In the TNG episode Clues, the crew

deliberately wipe their memory of an alien race who want to remain undiscovered. This results in their losing one full day of memory (and presumably, at the end of the episode, two days).

However, when the Enterprise next interacts with Starfleet (eg docks at a space station or comes into contact with a time beacon1), won't they do some kind of clock synchronisation and then realise that they've:

missed a day (or two)?

Is there any way, in universe, that this can be explained?

This question was inspired by this: Do ships at warp experience time dilation?

1 Thanks to Richard for this tip.

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    It would be a very minor mystery. I get the impression that small discrepancies in time are quite common. – Valorum Feb 12 '16 at 10:36
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    @Richard: where do you get that impression from? And do you think that one full day (possibly more) that no one can account for would be considered a "small discrepancy"? – Reinstate Monica - Goodbye SE Feb 12 '16 at 10:39
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    When you're dealing with mini-wormholes, spacial rifts and traveling about at speeds above lightspeed, I'm pretty confident that missing time is a regular feature of starfleet life. – Valorum Feb 12 '16 at 11:27
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    @Richard: I think that if they can track mass to the molecular level they should also be able to track time to the nanosecond, despite anomalies. If they experience time dilation at warp (the linked question), then they should be able to account for travelling at speeds above light speed. And they don't take the Enterprise through spacial rifts that often! – Reinstate Monica - Goodbye SE Feb 12 '16 at 11:30
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    After checking both Memory Alpha and the IMDB entry for the episode, it looks like this is a plot hole. The writers could have thrown in a line about the supposed wormhole kicking them a day or two off in time, but I guess they didn't think of it. – Joe L. Feb 12 '16 at 22:04

Wormholes and other spacial rifts are well known in the Star Trek universe to have both spacial and temporal components. Given that Picard thinks that they've traveled through a highly unstable wormhole, the discrepancy between the ship's chronometer and Federation chronometers could easily be explained as one of the effects of the wormhole itself; only 30 seconds passed subjectively (e.g. on board the ship), but a whole day passed objectively (e.g. in the rest of the universe):

PICARD: The ship just went through a wormhole. The entire crew was unconscious for approximately thirty seconds.

Note that a lack of temporal variance is one of the key things that Chakotay scans for when the crew of the Voyager encounters a wormhole. There's obviously no point using one if the other end comes out next to Earth but in the year 2,000,000 B.C.

CHAKOTAY: He's right. No subspatial contortions, no temporal variance. - Voy: Bliss

Since the ability to travel forwards in time would be of little use or interest to the Federation, there's no point in further investigating a phenomenon that's inherently dangerous but has no intrinsic value.

  • But they didn't pass through a wormhole in that episode. – Reinstate Monica - Goodbye SE Feb 13 '16 at 11:45
  • I meant "Clues" from my question. – Reinstate Monica - Goodbye SE Feb 13 '16 at 12:08
  • @Wikis - No, but they think they went through a wormhole. When they discover the clocks are off, they'll probably put it down to "temporal variance". The exit of the wormhole is 24 hours later than the entrance. – Valorum Feb 13 '16 at 12:10
  • Good point. I was going to suggest you add that to the answer but you have already done so... – Reinstate Monica - Goodbye SE Feb 13 '16 at 12:12
  • Put another way: They might consider themselves lucky that their clocks are only 1 or 2 days off after the encounter with a wormhole. The crew of the USS Bozeman probably wishes their subspace anomaly encounter was so good. Same for the crew of the USS Voyager when they discovered a micro-wormhole to the Alpha Quadrant -- (20 yrs in the past). – Captain P Feb 17 '16 at 11:01

In ST:Enterprise's second season episode "A night in sickbay", we hear the Kreetassans say:

KREETASSAN [on viewscreen]: Why haven't you adjusted your time to our capital city?

Indicating that it is common to shift the chronometer to the particular part of space you're visiting. Perhaps skipping a day while doing so doesn't raise eyebrows.

Chakoteya.NET - a night in sickbay

  • That was more about adjusting the day/night cycle, not changing the actual clock – Valorum Feb 12 '16 at 12:33
  • I personally haven't flown intergalactic starships, but on inter-continental flights, I adjust to their day/night cycle by setting my clock. – steenbergh Feb 12 '16 at 12:36
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    You might reset your watch to local time but I think you'd notice if your flight took 34 hours instead of 10 – Valorum Feb 12 '16 at 13:11

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