I am looking for a science-fiction short story about a faked teleportation accident. I read this in Hungarian in the 2000s in the original Galaktika magazine. The original series ran between 1972 to 1995, but I probably read this in a volume from before 1985. The magazine ran both stories originally written in Hungarian and translations, and I guess this short story was a translation, but I'm not sure.

The story plays in a sci-fi future, probably only a few decades into the future on Earth. There are teleportation booths available, and they're reputedly very reliable. But now, a teleportation accident has teleported two people intersecting each other in space, so that a leg of the Mark crosses the leg of the Brute and they're fused together. The story starts when Mark realizes this situation.

The story has two human characters. The Mark is a rich person, probably a beautiful young female holovision actress. The Brute is a rough bodyguard type who is much heavier than the Mark, and so can physically overpower it. The Mark, stuck in a small teleportation booth with the Brute, finds herself disgusted from the rude manner of the Brute and smelly breath. Painting this uncomfortable situation is what stuck in my mind the most about this story.

After examining the situation, the Brute explains to the Mark about the fused legs, and tells that one of them has to have their leg amputated to surgically separate them. He displays some inside knowledge where they claim that teleportation accidents aren't as rare as most people believe, they're just usually hushed up, perhaps by the teleporter company. The Mark argues that she has to keep her leg, because it's important for her carreer as a famous actress. But the Brute says that the Mark and him equally have the right to keep their leg, and demands a huge sum of money as damages to compensate him. The Brute makes vulgar comments as to how he would enjoy living the rest of her life fused with the Mark if she doesn't pay. Eventually the Mark agrees to pay the damages and the cost of the operation.

The ending of the story reveals that the whole thing was a scam. There was no teleportation accident, and this sort of teleportation accident probably never happens. The Brute had lost his leg earlier, and is now using a prosthetic leg. He uses a specially modified prosthetic for this scam, with a hole cut through it and the Mark's leg fitted through the hole and glued to it. He has knocked out the Mark for a short time before the start of the story, presumably with a knockout gas, so that she doesn't remember how the accident happened. It appears that he's also planning to repeat this scam on different victims.

The last sentence describes the fake surgery, when the Brute cuts the prosthetic from the anasthesized Mark's leg. He deliberately doesn't clean it up properly, leaving glued residues on the leg, to leave fake evidence of whatever technobabble they said about fused cellular structures earlier.

Update. My previous description mentioned a third character, who'd be the Brute's partner in crime. On thinking more about this story, I think he probably doesn't exist, because I don't recall his role in the ending, and surely being stuck in the teleportation booth is so uncomfortable because it's sized like a telephone box and normally houses only one person.

  • 7
    “I teleported home one night with Ron and Sid and Meg, Ron stole Meggie’s heart away, and I got Sidney’s leg.”
    – Rand al'Thor
    Sep 18, 2019 at 9:08


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