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Wee Red Bird
March 11th, 2013, 10:46 PM
Having trouble thinking of a title for this - but will come up with something before its finished.
This contains the odd expletive and occasionally, some innuendo, although I have tried to keep both to a minimum.
So far I'm around the 16k word mark for the full story. May hit the 20k mark by the time its done, but not holding my breath.

Short summary to list beside the title -
Travelling from New York to London is never fun, especially when your trip is suffering from delays. But when you find your journey suddenly interrupted half way and people calling you by the wrong name, you know your day is going to go downhill.

----------------------------------------

It was a typical day at Barack Obama International. The long lines of passengers were shuffling through security scanners and on to the departure hall. Friends having fun on their holiday. Business people in suits heading off to meetings. Waiting for their gate to be called and eventually boarding ready for departure. Passengers dressed in summer clothes board through their gate into a cabin slightly larger than the average aeroplane. The cabin crew makes sure everyone is in their seat. Shortly afterwards the voice on the PA reminds everyone they are on the 12:40 to Hawaii and would be departing shortly. He then mumbles the usual instructions to the cabin crew to prepare for departures. The cabin crew then leave through the room’s large door, closing it behind them. The passengers sit nervously for a few minutes before blurring into nothingness, leaving behind a sterile looking windowless white room filled with the chairs the passengers sat in.
10 minutes later, but instantaneously to the passengers, they arrive in an identical room. The doors opened while a different voice over the PA welcomes them to Hawaii.

Transporters have been around for a while. Ripping your body down into the component molecules while recording their position and sending that data to the other side of the world to reassemble you was safer than flying. If there are any accidents, you are backed up a computer. There hasn’t been a single transporter fatality. There had, however, been a few people duplicated by accident. And there was an incident with flight 8125 that had been hushed up. But it is still the safest way to travel.

The New York to London wasn’t doing as well as the Hawaii transport. There were problems with the data link across the Atlantic. An alternative route was being set up, but had to wait their turn among all the other transports.
The transport stewards were doing their best to please the passengers by serving food and drinks, and putting up with the occasional angry passenger who thinks that shouting at a poor member of staff will fix their problem. A group of girls swap seats with some other passengers so they can chat together while waiting. Others work on computers, pulling them out their bags and unrolling them on tables. A nervous passenger, unenthusiastic about being ripped apart by the transporter, sits sweating in one corner.
Eventually, the voice over the PA tells the passengers that they will be departing shortly, soothing them while the last minute preparations are under way. “Your route will be via Spain, but you won’t be stopping for any sightseeing before you arrive in London. You won’t even notice the difference. Cabin crew prepare for departure”

The passengers sit there as they blur out of existence, but they do not arrive in London. 2 minutes into transfer, the system crashes. Normally, this isn’t a problem as redundant systems would take over, but they fail too. Thus began a series of frantic calls between New York and London while they try to work out what was happening.
Somehow the systems in New York had failed. A catastrophic failure. The passengers’ data was gone. The server room filled with screens showing errors and servers flashing angry red lights. The failure had rippled through other machines as they finished their own transport and tried to share the computing load.

The hub controller was not looking forward to this. All the problems the transport system had undergone before were minor ones. Or at least ones that the public did not see and were possible to minimise the press coverage on. This one was looking bigger by the moment.
He addressed a group of technicians on the problem of the partially complete transport. “I have discussed this with my colleague in London. The passengers who have made it to the servers in London will be re-integrated there. However the data in New York has been irrevocably lost. We do have a contingency plan. One that’s more designed for a bomb taking out a section of the building than a failure like this, but we can make it work. As you know, when the passengers check in at security, they are screened by the same scanners used in the transporters, but luckily to a separate system.” He worked his way round the group. “I want you” pointing to the first technician “to configure the emergency transporter in security to reintegrate from these backup. I want you” pointing to a second “to pull the list of passengers from that transport and locate their files in the system and I want you” to the third, “to check with London to see who they have and reintegrate. Then I want all of you to work together to reintegrate the ones they don’t have. Any questions? Any problems and you contact me straight away.”
Now, he thought to himself, I have to go talk to our press advisors and lawyers to see how much this is going to hurt us.

