- "They all look the same, don't they? Carved out of something hard and nasty"
- —Sabaolom Glitz
- "I have a Ferrari. A Ferrari of Time Science. You have... you have... a pogo stick."
- —@DоcTоʀ X
Time Lords, aka, Lords Temporal, Lords of Time, Chronarchs Timeys - Time Lords or Ladies are higher evolutionaries who walk in eternity and are the self-appointed guardians of both time and history. While they are considered to be the oldest and most mighty of the universe's civilizations, the Time Lords view themselves as academics and observers who are devoted to a life of service to history.
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Becoming a Time Lord
Gallifreyans who attend the academies have their biodata modified, especially their DNA, by anointing them with time energies from the Eye of Harmony while they are still initiates. This alters the initiate's DNA, creating symbiotic nucleotides, a fourth helix of DNA, and the other capabilities, making the Gallifreyan a Time Lord. Time Lord abilities can also be added to a subject's biodata by injecting them with retro DNA serum in the form of a red liquid. The initiates gain the rank of junior grade Time Lords at this point.
Extensive exposure to a Time Lord might also cause a human to become infected with Time Lord DNA; the effects of this would not be obvious to a Human.
Some sources have stated that the Time Lords became what they were through billions of years of exposure to the Time Vortex via the Untempered Schism. Throughout their entire evolution, they have been steeped in temporal energy. Other sources state that one has to "become" a Time Lord, and that there is a certain cultural/social aspect to the term. These seemingly contradictory statements are perfectly reconcilable-- Everyone on Gallifrey has a temporal mutation, but like River Song,who was conceived aboard an in-flight TARDIS, which doused her unborn body in that temporal radiation, it remains small-scale and dormant at first. Individuals must go to the Academy in order to have their mutation "activated," which unlocks their Time Lord abilities. (Which is why River, having had no such induction, required extensive genetic modification by the Silence to approximate Time Lord norms) So in essence, being a time mutant is one thing (and everybody on Gallifrey is one, even the primitive outcasts who live in the badlands), but in order to be a true Time Lord, you have to have a time mutation, and you have to have attended the Academy in order to attain the culture and knowledge of a Time Lord as well as having the Rassilon Imprimatur bestowed.
All Time Lords have symbiotic atomic nuclei which is needed to 'prime' a time travel capsule, form a quasi-symbiotic link with the it, and to prevent it from molecularly destabilizing in the vortex. This self-regenerating genetic link is known as the Rassilon Imprimature (The Two Doctors). The nuclei serve a similar function with time rings and other transtemporal technology. The semi-instinctual neural link between a TARDIS and its operator is almost sexual in its intimacy. Some believe a TARDIS provides a sense of companionship for a Time Lord in much the same way that a husband or wife does for their spouse. A side effect of the full link is that a Time Lord is constantly sending small temporal waves throughout the universe that can be used by Gallifrey to track a Time Lord's space-time travels. The nuclei might be located in a Time Lord's hearts.
The symbiotic nuclei cannot be removed from a Time Lord without killing them. They can be permanently deactivated by the right type of mutagen; such a deactivation would eliminate a Time Lord's powers and his ability to regenerate. The DNA modification causes them to grow a time brain, probably connected to the temporal lobes under the frontal lobes of their brains, making them time sensitive. An organ in their hypothalamus allows Time Lords to perceive the higher dimensions by reciting the right equations. The abnormalities of a Time Lord's brain show clearly in an x-ray.
In all, Time Lords have 27 different senses, and all but the first five are related to time. Some of these senses will make a Time Lord dizzy and nauseous when exposed to temporal disturbances (City of Death). These senses grow more acute the more times a Time Lord crosses the time-fields in a TARDIS. One of these senses allows them to sense an object's relative age; another allows some incarnations to read a person's biodata, such as their future history, just by looking at them. They can identify older TARDISes as TT capsules, regardless of their disguise, and can often tell the type and general condition of the capsule, as well. They have Time Lord topographical sense which allows them to remember any path they have taken. This might work by tracing their own biodata. To use their topographical sense, they must, however, remember to store the path they took.
