McCoy, Kirk and Spock are all about to die as their bodies are de-atomized over a period of several agonizing seconds.
Everyone in the original Star Trek was quite condescending to Bones whenever he got fretful about using the transporter.
Yet Dr. McCoy had solid, philosophical reasons for being freaked out by the device. Basically, the transporter disassembles all your molecules, and then reassembles them somewhere else. (Assuming something doesn’t go horribly wrong in the process, as it did in pretty much every other episode.)
It’s an existentialist nightmare.
So that means when you voluntarily use the transporter, you’re opting for death via de-atomization over a period of several agonizing seconds. Sure, a copy of you will go on, but who knows, maybe it will be the evil copy of you, or perhaps the machine will screw up, and you’ll end up with Mr. Spock’s wang protruding from your forehead. In either case, it doesn’t really matter, because the you that you are at this moment (which granted, is also an illusion of sorts, but that’s a subject for another time) is going to die. And presumably it hurts a bit to be de-atomized. Did anyone else ever think it took quite a long time for them to stop “sparkling”? It’s seconds at least. Now imagine what that feels like, having your atoms ripped apart over a period of several seconds. Having trouble? Pluck out a few nose hairs. Now imagine that in every molecule of your body for several seconds.
His crewmates should have cut Bones a little slack; let him take the shuttlecraft if he wanted. Besides, when you’re fighting Tiranglian Lizard people, or reprogramming a rogue computer, the doctor’s only going to be helpful in stitching you up afterwards. (Or whatever “non-barbaric” technology” Dr. McCoy used.)
If anything, McCoy was pretty stoic about the whole thing. If it had been me, there’s no way you’re getting me onto the transporter pad:
“Mr. Rayner, you’re going down to the surface with the rest of the landing party, where we’re all going to die. Well, you’re going to die. Bones and Spock and I will be fine.”
“We all die every time we use the transporter!” Ensign Rayner cries.
“Don’t make me beat you.”
“Frankly …” Mr. Rayner lifts shoulders. “I’d prefer that…” Mr. Rayner raises hands. “Jim.” Mr. Rayner thrusts hands forward.
Then Kirk decks him (ripping his shirt in the process).
Green-skinned dancing girls appear on the transporter pad and begin doing the Hippy Shake, while Spock raises an eyebrow.
Now, what other science fiction inventions would suck? High on my list would be the notion that “food in pill form” is a good idea. I definitely think that would be awful, though obviously not as much as soylent green. Also, artificial intelligence seems like a bad idea too. Am I missing any?
Alltop is also not a whiny bitch. Originally published May, 2009.
This appears in my collection of shorts, Pirate Therapy and Other Cures.