- "Since before your sun burned hot in space, I have awaited a question."
- — The Guardian
The device known as the Guardian of Forever is an artifact of an ancient alien race (most likely the Guardians), which functions as a time portal, located on the planet Gateway. The Guardian is apparently sentient; it can speak and respond to the questions and actions of individuals who contact it. It generates immense ripples in time that manifest themselves as spatial disturbances in the surrounding region (perhaps shielding its planet and star system from changes in the timeline). (TOS: "The City on the Edge of Forever")
Apparently an inert formation of a quasi-metallic substance, the Guardian is neither machine nor being, describing itself as "my own beginning, and my own ending." It has the ability to create portals to other times, which can be watched or traveled through.
At one point, historians theorized that the Guardian might have been an artifact of the Slaver Empire, but it was found to predate the Slavers. (Federation News Service 2:1: "Multi-'Dimensional' Technology")
Discovery and study
The Guardian was discovered by the crew of the USS Enterprise in 2267, among the ruins of an immense city that stretched far beyond the horizon in every direction. According to Mr. Spock, the ruins were at least a million years old, though the Guardian itself claimed to be much older.
While under the influence of a cordrazine overdose, Dr. Leonard McCoy became the first human to travel through the Guardian, arriving in 1930 San Francisco, and drastically altering the timeline. Captain Kirk and Commander Spock followed McCoy into the past to restore the flow of history, succeeding at great personal cost to Kirk. (TOS: "The City on the Edge of Forever")
By 2269, the Federation had sent a research team to study the Guardian, and through it, history. Having experienced yet another alternate timeline, Spock again traveled through the Guardian, this time to his own past on Vulcan in order to prevent his younger self's death during his kahs-wan ritual in 2237. (TAS: "Yesteryear")
During the late 23rd century, the Enterprise crew encountered the Guardian on numerous occasions, frequently preventing its destruction by third parties, or drastically altered timelines. Starfleet would continue studying and using the Guardian well into the 24th century, and beyond. Some key events include:
- 2269: The Enterprise crew averts a plot by the Clan Ru to alter Earth's history, preventing humanity's evolution. (TOS novel: First Frontier)
- 2270: Commander Spock obtains permission to travel to Sarpeidon's past and retrieve his son, Zar. The boy was later returned to another point in Sarpeidon's history. (TOS novel: Yesterday's Son)
- 2285: The Romulans launch an invasion force to destroy the Guardian. The attempt is foiled by Kirk, Spock and Zar. (TOS novel: Time for Yesterday)
- 2293: Retired James T. Kirk visits the Ellison Research Outpost on Gateway, and the Guardian gives him a a vision of Zefram Cochrane, Jean-Luc Picard and the distant future of the Enterprise. (ST novel: Federation)
- 2368: Captain Jean-Luc Picard consults the Guardian regarding the Devil's Heart. (TNG novel: The Devil's Heart)
- 2373: Department of Temporal Investigations agents Dulmur and Lucsly use the Guardian to travel to 2063 and 1996, following up on visits to Earth's past by the USS Enterprise-E and the USS Voyager. (VOY short story: "Almost... But Not Quite")
- 2375: A reporter from the Starfleet News Service is given limited access to the Guardian, under supervision of Dulmer and Lucsly. The reporter concludes that a purpose of the Guardian is to facilitate small changes in the space-time continuum to prevent larger changes. (Star Trek: New Worlds, New Civilizations)
- 2408: In an alternate future, Admiral William T. Riker uses the Guardian to travel back to 2368 and save the life of Deanna Troi. (TNG novel: Imzadi)
- 3189: During the Temporal War, different factions attempted to weaponize the Guardian. By this year, the Guardian had relocated itself from its original location to Dannus V. (DIS: "Terra Firm (Part 1)", "Terra Firma (Part 2)"
- For more in-depth information on these and other encounters with the Guardian, please see: Guardian of Forever article at Memory Beta, the non-canon Star Trek wiki.
