art by Agata Maciagowska
The Subatomic Fiber-Optic Deconstruction/Construction Transportation Chamber
by Dylan Otto Krider
Would you be the first to climb onto the device? Would you proceed if you fully understood the scientific principles upon which it is based?
What is it about the device that troubles you? Is it the flashy lights on the control panel? The eerie hum of the machine as it powers up? Is it the slight nod of the technician, inviting you to step on as he stands safely behind shatter-resistant Plexiglas?
Or is it the strange glow of the mist that swirls about the chamber you have just agreed to enter?--that is, if you're still committed to this project. If you haven't decided to back out.
Perhaps your reservations come from the knowledge that this strange glowing mist is no mist at all, neither vapor nor gas, but metal, trillions of microscopic robots perched and waiting for your atoms to come within range?
Though its technology is complex, its function is simple: a computer pulls apart your atoms one by one, logging their exact locations into its memory banks before sending the information over a fiber optics cable to another device, identical to the first, which simultaneously reconstructs you, atom by atom, molecule by molecule. If you stepped onto the Subatomic Fiber-Optic Deconstruction/Construction Transportation platform located, say, in your living room and were sent across the country, beneath the ocean to another continent--if it reproduced you precisely down to the molecular level in some office, say, in Greenland, or Cairo--what difference would there be? What variation could possibly exist?
The conclusion is difficult to avoid--it is you. Exactly. Atom for atom.
So what is it that bothers you about this new ability to travel with the ease of a fax or phone call? Why would you pass up the opportunity to cruise at the speed of light? Could you possibly sneer at an eight-minute commute to the sun, with a 4.7 millisecond pit stop at a communications satellite?