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Portal Network

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Around the galaxy in eighty seconds.
"We came through that big round thing."
John Sheppard, Stargate Atlantis

Simply put, there are lots of "islands of habitability", and conventional travel between them, if possible at all, is time-consuming, expensive, and generally not attempted unless there is absolutely no other choice. However, there is a set of gates or jump points connecting them together, allowing for near-instantaneous travel.

This results in what can be called a "graph universe": the connected islands/communities/planets are vertices and the portal links are edges, and the rationality of travel between them depends not on the distance, but on the existence of a known link between them.

In science-fiction versions, it is common for portal transits to induce disorientation, hallucinations, or nausea which make starship crews temporarily extra-vulnerable immediately after transit.

Considering that it would take thousands if not millions of years to set up an interstellar Portal Network without any other means of Faster-Than-Light Travel, it is not uncommon for such things to have been made by the Precursors, in which case the gates are usually (though not always) Lost Technology. Alternatively, it is sometimes hybridized with hyperdrive — in such settings, starships carry their own FTL equipment but can only use it at very specific naturally occurring "Jump Points" in space defined by gravitation intersections or some other mathy thing that's too complicated to explain. Sometimes FTL ships and portals co-exist, where the latter is a one-time investment to save everyone a lot of time and fuel to act as an express lane.

As these provide both a relatively plausible form of Casual Interstellar Travel and justifies the idea that Space Is an Ocean enough to permit choke point naval battles, Portal Networks are common throughout all but the hardest varieties of Science Fiction, which disallow faster-than-light travel altogether. They are a convenient means of providing simplified game mechanics and controlling where the player can go, and so are common in both video and tabletop games. In addition they allow writers to avoid making embarrassing scaling errors, if done right.

If the network has a radial structure — most or all linking pathways originate from the same point — this point is a Portal Crossroad World.

Sub-Trope of Teleportation with Drawbacks, since this is a specific drawback, by restricting destination and origins. Cool Gate, is the trope for structures that allow teleportation by travelling through them, which is used for most examples of this. Hyperspace Lanes, is for when Faster Than Light travel is restricted to certain paths. For a videogame sort-of-equivalent, see Warp Whistle. A Portal Door may be used as the medium of transport. If the portals themselves are limited in the range they can cover and that's why long trips require multiple jumps, you may be looking at a Multistage Teleport.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • 3×3 Eyes: the normal way to reach the Sacred Place where the demons reside from Earth are the dimensional areas known as "Kunlun", where one can use a Triclop artifact and a small blood offering to travel instantly from one place to the other. Then, inside the Sacred Place, there's the area known as the "Lair of the Demon Mouths", a massive cavern with countless of platforms, each being the site of a different Kunlun which can allow istant travel around the world, with one of them even connected to the Moon.
  • Cannon God Exaxxion — The Riofaldians get around the galaxy by using gigantic space stations powered by antimatter that open and sustain wormholes.
  • Cowboy Bebop has the gate network, a series of gates that allow starships to move through the solar system at speeds approaching significant fractions of light speed. It's possible to get around without using them (which the Bebop crew are forced to on occasion), but it takes a lot longer.
  • In Divergence Eve as a crucial part of the plot backstory.
  • In Heroic Age, space navigation is only possible either by using psychic powers like the Precursors did, or the "starways" that they set up. They also travelled to another galaxy using a Cool Gate. It turns out that the whole purpose of the five remaining Heroics is to recreate said gate.
  • Kirby: Right Back at Ya!: The monster transporter, used by Nightmare Enterprises to teleport monsters straight to King Dedede whenever he orders them. In the final episode, the characters who left Dream Land on the Halberd use it to come back home after the Halberd gets destroyed.
  • In Log Horizon, the game into which the protagonists are transported used to have a network of portals allowing the players to quickly teleport from one hub city to another, but when the story begins, they're all inoperable for unknown reasons.
  • Sgt. Frog: used extensively by Poyon (though the effectiveness is significantly reduced with the amount of time she takes to come out of it). The third movie involves Dark Keroro assembling his doomsday device, from massive pieces built all over the world, with equally massive portals.
    • Tamama also constantly uses portals to move around in the manga, an element that's only brought into the anime in the last season.
  • In Sonic the Hedgehog: The Movie, the Land of Darkness (and presumably the Land of the Sky) has "Warp Zones" scattered all over it; these are invisible portals that connect, via an extradimensional "tunnel" presumably intended to serve as a Shout-Out to the Special Zones of the games, two specific points on the planet.
  • Space Battleship Yamato 2199: An ancient but functioning network built by a long-disappeared civilization connects gates in the Milky Way Galaxy and the Large Magellanic Cloud to a central hub in intergalactic space powered by an artificial planet. The Gamilon Empire fortifies the hub into a major military installation and uses the network to continue the empire's expansion. The crew of the Yamato find an abandoned node, use the network to cut months off their journey, and severely damage the hub with their wave motion gun on the way out.

    Asian Animation 
  • In Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf: The Tailor's Closet, Wolffy invents a "Closet Network" which allows him to travel into the closets spread throughout Goat Village and scare the goats.

    Comic Books 
  • In Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis, Topo knows about "hatches", which act as portals across the oceans and allow for fast traversal.
  • Marvel Universe:
    • A dimension known as The Crossroads is full of portals to various dimensions, as well as a roads that lead to all of them and a central point with a "signpost" (in the form of a tree with branches shaped like pointing arms) on it. The Hulk was banished there (by Doctor Strange) after he was trapped in his monster form (in a plotline that lasted several issues) so he could find a world were he could be happy. (He failed.)
    • Stargates were used by the Shi'Ar Empire to travel around the universe. Sometimes they were ground-based gates for people to walk through, other times they were enormous space-based ones for ships to use.
  • Empowered has the LotusNodesTM Portal Network granted to the Superhomeys. It has a Mass/distance limitation that would be higher if the team didn't chintz out on their network plan.
  • In Eternals (2021), it turns out that the Machine created a network of "subdimensional threads" so that the Eternals can teleport over long distances. However, due to it's complexity, it's also unreliable. "It is the teleportation equivalent of a mass transit system in a major Earth city."
  • At one point, The Flash rogue Mirror Master had access to a Mirror Dimension which connected the back of every reflective surface in the world.
  • Superman story The Living Legends of Superman: In the sixtieth century, teleportation is the normal transportation and travel mode through the galaxy, which is because Riley's father complains about his son tinkering with dangerous fliers instead of using the teleporter.

    Fan Works 
  • Dungeon Keeper Ami: Two set of Cool Gate networks:
    • Underworlder Portal installations, which connect to other ones, first seen in "Into the Portal", are described as:
      The portal reminded Ami of pictures of Stonehenge. Four arches, composed of two tall stone pillars with a horizontal crossbar on top, were arranged in such a way that they touched at the corners. The area inside the square they formed glowed with hazy images of faraway territories and emitted a warm orange light
    • At least one "hero gate network" exists, as said in "No Wonder Cure", and such gates are, as seen in "More Lessons":
      a structure that resembled a canopy tent, except that it was made of stone and rested on four thick, round pillars. Within the structure wavered a water-like surface, forming an upright oval that looked like a full-length mirror.
  • Discworld fic Gap Year Adventures by A.A. Pessimal deals with two girls on holiday in remote places. In possibly the most remote corner of Klatch, an oasis settlement shunned by right-thinking folk and used as a place for inconvenient people to be exiled or for the convenient disposal of embarrassing, problematical or just awkward things, the travellers make a discovery of great interest. Apparently anywhere on the Discworld that is called, in the local language, The Place Where The Sun Doth Not Shine is connected, by its own Portal Door and Portal network, to every other place which is called in the local language That Place Where The Sun's Rays Do Not Reach. A Dwarf who falls through The Place Where The Sun Does Not Shine, near Slice in Lancre, resurfaces in the insanitary oasis of En-El-Sams-la-Raisa, three or four thousand miles away in Klatch, virtually instantaneously.
  • The jump gates in The Keys Stand Alone. Upon seeing that they operate similarly to the portgates from the Hunter's world, John jokingly comments, "Must be contracted out to the same guys." He's right.
  • The Last Son: The World-Gate network was used by the people of Krypton to travel around and explore the universe, and was responsible for allowing intergalactic trade and commerce, which led to the creation of the Galactic Confederacy. The gates were permanently shutdown to prevent the Skrulls, Kree, and later the Shi'ar from using them to expand their territories. Superman later finds a World-Gate orbiting around Jupiter and used it to travel with his friends to Krypton's star system, and rescuing his cousin Kara Zor-El.
  • The Rise of Darth Vulcan: After destroying the Magic Mirror from Equestria Girls so that the Princesses can't ever use it against him, Vulcan steals several shards that he can experiment with. After a while, he manages to (entirely by accident) create a group of one-way travel mirrors that lead either to or from the Moon. Realizing the potential of this, he keeps a pair in his lair and smuggles the other pairs to locations around Equestria, creating a network that allows his minions to travel in and out of the Everfree forest in a manner that completely bypasses the security fence that is being erected to try and box him into the forest.
  • This is the primary methods of inter-world travel in Slightly Damned: Wind of Redemption and Rebirth, though there IS the alternative of the good old Gummi Ship
  • In the epilogue of Son of the Sannin, Naruto and Jiraiya have managed to reverse engineer the Moon Portal to create a series of two way portal seals interconnecting all of the ninja villages. Unfortunately, the amount of chakra required for even a one-way trip makes them impractical for widespread use, so they're only used for major events like visiting heads of state.
  • Superman: House of El: Kara repurposes the phantom drive of her pod into a wormhole projector to link up with the wormhole projector in the Fortress, allowing Clark and Keira to travel instantly between the Kent barn cellar and the Fortress.
  • Us and Them: The Cetran empire maintains a system of portals between various worlds, considering they are faster and safer than space travel by ship. Unless, of course, you use one that's been dormant and not maintained properly for centuries, in which case you could be stuck in transit and emerge on the other side years later.
  • With Strings Attached: The portgates in the Hunter's world.

    Film — Animated 
  • The closet doors in Monsters, Inc. (and, by extension, Monsters University) lead to bedrooms around the world.
  • An ancient alien race created an entire planet to function as a massive portal in Treasure Planet. Captain Nathaniel Flint discovered it, used the portals for Space Piracy, and used the planet to store the plunder.
  • Yellow Submarine has the Sea of Holes, which is a room full of holes that lead to Pepperland and each other.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Agents of The Adjustment Bureau can access a secret Portal Network through ordinary doors... as long as they're wearing a fedora.
  • In Lost in Space, humanity was creating two portals, one near Earth and another in Alpha Centauri, with the express purpose of getting people off the dying Earth.
    • The portals were, effectively, guiding points for hyperdrives. Activating a hyperdrive without a set of gates to guide it would result in a Blind Jump.
  • This is how FTL travel works in the Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 shows that there are "jump points" in space that allow to quickly travel faster-than-light via "jumps". According to Yondu, making fifty or more consecutive jumps is hazardous to any mammal (which does not stop him and Rocket from doing seven hundred jumps in a row).
    • At the beginning of Avengers: Infinity War, the Asgardian who sends a distress signal mentions that they are "twenty-two jump points out of Asgard".
    • In Captain Marvel (2019), Yon-Rogg and the rest of Starforce have to travel twenty-two hours at sub-light speed to get to a jump point that will get them to Earth. Since this is a prequel, the technology appears to be more primitive. In Avengers: Endgame, set later in the timeline, the Avengers don't have to travel very far from Earth to reach a jump point aboard the rebuilt Milano. Additionally, this entire trope is a major factor in the story of Captain Marvel, as the main MacGuffin is an advanced FTL engine derived through examining the Tesseract/Space Stone that allows for near-instantaneous travel across the cosmos without needing to rely on the franchise's jump-point network, and both the Kree and Skrulls are desperate to get their hands on it.
  • In Time Bandits, the "fabric of the universe (being) far from perfect", all points in history (and in some cases, myth, legend, and the paranormal) can be accessed through "time holes". The dwarves (who helped build the universe in the first place), learn the regular occurrences where the holes appear and where they transport to, via a map they stole from the Supreme Being to steal riches from historic figures (who claims he gave the map to them as a test of will).

