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Inertia Is a Cruel Mistress

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Have you ever stopped so suddenly, you made an Unsound Effect?

"Momentum, a function of mass and velocity, is conserved between portals. In layman's terms: speedy thing goes in, speedy thing comes out."
GLaDOS, Portal

Once a character enters teleportation, or starts a set of movements, he cannot change destination or direction of movement at all.

This is the most oft-cited weakness given to an enemy with Teleportation or Super Speed if the plot requires a not-so-powered character to beat them. All an underpowered character has to do is figure this out, and then intercept them. Heaven forbid the opponent has the Required Secondary Powers needed to see it coming (ergo, Super Reflexes) and maneuver out of the way, is a Nigh Invulnerable Lightning Bruiser who can just barrel through the obstacle, has a Tele-Frag effect that will just destroy the offending obstacle, or worse, breaks the Magic A Is Magic A by not being subject to this problem...

A key aspect of Deadly Dodging, Wronski Feint, and defeating most Bullfight Bosses. A key part of considerations of Jump Physics in videogames. Compare Too Fast to Stop and Watch Out for That Tree!. Not to be confused with Gravity Is a Harsh Mistress.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Gantz plays with this, the suits granting super power level jumping capabilities - which turn out to be a huge vulnerability just as often, since a long jump leaves the jumper committed to its vector and wide open in mid air. Played straight with the Chibi Alien / Long Jump solo mission, but at times ignored later, seemingly to make some sort of fight with giants possible, not just exchanging barrages from BFGs. Played straight for most of the speedster Oni Boss, but with a seeming loophole for jumps while armed with a katana, since long jump slashes somehow tend to reach moving targets, and even land.
  • Mentioned as the core weakness of "instant movement" in Negima! Magister Negi Magi In the tournament arc, it became a key strategic fact in the battle between Negi and Takamichi, who explained it while tripping his opponent up. It showed up again in the fight between Negi and Rakan, where Negi fuses himself with a Thousand Bolts spell in order to fight with "lightning instant movement", only for Rakan to start predicting his movements from the streamers that lightning sends out just before the main bolt. Negi's solution? Fuse with two Thousand Bolts spells at the same time, transforming him into an Elemental Embodiment who can think at the speed of lightning and thus change direction freely.
  • In Slayers, the minion Rahanimu was magically modified so he could fly in a straight line at immense speed. His only battle tactic was to charge straight at Lina, and Lina's only defense tactic was to duck. This went on for quite some time, in what Lina describes as a pathetic excuse for a battle. Later, when Zelgadis gets in a fight with Rahanimu, Lina warns him about how dangerous Rahanimu is. Zel simply holds his sword up in front of him, and Rahanimu is promptly sliced in half.
  • A contractor in the second season of Darker than Black had the ability to move at Flash Step-like speeds, but because of this trope, had to move in straight lines and at one point crashed face-first into a tree. While this was handy for dodging bullets, he ran up against the little snag that when you're moving faster than a bullet, anything bullet-sized you run into might as well be one. And April can make it rain. The results were not pretty. Oddly enough, air resistance didn't seem to bother him at all.
  • A magic student in Mx0 specializes in warp magic. However, the process takes a very long time and in the meantime, the two halves are in separate locations. Hilarity Ensues.
  • When Claire partially awakened her legs in Claymore, the resulting speed boost was so much that the only way for her to stop or change direction was to stab her sword into the ground.
  • Used offensively by Gaap in Umineko: When They Cry where she creates portals to bring mid-attack George and Jessica together, killing each other.
  • Invoked in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, where a Stand that has the ability to move between reflective surfaces is intercepted that way. Leaving him with but a single point of destination becomes the strategy to defeat him. Similarly used by a character with a gun to defeat an enemy whose Stand renders him bulletproof and lets him throw the bullets back. He empties his gun into the foe, who throws the bullets back at him - but Newton's Second Law throws the guy backwards as he's throwing the bullets, and gets him impaled on a tree behind him.
  • Naruto:
    • When Killer Bee uses his tailed beast's power he can move very quickly, but his movements are very linear, which allowed Sasuke to put him in a genjutsu with some help from Karin (which he easily broke out of) and Kisame to block his charge with Samehada.
    • Kakashi faced a similar problem when he first developed Chidori, which required a full-speed straight sprint at the target. Once committed to the attack his ability to dodge was greatly reduced and the move was heavily telegraphed, which could easily be exploited by more numerous or skilled opponents. His Sharingan removed this weakness.
  • This short film takes Newton's first law to its inevitable, over-the-top conclusion. "A body in motion tends to stay in motion unless acted upon by an outside force", like a terrified middle school kid.
  • In Rosario + Vampire, Raika can turn into lightning to travel instantly. Ruby takes advantage of the fact that he moves too quickly to stop or change direction and that he doesn't have the reflexes to respond to changes by predicting where he will arrive and sticking her fist in the way.
  • In The Circumstances Leading to Waltraute's Marriage, when asked why the Valkyries don't just teleport next to an enemy, they explain that it takes a few seconds to re-materialize, so they are extremely vulnerable to being attacked during that period.
  • Bellamy the Hyena from One Piece relied on mostly inertia to fight by using his devil fruit power (turning into springs) to bounce off surfaces, gaining speed until he became invisible. When he royally pissed off Luffy, he tries his usual gimmick, only for Luffy to snatch him out of the air with a downward hook, taking Bellamy's light-speed momentum and turning it right towards the ground, taking him out in a single blow.
  • Inertia comes back to bite "Speed of Sound" Sonic in One-Punch Man when it turns out that with all his bouncing around, he can't slow down quite fast enough to keep from running into Saitama's fist groin-first. Fortunately, he slowed down enough not to be seriously injured, but it still results in Wide Eyes and Shrunken Irises on his part. The view has to cut to a serene mountain valley until Sonic can comport himself with some small measure of dignity again.
  • Dragon Ball Super: Frieza battles Jimeze, who tends to spam the Instant Transmission technique. Frieza criticizes him for being predictable, and is fast enough to reach where Jimeze will appear and smack him while he is materializing, resulting in an easy win for Frieza.

