Portals, sometimes called vortexes,holy water,dimensional gates, and portal water are mysterious passageways into alternate dimensions. The Syndicate mafia and Catholic church both utilize portals but do so in different ways and for different reasons. The existence of portals and how to use them is a secret kept by these two groups and remain largely unknown to the rest of the world. The abuse of portals can lead to disastrous consequences such as dimensional bleeding, corruption or the tearing and breakage of ones quantum self. Evidence of these breakages and ripples through spacetime are known colloquially within the series as glitches. A much more common but similarly disastrous thing to occur when traversing dimensions or quantum tunnelling is an event known as an x-reaction which primarily occurs when one person tries to exist twice in the same dimension or makes an effort to "meet themselves."
Portals can be both created and destroyed. Through a process of dilution or evaporation, any portal can be rendered useless or inoperable. Physical barriers such as lids and placing one end of the portal inside of a tightly enclosed space can also render a portal useless to anyone attempting to utilize it. This means both ends of a portal must be unobstructed or open in order for anyone to make use of it. If one side of a portal is broken, diluted, blocked or in other words inoperable, the portal is rendered useless. One of the most efficient ways to close a portal is to convert one or both ends into a solid form. Portals can be made of many elements and be comprised of other states of matter but only liquids can be passed through as a gateway. For example, a portal made of quartz would not be as useful for dimensional travel. Gaseous portals are not known to function as gateways but do exist. Clouds of mist and even fog have been known to allow for some level of dimensional bleeding.
Portals only act as a connection between two fixed points; the destination end of any given portal is always the same for that portal. Due to the sheer number of possible dimensions, it is next to impossible for two separate portals to, by chance, lead back to the same world. Each portal is considered unique and no other portal will ever naturally link to that same destination dimension. It is however, highly possible to visit the desired dimension using another portal and create a portal back to one's own home dimension, thus artificially creating more connections. This is risky however as too much linking between dimensions can cause them to begin to merge and could ultimately result in the destruction of one or both worlds.
Portals are almost always comprised of pure water rather than other liquids such as blood, or milk. This is not only because water is more readily accessible, but because the clarity or purity of the water seems to correlate strongly to how close a dimension is to one's own. It is important to remain in dimensions that are closer by because close by dimensions tend to be almost identical to one's own. A murky portal such as a mud puddle or a cup of coffee for example may link someone to an almost alien-like distant landscape. In such a place, humans may have never even evolved. These worlds are called distant worlds and while all quantum tunnelling is known accelerate the experienced passage of time when inside a portal, traveling to distant worlds can push this time passage to more extreme and dangerous levels. Sometimes, months or years are lost as opposed to minutes or days. To avoid aging too much or too quickly, it is once again ideal to use clear water rather than murky or diluted liquids. However, diluted and murky portals certainly exist on their own in nature.
Types and uses
The Syndicate notoriously uses portals to traffic banned weaponry, controlled substances, rare metals and materials, valuables, pharmaceuticals and even people between dimensions. These mobsters hop back and forth between dimensions to avoid being caught and often keep a home dimension wherein they might keep their families and refrain from committing crime. These safe dimensions allow them to live as seemingly normal people whenever they so choose. Dimensional travel can be used to ambush the unsuspecting, to hide and protect oneself and their loved ones from war and other dangerous, as well as to buy and trade. Portals can be used to create new jobs, trade ideas and share the scientific and medical advancements of alternate realms as is the case with The mirror world, and they can also be used as a tactic for war. Portals are used to create more portals, and are used by Pyrite as a scientific tool for understanding dimensional travel and for identifying and fixing quantum glitches. Even, to prevent the very dimensional collapses that portals themselves are responsible for. For the Catholic Church, portals or holy water can be used to summon or banish creatures from other worlds and to save people who have become trapped between various planes of existence such as by putting a spirit to rest or even rescuing them from the so-called afterlife. Portals can also be used to allow for 'faith healing' in which parts of someone's injured body or placeholder are melded or swapped with their own parts from a dimension in which they are healthy, uninjured or able bodied. This can allow the blind to see again, the paralyzed to walk and even scars to vanish as if they never existed.
