The Guardian of Forever

The Guardian of Forever was a portal-like device used for viewing the past and for traveling through time. It was constructed at least six billion years ago by an unknown race on a planet in the Beta Quadrant, within Federation space.

The planet that the Guardian of Forever is located on has different names in different books. This may be due to the fact the existence of the Guardian is a highly classified secret, and so the planet doesn't have an official designation. The ST module: All Our Yesterdays: The Time Travel Sourcebook claims the Guardian was created eight billion years ago.

History of the Guardian

Two million years ago, a young Q encountered the Guardian, which resulted in his meeting the malevolent extra-dimensional entity known as 0. One million years ago, 0 used the Guardian to bring other entities like itself into the Universe. (TNG novels Q-Space and Q-Zone) At this time was also when the "Guardian of Forever ruins" were created. (ST module: All Our Yesterdays: The Time Travel Sourcebook)

The Federation's first contact with the Guardian of Forever was made in 2267 by Captain James T. Kirk of the USS Enterprise. Doctor Leonard McCoy, suffering from cordrazine-induced madness, fled through the Guardian to 1930 Earth. Kirk and Spock followed him and succeeded in preventing him from altering history, but at the cost of the life of Edith Keeler, with whom Kirk had fallen in love. The incident made a profound emotional impact on Kirk. (TOS episode: "The City on the Edge of Forever")

Following its discovery, Federation researchers investigated the possibility of removing the Guardian from its planet to "The Yard", a secret Starfleet facility. This, however, proved not to be a practical option, and all study was conducted on the Guardian's planet. It had become something of an unofficial "Eighth Wonder".(TOS short story: "Devices and Desires")

In 2269, Spock assisted a team of historians at Oyya, the original name for the ruins on planet Gateway. During that assignment, Spock found that history had been altered so that he had died as a child. He used the Guardian of Forever to travel to 2237 and save the life of his younger self. (TAS episode: "Yesteryear", TAS novelization "Yesteryear")

Later that year, Spock gained permission to use the Guardian of Forever to visit Sarpeidon's past and bring his son Zar home with him. However, circumstances necessitated Zar returning to his own place in space and time. (TOS novel: Yesterday's Son)

Shortly after this, when historian William Harrod "accidentally" fell into the Guardian of Forever, Uhura was sent to retrieve him. (TOS short story: "If I Lose Thee...")

Towards the end of the year, Kirk and the Enterprise crew used the Guardian of Forever to prevent the Clan Ru from altering Earth's history. (TOS novel: First Frontier)

In 2285, Kirk, Spock and McCoy were sent by Starfleet Command to repair the malfunctioning Guardian. (TOS novel: Time for Yesterday) It was shortly after this that the Federation set up the Ellison Research Outpost on Gateway to study the Guardian and the timeline. (novel: Federation)

In 2293, Kirk visited the Ellison Research Outpost, where he questioned the Guardian. (novel: Federation)

Roughly around 2364, Dr. Elias Frobisher read his own obituary on a playback of the Guardian of Forever. (TNG novel: Double or Nothing)

In 2368, Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the USS Enterprise consulted the Guardian of Forever regarding the Devil's Heart. (TNG novel: The Devil's Heart)

In 2373, Special Agents Dulmer and Lucsly of the Federation Department of Temporal Investigations used the Guardian of Forever to visit Earth in 2063 and 1996 to follow up on recent temporal incursions by the USS Enterprise and the USS Voyager. (VOY short story: "Almost... But Not Quite")

During the Dominion War, around 2374, Roga Danar was recruited by Section 31 to prevent the Dominion from seizing the Guardian. After completing his mission, Roga asked the Guardian what it desired. When it said that it wanted freedom, Roga granted it permission to leave Gateway, which it did. (short story: "Orphans")

In 2375, James T. Kirk encountered another Guardian inside a Preserver vessel in orbit of planet Halka in the mirror universe. (TOS novel: Preserver)

The Guardian in alternate timelines

  • In one alternate timeline, in which Kirk and Spock fail in their mission to prevent McCoy from saving Keeler's life, Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott and Security Officer Michael Jameson travel to 1930 Earth from 2267. Instead, Kirk, distracted by Scott, is killed in the auto accident. This creates another alternate timeline in which Lt. Uhura and Security Officer Worsley travel back in time and join the other four officers to successfully restore history. (TOS short story: "Triptych")
  • In another timeline set in the 2260's, the Guardian was used to fix reality when it was discovered that renegades had traveled into the early periods of Klingon history where they prevented the assassination of a key figure. This resulted in the Klingon Confederation being a much more peaceful interstellar state that prized the sciences and worked with the Federation to destroy the Romulan Star Empire after the Romulans launched a sneak attack on them. The crew of the USS Enterprise traveled through the Guardian to return the timeline to its unaltered state. (TOS comic: "Time Crime")
  • In another, Kirk (circa 2269) was abducted by Kor, subjected to a Klingon mind sifter, and transported through the Guardian of Forever to 1950s Earth, where he was placed in a mental hospital. Spock was promoted to Captain and spent a year looking for Kirk. (TOS short story: "Mind-Sifter")
  • In another, in which Montgomery Scott traveled back in time to rescue James T. Kirk before he was absorbed into the Nexus, the Guinan of that universe consulted the Guardian to determine how to restore the timeline. The Guardian insisted that it was not possible to make all as it must be through him, and told Guinan to look within herself, showing her the Nexus and the multiple facets of herself, revealing the source of her frequent premonitions. (Star Trek novel: Engines of Destiny)
  • In another, Admiral William T. Riker used the Guardian of Forever in 2408 to travel to 2368 and prevent the murder of Deanna Troi by a time-traveling Sindareen. Experts in the 25th Century theorized its energy source came from the sun, via solar quantum filaments. (TNG novel: Imzadi)


  • The novel Preserver suggests that the Preservers may have created the Guardian of Forever as Kirk encounters a massive obelisk which has a Guardian inside.
  • In the Decipher Sourcebook Worlds, its speculated that the Iconians might be the makers of the Guardian of Forever.

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