Some Time Lords can measure rooms down to the centimeter by eyesight alone. Their time brain also gives them enhanced temporal perception and resistance to chrono-instability (The Time Monster, Invasion of the Dinosaurs). A mechanism inside Time Lord biodata allows them to sense distortions in the biodata of others, and see though, not identify, other peoples time traces. In other words, they can tell when someone's personal history has been altered. They can perceive in a vague way the full history of the biodata of others. These senses will induce a strong sense of prejudice and revulsion if they detect someone who is immortal because they have become fixed in time and space (Utopia). Time Lords are history proofed, which gives them superior abilities to remember alternate timelines. In most species, they are little more than dreams, but Time Lords can usually remember previous versions of history books they just read. It's possible that Time Lord biodata actually changes and mutates the biodata of lesser species who interact with them.
A Time Lord's understanding of the 4th dimension is mathematical and not instinctual. Strong magnetic fields give their skin goosebumps (The War Machines). While a triple helix of DNA is necessary for regeneration, Time Lord DNA has quadruple helix. The fourth helix is a fast line which extends via a TARDIS into the 4th dimension, and maps the Time Lord into the space-time vortex, the 5th dimension, with block-transfer numbers. Because of this, the vortex is an integral part of Time Lord biology and culture. Once linked to the heart of space time, their TARDISes give them access to the power of creation and they are capable of changing their time state by thinking the right block-transfer time equation, allowing them to interact with the deep-level process of the fourth dimension. This, the greatest of the Time Lord powers, might be related to quantum mnemonics or omega's power of psychosynthesis. The Osiran Sutekh (Pyramids of Mars) was one of the few beings whose power might exceed all the Time Lords. However, by the year 2966 AD, the Sisterhood of the Flame, on Karn, claim to be the only other race whose mental powers are to equal the Time Lords (The Brain of Morbius).
This power is such that Time Lords who leave Gallifrey or the micro-universe of a TARDIS will, just by observing, crystallize the mimetic structure of local history, preventing events from occurring any other way and creating a single continuity. The more time a Time Lord spends traveling in the vortex, the more artron energy they will build up in their bodies. Experienced Time Lords can work apparent miracles by manipulating time the 4th dimension through their access to the dimension of thought and consciousness that serves as the foundation of the universe, the 5th dimension.
Some Time Lords can, when in the right state of mind, temporarily shift objects or themselves out of space and levitate their bodies. The power held by a single Time Lord is limited by both the age or possibly experience of the Time Lord, the moral code of the Time Lord, and by the total number of Time Lords in existence at that point.
Time Lords keep history—aka, the web of time—largely unchanging merely by existing. Indeed, they are so intertwined with the universe that they are a part of the laws of time and space. They consider it their primary purpose to serve time. As higher evolutionaries, Time Lords have a complex of a pseudo-precognitive powers. Despite superficial appearances, the universe is not random, but instead follows a complex, four dimensional pattern. Time Lords can see this pattern, and thus can predict the future with an astonishing degree of accuracy. The Doctor has always had a knack for telling when society was out of phase, or when evil was present. This could be a Time Lord gift, but if it is, it's not one that other Time Lords acknowledge.
Because of the danger of using their power, the the laws of time are built into a Time Lord's genetic modifications; so Time Lords know them instinctively. These genetic modifications allow them to think in 4 dimensions, which is necessary to truly understand the laws of time. If a Time Lord is going to be tempted to break the laws of time, the violator will experience severe long term memory problems and some pain, months to years before the temptation. At the moment of temptation, the Time Lord will feel large parts of his personality being blocked and disabled. These retroactive responses are programmed into the genetic modifications to make it extremely difficult for a Time Lord to break the laws of time. Once a Time Lord learns to overcome these blocks, they become fairly easy to ignore.
