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Resurrection Teleportation

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An immortal or clone-able character uses their resurrection process to teleport

This trope has been Launched!
Proposed By:
Wulf on May 17th 2011 at 1:19:23 AM
Last Edited By:
Arivne on Jan 8th 2018 at 7:27:40 AM
Name Space: Main
Page Type: Trope

Probably Needs a Better Title.

A character can come back to life elsewhere after dying, and exploits this ability as a means of quickly getting somewhere else. They might have innate Resurrective Immortality, or be living in a sci-fi/fantasy setting where they can get transferred to a Body Backup Drive at a Respawn Point, for example via a cloning machine which then acts as an impromptu teleporter. This also tends to require that the characters' memories be retained after each death, though it could conceivably be done without that being the case.

This can be considered a particularly grisly form of Mundane Utility, and a subtype of the Thanatos Gambit. It might figure into a villain's My Death Is Just the Beginning plot.

This sort of thing tends to make death seem more like a minor inconvenience than anything. See also Respawn Point, Death Is a Slap on the Wrist. Destructive Teleportation is something of an inversion, where teleporting from place to place requires killing the original.


Examples:

Anime and Manga

  • Guyver, kinda: Sho gets set up and killed in order to sneak the Guyver inside Cronos. However it turns out he may just be a clone with Sho's memories.

Film

  • Used as a major plot point in Dogma. Because God was in a human body, she was able to be knocked into a coma. Because she was in a coma, she had to be killed to return to Heaven and come back to Earth to stop Bartleby and Loki.
  • This was a plot point in Dragonslayer. - Zero-Context Example
  • In Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, Martha sacrifices one of her lives in order to respawn away from a horde of venomous snakes she gets trapped in while traversing the final level, "The Defenders".

Literature

  • In Sergey Lukyanenko's Line of Delirium:
    • Resurrection for humans is commonplace, and the moment anyone dies, that fact instantaneously spreads through the whole universe (Our Souls Are Different) and they can be cloned again immediately in the respawn chamber. Made into a plot point many times:
    • The prime motif for the main character to work for the Corrupt Corporate Executive is that if he doesn't, he will eventually die and then resurrect in his own private chamber to be tortured to death infinite amount of times
    • At one point the party is trapped by Silicoids (it's a Master of Orion novelization) - their only way to escape is to kill themselves and respawn, except they can't do that, because the moment they try they'll be reduced to a Brain in a Jar.
    • At another point the party attempts to bypass some sector of space by coming close enough to be under jurisdiction of a respawn point on the other side and then killing themselves so that they will be transported there.
  • Philip Josť Farmer's Riverworld story "The Suicide Express" revolves around this. When someone dies on the Riverworld, they are resurrected at some point along the river. Characters who want to reach the origin point of the river will repeatedly kill themselves, knowing that they will eventually be resurrected near enough to the origin to walk to it.
  • Childe Cycle: In "Necromancer", Paul Formain gets transported to another star system, and is trapped. In order to get back, he breaks open a window, which results in his death. This causes him to reawaken in a new body back on Earth.

Live-Action TV

  • Battlestar Galactica:
  • Lexx did this with season 3's Big Bad Prince. Nobody on the planets Fire or Water died permanently - they'd just wake up again somewhere else. Prince, however, seemed to have some choice about where and when he'd be resurrected (and in what form), which he used to his advantage on a number of occasions. (Prince showed up again on Earth in season 4, but no longer appeared to have this ability).

Tabletop RPG

  • Chaosium's Nephilim. When a Nephilim's Simulacrum (human host body) dies, it can search out and occupy another human body a considerable distance away.

