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A cycle is a unit of time used by several species.

Romulan cycle

One Romulan cycle is approximately equivalent to no more than 29.35 Earth minutes. A Romulan officer noted they had no motion on their sensors for twenty cycles. James T. Kirk had also noted in a log that the USS Enterprise had been motionless for 9 hours and 47 minutes. (TOS: "Balance of Terror")

In the background chatter of TNG: "Unification II", it is possible to hear dialog noting something about "two cycles". The exact line is "We are very close now... within two more cycles."

Argrathi cycle

An Argrathi cycle is equivalent to one Earth year. The crime of espionage required a minimum of fifteen cycles of correction on Argratha, and Miles O'Brien served 20 cycles, the equivalent of twenty Earth years (though his entire imprisonment was actually an implanted memory). (DS9: "Hard Time")


Borg seem to count time in cycles. For example, assimilated children are put in a maturation chamber for 17 cycles. (VOY: "Mortal Coil")

Other uses

The use of the word cycle as a "generic" alien unit of time is common in science fiction, to the point that it is almost a cliché. No doubt this was a factor to its many uses in the Star Trek universe.

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