Had this idea while thinking of an SF justification for the scriptable pause or AutoPause device suggested by Astrobe.
There could be a number of temporal manipulation devices within the game, of which Astrobe's AutoPause might be considered one. An Instant Save device could be considered another.
The real moneymaker for REWInd Inc (Relativistic Energy Weapon Industries Inc.) would be the non-lethal but rather annoying Temporal Displacer, which, when a target ship's shield and energy levels are below certain thresholds will send that ship back in time, perhaps a week or so of game time, minus some or all of its cargo (perhaps any items bought within that period, if the game can determine these) which is left behind for the weapon user and any other scavengers to scoop up. If the saved gamedata is sufficient, the ship could, perhaps be sent to the location where it was at that time.
In practical terms, if used by a player against an NPC, it just removes the NPC more quickly than taking out his shields and energy banks completely and leaves a nice bunch of canisters floating about.
It would have to be quite expensive (I don't think you would want it to be happening all the time), maybe shot-limited and possibly restricted to certain ship categories. Another limiting factor could be to make it use up Quirium.
I imagine it might break some missions if not implemented well and if used against a player, but could actually make some easier if there is no location change.
It might have to work as a standard laser or missile up to the threshold point, as it would be impractical to switch weapons to use it, especially if you don't have the OXP that allows you to see a target's shield/energy levels. If used as primable equipment, you might need some sort of audible and/or visual alert to indicate when the target is vulnerable to temporal displacement and then it could be an area effect weapon that affects anyone below the threshold levels within a certain range. The player might find themselves being affected at the same time as the target NPC.
Any thoughts? I imagine technical difficulties would mainly revolve around the storage of data for teleporting a player ship back in time, provided we don't just hack the clock and forget about location changes and specific cargo removal. The other question is whether the in-game clock can or should be hackable.
A potential exploit might be to sun-dive and operate the device when your ship is below thresholds to expunge a recently acquired blot on your legal record or to give yourself more time to complete a mission, although this would be dangerous, as you would have to time it right and, if we don't shift the target's location, then you would still be dangerously close to the sun. One thought: should time travel restore shields and energy, or leave them the same as at the point of departure?
As mentioned in my previous posts, I have no programming knowledge, so if someone with the skills is interested, they will need to take it on.