Enterprise, what we got back didn't live long... fortunately."
In the future, no life insurance agency will ever cover Teleporter
Accidents. Why? Well to start, it may accidentally send you to Alpha Centauri instead of Mars
in a mis-jump, or if you slip you could suffer a Portal Cut
and end up cut in two, then again if it's not there you'll suffer a Portal Slam
as you hit the concrete, which is still far less painful than being teleported into solid matter
and suffering a telefrag
All of which pales
in comparison to what could happen when the teleporter itself malfunctions. If the Heisenberg compensators are misaligned
, then you could come out as an inert mass of carbo-hydrates (or a screaming
mass of carbo-hydrates), or it might hiccup and create an Evil Twin
of you. Then again, the device may work by taking a "short cut" through Hell
, so everyone who uses it will Go Mad from the Revelation
... and/or come out with an Eldritch Abomination
on their heels. The possibilities are endless, and more often than not they are irreversible.
Compare and contrast with Teleportation Sickness
, where the process is merely uncomfortable... or at least whatever effects it has, even if bad, are not caused by it malfunctioning. (And yes, there is an overlap in a minority of cases.)
Related to Came Back Wrong
if you subscribe to the theory that a teleporter kills the original and recreates a perfect quantum copy at the chosen location.
For purposes of trope differentiation, teleporter related mutations caused by beaming with or into another organic being go in Tele-Frag
. If it's because of the beaming itself, it goes here.
Not to be confused with a Porting Disaster
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Anime and Manga
- In Noein, the Dragon Knights run this risk each time they travel between dimensions. Kuina has it particularly bad, inevitably losing another chunk of himself with each transport; the only one to suffer worse is a Red Shirt who dies in the first episode when he arrives with half his body missing.
- This is referenced and mocked in the very first issue of Hiroshi: Strange Love, after the titular Mad Scientist invents a teleporter. According to his assistant, "One, you'll probably end up fusing someone with an animal, two, you'll end up trapped between spaces, or three, your mind will switch with someone else's . . ." It's number one—the assistant merges with a stray cat.
- In Gantz, sometimes it happens that the very slow teleporting process creates a clone of a person. One of the girls gets doubled this way, with the original unaware of what her clone has to suffer.
- Super Dimension Fortress Macross gets its initial plot kicked off by a major Fold accident: in desperation to escape Earth and draw the attacking Zentradi away, the Macross attempts to Fold to the dark side of the Moon. They wind up Folding to the orbit of Pluto instead, and take most of South Ataria Island, not to mention two aircraft carriers, with them. And they have to come back to Earth the long way, because the Fold engine disappeared in transit.
- In Giant Robo, this is the tragic side effect to Ginrei's teleportation power and why she will only invoke it as a last resort; every time she does it, she risks losing some bit of herself in the act. By the final episode, half her body has disappeared. Her brother also appears to have this ability; whether or not he suffers the side effects is unknown since he hasn't used it since he himself used it as a last-second escape.
- A variation occurs in Cable & Deadpool: the two characters genetic code got mixed up beforehand, leading to Cable's transporter fusing them together every time they use the wrong command.
- Deadpool actually uses the "Bodyslide by one" command again, just to piss Cable off.
- Capcom includes a Continuity Nod to this in Marvel vs. Capcom 3: If you use Deadpool's teleporter repeatedly within a short period of time, it will malfunction and explode, causing backlash damage.
- The character Misfit in Birds of Prey is regarded by Oracle as potentially one of the most powerful teleporters in the world, since she avoids so many of the problems associated with teleportation: she never transports into the same place as another object, she has no effective range limit, she heals any bodily injury during transportation and she never needs to concern herself with different environmental factors between her origin and destination). However, despite her abilities, she can not bring any living being with her when she "bounces." If she tries, they explode immediately after transport.
- Which is why she wasn't able to save her parents from dying in a fire. Or maybe she DID, but...
- MAD did a Star Trek parody during the original series run, and naturally Kirk in the transporter ends up reassembled...oddly - a hand where a foot should be, another hand sticking out of his ear... Kirk's head replaced his torso, so you basically have Kirk's lower-body/legs with his head on top with the above mentioned silliness. Both Kirk & Spock see it as a mild annoyance & Kirk states, "I have the strangest feeling that my face wants to sit down".
- Quite common in crossovers as a way of justifying how Party X gets into Alternate Dimension Y.
- The Triptych Continuum has recoil as part of the built-in danger for unicorns who can teleport: arrival points must be kept clear of anything more solid than a few blades of grass (or an exceptionally thin-shelled ball), or the arriving pony will be displaced in a random direction until they find enough space for their body to arrive. (The good news is that the random direction is never down.) But the farther they go to find that space, the faster they'll find themselves moving when they finally do appear — which can send ponies rebounding off the walls, or worse. Teleporters don't go to a site they can't see or don't have memorized unless they're desperate, and rearranging the furniture in a safe point can break bones.
