[tlhIngan Hol] Timeless (minor spoilers for season 2 finale)

Daniel Dadap daniel at dadap.net
Thu May 31 16:59:32 PDT 2018

(I’ll keep plot details as vague as possible but if you watch this show and don’t want to see a *very* minor spoiler regarding the season 2 finale, which I think aired a few weeks ago, don’t read further than this sentence.)

In the episode “Chinatown” of the NBC time-travel series “Timeless”, one of the plot elements was that a character sent a message forward in time by writing a message “in Klingon” that ended up in a photograph in a history book. The message was a set of longitude/latitude coordinates and the warning “don’t come”.

I paused the episode while the photograph was displayed to inspect the message more closely. I was hoping that it would say something like “HIghoSQo'”, but instead it said (in pIqaD) “*{Do not chome}”. The coordinates were also in pIqaD, a string of numbers that worked out to a location in the middle of the San Francisco Peninsula, which was consistent with the plot.

Out of universe, the obvious explanation is that somebody on the production staff downloaded a non-Unicode pIqaD font and typed out the coordinates and “do not come” in xifan hol. But since I like making up in-universe explanations for things, I’m just going to say that the character who wrote the Klingon message knew pIqaD but was shaky on vocabulary, and without access to TKD, which wouldn’t be written for another 100+ years, did the next best thing and spelled out a message in English using pIqaD.

Either that, or the message was supposed to be something like {Do not chom'e'} (“A bartender is never velocity”, though grammatically that should probably be {not Do ghaH chom'e'}, and even then it doesn’t make sense…) and the fact that it looked like “Do not come” was just a coincidence.

Anyway, TL;DR: a nice little “Klingon” surprise; not perfect, but I appreciated the effort, and it was way better than “Kuntar pateeky maya. Al fook soo.”

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