    Comic Books 
  • Examples from Marvel Comics, using their signature speedster Quicksilver.
    • Quicksilver is once defeated by Spider-Man, against whom Quicksilver executes a whirlwind vacuum attack. Spidey simply sticks out his arm in Quicksilver's path. Yeah, it's a strain, but ol' Webhead is tougher than Quicksilver.
    • Quicksilver defeats a Sentinel that is imitating Quicksilver's speed by deliberately running into a wall, knowing that his pursuer will have no chance to avoid impact. Quicksilver is hurt, but the Sentinel is destroyed.
    • Quicksilver's very first appearance features Angel tricking him into running into a wall.
  • In Ultimate X-Men, Arcade's debut brings him into conflict with Nightcrawler. He figures out where Kurt is going to 'port to next and is ready with a knife to the gut.
  • X-Men: Canonically, Nightcrawler is supposed to be subject to this — he keeps the same inertia when he teleports. On the other hand, he once avoided going splat by inverting the bamf — so that he came out of it falling up. It is mentioned in X-Men: Evolution, when Nightcrawler explains why he can't teleport off an airplane in flight. He does this in his debut in the X-Men Film Series, using his momentum to confuse the people he's fighting as well as maintain a full sprint through obstacles. However, he does teleport off and back to a flying plane, and doesn't seem to have too much trouble with inertia, despite the sudden deceleration caused by being exceedingly un-aerodynamic. He'd be traveling noticeably faster than Rogue when he catches her, and she'd be traveling slower than the plane when she returned. His speed wouldn't change much, but it wouldn't have been static.
  • Hawkeye is used to being able to stop speedsters by predicting where they're gonna wind up next, because of his experience with the Squadron Supreme's Whizzer, but when he tried it on The Flash in JLA/Avengers, it failed. Pretty much.note  It seems to work better on bad guys; Green Arrow II, Connor Hawke, managed to down a Hard Light copy of the Flash in Grant Morrison's run by aiming where he was going to be next as opposed to where he's supposed to be. C'est la vie. The difference here is that the hard-light copy of the Flash was being controlled by someone who doesn't have super speed and Connor noted that the hard-light Flash was moving in repetitive patterns as a result, which made him easier to predict. And the Flash lampshaded it at the time: Hawkeye was using a boomerang arrow, and the Flash has some experience with fighting boomerang guys. Meanwhile, the guy controlling the hard-light copy of the Flash... not so much.
  • In Identity Crisis, Deathstroke detonates a series of explosives and immediately sticks out his katana. Just as planned, The Flash runs through the only safe path and impales himself. Given Flash's Super Speed is almost always portrayed as coming with Super Reflexes and the ability to stop or go to full speed almost instantly, there is absolutely no way in hell this should have worked, except for the fact that Flash was probably fixated on his target and took Deathstroke a little too lightly.
  • In a spinoff comic based on Jumper, a Paladin kills a teleporting Jumper by placing his sword where he is about to appear.
  • Inverted in PS238, when the teleporting villain Charles Brigman uses his own inertia to his advantage to do quite a bit of nasty things. The heroes also employ this trope (and lampshade it).
    • One of the smarter things he does is set up a mattress in an abandoned building. He memorizes its location, and teleports to it whenever he needs to break falls.
  • A literal example comes from Inertia of the Squadron Supreme. She has the power to mentally transfer momentum from one person to another, which she then uses to bring Power Princess to her knees. She redirects the force of Hyperion's punches to Power Princess, and all throughout the fight Inertia had her hands bound. Although the cruel aspect is subverted because Inertia is part of Nighthawk's resistance force against the Squadron's repeated abuse of civil liberties, and she's afraid she might have actually killed Power Princess.
  • Wonder Woman (1987): Mayfly is killed by a combination of this and Too Fast to Stop after her allies decide she's outlived her usefulness and smuggle her a pill that will supposedly restore her Super Speed while she's in prison. She quickly discovers she can't properly stop nor change directions once she takes it and ends up running into a gate leaving her gory remains splattered on both sides of it.
  • Part of Mina Mongoose's early problems with her Super Speed in Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics) was that she didn't know how to stop, thus she ran into things hard.