  • Sergey Lukyanenko:
    • In Spectrum, alien Technical Pacifists calling themselves the Keymasters travel in starships expanding the interplanetary network of Gates. They came to Earth in modern times and asked for permission to build Gates in several cities. The payment for using a Gate is telling an interesting new story.note  If the Keymaster enjoys the story, the traveler is allowed to pass. Any aggression inside a gate station results in aggressor's disappearance (what happens to them is never answered). The only Keymasters' condition for the local governments is not to block passage for anyone. The Gates' interior changes to the one familiar to the current traveler's race. Humans see a desk with a regular computer running Microsoft Windows (this part actually becomes a plot point) displaying a catalog of available planets and Gates. The traveler selects the destination with keyboard and/or mouse. There are no special effects. The traveler is simply told to exit the Gate. Several characters speculate that the Gates swap room contents in a several meter radius. A part of The Reveal is that Keymasters are reactivating and rebuilding an older network.
    • In Lukyanenko's The Star Shadow, the Shadow is a massive conglomeration of worlds near the galactic core joined by the Gates. However, unlike your typical Portal Network, the Gates don't take you where you think you want to go but to a location best suited for your current deepest desire. This is, as you can imagine, a bit of a crapshoot, as finding a specific world is almost impossible, and one should never trust one's own deepest desires. That is why there is a new organization within the Shadow that strives to build its own Portal Network, which is more typical. Also, neither the Gates nor the planets they're joined to can be destroyed.
    • A mild example in another of Lukyanenko's novels. At the beginning of Line of Delirium, the protagonist Kay finds himself on Terra in the vast mansion of the wealthiest man in The Empire, who owns the company allowing people to be resurrected in the event of death for a hefty sum (paid upfront, of course). Different parts of the mansion actually exist all over the planet (he can literally walk from a beach on the Pacific to the top of the Himalayas) and are joined by tunnel-like portals. It's, of course, ridiculously expensive to do that (not to mension the enormous power requirements to keep the portals open all the time), and even The Emperor isn't that ostentatious (he has a total of one portal in his palace, leading from the main palace grounds in Florida to a beach in Cuba).
  • A recurring theme in Clifford Simak's works is a faster-than-light interstellar Portal Network created by slower-than-light starships.
    • Mentioned in The Goblin Reservation. Maxwell's brother cannot be contacted by police (when Maxwell is found dead) because he went with an expedition to install yet another portal.
    • Central in Way Station. The eponymous station on Earth was built to circumnavigate a dust cloud, through which travel in energy form is problematic, otherwise The Federation wouldn't be interested in Earth.

  • Accelerando: In Glasshouse (and to a slightly lesser extent, Accelerando), wormhole technology is overwhelmingly prevalent, to the point where the protagonist of Glasshouse at one point has a jacket whose pockets are wormholes leading to convenient storage locations. The books largely cut out the spaceship middleman, and have vast numbers of deep space habitats all linked into one seemingly coherent whole whose internal geometry bares little resemblance to its actual distribution through space, or indeed to anything Euclid may have considered.
  • Iain M. Banks's The Algebraist features a similar idea; the novel's wormholes only link specific systems and must be towed into place the long way — starships themselves are firmly sub-lightspeed. If your system’s wormhole gets destroyed, you’re cut off from the rest of the galaxy for centuries at minimum until someone can drag another to you. There have been several attempts at a galaxy-spanning wormhole network with hundreds of thousands of connections, but each one has eventually been severely reduced by one war or another. The urban legend that the local Precursors have a hidden, private network comprising millions of connections is a driving plot point.
    • The idea is played with in that portals have a fixed, low, diameter. Spaceships are thus either long and skinny, or designed to go through portals in pieces, then join up.
  • In Kir Bulychev's Alice, Girl from the Future, public transportation has taken this form by the year 2082. One of the main characters is a kid from the 20th century who ends up in the 21st. He enters what looks like a bus, only to realize it's not moving and exiting out the opposite door. He finds himself in a new location. Basically, bus stops have become a Portal Network. There are other methods of transportation, though, such as Flying Cars.
  • The Antares novels have a naturally-occurring variant, known as foldpoints.
  • The fifth book in Mikhail Akhmanov's Arrivals from the Dark series, appropriately called The Gates of the Galaxy, has one of these as a main plot point. It has been mentioned even in the first book that the ancient Daskins have left behind numerous ruins and artifacts, the greatest of which is a Portal Network that stretches to the nearby galaxies. One such entrance to the Abyss (or Hub) is what we call the Great Red Spot on Jupiter. When entering the Spot, ships must wait for the next "cycle" of the system, which will take it through the Mirror to the Abyss, a hub-like area outside of our dimension that contains hundreds, if not thousands, of such Mirrors. An untrained mind may find all this too much and suffer a mental breakdown. After the Daskins, only the Lo'ona Aeo know how to enter the tunnels. Also, there may occasionally be an encounter with an Eldritch Abomination-like Space Whale that feeds on mental energy. Luckily, these are vulnerable to ship-to-ship weapons, if you can get to them before your mind shuts down.

    Also, normal Faster-Than-Light Travel method is, theoretically, even faster than the Portal Network, as it is possible to get anywhere in the universe in a fraction of a second. Unfortunately, jumps require extremely precise calculations, with distance and gravity affecting them. Otherwise, a ship may end up many parsecs off course or even inside a star or a planet. This is why all ships perform series of small jumps instead of a big one.
  • Ashes of Empire: Interstellar travel is via a natural portal network, specifically a mapped array of wormholes. It's not instantaneous, but so much faster than ordinary hyperspace travel (one trip is noted as taking 6 hours via wormhole, as opposed to weeks in hyper) that no one bothers with hyperspace any more except for travel within a solar system. Wormhole travel is also far more fuel-efficient, so even if ships wanted to use hyperspace for interstellar travel instead of the wormholes they would run out of fuel before getting to their destination.
  • Aurora Cycle: The Fold is accessed through a network of portals. Many planets, including Earth and the 22 planets infected by the Ra'haam, are connected via naturally-occurring FoldGates. There are also artificial Jump Gates, appearance-dependent on which species built them.
  • The Chronicles of Narnia: The Wood Between the Worlds from The Magician's Nephew is an interesting variant. Rather than each world being connected directly to another (though these connections, too, exist), each world is connected to a single pool of water in the Wood Between the Worlds, and you can get to any world via the Wood... provided you can figure out which pool goes where, since they have no more distinguishing features than any other pool in any other forest.
  • In Peter F. Hamilton's Commonwealth Saga, habitable planets are connected by a Portal Network made of Wormholes linked together by railroad tracks that go through the wormholes. In the Void Trilogy, which takes place in the same universe, Ellezellin's Free Trade Zone consists of several planets connected by wormholes.
  • A Confusion of Princes features wormholes between different star systems. They can only be passed through one way, so scout ships exploring wormholes also have to find a return wormhole or it could take a long time to get back at normal spaceship speed. Many systems have multiple wormhole entrances and exits, which can be closed temporarily by a big enough burst of energy.
  • Crest of the Stars has FTL working this way: travel is done through an alternate dimension called "Planar Space". Entering and exiting Planar Space is done at naturally-occurring portals known as "Sords" (the Abh term for them) or simply as "Gates". One of the main reasons the Abh have achieved such power throughout the galaxy is that they made sure to park their home base on top of a dense nexus of Sords, allowing them quick and easy access to virtually anywhere in the galaxy, as well as giving them control over an unexplored set of Sords that may lead to another galaxy entirely.
  • In Tobias Buckell's Crystal Rain and its sequels, the inhabited star systems are connected via wormholes in a way similar to the Vorkosigan Saga, including the key detail that only certain ships with special cyborg pilots can navigate through them. However, there are usually only one or two connections per system, meaning that the wormhole map of human civilization more resembles a subway route than a network of worlds. And an important plot point is that several wormholes have been destroyed, isolating worlds including Nanagada and Earth from the rest of civilization except by STL travel over hundreds of years, but they can be rebuilt.
  • Stephen King's The Dark Tower series uses the titular tower to Retcon almost all of King's works into a Shared Universe. The Tower may be used to either access Roland's native Allword from Earth (or vice versa) or even the alternate timeline of The Stand (as Randall Flagg has done). It is also worth noting that the Stephen King separates the world in which his readers reside (this being the Keystone Earth where King does exist as the author of all of these stories) from the world in which his stories and characters live (Mainstream Earth where King, of course, does not exist as the author of these very stories). There are other alternate realities such at that of King's The Regulators series. All are accessible through different levels of the tower along with many other alternate Earths that have appeared in King's works over the decades. While it is not necessary to be within the tower itself, it is the tower that provides the conduit for the connections between the different universes, thus how Eddie, Susan, Jake, and Father Callahan could all cross over into Allworld from their respective timelines.
  • The Mat-trans in the Death Lands, Lost Technology in an After the End North America. The protagonists don't have the knowledge to use it, so just travel at random. In the spin-off series Outlanders it's revealed that the illness caused when using the technology is simply caused by not setting specific co-ordinates.
  • In Katherine Kurtz Deryni books, a group of powerful Deryni can make a portal. Any Deryni who knows the location of one portal can get there by any other. Most houses that once belonged to a Deryni family have one somewhere, and most churches that once had a Deryni pastor have one, generally in the sacristy. Some Portals are trapped to prevent unauthorized persons from using them. Also, portals tend to fade from non-use; in the later novels, Deryni have been barred from the clergy for about 200 years, so many of the church portals don't work any more.
  • L-Space is sometimes used as a Portal Network in the Discworld novels. What is this L-Space thing? Well, "the relevant equation is Knowledge = Power = Energy = Matter = Mass; a good bookshop is just a genteel Black Hole that knows how to read. Mass distorts space into polyfractal L-space, in which Everywhere is also Everywhere Else." The more significant the knowledge contained in a library, the easier it is to get to — meaning that a room with one book in it can be a major L-Space node, if the book leads to an entirely new science.
  • Doctor Who New Adventures: The Transit Network of portal-trains in Transit by Ben Aaronovitch just covers the solar system (although the book describes an attempt at a Stellar Tunnel). Most people have a better idea of the shape of the network than of the physical system. It's a parody of The London Underground, of course, with the Stunnel as a scaled-up version of the Channel Tunnel.
  • Attempted in the Dragonlance backstory. Back in the Age of Dreams, when all five Towers of High Sorcery still existed and the practice of magic flourished, the various high mages attempted to build a series of portals to link their Towers together to provide instant transport between them without the effort and inconvenience of standard teleportation spells. They metaphysically Dug Too Deep and ended up connecting their Portals to the Abyss. Soon after, the Dark Queen Takhisis tricked one mage into opening one of the Portals and releasing her, kicking off the Third Dragon War. After she was defeated, the Conclave took stock and realized that many of the mages involved in the Portals' creation had died in the war, meaning that without the secrets they had, the Portals could not be dismantled. The best they could do was lay down a nigh-impossible requirement to keep anyone from ever opening the Portals again. It didn't take.
  • A massive part of the premise of Dread Empire's Fall. These portals are spaced a couple of weeks' journey apart, though, so it can still take a few months to travel from point A to B.
  • The Dresden Files: Magic can be used to open portals between Earth and the Nevernever. Because the Nevernever connects to Earth via spiritual similaritiesnote  one can skip over vast distances in the mortal realm via a shortcut through the Nevernever, such as walking from Chicago to Glasgow in 30 minutes, making it an extremely important strategically. Fixed portals can also be specifically constructed from one part of the Nevernever to a part of the human world, but this is very difficult. Unfortunately, finding new routes is also extremely dangerous; you can accidentally make your way into someplace that's underwater, or filled with poisonous gas, or encounter dangerous creatures.
  • The portals in Earth Girl are largely comparable to the portals of the Stargate-verse, but they are invented and deployed by humans, not precursor aliens. Another major difference is that they have Drop Portals, where you can bootstrap a new portal connection by portalling a tiny spaceship to a new place without having to get the receiving portal there conventionally. The small ships dropped there then assemble the regular receiving portal. They are restricted to a maximum diameter of 4 meters. By the time of the book, humanity relies so much on them that their spacecraft cannot launch into space or land from there, only portal from orbit to the planetary surface and vice versa. The only aircraft still used are survey planes used for cartography and to look for people gone missing.
  • The Eldraeverse has a "mesh" of wormholes set up by Ring Dynamics, a MegaCorp based in the Empire but extending far beyond it's claimed systems to service the entire Associated Worlds. Stars that haven't been connected yet rely on lighthuggers. The Voniensa Republic has its' own state-run network, despite their aversion to the cognitive enhancement employed by Ring Dynamics' physicists they use a Precursor artifact, the Core War is an attempt to steal a replacement after it breaks.
  • In Poul Anderson's The Enemy Stars, mankind has maintained a program to deploy a portal network for centuries — while civilizations rose and fell on Earth — using STL ships to deliver portals to other solar systems. Aliens have been doing the same thing.
    ...But still the ships fell upward through the night, and always there were men to stand watch upon them. Sometimes the men wore peaked caps and comets, sometimes steel helmets, sometimes decorous gray cowls, eventually blue berets with winged stars; but always they watched the ships, and more and more often as the decades passed they brought their craft to new harbors.
    After ten generations, the Southern Cross was not quite halfway to her own goal, though she was the farthest from Earth of any human work.
  • In The Expanse, the gate/wormhole network has been built by a powerful alien civilization billions of years ago. All Rings lead to a hub area of sorts. There's a station in the middle of the zone, which sets a speed limit of sorts on any physical object passing through. Any ship that attempts to move faster than a few hundred meters per second is drastically slowed down (causing injuries or even deaths aboard them due to the sudden deceleration) and pulled towards the station. The Solar System gets its own Ring when the alien protomolecule builds one, allowing humans to explore the galaxy.
  • In The Forever War sending a ship into a collapsar (black hole) at 99% of the speed of light transports it instantaneously to the next collapsar along its vector. However, inhabitable planets are always lightyears from the nearest collapsar so interstellar voyages take several years from planetside perspective, much less time onboard ships due to Time Dilation.
  • Isaac Asimov's Foundation Series: Gregory Benford's Foundation's Fear: The Empire uses a vast network of wormholes for FTL communications. They act as relays, creating bottlenecks like dial-up or DSL. Early chapters establish that wormholes are only ten meters wide at most, so they cannot be used for cargo shipping, only information trade. Later chapters claim that wormholes vary wildly in size, and are the primary method of Faster-Than-Light Travel.
  • The Floo Network in the Harry Potter series, with each entrance being a fireplace.
  • In the Hayven Celestia universe the krakun use Generation Ships with integral gates crewed by their slave races to explore new star systems. The krakun live for millennia and use the gates to commute freely between ships and their homeworld, but their shorter-lived slaves are born, live, and die on board generation after generation.
  • Most Precursors in The History of the Galaxy series by Andrey Livadny had these, as only a few races managed to develop hyperdrives. Thus far, no race seems to have developed both. Humans only discovered FTL travel by chance when the first extrasolar colony ship ripped a hole in space-time with its fusion-powered engines.
    • The portals take advantage of the "horizontal" tension lines in hypersphere that lead to nearby star systems to allow anyone and anything to travel via predetermined paths without a ship (although ships can have their own portals). There is usually a "sorting" system in place to determine where to put the incoming objects. Living beings usually go to small passenger portals. Larger objects go to cargo portals. Spaceships go to large orbital portals, etc. A joint project was underway between two of the ancient races to create a portal hub at the center of hypersphere in order to allow fast travel to any system in the galaxy.
  • David Weber's Honor Harrington novels slightly subvert this trope by having Casual Interstellar Travel of the vanilla variety (by hyperspace) for everyone, but featuring a wormhole network that allows for instantaneous travel between its termini, thus radically cutting on a delivery times. Naturally, the heroes' homeworld has the biggest bunch of those holes. Wormholes in the Honorverse don't really form a network, though. Various wormhole termini are usually too far apart for anyone to get from one to another, without hyperdrives that also allow FTL travel. They just supply a few very convenient shortcuts between some places.
    • Manticore's Wormhole Junction actually does have some aspects of this trope, though, since it connects to no less than seven terminal points (there are only about 200 wormholes known to exist anywhere, and no other system has more than one or two). You can jump from any terminus to Manticore, or from Manticore to any terminus, but not from terminus to terminus. This Junction is phenomenally significant both militarily (a huge part of the war strategy against Haven is centered around the Trevor's Star terminus, a Junction node deep within Haven's space) and even more so commercially (Manticore's termini stretch all over the place, meaning that 1. it's possible to ship goods across the galaxy in a matter of weeks using the Junction and 2. It is often much faster for two worlds that are several times closer to each other than either is to Manticore to ship through the Junction). Weber has stated that the sheer positional advantage Manticore gains from the Junction is orders of magnitude greater than any comparable situation in Terran history, and it is shown that just by cutting them off from Junction access, Manticore can bring the 1000+ star system Solarian League to its knees.
  • In Dan Simmons's Hyperion Cantos novels, most interstellar travel is by way of farcasters, artificial wormholes, since even super-luminal travel can be very slow over interstellar distances. After an expensive and time-consuming sublight construction project around a new planet a completed Singularity Sphere connects the planet to the rest of the WorldWeb, and literally millions of individual Farcaster gates can be built on the planet below, connecting to every other planet in the Hegemony of Man. While spaceships travel using large orbiting Farcaster portals most personal travel is done without every leaving a planets surface.