---

Similar arrangements had commenced in London. Working through their received data, they began manually reintegrating passengers. They select each passenger in turn from theThe transporter booth, in the emergency system, looked like a cheap, off white, plastic wardrobe. The technicians worked through their list of received passengers manually reintegrating them. The passengers appeared, one at a time, in the booth, sitting on a chair similar to the one they last sat on. Each passenger looked confused at their surroundings while the technicians explained there was a minor problem, before escorting them to a room to the side to speak to the hub’s controller before proceeding to the next passenger.
They did, however, have a problem regarding one passenger who had been partially received before the New York servers had crashed.
“We’ve saved the tricky one till the end. We have this one’s mind but not their body” said the senior technician.
“What do you mean?” asked his trainee.
“When they scan a person, they do it at two levels. They scan the brain using a high resolution scan and the body and luggage at a lower resolution. It lets them send less data where they can.”
“What do we do with them?”
“The regulations say we have to use the latest mind as possible. Call New York and request the body file for passenger…” searching his screen for the details “5b. A Ms Sarah Harris. Then I’ll show you how to stick someone back together using the manual method.”

The reason for using the latest mind file was two-fold. First, it was considered common courtesy to let the passengers to let them keep their latest memory. Secondly, it removed potential law suits. During the early days of transporter travel, a passenger, who was restored from a backup, successfully sued the transport company for several million dollars as he sent an email, after his initial scan, stating “I have just had an amazing idea, it will make us millionaires. I will tell you when I get there”. The idea itself was lost when the passenger was restored from the older backup by mistake, allowing him to sue for the loss in whatever profits they would have made on their idea.
To this day, the most commonly sent email, while waiting to depart is “I have the most amazing idea, it will make us millions”, though the idea normally one of being able to sue the transport company for several millions on the premise of their email.

---

The two technicians had loaded the passenger’s files into the single person transporter and set the system to reintegrate them. The passenger appeared in the transporter booth in a walking position. A little unsteady on their feet. Their last memory was relaxing in the departure room, so finding them self in a walking position came as a bit of a surprise.
“Ms Harris, are you Ok?” asked the junior technician.
The figure in the transporter looked a little confused, looking round at their surroundings, still a little unsteady wearing the heels they hadn’t put on that day.
“Are you Ok Ms Harris” repeated the technician.
She looked round in his direction, realising who the technician was addressing.
“There was an accident with the transport, but you are perfectly safe…”
She looked down, examining her unfamiliar hands, flexing her fingers, not fully believing they were attached to her.
“I’m…” she said looking up. “I’m not Harris” Her voice trembling as she fought with her new vocal chords.


---------

Olly Buckle
March 12th, 2013, 12:26 AM
Being called away, but you might want to address this;

Transporters had been around for a while. Ripping your body down into the component molecules while recording their position and sending that data to the other side of the world to reassemble you was safer than flying. If there are any accidents, you are backed up a computer. There hasn’t been a single transporter fatality. There have, however, been a few people duplicated by accident. And there was an incident with flight 8125 that was hushed up. But it is still the safest way to travel.
"tense" issue

Wee Red Bird
March 12th, 2013, 09:54 PM
Just looking through the rest of it and I've got my tense mixed up all through it. Rewrite time...

Wee Red Bird
March 13th, 2013, 05:09 PM
I think I have fixed the tense problem, and edited it into my post at the beginning of the thread.

Saiknohx
March 19th, 2013, 06:48 PM
The story is great, and I hope to read more, but I found something that needed fixing.


They select each passenger in turn from theThe transporter booth, in the emergency system, looked like a cheap, off white, plastic wardrobe.

