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"You mean it's working? For real, this time? Because... I still have nightmares about that cat!"
Barney Calhoun[src]

Teleportation is a means of transferring matter between two locations or dimensions, regardless of their proximity. It is the central and most pivotal theme of the Half-Life universe.


Via technological artifice, teleportation is usually achieved instantaneously. The most common and popular form of teleportation is via portals — essentially two connected gateways which allow an object entering one gateway to leave through the other. Another method was investigated by Black Mesa and later improved upon by the Resistance.

Black Mesa[]


Portals in the Lambda Reactor Core in the Lambda Complex.

Teleportation was a major field of study at Black Mesa, and their portals were used primarily in the procurement of Xen Crystals, as they were used to transport scientists to and from the Borderworld for research and analysis.

The portals can be used to travel between Xen and Earth, however, portals that allow for travel within the same dimension can be found across the facility, notably in the Lambda Reactor Core, which contains 9 portals, three on each of its three levels. Both Gordon Freeman (through the Black Mesa's Lambda Core teleporter) and Barney Calhoun traveled to Xen through such a teleporter to escape from Black Mesa before its destruction.

The Displacer Cannon, found and used by Adrian Shephard, also allows for inter-dimensional travel.

During his brief visit to Xen, Barney is also required to activate and calibrate a "focal point," which was then used by Doctor Rosenberg to teleport several members of the Science Team outside of Black Mesa.

Aperture Science[]


Orange and blue portals created by Chell with the ASHPD.

Research into the portal technology by Aperture Science focused upon travel within the same dimension. Portal technology was discovered with far more ease, and far earlier, than at Black Mesa. The technology first appeared to be used in the 1950s in the form of the Aperture Science Portable Quantum Tunneling Device, which was eventually streamlined into the far more portable Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device. The ASHPD, or "Portal Gun," was used as a quick method of travel over potentially unlimited distances.

These portals follow a more simplified portal style, where light is able to enter the portal and send an image of both sides. They also allow for a more instantaneous transit between the portals, as it is simply a matter of walking in and appearing out of the other one. The ability to place them on any flat surface with holes or a Moon rock surface to attach a portal to makes these much more versatile and efficient than their Black Mesa counterparts.

Resistance and Combine[]

D1 trainstation Alyx

Alyx Vance about to be sent to Black Mesa East through Kleiner's Lab teleporter.

During The Uprising, the Resistance was able to develop new advancements in portal technology that allowed for intra-universal travel. The Combine, developing alongside the Resistance, were able to make advancements, however, were still unable to discover the means of intra-universal teleportation, and were forced to use conventional means of transportation if they wanted to travel within a single universe.

The teleporter in Kleiner's lab was perfected upon Gordon's arrival in City 17, and it was inaugurated by Alyx Vance, who had a successful transit to Black Mesa East. However, being fragile, the teleporter was damaged by Lamarr during Gordon's attempt, and he was instead teleported outside of the lab.

It must be noted however, that human-made teleporters are able to accomplish this feat by using the dimensional borderworld Xen as a relay; in the words of Judith Mossman, "we figured out how to use Xen as an unexpressed axis, effectively a dimensional slingshot so we can swing around the borderworld and come back to local space without having to pass through." This method of using an "Unexpressed Axis" centered on Xen removes the need to travel through it or to use a focusing device (like the one activated by Barney Calhoun), but instead use a modulator to emulate its effects.

Additionally, during the Combine raid on White Forest, teleporters are used to supply Freeman with Magnusson Devices. These teleporters are smaller and portable, allowing them to be placed in the surrounding wilderness and regularly replenished with the devices.

The Combine also housed their own teleporter in the Depot, where it is seemingly used for transporting prisoners. When Alyx and Gordon visit Nova Prospekt to rescue Eli Vance, they are required to use this teleporter to return to Kleiner's lab. When the teleporter is finally charged, Alyx and Gordon end up in City 17 a week later. Following their use of the teleporter, it becomes unstable and results in the Depot being completely destroyed.

Using a different technology to the Resistance teleporters, the Combine was able to covertly work on intra-universal travel, however, the device was not able to teleport large masses and required a long time to recharge. As opposed to the "slingshot" method, they used "string-based" technology, similar to the Resistance's Calabi-Yau model. However, according to Mossman, the Combine fail at this method because they don't "factor in the Dark Energy equations".


Xen first teleport1

Teleporter on Xen.

Xen creatures are also able to use portals to travel between worlds; after the Resonance Cascade, they can be seen teleporting in and out of the Black Mesa Research Facility. The Nihilanth's ability to create portals, while controlling their placement and timing, made the siege on Black Mesa a lot easier as they were able to teleport into almost all areas of the facility.

Xen also features several small monolithic teleporters and portals, as well as a larger teleporter leading to the Nihilanth's lair.

After Gordon is trapped in stasis by the G-Man, just before the destruction of the Citadel's core, he is rescued by numerous Vortigaunts imbibed with Antlion larval extract, who teleport him and Alyx to the base of the Citadel.

Race X[]

Sprites xen

Sprites flying from a Race X purple portal on Xen

Race X creatures seemed to have mastered teleportation technology, with single units even teleporting at will. The difference is that their portals are purple rather than green.


Main article: Superportal

Superportal above a destroyed Citadel.

As its name suggests, this is a considerably larger portal, capable of transporting much larger volumes of matter over greater distances.

When Alyx and Gordon escape from City 17 during the uprising, they see in the distance the remains of the Citadel and the infant superportal, about which it is said if it were to open would allow Combine units to sweep in and recapture Earth. However, Superportals take a while to gain strength before opening, sometimes causing Portal Storms in the process.


Half-Life and its Expansions[]



Half-Life 2 and its Episodes[]

Portal series[]

List of appearances[]


See also[]

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External links[]