Time Lords are programmed to panic if they think that there's something wrong with the space-time continuum. Minor and major temporal paradoxes give them headaches. In addition, pattern-recognition systems are encoded into the genetic memories of the Time Lord's unborn young. They have multidimensional killing responses hidden in their biodata that allows them to fight their ancient enemies from the Time War. Time Lords used to be shielded to the Blinovitch limitation effect, but the Time Lords removed this shield to stop violations of the first law of time if released within the vortex. Time Lords trained to used a vortex-walking trance can, with the aid of a vortex, tunnel travel through space and time under their own power (Shada). Some Time Lords have internal chronometry abilities. This allows them to know the time down to a nanosecond. The Doctor can't do this. Other Time Lords have deep-time memory, which allows them to clearly remember the original version of their history, even after their personal past has been deliberately changed. A Time Lord would be able to detect the existence of other Time Lords, even if they are slightly out of sync with his timeline. This would allow a Time Lord to know if all the Time Lords in the cosmos had been killed. The right type or ro wave broadcasts could be used to hide a Time Lord.
The dreams of a Time Lord are visions that are free of the shadows of matter, thus they can provide information about the world outside of the range of their senses and can be premonitions about the future. Some Time Lords get random premonitions of the future while conscious. Time Lords who have nightmares, a very rare occurrence, or near-death states, sometimes make deals with them, and sometimes become their champions.
Time Lords metabolize alcohol very quickly, so it is almost impossible for them to become drunk. Some Time Lords have very fine control over the rate at which they metabolize alcohol, and special meditations allow a Time Lord to regulate their metabolism, making inebriation possible prior to a regeneration.
It is not uncommon for Time Lords to unconsciously generate alternate future versions of themselves in a proto-plasmic pupate stage. These beings are called watchers (Logopolis). The watchers are insubstantial, but can communicate and act on their own if a Time Lord's mental powers are very well developed. They can even create a fully interactive, stable, future incarnation (Planet of the Spiders). This is probably a violation of the first law of time. These type of projections might be called a Tulpa. In either case, the watcher will last until the regeneration occurs. Unconsciously created watchers are very rare, but can be caused precipitated by damage to the causal nexus. Like all life forms that reside in the first 5 dimensions, Time Lords are incapable of observing the 6-11th dimensions.
The only way most Time Lords can cope with their near infinite power is to be so narrow-minded and dull-witted that they never realize the power they have. The doctor claims that after living in the capitol for a few thousand years, a Time Lord completely loses their personality. All Time Lords take their responsibility to time very seriously and know that if there was any danger that they would be used by an alien force to threaten time, then the other Time Lords would shut down the victim's personal timeline and place it in the axis. For this reason, every Time Lord that leaves Gallifrey knows they are considered to be expendable. Because of this, only the most eccentric or arrogant Time Lords will voluntarily leave their homeworld.
Time Lords who travel the cosmos regularly are encouraged to take a companion from among the lesser species to serve as something of a moral conscience. A visionary Time Lord is rare, and a stable visionary Time Lord is even rarer. Time Lord dementias are much worse then Alzheimer disease. All Time Lords have a dark side to their minds, called the dark design. When a Time Lord goes mad, a storm of the dark design covers their brains (NA: Falls the Shadow). Insane Time Lords are usually quietly locked away in institutions. It is not unusual for inventive Time Lords to go mad, and indeed, all the truly great Time Lords went mad: Omega, Rassilon, Borusa, The Master, Morbius, etc. Any Time Lord who has access to the power of the heart of the vortex would become a vengeful god.
They cease being Time Lords when they have used up all 12 of their regenerations (The Deadly Assassin). Retired Time Lords are not permitted to own TARDISes, but possibly have the option of living off Gallifrey if they choose (Shada). Old Time Lords often get their tenses muddled, because the minds or souls Time Lords are stored in the APC after death. They don't fear death for this reason. Time Lords are expected to face death with dignity; their bodies are sometimes interned in the Panoptican vault 30 meters beneath the Panoptican. Time Lord bodies are telepathically active due to residual psychic power. If a Time Lord dies within his TARDIS while in his final incarnation, his body will fade away as the TARDIS stores his essence. The artron energy released into the vortex by the death of a Time Lord would be enough to drag Earth's moon out of orbit and crash into the planet.
