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  • majoki

sure, it's you

The transporter operator tapped his fingers on the console nodding his head in time to some inner rhythm. “Sure, it’s you. Done this thousands of times. No one’s complained.”

“Would they know to complain?”

“I’m not following you?”

“If they were different after being transported.”

“You mean like their arm was coming out their ass?”

“Has that happened?”

“Not to me?”

“No. I mean ‘different’ as in personality. As if something is off.”

“Like I said. No complaints so far.”

“It just seems like sending my constituent atoms across spacetime and rebuilding an identical me could be fraught with errors.”

The transporter operator stopped tapping his fingers. “That’s not how this works. We aren’t sending your atoms anywhere. We’re mapping them and reassembling them with atoms from wherever you’re going.”

“What happens to my atoms?”

“They’re used to reassemble someone transporting here.”

“Wait. That doesn’t seem right.”

“It’s all there in the release form you signed. The fungibility clause.”


“It’s like back in the day when people used physical currency for money. Back then paper currency was considered fungible. If you borrowed money, you didn’t have to return the specific banknotes you borrowed, just bills of identical value. Same concept, just applied to your atomic makeup. Your transported self will be rebuilt by atoms of identical number and type. Even though your atoms have been swapped out, you’ll be the same.”

“Still seems like a flimsy proposition.”

“Maybe to you, but it works. Done it dozens of times myself.” He tapped his console. “Never noticed any differences.”

“Would you, though? Would you notice anything different?”

“Unlikely. To me, it’s no different than waking up every morning. Some days I feel more like myself than others. On a regular basis some of our cells go kaput, others regenerate or are replaced. We’re nothing but bio machines constantly repairing and rebuilding ourselves.”

“Sounds a bit soulless.”

The operator shrugged. “Look, I’m about to send your sentient self halfway across the solar system in a matter of microseconds. If that doesn’t blow your mind and shake your soul, then I’m not sure what makes you tick anyway—regardless of which specific atoms you started with.” He motioned to the transporter chamber. “Ready?”

“No. But I’ve got to get there. I’ve got an identical twin brother who needs one of my kidneys.”

“My point exactly.” The operator made some adjustments on his console. “We’re never the same hour to hour. We change, willingly or unwillingly. Good luck to you and your brother.”

Stepping into the chamber the reluctant quantum traveler turned around, crouched low and stuck his right arm between his legs. Waving goodbye to the transporter operator with what looked like his arm coming out his ass, the once identical twin wondered, as his features disassembled atom by atom, if a laugh was fungible.

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