Author : Patricia Stewart, Staff Writer

“Uh oh, I think we ended up in a parallel universe,” said Senior Technical Specialist Jim Wright.

“What are you talking about,” replied Ensign Vince Saccomandi. “We teleported to exactly where we were supposed to, the lobby of the Administration Building for Extraterrestrial Affairs.”

“I don’t think so, Vince. Look at the contextual evidence.”

“The what?”

“Vince, didn’t you take Quantum Theory at the academy? Whenever you teleport, you temporarily phase out of our physical universe. It’s rare, but occasionally, when you phase back, you can end up in a parallel quantum universe. It’s generally obvious when it happens. Look at their uniforms. They have a different color waistband than ours. Whenever I teleport, I always verify that I maintained my quantum continuity. There are lots of clues. For example, there can be differences in hair styles, holovision shows, music. Most of the same people exist in both universes, but the historical details may have changed.”

Just then, Yeoman Jennifer Dawson passed by and smiled. “Hey, Vince, don’t forget, you need to pick me up at 1900.” She gave him a flirtive wave and continued on her way.

“Whoa,” remarked Saccomandi with a smile. “Jen talks to me in this universe. It even sounds like we have a date tonight. I think I like this universe better than ours. Maybe I’ll stay for a while.”

“I don’t think the Vincent Saccomandi in this quantum universe would appreciate that. Besides, we need to get back before our structural cohesion starts to decay.”

“Our what?”

“Damn. I thought Quantum Theory was a required course. Look, subatomic matter in our universe has a specific resonance frequency. Since the subatomic resonance frequency in this universe is different, it’s only a mater of time until we have a cascade disassociation. In other words, we’ll simply fade away into nonexistence.”

“Well, that sucks. How do we get back?”

“Generally, the technical communities in almost all quantum universes recognize that there is a possibility of teleportation cross-over. If we head over to the main teleportation station, they should have someone on staff who’ll know what to do.”

When the two men explained their situation to the Teleportation Engineer, he acted like this happened all the time. Using a Boltzmann Meter, he measured their subatomic resonance frequency and consulted his monitor. “Ah, this isn’t so bad,” he said. “There’s only a 0.023 percent frequency mismatch. Have either of you eaten anything since arriving?” They both indicated that they had not. “Good,” he continued, “because that would have complicated the reassimilation back into your universe. As it is, you’ll only need to purge our oxygen from your system when you get back. Otherwise, you’ll have metabolic problems when our oxygen eventually disassociates. Okay, if you’ll step up on the teleport platform, I’ll send you on your way.

Seconds later, the two men vanished and rematerialized in the lobby of the Administration Building for Extraterrestrial Affairs. “Well Vince,” noted Wright with relief, “it looks like we’re back home.”

“We’ll see,” replied Saccomandi as he spotted Yeoman Dawson. “Hey, Jen,” he yelled,” we still on for tonight?”

“When black holes shine,” was her curt reply.

“Yep,” said Saccomandi, “We’re back home.”


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