- 9. They require that the personages of a tale shall confine themselves to possibilities and let miracles alone; or, if they venture a miracle, the author must so plausibly set it forth as to make it look possible and reasonable.
—Mark Twain, "Fenimore Cooper's Literary Offenses"
A plothole (also rendered plot hole) is created whenever something in a story doesn't make sense. This can either be through bad characterization, inconsistent plotting, or the existence of something contradicted in canon. Usually a plothole is a metaphorical hole, as in something missing from the narrative; in the PPC, they are rather more literal. They are often found in badfic.
Accidental encounters of agents with plotholes can have a wide range of unpredictable effects. Missing characters will find themselves in a literal hole in the fabric of the world, from which they can be pulled out. A plothole once rendered Jay Thorntree and Acacia Byrd's invisible belongings visible.
Plotholes are related to Logic Loopholes.
While plothole is a generic term that can be applied to any narrative hole, in the PPC it is often used specifically of time-space distortions - the form that can be used to travel long distances in significantly less time than should be required, or even to pass between dimensions. Agents on a mission can, with practice, deliberately use this form of plotholes to travel quickly across large distances, as Acacia did in TOS.
The PPC's portals are stabilised plotholes. Consequentially, it is possible for the portal generator to malfunction when it hits the plotholes naturally found in badfic. This can cause agents to miss their destinations in space or time and/or become separated from each other. Plotholes occasionally appear in HQ, and can be used to travel. They are sometimes described as making a soft humming sound.
Plotholes are a naturally occurring phenomenon in some portions of the multiverse, though very rare on World One. The seeds that led to the Flowers were transported by plothole to a world where all kinds of plotholes were abundant; the Flowers eventually harnessed time-space distortions to expand their Headquarters and their Organisation across the multiverse.
The Flowers discovered how to create plotholes by writing them into existence; however, plotholes created by this method could only lead into or out of Word Worlds. One consequence of this limitation was that there were only three plotholes - all natural - between Origin and the rest of Headquarters; during the Civil War, these links were easily cut.
Creating plotholes was a laborious task; each hole had to be hand-written, and had to be unique, since a frequently-used plothole would simply become plot. Makes-Things refined the PPC's plothole generation technology, bringing in computers capable of using natural-language processing to write plotholes automatically. He took the mechanical Sustainers and made them electronic, rendered the plotholes self-powered, and added a blue glow safety feature. From that point on, PPC plotholes were known as portals.
Makes-Things' experiments in portal technology led to him sparking off the Cascade, a massive plothole-creation event. Most of HQ is built into the network of plotholes created by the Cascade, and it left plotholes scattered all over the multiverse. It seems to have left a large number leading to World One; a fair number of agents from World One arrive in HQ by falling through a plothole.