    Farcaster portals eventually became so commonplace that houses were built that have their individual rooms on entirely different planets; with each doorway being a portal. All hell breaks loose when the Farcaster network has to be shutdown very abruptly to stop the AI Big Bad. Needless to say, the results are a disaster of truly epic proportions; particularly as some planets have developed into single biome worlds with no food production. It gets better.
  • In the Imperial Radch trilogy, most space traffic relies on Gates, each pair of which maintains a tunnel through "gate space" through which ships can safely travel. Radchaai military vessels can open temporary wormholes into gate space, but it's riskier for them to travel that way than through stable routes.
  • Into the Looking Glass, by John Ringo, has the titular Looking Glasses (so named because they resemble a mirror) caused by the Florida Anomaly function as portals. The portal technology ends up being exploited and expanded when it's figured out how to make them work. Airplane travel is all but over in the first few years of them functioning with airports and train stations being an easy place to place a portal network.
  • In Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, Jonathan Strange discovers how to enter a mirror, traverse the world behind it, and come back out via another mirror. When his wife expresses concern about his safety, he promises to stop.
  • Junction Point: The Network, an advanced alien civilization, is connected by Lorentzian wormholes.
  • Kings of the Wyld: The ancient Dominion had a small one, with only three "Thresholds": One in the ruins near Castia, one in Kaladar where the War Fair is held, and one in Antica, which sunk into the sea. They open the Castia portal to send the dragon Akatung to Antica, then take it to Kaladar and bring the entire War Fair to fight the Heartwyld Horde.
  • The Lost Fleet series has two networks of portals. The old jump point system is a natural phenomenon that allows for FTL travel between nearby star systems but the journey can still take months (individual jumps are measured in days or weeks and longer trips require multiple jumps). The new human-built hypernet system allows for a direct link to be built between star systems (the jump still takes days or weeks but can be done in a single jump if both systems have a gate). This has led to the jump point network being only used to access systems not important enough to have their own hypernet built. Additionally, due to some poorly-understood principles of quantum mechanics, ships can get to some far-off gates faster than to the closer gates, as the distance affects the speed of the hyper bubble. When the titular fleet is cut off from the hypernet network by the enemy they have to use the jump point system to maneuver their way out of enemy territory and back to home space.
    • While any ship with a jump drive can use a jump point. However, only ships with a Hypernet key can use a specific Hypernet (ships in tight formation can slip through even if only one of them has a key). It's also revealed that each node (or matrix, as they're called) is held in place by so-called "tethers". If the tethers are shut off, the energy of the matrix is released... usually with an Earth-Shattering Kaboom. When the main character (who's been stuck as a Human Popsicle for 100 years) finds out about this, he wonders why humans would be crazy enough to put barely-contained supernovae near their worlds. He's answered by a simple "they let you go faster".
  • Manifold: Space by Stephen Baxter. The portals employ quantum entanglement teleportation, so transportation (being destroyed at the source and reconstructed at the destination) is limited to lightspeed and portals have a limited (though huge) number of uses.
  • The Morgaine Cycle by C. J. Cherryh has this. The gates link together planets and locations on each planet. They are associated with an advanced but amoral race called the Qhal, but all the evidence points to the Qhal having found and copied gates built by a vanished older race, who in turn weren't the original builders. As to why those ancient races vanished — well, let's just say that's why Morgaine's job is to try to destroy the gate network before the same thing happens again.
  • The trope-defining portal network in SF was in the 1975 novel The Mote in God's Eye by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle. There were scattered earlier instances in earlier SF, but these authors were the first to fully exploit the dramatic possibilities of jump points and tramlines. In so doing they made these a model for a lot of later space opera, and stimulated interest in the other SF variant of the trope with artificial stargates. Before this novel, point-to-point warp drives were more common in SF than portal networks; after, this reversed. Mote was an Unbuilt example of the trope: The story begins when humanity intercepts an alien slower-than-light Sleeper Starship sent from the Mote system. The reason humanity had never explored the star was because the only warp point there originated within a nearby star. This was also the only reason the Moties had never colonized the galaxy centuries ago with their version of the Alderson drive; they did not discover Deflector Shields to survive the trip until humanity's visit to the Mote.
  • The Portico family in Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere live in an "associative house"; a collection of rooms and areas from all over the planet that have fallen through time and space to be assembled into an abstract patchwork building. Only they have the power to get inside, though once in it's possible for anyone to move from room to room. Which is how they were all killed.
  • Bob Shaw's Night Walk has the Null-Space, which is somewhat random. Space is kind of divided in areas of around 1 light-second diameter; if you made a Nullspace jump anywhere in area A, you go to area B, but jumping in area B doesn't get you back to area A, but to area C. And jumping in the area just north to A (say, A+1) you don't go to B+1, but to J. And it can't be predicted. Humanity managed to create some kind of Portal Network by sending lots of hyperspace drones that jumped again and again, until some of them finally got by blind luck back to known space, thus recording a route. The protagonist is a spy trying to deliver home a newfound route with a new habitable planet. Later he discovers a way to map Null-Space.
  • Nocte Yin has Gates between most cities and towns (and more). There are also Gate Keys, which connect to Gates from wherever the user is.
  • The Otherworld Series has a network of magical portals that connect Earth, the Otherworld, and the Subterranean Realms.
  • In the Para Imperium universe the Federation has a network of wormholes connecting the core systems and some of the colonies, but the frontier and Outworlds are reliant on sub-relativistic commerce.
  • In The Pentagon War, the five inhabited star systems are connected by pairs of linked "hyper holes", created by extremely expensive antimatter bombs.
  • The Power of Five: There are twenty-five doors, all in sacred places around the world, which the Five can use for this purpose. Two in different churches in England, one in a Tuscan monastery, one in the Ukrainian Monastery of the Cry for Mercy, one in a Native American sacred cave, one in an Inca sacred site in Peru, one in a temple in Hong Kong, one in an Italian church, one in the Vatican, one in Mecca, one in the Pyramids of Giza, one in a Brazilian temple, one in a rock wall in Oblivion, Antarctica... which is apparently sacred to someone... and a bunch of others at unspecified locations.
  • In Nancy Kress's Probability trilogy, gates left by the Precursors connect to each other, out in space, but the connections change. The first time through, a ship will go to wherever the gate last took a ship, but a ship which returns through a gate will always end up at its original starting point (possibly resetting the destination for future ships). This leads to a climactic scene in the first book, Probability Moon, where a recently-discovered moon-like artifact is being sent towards one of the gates, and both sides in the war are sending ships to and then back through the gate, repeatedly, trying to be the last one through before the artifact enters, so it'll end up in their territory. All while both sides are shooting.
  • The portal stones in Robin Hobb's Realm of the Elderlings.
  • The Redemption of Althalus by David Eddings has two such gates that, when used by the right person, can serve as such a link to anywhere (or nowhere, or both at once).
  • John E. Stith's Reunion On Neverend involves the discovery of a portal network as a subplot.
  • Raymond E. Feist's series, The Riftwar Cycle, has the Hall of Worlds, which is a hallway with doorways that lead to thousands of different worlds. And Honest John's Inn. Not a lot of people know about it, so it's not often utilized, but when it is, it's used to travel vast distances very quickly. On a smaller scale, the rifts themselves, which connect the nearby worlds of Midkemia and Kelewan. Magicians of the Greater Path can also teleport to places they know very well, like their homes, or to a memorized pattern, such as would be set in the floor of important buildings. Then there are the "devices," which have not been properly named yet but are gold-colored orbs that, through a set of switches, allow the holder to teleport to several preset locations (but not back from those locations to wherever the device was activated). Four separate systems, which do not overlap. Plus whatever unexplained teleportation technique Pug, Miranda, and Magnus use, which is essentially the Greater Path magician one. Feist must really like this one.
  • The Salvation War: The first thing the nations of the world do when they discover how to open portals into Hell is to funnel in modern weaponry and kick Satan out. The second thing they do is use Hell as a jumping-off point to mobilize the multinational Human Expeditionary Army more or less anywhere on Earth, putting the kibosh on Heaven's plan to destabilize the alliance by stirring up pocket wars on the mortal plane.
  • There are multiple forms of FTL in The Ship Who.... In PartnerShip, ships with a Singularity Drive can enter Singularity Points to cross distances much faster than by using "normal" faster-than-light. Hyperspace Is a Scary Place that warps the ships people use and their bodies in upsetting, unpredictable ways - such as making teeth switch between rotting mush and long, stabbing needles - so few people can navigate through these points.
  • The Spin trilogy features one of these, the Hypotheticals having installed an enormous entrance to one on Earth for unexplained reasons.
    • They also install one on human-colonized Mars. The portals (or Arches, as they're called) are intelligent enough to only allow manned vehicles traveling in a specific direction to pass. Each world in the "chain" (except Earth and Mars) has two Arches, linking the "chain" between the two "end" worlds, with environments growing progressively less Earth-like and more Mars-like as one travels from Earth to Mars through the portals.
    • By the end of the third novel, Earth and Mars are no longer accessible via the Arches due to their environments becoming uninhabitable, with humanity spread out all over the galaxy along the "chain". The protagonists even witness Earth's Arch starting to collapse, its integrity no longer maintained by the Hypotheticals, although this takes place millions of years in the future.
  • The Starfire books by David Weber feature warp points in two varieties, open and closed. Open points are detectable and can be stumbled through by accident. Closed points are not detectable; the only way to find and use them is to first travel through them from the other (open) end.
  • There is a Portal Network in The Starlore Legacy despite the fact that FTL travel is ubiquitous. The Aurora Galaxy is crisscrossed by a network of slipstream conduits, space-time tunnels constructed by the alien Immortals to shield FTL craft from the effects of Time Dilation.
  • In the Heinlein Juvenile Starman Jones interstellar travel is done via "Horst congruencies", otherwise invisible, carefully plotted points in space where boosting the ship past light speed results in a "transition" to the corresponding congruency near your destination. (Screw up the astrogation by a whisker, and you wind up who knows where.)
