"What's the time?"
The words come out as a small croak from my throat. My face was still numb, a side effect of the chameleon gene shifting through preset faces, and back to default. The pitch of the voice is apparent, even if the words were not. I must have been female this time. The chameleon gene always had an issue restructuring the vocal patterns between shifting. Soon my natural, deeper voice would come back.
The ground was hard and cold. I was staring up at the sky, and my motor functions had not returned enough for me to turn my head. Above me the clear night sky could barely be seen through the tall buildings surrounding the alley. The chill of the ground seeps through my skin, and into my bones.
Another Sentinel stands over me. waving a light source from side to side, occasionally catching my pupils. A smug smile creeps to his face, as he presses a finger to the side of his neck. "He's conscious Command." The beam clicks off. If I could scowl I would, but instead I mumble the question again. "What's the time?"
"THE YEAR, ASS!"
A time travel RPG about an Organization of Time Travelers that has dedicated itself into preserving a stable, productive, and progressive timeline against those who would seek to alter it. This timeline and organization is called "The Continuum".
The Continuum, as an organization, exists outside of any government. It was created during a chaotic period, in which time travelers altered events at an incredible rate. This resulted in proxy wars between entities that wanted to control time, and were able to fight against each other over who's "history" was correct. These entities would end up altering time so much, that the current timeline that you and I understand, is actually completely different from the original, unaltered timeline. It is generally assumed that Continuum, was once one of these entities, and it became what it is now, because of it's victory in the Time War.
The Watchers are Continuum's controllers. Post-Humans with a major increase in cognitive abilities, particularly learning ability, creativity, attentiveness, and memory. The Sentinels are the Continuum's agents, and are genetically enhanced Transhumans. While aliens do exist in the Universe, the Continuum takes a non-interference policy with their kind. Continuum only concentrates on humanity's ultimate destiny.
The difference between the Post-Human Watchers, and the Transhuman Sentinels
The Watchers are more alien than the Sentinels ever will be. A long time ago, in a timeline long since erased, humanity would evolve into a form similar to the Watchers. This timeline no longer exists, and this evolution of humanity is no longer a part of the Continuum. In essence, The Watchers are anomaly's, paradoxes in the timeline, a race with no real origin or time frame. They are exactly what the Continuum strives to prevent. The Continuum prevents human evolution beyond what it has become in the 21st Century. Sure a few mutations, or favored traits bleed into the race from time to time, but overall humanity will retain the same shape it has had for the last 50,000 years. It is a setback that is seen as more...beneficial than the alternative. The transhuman Sentinels are the reason for this. In the future humanity will control it's own evolution, much more balanced than the fickle hand of natural selection.
"You shouldn't be so concerned."
His eyes narrowed as he looked at the shifting score board hanging above the large glass window. It showed a scenic view of the Cold Star floating outside the space station. It was a beautiful image to behold, but his attention was held firmly by the holographic monitor. It showed the aptitude test scores of the top ten children. The scores adjusted minute by minute, as every aspect of the child's life was subject to scrutiny. Those far ahead stayed that way, and those far behind usually didn't prosper unless they made a complete change to all their actions. Right now the score of one particular child was slowly dropping, and had been for the last several cycles. Until finally she began dropping down the score bored, until finally she was number 10. Sentinels were trained form birth on how to do their job properly, and only those who were at the head of their class were allowed to advance to the next stage of training, and given a designation. The rest were...
"I understand you have sympathies for your gene-seed. I think it's a commendable trait, not many of the other Sentinels really care what happens to their traits once they've been given the Quantum Band." He turn his eyes away from the score board and gave Suu an agitated gaze. The Watcher didn't seem to notice or care for the stare, as his wide eyes simply turned to look at the score board as well. He didn't care what happened to his gene-seed! He hadn't even met his predecessor until he was finally given a designation. He hadn't even thought much of my time in the training program until he was asked to give an equipment demonstration to a class. It had been a simple task, the children were attentive, and asked the right questions. The schools in other time periods paled in comparison to the Continuum training program. One particular student had caught his eye more than the others however. She had seemed so familiar, and at first he didn't understand what it was that had caught his eye. It wasn't until Suu told him that she was from his gene-seed. The thing about her that seemed familiar was the fact that she was basically another version of him, same biology, just sex switched. Basically his daughter.