Ancient Gallifreyans didn't evolve from apes, and they do not believe they evolved from monkeys, either. Early Gallifreyans had only one heart; most deaths were a result of heart failure. Ancient Gallifreyans had a bypass respiratory system. When used, the bypass system makes them very resistant to most forms of anesthetic, but not chloroform and strangulation. They can hold their breath for hours if they don't move much. Their blood, hormones, and pheromones have distinct differences from modern Gallifreyans.
Gallifreyans usually can't interbreed with Humans. Their children have milk teeth, and age slower then Humans. It might take hundreds of years for a Gallifreyan to mature into an adult. An 11 year old would look like an 8 or 9 year old Human, but a 16 year old would look like a Terran teenager. At around this point, their aging slows dramatically—a 48 year old would look like an 18 year old Human.
Time Lords DO NOT share 98 of their genes with vampires, contrary to some accounts. They are rated Human++++. The DNA of every previous incarnation lies dormant inside a Gallifreyan's body. By the time he has regenerated 7 times, the Doctor, and presumably other Gallifreyans, have 69 chromosomes divided into 23 homogeneous triads.
They are vulnerable to some earth viruses like influenza, fevers, and the common cold. They can also suffer from rheumatism. However, Gallifreyans are also much more resistant to mercury poisoning than humans.
Every Gallifreyan has a biodata extract, aka biog-data extract or d-e sample, removed and stored by the coordinator of the matrix and viewable only by the coordinator, the Castellan, and members of the high council. Transmission of an extract is considered treason. There are millions of Time Lord extracts stored in the archival office, implying that Gallifrey has had more then 1,000 Time Lords for much of its history, but as of the ancestor cell, a total of only 153,846 Time Lord minds have been uploaded into the matrix. Extracts of Time Lords are color coded by chapter. Time Lord d-es can only be accessed by the high council or the Castellan, and all accesses are logged (The Deadly Assassin).
Time Lords have multiple organs of virtually everything, including two more ribs than humans, and two of most of the organs that Humans have only one of, and four of the organs that Humans have only two of. Aside from the extra ribs, a Gallifreyan's skeleton is almost identical to a Human's. They have only one liver.
Their internal body temperature is 15—16ºC/60ºF. However, their skin temperature is only a little below the human norm. Gallifreyans tend to find a room temp of 20ºC to be uncomfortably hot. Despite this, adult Gallifreyans are capable of withstanding extreme temperatures at both ends of the scale. They can remain conscious in the -270ºC cold of space for 6 minutes, and can withstand 200ºC for up to 3 minutes. At body temperatures of several hundred degrees below 0ºC, a Gallifreyan will lose complete control of their body and appear dead. Despite this, their mind is in fact very active.
Gallifreyans probably have tonsils, and it's probably not unknown for them to be removed (The Gunfighters). Gallifreyans have more than one stomach, and are not as vulnerable to malnutrition as Humans are. Despite this, their metabolism is relatively close to a Human's, and they can eat the same foods. Gallifreyans in their teens need as much food as a Human teenager, if not more. Adult Gallifreyans eat about as much as Humans. Some Gallifreyans can use their stomachs to interpret Human memory RNA, and produce the Gallifreyan equivalent. They can apperently tell an object's age and composetion purly by taste. They can easily go two days without water, and a week without food is not a major strain. In fact, they sometimes sit in thought for days without food or water. However, 40 days without food or water will make a Gallifreyan delirious. Gallifreyans can't become drunk or suffer the effects of hallucinogens unless they want to, and thus can easily drink 10 pints of beer. They need to urinate every few days.
Aspirin is incredibly toxic to Gallifreyans; the allergic reactions when aspirin begins to interfere with their genetic structure causes massive a pulmonary and cerebral embolism severe enough to prevent regeneration, and even touching aspirin can be dangerous. (The Mind of Evil)
Gallifreyans don't have prostate glands. When trained, they can control their adrenaline, blood-sugar levels, heart rate, respiration, and perspiration to the point where they can fool 23rd century medical diagnostics. They can even switch off any of their organs at will. They also have control over the speed and location of their hair growth, and can grow hair faster then humans or stop the growth completely.