  • Starplex by Robert J. Sawyer features a network of portal points spanning the entire universe. All the points begin dormant, but come online whenever something touches them. Sometimes they're opened by random debris, but most are activated deliberately by advanced civilizations. The points are only detectable using subspace technology, which means no race can activate its point and join the galactic community until it reaches the technical level of at least basic FTL. It actually turns out that the points are time portals, created by engineers from the future so they could visit the past. The fact that they're spatially connected, facilitating galactic commerce and infrastructure, is really just a side effect.
  • Ground level portals built by the long-lost "Roadbuilders" were the main form of transportation in John deChancie's Starrigger series. Due to the necessity of having to enter the portal at a very high rate of speed, most cargo was transported by gigantic, fusion powered 18-wheelers. The plot turns on the fact that no-one has a complete map of the network, meaning that the known network is ruled by authoritarian governments, and the only way to escape them is to travel through unmapped "potluck" portals, which are so named because no-one has yet returned from them. Turns out that the Roadbuilders set the system up like this on purpose; those who are dissatisfied with The Way Things Are can trace a Linked List Clue Methodology all the way to the end of the network — and due to the side effects of FTL travel, travel back in time to the very beginning of the universe, where the Roadbuilders would listen to their ideas to fine-tune all of existence. In this universe, Jack Kerouac could very easily find himself meeting God, who would ask him for advice!
  • The Stormlight Archive features two related variants. First are the Oathgates, a set of ten fabrials that allow transit between the legendary city of Urithiru and the capitols of the ten Silver Kingdoms. Second, it is revealed that you can only transit out of Shadesmar through a "perpendicularity". When a Radiant sends only their mind into Shadesmar, a perpendicularity is created wherever their body happens to be, but if they transit fully, sending their body as well as their mind through, they can only get back out through a rare natural perpendicularity. They also form a portal network between worlds in the greater Cosmere setting.
  • Troy Rising: First Contact with Earth, in Live Free or Die, is done by aliens bringing to the Sol System a node of their interstellar spacecraft travel network. They immediately announce that there is payment for use of the gate and that humans have no say in who can come in through the gate, including hostile powers. It's not long before a hostile power does come knocking, wiping out three major cities and demanding that Earth supply them with platinum-group metals as payment for "protection". Apparently, each gate has access to only the gates in the immediate galactic neighborhood. This frequently meant entering one gate, exiting it, then turning around and entering it again. Rinse and repeat until you reach your destination. Oh, and you have to pay for each entrance. It's also a common tactic to "dial" the gate to another system during a battle in order to keep the other side from bringing in reinforcements. Assaulting a gate is very tough, given that generally all system defenses are concentrated around the gate as a single point of entry. The Rangora have perfected the process, building enormous Assault Vectors, giant dreadnoughts ten kilometers in length and one in diameter. This falls apart when they have to deal with human Troy-class battlestations, which are hollowed-out nine-kilometer asteroids with thick nickel-iron shells and multiple laser and missile gunports, an Orion Drive, plus fleets of warships based inside them.
  • The Transfer Point network is, by and large, the preferred means of travel in David Brin's Uplift universe. Or it was, prior to the end of Heaven's Reach when one of the Five Galaxies shifted away and disrupted the entire network.
  • The various systems in Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga are connected by natural (and not always stable) wormholes. Some planets (such as Beta Colony) were originally settled by sublight starships before ways to use wormholes were discovered. Multijump interstellar journeys may take months, but it's just the travel time between neighboring wormholes in the same system. Nobody goes between stars the old-fashioned way anymore. As mentioned in Shards of Honor, it's possible to roughly estimate where in real space can a wormhole go, but there's no way to deliberately find a path to a given system, such as the protagonists' home, Lost Colony Barrayar.
  • In The Wheel of Time series, there exists an ancient and largely abandoned network of Portal Stones, that allows channelers to open passages into not only from one stone to another in a different location, but also different realities or even timelines. Waygates are based on this, connected via a parallel dimension filled with bridges and paths known as "the Ways". They are abandoned because they were constructed by male Aes Sedai carrying the taint of the Dark One, and slowly became corrupted themselves, to the point that anyone entering them is liable to encounter the Black Wind. You do not want to encounter the Black Wind.
    • It's also implied that the Skimming platforms all go through the same space, it's just that they're so far apart that they never interact.
  • In Wind and Sparks by Alexey Pehov, a thousand years ago a mad genius mage called "the Sculptor" created, or rather grew, Paths of Petals — the network of teleporters each looking like a mosaic of a large flower on a stone floor. A Walker magician (almost exclusively female) would stand on Petals, imagine her destination, and teleport with everybody around her to destination Petals. By the time he died the network covered half a continent, but nobody else managed to learn the technique. Five centuries later the petals were "put to sleep" during a magicians' revolt and the one who did it got killed; since then all attempts to wake them failed. Five more centuries later despite the ongoing war Big Bads put a lot of efforts and resources in finding the Sculptor's old notes or the man expected to be able to grow new petals.
  • The World of Tiers series by Philip José Farmer. Permanent gates inside Pocket Universes and between them.
  • Diane Duane's Young Wizards series has the Invisible (And Intangible) To Normals worldgates. On Earth these can only be used by wizards, but on worlds with both much more advanced technology and no Masquerade they can be used by anybody.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Andromeda, it is possible to travel near-instantaneously between stars but not to a location without stars. The system is also so random and illogical that computers can't navigate it, but sentient beings can do it intuitively.
  • Babylon 5 used a series of fixed gates to access hyperspace, turning it into a Portal Network for the smaller ships (save the White Stars) that lacked their own jump engines. The gates also acted as navigation aids, with navigational beacons transmitted between the gates. Most ships traveling in Hyperspace were careful to Stay on the Path, or risk being lost in space. Specialized exploration ships and the bigger military warships carried specialized equipment for navigating off the beacon, but even those ships were wary about being too adventurous in hyperspace.
  • Buck Rogers in the 25th Century featured Stargates (no relation) for interstellar travel. In-story they were relatively recent technology; the first pilot to go through a Stargate was Doctor Huer.
  • The T. Matthew Fraggle Room in the final season of Fraggle Rock. Arches in it lead to Doc's Workshop, Australia, and the Land of Golden Apples, amongst other places. The Grand Finale reveal that there's a Fraggle hole in Doc's new home, and Robin's discovery of one under Ma Bear's farmhouse in A Muppet Family Christmas suggests that all exits from the Rock are actually portals.
  • In Kamen Rider Decade, the pictures that serve as gateways to the nine other worlds. This makes the portrait studio the Hub Level for Decade.
  • If you have the Key, you can use any door with a tumbler lock in this manner in The Lost Room miniseries. Opening any such door with the Key results in you entering Room 10 of the Sunshine Motel, which exists outside space/time. You can then close the door and open it in again to a location of your choosing. Better not leave anything (or anyone) in the Room when you leave, though.
  • The Invisiportal Network in Power Rangers: Dino Thunder.
  • The Stargate-verse, including Stargate SG-1, Stargate Atlantis, and Stargate Universe. The original Stargate movie possibly has a single two-way link (other gates are not shown, but not ruled out either). The expansions give us a full-blown network.
    • The gates have a calibration system reminiscent of a rotary telephone. In the film the first six symbols are said to be constellations that act as coordinates in 3-dimensional space while the seventh chevron is the point of origin. The system in the sequels appears to be high-level automation: dial in the destination you want, the gate does the rest, Bob's your larval symbiote. We later find that gates exist in multiple galaxies; in an eight-symbol address, the seventh is the "area code" and the eighth is the point of origin, if we continue the phone metaphor.
    • The gates also have different appearances and styles in different series. The only change from the movie to the SG-1 is that the chevrons now light up red. In Atlantis, the newer Pegasus Galaxy gates have actual depictions of constellations rather than symbols that represent them, and instead of the inner ring spinning, the lights travel in a circle, each constellation lighting up in turn like Christmas lights. Some are even set in orbit of a planet, rather than set on the planet itself, and are activated remotely through ships with dialing systems set in them. In Universe, the older gates have the whole thing spin. The biggest difference is that in SG-1 and SGA, the gates are Nigh-Invulnerable, able to survive almost anything (to the point of one being able to last a few minutes after being thrown into a star.) SGU gates are about as tough as the stone they appear to be made of — tough, but conventional means of destroying stuff can break them and that's bad if you don't have another way off the planet.
    • The humans' main defensive strategy is basically to cover their Stargate so that none of the bad guys can get through to attack. The flaw in this strategy is quickly pointed out: faster-than-light travel does exist, and the bad guys now know that there is a reason to come to Earth. Throughout the series, space ships and stargates (and, of course, space ships traveling through stargates) are both used as common means of travel. The stargates are faster, being truly instantaneous, but have several disadvantages compared to ships, such as being easier to prevent travel through, being too small to allow passage of anything bigger than a bus, and requiring preexisting gates that are hard to move (although it's not impossible).
    • Then you have the Ori arc, who are a race of Sufficiently Advanced Aliens who have Ascended and feed off the blind worship of their human subjects. They manage to build massive supergates that allow entire fleets of huge motherships to pass through between galaxies. They do, however, require the energy of a nearby black hole to function.
  • Star Trek:
    • Borg transwarp conduits, as shown in various series, are fixed conduits supported by "manifolds" and liked by "hubs". It seems that individual Borg ships may be capable of expanding this network or going off the path using onboard transwarp drives, since they can seemingly pop up anywhere and don't appear to be limited to specific fixed points, but the Borg also use a version of regular warp drive, and their transwarp tech has never been portrayed consistently. A similar subspace tunnel network ("underspace"), that is more definitely reliant on fixed points, is used by the Vaudwaur in Star Trek: Voyager.
    • The Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Contagion" features the remnants of a network like this created by the powerful Iconians in the distant past. A much later episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine dealt with what might happen if the same technology fell into the hands of some bad guys.
    • Star Trek: Discovery has a network that only the crew of the title ship have been able to safely tap into. However, it is said to connect every point in the universe, thus allowing for Teleport Spam. We later find out that's every point in the multiverse, making travel to the Mirror Universe possible with some doing.

