TARDIS Technical Index


A TARDIS with people onboard

While some Time Lords do use Time Rings, the TARDIS is the preferred method of travel when leaving Gallifrey. Time Lords have almost no interest in other methods of travel.

Gallifreyans who attend the Time Academies have their Biodata modified to include Symbiotic Nuclei, making them a Time Lord. On their first day at the "TARDIS Academy" each TARDIS chooses their Time Lord operator from the ranks of Junior Time Lords at the Time Academy. It is also possible (in some situations) for a Gallifreyan with a symbiotic nuclei to purchase a TARDIS.

Once chosen, a TARDIS uses its Symbiotic Relationship Circuits to form a symbiotic bond of transcendent biomechanics with the Symbiotic Nuclei known as the Rassilon Imprimature. The Rassilon Imprimature makes a TARDIS more then just a vehicle or even a beast of burden to a Time Lord, they are essential parts of Time Lord technology and culture. The semi-instinctual neural link between a TARDIS and its operator is almost sexual in its intimacy. Each TARDIS has a gender, and some believe they provides a sense of companionship for its Time Lord operator in much the same way that a husband or wife does for their spouse.

It is not unheard of for a TARDIS to occasionally leave a new arrival “welcome aboard” gifts. While the option exists for a TARDIS to form a link with all six of its Time Lord crew, it is impossible (or at least unethical) for a Time Lord to own more then one TARDIS. This is, at least in part, due to the fact that a TARDIS becomes terribly jealous when an operator is bonded to more then one. Despite all of this most Time Lords treat their Time Travel Capsule as nothing more then a utilitarian form of transport rather then as a living creature.

Only after graduation Time Lords are allowed to make solo trips in their TARDISes. Even though hundreds of Time Lords have a TARDIS granted to them they must still obtain authorization before using the TARDIS to leave Gallifrey. It is common for only a couple of TARDISes to be off Gallifrey at any given time. Most TARDISes are designed to serve as mobile research laboratories, for this reason they rarely travel in groups. It takes a team of 6 researchers to make full use of TARDIS's capabilities. Such a team will often consist of the TARDIS's Time Lord operator and 5 technicians or specialists, who might be Apprentice Time Lords or mere Gallifreyans. Officially it is forbidden to allow a lesser species into a TARDIS, but this law is often overlooked. Retired Time Lords are not permitted to own a TARDIS, and unauthorized use of a TARDIS carries a mandatory Death Penalty. It should be noted that, in the case of a Gallifreyan, death refers to losing a single life.

While a TARDIS's transportation of its crew through time and space is usually described as a "Journey" it is just as accurate to say that a TARDIS actually works by recording is crew's biodata and reprocessing/manipulating their future to take into account a different location in space and time. As part of this process the Auto-Systems ensure that the crew member's reality quotients remain at 1.

A TARDIS constantly generates a low-level telepathic field, which allows it to telempathically read the surface thoughts of its crew. This allows a fully functional TARDIS to guide lost crew members to their destination using glowing arrows on the walls. The movement of non-sentient animals within a TARDIS can be controlled by setting the TARDIS to deliver electrostatic shocks if an animal moves into forbidden area. A TARDIS with Time War era upgrades automatically reconfigures the architecture to make sure the room the crew member needs comes to him. Being four-dimensional beings, TARDISes are even able alter their architecture to accommodate future passengers before the ship's Time Lord knows that there will be a new passenger. This can extend to rearranging and creating new living rooms.

The Auto-Gravity System automatically adjusts the gravity, within reason, while in the Vortex to acclimatize the crew to the local gravity of the destination. The gravity can also be manually controlled and the setting of individual rooms can be configured separately.

The TARDIS has devices that will alter the metabolism of its travellers so they won't gain too much weight if they overeat. There is some evidence to indicate that never need urinate or defecate while on board the ship. The beneficial environment of the TARDIS can help prevent wounded people from passing out.

The Laundromat's laundry circuits automatically repair, clean, and iron any clothes left overnight in the sleeping quarters. Normally the auto-cleaning systems keep the interior of a TARDIS quite sterile and ensure that the atmosphere is automatically cleaned. There is only one known case of a poorly maintained TARDIS spreading an organic virus from one time zone to another, indicating that a fully functional TARDIS must have some sort of anti-viral software.

The environmental systems always play a very light melody in the background to soothe and relax the crew members. This melody sounds like a steady hum to non-Gallifreyans. The tone of the hum changes depending on whether the TARDIS is materialized or in the Vortex. While travelling in the Vortex the TARDIS always has a faint vibration, which vanishes when the ship materializes. A TARDIS has an optional diurnal (day/night) cycle. The duration of these cycles, if enabled, will be derived from the brainwaves of the authorized crew members

A TARDIS interior micro-universe is created using Transcendental Equations that don't interface with Normal Space in a traditional way. The Hynoleptic Interface's default setting creates numerous internal illusions to prevent lesser humanoid species who are travelling in a TARDIS from going insane.

A TARDIS Sleeping RoomTechnically speaking vortex travel is instantaneous and the travel time is an illusion. For this reason, observant crew members will find that for every month they spend inside a TARDIS they will age slightly less then a week. There are reports that a human can live 2000 years while trapped inside a TARDIS, but this is unconfirmed. It should be noted that when energy supplies are completely depleted, the passage of time inside the TARDIS slows down relative to the exterior.

Though the TARDIS provides almost total protection from the energies of the Vortex, most crew members experience a subconscious sense of disconnection during vortex travel. This is the result of a cellular level awareness of being outside the first four dimensions. Some, (if not all) of a Time Lord's 22 temporal senses grow more acute the more times a Time Lord crosses the Time-Fields in a TARDIS. Because of this Time Lords are vulnerable to Temporal Shift Lag. Such effects can only be overcome if the Time Lord develops special mental disciplines. Temporal Shift Lag only effects beings with a symbiotic nuclei.

With each trip, the crew of a TARDIS will still be lightly irradiated with Artron Energy from the universe's background radiation. This chronon radiation can't be found in temporally stable environments and exposure can only occur by travelling in the Vortex. The amount of artron energy oxidants in the crew's DNA will incrementally build up with each trip. For this reason travelling in a TARDIS also has significant effects on the brain of any lesser species. The lymphocyte white blood cells will also mutate slightly under the influence of the radiation, but there are no negative side effects from this irradiation and it will never reach dangerous levels. The exposure does provide greater reserves for certain telepathic situations and will grant even lesser species a sensitivity to the changing of history. It might help a member of a lesser species survive travel though the Vortex and interstitial time.

Vortex travel will also cause the crew to accumulate Bockatrons, and Harminum, and other exotic particles. While most humanoids experience no side effects, a small percentage of life-forms that lack Symbiotic Nuclei suffer from Time-Sickness during flight. This usually manifests itself as strong feeling of dislocation but can take the form of headaches or digestive disorders.

Every TARDIS contains instruments for measuring these types of irradiation and thus verifying if the subject has travelled through the Vortex. These effects will show up very plainly in certain types of very advanced brain scans and the effect can be used to date the exposure. While it is possible to drain this energy out of a time traveller's DNA and put it to some sort of constructive use, under normal circumstances the levels of concentration will never fade.

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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