Between the last few missions he had been watching her scores absently. Not obsessively, just a quick peek every now and then. As he saw her rise to the top of the list, a strange feeling swelled in his chest. It couldn't be pride could it? It had just been something in the back of his mind, until a few cycles ago. When her test scores began to drop significantly. At first it was a slow and steady thing, but the most recent drops in aptitude had been staggering. Going from rank 4 to 9 before his next mission. He fought internally with himself over whether or not he should interfere. The Sentinels weren't banned from interacting with the children. In fact the Watchers wished the current Sentinels would visit the trainees more often. It did the children well to see what the apex of the Continuum program looked like. However, cycles turned, and her score continued to drop. He no longer had a chance to interfere, as he was now prepping for a jump to the 25th Century.
As he turned to leave, he heard a gentle beep that indicated the rise of a new trainee to the top 10. He didn't even need to look to know that his girl had dropped from the top 10. He simply stopped, took a light intake of air, and then continued walking. From behind he could hear Suu quietly muttering "Not the reaction, I had expected", and he wondered if the tests ever truly stop.
The End of the Universe
At the end of the universe (during it's heat death), is the headquarters of the Continuum. Terminus Station sits in the orbit of the last star in the Universe (The Cold Star), and on the edge of a Time Vortex that prevents the Universe from actually ending.
Our characters will be known as Sentinels, and we are tasked with actually going out into the field and fixing the timestream so as to preserve "The Continuum". We are technically humans, although we were all born in a laboratory. Tailor-made for accelerated growth and adjusted for confidence, self-reliance, and adaptability, we are the Continuum's first line of defense. Born at the End of the Universe, we were trained on how to survive in multiple time periods. The ones who created us are known as Watchers, and the appear non-human in most respects. They are actually an evolved form of humanity that has gone beyond both genetic engineering and technological dependence. They monitor disturbances in the Timeline, and are the ones who assign Sentinels to deal with them.
- Sentinels are born on the Terminus Station, it floats around a dying Star during the End of the Universe.
- Sentinels are taught how to blend in multiple periods in time, and not appear as anachronism.
- Sentinels use different technologies to blend in with their time periods.
- Sentinels are allowed to live in whatever time period they wish, outside of their duties to the Continuum.
- There has only been one Sentinel in the history of the organization to go rogue.
- Should Sentinels ever fail in their task, Erasures will deal with the situation with extreme prejudice.
- Sentinels have Operative names (Greek Alphabet) and Cover names (relative to the times).
The controllers of our organization. They look close to human, but are different in very noticeable and sometimes eerie ways: taller, lack of hair, slightly larger craniums, wider eyes, smaller noses, smaller teeth, and elongated digits. It is unknown how many of them populate Terminus Station, but those that interact with the Sentinels first hand are usually very similar to one another. They go by short single names (Rho, Ahn, Lim), and come in male and female varieties. The Watchers never leave the station, or so the Sentinels are lead to believe. They act like teachers, parents, counselors, and bosses to the Sentinels.
Should the Sentinels ever fail in their job to protect the Continuum, the Watchers use a more heavy handed method. Erasures are not human, and do not appear to exist in normal or relative terms. Any Sentinel who has had the unfortunate opportunity to see one, claims them to be cracks in the fabric of reality. They are hard to look at directly, your eyes will always want to avert from their form. In situations where they are needed, they do not use conventional means to accomplish there tasks. In one scenario they may delete a few moments from the timeline in order to prevent something from happening. Other times they will create timeloops that will continue for infinity, trapping whoever was inside forever. These methods hurt the quality of the Continuum, and is a last result for any situation.
Where do the babies come from?
Sentinels are vat grown, and will appear as adults at the age of 10. They will stay in the peak of their physical prime until the age of 150, when they are usually retired. Sentinels do not know where they come from, but there is a rumor that they were all grown from an "Alpha". A single being who apparently possessed all the traits the Watchers desired. When a child is born, it begins learning immediately. After 5 relative years, the child is then brought up to a tribunal (randomly selected Sentinels form the tribunal). The group asks the child questions, and then votes on whether or not the child will move up to the next stage of training. Those that do become 'Prospects', and those that don't are disposed. After that the Prospects go through many more years of training. In the end they will either become Sentinels, or join the "Reserves". The Reserves are time locked and frozen in stasis. When a Sentinel dies in duty, a Reserve is thawed out and takes his/her place in the organization. There are only 22 active Sentinels at a time. It is those 22 that will give their "gene-seed" to the Watchers to be reconstituted into new trainees.
