The transshipment platform, also known as a transshipment rig, is the single most valuable tool in the Psychlo empire.
A transshipment rig has a raised platform and a complex console for use by a trained operator to control the coordinates and settings of the rig. Using exact settings, the rig is able to transport anything on its platform to any other place in space.
One hundred thousand years ago a Psychlo physicist named En untangled the riddle of teleportation.
Prior to this, it was thought that teleportation consisted of converting energy and matter to space and then reconverting it in another place so it would assume its natural form. But this had never been proven. En apparently found that space could exist entirely independent of time, energy or mass and that all these things were actually separate items. Only when combined did they make up a universe. Space was dependent only upon three coordinates. When one dictated a set of space coordinates, one shifted space itself. Any energy or mass contained in that space thereupon shifted with that space shift. In other words, matter and energy were pinned to the space, and when it was exchanged with another space, they simply changed too. Thus matter and energy would seem to disappear in one place and appear in another. The matter didn’t actually change. Only the space did.
After this discovery was made, the Psychlos began using it to run their industries, including mining. With the use of teleportation, transporting large amounts of metals and personnel to and from planets in all quarters of space became fast, feasible and economical.
Teleportation platforms are very practical. However, one of the limitations of a rig is that it must not have any other teleportation platform operating within a fifty-thousand-mile radius.
The rigs are used for transporting both ore and personnel; however, these items are shipped separately due to speed requirements. In an ordinary transshipment, dispatches and ore are transported to the home planet. However, a slow firing is designed to handle bodies without killing them.
While the above information is well known, the exact technology behind Psychlo teleportation is a closely guarded secret.
“To the east of the compound there lay a curious huge platform. It was surrounded by widely spaced poles and wires. It had a flooring that was bright and shiny, some sort of metal. At its southern edge there was a domed structure from which Psychlos came and went. At the northern side of it was a different kind of field, a field where strange, cylindrical craft arrived and departed.
“Material would be pushed onto a belt that ran between towers, carrying the load over to the huge area of bright and shiny flooring. Through the days, craft after craft would come, and by the fifth day there would be an enormous pile of material mounded up on the platform.
“At exactly the same time of the day, exactly every fifth day, there would be a humming. The material on the platform would glow briefly. Then there would be a roar like a low thunderclap. And the material would vanish!” (Part 2, Chapter 9 Battlefield Earth)