Video Games

  • Pretty much every Speed Run ever. The Tool Assisted Speedrun archive TAS Videos has an attribute called "Uses death to save time", used by hundreds of speedruns, which is frequently this.
  • This tactic is called "Blood-porting" by MMORPG players. For example, in City of Heroes, where low-level players don't get XP debt when defeated, they'll often allow themselves to be killed as a shortcut out of a dangerous area (like the Hollows, for instance).
  • Planescape: Torment one level is based entirely on abusing your immortality with this. You check the area, get killed, respawn at the entrance, check another area, repeat until you check everything.
  • It's implied that this is how the fast travel works in Borderlands, although that might be a chicken and egg problem (did they use teleportation technology to make New-U stations or New-U stations to make teleporters?).
  • The Coop Robots from Portal 2. When they go Off the Rails, the only way GLaDOS can get them back is to wreck their current body.
  • A fairly common tactic in EVE Online — just don't forget to update your clone first. It can be the only way out if you end up in a system in unknown space with no probes. "Jump clones" can be installed at stations with medical facilities. You can then "teleport" to that station from any other station. The location you "teleport" from is left with your old body, which becomes a new jump clone. If you try to teleport from a station that already has a jump clone, the other clone will be destroyed.
  • Simon the Sorcerer 3D has Simon escaping from a locked room by goading the Barbarian Hero who is also locked in the room into killing him, causing him to respawn on the resurrection tile outside.

Web Comics

  • Something like this happens in the webcomic Star Slip. One of the characters is a clone, who, when he is killed, gets respawned in a cloning bath on their ship (a la the re-imagined Cylons). When the entire crew gets stranded on a planet and their ship hijacked by pirates, their solution to take back the ship is for the clone to die and respawn back on the ship.

Web Video

  • In Mortal Kombat Legacy, after finding himself trapped in an insane asylum and therefore unable to get help to fight Shao Khan, Raiden hatches a plan to have Blue kill him so he can resurrect somewhere else.

Western Animation

  • South Park:
    • In one Easter episode, Jesus and Kyle are temporarily imprisoned by the Catholic Church- Jesus, who cannot self terminate, as suicide is a sin, has Kyle kill him so he can resurrect outside of the cell and free them.
    • One Coon and Friends episode involves the group (minus Coon) getting transported to an Eldritch Location with seemingly no escape. Mystieron, realizing he always wakes up in his bed after he dies, jumps into a pit of spikes to get back to South Park and find a way to free everyone else.
  • A variation occurs in Megamind. When Megamind is falling to his doom, he uses his dehydration gun to dehydrate himself. He then manages to land safely in the fountain and rehydrate himself without any harm.

Feedback: 56 replies

May 17th 2011 at 1:30:09 AM

  • Planescape Torment one level is based entirely on abusing your immortality with this. You check the area, get killed, respawn at the entrance, check another area, repeat until you check everything.

May 17th 2011 at 1:50:59 AM

The re-imagined Battlestar Galactica has this in spades with the Cylons. Those who die "download" their memories into new (but identical) bodies... provided there is a Resurrection Ship nearby to maintain the link. Cue Cylons killing each other, killing themselves, being denied death, and attempting to suicide out when, unbeknownst to them, no Resurrection Ship is nearby... simply as a convenient means of transportation and escape. Also cue main characters dying and waking up immediately in what they realize, to their horror, is a Cylon resurrection tub. And then waking up for real.

May 17th 2011 at 2:26:53 AM

See also Respawn Point.

In Sergey Lukyanenko's Line of Delirium, resurrection for humans is commonplace, and the moment anyone dies, that fact instantaneously spreads through the whole universe (Our Souls Are Different) and they can be cloned again immediately in the respawn chamber. Made into a plot point many times:

  • The prime motif for the main character to work for the Corrupt Corporate Executive is that if he doesn't, he will eventually die and then resurrect in his own private chamber to be tortured to death infinite amount of times
  • At one point the party is trapped by Silicoids (it's a Master Of Orion novelization) - their only way to escape is to kill themselves and respawn, except they can't do that, because the moment they try they'll be reduced to a Brain In A Jar.
  • At one point the party attempts to bypass some sector of space by coming close enough to be under jurisdiction of a respawn point on the other side and then killing themselves so that they will be transported there.