Their skin smells like honey and has extra subdural and subcutaneous layers. This makes their skin very resistant to radiation, physical damage to poison ivy sunburns, and tanning. They can easily absorb 50 times the output of a 21st century medical x-ray machine, approximately 50 rems of roentgen (aka x-ray radiation), and then expel it into any object they they can touch (Smith and Jones). Younger incarnations appear to be significantly more resistant to radiation then older incarnations.
Gallifreyans can erect non-porous barriers around their noses, ears, and eyeballs that prevent any intrusion on the molecular level. This allows them to remain conscious for 6 minutes, and survive up to 20 minutes in space unprotected (Four to Doomsday). Gallifreyans have incredible strength for their size. They can remain conscious when exposed to G-forces that would kill a human (Ambassadors of Death). They can enter self-induced sleep trances in which breathing, heart beat, and brain activity are all reduced to an absolute minimum. While in this trance, a Time Lord can ponder complex ideas without any outside distractions. Twenty minutes in this state is equivalent to 8 hours for a human, thus they only need about 1—6 hours of sleep every 2 days, and some Gallifreyans can get by on a decade of sleep every 100 years. Others become tired after being awake for only 4 days. Young Gallifreyans need to sleep a little more then most humans, but after they pass the first maturation and learn to control their bodies, they only need 1—2 hours a day.
Gallifreyans rarely dream, but when they do, they sometimes dream of choosing their next bodies, being able to fly, becoming the opposite sex, and bearing children. Gallifreyans who have regenerated in that last few days will require a lot of sleep, even by Human standards.
Gallifreyan brains are green in color and larger then a Human's. They have superganglion which allow them to reorder and reprogram their neural pathways at will. Among other things, this allows them to separate the operation of the two hemispheres of their brains and makes them immune to some types of interrogation. Technology they can also switch off the parts of their brain that process input from various senses, allowing them to limit their vast number of senses to the same range as a Human. They have greater memory capacity than a Human. A dormant throwback organ in their brains can allow them to sense higher dimensions with training. However, they are much more vulnerable to changing magnetic fields then most humanoids are. At the base of their brains is a separate lobe called the autonomic brain that handles all body and motor functions. This frees the rest of the brain for purely intellectual pursuits, allowing them to think of over 7,432 ideas in a few minutes. An electroencephalograph of a Gallifreyan brain will show a type of activity unlike any human brain.
Because of their extended life span, Gallifreyans need to clear out some of their memories every few thousand years. They usually store the more important memories using telepathic circuits. Gallifreyans have a nerve cluster of major ganglion along their left collar bone beneath the left clavicle that allows them complete control over their own metabolism; a blow at this cluster will render them unconscious (NA: Set Piece).
Their retinas are so sophisticated that they can almost think on their own. In addition to rods and cones, their eyes are equipped with octagons, giving them amazing night vision. They can shift their vision outside the normal visual spectrum, allowing them to see a total of 170 different levels of the electromagnetic spectrum, including in some shades of ultraviolet. Their pupil response is very different from humans, and can resist super intense photo-emissions that would permanently blind a human. They can speed read at a superhuman level (City of Death).
A Time Lord's reflexes can be as much as ten times faster than a human's, and some can write 30,000 words in just over 2 hours. A regenerated Gallifreyan's hearing and smell is better than a human's, and some Gallifreyans can perform biochemical analyses of what they eat, including identifying blood types (The Christmas Invasion).
Unconscious Gallifreyans can often be awakened with a heated infusion of free radicals, antioxidants, and tannin, aka, boiling tea vapor (The Christmas Invasion). The scent of celery is considered to be another powerful restorative on Gallifrey. Many Gallifreyans are capable of amazing voice imitation, thus locks with voice prints are not in common use.
Most Gallifreyans are born with one heart. When they regenerate, they acquire a second heart that is a mirror image of the first. Newblood Gallifreyans have excellent control over their appearance when regenerating. Their hearts are bivalved, and each heart produces two distinct beats per cycle. Most Gallifreyans have two hearts, a primary and a secondary, each of which usually beat 60 times per minute, and normally fibrillate at a rate of 300. A double pulse of 170 is considered more or less normal.