- The following continuity sections are arranged in rough chronological order.
After the discovery of the Guardian the Federation set up a temporal research facility on the planet which became known as Project Timepiece. In 2268 Professor Daniels, who was working at the facility, discovered a much larger version of the gateway after a dam burst exposed the area. Security around the site was quickly increased and key workers were given clearance level alpha.
Several months later a divergence in the timeline was created by the Planet Killer. The workers on Gateway, protected from the changes, informed Captain Kirk who in this timeline commanded the USS Farragut. Kirk, Spock and McCoy used the Guardian to travel to 2006 to collect information about the Planet Killer. Upon their return they flew the Farragut into the larger portal to correct the changes in history. (Star Trek: New Voyages: "In Harm's Way")
In the 2290s, an early arrival from the Vendoth fleet attempted to use the Guardian to access the Federation's past to wipe out the Federation from existence. Their attempt to interfere with the timeline was foiled by the crew of the USS Excalibur. (Star Trek: The Excalibur Epics: "Deux Ex Machina")
In the early- to mid-2290s, a training cadre was formed aboard USS Avenger to prepare a senior staff to crew Gateway Station, whose remit was to monitor and defend the Guardian. Beyond the information that such a cadre was formed, any further information about it was given the Doublet Regal classification. (Star Trek: Avenger)
In 2306, the museum ship USS Enterprise-M received notification a beacon in orbit of Gateway activated, indicating a breach of the quarantine, and responded. An away team comprised of Captains John Harriman, Nyota Uhura and Pavel Chekov, accompanied by two other officers, beamed down to find a disgruntled Charlie Evans. Evans activated the Guardian of Forever, focusing it on James Kirk's mother, pregnant with Kirk, and jumped through. Time changed, with a darker, edgier universe emerging. (Star Trek: Of Gods and Men)
The USS Phoenix-X, utilizing its Temporal engine, was brought to the Guardian of Forever in the year 2382, after jumping into the timestream with no computed direction. The Guardian claimed they had been pulled to the gate like a magnet. With the engines offline, Seifer used the Guardian to go into the 29th century to save his Captain from annihilation in the Temporal Cold War. Taking this action, though, caused Starfleet's fleet and the Na'kuhl fleet to fall in the 29th century; it also brought on the eventual need for Federation timeships to be on patrol. (Star Trek: Phoenix-X: "Temporal Doom! Part III")
Later in 2387, Captain Lewis of Unity Starbase was drawn to the Guardian of Forever, recently after having the persona of one of its builder's species called 'The Doctor' graphed onto his mind. The Guardian claimed that he had "waited so long" for Lewis to come, and promptly re-incarnated Captain Puto from a higher plane of existence. (Star Trek: Unity (fan film series): "Doomsday, Part One")
Shortly after, when the Borg attacked Gateway, the Guardian challenged the Borg Queen's assumption that it was just a "slab of rock" by destroying an orbiting cube with some energy lightning, saving Lewis and Puto's lives. When Puto was then assimilated and kidnapped by the retreating Borg Queen, Lewis asked the Guardian where the entrance to the Cruciform was located, and the portal showed the Iconian Dome on planet Kressgon. (Star Trek: Unity (fan film series): "Doomsday, Part Two")
Two years later, when Colonel Phillip Green and his Borg allies invaded Gateway, they assimilated it, and used it to create a time lock, where no paradoxes could exist, causing the Time War. (Star Trek: Unity (fan film series): "Moebius")
- Star Trek: The Original Series
- Star Trek: The Animated Series
- Star Trek: The Excalibur Epics
- Star Trek: New Voyages
- Star Trek: Phoenix-X
- Harry Potter and the Return of James T. Kirk
- Star Trek: Unity (fan film series)
- Guardian of Forever article at Memory Alpha, the canon Star Trek wiki.
- Guardian of Forever article at Memory Beta, the non-canon Star Trek wiki.
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