Author : Patricia Stewart, Staff Writer

Tom Erickson smiled as he greeted his guest, “Ah, General Kelly, welcome to the Ames Advanced Research Laboratory. This is my partner, Dr. Mark Montgomery.” They all shook hands. Erickson continued, “Are you ready for the dog and pony show?”

The general grinned. “You bet, Dr. Erickson. I’m interested to see how you managed to overcome the Heisenberg uncertainty problem?”

Somewhat taken aback, Dr. Erickson asked, “Uh, you’re familiar with quantum mechanics?”

“Physics is a hobby of mine,” said the general proudly. “That’s why the President asked me to review your progress.”

“That’s great, General. Well, you certainly asked a relevant question. As it turns out, if our transporter focused on the positions and momentums of objects at the atomic or molecular level, we would never be able to make simultaneous predictions of conjugate variables. However, our technique focuses on the massless, subnuclear particles and interactions, such as gluons, neutrinos, and hyperphotons. We can quantify them without significantly affecting the fermions and isospin quantum numbers. In other words, we can accurately locate every atom in an object without changing them. This allows us to successfully dematerialize and then rematerialize the object.”

The General nodded his head. “Understood. You make it sound so simple. Have you been able to transport an animal yet?”

“Yes, General. We successfully transported mice six months ago. They were disoriented at first, but eventually they were ably to negotiate the maze as quickly as their pre-transport times. Last month, we transported a rhesus monkey. She was able to perform all her trained behaviors without any apparent loss in cognitive ability. We’re ready to try it with a human.”

“Fantastic,” announced the General. “I’ve authorized a conditional commutation for one of our death row inmates…”

“Whoa,” interrupted Erickson, “That would be unethical, General. The first human subject has to be either Dr. Montgomery or myself.” He turned toward Montgomery. “Mark, do you have a coin?”

Mark nodded and pulled a coin from his pocket and flipped it into the air and called “heads.” He caught the spinning coin in his right hand and slapped it onto his left wrist. He lifted his “cover” hand and announced, “Heads, I win.” He quickly pocketed the coin and walked over to the transport platform, and stood there with a coy smile. “Com’on, Tom, let’s make history.”

Although feeling that he had just been hoodwinked, Erickson powered up the equipment and activated the transport switch. Montgomery dematerialized, and then rematerialize on the receiver platform, still smiling. Three medical doctors rushed over and began examining him. “How many fingers am I holding up? What city are you in? What’s the cube root of 356?”

Montgomery responded with a smirk, “Three, Albuquerque, to how many decimal places?” After an hour, the doctors announced Montgomery was “perfectly normal.”

Montgomery could not contain his jubilance. He hopped off the examination table and walked over to Erickson. He extended his left hand and said “Congratulations, Tom, we did it.”

Erickson momentarily stepped back. Shocked, he looked more closely at his friend. “Mark, what side do you part your hair?”

Confused, Montgomery raised his right hand to his head, and said “What are you talking about? The left side, of course.”

Erickson closed his eyes and began to count aloud. “Let’s see. One, two, three, four, five. Damn, there are an odd number of magnetic lenses in the re-sequencing buffers. Mark, you’re inverted. Get back onto the transporter. After I re-invert you, we’ll add another lens to the sequencer. No wonder the mice kept crashing into the walls the first day.”


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