The electrical activity of the hearts is much greater then a Human's, and the beats are quite powerful, making it difficult for the hearts to be exactly located with a stethoscope. The speed of each heart can vary, and Gallifreyans are trained to stop both their hearts and feign death for several hours. Both hearts are supported by a binary vascular system. The removal of one heart results in the temporary loss of many Gallifreyan enhancements while a new heart is grown. If someone has a Gallifreyan heart transplanted into their body, they will be linked to the donor Gallifreyan, and it will be very difficult to kill the donor without killing the receiver, as well.
A Gallifreyan's blood pressure is typically 70 millimeters of mercury. Gallifreyan blood is darker than Human blood, and redish-orange. It doesn't conform with any Human pathological state and has lots of unusual acids. The respiratory pigment doesn't use hemoglobin, but does share some structural characteristics of Human hemoglobin. It doesn't have a type, and due to its regenerative properties, it is in a constant state of genetic flux. Not surprisingly, it doesn't smell like Human blood. Because of its unique nature, it can be transfused into any human without complications. A Human recipient will feel rather energized, probably because it carries oxygen and other gases vastly better than Human blood. The advanced platelets detect even tiny amounts of toxins.
Gallifreyan lungs can absorb every single molecule of oxygen inhaled. They need less, only 1/4 of the oxygen a human to function normally, and thus they normally take only 4 breaths a minute. The bypass respiratory systems also allows them to hold their breath for several minutes, and they can enter a trance to reduce their oxygen intake even further, allowing them to hold their breath for hours.
Gallifreyans have a bypass respiratory system and secondary cardiovascular system. When consciously triggered, the bypass system contracts, closing off their primary respiratory passages, making them very resistant to most forms of anesthetic, ether, cyanide, strangulation, hanging, and the squeaky voice caused by helium. They lose their sense of smell when they rely on their bypass respiratory system. As Gallifreyans pass 1,000 years of age, the bypass system becomes less reliable, and there is a chance that they won't be able to awaken from its use.
Healing and Regeneration
Regeneration was created to extend the already amazing Gallifreyan lifespan. Gallifreyan bodies are filled with self-replicating biogenic molecules that work ceaselessly to repair and prune damaged and malformed cells. Because of this, it takes hundreds of years for a Gallifreyan to show signs of aging. These biogenic molecules are a variation of symbiotic nuclei and probably use sonic waves, giving all Gallifreyans a symbiotic, self-renewing cell structure. Time Lords actually use their symbiotic nuclei to govern regeneration. If a Gallifreyan's symbiotic cell structure was ever deactivated, they would not be able to regenerate. The biogenic molecules allow the body to dispose of foreign objects and implants fairly quickly.
They usually recover from unconsciousness faster than Humans by retreating into a healing trance. Most injuries such as burns and diseases can be healed in a day, while extreme pain will automatically induce a healing trance. Some training is required to enter one voluntarily.
A broken leg takes about four days to heal, and nonlethal bullet wounds heal in a day, and the bullet is ejected from the body. Bullet grazes heal in a few hours. A bullet hole through the frontal lobe, a broken nose, jaw, femur, or collarbone will take a Gallifreyan six months to heal. They can also selectively regenerate specific organs while in the trance. These rates of healing can be enhanced if the Gallifreyan is kept near or inside a TARDIS while in the healing trance. They will appear dead to most humanoids, but other Gallifreyans can tell they're alive. Their body temperature will drop so far below zero that that frost sometimes forms on the body (The Daemons, Planet of the Daleks). Despite this, one heart will continue to beat about once every 10 seconds while in the trance.
They can metabolize many types of poisons and drugs. A fall of 30 or even up to 200 feet can be survived by a combination of bone relaxation, cellular break down, and regeneration. Similar to what happens in larval pupa, given several months, a Gallifreyan can grow a new heart should one of their originals be removed. It might be possible for them to grow new limbs. If kept alive, a Gallifreyan's severed body part can be used to detect whether that specific Gallifreyan is in the area (Utopia).
