“It’s a wide world out there, and we’re all stuck here,” said the promoter. “But what if we could change that? What if we could experience far-away things, simply and cheaply?”
She paused, letting the audience’s expectation build.
At the height of anticipation, she spoke again. “What if we could teleport?” she asked as pulled back a large curtain to reveal a polished-metal tube. “My handsome assistant will demonstrate,” she said, welcoming the man to the stage.
The assistant waved his hand over a sensor and the tube split open. He climbed inside while the promoter closed the hatch behind him.
A screen slid down from the ceiling, then lit up with a camera feed. In the center of the shot was a tube identical to the demonstration model. “Live, from Hong Kong,” the promoter explained. “No tricks, just the technology at work.”
The audience watched in awe as the assistant got out of the tube on the screen. He smiled at the camera, then picked it up and panned it toward the window. The audience gasped and applauded. It worked.
The promoter knocked on the tube beside her. The door opened up, and the same man stepped out. The audience was perplexed. Now there were two? The promoter began to explain. “Our technology allows you to be in two, or three, or a hundred, places at once. You’ll never have to wonder what’s going on out there in the world again. Every duplicate passes their memories back to the original.”
A hand rose in the audience. The promoter jumped at the chance to connect.
“Yes?” she asked with a smile.
The woman from the audience had to shout to be heard above the excitement in the hall. “Is the process dangerous? What would happen if the doubles decided they wanted to—,” she hesitated, searching for the right phrase. “Come home?” she finished.
The promoter laughed. “Not a problem. Our system has built in fail-safes. Each duplicate can only operate within a limited range of the transporter that it came out of. We’ve made sure to space them far enough apart from one another that no duplicates will ever come into contact with an original, or another duplicate.”
“Now, let me show you some of the other amazing features of the technology,” the promoter said, bringing her presentation back on track.
“I have another question,” said another voice from the back. “Are you absolutely sure about your answer?”
The promoter’s face went white. She dropped her microphone and took a panicked step back.
Her duplicate was standing in the doorway.