  • In Orbital's video for "Funny Breaks (One Is Enough)", the unnamed woman is able to travel between the interiors of suitcases.

  • Random Assault: How the hosts are able to live all around the world (USA, Canada, and even England), and be able to come together to record the podcast in the mansion.


    Tabletop Games 
  • Coriolis: The Third Horizon from Swedish developer Free League uses the jump point version, though it literally refers to them as "portals". They're the slightly safer means of getting around the galaxy.
  • Diaspora features the "hyperdrive that can be only used between certain points" variant. Notably, its portals don't form a fully connected network; instead, the universe is divided into an unknown number of clusters of between 2 and 6 linked star systems. These Clusters are completely isolated from one another, barring somebody taking all the time and effort to send a slower-than-light expedition. Members of a cluster also tend not to be anywhere near each other in real space; it's possible they're not even in the same galaxy.
  • The unofficial D&D setting with Space Opera elements Dragonstar has two major networks, each with one part in each of the ten domains of the Dragon Empire. The Long Road is a 20-lane highway with ten miles on each of the capital planets; Outlands Station is a collection of space stations close to the edges of the empire, each with portals to all of the other pieces.
  • Dungeons & Dragons has a few.
    • The right spells let players to create their own portal networks, from one that allows casters to hop from tree to tree, to the Blood Magus prestige class ability to teleport to another living being and burst out of them.
    • Explicitly stated to either exist, or did exist in Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition's Nentir Vale setting. As it takes place during the interregnum between the previous great civilization and the next, some of the portals are still functional. D&D fans being who they are, this is one of the more contested point in the edition, citing it's too Video Games-like.
    • The Forgotten Realms setting has magical Portals in various shapes and distances.
    • Sigil, the City of Doors, in the Planescape setting is packed with planar gateways, making it a cosmopolitan metropolis and major dimensional travel hub. If you know which doors lead to which place in which realm, you can save a great deal of travel time, but you'll need the proper "key" — which can be anything, from a broken skull to a command word to the correct color of eyeshadow — to open a portal. Some of these gateways aren't portals in the conventional sense, so you could jump into, say, a closet on the Material Plane, walk a few blocks through Sigil, pass through a ruined stone gate, and suddenly find yourself in Asmodeus' throne room.
      • Sigil's home plane, the Concordant Domain of the Outlands, is the neutral "hub" of Dungeons & Dragons' "Great Wheel" cosmology. Located roughly equidistantly from Sigil (insomuch as distance has any meaning in the Outlands) are sixteen "portal towns" with permanent gateways to the Outer Planes, allowing you to pass from the Heroic Domains of Ysgard through the gate at Glorium, trek about two thousand miles across the Outlands, and use the portal at Rigus to enter the Infernal Battlefield of Acheron. Note that sometimes these border towns disappear from the Outlands to appear on the planes they link to, possibly after the Character Alignment of their inhabitants reaches some critical mass that makes them merge with their "home" plane.
    • The Plane of Mirrors is a variant Transitive Plane, where the right magic lets users step through a looking-glass into a corridor of mirrors leading to other places, possibly on other planes. There are two quirks: first, the mirrors in each "constellation" are linked in some way, either by maker, material, etc. Second, setting foot on the plane creates an opposite-alignment Mirror Self that wants to kill you and take your place.
    • The Infinite Staircase is another Transitive Plane, an endless expanse of stairways, landings and doors hanging in a hazy darkness. Besides the normal danger of running into another planar traveler, player characters on the Infinite Staircase run the risk of finding a doorway that they know leads to their heart's desire. If they fail a Will save to resist opening the door, they're forever removed from play... to live Happily Ever After?
    • A more specialized example is the Grand Abyss, a chasm excavated by obyriths in the Age before Ages to plumb the Infinite Depths of the Abyss, effectively a layer onto itself. It consists of a Bottomless Pit lined with fortresses, stairways, bridges and gateways between the plane's layers, making it a more reliable way of getting around than jumping into one of the holes on the plane's first, "top" layer. As a major hub between the domains of Chaotic Evil outsiders, the layer is an endless battlefield where even those who manage to avoid demonic sentries can still be killed by a plummeting corpse.
    • An early issue of Dungeon Adventures described a network of towers, built long ago and damaged in places, that linked different parts of the world through magical gateways. Pairs or trios of still-linked towers provide mini-adventures of increasing difficulty, which DMs can sprinkle here and there over the course of an adventuring party's career.
    • 5th edition's "Teleportation Circle" spell creates a portal to an existing permanent Teleportation Circle with the same sigil pattern. The portal can be made permanent simply by casting the spell on the same location every day for a year, otherwise the portal closes after six seconds.
  • Eclipse Phase has two varieties of Portal Network. The more conventional faster-than-light travel is accomplished via the Pandora Gates, relics of The Singularity, but Brain Uploading allows casual interplanetary travel in the form of "egocasting", transmitting your mind at lightspeed to a given destination before (usually) downloading it into an on-site body. It's possible to ship your own body in cold storage, but depending on the distance it could take quite a while to show up.
  • Everway is a game about characters who can traverse a portal network that links countless fantasy worlds.
  • Exalted used to have two, but is now down to one. Back in the lost glory days of the First Age, the Exalted got around by means of permanently fixed portals called "Gates of Auspicious Passage". These used massive amounts of Essence, but could take a person from one side of the world to another in seconds. Unfortunately, they weren't Ragnarok-proofed; the end of the First Age brought down the network, and nowadays there's few if any left. The Yu-Shan gates, which don't need the portal network, are still active. Those take anyone who steps through them into the continent-sized Heavenly City. If you can use them, the Yu-Shan gates are generally a faster means of long-distance travel than anything else available — the Yu-Shan sides are scattered around the edge of the city, but the Creation sides are scattered across the entire world.
  • Fading Suns, influenced by the Heechee in this respect.
  • The Netherworld of Feng Shui is a mystical realm which allows travel through time via mystical portals that lead to different junctures in the past, present and future.
  • Fringe Gates in the RPG Fringeworthy. These gates also allowed travel through between alternate universes. They were an inspiration for Stargate SG-1.
  • Lancer: Union is held together by Blink gates, though they get more and more spread out the further one gets from Cradle (Earth). Planets in the Solar System have their own individual gates, while some fringe worlds are twenty lightyears from the nearest gate, necessitating decades on board a sublight ship to reach.
  • As of the "March of the Machine" block of Magic: The Gathering, the Phyrexians used the Realmbreaker (the compleated sapling of the World Tree of Kaldheim) to open these throughout the Multiverse in the form of Omenpaths, allowing the Phyrexians to blitz no less than 36 different Planes simultaneously. After the Invasion, with the deaths of all five Praetors, and the fact that most Planeswalkers lost their ability to Planeswalk during the Great Pruning, the remaining Omenpaths now allow for interdimensional travel for all. The only catch is that unlike with Planeswalking, using an Omenpath allows only for interdimensional travel between two different Planes.
  • Games Workshop games:
    • In Warhammer the Old Ones built gates like this at the world's poles, but they collapsed into Hell Gates that have tainted the extreme latitudes into the Chaos Wastes, and which occasionally spew forth the Legions of Hell.
    • In Warhammer: Age of Sigmar the eight Mortal Realms are linked by a series of mystical portals known as Realmgates. The Realmgates are the only means for the majority of creatures to travel between the Realms with even the gods themselves finding the network of portals to be the most convenient means of travel. While most Realmgates only link two specific points within the Realms, some link to multiple locations while a single portal, the Allpoints, links to all the other Realmgates and is the single most strategic location in the Mortal Realms.
    • Warhammer 40,000:
      • The Eldar Webway. The good news is that it avoids the hazards of traveling through the Warp, the bad news is that the Webway is falling apart. Some of the passages have collapsed or now lead to horrible destinations, while the Dark Eldar have built a piratical, soul-eating civilization within the Webway's darkest depths, the infamous Commorragh. The Eldar do know how to repair the Webway, but due to their rather dire circumstances, lack the resources needed for such an undertaking. The Cicatrix Maledictum's birth did damage to it too, leaving some sections of it inaccessible. The Necrons can also use the Webway through their Dolmen Gates. However, they only work one way and the Webway itself doesn't like unauthorized entrances to it.
      • Before the Horus Heresy, the Emperor of Mankind spearheaded a project to allow humans to access the Webway, incorporating a man-made portal into the Golden Throne to eventually eliminate the need to use the Warp to travel faster than light. That project pretty much died thanks to the events of the Heresy, when Magnus accidentally broke the barriers that protected the gate from the daemons. The gate collapsed into a warp rift that will consume Holy Terra itself when the Emperor finally dies.
  • In Pathfinder, the ancient elves constructed a network of portal gates to connect their empire. Including some that connect to the neighboring planet Castrovel, where they took refuge from the Starfall in ancient times. They still function in the present of the setting, but many of the keys that would activate them have been lost.
  • In Starfire, star systems are interconnected through an elaborate network of naturally-occurring "warp points." Each warp point leads to another specific warp point in another star system. Strategic distances between star systems aren't measured in light-years, but in how many warp points you have to transit to get from System A to System B. Some systems are "dead ends" with only one warp point in them — Sol is one such dead-end system.
  • West End Games' Web and Starship is a strategic space game, in which Earth is caught between two races. The Gwynhyfarr, who roam the galaxy in faster-than-light starships, and the Pereen, who link their planets together in a trans-dimensional "web" which permits instantaneous movement from one system to another but can only be expanded using sublight ships. Earth has access to both technologies, but starts out severely outgunned by both enemies.