- Between Minds lampshades the massive amount of examples in Half-Life seen below, and true to form has a few examples itself.
- Gordon is sent through the teleporter just fine, but moments later it mysteriously, irreparably malfunctions, giving Alyx a shock in the process.
- Chell is sucked through a strange portal at the Borealis dry dock after messing with it.
- In "Frostbite" Dalsh Ruul tries to invoke this against Captain Kanril Eleya by having his men set up transporter scramblers, but Eleya completely ignores his attempt to stall for time and beams in with an assault unit before the scramblers are online.
- Referenced in "Last Rights". Petty Officer Chan Salris of the USS Bajor wishes one on Kobali General Q'Nel for wanting to turn several fallen Bajor crew members into Kobali. (The author's been very vocal on Star Trek Online's forums about his opinion that the Kobali are Designated Heroes of the self-delusional war criminal variety.)
- Event Horizon. The teleporter sent the ship to a really unpleasant place, and from there it Came Back Wrong, while its original crew left a nightmarish ship log before disappearing.
- In the 1958 film The Fly (and its 1986 remake), a scientist successfully teleports himself over a short distance but discovers that he has been merged with an unseen housefly that entered the telepod with him. The process of dematerialization and reconstitution combined his molecular structure with that of the fly. He emerges with the head and arm of the fly, and vice-versa.
- The remake The Fly (1986) has both accidental teleporting and telefragging. The animals Dr. Brundle sends through come out "synthetic", inside out, and die in terrible pain. His own experiment with the teleporter doesn't go well either: a fly enters the chamber with him, and the two are merged together. Body Horror results. In the climax, Brundle-fly tries to become more human by repeating the experiment with himself and his pregnant girlfriend. Stannis saves her by damaging the equipment, which causes pieces of the telepod itself to be teleported and merged with Brundle-fly instead.
- In Star Trek The Motion Picture, quoted atop the page, the Enterprise's new science officer and one other crewmember are killed in a transporter accident; their bodies had begun to materialize in a disfigured manner, with the other officer shrieking in pain, before their signals were pulled back to the Starfleet Command transporter.
- In The Prestige, Nikola Tesla succeeds in creating a teleporter... sort of. What really happens is that it creates a copy at the desired location, without destroying the original.
- This could be considered a negative number of teleporter-related deaths. Except that Angier sets up all his originals to be drowned.
- In Spaceballs, President Skroob reluctantly uses a transporter even though he's scared of them. His fears are realized when he materializes and his head is facing the wrong way. He's transported back to "fix" the problem and we find out he only needed to walk to the next room, anyway.
- The Doom film has Pinky, a character who has a wheelchair for a lower body. "He went to one dimension, his ass went to another."
- Dungeons & Dragons: Wrath of the Dragon God has a mage teleporting the party in such a way her arm gets stuck in a stone wall. It had to be cut off before teleporting away. The scrying mirror she used to divine the teleport location was slightly flawed; its inventor put himself all the way into a wall.
- Looney Tunes: Back in Action has a scene where Mr. Chairman transports the main characters to his office. However, a glitch causes several of their body parts are switched around (ex. DJ has Bugs' tail, Kate has Daffy's legs, etc.). This is fixed shortly afterward.
Live Action TV
- In Dungeons & Dragons, regular teleports don't always take you to the exactly where you want to go. possibly resulting in being in hostile territory. Also if you roll "mishap" you take damage.
- The original version of the spell was worse. The less familiar you were of the area you were teleporting too, the more of a chance of a mishap. A mishap could either be an "Off Target" result (the most likely, where you'd appear on ground level, but not in the right place), a "Too High" result. (you'd appear in mid-air; just how high depended on the severity of the mishap), or "Too Low" (the least likely, in which case you'd probably be killed unless there wasn't solid space in the area below the target area where you ended up). A stronger variant of the spell called Teleport Without Error had no chance of a mishap unless you tried to teleport to another world or dimension.
- Warhammer 40,000 has a "deepstrike mishap" table, used when deepstriking (sometimes teleportation, but also includes tunnelling and being dropped from the skies). Since it's a mishap table, a lot of things go wrong. Some examples listed in the book includes units being fused to rocks (teleporting into impassable terrain). The newer edition is a bit more forgiving, but given the mechanics, it's anything but reliable.
- Warp Spiders can make a special teleportation "shunt" move during their assault phases. However things can go wrong, in which one member of the squad is dragged into the warp, never to be heard from again. This is especially scary for Autarchs, as (being a unit of one) only he can disappear, so it's recommended to keep him in a unit of warp spiders so that someone else can take the unfortunate fall.
- In BIONICLE, Makuta Icarax was killed when Makuta Gorast's Mask Power disrupted his teleportation ability, causing him to simultaneously be teleported to 1,000 different locations at once.
