Transmat is simply the Terran term for matter transmission devices.

Transmats are not unique to the Terran Confederation, but they are a very rare technology, such that it often seems they are — they’re certainly the only race to currently use them so extensively.  Most races that ever develop this technology tend to either never adopt it or else quickly abandoned it.  The reason being, simply, that they’re exceedingly dangerous.

Various means and methods for matter transmission do exist throughout the galaxies, though all methods come down to a technique by which the relationship between energy and matter is exploited to allow some form of carrier wave to carry the matter across an intervening distance.

The danger of transmats comes in the fact that there is absolutely no simple, no-harm-done accident.  When a matter transmitter goes wrong, it goes horribly wrong.

It has been suggested that, perhaps, minor mistakes do occur and in fact many who distrust transmats insist they happen with every transmission.  Hence, for example, many top shelf vintners and chocolatiers refuse to allow their products to be moved by transmat; determined that it damages the flavours — most connoisseurs agree.

The other barrier to widespread adoption is that most sentient beings are in some fashion spiritual and/or religious.  Of the worlds that will trust a matter transmitter, fewer still will use it to transmit living beings; the Terran Confederation and the Golfadre, both of the Milky Way galaxy, are the only races known to routinely transport themselves and others in this manner.  The barrier is the very serious question: can a matter transmitter also transfer the soul?  Even among the tri-galaxies’ less religious and even atheistic populous there is the question of: how do I know it’s me that comes out the other end?

In the TC these people are considered backward luddite alarmists in both cases.  Among the Golfadre it is explained that the soul and the mind, already being energy, simply travel along with your mass and this seems to satisfy them.

It should be known that all forms of the technology are exceedingly sensitive to signal degradation so have common limitations.  All are subject to unobstructed line of sight, various experiments with reflectors and repeaters have been attempted but are not successful at sufficient rates to have been adopted even by the most careless of societies.  There are distance limitations as well, if transmitted at or near light speed using something like an electromagnetic wave the general limit is between one and thirty light seconds distance; this makes the technology viable for surface to moon or surface to space station transmissions plausible, given sufficient measures to reduce atmospheric disturbances to the signal (the TC precedes all atmospheric transmissions with a laser burst to clear a path, for example).  Greater distances may be achieved, but at a marked loss of reliability if the matter is converted into faster than light energies (e.g. tachyons), also the gains tend to net few because while upper limits have been as great as a light hour there becomes a short-range limit — the signal never reconstructs properly under ten light minutes (the reasons for this are not yet properly understood).

A curious note in support of those who question the ability for the devices to deliver souls, spirits, intellects: non-organic goods transport with a full 30% greater reliability and non-living organic materials (e.g. leathergoods, foods, etc.) transport their own 30% more readily than living creatures. As an example, the TC has established transmat routes from Luna to the Jupiter, but will only transport goods and materials via this system. All living cargos must still travel by the stations on Luna, in Trans-Luna-Martian orbit, on Mars, to the Trans-Martian-Jovian orbital stations, and then to one of the Jovian satellites or orbital stations due to the safety concerns.

While various popular science fiction depictions of transmats will have them able to collect and deposit a subject anywhere all incarnations ever discovered by archaeologists and in present use require the subject to be sent by a transmitting device and reconstructed by a receiving device — in virtually all cases the technology was designed so that the same device could serve both functions.  In the Terran Confederation, these devices are known as transmat capsules.


The fabber is not a new technology in the same way that the compact disc of the last decades of the twentieth century hadn’t been new when they’d become popular. It was invented as a form of field ration to simplify care for soldiers in the Franco-Portugese army in the fifth decade of the third world war. The technology was simplified and refined and an organic recycler was added making them further popular among many of the pre-warp starships, and when warp was developed found a niche there as well due to the extremely limited capacity of those ships.

The basic concept started out as an edible form of the plastic soup used in the rapid prototypers and 3D printers of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. These used a mix of edible gels comprised amino acids, vitamins, minerals, or carbohydrates in balanced proportions; it would produce hot rapid meals by combining these according to information provided to ensure each soldier got no more than they needed. The next revision could recycle certain amounts and types of organic waste, but was not popular on the battlefield, nor is it currently common in the home due to the space that component takes up. This was not, however, a limitation on starships where it still takes up less space than foodstuffs and makes the food supply very nearly limited only to the availability of power.

Modern units can be given additional gels that can allow recreation of flavours and have assemblers that allow them to build what looks like a normal food, even reproducing textures and densities. Some claim that the fabber food is indistinguishable from the real thing except to be guaranteed healthful, others say that the end product is a crime against cuisine. Most, though, hold a position somewhere in between — it might not be perfect, but it’s edible. The fabber is, on many Confederate colony worlds, the only food available to Terrans. These would be worlds incapable of supporting Human consumable foods, and the cost ineffectiveness of hydroponics on such large scales, or shipping in food on warp freighters. A waste recycling center is established and colonists purchase food gelpacks from it. The fabber is also becoming a fad among the old worlds which can grow food out of the novelty of not having to worry about perishables, or even grocery shopping. Most packs are good for a month of meals for the average family of three.

The fabber has little popularity outside the Terran Confederation for various reasons. One is the lack of popularity of electrical power or the Terran’s habit of using digital computer systems making them difficult to integrate. Another is how few are willing to tolerate the taste (or even to understand how to convince the things of the dietary needs of anything that isn’t Human). Some of the techniques used for the food prep was adapted for the original prototypers that inspired these devices and a line of fabbers exists that can make clothes, simple household goods, and so forth do exist as well. These use oils and produce polyester type fabrics, hairbrushes, a passable toothpaste, etc. This particular form of fabber has gained a small following outside the Confederation,but still not much due to the afore mentioned electricity, and due to a view of its products being of quality inferior to the goods more conventionally produced.