May 17th 2011 at 2:28:36 AM

May 17th 2011 at 3:58:33 AM

Something like this happens in the webcomic Star Slip. One of the characters is a clone, who, when he is killed, gets respawned in a cloning bath on their ship (a la the re-imagined Cylons). When the entire crew gets stranded on a planet and their ship hijacked by pirates, their solution to take back the ship is for the clone to die and respawn back on the ship.

May 17th 2011 at 3:19:53 PM

Guyver, kinda: Sho gets set up and killed in order to sneak the Guyver inside Cronos. However it turns out he may just be a clone with Sho's memories

May 17th 2011 at 8:27:36 PM

  • Lexx did this with season 3's Big Bad Prince. Nobody on the planets Fire or Water died permanently - they'd just wake up again somewhere else. Prince, however, seemed to have some choice about where and when he'd be resurrected (and in what form), which he used to his advantage on a number of occasions. (Prince showed up again on Earth in season 4, but no longer appeared to have this ability).

May 18th 2011 at 1:09:52 AM

  • A variation occurs, I believe, in Megamind. When Megamind is falling to his doom, he uses his dehydration gun to dehydrate himself. He then manages to land safely in the fountain and rehydrate himself without any harm.

May 18th 2011 at 4:57:09 AM

It's implied that this is how the fast travel works in Borderlands, although that might be a chicken and egg problem (did they use teleportation technology to make New-U stations or New-U stations to make teleporters?).

May 18th 2011 at 6:33:55 AM

Do the Coop Robots from Portal 2 count? When they go Off The Grid, the only way GLaDOS can get them back is to wreck their current body.

May 18th 2011 at 1:35:59 PM

I haven't seen the game yet, but that sounds like it counts.

May 18th 2011 at 2:44:24 PM

I've heard this tactic called "Blood-porting" by MMORPG players. Like in City Of Heroes, low-level where players don't get XP debt when defeated, they'll often allow themselves to be killed as a shortcut out of a dangerous area (like the Hollows, for instance).

May 18th 2011 at 5:32:08 PM

A fairly common tactic in Eve Online. Just don't forget to update your clone first. It can be the only way out if you end up in a system in unknown space with no probes.

May 20th 2011 at 3:54:45 AM

Tabletop RPG

  • Chaosium's Nephilim. When a Nephilim's Simulacrum (human host body) dies, it can search out and occupy another human body a considerable distance away.

May 20th 2011 at 5:30:50 AM

In System Shock, the main character can perform a DNA upload in a cloning booth. Then, if they die, they are cloned at the booth with the stats they had while they were there last, like a checkpoint.

May 20th 2011 at 9:55:21 AM

More about clones in Eve Online; "Jump clones" can be installed at stations with medical facilities. You can then "teleport" to that station from any other station. The location you "teleport" from is left with your old body, which becomes a new jump clone. If you try to teleport from a station that already has a jump clone, the other clone will be destroyed.

May 20th 2011 at 2:22:23 PM

Piccolo from ''Dragonball Z' was killed on Earth, but was needed on Namek, so they had him resurrected there.

May 20th 2011 at 2:39:36 PM

Isn't it a 'quantum entanglement booth' in System Shock - it's explained as being something closer to teliporting, though that isn't what 'quantum entanglement' really means.

May 20th 2011 at 2:46:31 PM

In SS 2 it's called a ""Quantum Bio-Reconstruction Machine." So more of a clone box, not a teleporter.

May 20th 2011 at 3:12:43 PM

The Voice in the Cupboard does explain it in terms that make you think teliporter though. Reconstruction isn't specific to cloning.

May 20th 2011 at 5:16:28 PM

Shodan/Polito says that it will "rebuild your body from scratch." Which to me sounds like starting over from your DNA sample alone, or in other words, creating a clone.

May 20th 2011 at 5:18:49 PM

Although, technically, most theories today about how Star Trek-style teleportation would work are along these same lines. A person's information is beamed to the destination point, a duplicate (clone) is constructed and then the original is vaporized.

May 20th 2011 at 5:38:49 PM

Childe Cycle: In Necromancer, Paul Formain gets transported to another star system, and is trapped. In order to get back, he breaks open a window, which results in his death. This causes him to reawaken in a new body back on Earth.