    Fan Works 
  • Child of the Storm:
    • In chapter 60 of the first book, Baron Zemo (whilst controlling Project Ultimatum, HYDRA's Destroyer) demonstrates this on Jean-Paul, before breaking his ankle.
    • In chapter 58 of the sequel, Clark, who's newly developed his full abilities (Flight included) has to work hard to avert this when catching Lois Lane who's falling from a plane at terminal velocity, first matching her speed, then very, very carefully slowing their descent so she doesn't get hurt in the process.
  • The Games We Play:
    • Defied with Fionn, who as part of his powers has the ability to absorb momentum, thus avoiding this issue.
    • On Jaune's end, the skill "Yellow Road" lets him also defy it by allowing him to turn on a dime despite retaining his speed so he can easily maneuver around obstacles.
  • In Last Second Savior, Aayla Secura and Harry Potter sabotage her battle group before they escape. When said ships explode in hyperspace, the debris is scattered over two and a half light-years of space.
  • While going for a run in The Pride of Sunnydale, Xander quite literally runs into a group of vampires... at sixty miles per hour. Turns out, not even vampires can survive two hundred pounds hitting them at that speed.
  • In Crisis On Two Equestrias, Twilight's teleportation spell conserves speed but not direction. So when the four Elements Of Magic are falling out of the sky, Twilight teleports them into the same spot they were already in, but going the opposite way. Now they're shooting up, and gravity soon brings them to a halt at the apex, whereupon Twilight teleports them down to the ground.
  • When blocking Naruto's new Megaton Punch in Naruto and the Overpowered Academy Three, Gai has to then spin and throw Naruto in the air as the sheer speed and power behind the punch meant Naruto's arm would otherwise shatter. In fact, one of the reasons Naruto was in the hospital after accidentally developing his Megaton Punch is that the tree he hit shattered the bones in his hands.
  • In This Bites!, Ace's attempt to catch a cannonball send him flying back several feet.
  • Skip in Xendra is only somewhat faster than a human normally but can perform a Flash Step when moving in a straight line. Willow trips him by flinging a stack of chairs at him, which holds the demon up long enough for Buffy to start beating on him again.
  • In Fate Genesis, Rider attempts to use her Mystic Eyes of Petrification on Sonic to leave him easy prey and to stop his Spin Dash attack. However, because they took effect as he was already shooting at her, being petrified did nothing to cancel the attack and she gets hit in the stomach by a spiny ball of stone, which sends them tumbling into forest outside the school and breaking her spell on him to let him go back to normal (since he was protected from dying by both his Power Rings and innate Magic Resistance).
  • In A Twelve Step Program to Omnipotence, the Self-Insert's first (accidental) kill comes when he charges at a trio of soldiers while wearing power armor. He doesn't realize until too late that running in half a ton of metal means he can't stop or turn easily and tramples one of them to death.
  • Faith in Bad and Worse throws the entire platform Voldemort's locket Horcrux is on across the cave it's kept in so she can bring it back to Willow to figure out. One of the Inferi leaps out of the lake to catch it and is promptly splattered against the wall when hit by six hundred pounds of stone at considerable speed.

