Searing, visceral, unendurable pain.  Terrifying pain, and then an end to endurance…

I die.  And yet I am still here.

What is “here”?

Think.  What came before the pain?  I was testing the new Transporter…

Oh my god, the Transporter must have malfunctioned!  But none of the birds and dogs showed the slightest discomfort after Transporting.  It was harmless…

Birdsong?  Barking?  Where are the sounds coming from?  Where am I?  Why can’t I see anything?  Why can’t I feel anything?  Wait.  A tingling in my fingertips.  Yes!  Now I can sense the weight of my arms, my legs… and a faint shading to the grayness, some parts darker and some lighter.

Color!  Suddenly I can see!  It’s a sunset!  No, a sunrise over a tropical sea.  No, it’s a forest, an endless sea of Autumn leaves.  No, a lush jungle full of orchids and…  Stop!  Close my eyes…

I have no eyes to close.  I can feel my body, but when I raise my hand before my face, I see nothing.  Is this all my imagination then?  With what am I imagining?

* * *


Bloodcurdling, terrified, agonized screams.  Familiar screams.

Silence.  No, a whimpering whisper: “Oh my god, the Transporter must have malfunctioned!”

I once underwent a medical procedure for which I was given some sort of drug that would, in the doctor’s words, “…keep me awake while ensuring that I would not remember the procedure.”  For some reason this made me very apprehensive prior to the procedure, although, sure enough, I can remember nothing unpleasant now.  Ever since then I have wondered how the Star Trek writers know that Transporters have no ill effects on the Transported.  Sure, the guy that pops out the other side feels fine, but wasn’t the original just taken apart cell by molecule by atom by quark?  And what if there really is a soul that survives our death?  Wouldn’t this cause what Obi Wan Kenobe would call (sorry for the mixed metaphors) “a great disturbance in the Force”?

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