I can vaguely remember several hints in various Star Trek episodes of one (or more?) turmoils in the past of the series universe, during which historical records were lost. This does not seem to affect periods that are common in the series and the real universe (e.g. it is clear that memories from World War 2 or the Apollo program survive), but it mostly has to do with records of either these turmoil periods themselves, or other periods in-between our (real) present and the series present & past, at least until the Federation was established.

The focus of the question is not the turmoils themselves, but the resulting loss of historical records, if any.

Any pointers?

The question is inspired from the discussion in the comments of a recent thread, where a consensus does not seem to emerge.

  • 5
    By "turmoil", are you referring to the thermonuclear World War III and the rise of the Genetic Supermen?
    – Valorum
    Nov 27, 2019 at 11:07
  • @Valorum it can certainly be so, the focus is in the loss of the historical records that may have happened (and to what extend, if available)
    – desertnaut
    Nov 27, 2019 at 11:14
  • 3
    Tragically, all Beastie Boys albums before and after Ill Communication have been lost to the mists of time. Nov 27, 2019 at 13:25

3 Answers 3


In ST-TOS S01E22 (Space Seed), Spock mentions an era with incomplete historical records.

SPOCK: Hull surface is pitted with meteor scars. However, scanners make out a name. SS Botany Bay.

KIRK: Then you can check the registry.

SPOCK: No such vessel listed. Records of that period are fragmentary, however. The mid-1990s was the era of your last so-called World War.

MCCOY: The Eugenics Wars.

SPOCK: Of course. Your attempt to improve the race through selective breeding.

source: Space Seed episode transcript

  • Given my involvement in the thread which sparked this question, that doesn't resolve the questions raised in the thread - the idea there is that there is a wholesale break in the historical record, not just "records of that period" but basically humanity lost most of their history at some point.
    – Moo
    Nov 27, 2019 at 21:29
  • 4
    @Moo question is just inspired by that thread, nothing more; "most of their history" is not what I'm asking here, and this answer is spot on. Just waiting for possible more inputs before accepting
    – desertnaut
    Nov 27, 2019 at 21:57
  • @desertnaut yup, understand that, just don't want anyone in that thread to hold up this answer as a counter argument :)
    – Moo
    Nov 27, 2019 at 21:58
  • 1
    @Moo my impression is that the civilized and collegiate atmosphere in the relevant discussion makes this a very remote possibility ;)
    – desertnaut
    Nov 27, 2019 at 22:00

Yes, there was a facility called Memory Alpha that took a big hit...

enter image description here

screenshot from remastered series

This occurred in the Original Series episode "The Lights of Zetar". Netflix Amazon


KIRK: Lieutenant, try and warn Memory Alpha of the proximity of that phenomena. Give me an ETA for its possible impact.

CHEKOV: I cannot, sir. It has the ability to change speed.

UHURA: Sir, I'm unable to establish contact with the planetoid. I'm hailing on all frequencies. No response.

SPOCK: It is of little consequence, Captain. Memory Alpha has no protective shields.

KIRK: No shields?

SPOCK: None, Captain. When the library complex was assembled, shielding was considered inappropriate to its totally academic purpose. Since the information on the Memory planet is available to everyone, special protection was deemed unnecessary.

KIRK: Wonderful. I hope the storm is aware of that rationale.

It fell under attack and was severely damaged. Severely damaged.

[Memory Alpha]

MCCOY: Somehow, I find transporting into the darkness unnerving.

KIRK: Scotty, can you get us some more light?

SCOTT: I'm afraid this light'll have to do, Captain. The generator is inoperative.

KIRK: Damage report, Spock.

SPOCK: A disaster for the galaxy, Captain. The central brain is damaged. The memory core is burned out. The loss to the galaxy may be irretrievable.

The episode haunts my memories. And was a common topic of conversation amongst sysadmins, and was a real motivator to doing backups.


In Star Trek Discovery S02 E14 it is hinted that Discovery's existence is removed from Federation Records:

SPOCK: The destruction of Discovery was tragic but does in and of itself resolve the issue.

Even more radical steps must be taken to ensure that type of scenario never repeats itself.

PIKE: I'm eager to hear your recommendations, Lieutenant.

SPOCK: Regulation 157, Section Three, requires Starfleet officers to abstain from participating in historical events.

Any residual trace or knowledge of Discovery's data, or the time suit, offers a foothold for those who might not see how critical, how deeply critical, that directive is.

Therefore, to insure the Federation never finds itself facing the same danger, all officers remaining with knowledge of these events must be ordered never to speak of Discovery, its spore drive, or her crew again.

Under penalty of treason.

Later on, Spock writes to his personal log:

SPOCK: 124 days have passed since your disappearance.

It has been difficult, but we've managed not to reveal the truth of Discovery's fate to Starfleet.

Source: https://www.springfieldspringfield.co.uk/view_episode_scripts.php?tv-show=star-trek-discovery-2017&episode=s02e14

  • 1
    This seems more like a confidential file than a loss of data.
    – Edlothiad
    Nov 28, 2019 at 8:46

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