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In the early to mid 1980s I read a short story about a ship pilot who was forced to use an emergency teleport. As I recall, the pilot did everything possible to avoid using the teleport because the teleport didn't actually teleport anything, per se. What it did was map the original body and create a new body at the teleport terminus. The result was that the original pilot doesn't actually go anywhere but, instead, died a grisly death.

The focus of the story was the psychological effect using the emergency teleport had on the pilot, both upon the original before using the teleport and upon the duplicate, knowing that he was a duplicate and that his original person never got off the ship.

Note: The fundamental plot may be identical to "The Fare," mentioned in this post. However, I distinctly remember the pilot and the psychological anguish over using the emergency teleport, so I'm 98.5% sure it's not "The Fare."

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  • This surely has to be all over early Star Trek anthologies?
    – Lexible
    Dec 24, 2023 at 3:11
  • @Lexible It wasn't in any of the novelizations of the original series. I don't remember Star Trek addressing the issue until the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode Second Chances.
    – JBH
    Dec 24, 2023 at 6:43
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    Yeah, not novelizations: there was a whole ST short story lit in the 70s and after, not just fanfic, but published stuff.
    – Lexible
    Dec 24, 2023 at 19:50

1 Answer 1

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Could this be Orion Among the Stars (1995) by Ben Bova?

TVTropes describes it thusly;

Orion Among the Stars by Ben Bova has a "transceiver" that is used to transport cargo, but not people, as everyone understands they would be killed. Even when pinned down in a firefight, the soldiers would rather keep fighting a seemingly hopeless battle rather than "transport" off the doomed ship to the planet below, since they know they'd just be dying in the transceiver instead of battle. One soldier states "I don't care if a copy of me lands on [the planet]."

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  • 3
    Unfortunately, that's too recent for my memory. And I'm sure it was a short story. I've read what I could quickly find of that title and I don't recognize any of it. However, I'm not surprised to discover the discussion about what happens to the body when using a duplicating teleporter isn't unique.
    – JBH
    Dec 22, 2023 at 23:39

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