A Transit Beacon is technomagickal device that can instantaneously teleport large groups of infantry or cargo between a starship and a planetary surface. A Transit Beacon utilizes the powers of a Correspondence Mage to open up a portal in reality itself from the starship to a planetary surface, with the equipment of the beacon system hugely amplifying the width of the portal, how long it can stay open, and the amount of material that can pass through it. Ships equipped with a Transit Beacon have a pair of large antennas mounted on their exterior hull (usually on the bow or stern) which are used to precisely locate the transit point and focus the magickal energy for opening the portal. Transit Becaons are fairly short range, a few million miles at most.
Transit Beacons are huge machines that require a dedicated transit bay, and consequently can only be mounted on spaceships destroyer-sized (600+ meters long) or larger. As they are also very expensive, power-hungry devices, and require a mage to operate them sucessfully, generally only governments, militaries, and megacorps can afford to equip starships with Transit Beacons. Under the Earth Federation their installation and use was legally limited to military vessels only. It has not yet been established what the Holy Terran Empire's policy is toward the civilian use of Tansit Beacons.
The K'Nes sometimes equip their biggest cargo ships with Transit Beacons for situations where the fuel expense of flying cargo shuttles out of a planetary gravity well makes using a Transit Beacon the more cost-effective option to pick up or drop off cargo.
The Bugs have an uncanny ability to predict where a Transit Beacon will open its portal and have troops already waiting when the human soldiers materialize on the surface. This effect has led to beacons being used more often to extract endangered units of soldiers than to insert them into dangerous territory.
Behind the ScenesEdit
The concept of Transit Beacons, including it's ability to draw Bug attention, are lifted wholesale from John Steakley's novel Armor.