    Video Games 
  • Occurs in Achron's backstory as a transport backbone for the humans, who reverse-engineered the technology from some alien ruins. Also occurs in-game to a fashion if you're a fan of the 'slingshot' structure, which can shunt any units that approach it automatically to a point in space anywhere in a wide radius around it. If you build enough slingshots, you can chain them into teleport-bridges that can shunt your forces between all your bases.
  • Star Gates in The Adventures of Rad Gravity. The final planet also has a difficult maze of teleporting doors.
  • In Air Rivals, travel between regions (and game instances) is done entirely via jumpgates. Other than excusing the Patchwork Map, it also affects gameplay by allowing spawn camping strategic bottlenecks.
  • In Alundra an optional Side Quest opens one of these, allowing you to quickly travel to various places on the map. (But only if you had already been there on foot, making this also a Door to Before.)
  • In the second Avernum trilogy the Avernites have developed their own Portal Network which connects Portal Pylons located across Avernum to the main portal.
  • Cave Story is set across several caves which are interconnected with teleporters. Somewhat unfortunately, they need to be connected manually, something the characters thankfully manage.
  • Chrono Trigger features the End of Time, which is a nexus of reality crossing after all of time has ceases to exist. As a tangible place. Best not dwell on this too long. Seeing as Chrono Trigger is a game that focuses its world building on "Same world, but wildly different eras", the portals at The End of Time don't take you across the cosmos, but rather a fixed point in time in a specific location on Earth. The same time period can have several portals, and are either the result of the heroes' actions without them knowing it, the Big Bad Eldritch Abomination Lavos, or a benevolent greater entity aiding them to defeat said Big Bad. It's all very nebulous and vague.
  • The Scrin of Command & Conquer: Tiberian Series make extensive use of portal technology, though they have to land their forces in an area first and set up the portals once they arrive.
  • The Conduit, which The Conduit and it's sequel Conduit 2 are named for, is a portal network build by aliens long ago, allowing for instantaneous travel across the globe.
  • Conquest: Frontier Wars often has several solar systems per mission, each linked by a naturally occurring wormholes. One can also build "jump gates" on top of these wormholes that block other players from using them.
  • In Crying Suns, the Empire used megastructures called Folders to bridge the vast interstellar distances between its star clusters. When the OMNIs who ran all the Empire’s technology shut down, so did the Folder network, and the Empire collapsed as interstellar travel became impossible. The OMNI Kaliban has a limited ability to turn Folders back on, allowing Idaho to explore the clusters in his quest to unravel the mystery of the Shutdown.
  • Distorted Travesty 3 is riddled with portals, from runestones that transport you about the massive hub world to portals that lead you into the 'gates'. Even within the gates there is almost invariably a local portal system.
  • Several Duke Nukem 3D multiplayer levels had teleporters, and rockets fired into one would keep flying at the other end.
  • 'Warp Holes' in Durango: Wild Lands are tamer versions of the massive wormhole rifts that randomly transport people and objects through time and space. Warp Holes appear in several places on most islands and can be used to transport from point to point, making exploration easier.
  • Three ancient, alien space gates appear in Earth 2160. It is implied that many others exist throughout the galaxy, given that the species that built them had been spread across at least three star systems and six planets.
  • Earth & Beyond had 2 different types of gates which in-game functioned as simple 2-way single point to point transports. Rare Ancient gates with ranges of 10s of thousands of lightyears, and Infinity gates which were human built reverse engineered with a range of only a couple lightyears. It was implied by design documents that the Ancient gates were actually a network, but when humans discovered them and started forcing them open without using their keys that they became locked onto a single destination. Had the game not been shut down this was presumably going to come out in game, as the story had a newly discovered unopened Ancient gate and its key introduced in its final patch.
  • The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind:
    • The Mages Guild runs a "Guild Guide" service, where you can be teleported instantly from any Mages Guild base to any of the other Mages Guild bases.
    • The ring of ancient Chimeri fortresses around Vvardenfell has "Propylon Chambers," which can teleport you to either of the neighboring fortresses if you have the proper Propylon Index. The remoteness of the fortresses makes this method of travel rather inefficient. (Still, they have their uses, such as the Tribunal Temple quest which requires you to travel across the island after taking a vow of silence, or to quickly travel as a Vampire where the other fast travel options are unavailable.)
  • The hypergate network in Escape Velocity Nova allows starships to travel between certain star systems instantaneously, whereas using your ship's built-in hyperdrive takes anywhere from one to three days per jump depending on the mass of your ship. Unfortunately many of the gates were destroyed by a terrorist attack on the Sol gate in the backstory, and the knowledge to build more of them was lost in the subsequent collapse of Colonial Council-administered territory. Nowadays Sigma Shipyards controls the remaining network in its entiretynote , and gaining access requires their approval (there is a way to do it without their official approval, but it is implied this is for Plausible Deniability reasons).
  • EVE Online has a jump gate network. These create a brief, artificial wormhole that connects the entrance and destination gates, and then send the spaceship through it. Further details of this process are described in the book EVE: Source.
    • Player alliances can also build even faster Portal Networks in systems that they control, to cut off several of the jumps required by the standard Portal Network to get between two points for friendly players.
  • There are scattered portals called Cullis Gates in Fable's setting Albion that Heroes can use to teleport around. By the third game the player has a portal network map table that can shunt the Hero where they want to go (the presence of a mini Cullis Gate in the Sanctuary implies the hero is using in at least some capacity). A Hero can't use a gate they haven't found yet so each Hero likely has to go around at least once on foot first.
  • In Final Fantasy XIII-2, the Time Gates across history are all connected to each other through the History Crux, which Serah and Noel use to hop between eras (and alternate versions of eras). A particular time and place on the Crux must be unlocked through a specific Time Gate in a linked time and place, but after that it's anything goes in terms of which portal goes where.
  • Freelancer has a network of human-built jump gates and naturally occurring jump holes connecting the Sirius Sector, as well as an ancient Hypergate left behind by the Precursors which connect to somewhere further away (exactly where is never elaborated on). In a downplayed example, there are also the trade lanes, which accelerate ships to great speeds along the most commonly-traversed paths within a star system, usually connecting the planets, major space stations and jump gates to other systems.
  • Freespace has naturally-occurring, invisible things called jump nodes that act as subspace wormholes to other star systems. Notably, some of these are more stable than others, and the fact that the Shivans have more advanced subspace technology that allows them to traverse more unstable nodes causes massive trouble for The Alliance in the first game. The Ancients were capable of stabilizing and outright creating jump nodes with huge machines called Knossos devices. When the Shivans wiped out the Ancients, they left the Knossos portals intact, presumably because the Shivans appreciated the extra maneuverability.
    • The Blue Planet fan continuity adds intrasystem jump gates which allow ships to enter subspace without an onboard drive. As with jump nodes, they come in pairs.
  • Averted in Galactic Civilizations where all the aliens used a (very limited) Portal Network that basically just connected a few homeworlds together, until humanity developed Hyperdrive, which they then (rather idiotically) gave to every alien race they contact. The Jumpgates are then completely abandoned as obsolete relics since Hyperdrive is better in pretty much every possible way (the last time the Drengin tried to invade another planet, they had to drag a hypergate for tens of thousands of years using sublight; when the other race rebelled, all they had to do was shut down their own gate to keep the Drengin out).
  • Interstellar travel in the iOS game Galaxy on Fire II requires the use of jumpgates, which are located in orbit of one of the planets in almost all systems (also crosses with Hyperspace Lanes in that you can only jump to neighboring systems). A few systems don't have jumpgates and require other means to get there, such as the Void system, which can only be reached via the use of the Void wormholes. Later on, you get blueprints to an intantaneous FTL drive called the Khador Drive, which can be used to jump to any system without the use of jumpgates. However, activating the drive uses up energy cells, which can be bought on most space stations, usually with 1 cell per normal jump (e.g. if it would normally take you 6 jumps to get there, the Khador Drive will take you there instantly for 6 energy cells). You can also reach the Void system with the Khador Drive.
  • Grim Dawn has the Riftgates, which were torn open where the Aetherials entered the land (and still continue to do so in some) and which can be used to travel through the rift from one Riftgate to another. Your status as the Taken lets you tear open tiny, temporary Riftgates (only one at a time, however) that let you travel to any other you have claimed. It's mostly you using them, however, as others tend to fear them, need guidance to use them properly, and generally find the trip to be terribly unpleasant; one dying NPC outright refuses, knowing he won't make it through.
  • Halo:
    • A number of multiplayer maps, particular in the early games, have portal networks. However, those portals can't transport weapons fire.
    • At the height of their power, the Forerunners maintained a network of slipspace portals throughout the entire galaxy which allowed for quick passage through their entire empire. One of these portals is used in Halo 3 to quickly get from Earth all the way to the extragalactic Ark.
    • In Halo 4, the Forerunner Shield World of Requiem has a local portal network for quick transport across the entire planet.
  • Haven (2020): Flow bridges are the standard method of interplanetary travel. Kay and Yu are shocked to discover the planet has much smaller flow bridges that link the floating islands.
  • Homeworld 2 reveals one of these in the ending cinematic. Naturally, the three cores you spend the game gathering are the gate key.
  • Independence War has no portals visible to the naked eye, but Lagrange points basically are portal networks as far as the capsule drive is concerned. Justified in that the energy required to create a "capsule" of isolated space-time (basically, a miniature universe) is impossibly high within normal gravity fields (Lagrange points are where two major bodies have their gravity cancel out), and independent "capsules" can only last so long before being reintegrated with the main universe. Because of this, pilots can expect to jump out of a Lagrange point just to turn around and go back in several times when traveling a long way.
  • Void Gates in Infinite Space provide instantaneous travel between sectors of space, even between galaxies.
  • The original Jak and Daxter trilogy contains networks of warp-gates. In the first game, it's a fairly simple setup, with five different warp-gates and the ability to choose your destination, though only the first two gates are available at the start of the game. The sequels do away with the "choose your destination" part, instead merely sending you to various locations as needed.
  • Little Kitty, Big City: The Tanuki has invented the "Petwork", a network of portals made by using feather magic on sewer access holes. The first portal only goes to the next room over, but after proving it works (and that you need a portal back) the Tanuki gets to work making some more of them.
  • The Mass Relays from Mass Effect come in two varieties: Primary Relays that send a ship thousands of light years but only to its twin Relay, and Secondary Relays that are limited in range to "merely" a few hundred light years but can link to any other secondary relay in that range. It's widely believed that they was built by the Protheans 50,000 years ago, along with everything else related to the titular technology. It turns out that they were actually built by a group of super-advanced artificial intelligences called the Reapers that use them to direct societal and technological evolution along certain lines, making it easier to wipe out all advanced life in the galaxy every 50,000 years.
  • Master of Orion
    • In the original game, a civilization could build stargates over a colony to provide instant travel between star systems.
    • In the second game, the player can research two types of Portal Networks. One simply sped up travel between colonies of the empire with the related tech, while the second made travel between your systems instantaneous.
    • The third game did away with the Stargates and went with Hyperspace Lanes and a few rare Wormholes instead.
    • The fourth game kept the Hyperspace Lanes and the wormholes, but also allowed players to built hypergates at warp nodes, which allowed ships to travel directly between any two star systems with gates. Travel isn't instantaneous, though. The developers were originally going to add advanced gates that allowed instantaneous travel, but that never happened.
  • This is used in the Mega Man Battle Network games, which is expected seeing as how Everything Is Online. In the fourth game onwards, MegaMan's homepage is linked to most or all of the internet squares, allowing for fast travel between the main internet overworld areas. However, MegaMan's usually the only one who has these links on his homepage, if not the only one who actually has a homepage.
  • Meritous: The multiple Checkpoint Tiles can be used to teleport to each other.
  • Might And Magic VII's good ending sees the heroes being granted access to a hub for a Portal Network (the Gateweb) built by a Precursor civilization.
    • This was not the first time gates to other worlds came up in the series, but it was the first time it was explicitly made into a network: the titular Gates to Another World of II were exactly that (Gates to Another World), and the strange portal that brought Lord Ironfist to Enroth in Heroes I lacked an apparent control mechanism. Considering the Arc, Bright Star, CORAK and SHELTEM all use actual starships to travel around, the Gateweb appears to have been the Ancients' crowning achievement before the whole Kreegan mess...
  • You can make your own Portal Network in Minecraft. In the game, there's Another Dimension called The Nether, in which 1 block of length converts to 8 in the overworld. So it basically works like Hyperspace, if you wish to cover long distances between two points, to open portals to the Nether in these points, and then make a tunnel network in it, between the portals. Covering in-Nether distances with rails can shorten travel time even more.
  • The Myst games proved you could build a sophisticated portal-network for interplanetary travel out of books, rather than big metal rings or wormholes. It is a rule that you cannot link (go through a book) to anywhere in the world you are in. Each book is a link to a new and unique universe, not counting secondary books that are written with just enough to tie them to the original book for easy access from multiple places. Whether or not the universe existed before the book was written is an unanswered question both in-game, in-book, and in real life.
    • In Uru, the D'ni city of Ae'gura has several link-in points which warp to a smaller, centralized Age — which, in turn, has links leading back to the main city, in various different places. Inspired by Riven.
    • A portal network similar to Uru appears in the Riven endgame. Also Direbo in Myst V: End of Ages.
  • No Man's Sky has one focused around mysterious alien temples. They give players who find them advantages as to being able to travel around the Universe fairly quickly, but "portal interference" will cause your ship (which comes with you) to be unable to jump out of the system until you go back through the gate.
  • Overlord I & II have networks centered on the Overlord's tower.
  • Perfect World has a separate Portal Network on each of its two (thus far) developed continents (the Midlands and the Western Steppes), the Celestial Vale that serves as its starter zone, Morai, and the Primal World (and to lesser degrees Lothranis and Momaganon). These networks are operated by aptly-named Teleport Masters for fees ranging from 200 to 8,000 coins per teleport. Fees increase, however if the player needs to use multiple "jumps," because each Teleport Master only has the knowledge needed to send players to a select handful of locations. Originally, to be allowed to teleport, players had to enter a town on foot (or on a mount or flyer) for the first time and speak to the local Teleport Master. Nowadays players are issued a "Geographic Map" upon reaching Level 30, thus unlocking every available waypoint. In addition, there exist a plethora of teleportation tools that players may use:
    • Teleport Incense (single use) and the Town Portal skill (1-hour cooldown) both serve as an Escape Rope to take the player to the nearest town. Both take a few seconds to activate, but may be used to escape combat unless the enemy uses an interrupting attack.
    • Teleport Stones serve as a Warp Whistle to take the player to any waypoint on the Perfect World Midlands map.
      • The Neverfall expansion introduced Perfect Teleport Stones, expanding the destination options to all of the known overworld-area planes of adventure.
      • While their predecessors are single-use, the Redemption expansion introduced Storm Teleport Stones and Lightning Teleport Stones (7 days and 30 days, respectively, of essentially having infinite Perfect Teleport Stones). The only drawback is, in keeping with the "Warp Whistle vs. Escape Rope" mechanics, none of the items in the Teleport Stone family can be used if the character is in combat at the moment.
    • Each of the Three Orders of Morai (Luminance, Shroud, and Corona) offer Teleportation Scrolls to member players for a fee in Influence (Order-specific currency), teleporting them from the Midlands map to the home base of the issuing Order: Nexus of Luminance, Shrouded Temple, and Corona Sanctuary.
      • An old man named Veteran Roberts living in the spook-inhabited village of Magnier, on the Western Steppes, will trade (among other useful items) Teleportation Scrolls leading back to Magnier, or leading to the Western Steppes' capital city of Neverfall, for the Yin-Yang Twin Stones that players earn by completing the "Darkness of Magnier" daily quest. Unlike the Morai scrolls, Roberts' teleportation scrolls work for players on all of the overworld maps.
  • In Planescape: Torment, every doorway in Sigil is a potential portal to anywhere. Other portals around the multiverse are less common, but also lead back. Unfortunately each one plays by its own rules and has its own required key, whether that be an object, a sensation, a thought, an action. It's effectively a multiversal portal network, unfortunately the keys are so varied and sometimes non-obvious that even the Harmonium would never be able to catalog them all. And if they tried, Sigil-side portals would still be vulnerable to Dabus's constant restructuring.
