How do Penguinists Tell Time?

We measure time in seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years, and so on. The main calendar in use today is the Gregorian calendar, which counts from the estimated date of the birth of Jesus Christ. Obviously, Penguinists have little use for such a date. So how do Penguinists tell time? Heads up: there’s going to be a lot of technical stuff in this post.

Physics Stuff

The way physical laws work in the old universe and this one are the same, which is why TVNM was able to break into it. We have the same elements, and so the same basic time unit is used. Atomic clocks rely on cesium-133. Specifically, “the International System of Units (SI) has defined the second as the duration of 9192631770 cycles of radiation corresponding to the transition between two energy levels of the ground state of the caesium-133 atom (Scientific American).”

Basic Units of Time

But of course a “second” is a unit of time that humans have created, based on the length of our day. The Br’sqvur use derivatives of individual caesium-133 cycle, the dri, and multiples of it. However, Br’sqvur arithmetic works on a base 60 number system, rather than the base 10 number system that we use.

There are a number of advantages to base 60. Unlike with base 10, which allows easy division by 2 and 5, base 60 allows easy division by 2, 3, 4, 5, 10, 12, 15, and 30. That’s one reason why time is almost base 60. There are 60 seconds in a minute, and 60 minutes in an hour. In Br’sqvur time telling, the smallest unit generally used is the tik, which is 60 * 60 * 60 * 60 * 60 * 60 dri, or about 5 seconds. Next is the ark, which is 60 tiks, and the mi, which is 60 arks.


But what about actual days and how about dates? Well, one issue with using dates is that traveling near the speed of light warps time. If you’re only traveling about 1/4 the speed of light, it isn’t too bad, but if you get towards 3/4+ time dilation becomes very pronounced. It makes universal time keeping very difficult. Instead, every colony ship had its own calendar, counting up from the date that the colony was founded.

The calendar doesn’t work in days, but rather cycles. A day is meaningless in space, but work shifts and sleep cycles are pretty well defined for the Br’sqvur. Like with penguins on Earth, the Br’sqvur can sleep for quite a bit. How much? Upwards of 4 mi, which is about 20 hours! But they do get a lot done when they’re awake, and a full cycle is 12 mi, or about 60 hours. The cycle is one of the few units of time that does not follow the standard 60 multiple rule. Their “month” is 60 cycles and a year is 60 of those months.  On even larger scales, there are generations, eras, and epochs.


Since all of this information can be a lot to take in, here’s a simple chart to keep track of everything!

Br’sqvur Time Earth Time
9192631770 dri 1s
1 tik 5 seconds
1 ark 5 minutes
1 mi 5 hours
1 cycle 2.54 days
1 month 152.4 days
1 year 25 years
1 generation 3 centuries
1 era 180 centuries
1 epoch 10.8 millennia


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