Here Is There

This is another post which has fallen through a wormhole from the future, since the device in question won’t be invented until well into the 9th millennium.

But since they’re going to appear before too long in Timeo Eldraos et Dona Ferentes, it is probably best that they be mentioned here first.

What is important to understand where the Claves-Catala translocator is – or to give it its more common name, translocation rings are – concerned is that they do not utilize any of the classically theorized methods of teleportation. (The Indeterminacy Barrier and its corollary, the uncloneability lemma, prevent matter-information conversion with sufficient fidelity for accurate reproduction in a manner not amenable to bypass by subquantum operators, and handling the energies of significant volumes makes the use of mass-energy conversion impractical.) Nor do they make use of wormhole technology, fixed or dynamic, whose necessary mass and relationship with the metric stress tensor is inconvenient for neighborhood deployment.

Rather, translocation rings make use of matter editation techniques to perform an interlocked exchange on the mass-energy within two volumes; an exchange which does not violate the uncloneability lemma, since while the quantum states of the volumes are exchanged, neither becomes known or determinate in the process.

From this principle of operation, many of the limitations and properties of translocation rings proceed. Since the core of their functionality is an interlocked exchange at the ontic level, it follows that there can be no unidirectional translocation; that each translocation operation necessarily involves the bidirectional exchange of identical hyper⁶spheres. Energy and momentum are conserved, but for the purposes of calculating the necessary compensation and buffering that must be provided by the ring-sets, the hyper⁶spheres may be treated as ontomathematical points.

(Obviously, the necessity of bidirectional exchange implies that each set of translocation rings is, of that necessity, a transceiver; and thus those most fantastic notions of translocation without equipment at one or both ends of the operation can safely be left in the reams of the pulps, as can any concern over the possibility of interpenetration; at no point and in no conceivable failure mode can the hyper⁶spheres collapse into a samespace.)

Likewise, there is no intrinsic limitation on translocation range, save for the required energetic compensation and the necessity that the ring-sets involved be precisely synchronized in all respects, which necessitates communication, and thus range becomes primarily a matter of the allowable communications delay before synchronization fails. It is this necessity for communication that largely imposes the Luminal Limit upon translocation de facto. Nor can there be any alteration of the mass-energy in transit, since indeterminate states cannot be edited, nor do they exist, in any technical sense, during the tesseral moment of transition.

Ambient pressure, temperature, et. al., are not compensated for by the system, and in most cases this simply leads to the characteristic ‘sigh’ of translocation, as the higher or lower air pressure of the translocated volume evens itself out with an outbreeze or inbreeze, respectively. (Indeed, nor is atmospheric, etc., chemistry, which can lead to the amusing sight of, for example, a perfect cylinder of water flashing briefly into existence along with a diver before collapsing under its own weight and flowing away, while at the other end of the process a similar bubble of air undergoes the reverse to the surprise of the fish.) In large translocation grids, wayshrines – the traditional name for the buildings containing public translocation rings – whose environment differs significantly from the local standard are usually enclosed and environmentally sealed, to avoid inconvenience and unpleasant incidents.

All this, of course, is of little relevance to the typical user of translocation rings, whether independent pairs or part of the translocation grid, who need merely stand within the volume defined by the ring-set and activate it – with, in the latter case, the minor additional task of selecting a destination set in advance.

– Theory and Praxis of Translocation,
Riëdal Claves-ith-Claves & Jancis Catala-ith-Catala,
Practical Insight Publishing (8124)

Stop Fittling With That: Author’s Notes

For those who might be a mite curious, Stop Fittling With That is set in “present-time” – that is to say, the furthest future point of my defined timeline (although, obviously, not the end of their history), so those mentioned technologies are things that won’t actually appear anywhere in the Eldraeverse, certainly not in the context of the peoples of the Associated Worlds.

FTL (other than the mentioned wormholes and tangle channels) won’t appear at all, and in fact is canonically impossible by other means using my conphysics; for reasons which boil down to “it interferes with the kind of stories I want to tell and the kind of technologies I want to use to tell them”.  Such forms of FTL as wouldn’t – like, say, mass relays – are for the most part functionally isomorphic to the wormhole network I chose to go with anyway.

Dimensional transcendence just hasn’t been invented yet – any examples of it you may see are faked by means which you’ll read about when the Trope-a-Day catches up to, ah, Hammerspace, I think – but is permitted by the local conphysics.  (If you can bend space and time enough to do practical, mass-produced wormholes, bending them enough to put a decent-sized mansion inside a police box is for the most part merely a matter of working out the engineering – for very large values of “merely”.)

Negentropy or something like it probably will require the ability to not merely bend but actually drill holes in the universe, and so is deep-time lengths of time away if it’s possible at all.  Which it may well not be, but I don’t plan on arbitrarily declaring the greatest expression of their greatest ambition physically off-limits when I can just Shrug of God it into the indefinite far future.

And both matter translocation/teleportation and instant Star Trek replicator-style manufacturing don’t exist for the same two reasons.  First, Heisenberg…

(Or rather, in-world, Jeness Rafientar, who spent the first, shorter part of his physics career discovering the uncertainty principle under the name of the Indeterminacy Barrier, and then spent the rather longer rest of his physics career trying unsuccessfully to find some way, any way, to work around the blasted thing.)

…is a bugger, as we know, and magical Heisenberg Compensators are a little too handwavy for my taste, thanks so much.  And secondly, even if you only do it at the molecular level, all that binding energy has to go to/come from somewhere in a very short time, and that poses some thermodynamic problems at the level of physics, and some literary/worldbuilding problems in explaining the implications that the ability to routinely toss that much energy about has on everything else.

These may theoretically exist in the future – given that the basis of the emerging field of ontological engineering is to use manipulations of the laws of the laws of physics that underlie the regular laws of physics to tell the latter to shut up and sit down, but they don’t at any part of the timeline I’m working with.