  • In PlanetSide 1, The Terran Republic can forcibly enlarge and stabilize naturally occurring wormholes which pop into existence (and normally, vanish afterwards), allowing them to set up an interstellar empire despite lacking any form of faster-than-light propulsion. However, they lack the ability to create their own wormholes or direct where a wormhole leads, meaning that if a wormhole is closed, whatever is on the other side is effectively totally lost. In both games, the planet Auraxis, the Lost Colony where the games take place, has its continents connected via a systems of warpgates built by the ancient Vanu. A player or vehicle moving through one warpgate will be deconstructed, while the destination warpgate rebuilds them.
  • It's not the entire universe, but this is how Sabrina's gym works in the Pokémon games where it appears — while there are nine rooms and no doors, you'll find a way to her eventually using the thirty paired teleport tiles.
  • The entire point of Valve's Portal. Granted, the Portal Network only consists of two portals... Also a notable aversion in the setting; Aperture only actually transports laser beams through a portal. Everything else is handled by an extremely complex array of pneumatic tubes. The game strongly hints that using a portal network would have been much cheaper and simpler, but Aperture went with the tubes anyway.
  • Prey (2006) uses this...sort of. There are many, many portals you travel through throughout the game, but they don't always connect to the same scale of reality — notably when you walk into a room with a small model of a planet, then walk through a portal and wind up walking around on the surface of that model planet — now at least a few hundred feet in diameter.
  • Level 15 in the SNES version of Prince of Persia has a series of Portal Doors used to reach otherwise-inaccessible parts of the level.
  • Quake with the slipgates.
  • The Hall of Doors in Rayman 2: The Great Escape.
  • In RuneScape, after finishing a couple quests, you have access to the Fairy Rings. Enter one, and you're transported to the Fairy homeland, Zanaris, where you have access to the full network.
    • Also, the Spirit Trees (sentient trees that can teleport you to several Gnome-important places and the Grand Exchange), the Abyss (an Eldritch Location that leads to all Runecrafting altars), and possibly the teleportation jewelery, which are portable Portal Networks. Really, if you do enough quests, get your magic up high enough, do some tasks, etc, you can have several portal networks that link into each other, to the point where you can get to damn near anywhere with a couple minutes of walking.
  • Shantae: Risky's Revenge: Warp Squids can teleport to any other awake warp squid.
  • In Sins of a Solar Empire, the Vasari can build late-game orbital structures called Phase Stabilizers, which allow direct phase jumps between two of them within a star system. As an additional bonus, the Phase Stabilizers can periodically bring in reinforcements from the remnants of the Dark Fleet. While this is significantly cheaper than building those ships yourself, you also have no idea which ships will come through. They're a high-tier tech, so if you see a Vasari player who's being defensive and has lots of civilian research centers, watch the hell out.
    • Temporary paths can also be established as a side effect of the Kostura cannon impact. It's implied that this is a way to invade planets that have been crippled, while bypassing any defenses in-between (i.e. shoot the cannon, then send a fleet directly to the planet).
    • It's also a special ability of their Antorak-class marauders and Orkulus-class starbases. In case it wasn't obvious, the Vasari like this trope.
    • Wormholes as well.
  • Slime Rancher has several teleporters dotted throughout the world by default. Some of them will take you to new ranch expansions(which will, in turn, have teleporters to areas with unique slimes for a sidequest), some of them are one-way teleporters back to your ranch, and some of them will teleport you from some point on your ranch to somewhere else on the Far, Far Range. Once you unlock the Lab, you can access various colors of teleporters, allowing you to make your own Portal Network.
  • The video game series Space Empires does this with 'warp points' at the outer edge of the solar systems, black holes, and nebulae. While naturally occurring, and depending on the game settings there can naturally be a path from any point A to any point B, late game technology allows these points to be created and destroyed, potentially radically altering the galaxy's effective topography.
  • The Spellforce games use one to justify the RTS/RPG style maps the game takes place on. The Portal Network itself is justified by the End of the World as We Know It reducing everything to un-navigable seas except for areas protected by glowy towers. The Big Good set up the Portal Network in the years between then and the beginning of the first game. Unfortunately, he didn't pay much attention to what got hooked up to what... so, for example, the Light and Dark elves got hooked up pretty directly, and so did The Undead and the Dwarves.
  • Spyro the Dragon, which is about as old as Homeworld, established a portal network first, though Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage! was the game that really made it central to the plot and game play.
  • Star Control:
    • Star Control II has standard Hyperspace travel being used by most races. The Arilou are capable of using a third dimension called "Quasispace" for even faster travel. The player can obtain the technology from them if the right steps are taken, at which point it turns out that Quasispace works more like this trope: you can enter Quasispace at any time, but you can only exit Quasispace at pre-determined, static portals.
    • Star Control Origins has a network existing between Precursor Starbases. At any Starbase, the player can instantly teleport to any other Starbase they have found and activated.
  • StarCraft — Rather than making buildings and units, the Command & Conquer Economy of the Protoss is actually used to build and power massive teleporters that bring over personnel and products churned out on their homeworld, Hand Waving the typical RTS Ridiculously Fast Construction.
  • The indie 4X RTS Star Ruler has Remnant Gates, which allows players to teleport ships to anywhere on the map. However, regular slower than light travel and low range (and expensive) jump drives are common.
  • Starsector had a massive Gate System that stretched across the galaxy that humanity used to colonized the stars. "Had" because the Gate System mysteriously went dead while in the process of colonizing the Persean Sector and cut them off from the greater space empire, triggering "The Collapse" that resulted in multiple factions forming out of the now-stranded expedition to make something of themselves, with plenty of Black Box and Lost Technology galore since plenty of people had no idea how to fix or make more of the technology while also being unable to crack the DRM copy protection on the schematics. The AI War they had shortly afterwards didn't help matters either. Two hundred years on to the "present-day" of the game, the factions are still struggling to take control of the sector for themselves while humanity itself is on the downward spiral. The fact that there has been no contact from the greater Domain empire in the Orion Sector or even an apparent attempt by the nominally far more advanced, far more mature and organized heart of the empire to fix the issue with the Gates in that time hints at it being far worse than just a malfunction.
  • Wormhole stations are one of the three basic FTL methods in Stellaris. After a charge-up period (depending on the size of the fleet being transported, this can range from a couple of weeks to several months), they create a two-way wormhole that collapses as soon as the fleet passes through. Another method uses Hyperlanes and the third method was the warp drive.
    • The “Cherryh” patch reduces the starting FTL options to Hyperlanes, but one can discover natural wormholes that link two points in the galaxy once you research the technology to use them safely, as well as Precursor-built gates that once reactivated will let ships instantly appear at any friendly Gateway in the galaxy. With the right technology, you can even build your own Gateways.
    • The Distant Stars DLC introduces a specialized form of Gateways, the L-Gates, which form their own portal network, and unlike normal Gateways can't be closed off to hostile fleets. Reactivating the L-Gates grants access to an extra-galactic cluster of systems, though you might find out that this particular portal network was shut down for a reason...
  • This is a defining story element in Submachine, as the teleporters are often the only way to get from one location to another. Several different portal networks are used throughout the series, most of which connect separate physical locations where a portal device is located; however, in the eighth installment, the portals connect alternate timelines, different incarnations of the same space.
  • Subnautica has two types of them:
    • The phasegates, apparently used by humans to travel between various systems of the federation space. The reason Aurora was nearby 4546B in the first place was to construct a new phasegate in its system.
    • The Precursors had their own network of portals (which the PDA describes as "miniature phasegates") on 4546B's surface, allowing them to quickly move between their various facilities. By the time the protagonist crash-lands on the planet, they're inactive, but most can be restarted from the Primary Containment Facility.
  • Sunless Skies uses Singh-Jenkins Transit Relays, made possible through the Red Science (the study of the primeval language of the god-like Judgements — the stars themselves) and a "cosmic loophole", to connect the New British Empire in Albion with other star systems. Spacefaring locomotives are first given a coating of hours which protects the vessel and determines the subjective passage of time for its occupants (vessels traveling with a First Class permit are given complimentary refined hours which make the trip "tolerable", while those with Second Class permits and lower must supply their own, usually unrefined hours and endure a "wearing" journey), and then propelled to their destinations. Transit Relays are paired and link two systems (ex. Albion and The Reach) via preexisting celestial tunnels excavated eons ago by a god known as the Burrower Below, and passage between a pair of Transit Relays can potentially be disrupted by shutting down either end. When building new pairs, one relay is constructed at the end of a tunnel and used to fling a survey vessel to the destination system to discern the location of the exit and thus the site of the relay's mate. Travelling between stars without the aid of a Transit Relay is theoretically possible but suicidally dangerous; the heliospheres of stars are the only places in the universe that are remotely orderly, and the unlit depths of interstellar space are filled with countless horrors.
  • In Sunrider, the Ryuvian Canal is an ancient warp gate which connects the modern day Neutral Rim to the Denari Expanse on the far end of the galaxy. According to Sola and Asaga di Ryuvia, the Canal is all that remains of a gate network which once spanned the entire galaxy.
  • Used as part of the Point-and-Click Map in Super Mario Galaxy 2. Regular star power can propel Mario's Faceship around each World, but passing on to the next World requires a Grand Star to open a portal.
  • The Cross Gates of Super Robot Taisen OG Saga: Endless Frontier are initially explained as a fact of life for the worlds that use them. Turns out their creation was a byproduct of the Shadow Mirrors from the main OG timeline folding a probe ship into their universe, breaking the world up from the supercontinent it gets reformed into at the end.
  • The Hivers from Sword of the Stars use a Portal Network to compensate for their lack of FTL. Portals use the Menisceal principle, using a gate to pull an object outside of the universe and put it back at another point. This only works when transferring between deployed gates unless you develop farcasters, which can send ships to star systems without a gate but only hit their mark one out of four times, and they only work within a gravitational well with an exponentially larger pull than the object to be transferred (thus, packets of data can be sent from basically anywhere, while objects such as ships only work from portals located within a planet's gravitational well).
    • The human stardrive is a different type of portal network, allowing FTL travel through subspace but only between preexisting 'Node Fractures' which connect systems. The advantage is they don't have to lug a portal into position first. The downsides are that there's not guaranteed to be a nodeline to where you want to go, the trip isn't instantaneous and when you enter subspace you might attract...things.
    • The Zuul also use subspace travel, except their method involves drilling these fractures rather than using pre-existing ones. As you can expect, these are unstable and tend to collapse with time or heavy use. The Zuul are even more likely to attract...things given their brutal FTL method.
    • Interestingly, according to the novel Deacon's Tale, gate travel is only safe for Hivers, possibly due to their exoskeletal internal structure. Members of other races will feel very uncomfortable (you feel as if you're being twisted inside out) at the very least with death as a possibility.
    • The "End of Flesh" DLC for the sequel introduces the Loa, a race of AIs that have rebelled against the other races and banded together. The Loa also have gates, but they work very differently from the ones the Hivers use. Basically, Loa gates are boosters, "throwing" ships towards their destination at FTL speeds. However, if the distance between the stars is over 4 light-years, then the ships will slow down to sublight after the FTL boost ends. The return trip will be at sublight as well, as there are no gates to "throw" the ships. A typical option is to build gates in-between systems (this simply involves giving a constructor fleet the right orders), ensuring that ships always travel between the two locations at their top FTL speeds. Like the Hiver gates, the Loa gates are limited in how many ships can be sent at once, but this limit is not universal but per fleet. So, sending one giant fleet using the gates might be problematic, but sending lots of small fleets is fine. Loa ships are also modular, with the term "cube" representing these universal modules. Cubes are converted into ships on a case-by-case basis, depending on the task assigned to each fleet. During interstellar travel, all cubes in a fleet join into one giant cube, which is where the "per fleet" limit on gates comes from.
  • Tachyon: The Fringe has jumpgates linking sectors within a region (usually, a star system) and megagates linking regions. This is only for small ships, though. Capital ships are equipped with hyperdrives, although they still use the gates as navigation points. Additionally, there are one-way gates mentioned in the Backstory, like the one through which the Bora originally went.
  • Tales of Monkey Island Chapter 5: Rise of the Pirate God has various rips in the Crossroads that appear on LeChuck's ship, Club 41, a raft atop the Manatee Mating Grounds in the ocean, and a secluded island somewhere in the Gulf of Melange.
  • The Galactic Gates in Total Annihilation work like this. Implied to be a Lost Technology, several missions involve capturing them intact. The two campaigns see the player jumping between the different planets in sequence, the Arm starting at Empyrrean and working their way to Core Prime and the Core doing the reverse — but not necessarily by the same route.
  • The Hub Level in Turok 2.
  • Two Worlds features the ancient Elven teleport pads as the main means of long distance travel.
  • Perhaps the oldest known examples of this are moongates in the Ultima RPG series. In an interview, the author of Ultima mentioned the movie Time Bandits as an inspiration for the moongates.
  • The control points in Unreal Tournament 2004's Onslaught mode function as a Portal Network, since the maps are actually way bigger than in most other FPS modes.
  • Valheim: Portals can be crafted to link two locations if they share a name.
  • The Vangers universe consists of several interconnected universes making up the Lost Chain. Bonus points for the coridors being Lost Technology. Perimeter, being a prequel, expanded the universe.
  • Warframe: The Solar Rails control travel throughout the Origin System, effectively acting like this. How exactly they are used is not examined in depth; while players have to fight a Spectre before they can use each Junction, it's doubtful that normal Rail Agents have to bother.
  • The star systems in the universe of the Wing Commander games are set up like this, although it is mostly only evident for gameplay purposes in Privateer and Privateer 2: The Darkening, because the main series has you flying only a few missions, in the entire game series, where one jumps to another system in their fighter.
  • Though not intended to be so, World of Warcraft has wound up with a network of one-way portals which can, in a pinch, provide quick travel to certain parts of the world. In addition, if you're a Mage, you're pretty much a walking portal network who can sell their services to other classes for a tidy profit.
    • Blizzard has attempted to reduce the size of the stationary network by removing faction-specific portals from Dalaran and Shattrath, the hub cities of the first two expansions. Eventually portals to the central cities of Stormwind and Orgrimmar were restored.
    • The Garrison in Warlords of Draenor can have a Mage Tower with a portal network to three areas of Alternate Draenor that can be activated with Ogre Waystones.
    • Legion has several portal networks to help players move about the Broken Isles and beyond. The newly positioned Dalaran has restored the faction portals from before, added portals to Pandaria, and it has a central tower with five more portals to strategic points around Azeroth. Some classes get portal networks around the Broken Isles such as Warriors who can do a several-mile-high Heroic Leap to and from Skyhold. Finally, players help Oculeth restore the old Nightborne portal network in Suramar to help them move around a very hostile city.
    • Also, since Legion, Druids have access to their own portal network in the Emerald Dream that replaced the Moonglade teleport and gives access to various natural areas of Azeroth (including Moonglade). The Hyjal portal is particularly interesting since it then allows the player to then take a portal for either Orgrimmar (Horde) or Stormwind (Alliance).
  • The X-Universe series feature Jump Gates that allow spaceship to travel from sector to sector. It's the only way the races know how to travel between solar systems. Bad things happen when they disconnect. Interestingly, while most of the portal network was built by the Precursors (who are actually still alive and control the way the portals are interconnected for their own purposes), only one of the known races have made their own jumpgates — humanity — who weren't originally connected to the network in the first place (because of another issue). They found the rest pretty much by accident, and scared the hell out of the Precursors, who then isolated the known network from the rest of the universe to get it under control a bit while the humans expanded, then became cut off from the homeworld due to their terraformer ships going crazy. When the Earth State is reconnected to the network in X3: Terran Conflict, things get interesting.