That, and the description of the booth needs changing. Too many commas, I think.

Wee Red Bird
April 11th, 2013, 05:11 PM
Saiknohx, the booth description was terrible. Trouble is I've written and rewritten that bit a few times and became word blind to it all.
I've also changed the tense in the story. Its all written in present tense above and it gets a bit grating sometimes.
And the post below goes further into the story.



Short summary:
Travelling from New York to London is never fun, especially when your trip is suffering from delays. But when you find your journey suddenly interrupted half way and people calling you by the wrong name, you know your day is going to go downhill.

----------------------------------------

It was a typical day at Barack Obama International. The long lines of passengers were shuffling through security scanners and on to the departure hall. Friends having fun on their holiday. Business people in suits heading off to meetings. Waiting for their gate to be called and eventually boarding ready for departure. Passengers dressed in summer clothes board through their gate into a cabin slightly larger than the average aeroplane. The cabin crew ensure everyone is in their seat. Shortly afterwards the voice on the PA reminds everyone they are on the 12:40 to Hawaii and will be departing shortly. He then mumbled the usual instructions to the cabin crew to prepare for departure. The cabin crew then left through the room’s large door and closed it behind them. The passengers sat nervously for a few minutes before the blurred into nothingness, leaving behind a sterile looking windowless white room filled with the chairs the passengers sat in.
10 minutes later, but instantaneously to the passengers, they arrived in an identical room. The doors opened while a different voice over the PA welcomed them to Hawaii.

Transporters have been around for a while. Ripping your body down into the component molecules while recording their position and sending that data to the other side of the world to reassemble you was safer than flying. If there are any accidents, you are backed up a computer. There hasn’t been a single transporter fatality. There had, however, been a few people duplicated by accident. And there was an incident with flight 8125 that had been hushed up. But it is still the safest way to travel.

The passengers on the New York to London were not as lucky as their Hawaii bound counterparts. There were problems with the data link across the Atlantic. An alternative route had been chosen, but had to wait their turn among all the other transports.
The transport stewards did their best to please the passengers by serving food and drinks, and putting up with the occasional angry passenger who though that shouting at a poor member of staff will fix the problem. A group of girls swapped seats with some other passengers so they could chat together while waiting. Others worked on computers, pulled from their bags and unrolled on tables. A nervous passenger, unenthusiastic about being ripped apart by the transporter, sat sweating in one corner.
Eventually, the voice over the PA told the passengers that they will be departing shortly, soothing them during the last minute preparation. “Your route will be via Spain, but you won’t be stopping for any sightseeing before you arrive in London. You won’t even notice the difference. Cabin crew prepare for departure”



The passengers sat there as they blurred out of existence, but they did not arrive in London. 2 minutes into transfer, the system crashed. Normally, this wouldn’t be a problem as redundant systems would take over, but they failed. Thus began a series of frantic calls between New York and London while they try to work out what was happening.
Somehow the systems in New York had failed. A catastrophic failure. The passengers’ data was gone. The server room were filled with screens showing errors and servers flashing angry red lights. The failure had rippled through other machines as they finished their own transport and tried to share the computing load.

The hub controller was not looking forward to this. All the problems the transport system had undergone before were minor ones. Or at least ones that the public did not see and were possible to minimise the press coverage on. This one looked bigger by the moment.
He addressed a group of technicians on the problem of the partially complete transport. “I have discussed this with my colleague in London. The passengers who have made it to the servers in London will be re-integrated there. However the data in New York has been irrevocably lost. We do have a contingency plan. One that’s more designed for a bomb taking out a section of the building than a failure like this, but we can make it work. As you know, when the passengers check in at security, they are screened by the same scanners used in the transporters, but luckily to a separate system.” He worked his way round the group. “I want you” pointing to the first technician “to configure the emergency transporter in security to reintegrate from these backup. I want you” pointing to a second “to pull the list of passengers from that transport and locate their files in the system and I want you” to the third, “to check with London to see who they have and reintegrate. Then I want all of you to work together to reintegrate the ones they don’t have. Any questions? Any problems and you contact me straight away.”
Now, he thought to himself, I have to go talk to our press advisors and lawyers to see how much this is going to hurt us.

