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Alien comes to Earth, builds tele-transporter device but keeps the technology secret. Humans manage to spy on it. The alien 'sells' the device to humans (like Brooklyn Bridge!).

The alien doesn't own the technology, but he signs a legal document selling it anyway. Later in the novel, Earth lawyers negotiate with alien lawyers and win the case, because the alien was a legal official and his signature was binding, for some reason or other!

Any leads would be much appreciated.

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  • Can you remember anything else about this novel? When did you read it, how old was it, was it in English, how long was it? Every little detail can help! See also our guidance on asking story-ID questions.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Apr 18, 2016 at 16:31
  • Check en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teleportation_in_fiction if it's the list.
    – ott--
    Apr 18, 2016 at 16:43
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    Could it be the same as this question?
    – Adamant
    Apr 18, 2016 at 17:16
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    Is the line about "like the Brooklyn Bridge!" meant to indicate that it's demonstrated that the alien doesn't actually own said technology to sell it as per the old line about "If you believe that, I've got a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you"?
    – FuzzyBoots
    Apr 18, 2016 at 17:47
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    FuzzyBoots, exactly! The alien doesn't own the technology but he signs a legal document selling it anyway. later in the novel, earth lawyers negotiate with alien lawyers and win the case, because the alien was a legal official and his signature was binding, for some reason or other!
    – Fabius
    Apr 20, 2016 at 16:08

1 Answer 1

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Is it "Battlefield Earth" by L. Ron Hubbard? In the novel, the humans spy on the Psychlo to learn the secret technology behind the teleportation device.

The Psychlo winds up being one of the last of his race, and the highest-ranking, so when he "sells" everything his race owns, the contract is binding.

From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battlefield_Earth_(novel) :

It is eventually discovered that the dirty nukes sent with the intent of destroying the capital city on Psychlo instead started a chain reaction which reached into the planet's core due to over-mining, causing the planet to explode and transform into a star. Jonnie also discovers that other Psychlo facilities scattered about the multiple universes were destroyed by their own reliance on teleportation as they performed their scheduled teleportation shipments, and instead, brought back radioactive solar matter. This holocaust killed every single Psychlo in the multiple universes except for the handful remaining on Earth. Once it is revealed that all female Psychlos who leave the homeworld are sterilized to prevent off-world births, Johnny realizes that the Psychlos on Earth will not be able to reproduce, and eventually, the Psychlo race will become extinct.

Jonnie then works out a way to prevent the repossession of Earth via contracts Terl had signed with Brown Limper Staffor. The Psychlo had thought that it would be amusing to make Staffor believe that he was the legal owner of Earth as well as all Psychlo possessions across the multiple universes, by signing a contract that stated as much before his final teleportation to Planet Psychlo. Terl had no way of knowing that he was about to die, along with almost his entire race, with the destruction of his homeworld. Once planet Psychlo was destroyed, Terl was the highest ranking member of the Intergalactic Mining Company left alive, and his signature on Staffor's contract became legal. That meant that Jonnie, as the recognized leader of Earth with the death of Brown Limper, now owned what was left of the entire Psychlo empire. Using these contracts, the Earth Planetary Bank pays off all debts to the intergalactic bankers.

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