To start this off let me break down some terms and the frame I use when I build super powers.
- Define Super Power: When I use these words I am referring to an ability that can be defined as extraordinary, supernatural, or unreal.
- The framework:
When I build thing I like to make a frame of reference to work within.
The frame I use in this is simple. What is the Positive of the ability, and what are the Negatives of the ability, or drawbacks.
There is also the Presentation of the ability. Which is how it is presented or used. (Like super strength. Is it in your arms or legs or is it your whole body? Is it only in a special circumstance, or all the time? Etc.)
- Why am I doing this? Well simply put, I believe that every super power, when written, should have a nice clean defined edge to it. It should have what it can do, and then the limitations. This allows the writer and character to work with those limitations to add a sense of reality to something so out of normality. I think it also adds a point of impact when a character defies the limitations and even they can’t understand how they did it. Now that I think about, none of that was simply put. How about I just say “Because I think it will make writing better.”
So we are looking at Teleportation today. I’ll define this with this definition.
Teleportation: (Also, Tele-Transportation) The ability to move your physical body, other physical objects, or entities to another location independent of space and/or time.
Let’s define some of the obvious Positives to the power.
- Travel. The main purpose of the ability is obvious. You want to be somewhere? Boom. You’re there. You want something? Pop it to you, or pop to it and then pop back. Don’t want to pay for gas or carpool? Great! You have the ability to just move places. You have that already, but this cuts costs and such.
There are sure to be tons of positives the power but since its main focus is Travel, it kind of makes them all fall into its category.
So moving on to the Presentation. Wait. Why am I skipping Negatives? We will get to that soon. They kind of depend on how the power is presented… so… Yeah.
There are a few ways this power can be executed.
- Instant Transmission: You disappear and reappear instantaneously in the desired location.
- Portals: You create rifts or (Like love) open doors to desired locations.
- Time Based: This is a little trickier because it is almost another super power completely. I’ll define it better in the drawbacks. (It has a lot.)
Now the Negatives. Let’s start with #1. Instant transmission. If the power had no negatives you would just go where you want. It would be kind of similar to Nightcrawler from the X-Men. Well, except for the poof of possibly rancid smelling smoke, and the putting yourself into another dimension for a little while thing. To really sum it up. I’ll use the example that this Presentation’s name is drawn from. Goku from Dragonball Z.
So what possibly could the negatives be? Well there could be a few.
What activates your powers?
See if you teleport just by thinking about another place; then do you teleport every time you think of another place? Think about sitting at your computer, seeing a commercial about Pizza Hut, thinking about the nearest Pizza Hut, and falling into their lobby. I mean as long as your could not think about places, or learn to control it it would be fine, but starting out it would be disastrous.
Let’s say that you don’t control where you teleport to. It just happens. What triggers it? Seeing a picture? Getting scared? Sleeping? Sneezing? Seriously how scary would it be that every time you went to bed, your body would teleport to some random other place? Hopefully another bed, but you’d wake up in a different place every day! Imagine someone knocking you out and you just poof away! Kind of useful in that situation I guess.
Another one, and we will touch back on this on #3, but what happens while your gone? Is it even instant for you? What I mean by this is, where does your body go? Let’s say you lived in New York City (Common city for a super hero) and wanted to travel to Los Angeles to visit a super hero buddy. That is roughly 2,500 miles. So you just poof your way there. Or so it seems. See to every person looking at you. Your physical body leaves this plane of existence. But in your perspective you enter into a sort of limbo like state. Whether that be a all white, matrix like, waiting room. Which you will wait out the duration of the time time it would take to make the trip to the location. How fast would your incorporeal self travel? Walking speed?(3 mph) That would take 2 weeks. Average speed limit? (60 Mph) That’d take roughly 2 days. Speed of light? Well, there is the instant part. Another question is do you age? As you wait out your time to get to your location, like a plane ride without the crappy passengers, food, or possibility of instant death before arrival, do you become older by the time you arrive? As you use your power you are technically drawing upon your life span to further your power. Your friends and family would watch you quickly age and wither as you use this amazing ability to travel, to their knowledge, instantly from place to place.
It keeps going.
Some of the other possible drawbacks are the dangers you would be put in when you arrive. You get to where you are going, and blink onto a road with oncoming traffic. Or Teleport into a jungle where you are surrounded by tigers, snakes, or cannibals. (You can tell that cartoons have prepared me for what a jungle is like.) Either way, the drawbacks can keep coming as you think about how your power actually works.
With that I feel like the best equalization for this power is adding the aging to it, or making time have passed when you arrive. Both add a flavor to the power and give consequences for its use.
