The Space-Time Vortex
(The Fifth Dimension)
Also known as the Fifth Dimension, the Space-Time Vortex is the foundation for the first four dimensions. The Vortex was brought into being using a loophole of temporal physics. By constructing the Eye of Harmony Rassilon and the Other participated in the creation of the 5th Dimension (the Vortex) at the moment of Event 1. This act was an essential event, as earlier Gallifreyan researchers, and other higher evolutionaries had been accessing the Astral Vortex since the beginning of time.
Time itself is made up of individual particles called Chronons. While it is possible to transmat objects through space by breaking the object down into light-waves and pushing them through the space between the time particles such actions have limited applications for time travel. Unfortunately, wormholes are extremely difficult to stabilize in Normal (Minkowski) Space, due to the space pressures, but such pressures are absent within the Vortex. Unlike the first four dimensions the fifth (and sixth-eleventh) dimension is collapsed and folded into a space the size of an atom. This allows for the formation of the wormholes that a TARDIS travels through. Since the Fifth Dimension is the foundation of the first four dimensions, it is possible for a Travel Capsules to move from Minkowski Space and integrate into the Fifth Dimension.
When plotted out in three dimensions, the Vortex appears to be a glittering blue void with gold highlights. There is no air pressure within the Vortex and the time winds are such that they would destroy any normal matter by ageing it until complete structural breakdown occurred. Block-Transfer objects are immune to the normal Vortex energies. While most humanoids would die in seconds if immersed in the Vortex some Time Lords can survive in the Vortex by using a technique called Vortex-Walking. Artron Energy can exist in the Vortex, and indeed it is the Artron Energy of every sentient in the Universe that makes up the Web of Time.
Even for a TARDIS, Vortex travel isn't entirely safe. They are vulnerable to surges in the Vortex called Time Spillage. These discharges of energy in the Vortex come from and go to nowhere. Freak surges in the Vortex can create time spikes. While only a minor inconvenience for fully trained Time Lords, inexperienced operators can end up losing their TARDIS's time signature when they collide with the time spike. Without the signature the TARDIS wouldn't know where Galactic Zero Center is and it would be impossible to plot the route-map home. A TARDIS uses Vortex Shields to protect itself and uses muon based counter-magnetization to navigate this and other turbulence. Most TARDISes can handle Time Spillage with a rating of 7 on the Bocca Scale, but if overloaded a TARDIS will attempt an Automatic Emergency Landing. A TARDIS that is trapped by a Spiral Nebula's gravity field will need carefully plotted escape coordinates to break free. The Event One hydrogen inrush that created the Milky Way Galaxy generates an immense amount of time force, enough that it is almost impossible for a TARDIS to escape.
Other dangers include massive black holes in the Multiverse (which cause random gravity lenses), monopole turbulence (often created by starship plasma drives), Tuckson-Jacker force fields (often used in weather control systems), quantum mirages, substrate diversions in the Vortex, and crossing the Time Spiral boundary. If a TARDIS was to be trapped between a Vortex Rupture and a Subspace Infarction it would break up. There are also uncharted areas of the Space/Time Vortex. The Mandragora Helix inhabits one such area. The Mandragora Helix is a spiral of pure energy radiating outwards in ways the Time Lords don't fully understand. This energy is sentient and has a relationship to the position of the stars. It is also possible (but very rare) for a TARDIS to become trapped in a fractional dimension between the Vortex and N-Space. But the Vortex is not just a danger to a TARDIS. A TARDIS is also a danger to the Vortex. A mortally wounded TARDIS could rip a hole in the vortex as it travelled.
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.