Though portals can be used to heal someone, this form of faith healing can only be performed on each part of the body once before the entire body has fully undergone a forward reaction. At this point, it is impossible to heal that part of the body using portals again and healing must be done naturally from that point on. New portals are created by taking matter from another universe into the universe you wish to create a portal in. This thereby creates a paradox in which a portal must be used in order to make a new portal. It is not known where the first portal originated but every use of a portal runs the risk of spreading more portals to more worlds. Portals can drift and become severed from their original dimension creating pocket dimensions which are highly unstable and difficult to escape.
Unless of course one end of the portal was physically relocated, portals cannot take one to another planet, to another galaxy, nor the center of the Earth. For example, a portal in London will connect to a portal in the same geographical area of Europe in the next dimension; a London Portal is still a London portal at both ends, even if London no longer or never did exist in one of the two dimensions. This can of course be changed if a portal is carried elsewhere. While one could not open a portal on Earth and exit on Mars, this is not to say there are not strange and alien-looking worlds that can be reached via portal. For example, the Gwydr world is highly alien in appearance. But the creatures there are merely alternate evolutionary branches on an alternate Earth's tree of life. Portals cannot be taken from one dimension to another. To get back home after traversing a string of portals, one must return through each of the portals in the same order from which they emerged. Mixing one portal with another portal, or attempting to take a portal to another world can cause dimensional bleeding, or even dimensional collapse. If the portal is diluted enough or has become part of a living body, the risks may be reduced but can still prove disastrous.
Infinite possibility does not equate infinite impossibility; physics are the same in every universe which means alternate dimensions cannot be governed by imaginary physics nor by alternate laws of physics. For example, one cannot go to a dimension where talking slices of pizza exist, to a dimension where humans happened to have evolved to look like talking slices of pizza, nor a dimension where gold bars float and helium is heavy. None of these would be theoretically possible. However, one certainly could go to a dimension in which it is popular to surgically augment oneself into looking like a talking slice of pizza or to alter the apparent properties of what look like gold bars and helium. It is also not possible to go to a dimension where portals don't exist first and foremost because both ends of a portal must be open in order to cross. Lastly, because everyone has their own soul, it is impossible for Pumpkin to be Lime in another dimension. Pumpkin is always Pumpkin and Lime is always Lime because they possess different souls. They can be reincarnated, but not into each other.
Sometimes called glitches, x-reactions are events that occur before, during, shortly after an instance of interdimensional travel. They are the result of one's placeholder attempting to exist twice in a single dimension. What happens to the person experiencing the reaction, the severity of what happens, and whether or not these reactions are permanent depend strongly on circumstance and follow a strict set of series mechanics. The individual events are known by a different name each ending in reaction. The term x-reaction encompasses all possibilities. The most well known reaction within the series is male pregnancy referred to within the series as a backward reaction.
Ingesting or submerging oneself inside a portal, as well as crossing through one can trigger quantum tunnelling or x-reactions. Ingesting portals and staying in portals for a prolonged amount of time can be known to do strange things not just to space, but to ones experience of time as well. It can cause one to appear to age faster or slower, cause dimensional glitching or result in the appearance of messengers or meatheads, the eruption of the Trinity rift and other strange phenomenon. It is ideal to move through a portal as quickly as possible and only if one takes precaution to minimize or eliminate other possible side effects of quantum tunnelling.
Most are entirely unaware of portals of any kind, interdimensional travel on any scale, and even the existence of other dimensions. The general populace believes these things to either be fictitious, impossible, or attributes them to something other than what they are within the series. Only some religious sects such as the Catholic church and the Syndicate mafia are aware of the very real existence of portals and other realms. Portals themselves are extremely rare, but appear to occur naturally. The Bermuda triangle is speculated to be the largest portal on Earth within the series, comprised of a high concentration of portal water.