- Chakona Space gives us Dale Perkins: male human. The transporter on the orbiting space station is sabotaged in the middle of his transport, and his pattern is lost. Goldfur (Furry herm Chakat) thinks fast and shoves a cart filled with luggage, imported fruits and veggies, and other assorted knick-knacks onto the transporter pad to make up for the missing mass and tells the operator to simply use hir pattern, which hasn't been overwritten yet. Goldfur gains a new twin◊ and Dale survives the experience and learns to live as a Chakat.
- In Potter Puppet Pals, Ron trying to Apparate with Harry turns the two of them into basically a puppet version of The Human Centipede. An attempt to separate themselves by apparating again only results in Snape also fusing with them.
- During episode 8 of Freeman's Mind, Freeman wonders out loud after killing some headcrabs he encounters crawling around in the ceiling ducts:
Freeman: What are aliens doing up here, anyway? I guess they must have teleported in, but how do they know where to go? Oh, maybe they don't. Maybe they're teleporting into the walls. That could be why the building's falling apart. We're turning into the Swiss Cheese of the Damned!
- In The Order of the Stick a drunk wizard teleported the party into a wrong place. On the bonus side, he was so drunk that eating him knocked out that Roc.
- In Wapsi Square, Monica is capable of teleporting, but isn't particularly good at it. As a result, she tends to suffer comical but harmless mishaps such as poor arrival placement, upside down on arrival, and switching clothing with the person traveling with her.
- The first arc of the highly NSFW comic Devious Tangents had two guys (well, sort of) coming out of a transporter as one girl
- In Accidental Centaurs, a malfunctioning teleporter prototype explodes, creating a wormhole to another dimension that sucks up two of the system's designers. On the other end of the wormhole, they find that they have been transformed into centaurs.
- Red Space Blues: this unfortunate goat, even before that the teleporter had a bad habit of duplicating a person and then exploding the original.
- Played for laughs in Commander Kitty. CK's bargain bin transporter isn't guaranteed to get you to your destination in one piece.
- This is called 'dirty warping' in Our Little Adventure. Merla hastily psionically teleported herself, Lenny, and Julie away from a hostile that was about to attack them. Not only were they off the intended target area when they arrived, but they got some severe nausea and minor injuries.
- In one Venture Brothers episode where Dr. Venture ends up (harmlessly) stuck in the walls of various parts of the house for the duration of the story. To quote him "Well, wherever my lower half is, it must be outdoors. I think it's raining."
- In X-Men: Evolution, Forge tries to extend the range of Nightcrawler's teleportation, and ends up creating rifts to the hell-like dimension Nightcrawler uses to move from place to place. Needless to say, the inhabitants get out.
- ReBoot has a Shout-Out to this in one episode. Bob tries to use a makeshift transporter (itself a Shout-Out to Star Trek) to separate himself from Glitch. Bob dematerializes and then rematerializes with no change and somehow picked up a passenger along the way. Then the trope is played straight later when Bob tries to use a portal for the same purpose, only for it to explode and nearly kill him.
- Spongebob Squarepants and Squidward got fused this way (and at the end, with others as well).
- Dexter's Laboratory episode "Sole Brother" featured Dexter testing a teleporter. When he used it on himself, he ended up fused with Dee Dee's foot.
- When Candace and Perry fell into Phineas and Ferb's teleporter in "Does This Duckbill Make Me Look Fat?", they swapped bodies.
- When the boys build another teleporter in "Picture This", this one based on transporting things in pictures, several accidents occur before Phineas and Ferb get the hang of the machine; Buford winds up a human/fly hybrid before Phineas installs a "fly filter", and transporting Ferb's skateboard from England brings Grandpa Fletcher's feet along with it. (They return the feet, but now they're backwards. "Now I can finally see where I've been!")
- The Pink Panther once fused the pale guy with a flower and himself to a bee.
- An episode of Family Guy opens with a parody of The Fly where Stewie merges with Rupert while testing his teleporter. He's back to normal after the opening.
- This happens to poor Odd twice in two episodes of Code Lyoko:
- The first time, he tries to bring his dog Kiwi to Lyoko with him, but the scanner somehow merges the two of them together. Suffice to say, this caused a lot of problems.
- Even worse was the time Jeremie tried giving Odd's Lyoko form the power to teleport. When he returned to Earth, their were three of him. (And they all didn't like each other.) Jeremie was able to fix the scanner to reverse it, but first Odd had to find his other selves who had wandered off, and XANA wasn't making it easy for him, his latest attack being a smog that could turn people to stone.
- Averted in the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode Twilight's Kingdom Part 2, but it comes close. Twilight's Power Incontinence teleports her all over Equestria, and despite the distances involved, she only ends up stuck between two rocks on the last jump. (This is also the first time she uses the word "teleportation" to refer to this ability.)
- The Philadelphia Experiment was supposedly a US Navy-sponsored attempt to develop an Invisibility Cloak for a destroyer escort. The story goes that the ship successfully vanished for a period of time, then returned with some of its crewmen stuck through the bulkheads.
- This was said to be the experiment that produced the Chronosphere in Command & Conquer: Red Alert, and the reason infantry units are vaporized instead of teleported.