"Not as fast as I remember Omicron. A few dozen cycles must have past since the last time we met. How long ago was Laurasia to you?"
Omicron gasped for air and clutched at the wound eating away at his leg. His medical implants should have kicked in and began to treat the wound, but whatever had hit him was beyond the abilities of the nano-machines. He looked up at his attacker, and tried to regain his composure. The pain was maddening, but he had been trained in resisting it, even if his implants weren't functioning. Besides, the rage that swelled in his chest was more than enough to push through. "I should have known it was you from the start. Clemens couldn't have gotten this far without you, Sigma."
"Ah, you wound me old friend. You act as if I'm an interloper. No, I simply give men the ability to walk on their own feet. Something the Watchers never allowed." He said as the Vortex Door behind him fired bursts of electrical energy into the air. Displacements in time and space began flooding the room. A golden coin from the Roman Empire, circa 1986 ricochet off the floor. A white dove flew into the room and landed on a statue of the first female, gay, Hispanic President. A harmonic noise resonated off the walls. Bouncing back and forth like an invisible ball, before settling besides Sigma in a steady hum.
"I believe you met my associate last time we met. A human intelligence that exists as a sound wave in our reality. The perfect assassin. While you were out solving mysteries with that hillbilly, the Intelligence was completing our true objective. When you get back to the Terminus you should ask them which future royal lineage I had snuffed out. I'll give you a hint, the Second Galactic Human Empire just lost it's head of state 30,000 years early."
Time Travelers and Interlopers
In a perfect world, most of the people we deal with will be these. They are those that have discovered Time Travel. Think of Dr. Emmett Brown (Back to the Future), coming up with the Flux Capacitor. The Sentinels would probably come in during the scene where him an Marty first used the Time Machine. Dr. Brown and Marty would be getting mind wipes, and we would confiscate the time machine after it's first use. Clean simple, and easy.
Here is where problems begin. Travelers are people who are outside of their timeline. They are either people trying to cause trouble, or just see the sights. Think of the Terminator in the movie of the same name. It traveled back to kill Sarah Conner. We would come in on the night of it's first arrival and begin searching for it. We would find it, probably have a huge fight, and hopefully destroy it. We would also find Kyle Reese, mind wipe him, and send him back to his own time period. We would then have to go through the trouble of preventing Skynet's ability to travel back in time, either by deleting it from it's memory, or destroying it's capability.
The biggest problem to our organization. A runner could be either an Inventor or a Traveler, who realized what the Sentinels were up to before they stopped them. They either ran for it literally, or though time. These guys are dangerous, since they know they are being hunted, so they will usually jump to different time periods randomly to escape pursuit. Some Runners begin to search for the reason they are being chased, and even though Continuum's origin and nature is secret to even those who work for them, it doesn't mean it isn't a known entity, especially in the unknown future.
He calls himself the Night Machine now. He says that Continuum is only creating a timeline that benefits it's own existence. A timeline created to rely on Continuum to preserve itself. His desire is to break free of it, and create a stable timeline that cannot be altered. He has modified his body greatly, using technology from multiple time periods. His body holds a quantum power source, and he is able to move between time without detection most of the time. The Watchers have given a direct order to Sentinels to not engage him. This was declared after the Battle of Laurasia in the year 183,987,389,542 BC. A battle that ended in the deaths of several Sentinels, hundreds of Dinosaurs, and a single Traveler (someone the Night Machine had convinced to join his cause).
This is a special feature that will be created as the story goes along. Your character will not be accepted until you add at least one event to the Timeline. The Timeline is from our POV, how events have shaped, because of that it will be very empty at the beginning of the RPG, but will continue to grow if this continues.
183,987,389,542 BC: The Battle of Laurasia
100 Trillion AD: Terminus Station