    Films — Animation 
  • This is invoked in The Incredibles as Mr. Incredible is fighting Syndrome's robot. He decides to jump over the top of the robot to avoid one blow. The robot does the math on the arc of his jump, intercepts him, and then continues to lay down the smackdown.
  • Rather forcibly applied in How to Train Your Dragon by Hiccup to the Green Death.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Defied in Battleship. The aliens try to Lead the Target and fire at where their targeting computer predicts the Missouri will be, but Mighty Mo's crew drop her anchor and she stops short of the aliens' projectiles.
  • Riddick in The Chronicles of Riddick (2004) uses a variant of this trope — rather than hitting the Big Bad with a stopping force while he teleports towards Riddick, he takes his knife, and simply places it where the unlucky schmuck is going to be.
  • Used as a weapon in Jumper: teleport onto a busy street, grab a speeding car or bus, and teleport back...
  • In the dojo fight in The Matrix, when Neo does a wallrun and backflips over Morpheus, Morpheus traces his path and kicks him when he lands.
  • Nope: The UFO gives off an anti-electrical field that turns off all electronics within a certain distance from it. A motorcyclist on an electric motorcycle runs right into the field at sixty miles per hour and goes flying when his motorcycle abruptly shuts down.
  • A fast swimming kaiju learns this the hard way in Pacific Rim, as Gipsy Danger uses its BFS to bisect it lengthwise thanks to its swimming motion.
  • During the drug lab fight in The Raid, one mook runs across a table to do a flying tackle against Rama. Rama dodges and helps him on his way right into a filing cabinet.
  • In Spaceballs, Dark Helmet suffers this when he demands Spaceball-1 to immediately pull out of Ludicrous Speed. Despite Colonel Sandurz' warning that they need to slow down, Helmet refuses and the end result has him being flung into a computer panel.
  • X-Men Film Series:
    • In X-Men: The Last Stand, Kitty uses this against Juggernaut. She realizes that the kid she's been sent to rescue has the ability to suppress powers. Since Juggernaut's power makes him unstoppable, taking that power away without his knowledge means that he expects to just crash through the next wall.
    • In X-Men Origins: Wolverine Victor takes advantage of this to kill Wraith.