If the body is subjected to great stress such as a severed limb, extreme illness, or perhaps extreme boredom, the limbic or lindal gland releases the hormone lindos to trigger regeneration. As the hormone travels throughout, the Gallifreyan's body will begin to feel weak as it prepares to lose solidity. It is also possible for some Time Lords to will their own regeneration by enacting the proper meditative techniques. A Gallifreyan can temporarily delay their regeneration for several hours, and if their will is great enough, several days—unless they die first. Chemical and telepathic signals can be used to force regenerate someone who is badly wounded, but not somebody who is conscious and refuses to regenerate (Last of the Time Lords).
When a regeneration does occur, the permanently carried self-replicated biogenic molecules rebuild the body in a violent biological eruption of artron energy. Using this energy, every molecule in every cell is adjusted, displaced, and rearranged, causing a complete renewal and regeneration of the body, and to a lesser degree, the mind. Even damaged synapses are repaired. It takes about 10—60 minutes for the body to gel completely, which allows members of new blood houses some time to try various forms. A regeneration is an exhilarating experience, akin to driving a car very very fast (NA: The Room with No Doors). It also appears that a person can direct the eruption of energy to some extent, either to keep from regenerating (Journey's End) or to more destructive ends (The End of Time, Part 2).
The third strand of Gallifreyan DNA was added by Rassilon to make regeneration possible. This strand stores the regenerative information within a Gallifreyan's bioplasmic field, which surrounds their bodies during regeneration. This information is conveyed to the biogenic molecules via a bio-language called nucleolingua symbiotica. Gallifreyan biofields have to be very active to adapt to the trauma of regeneration, so much so that if a member of a lesser species lives on Gallifrey, the biofields will rejuvenate their cells and replace their telemeres as a result. The primitive will age very slowly and live for centuries. If this alien was to leave Gallifrey, they would start to age again—quite suddenly. They could die in as little as a year.
Occasionally, two Gallifreyans will end up with bodies that look the same. Thus, it could affect the subject's past, as well as its future.
Ideally, all regenerations should take place within a low-grade telepathic field. As a body prepares for its first regeneration, the Time Lord will get very weak. At the first regeneration, the nanomachines are programmed to build into the new body a number of improvements and backup systems, including a new heart. For this reason, the first regeneration is usually the most painful. At the end of the regeneration, the comatose Gallifreyan is awakened by an automatically triggered electroencephallic shock.
Regeneration often causes memory gaps. The new body will often have a different personality that expresses a different aspect of their fundamental personality. At the time of regeneration, a copy of the previous personality is stored in the memory space for eventual transfer into the matrix. Each copy is kept sleeping in a room with no doors. Some Time Lords of the first rank can achieve retro-regeneration, and temporarily summon the skills and personality of a former incarnation. A TARDIS' telepathic circuits can help a Time Lord achieve this.
Several sources claim that Time Lords are the only Gallifreyans who are capable of regeneration, but several other sources show normal (i.e., non-Time Lord Gallifreyans) regenerating without anyone considering it unusual.
Anaesthetic can delay or destroy the regenerative process and cause amnesia (Doctor Who movie). Until recently, regeneration was still a relatively risky procedure. While regenerating, a Gallifreyan's body might incorporate any foreign biodata it comes in contact with, allowing them to change species. Thus, a Gallifreyan could regenerate and find himself to be half Human. Some are even capable of temporarily shifting their genetic makeup enough to fool some types of gene scanners. This allows them to try on several different genetic templates and appearances during a regeneration (The Armageddon Factor/Destiny of the Daleks). This technique can be taught with some success to other Gallifreyans.
