After a young Ford encountered Bill Cipher, the demon convinced him to construct the Universe portal under the notion that it would elevate mankind's understanding of the universe. In reality, the portal was intended to merge Bill's realm with Earth to bring chaos, initially unbeknownst to the scientist. Recruiting his friend Fiddleford McGucket, Ford began work on the portal using salvaged UFO technology buried under the town. However, during the initial test run McGucket was partially sucked into the portal and receives horrifying visions concerning the true nature of the portal. He warned Ford to discontinue the project as it could destroy the world itself, but ultimately left the project when Ford refused to.
Eventually, Ford realized that McGucket's warnings were right and learned Bill's true intentions after confronting the demon. Ford then decided to shut down the portal and hid the journals so that it could never be activated again. During this attempt he called his brother Stan to take Journal 1 and hide it somewhere on the other side of the planet. However, Stan was outraged over Ford's apparent unwillingness to reconcile with him and the two began to fight. During the struggle, the portal was activated, and Ford accidentally gets pulled in. At the last minute, he throws Stan Journal 1 and instructs him to use it before he completely disappears, shutting the portal down. With the other two Journals missing, Stan would spend the next thirty years trying to find the missing journals in order to reactivate the portal and bring his brother back.
The main section of the portal is a large, upside down, metal triangle with lights dotting along its edge. There is a large hole in the center and symbols encircling the hole. The symbols represent the Behenian fixed stars, which are a selection of fifteen stars considered especially useful for magical applications in medieval astrology. The bottom tip of the triangle is connected to a base with many large thick cords. If necessary, there is also an emergency shutdown switch to the right of the portal.
The portal was designed by Ford and McGucket as a gateway to infinite new worlds and unimaginable power. It was initially built to benefit mankind; however, according to McGucket, the more time passes the more unstable the portal becomes, leading to the probability of danger and failures.
To activate the portal, a complex algorithm that can only be completed by owning the journals is required.
Role in the series
In the episode "Not What He Seems", the machine is finally at maximum capacity and begins to open a portal to a parallel dimension. However, this also induces gravity anomalies across town due to its instability. After Mabel is convinced by Stan not to shut down the portal, the portal explodes, destroying most of itself in the process. However, the main centerpiece remains functional as it successfully brings Ford back to his dimension.
In "Dungeons, Dungeons, & More Dungeons", Ford reveals that he has since dismantled the portal because of how dangerous it is. However, a fragment of its instability in the form of an interdimensional rift was all that remained, meaning that Bill still has a way to get to Earth should the rift be shattered.
In "Weirdmageddon 3: Take Back the Falls," when McGucket has everyone turn the Mystery Shack into the Shacktron, the portal's centerpiece can be seen on the midsection of the mech.
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