To Whom It May Concern;

I'm going to be blunt: I'm terrible at formal letters. I've just recently arrived at our new home. I find it amazing! The city design leaves something to be desired, but I understand the haphazard way it was built was pretty much inevitable, considering the unexpected (and marvelous!) capabilities of the native fauna.

I'm writing to you today because I witnessed a live feed of a competitive sport using these fauna. The arena was defined by the boundaries of some kind of barrier. In layman's speak, I might hesitate to call it a "force field." It had the below properties (which I'm sure you're aware of, having been responsible in its creation):

  • Existed as a hemispherical structure - presumably, given no massive impediments, it would form a complete sphere
  • Had a noticeable yellow color, but did not obscure visibility into the structure (having not been inside, I do not presume to guess whether visibility out of the confined space is possible)
  • Appeared to offer varying levels of protection based on the amount of force behind penetration events - for example: wind-blown leaves are able to pass through, while a caretaker trying to reach one of the fauna or the fauna, when hurled away by the competition, was unable to pass through; in the latter case, striking the barrier appeared to cause harm to the instigating creature
  • Could be freely turned on or off with no apparent repercussions to those in or around the enclosed space

I hope my description of your product is sufficient to jog your memory of which device this is.

Without divulging any proprietary information, can you explain what mechanism fuels these barriers?

Further, purely for my own curiosity, can you describe what happens in the following cases:

  1. Can you see out of the enclosed space?
  2. Can the barrier be used as protection against the crushing depths of the ocean, or does water flow through like the wind-blown leaves?
  3. Would the barrier collapse if it were sufficiently "damaged," like hit points on a shield in a video game?
  4. Can the barrier be shaped or made smaller or larger?
  5. What happens to materials in the path of the barrier as it is forming?
  6. Can the barrier's color be changed?

Thank you for your time and attention.


Harold Putter

P.S.: I really hope the answer isn't some magical mumbo jumbo. I gave up my old life to come here because everyone was throwing around "magic" as the solution to everything.

  • $\begingroup$ Weird. Just found out SE slices off the "Dear..." format of a letterhead. Where's the fun in that? $\endgroup$ – Frostfyre Oct 25 '19 at 17:56
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Force fields of this nature don't exist, so there's not really much reason to prefer any one answer over another, particularly because all of them will defy known physics in some way. It's like asking what color your unicorn should be - unicorns don't exist, so make it any color you want. $\endgroup$ – Nuclear Hoagie Oct 25 '19 at 17:58
  • $\begingroup$ @NuclearWang The answer to this is either "Physics! Here's how..." or "Sorry, magic only." I fail to see how that is opinion-based. $\endgroup$ – Frostfyre Oct 25 '19 at 18:51
  • $\begingroup$ I almost feel as if said "force-field" some kind of game boundary... $\endgroup$ – Lenarta Oct 25 '19 at 19:10
  • $\begingroup$ @Lenarta Just trying to come up with a plausible mechanism by which the people of this world can have Pokemon battles without damaging the surrounding city and any passersby/onlookers. $\endgroup$ – Frostfyre Oct 25 '19 at 19:12

From the Office of the Artemis Institute of Technology

Dear Mr. Putter,

I regret having to disappoint you, but "magic" is the best answer we can provide. Nothing in physics as we understand it allows the non-destructive obstruction of passage by living things while a) still allowing other matter through, and b) not having substantial negative knock-on effects to the immediate environment. Electromagnetic radiation would be destructive, magnetism would generate enormous inductive currents.

That said, upon arriving upon this planet, we found an enormous underground cavern, the remnants of an ancient civilization - so we are not alone in the cosmos! In virtually every space of the cavern were clearly-artificial crystals of a structure we have been totally unable to analyse. When alternating current is applied to the crystals, the field you saw demonstrated is generated. In answer to your questions:

  1. Being able to see out of / into the space is determined by the frequency (cycles per second) of the applied current. Opacity starts at about 1200 Hz. Colour shifts occur throughout the range (in its entirety, from about 60 Hz to almost 20 kHz), in answer to your 6th question.
  2. Only some crystals' fields are proof against water - we presume they were originally used as awnings or something similar to keep the rain off. Short of experimentation, no mechanism has yet been determined to disambiguate the crystals.
  3. Impact/stress on the field increases the current drawn by the crystal. If the power source's capacity were exceeded, the field would collapse, which I suppose could be likened to "hit points".
  4. The fields are of fixed shape, but the size can be modulated by means of increasing or decreasing the voltage of the applied electricity.
  5. Materials in the path of the barrier are shunted aside unless the barrier ignores them. Experimentation suggests that as the barrier forms, it passes through a semi-permeable "repellent" state that clears its occupied volume. This is convenient, as it avoids unpleasant bisections.
  6. See #1.

I'm sorry we couldn't give you a better explanation, but as I said, the ancient civilization must know something about physics that we don't. We'll keep working on it, and keep your contact information on file for any non-classified information.


Geraldine Despardie

Director, Artemis Institute

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Dear Geraldine, More excellent work from your esteemed research organization. A first class evaluation of the optical properties of force-field barriers. Long may it continue! Yours Faithfully, Mortimer Counterblast, Neoterics Dept., Halfpenny University. $\endgroup$ – a4android Oct 25 '19 at 21:47

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