"Shit, shit, SHIT!" Exclaims the tech at the receiver.
The klaxons start ringing out and after a second there is a flash on the dais in the middle of the receiving bay. Now a confused young man is laying there screaming where there was until recently, nothing.
"Who authorized this kind of transference?" I ask my tech, feeling both bewildered and impressed.
The quantum computers are good, but they can't be that good. Even with proper calibration they shouldn't be able to differentiate between organic and non-organic materials. Even the new pseudo organic BT9s and their successor chips aren't 100% during a transfer and those are allegedly crucial for an uninterrupted stream of consciousness.
Now I've got a subject flailing around and screaming. Poor kid may never be normal again.
"Um..." The tech stammers. "I don't think this was authorized. I don't see any scheduled transfers on the log for today."
The screaming intensifies.
"Will someone please shut him up?" I yell to the guards and menials milling around outside the receiver, waiting for instructions.
I turned from the frenetic scene unfolding and look my tech in the eye. "If we have no scheduled transfers then how did our distressed little friend end up here on my receiver?"
The screaming now becomes a whimper as the young man behind the glass whirls around breathing heavily with a terrified look on his face. The guards approach him weapons drawn and order him to face away with his hands in the air. The man complies, wincing and whimpering with every movement. He then lets out a pained bellow as soon as the guards grab his arms to cuff him.
I've read the theoretical abstracts from the early days of the program. I've seen the videos of test animals fused with their collars. I've heard the screams of rhesus monkeys desperately tearing at their diapers, unable to take them off. I understand what he must be going through more than most. I feel sorry for this young man, I really do. It's an unfortunate circumstance but he did arrive, unscheduled and screaming, which is going to be a problem. A problem and far too much paperwork.
"Trace the source of that transfer!" I command the tech. "I need to get this reported to the DOE as soon as possible."
I'm secretly impressed though. We successfully transferred a full live human body. The real question is to see if we also transferred his consciousness. I lean out of the observation room yelling to the guards. "Bring him to the closest containment room, I'd like to ask him a few questions."
Now that I observe the man behind the one way mirror, I can safely assume he's in his early twenties and relatively normal, physically speaking. He's wearing jeans, a white tee with a flannel pattern long sleeved shirt over it. He looks incredible uncomfortable. I suspect it's because he found himself in a highly secured area with armed guards yelling at him. That and a transfer that wasn't... perfect.
"What's your name?" I ask as I walk into the containment room.
He's sitting on a metal chair with his hands cuffed behind his back. He looks up with wide teary eyes and says nothing.
"OK, we can get to that later." I continue. "Due to various security reasons, I cannot disclose my name. I'm sure you'll understand. Let's start with something else. What's the last thing you remember?"
"Why does my... my... my shirt hurt?" He whimpers confusedly. "It itches and burns so much."
That's good, I think to myself. That's damn good. The young man seems to have an understanding of language, physical pain and the ability to coherently convey those feelings. We're making much better progress than is currently projected.
I press again. "What's the last thing you remember?"
"I... I was wandering through the Stata building after hours on a scavenger hunt, ya know? Taking photos of cool tech to make a collage for a club challenge. I..." He hesitates. "I broke in after hours and stumbled into this wicked awesome looking room.
He paused to catch his breath and scratch his left arm against the back of the chair. The action makes him wince in pain.
"Fuck that hurts!" He continues, talking through clenched teeth. "Stumbled probably isn't the right word, more like trespass into the coolest looking room I could find. Breaking and entering really. I remember turning on the lights, bumping my head and then actually stumbling around. I think I bumped into a whole bank of buttons or levers or something. I finally fell on a cold hard thing while an intense whirring sound built up. I remember an extremely bright flash, my stomach lurching and then that guy pointing a gun at me."
He nodded his head at the guard in the back of the room. This causes him to curse and flinch again. Just then my tech burst into the room with an urgent look on his face.
"Ma'am!" He says. "We traced the source of the transfer."
"MIT?" I reply.
"Y... yes." He stutters. "How did..."
I cut him off. "Our little friend here gave up the goose. Inform the DOE of the transfer and its contents. It seems a congratulations is in order for the professors in Boston. That and perhaps a few project terminations."
I turn to the young man. "We'll get someone from the medical team here as soon as possible. You're just going to have to sit tight... what was your name?"
"Mason." He responds.
"Mason." I continue. "Sit tight and try not to squirm. I understand that forced molecular integration between your skin and clothing is excruciatingly painful."
I turn to the guard. "Try and make him as comfortable as possible."
I address my tech again. "We need to lock this site down until the director is informed and the launch point is secured. It's going to be a long, long night. I'll be in my office drafting up the report if you need me."
I wonder if Mason will miss the old "him." After all these transference events leave no clones.
As I walk to my office I absent-mindedly scratch my right forearm under my jacket. I keep forgetting how seamless it is between my skin and the silk. I never forgot how much it hurt. Even after all these years.