Moving on to #2 (Now you’re thinking) with Portals!
The first thing we have to examine is how are the portals placed?
Do they require being placed upon an surface, or do they hang suspended in air? Is their a sort of physical sense to them, like being outlined by a door frame, or are they just smokey visages to where you are going? How long do they stay open? How many can be open at once? And the bigger question: Are you required to have to place a portal at both ends before use, or can you just pop a portal into place anywhere in the world? The latter gets dangerous. Imagine opening a portal at the bottom of the sea? Or in space? Which raises other questions. Is there a layer that prevents things from passing through the out portal, or is it just open for anything to pass both ways?
Every question raises new questions, as they always do. For example, how do you place the portals? Do you have to touch the place it will be, or can you fire them like a projectile and they appear where it lands?
Let’s start with the problem of anything passing through either end. First off there is the problem I mentioned about placement. Where you place it could affect, in great measure, the area surrounding the portal.
About placement. If I am going with another set of portal powers. To fix the ability to just jettison my enemy into space, or onto the bottom of the ocean, let’s include the idea that I have to be at the location to place it.
This makes the power pretty interesting in my opinion. Imagine you want to go somewhere far away that you’ve never placed a portal in. Also let’s say you have to place your portals upon an object for them to be placed. So they are like hanging mirrors, or doorways. Well, you’ve never been there before so you couldn’t have a portal open there that you could create a sister (Or brother) portal to connect with. Simple! Just put a portal on a letter or box and mail it to the area. When it arrives (as you watch the progress of its shipping online) just create a sister portal, put your arm through, open a bigger portal on a surface there, and step on through that portal. Pretty interesting concept, and I feel like it is a pretty equalized power at that point. No devastating, or destructive, portal usage as you flood a tri-state area with salt water from the bottom of the pacific. Plus, you could technically leave tiny portals all over the world to access if you’d like to. Depending on how it works, such as it all being mental and the portals only remain as long as you think about them existing. Man, that would be a drain.
With portals, I believe best cause for action for equalizing them is going with the idea that you have to be in the location to place the portal. Even it it means reaching through another smaller portal to place a larger portal. This adds a layer of creativity with the use, without giving the user the ability to instantly get rid of a problem by shunting it into space.
#3! Time based.
This one actually borders on being a completely different super power. The ability to teleport by controlling time. Here are the specs on it. Going back to Instant Transmission (Teleportation #1) we have an ability to move ourselves to another place in what seems to us to be instant, but in reality time has continued to pass. This would seem like the ability to move forward in time. While it lacks the ability to control how far you really go, without understanding how fast you travel in your teleporting speed, doing math to calculate how far you would need to travel in which to move a specific amount of time into the future, and then finding a place to teleport that is exactly that distance from your current location. It also lacks a specific quality. Time control. You are more of entering a sort of time stasis as your body moves to another set location over an amount of time in a different form.
Now the reason I separate Time based from the Instant transmission is purely because of this next form. So you have the ability to stop time. Awesome right? Everything freezes in place and you can move around like the camera in a matrix scene as you view it from every angle. Can you change things? No! Of course not, then you wouldn’t be a teleporter, you’d be a time controller. “But I can freeze time!” I guess, if you want to call it that. Sure you can hold time still and move as you would normally. But nothing can be changed. All you can do is think, and move. Yeah you could freeze it to come up with the perfectly witty come back to someone’s harsh words, or cheat at battleships as you look at your opponents board with them not being any wiser.
But all in all you don’t have any power more than to just move. It falls within the express definition I laid out in the beginning. You have no manipulation of anything other than yourself, and possibly objects you take with you. You could freeze time and take a hike all the way to another part of the world, and when you unfreeze it is as if you just disappeared and appeared somewhere else. Technically it is just a different outlook on the “You spend time waiting to get there, but arrive within the same time you left.” idea.
Either way, Time Based teleportation kind of seems to speak for itself. You may have forever to think about a problem, you may be able to relocate yourself. One thing I just thought of is a trigger for a time based teleporter. What if you don’t have the ability to will yourself into it, but instead it activates when you recognize yourself being in danger? Walk in front of a car? Time freezes, you move yourself, time unfreezes. You technically can never be hurt by outside forces, as long as you observe they are going to happen.
Anyway, I feel like I’ve finished my groupings of thoughts on the subject. I am planning on doing a few more of these, so if you’ve got thoughts, comments, or concerns. Voice them. I’ll be happy to see what you’ve got to say, and I’m sure others would too!