Hexamite Teleporter

Perhaps one of the most scientifically stunning examples of ancient alien paleotechnology, teleporters were created by the Hexamites at the height of their power. Only a handful of functional examples are publically known to exist, held by wealthy individuals and the Existential Risks Directorate, among others.

Construction and History

Teleportation was apparently invented during the Hexamite Second Empire, it was unknown during the First Empire and the Third never recreated it. The centerpiece of a teleporter unit is a metallic sphere some three to six meters in radius, depending on the specimen, surrounded above, below, and behind by other components to create a kind of booth-like device. Its sphere will seemingly "flow" open to permit access, and once closed again teleportation may commence.


The exact physical principle behind Hexamite teleportation is, of course, unknown. Many speculative mechanisms have been advanced, with the only tentative answer so far being that it probably does not use wormholes. With interface software, one unit can be "dialled" to another and its contents teleported across, a process commonly known to contemporary travelers as "blinking", since it is instantaneous from their point of view. This can only occur between teleporter units, one cannot blink from a teleporter to an arbitrary point in space. Similarly, teleporters will not allow blinking to a destination sphere smaller than the origin, likely a safety precaution to preserve the physical integrity of transported objects--a destination will bounce travelers back if they would arrive in a smaller sphere. From an outside perspective teleportation is limited to the speed of light, and while there does not appear to be a range limit, in practice teleporters are only used for relatively short hops.
  Dangers become apparent when one considers the possibility of teleporters in motion. Travelers keep their velocities: blink into a moving teleporter and it will rush up to hit you; blink eastward on a planet and the tangental velocity you had from its rotation at your departure will toss you up against the top of the arrival sphere. Teleporting across a gravity gradient will result in gaining or losing potential energy--even if one could get around the velocity differential inherent in, say, blinking from a planet's surface to an orbiting station, a large amount of gravitational potential energy will have to be gained. This shows up as lost heat: the traveler will arrive chilled to near absolute zero. Likewise, teleport down a gravity well to the surface of a sufficiently large celestial object, and one's body will flash into superheated plasma.
  But perhaps the most horrifying failure mode is what happens if the destination transporter is destroyed or otherwise rendered inoperative while the traveler is still "en route" at lightspeed. Instead of bouncing back to re-appear at their origin, as would happen if the arrival unit was merely unsafe, the traveler will vanish, never to be seen again. Perhaps they are still out there, hurtling across the void in some immaterial form until the end of time? For this and other reasons, many people given access to these teleporters will refuse to use them. Even the Hexamites did not appear to trust the technology much, never putting it into widespread deployment.
Exceedingly rare

Cover image: by Vertixico


Author's Notes

Inspired by Larry Niven's essay "The Theory and Practice of Teleportation".

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