The Missing Element


Author : C.T. Jackman

There was no flash of light. There was no puff of smoke. Such a waste of energy would have been unacceptable during the teleportation, and so Dr. Mueller was very happy to have missed the flower and its pot disappear when he blinked.

His colleagues on the other side of the room let out a cheer. “It worked!” Dr. Hendricks exclaimed, “Come look, the scans say that the flower has been reassembled in its entirety: a full one-hundred percent!”

Mueller looked over the results himself, and then at the daffodil, which was sitting in a class case under the second teleportation module in the room.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” Mueller said to the half-dozen scientists in the room, “we are the first to have successfully teleported life.” His associates broke into applause, and many handshakes and pats on the back were exchanged.

They had spent years reworking their calculations and technology to reach that day, and many different objects had to have been disassembled on the atomic level and then rebuilt at in another point in space before they finally reached a level of one-hundred percent matter transference. At that point, Mueller declared that it was time to begin the tests on basic life-forms.

It had worked. He had just witnessed the very first subject recreated successfully, and that made him confident that when the time came for human testing, they would be no error involved.

Muller turned to Dr. Hendricks and said, “Take the plant into the lab for further analysis. Then bring in another.”

Different flowers and plants were teleported with the same results every time: one-hundred percent transference. His assistants monitored every step, and while there were still many more hours of dissecting the data, Mueller began to grow more and more confident that they had perfected the process.

Just as the final teleportation of the day was about to be performed, Mueller told his assistant, “Bring in a lab rat instead.”

Hendricks blinked at him. “Already?” she asked.

“I think we’ve waited enough, don’t you?”

Hendricks smiled and left to fetch their next subject. A few minutes later, a white rat was sitting under the first teleportation module. Mueller watched it sniff the glass as scanners traced its position, and then the computer beeped and the rat was gone.

The other side of the room was silent.

Mueller pushed through the crowd of scientists and saw the rat lying motionless in the receiving end of the teleporter. It was dead.

The computers couldn’t identify the cause of death. There was no brain activity, and its heart sat motionless between two lungs filled with air.

“I don’t understand what’s wrong. Everything was teleported successfully- a full one-hundred percent transference,” Dr. Fredrick said, analyzing several screens at once. “Everything is there.”

“Maybe its body just couldn’t handle the stress,” someone suggested.

Mueller shook his head. “We’ll find out tomorrow. Don’t forget that we’ve accomplished a miracle here today; this is only a minor setback. Everybody go home and get some rest. We’ll continue the tests after we see what the data tells us,” he said to everybody, and they filtered out of the room. After they were gone, his smile drooped.

He collected the dead rat and brought it into the lab where the plants had been taken following their teleportations. All of the flowers were tagged and sitting on a lab table, but Mueller noticed something was wrong: they had already begun to wilt.

The leaves drooped at his touch, and one petal fell off as he grazed it. “I don’t understand,” Dr. Mueller said. “Everything is there…”

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