Within the first 15 hours of regeneration, a Gallifreyan will still have enough residual cellular energy to regrow a severed body part, such as a hand (The Christmas Invasion). A blinded Gallifreyan will regain their sight after a regeneration if the neural pathways controlling his sight are intact. A Gallifreyan who regenerates after decapitation will grow a new head. The new body part might be designed to prevent whatever caused the loss of the original. Shortly after regeneration, Gallifreyans will often experience bursts of superhuman strength and speed while the new body stabilizes. They can also experience erratic and volatile mood changes (The Twin Dilemma) as well as odd food cravings (The Eleventh Hour). Both of these effects generally wear off within four days. A Gallifreyan can also supress full regeneration, presumably within the 15 or so hour window, before their body will simply overcome their will and change (The Tenth Planet).
Gallifreyans who are exposed to the vacuum of space for several minutes, have had both their hearts punctured, or are hit by a Dalek particle beam cannot regenerate. It is very dangerous for Gallifreyans who haven't passed first maturation (i.e., teenagers) to regenerate for this reason. It is usually forbidden for Gallifreyans to regenerate until they are 500 years old. Gallifreyans are educated in how to control their regenerations at their chapter's academy. Discussions of regeneration among Gallifreyans appears to be similar to sex amongst Humans: not good table manners.
On Gallifrey, regenerations are usually planned months to years before the actual event. Gallifreyan technology such as a TARDIS or other assistance is essential to ensure survival during a regeneration, especially if the subject has suffered radiation damage. Without technological assistance, a Gallifreyan runs the risk of the rengeneration aborting halfway through, leaving the subject looking like some sort of multi-limbed monster. In some cases, post-regenerative trauma can cause severe personality instability. Sometimes, the subject never stabilizes. Both metamorphic symbiosis regenerators and zero rooms can assist with regenerative trauma. Some seedy Gallifreyan cardinals hang themselves to get rid of extra regenerations. This is considered to be a dangerous hobby.
After 12 regenerations, the biogenic molecules begin to decay naturally. Gallifreyans are limited to 13 bodies because their minds and bodies can only withstand the strain of twelve regenerations. Each body can last centuries, and Gallifreyans only need to regenerate every thousand years or so. However, the last few incarnations generally don't last as long as the earlier bodies. If a Gallifreyan suffers a severe enough injury in his 13th body, a regeneration will be triggered, but its inevitable failure will kill the subject (The Twin Dilemma). Triggering a 13th regeneration might be the accepted way that Gallifreyans end their lives. It is possible to recharge a regeneration cycle, but this can only be done with the permission of the high council, and requires a massive amount of artron energy. It probably involves a metamorphic symbiosis regenerator.
Technically, Gallifreyans are immortal, except for accidents. 750—850 is considered to be analogus to approaching middle age. A single body can last over 1000 years, but the subject's body will atrophy until they're only a few feet tall, and he will require a wheelchair for mobility. In practice, they choose their final death day between 7,000 and 12,000, usually at about age 10,000. They often spend the last years leading up to their final death day in meditation. All Gallifreyans can force themselves to stay alive indefinitely.
Whenever two Gallifreyans meet, there is a courtesy mind-touch to identify and acknowledge each other. This allows them to recognize each other, even if they are wearing a new body. They are also able to tell if Humans are telepathic or not. Gallifreyans suffer psychic feedback, fever, and headaches as their telepathic abilities mature. Gallifreyans can use touch telepathy to form enterlacement contact (The Hand of Fear; The Girl in the Fireplace; Planet of the Ood; The End of Time, Part 1). They can implant post-hypnotic suggestions in people who are trying to read their minds. The matrix also enhances the Time Lord's telepathic powers. They can also do things like erase another person's memory and install a "self-defense mechanism" in case they should remember (The End of Time, Part 1).
Every Time Lord possesses a quantum of artron energy, which gives them a unique artron energy signature. This is significantly more life energy than a Human has. They generate artron energy traces that can be used by others to determine their age and identity. The energy they possess increases by a minute amount every time they pass through the vortex. They are capable of absorbing lethal amounts of energy from another humanoid: after doing so, a regeneration will be necessary to eliminate the energy (The Parting of the Ways). They can also donate their energy to recharge a TARDIS power cell, but doing so consumes 10 years of their total lifespan (Rise of the Cybermen). Gallifreyans can use a process called soul catching to absorb a dying Gallifreyan's memories.