The Mystery of Transporters
I grew up watching Star Trek, so of course was familiar with transporters…wasn’t I? Without a second thought, I wrote a sort of transporter into my sci-fi Passages and called it a Conducer, from the Latin conducere meaning “bring together.” Yet when I moved on from the draft stage and began to put more detail into the story, I looked up the Star Trek transporters to find out how those writers explained the machine’s operation.
There is nothing to look up.
If you have ever tried to find the episode in which they explain transporters, there isn’t one. According to Wikipedia, the Star Trek producers needed a simpler, cheaper solution to filming a starship landing, and devised a transporter for the pilot, purportedly thinking it was an original idea. Later, The Fly was pointed out to Gene Roddenberry.
Still, I liked this method of travel and it made sense that a futuristic race coming to the aid of a ravaged planet would use shortcuts for traveling to the planet. “Instant travel” made it possible for the main setting of the story to be off in a remote and rather unique corner of the planet, yet the characters could arrive at their headquarters in a minute. Also, I’d discovered my hero Quinn has a knack for “rearranging particles for movement.” I’d been playing with this idea of futuristic particle physics since seeing particle tracks in a Wilson’s cloud chamber, and wanted to Quinn to have easy opportunities to use his talent in the story.
So with no precedent for how it worked, I forged ahead with my Conducer, describing it as a particle accelerator set along a corridor lined with five sets of gray plates that one must walk through. On remote posts, Conducers start up and operate by reading book titles. Of course, I chose novels with ways of entering other worlds, a fun nod to some of my favorites.
Excerpt from Quinn’s point of view:
And then it was our turn. We hefted our travel packs and entered the small limestone station. The plates of the particle accelerator hummed along the thirty-foot corridor, making the air ripple between the five sets of wall-mounted gray rectangles.
Graen offered our verification paper to the operator perched at the console, then pulled it back at the last instant. “Did he get it right?” she asked with false concern. “Stranaar? On the coast?”
I slid behind her, peering at the paper she held to me while edging closer to the raised line of yellow stones bisecting the slate floor, the actual Conducer entrance. I needed extra time between the first set of plates to start the leap. Afterward, all we had to do was reach the end. Together.
“Did he get our town entered right?” Graen waved the slip and fidgeted from foot to foot, effectively positioning us at the yellow threshold.
I stepped across. Energy flowed over my body. With a thought, I connected to it.
Graen said, “Young man, check this, would you?”
“Yes.” The operator snatched the paper and studied it. He repeated an impatient “yes” and bent to input the destination that would lock us into going to the Stranaar station.
Graen clasped my hand. We walked, each step dissolving us as I hijacked the power we’d need for our cross-leap, a method our people used to make direct connections to a particular destination. Six steps, seven, eight—
My adrenaline spiked, but we couldn’t stop. Wouldn’t. Nine steps, ten. Halfway through the array of plates, halfway dissolved. Graen faltered, then slipped from my grasp. What the—?
I shoved my molasses-dense particles into solidity and turned around.
Between the third and fourth sets of plates, a Blackguard blocked Graen, his sword waving in one outstretched hand, the other batting at her loosely collected figure. A weird sense of déjà vu hit me, muddling my mind and breaking my concentration. This has happened before, in another place, in another leap more urgent than this one.
Blurb for PASSAGES:
“Find someone you can trust.”
For decades, Eve and her fellow electorgs—part human, part machine—have worked on the quiet planet of Aarde, beating back toxic spores that threaten to poison the native people. When the new commander halts work right before a deadly spore release, Eve frantically plots to protect the villagers she considers friends and family.
On the run after an ambush, Quinn holds a secret that nearly got him killed. If only he knew what it was. Though the attack scrambled his memories, Quinn is sure of one thing—he can’t trust the electorgs. But they know information he desperately needs to puzzle out who wants him dead, and why.
With the fate of life on Aarde in the balance, the logic of joining forces with Eve overrides Quinn’s fears…and erupts into an attraction that could prove fatal for both of them.
Because the planet’s commander might just be Quinn himself.
Below are the bloggers participating in the Blog Tour for Passages. Each stop will have excerpts and tidbits about the science & fantasy, and a chance to win the tour prizes: a $10 Amazon eGC or a signed paperback of Passages. (Giveaway open to US/CAN)
Jan 26: Travel to a Mineral Hot Springs on Vicki Batman’s Handbags, Books, Whatever…
Jan 27: Goudrogen Crystals on Jessica E. Subject’s Happily Ever Afters Across the Universe
Jan 27: Hornworts on C. D. Hersh’s Two Hearts Creating Everlasting Love Stories
Jan 29-31: Thermophiles on The Multiverses of Liza O’Connor
Jan 29: Author Interview with Mia Jo Celeste on Other World Diner
Jan 30: Moons and Rising Waters with Laurie A. Green on Spacefreighters Lounge
Jan 31: Creating a Character’s Home Planet—in a Red Dwarf Star System on Pippa Jay’s Adventures in Scifi
Jan 31: What kind of a book is it? With Kira Decker on Toni Decker Books
Jan 31: Lacuna, a Bit of Realism, a Bit of Magic on Author J. C. Nelson’s Urban Fantasy and More
Feb 1: Resolving your story problems…including knocking out a pesky spore? on Riley Moreland’s Whiskey With My Book
Feb 3: What do you think of when I say “cyborg”? on Veronica Scott’s Science Fiction & Fantasy Blog
Feb 4: The Mystery of Transporters on Heather Massey’s Galaxy Express 2.0
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About the author
Before kids, Laurel Wanrow studied and worked as a naturalist—someone who leads wildflower walks and answers calls about the snake that wandered into your garage. During a stint of homeschooling, she turned her writing skills to fiction to share her love of the land, magical characters and fantastical settings.
When not living in her fantasy worlds, Laurel camps, hunts fossils and argues with her husband and two new adult kids over whose turn it is to clean house. Though they live on the East Coast, a cherished family cabin in the Colorado Rockies holds Laurel’s heart.
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