---


Similar arrangements had commenced in London. The technicians stood at a set of controls beside a transporter booth that resembled a cheap, off white, plastic wardrobe. They worked their way through the received data, manually reintegrating passengers. One at a time the passengers appeared in the booth on a chair similar to the one in the departure room. Each of them confused at their change of surroundings while a technician explained there was a minor problem and escorted them to a room to the side to speak to the hub’s controller. The remaining technicians then move on to the next passenger on their list. Everything worked smoothly.
They did, however, have a problem regarding one passenger who had been partially received before the New York servers had crashed.
“We’ve saved the tricky one till the end. We have this one’s mind but not their body” said the senior technician.
“What do you mean?” asked his trainee.
“When they scan a person, they do it at two levels. They scan the brain using a high resolution scan and the body and luggage at a lower resolution. It lets them send less data where they can.”
“What do we do with them?”
“The regulations say we have to use the latest mind as possible. Call New York and request the body file for passenger…” he searched his screen for the details “5b. A Ms Sarah Harris. Then I’ll show you how to stick someone back together using the manual method.”

The reason for using the latest mind file was two-fold. First, it was considered common courtesy to let the passengers to let them keep their latest memory. Secondly, it removed potential law suits. During the early days of transporter travel, a passenger, who was restored from a backup, successfully sued the transport company for several million dollars as he sent an email, after his initial scan, stating “I have just had an amazing idea, it will make us millionaires. I will tell you when I get there”. The idea itself was lost when the passenger was restored from the older backup by mistake, allowing him to sue for the loss in whatever profits they would have made on their idea.
To this day, the most commonly sent email, while waiting to depart is “I have the most amazing idea, it will make us millions”, though the idea normally one of being able to sue the transport company for several millions on the premise of their email.

---

The two technicians had loaded the passenger’s files into the single person transporter and set the system to reintegrate them. The passenger appeared in the transporter booth in a walking position. A little unsteady on their feet. Their last memory was relaxing in the departure room, so finding them self in a walking position came as a bit of a surprise.
“Ms Harris, are you ok?” asked the junior technician.
The figure in the transporter looked a little confused, looking round at their surroundings, still a little unsteady wearing the heels they hadn’t put on that day.
“Are you Ok Ms Harris” repeated the technician.
She looked round in his direction, realising who the technician was addressing.
“There was an accident with the transport, but you are perfectly safe…”
She looked down, examining her unfamiliar hands, flexing her fingers, not fully believing they were attached to her.
“I’m…” she said looking up. “I’m not Harris” Her voice trembling as she fought with her new vocal chords.

---

“I’m looking for passenger Anderson” called out the executive to the busy room filled with armed police and busy technicians.
“That’s me” said the passenger. He had been working with the New York technicians.
Stuart Anderson, one of the senior designers at Rapid, the company behind the transporter technology. He helped create the technology behind the transporters themselves, but like many an employee finds out, you don’t get rich unless you own the company. He was in his mid-thirties and would be considered ruggedly handsome if it wasn’t for one too many pizzas expanding his waistline and his resultant greasy hair. He had the pale skin of someone who doesn’t get to see the light of day often and an ill-fitting suit suggesting he only puts them on to meet someone important. He was on his way to a meeting in London about personal transporters and why they were not a good idea. The idea of using the transporters scared him, mainly because he knew, in great detail, how they worked and, more importantly, what would happen if they didn’t. He had been one of the first passengers recovered from the security backup. He was horrified by the way the technicians were running the process and took over.
“I’m in charge of this hub” said the executive “and I…”
“I told you this could happen” taking off his reading glassed to better see the hub controller. His Texan accent, though faded from years of living in the city, became stronger, mixed with his anger. “I’ve been warning about a flaw in the system like this for years. I don’t know how many times I’ve told you the flaw could bring down the whole thing. Lucky I was one of the first your staff put together or you would have lost your backup too.”
“I know, Mr Anderson, but that’s not why I’m here. There has been another little incident that we need to talk to you about. Can you come with me?”
“Sure, but you are going to have a bit of difficulty pulling your terrorist out in one piece without my help.”

