"Omni" by definition means "In all things" or "In all ways or places." It's a fitting name for this simple, yet stylish time-travel device Voyagers use to travel through the ages. The omni, guided by an unseen omnipotent force, or forces – Most likely, the hardworking Historians and Administrators at Voyager Headquarters – knows exactly when and where to send Voyager Field workers on assignment. But it'd help if the omni Techs re-tooled those bumpy landings!
The omni is the tool all Voyagers use to travel through time. The omni or omnichron (as it was originally named in the script) comes in different state-of-the-art models, but Phineas Bogg uses a standard brass version. He often curses the omni for getting "Stuck in the automatic mode!" with the red and green lights flashing and constant buzzing. When a Voyager gets stuck on automatic, they're unable to leave the time zone until the omni is field stripped.
In the episode "World's Apart," inventor Thomas Edison (Played by Steven Keats) was so enthralled with the omni he took it apart down to the last dirty gear, nut, and bolt and cleaned it. He'd unwittingly field stripped it. Poor Jeffrey had a fit and thought he ruined history and his ability to see Bogg again. Edison fortunately had the genius to put it all back in perfect working order. The omni had the filthiest movement he'd ever seen. When Jeffrey admitted to it being a time machine, Edison laughed heartily, "Now that would be an invention!"
According to various magazine articles and reviews, the omni was originally called by its full name: “The Omni-Chronometer.” That name was never used in the final cut of the series nor did the mysterious Tribunal members use the name in the episode, "The Trial of Phineas of Bogg."
The Omni is truly a one-of-a-kind time traveling device. As a television prop it was exquisitely crafted down to the tiniest detail. While the red/green light function is simple-like stop and go, I'd venture to say the hardest part may be learning to adjust the tiny dials. This omni clearly follows the standard Roman Calendar. English may be the mandatory language at VHQ, and all students are taught to read English numerals/months/days.
I'd wondered about character-based languages such as Russian, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, etc. One theory is that when prompted, the omni uses a state-of-the-art brain wave transference. It allows the Voyager to hear and see his native language and and vice-versa. It's a cool concept that I've accepted.
The Omni lid is beautiful. It has a carved "V" symbol in the center and one of the Voyager credos, "Time waits for no man," engraved across the bottom. The origin of this quote is uncertain. It may have come from a short Medieval morality play called Everyman. It's the character "Death" that utters these words. The line reads – "For wete you well the tyde abydeth no man." Later translations eventually changed it to – "Time and the tides wait for no man."
Bogg was furious after losing his Guidebook because it most likely gave directions on how to Field Strip the "darn thing" for himself. The mechanical parts of the omni work just like a watch; in fact, any competent watchmaker can successfully service the parts. Field Stripping doesn't involve a complete a dismantling; it's more cleaning and lubricating certain parts, and performing some adjustments when necessary. Kind of like an Engine tune-up as opposed to a complete overhaul.
If you look at a close-up of the omni in the first episode, you'll see peculiar red markings around the dials. It's believed that a Voyager must line the red markings up properly until they are directly under the magnifier in the 'V' shape. When the activator button is pressed, they're sent to VHQ. This theory isn't proven because the red marks appear and disappear depending on which omni was used in the episode or scene.
On the omni from "The Trial of Phineas Bogg," you'll notice the lights are dead and the globe is blacked out – because VHQ is presumably beyond our world, perhaps even in another dimension or realm. But it could also simply mean that VHQ deactivated it for the Trial. VHQ can manipulate and control the omni without the Voyager touching it.
Bogg was furious after losing his Guidebook because it most likely gave directions on how to Field Strip the darn thing for himself. The mechanical parts of the omni work just like a watch; in fact, any competent watchmaker can successfully service the parts. Field Stripping doesn't involve quite so complete a dismantling; it's more cleaning and lubricating certain parts, and performing some adjustments when necessary. Kind of like an Engine tune-up as opposed to a complete overhaul.
The omni dials/rings are divided in 5 sections – starting with the globe. The tiny ball bearings are used for grip and to manipulate the dials.
1. The Globe - Location on the world map/landmass
2. The first is a Lock Ring to hold globe in place
2. The Second ring represents the month. (January – December)
3. The Third ring represents the day. (1-31)
4. The Fourth ring is the latter year – On Bogg's Omni it would be 0-99, but his specific parameters were set for 1970. The omni was not meant to travel into the future.
5. The fifth dial is the century – On Bogg's Omni its 1900 – 1999AD – The prop art director wasn't sure how Bogg was able to travel 1450 BC. Fans later created their own omni parameters as you can read below.
Voyagers had better brush up on their geography, because the globe only pinpoints the landmass. Perhaps future models will act like modern day GPS devices, and give the name of the country and region. Regardless, the omni knows exactly where to send the Voyager for his next assignment despite lacking specific visible details.
Above is an original Omni Schematic drawn by Art Director Richard B. Lewis.
A Photo of the omni and a knapsack. It's possible Bogg was supposed to carry the bag for his supplies. Maybe he lost it somewhere in time before he met Jeffrey.
