I have designed a universe with three main planets that contain life, but the three planets are impossible to reach via space travel for irrelevant reasons. What matters is that in order to get from planet A to planet C people must sail across a divide between the two continents of planet B.

How can I make sense of this? will there just be a portal between A and B and between B and C or does anybody have any actual good ideas? Thank you :)

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    $\begingroup$ Maybe planet B is the intermediary. So planet A only goes to planet B and planet C only goes to planet B? So the only way to get from A to C is to go through B and the portals on B are fixed points on the planet on seperate continents? $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 4, 2019 at 2:52
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    $\begingroup$ Rather than having them as planets? why not have them as seperate realms/continent. It would fit a magic theme more aptly and avoid the logical 3D space issues you have with spaceships and sailing between planets. $\endgroup$
    – Shadowzee
    Commented Mar 4, 2019 at 4:00
  • $\begingroup$ @Shadowzee i have though about this but I rather like each of these realms to be totally seperate. Also much of my lore is based around the idea that worlds will someday hatch into "dragons" (not really but i havent gotten around to actually describing what these beings are yet) but until then are occupied by mortals. I might create a version like what you describe and mess around with it though and see if i like it. thank you :) $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 4, 2019 at 5:36
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    $\begingroup$ I do not understand the purpose of flagging this question as it is already resolved. its out of the way already. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 4, 2019 at 20:01

1 Answer 1


Unless the mechanics of the gate operations are important to the plot, do you need to have an explanation? There is one gate to each of planet A and planet C on planet B, they are in fixed places, so one has to travel between the two places on planet B to make a trip from A to C or vice versa.

The exact mechanics of the travel are certainly up for you, whether it's an always on portal, something that could be turned on or off, or even it's just something that is there that people with the right knowledge and/or gadget can make use of. As I wrote this paragraph last, the rest of the answer assumes a fixed, always on gateway, because I'd somehow misread your question initially to be talking of such, but any of the concepts mentioned could be adapted to any sort of locus-specific portal.

If you need to explain, there are a number of options you could use. Feel free to mix and match, although some sub-options may be tricky to combine:

  • Gates require big, complicated, expensive machinery. This is where they were set up, and they can't readily be moved.

  • The planets are not within a simple continuous 4-dimensional universe. Beyond X, Y, Z, and time, there are other dimensions. It may be that everywhere that's accessible appears to be in one such universe, but in a higher dimensional sense, it's crumpled like a tissue, and those are the points that basically touch. If the gate machinery is moved, you won't reach planet A or C with the gate after you move it. You might reach planet D, or star E, or deep space. Fortunately, attempting to make a gate at a bad spot tends to destroy the gate machinery before it can seriously hurt the world.

  • It would take more energy to open the gates from other points.

  • The gates interact with each other, so you need to keep them apart. They're basically at the closest safe distance already.

  • The factions in charge of the gates don't want to move them. The economies of the continents where the gates are on planet B are heavily influenced by trade with the respective planets, and moving the gate anywhere else would cause logistical issues.

  • Opening the gates damaged the structure of the universe in a way that closing the gates wouldn't fix. Putting gates elsewhere to the same destinations would cause more damage for little gain.

  • We don't know how the gates work. They're set up where they are, and we're concerned about breaking stuff if we try to futz with it.

  • We don't even know what causes these gates to be, they're just here.

    • The gates just sort of showed up one day. There was a lot of interest at first, but we've gotten used to them.

    • Somebody stumbled through one one day have no realization what it was. Based on legends, it wasn't the first time, but this time, they communicated where they came from, or where they wandered off to, and over time, more people heard about them. It's possible there's more gates somewhere we haven't found yet.

    • They've always been here. (thanks Joe Bloggs)

    • Orbit? Interstellar distances? I'm sorry, I'm confused about what you're talking about here. Our universe model just has these three planets and the things we can see around them. (thanks Joe Bloggs)

    • There's several religions that are based on them, and it's believed that one or more of these religions are why people who announce they're going to study the gates disappear.

      • The heads of all of these religions disavow any responsibility.
      • The head of one of these religions admits that they'd really like to do something to one of those infidels if they'd ever continue existing long enough for them to do it.
      • The head of one of these religions asserts that attempting to study one of the gates would be attempting to know the mind of god.
      • One of these religions has punishment of those who would study the gates as one of their core duties.
  • $\begingroup$ You can add on ‘The gates have always existed in an abstract sense, so nobody has ever come up with the concept of ‘planets are little balls in space’ as it doesn’t match the observed evidence. We don’t even know we’re being transported across space, since the best models for describing this world work in terms of the three realms.’ $\endgroup$
    – Joe Bloggs
    Commented Mar 4, 2019 at 7:04
  • $\begingroup$ @JoeBloggs That sounds like at least a couple of options to me. Something like this? $\endgroup$
    – Ed Grimm
    Commented Mar 5, 2019 at 0:47
  • $\begingroup$ yep! Glad I could contribute. $\endgroup$
    – Joe Bloggs
    Commented Mar 5, 2019 at 6:58

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