---

The hub controller sat with Stuart Anderson and Sarah Harris in the conference room. It was a large room, tastefully decorated by someone lacking a bottom to their budget. A single piece wooden desk stretched the length of the room, surrounded by soft leather chairs. Small portraits hang on the wall illuminated by brass lamps A large screen down one end of the room displayed the company logo.
“What happened today was…” started the controller however he was interrupted.
“What happened was someone tried to bring down the transporter system. They had a weird fractal pattern encoded in their DNA. The system compresses our data stream as it transmits it and crashed when it tried to handle his data. The compression system can’t handle data like that, It overloads the system by creating an output larger than the original. I’ve no idea how they encoded that down at the cellular level in a person. I’m not sure if they will ever be able to pull him out the transporter. I’ve been making recommendations on the system for months to stop this cascade effect…”
“We do listen to your recommendations” interrupted the hub controller.
“Yes but it takes something like flight 8125 before you implement anything.”
“What happened to flight 8125?” asked Sarah
“They lost it.”
“They lost it? How?”
“It’s the reason they make the flight wait till they have a clear route before uploading passengers. They used to upload everyone and wait for a route across the network, until one busy day. No one noticed the flight hadn’t arrived for a few hours. When they started looking for it and couldn’t find it on their system. They eventually found it, a few days later in the corner of a server. They paid the whole flight off to keep quiet.”
“Yes, yes,” the controller said abruptly “But that’s not why I brought you both here. I’d like you to speak to someone in London. We had started transmitting the data scream during the compression stage. Some passengers made it across before the crash. One was half way through when it happened.”
The controller turned on the conference system and the face of Sarah appeared. She was dressed identically to her New York counterpart and sat in a similarly decorated room with, who they assumed to be the controller in London.
“Looks like they cloned you” said Stuart with a slight laugh in his voice.
“Not quite Stuart,” said the London Ms Harris with a subtle Texan accent “It always feels weird calling someone else by my name”
Stuart sat for a moment, the grin on his face replaced with one of confusion, followed by one of shock as his trickle of thoughts quickly coalesced into a waterfall. “No… They couldn’t…”
“Oh yes they did. They had a mix up with some of their files”
“What is going on?” asked the New York Sarah.
“They’ve stuck my mind into your body, but… but that’s impossible”
“Tell me about it,” said the figure on the screen.
“How did this happen?” asked Stuart
“I can help you there” said the controller, feeling useful for a moment. “I have the security camera from departures”
The security camera footage appeared on the screen. As always, a grainy, black and white recording with the picture jumping between frames half a second apart and no sound. Sarah and her friends are trying to talk to each other from different areas of the room. Sarah asks Stuart to swap seat and he helpfully obliges.
The voice from London came over the speaker “Well, that the last time I offer a lady my seat”
“When the crash occurred, your mind was already transferred “said the controller. “But it was partway through transferring your body. London requested your data by seat number.
“And by some magic I didn’t get my brain fried” said the remote voice as the screen switched back to them.