Voyager Drake's silver omni Model 316-50. It boasts open-time calibration and is state-of-the-art by Voyager Headquarters standards. An open-time calibration means that his omni can be set for any time zone without year restrictions. We never see the innards of Drake's omni, but we can assume it resembles Bogg's brass one.
Since Bogg and Jeffrey were assigned to track down Voyager Drake, it would've been wise of the Council to grant Bogg the same omni. However, the Voyagers don't even stay long enough to get a replacement Guidebook! Le Sigh!
As seen by Bogg's deactivated omni before his trial, VHQ has the power to remotely access an omni and make changes. However Drake had other Voyagers working for him, they might've reprogrammed his to remain untraceable.
The Omni was originally conceived to be worn on the wrist, but this feature took away from the exciting stories where the omni gets lost or stolen. (See original concept art above. The image was provided by fan Mike Peterson, given to him by Art Director Richard B. Lewis.)
* According to a fan who spoke to Meeno Peluce, the original omni cost about $3,500.
* The omni was 100% custom designed, no found parts were used.
* The omni lid was first custom made, then the details of the "V" in the center were carefully hammered onto it, as well as the Lettering for "Time waits for no Man."
* All of the omni sounds were added later after filming the episodes, the prop only had a solid Green light and a blinking Red Light, no sound.
Voyagers Guidebook Replica Facts
Thanks to Jake Crepeau for the information.
On Field Stripping the Omni, it says that for an experienced professional, it takes a minimum of three hours on a model 316-50; for a novice on a 313 (the one Bogg has), it can take up to eight hours. It's no wonder Phineas complained to Jeffrey in the pilot episode, "Do you know how long it takes to field strip one of these things?"
All Omnis of model 313 go from 1450 BC to 1970. That's pretty interesting, considering Bogg's first voyage with Jeffrey starts during the time of Moses' infancy, 1450 BC. It is most likely that the omni automatically reset itself after going so far out of it's time parameters when Bogg picked up Jeffrey in 1982. So, when Phineas and Jeffrey landed, the dials reverted back to the first date on the omni and it was stuck in automatic mode.
The gold omni that Isaac Wolfstein claimed to have was a model 310, which had a variable range that went up to 1925 AD.There was also a model 305, which was pewter and went from 1450 BC to 0 AD. The earliest Omni, the 314, was platinum and went from 0 AD to 1500 AD. The 316-50's "Open time calibration" apparently means that it has no territorial parameters, but can go anywhere in time.
The "Stunt Omnis" (As seen above) were made of resin and painted gold. They were clipped to Hexum's belt for action scenes, like running, fighting, etc. and were often glued closed to prevent them from flopping open and off the belt - potentially injuring or stumbling the actor. The light-up metal omnis with turn-dial functions were larger and bulkier and used for the close-up shots when needed.
In the close up photos of the stunt Omni used by Jon-Erik Hexum and Meeno Peluce, the 'V' and "Time waits for no man" text has faded. The inner portion has no dials or globe, you can see the glue spots where it was sealed and there's still dirt trapped in the belt clip.
Only 3 omnis were made and James Parriott still has the Originals in his possession. There are about 2-3 "Stunt" omnis somewhere in time. One was given to a long-time fan with a letter from Parriott – "Glad you enjoyed Voyagers! We all loved making it. This is an Omni that we used for stunts (The metal ones were too dangerous.) Only 2 or 3 of these are still in existence. (I have the real omnis.) Enjoy."
THE OMNI MEMORY RECORDER
The Omni Memory Recorder is a rickety device used to extract the data from a Voyager's omni. It is particularly useful in the courtrooms and makes its first and last appearance in "The trial of Phineas Bogg."
The Omni Memory Recorder is one of those whimsical machines made of clock cogs, sprockets and springs...like something you would see in a kooky inventor's shop in the turn of the century. The omni recorder is a full-on Steampunk Machine. It takes nearly half a minute to even warm up and it somehow releases the data in a showy display of mist in the oval the imaging mirror.
Voyagers better keep on their toes because it reads the omni recorder data and documents almost every move the Voyager makes, at least according to what we see in the mirror. This harmless looking device can make or break you, and like a movie, parts can be edited.
Voyager Drake learned how to edit an omni's data and had many innocent Voyagers needlessly banished. The Omni Memory Recorder has a safety mode and brims with electric energy. It can stun a man unconscious, or if put to a higher voltage, kill them.
The Recorder whirls to life as it reads and exposes the tampered contents on Bogg's omni.
Don't mess with the power of the Omni Memory Recorder! You think someone could have warned Phineas ahead of time that he couldn't just grab his omni off the holder? Perhaps in his desperation to escape the trial, he forgot the shocking consequences.
With all that blue energy surrounding Bogg, he looks ready to take a Quantum Leap...very curious, when you consider the comparisons made between the two NBC shows! Dr. Sam Beckett leaps in a burst of blue electrum during the opening credits. This blue energy also resembles the time energy that makes up the Doctor's regenerations. It forms his unique grave in the episode "Name of the Doctor."
Excerpt from the Voyagers Guidebook Replica
Created by Chris Canniff, and Matt Everingham