  • Averted in Super Powereds, since super-speed almost always comes with enough extra durability that a speedster won't hurt themselves with an impact at full speed than a human would at their full speed.
  • The Drizzt Do'Urden novel Starless Night allows the title character to defeat Dantrag Baenre, who had been using Bracers of Blinding Speed to fight much more quickly: because of a lack of control, Dantrag was incapable of fighting using anything other than stock combos. Drizzt was trained the same way and knows all the corresponding counterattacks.
    • When Drizzt kills Dantrag, he loots the bracers off the corpse, but finds that he can't get around the disadvantage. So he puts them on his ankles, killing two birds with one stone.
  • Heinlein's The Number of the Beast featured a teleportation device like this. Each jump went precisely X distance in a single direction, so, of course, an accurate map and compass are necessary to get anywhere that's not exactly X away. Averted by the fact that since the characters were all math wizzes it didn't take them long to figure out how to take multiple jumps (that are instantaneous) to get anywhere.
  • In the Discworld series, teleportation to the other end of the Disc requires extensive calculation, lest the subject keep their absolute velocity and end up a thin smear on a wall 500 feet away.
  • Inertia is a major issue to consider when using inertialess star-drives in E. E. "Doc" Smith's Lensman series. Since ships retain the inertia they had when the drive was switched on, when it's switched off, they could arrive at their destination, switch off their drive and promptly fire off in a completely unexpected direction. If people are transferred from ship to ship whilst 'free', matching their velocities and inertias once they again go inert takes serious equipment. Or, as with the inertialess planet "nutcracker" weapon, free objects rendered inert can fire off in completely expected directions...
  • In the Ciaphas Cain novels, Vail has a device that teleports her away when she's attacked. The problem is that she'll still be going in the same direction she was when she teleported. In the first book, she's making a diving attack on the villain when his counterattack teleports her into the hallway... whereupon she slams into a table.
  • Larry Niven wrote a series of short stories around a teleportation system that preserved inertia, as well as potential energy. Attempting to teleport from one spot on the equator to a spot on the other side of the world would result in the teleportee coming out of the receiver at about 2000 miles an hour, relative to it. Teleporting to a higher altitude could freeze you, or to a lower altitude boil you.
    • He did another set of stories where light-speed teleportation required a receive station and preserved momentum but not potential energy. Solution to interstellar spaceflight? Build a Railgun launch system, and put the receiver at one end and the transmitter at the other. The payload slowly got pushed up to nearly lightspeed, and then they pushed the transmitter out of the way.
    • He then showed his work in an essay about the subject, titled "The Theory and Practice of Teleportation". It was intended in part as humor, in part as mental exercise for scifi buffs, and in part so nobody could call bullshit on him when he gave it as a speech to MIT.
    • The hyperdrive in his Known Space series has the same issue. Several times, ships end up having to dump relativistic velocities after returning to their home system, though Protector introduces a gadget which at least makes that possible for reaction-drive ships.
  • In Foundation's Edge, it's mentioned that it's possible to figure out where a ship jumped to based on its initial velocity before the jump. Following someone through 32 consecutive hyperspace jumps in a matter of seconds, on the other hand...
  • In Piers Anthony's Isle of View, the son of a family of flying centaurs can temporarily remove some of a person or object's weight but cannot affect the inertia, and at one point he cautions a character not to bounce off the walls, since she'll hit just as hard as if she still had all her weight.
  • In The Witling, this trope is the reason the psychic Azhiri use Portal Pools when they teleport instead of just doing it whenever and wherever they like. As Bjault and Leg-Wot explain it:
    Ajão Bjault: At first glance teleportation seems like a simple—if supernormal—trick: you disappear at one point and appear at another, without ever suffering the inconvenience of having been in between. But closer inspection shows that nature imposes certain restrictions on even the supernormal. If you are moving relative to your destination, then there is naturally going to be a collision when you arrive—and the more quickly you're going, the harder the crash. This world ... rotates once every twenty-five hours, so that points along the equator are moving eastward at better than five hundred meters per second, while points north and south rotate at correspondingly slower speeds. Teleporting across the planet's surface is like—
    Yoninne Leg-Wot: —Like playing hopscotch on a merry-go-round.
  • Harry Dresden once even remarks that this trope is a common weakness of various supernaturally fast creatures: they are unstoppable killing machines while on solid ground, but once airborne, they become a mere physical object sailing through air in mathematically predictable curve. Harry had sent charging Magog (a Bullfight Boss-type Denarian) down a long, steep hill just by lifting him up slightly mid-charge, and blasted Nemesis-infected Cat Sith out of the window mid-jump. Even some flight-capable things have this weakness - when a wounded phobofage tried to flee by growing wings, it just made itself a better target and gave Harry time to charge up an attack which obliterated it.
  • Used in Dale Brown's Sky Masters as a double subversion of Point Defenseless. The PD systems on the Chinese destroyer carrying the Big Bad destroy an incoming Filipino antiship missile, but it retains enough momentum to keep going and hit anyway.
  • Played with in Super Powereds. When a speedster accelerates, his or her perception grows in proportion. However, just as it would be for a normal person running at full speed to be able to effectively control his or her movements or strike a target precisely, it's the same with a speedster. It's shown that they have to slow down slightly in order to turn effectively. They also gain a measure of endurance that protects them from friction and inertia, although this is limited, as demonstrated when Sasha tries to rush a girl who can turn her skin into steel. Her perception is also at normal levels when she's not running.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Used in an episode of Heroes. Speedster Daphne attempts to run through a doorway blocked by Knox, but he simply clotheslines her. It turned out to be an illusion, though, so it's all good.
  • Stargate-verse:
    • Stargates on Stargate SG-1 work like this as well (most of the time). Objects such as bullets and the UAV can be fired through an outbound gate (albeit blindly) and emerge with the same speed. In "2001", Carter is on another world, and the hostile aliens have turned the Stargate completely horizontal to drop a bomb through it. She is forced to cut her rappelling line dropping into the gate, and emerges from the one at the SGC with enough speed to break her arm upon hitting the deck.
    • A variant occurs in Stargate Atlantis: Sheppard is forced by two Travelers to command an abandoned Ancient warship. When told to start moving the ship, he does so after helpfully informing them that they shouldn't have ordered that without activating the inertial compensators first. Cue the Travelers' Oh, Crap! reaction before getting knocked out cold by the wall behind them. Sheppard, who's safely sitting and trained as a pilot to take a few Gs, stay unharmed.
    • Another variant shows up in Stargate Universe: Normally, as noted above, objects travelling thought a gate maintain their entry momentum upon exiting a wormhole. However, in the case of ultra-long-distance wormhole travel with nine chevron addresses, the process of firing one's molecules literally quadrillions of light years across the known universe requires an enormous expense of energy to complete the trip. Some of that energy ends up being transferred to the object in transit, resulting in their exit momentum being significantly higher than their entry momentum. This is seen twice with both the Icarus Base survivors and the Lucian Alliance strike team who walk into their respective stargates in the Milky Way and then come flying out of Destiny's on-board stargate. Col. Young takes it to a near-deadly extreme, being pushed into the wormhole by an explosion shockwave and coming out with enough momentum to literally fly across the gateroom.
    • Universe's "too much energy" was seen MUCH earlier in the franchise. The SG-1 season 1 episode "Solitudes" gives the first glimpse of what happens if extra energy is poured into an active gate. Staff weapon fire super charges it while SG-1 is in transit. The extra energy causes the wormhole to jump to Earth's hitherto unknown second gate stranding Jack and Carter in Antarctica, but before the wormhole jumped its tracks Daniel and Teal'c were launched into the SGC.
      Daniel: Teal'c and I were flung out of the gate at this end so fast I don't even remember hitting the ramp.
  • In Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Hercules uses this to defeat the Lightning Bruiser Morrigan during their rematch. Similar to the Deathstroke/Flash example above, this shouldn't have worked. Earlier, her Super Speed was similar to Time Stands Still, where everything is in slow-motion and she travels along at a regular pace.
  • In NCIS, there is an episode when Gibbs has the perp in a Med-Evac plane with the perp holding a gun to the pilot's head screaming to get the plane to go. Gibbs orders the pilot to get clearance and slyly wraps his arm around a strap on the side of the hull. The pilot notices, gets clearance and goes from 0 horizontal Gs to a catapult-assisted several, knocking the perp off his feet and throwing him towards Gibbs, who quickly disarms him.
  • Automan has the title character usually drive a car that always turned at a 90 degree angle. While Automan is unaffected, any human passenger has to be tightly strapped in lest they be thrown about inside.
  • This pops up in The Flash. Admittedly, this is probably the only way a non-speedster can defeat a speedster. Also, despite his Sherlock Scan skills in the pilot (which are quickly forgotten by the show), he frequently runs into situations without scouting out the area first, relying on his speed to overcome anything. This changes slightly when Oliver tries to train him to be more observant and use his speed to plan a battle beforehand. The same episode has Oliver land several blows on Barry by predicting his movements and placing his bow where Barry is going to be. King Shark is also able to hit Barry, while the latter is zooming around him.
  • An episode of Star Trek: Enterprise had Captain Archer being transported while running down a corridor. He materializes on board ship and takes a couple of steps before coming to a stop.
  • In Doctor Who serial "The Pirate Planet," a kind of super-fast conveyor walkway allows guards to chase the Doctor and Romana.
    The Doctor: You know, I think the conservation of momentum is a very important law in physics, don't you?
    Romana: Yes.
    Doctor: I don't think anyone should tamper with it, do you?
    Romana: No.
    [the Doctor pulls out a control unit, moves a wire and puts it back; when their pursuers reach the end of the corridor, rather than stopping, they are flung out and crash into a wall]
    Doctor: Newton's revenge.
  • In Season 3 of The Expanse, Belter skiff racer Maneo Jung-Espanosa learns this the hard way as The Ring stops his skiff... but not him.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Traveller Classic used a Larry Niven style "conservation of momentum while teleporting" system when psionic characters used the Teleport power. It was also mentioned in Adventure 13 Secret of the Ancients: the Ancients had teleport networks accelerate masses to near light speed and used them as weapons to destroy planets.
  • Mage: The Forces spell "Friction Knife" focuses air resistance into lacerating injuries, damaging a target depending on how quickly they move while under its effects. Someone using a self-acceleration power such as Time or Forces magic is likely to rip themself apart.
    • A classic example of not thinking a spell all the way through from the splatbooks is a mage using a spell to stop a runaway vehicle. It works just fine for the vehicle, which has no defense against the mage's will. The people inside, however, are essentially immune to magical acceleration due to not believing in magic, so from their perspective the vehicle just hit an immovable wall at full speed.
  • Dungeons & Dragons and its offshoots note that the classic Teleport and similar spells do preserve the caster's momentum. Whilst this isn't typically an issue, it does mean that trying to use them to escape Falling Damage is not going to end well for anybody.

