumes at the same location but at a later time. Rather than being left behind by the action, agents experience a time shift as the world literally spinning, and are generally thrown off their feet or even knocked completely unconscious. This is similar to a badly described scene break or new chapter.
- Time Dilation: When things add up so that things simultaneously take two different amounts of time, the effect can be pretty disorienting; this is usually caused by bad math.
- Fast-Forward Syndrome: When an author writes a fic that describes canonical events extremely quickly, unfortunate agents may be dragged through the action at breakneck speed. This tends to be severely disorienting. Bring motion-sickness pills.
- Time Stop: When something should be happening elsewhere but is not, time may have stopped entirely outside the confines of the viewed scene. This is is a serious offense, as it prevents off-screen developments from happening, and prevents other characters than the pictured ones from living their lives.
- Temporal Merging: When two inconsistent times are given, the canon may flicker back and forth between them, with characters and objects changing or disappearing and reappearing as the canon tries to decide which point on the timeline is supposed to exist. Similarly, if the events or prevailing conditions from two different times are described as taking place simultaneously, the compression may render the Word World in a nauseating blur of red- and blue-shifted afterimages accompanied by a painfully high-pitched whine of stressed time. The effect may lessen in intensity as the world settles into its new state, but further temporal disturbances can make it worse again.
- Age Distortion: Characters can be forced by temporal distortions into ages that are much too old, much too young, or even negative numbers. One example is "Legolas by laura," in which the Mary Sue in question ends up with Legolas agreeing to "be her boyfriend" at the age of ten. Characters who have been aged past their natural lifetime or distorted by negative aging may need a trip to Medical.
- Spatial Distortions: When journeys are given unrealistically short or long times, the geography of the canon can be distorted. Rampant geographical expansion or contraction is often handled by the Department of Geographical Aberrations.
Other Causes of Temporal DistortionsEdit
- The remote activator can be used to skip ahead in a fic. When it malfunctions, it can cause effects much like that of a time skip. In one case wherein the portal reached across centuries, the agents in question were lucky to be disguised as Elves, as they found that their injuries had instantly healed—they had evidently experienced those centuries physically, but not mentally, and would have died of old age had they been mortal.
- A malfunctioning Fic Location Follower.
- Living in Headquarters. With all the portals and jumping from universe to universe, agents in HQ tend to age much more slowly.