“I would like if you could keep the incident quiet” the hub controller asked. “It is bad enough that we have the system failure and a cloning without talk of someone in the wrong body.
“Who knows about this?” asked Stuart.
“The five of us and a couple of technicians in London.”
Stuart pondered what to do next. He would prefer to discuss the situation with the two Ms Harrises alone, but that would be difficult. Unless…
“I need to go for a smoke” Stuart said in the direction of the screen. “Come on, let’s get some air” towards Sarah
“But I don’t…”
“Come on!” He winked at her, out of sight of the controller.
On his way out he heard the other Ms Harris say “I need to go for a smoke too”

As the two of them walked to the smoking area, Stuart asked “Can you turn your phone off please.”
“Why? It’s not been working properly anyway this afternoon.”
“That’s because an identical copy of it is in London and the phone network is confused”
She took a wide bracelet off her wrist, straightened it out and touched several controls on its screen.
As they entered the smoking area, a fenced off section on the roof of the hub, Stuart pulls out his phone. “What’s your number?”
Before Sarah had a chance to answer, Stuart’s phone started to ring and he answered “Well, at least you know my number... It’s just Sarah and I here”. He activates the phone’s speaker.
“I’m on my own too”, said the London Ms Harris.
“I thought it would be better to discuss this away from everyone. This should not be happening. Your head should be fried by now. We need to get you checked out” said Stuart.
“No. we shouldn’t let everyone know just yet” said the voice on the speaker, “They won’t let us transfer me back to a version of my own body. Besides I’m not having any of the ill effects and it has been an hour already”
“What are you on about?” asked Sarah
“All research into putting one mind in another body was banned. The test subjects lasted half an hour tops. They either had severe headaches and died or were a vegetable straight out the transporter. They banned any manipulation. They deemed it too dangerous”
“Couldn’t they put them back in and restore them from before the experiment?”
“That is banned too. The only time they are allowed to restore you is when you are already in the system, like today’s transport. It was banned on moral implications. People could live forever, restoring their body to a younger state every few years. Though I’m sure the President recovered from his assassination attempt rather too quickly last month. I’m sure that sniper hit something vital…”
Realising he was digressing, he jumped back on target. “Anyway,” he said to the phone, “how do I know that you are really me?”
The voice on the phone replied “Ok. You learned how to shoot a gun at 5, and still practice occasionally, but never plan to buy one. You secretly cloned your brother’s cat for him when it got old. You have a thing for your next door neighbour but don’t have the courage to ask….”
“Ok, ok, I believe you.”
“So what now?” asked Sarah.
“I want to get back to my lab and see if we can stick my brain back in my body before anyone catches wind of this,” said the voice on the phone.
“Your lab?”
“You know what I mean”
“I’m not sure if I can go along with it. We’d be locked up for even trying to do it,” said Stuart.
“What? Imagine if you were unlucky enough to have landed this side of the transporter and stuck in the wrong body.”
“Well…”
“You’d be happy to let yourself get stuck this way?”
Sarah added “Please, I don’t like the idea of someone else being in my body either.”
“Ok then, I’ll help. We can’t let anyone know about the mind swap. The best option I can think of is to let everyone think it’s your clone for the moment” he said to Sarah, “and sort things out when we work out how to stick you back together” he said to the phone
“Get the hub to delay creating a new identity for now” said the phone
“They are good at it these days” Stuart added for Sarah. They have a clone incident every few months. They give a nice big pay out, create all the relevant documents you need. Keeps most people happy”
“Most people aren’t stuck in the wrong body” snapped a rather irate voice over the phone.
“I’m sorry… erm… what should we call you?”
“Usually they go by the middle name of the original, which, to keep things quiet, unfortunately has to be Sarah’s,” sighed the voice. “What is it?”
“Josephine”
There was silence from the phone.
“But you can shorten it to Jo” suggested Sarah.
“I think I can cope with that. Jo it is” replied Jo.
“My dad wanted to call me Sarah-Jo, but mum wouldn’t let him.”
“Let’s go back to the conference room, tell them of our plan and arrange for transport for Jo. The VIP system is still up and running.”
“What if they don’t want to keep quiet about trying to swap you back to your old self?” Asks Sarah
“They won’t want us to tell anyone how this happened in the first place. Besides, they need us to get their system back up and running. Two heads are better than one” replies Jo.
“Yep, that’s what Barney always says,” laughed Stuart