    Video Games 
  • As pointed out by GLaDOS, portals in Portal work this way, which is quite important to many puzzle solutions. For example, a number of them involve putting yourself on a ledge, planting a portal on the floor below, and another on the wall behind you. Jump into the floor portal and get shot out of the wall portal like a cannonball. However, in a game where the only source of damage is bullets and instant-kill traps (so no damage for slamming into walls/floor), inertia turns out to be a rather merciful mistress.
  • An Armored Core example: In many of the games, Overed Boosting has the disadvantage of not being able to stop or turn on a dime. PA Jousters and Sword-based Mechs often rely on their Overed Boost to close the gap, but can easily miss and render themselves vulnerable while they try to correct their course to come in for a second strike. The most common way to defeat a PA Jouster or Swordy-mech is to either quick dash to the side multiple times in rapid succession, or just shoot them with superior firepower. The former is tricky, while the latter requires heavy artillery like chain guns or grenade cannons.
  • Early video game characters (Arthur from Ghouls 'N Ghosts and early Belmonts from Castlevania being notable examples) often suffered from this... Arthur still does.
  • Destiny: This works both for and against Guardians. In PvE, the Cabal love using their jumpjets to get up close to you, which gives you an easy trajectory by which to plot your shot and watch their corpse faceplant. In PvP, the same thing happens to opposing Guardians. Double and triple jumps can't save you from someone drawing a bead on you. The only way to avert this in PvP is maybe with the Warlock's blink jump.
  • Halo: Human starships have only a limited ability to navigate slipspace, which puts them at a major disadvantage against the Covenant's far more advanced ships. As Cortana explains in the beginning of Halo: Combat Evolved:
    "As for [the Covenant] tracking us all the way from Reach, well, at light speed my maneuvering options were limited."
  • Mass Effect 2: "Once you fire this hunk of metal it keeps going until it hits something. [...] If you pull the trigger on this thing, you are ruining someones day, somewhere, at some time. [...] This means: Sir Isaac Newton is the deadliest son of a bitch IN SPACE!"
    • One of the expanded universe tie-ins mentions an incident where some floating wreckage drifting near a Mass Relay caused an incoming vessel to be destroyed due to impacting whilst the ship was still travelling at high-velocity, causing it to tear through the ship's inadequate kinetic barriers.
    • The same thing is invoked when you traverse the Omega-4 Relay in Mass Effect 2. Joker must practically stand the Normandy on her nose to avoid the truly massive amounts of wreckage piled up at the mass relay's terminus. It's heavily implied that other ships with lesser pilots weren't as lucky. And if you don't improve the armor and kinetic barriers, even Joker can't prevent the Normandy from getting hull breached and killing crew member(s).
  • This is the problem that the Pokémon Linoone has — it can run really quickly, but only in a straight line (and can be Too Fast to Stop).
  • In Unreal Tournament: the translocator (portable teleporter) retains inertia. Many a death results from someone trying to save themselves from a fall off the edge of the map by flinging the translocator beacon, only to still be going terminal velocity when they teleport back up onto the ground.
    • This often leads to the morbid scenario where someone is firing translocator beacons upward while falling downward, only to realize after several successive teleports that they're falling more quickly than the launcher can shoot the beacon above them- they can't even make it back to solid ground, not that they'd live through the experience even if they could.
  • In BlazBlue, most characters with dash moves are still vulnerable during the dash. Therefore you can strike them out of it with proper timing. Need hilarious examples?
    • Pretty common in fighting games in general. Particularly hilarious when an insanely powerful super move gets stopped dead with a light jab.
  • The jump mechanics in Prinny: Can I Really Be the Hero? do a version of this. Generally, you either jump straight up or with a set horizontal speed and can't adjust your direction in mid-jump, though there are ways around this (after doing a Double Jump or using a Ground Pound to bounce off an enemy, you can change which direction you're moving.)
  • A boss in the coliseum themed ToC raid dungeon in World of Warcraft demonstrates this, its special attack is to slam the ground, throwing everyone against the nearest wall, then picking a random target and charging at them full speed. If the person doesn't move out of the way in time, he's instantly killed and the boss enrages, pretty much killing everyone unless the tank's extremely well geared, however if everyone gets out of the way the boss slams into the wall and is stunned for a time.
  • Canabalt: You ran 2917m before hitting a wall and tumbling to your death.
  • In Star Fox 64, this turns out to be the undoing of the boss of Macbeth if you shoot all of the junction switches. The boss, who has been taunting you the whole level by speeding up his train, ends up crashing his train into a fuel bunker and meets an explosive doom.
    Driver: No! Hit the brakes! I can't stop ittttttt- *BOOM*
  • Dissidia Final Fantasy has its version of Kuja glide instead of walk. This means that, unlike most characters, he doesn't stop on a dime (he floats just high enough that he can't brace with his feet), but rather slides for a second when the player releases the analog stick. While it's impossible to die by falling in this game, it makes aiming something of a tricky process - a real pain given that all of Kuja's attacks are projectiles, and only his HP attacks stop his movement.
  • While the 2D Sonic The Hedgehog games for Sega Genesis don't feature much teleportation, an interesting effect can be found in the debug mode, which allows you to turn into and place objects. If you're moving and turn into an object, you'll still have the same momentum when you turn back.
  • This is the entire premise of Tribes since skiing was invented in the original. Fall damage and running into walls at high speed can both kill you, but they're both much less damaging than expected (especially horizontally).
  • The "With Momentum" and "From Above" control schemes in Desert Strike and its sequels imposes inertia on your attack chopper, causing it to ease to a hover when the throttle is released. This can make positioning over ammo and fuel pickups problematic. However, "From Cockpit" turns inertia off.
  • The Speed Boost upgrade in the Metroid series suffers from this problem. If you haven't lined up your path just right, you're treated to a Screen Shake and damage as poor Samus slams helmet-first into the offending obstacle.
  • The "Blink" ability in Dishonored does not cancel momentum, meaning it cannot be used to save oneself from a fall. If you're falling at high speed and blink so you come out of the teleport a foot off the ground, you still die.
  • Jevons from Seek and Destroy (2002) (a.k.a. Shin Combat Choro-Q) is a dark green LVTP-7 with white stripes and leader of Proton's Civilian Resistance.Unfortunately, has a habit of forgetting to hit his brakes when excited. Being a 29-ton armored combat vehicle, this trope comes into play as he flies by the player character and into whatever obstacle or building unfortunate enough to be in front of him, emerging with a little band-aid on his turret afterwards.
  • In Sunrider 4: The Captain's Return, ships and ryders will continue to move in the same direction at the same speed from one turn to the next until you spend energy to change their course. And naturally, the faster they're going, the more energy it costs to slow down. If you aren't careful, your units can end up crashing into each other or their opponents, incurring an energy penalty for the next turn.

