So this morning I woke up thinking about Star Trek and how, if I were one its earlier writers, I would have written transporter scenarios very differently. Like a lot of my work, it’s rather grim. Still, I hope you can appreciate it.
“You understand that, by agreeing to this mission, you are agreeing upon a literal death sentence, from which there is no hope of going back?”
You hold your breath as you reply, “I do.”
“….And that the consequence of this mission will render your body nothing more than a hollow vessel, to be used by the Federation as it sees fit?”
You gasp a little as you confirm, “I do.”
“You understand that if you feel you cannot fulfill your obligation, now is the time to speak up, or forever hold your peace?”
As much as it goes against every fiber of your being, you abstain. Your silence is your confirmation.
“Very well then. Please raise your right hand and repeat after me….”
You knew what you were getting into. That once you swore in, there would be no going back. And you were given every opportunity to opt out; not to say that you weren’t strongly persuaded otherwise. Naturally, you were offered various incentives. Not the least of which being a guarantee that your family would be well taken care of after you were gone. And now that you’ve agreed, you await your commander’s arrival, as you prepare to be briefed on the details of this critical mission.
You sit there in silence. You look around at what appears to be a soundproof conference room, filled with blank displays ready to deliver a presentation. The reality of it begins to set in. You feel your heart fill with dread. One of your superiors strums his fingers on the table, but you realise that sound is greatly muffled. Every second in this room hammers into your heart just how grave this mission really is. Suddenly the door slides open, and the commander enters.
After the briefing, you are escorted to a private cell, for the remainder of the day. There may be others joining you along this mission, but you are under orders not to discuss the mission, so this current state of isolation is to help ensure that you will not violate those orders. Meanwhile, you are offered the highest accommodations. You discover it’s not so much a cell, as it is a suite. You find your room filled with state of the art fixtures and appliances; a bed so comfortable, you feel practically weightless lying down on it. Just outside your room is balcony with holographic scenery. The view would be breathtaking, if only you had a solid breath to give away. As you look around, you find you have your own dining room and, lying upon the table, a classic menu, offering meals from the Fleet Admiral’s personal chef. There is also a luxurious day room, filled with elaborate, hand-made furniture, along with a vast selection of music, movies, video games, and pornography. For one night only, you will be living like a king. But you realise, it’s all for show. It’s really just meant to calm your nerves. Because after tonight, it will all be over. If this were any other time and place, you would be ecstatic; honored to enjoy such extravagance. But tonight, you aren’t hungry. Instead, you feel sick, as your stomach begins to flutter. And you know that, no matter hard you try, you will not be able to sleep this night — for these are your final hours. You almost feel that you’re already dead. (Almost. But just wait. That feeling will arrive, soon enough.)
The following morning you awaken to the clumsy boots of the security personnel who will escort you from here. You don’t how, but you figure they must have either gassed you, or reduced the oxygen supply to your room to make you fall asleep; not that you feel refreshed. The flutters begin to resume, as you are sternly directed to hurry up and get dressed. The whole matter is impersonal, but you realise it has to be, under the circumstances.
As soon as you are ready, you are directed to climb into the vehicle that will drive you down to the transporter room. Wherever you’re departing from, it will naturally be isolated from the rest of the ship (or, if you are on a world, far away from the general population), so as to reduce the risk of contamination. Upon arrival the security chief unlocks the portal, and instructs you to enter and walk toward the center of the room. Yet only you — and those others selected for your party, if any — will enter. Inside, you will find the room to be a dark, great, hollow chamber; filled with various large, ominous, dimly lit instruments along the walls. This whole place is cold, and sterile. And while you can’t smell anything really, it somehow reeks of death and decay. And as soon as the portal seals behind you, it really hits you: you are truly abandoned, along with the echoes of this chamber. Meanwhile, you will have to wait about five minutes for your former escorts to ride a safe distance before they give the okay to engage this menacing machine.
You look around, studying the place; not that it will do you any good. There is no escaping now. Just waiting. And you know it won’t be long. You wish you could find words for the anticipation you’re feeling now, but words have escaped you in this final hour. You don’t know what to do. Should you stand or pace, or sit down, or try to find some peace in the last moments you have here? If only you could relax! You wish you had the courage to face this with a Zen-like serenity, but all you want to do right now is jump out of your skin; you are so afraid!