    Web Animation 

  • In Angels 2200 Jump Gates are used for interplanetary travel.
  • Although the way it works hasn't been expanded upon, Creative Release has a portal network.
  • The Gateworld in Dream Catcher, complete with a bunch of doors! Pity they only use two of them.
  • In El Goonish Shive, the teleportation method which the griffins make use of, involves quasi-multiversal travel apparently via a natural Portal Network that connects points on different "sides" of a world like holes connecting both sides of a coin or 2 faces of a die (those "sides" are alternatively thought of as multiple magically linked but seperate worlds). What this method looks like is unknown.
  • In Goodbye to Halos, there are many worlds connected by a magic-based portal network that was shut down hundreds of years ago. The story begins with it reopening.
  • In Girl Genius, the Queens' Mirrors are a series of portals that were constructed by an ancient civilization of Precursors, connecting many regions and realms. They are powered by dimensional energy leaking from natural faults in the earth. The Queens were a secretive sisterhood of women who rediscovered the mirrors, learned how to use their power source to become demigods, and used them to communicate with one another. The Queens found them highly convenient, but never cared to understand how they actually worked. When the Other massacred most of the Queens, the portals were sabotaged with no one knowing how to repair them. Even modern Mad Science is only now starting to become capable of understanding them. Over recent centuries, the mirrors have begun to reactivate.
  • Homestuck features seven Gates for each player, located above the Sburb players' Lands, leading to each others' Lands. Passing through all seven is required to complete the game.
  • The King's Road in Kill Six Billion Demons passes through the Void — the quasi-real shadow cast by reality — and connects the King's Gates that access all 777,777 worlds in the universe. Gates may be opened for traffic or sealed closed (like the gate for our world), but each Gate Key is a magical weapon of mass destruction in its own right, and all are controlled by singularly depraved Demiurges who gained the power to say A God Am I and mean it. The opening of a gate rarely means good things for the world behind it.
  • The titular rifts in The Rifters make the world the hub of some kind of interdimensional network
  • The Wormgate Network in Schlock Mercenary, ostensibly run by a corporation of various species, but actually controlled by the F'Sherl-Ganni Gatekeepers. Wormgates must be moved to new locations at slower-than-light speeds to initiate new worlds into the network. Wormgates can also create identical clones of everything that passes through, which the Gatekeepers use to manipulate galactic society. Early on in the comic's run, our heroes introduce a new hyperdrive called the Teraport, which eventually renders the entire network obsolete but triggers a war with a species of Omnicidal Maniacs the Gatekeepers were appeasing by repressing that technology.

  • In Orion's Arm, some areas with very advanced technology are connected by a network of wormholes, which are very useful in a setting with no faster than light travel.

    Web Videos 
  • In Denazra, a project from NatOne Productions, The Alliance of organic life in our immediate neighborhood of the galaxy has assembled a network of artificial wormholes. The only catch is that they have to be assembled on both ends before they can be used, meaning that reaching a new planet still requires a long, sub-light speed journey. As a result, the network only encompasses a small piece of the galaxy as a whole and the organic species who use it are constantly struggling to keep the unstoppable machine fleets of the denazra from compromising them.
  • SMPLive: There's a notably large one set up in the Nether Hub, allowing for players to quickly travel wherever they please on the server.

    Western Animation 
  • The first episode of Captain N: The Game Master indicated that the various game worlds of Videoland were connected by a network of Warp Zones.
  • The finale of Loonatics Unleashed ends with our heroes gaining control of a Portal Network, moving their headquarters there, and vowing to use it to protect the entire universe.
  • Mighty Max has an ancient series of portals that can only be used by a magic hat. The portals are so complicated that you need to either memorize the entire system or have a map.
  • In Princess Gwenevere and the Jewel Riders (created by Robert Mandell of Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers fame), the Travel Trees form one of these, letting the Jewel Riders "ride the wild magic".
  • The Net is like this in ReBoot. Each system is a node and there are pathways between them. Then there's actual portals, which are temporary pathways between systems.
  • Star Wars Rebels reveals the World Between Worlds, a very strange location in the Force that functions as this, instaneously connecting places in space and time, with one of its major entrances being in the very weird time themed Jedi Temple of Lothal. Which means that, yes, you can intervene in the past which is how Ezra saves Ahsoka and Palpatine tempts Ezra with getting his parents back, in exchange for help using it - the Force being the Force, it's very choosy about who uses it, and the best Palpatine can do is brute force a brief opening.
  • Steven Universe:
    • The Gems can use crystal platforms called warp pads to travel to similar platforms all over Earth. Teleporting between two points is not instantaneous, with each warp pad acting as a gateway to a location called Warp Space, where people are physically pulled through a stream of light to their destination.
    • A larger warp pad called the Galaxy Warp allowed travel between Earth, other Gem colonies, and Homeworld, but it was destroyed to keep Homeworld from easily invading. It was located in the center of the Tunguska Sea, which is a masive body of water that sits where Central Siberia should sit. After reconciling with Homeworld near the end of the series, new warp pads are built in Steven Universe: The Movie, allowing Gems to quickly travel between Earth and Homeworld again.
  • Transformers: Animated has the Space Bridge Network, which allow instant travel across vast distances. It's stated that this is how the Autobots defeated the Decepticons. And why Megatron wants to build his own. Ironic, because in The Transformers, it was the Decepticons who were sole users of the space bridge. How it works changes between reboot versions: sometimes you need a fixed device at both ends; sometimes you only need one at the sending end.
  • In Wakfu, 'Zaaps' are the network of portals used to travel across the archipelago.

  • The play-by-post game Starweb features a network of portals left behind by Precursors which require "keys" to use. Each player starts out with five keys recovered from a Precursor crash site in their home system.

    Real Life 
  • Public transport systems, like subways, highways and rail networks, share key similarities with a Portal Network. All of these form quick ways to get from point A to point B, but without opening the possibility to get just as fast to point C, where you need to go. So often the much slower travel to reach and exit the highway/subway/rail network will take up most of the journey time. This is especially true with airplane travel as trips go thousands of miles in mere hours, but they only go between major airports, leading people needing to make another method of transportation to get to their final destination, sometimes involving the aforementioned public transportation methods.
    • The proposed "hyperloop" transport systems turn this up to 11, with the prospect of cross-country New York to LA trips being executed at 4,000 miles per hour, going from city to city in 45 minutes... which may be less time than it takes you to get from the station to your final goal.
  • Canals, such as Panama and Suez, are similar in their role. While serving as a much quicker path than going around large landmasses, they generally have the same flaws as a portal network: vulnerability for warships as well as to pirate attacks, frequent delays on the starting side which are problematic for merchant fleets.

Alternative Title(s): Teleportation Network