    Web Animation 
  • Dead Fantasy: Yuna fires a gun at Kasumi, who teleports away, but then Yuna predicts where she will reappear and fires again at a different spot. The bullet hits her as she reappears.
    • The battle between Jiraiya and Roshi is resolved with this trope in full effect. Jiraiya uses a Sage Mode-enhanced genjutsu to ensnare Roshi's soul while the latter is mid-flight, preparing to finish him off in the illusion. The problem: while Roshi's soul is trapped, Roshi's body is not, and is still flying full force at Jiraiya with a fist extended. As Roshi is more durable than Jiraiya, the former's fist acts as a wedge to split the latter in half along the waist. Moral of the story: if you're going to mindfuck someone for the sake of killing them, try to have them confined by at least gravity before you commit.
    • The Battle Royale between the various members of The Seven (and Billy Butcher), two characters die this way. First up is The Deep, who set the current record for fastest fighter death in the show, dying in the opening seconds of the fight when A-Train splatters him by running into him. A-Train himself then later suffers this. After being blinded by Starlight, he ends up running right into Queen Maeve's punch, leading to A-Train losing his entire upper body.
  • Harriet Bree in RWBY has a Super Speed semblance, but her impatient nature means she occasionally disregards stopping. Weiss defeats Harriet by summoning a wall of ice for her to run into when she's focused on Ruby.