Far away, the transporter team initiates the countdown and the room suddenly fills with an intense, eye-scalding light — even with your eyes firmly closed — as the floor drops out from under you; your body, suspended in air. At once, your heart begins to convulse, and then suddenly seize, as you go into cardiac arrest. Your muscles begin clench, forcing your body into an involuntary foetal position. You then begin to feel as though your flesh were being stripped away from your body, layer after layer; cooking you from within, with greater intensity in each passing millisecond. Time seems to stand still for an eternity, yet the pain is unyielding. Meanwhile, the most nauseating sound reverberates within your skull and every bone in your body. And then epiphany shrouds you as you realise: This is really how I die. That thought only lasts for a fleeting instant as your entire body succumbs to the awesome event of nuclear fission. Suddenly, your atoms begin to erupt, one after another; yet the energy remains contained where your body was suspended. The walls of the chamber then begin to close inward, as your energy is absorbed into electromagnetic coils. It is then routed, and directed through a transmitter which will send your energy to a predetermined receiving station.
Later, your transmission will be received and decrypted, and your effigy reconstituted in a fusion chamber. Immediately up arrival, a team dressed in HazMat gear will rush to apply defibrillators and adrenaline shots to your rendition, and attempt to revive it; but yours is a death that can never be reversed. Still, your effigy will carry out whatever mission you signed up for, and make your world proud. If only they knew.
Neither your family or world can ever know, of course. All will remain classified. If anyone knew what it meant to be transported, there would surely be resistance; mass protests. World Congresses around the galaxy would be petitioned to end this brutal practice! It would be regarded as cruel, inhumane, and unnatural. Many would deem yours (and those like yours) abominations, and rightly so. For yours will be nothing more than a cold, lifeless, imitation. Devoid of all passion or ambition. But it will always be aware of the emptiness within. It will become apathetic, yet discontent. Always wanting what was taken from it, never to be reclaimed. To have signed those orders, and sworn yourself over, was to sign away that which truly made you human — your soul! You knew that, but you didn’t really know. And now it’s too late.
Your fate was a cruel one. For the moment you signed those orders, you knew you would never see your family ever again. Early on, when they first began human testing, they actually did try allowing them to return to their old lives and families; ignorant of the consequences. But then they found out the hard way. Naturally, there were cover-ups, false diagnoses, pay-offs as their renditions were recovered. The truth is, while it may look like you and act like you at first, it won’t be you. It’s sounds cliché, but it’s true: you really are one of a kind, and there is no substitute. It won’t be your mind, or your life; but it will think it is. Yet whatever you it is, it will decay, as it slowly begins to lose grip of reality. Your vessel will become homicidal at worst; suicidal at best. And its life expectancy won’t be much more than two years. Until then, it will be the Federation’s burden to keep. And they will squeeze as much out of it as they can — which won’t be much, after the first six months. Afterwards, it will be little more than an invalid. Fortunately, the moment it is diagnosed with this syndrome, its diagnosing physicians and counselors will notify their commanders and recommend scheduling your effigy’s immediate dismal from service. In other words: it will be put to sleep.
And that’s how it ends. Not so storybook, now is it? The simple fact is, teleportation simply isn’t possible without killing the subject. It’s cruel. It’s heartless. But fortunately, it doesn’t have to be that way:
- It’s called education
- Write your congressmen
- Your mayor
- Your local pastor, even!
Rally your friends and family, your neighbors and pizza deliverymen! And petition to end this brutal practice right here and now!
The United Federation of Planets doesn’t want you to know their dirty little secret. But the secret’s out now, and it’s time to spread it. Make like the twenty-first century and wiki-leaks this already! Who knows how many lives are being lost under the false label of being “Killed In Action”? Lives you could be saving right now, if you only had the courage to shed light on this heartless practice!
Don’t delay! The time to act is now!
Disclaimer: This entire scenario is one-hundred-percent fiction, spewed forth from the mind of a seriously demented genius; if you choose to petition your congressmen, your mayor, or your pastor about the inherent evils in transporter technology, you. are. an idiot; the author takes no responsibility in whatever radical actions you may take, should you take this article seriously; void where prohibited; your results may vary; viewer discretion is advised.