    Web Comics 

    Web Videos 
  • One of the warnings in So You've Learned To Teleport video by Tom Scott is that Earth is itself moving. So if your teleportation isn't relative to Earth, "You haven't so much learned to teleport as you have learned to disappear into space, never to be seen again." Furthermore, different parts of the Earth move at different speeds.
    Tom Scott: If you teleport from one city block to another then you're going to be fine. But New York to DC? You will hit the wall at twenty miles per hour. Poles to equator? You will be a red smear on the wall at one thousand miles per hour."
  • The unnamed protagonist in UA: LA can teleport to his backpack and fights by throwing it around and teleporting to it to hit his opponent from another angle. One of the villains, Snapback, is fast enough to run to said backpack after it's thrown and catch the protagonist in a flying tackle.

    Western Animation 
  • The Dexter's Laboratory episode "Don't Be a Hero" is about Dexter trying out various superpowers, which each fail for various. With Super Speed running a relatively short distance gives him so much momentum that trying to brake leaves him skidding literally around the whole world, ending up at his starting point instead of his destination.
  • In Wakfu, Yugo's dimension doors work this way, keeping the momentum of anything going through. He can, however, orient the receiving portal in any direction he wish, and is very adept at using this to his advantage. For example, he often uses them to cushion a fall by having himself or a friend go through a pair of portals (or several pairs if the fall is very high) sending the subject up, thus slowing him down enough to land safely.
  • In X-Men: The Animated Series, Wolverine fights Silver Samurai, who has a short-range teleportation device. After taking a beating at first, Wolverine eventually predicts where Silver Samurai will reappear, grabs him, and destroys his teleportation device.
  • X-Men: Evolution (see above) discusses this when Kurt and Kitty are stuck on a plane with Logan, whose Weapon X conditioning has taken over.
    Kitty: Can you transport us to the ground?
    Kurt: Uh, yeah, right! Like, picture this: bumpity, bumpity, bumpity, bumpity, SPLAT! Too high up and way too fast!

    Real Life 
  • Several Weak, but Skilled martial arts rely on using the opponent's momentum against him, with Taijiquan being one of the most famous examples.

Alternative Title(s): Inertia Is A Harsh Mistress