May 24th 2011 at 4:57:21 PM

^^That comes up in the Expanded Universe novel Federation. Zephram Cochraine is introduced to the concept of transporters, and he feels sad because they basically kill themselves with the transporters. He's assured that no, the actual particles that make up the being in question are sent through space at much faster than light speeds and reassembled.

May 24th 2011 at 8:10:04 PM

Elaborating on storyyeller's comment:

May 24th 2011 at 9:20:48 PM

This is a plot point in Kraken by China Mieville.

May 25th 2011 at 4:38:12 AM

Technically, Sharon Agathon pulled this in Battlestar Galactica when she had Helo kill her so she would download into a new body on the Cylon ship, where she could rescue her daughter. And yes, it was as awesome and heart-wrenching as it sounds.

May 26th 2011 at 3:25:34 AM

Launching as Resurrection As Teleportation Friday or Saturday unless a better name comes along before then.

May 26th 2011 at 3:29:00 AM

^^ Good call, an example of using the Cylon resurrection specifically for the purposes of teleportation.

May 26th 2011 at 4:05:31 AM

i would use "Suicide Express" as name, using river world as the namer

May 26th 2011 at 6:18:46 PM

In THUNDER Agents Noman is a human brain in an android body, and there are multiple bodies available should the particular body he's "in" at the time gets "killed." Note though that he has to transfer his thought-being into another body before the one he's in completely dies, or else he'll die as well.

May 27th 2011 at 7:43:43 AM

^ I don't think Noman counts as an example of this -- he can transfer into a new body any time he likes, he doesn't have to die first. (On the contrary, in fact, if it were ever to happen that the body he was currently in died while he was in it, he'd be dead, and he wouldn't wake up in one of his other bodies.)

Feb 27th 2012 at 11:02:00 AM

  • A stock trick for speedruns.

Feb 27th 2012 at 12:29:19 PM

I think there was a South Park episode where Kenny killed himself to respawn on his bed.

Mar 29th 2013 at 6:08:11 PM

  • Simon The Sorcerer 3D has Simon escaping from a locked room by goading the Barbarian Hero who is also locked in the room into killing him, causing him to respawn on the resurrection tile outside.

Mar 29th 2013 at 7:32:54 PM

The case where the story's teleportation technology just works by creating a duplicate and disintegrating the first is Twinmaker. The Star Trek fanon and Kraken examples, and maybe the System Shock one, are that trope.

Mar 28th 2015 at 9:40:52 PM

  • In The Zombie Knight, if no faster alternative is available (and Naked On Arrival is acceptable), a servant can commit suicide and have their reaper respawn them at the destination, taking advantage of the reaper's natural 100+ mph travel speed.

Mar 30th 2015 at 2:07:35 PM

In the Groundhog Day Loop in Groundhog Day Phil kills himself at least once, but still wakes up at 6:00 am in his bed at the bed-and-breakfast restarting the loop.

Mar 30th 2015 at 2:37:27 PM

  • On Forever Henry escaped the original Bedlam House by committing suicide and then resurrecting in a nearby river.

May 4th 2015 at 2:51:33 PM

  • Verge Is all about dying and coming back to life for the purpose of moving around the levels.

May 4th 2015 at 4:26:30 PM

Re: The Sharon Agethon example from Battlestar Galactica, there's no "technically" about it. That's exactly what she did. Including that word makes it sound like you're trying to shoehorn an example in even though it's perfectly legit.

Jan 6th 2018 at 3:10:16 AM

Bump.

To be frank, while the description could use a little work, I think this trope is already quite launch-worthy. Any disagreements?

Jan 6th 2018 at 9:20:46 AM

Dawn Of War: In Retribution, this is how the Swarmlord travels from planet to planet- by reabsorbing his conscience into the Hive Mind along with its body, the Tyranids can simply produce a clone with the previous Swarmlord's characteristics and upload its mind and memories on the next planet instead of spending resources sending the body at sub-light speeds to its destination.

Jan 6th 2018 at 9:28:36 AM

Tabletop Games

  • In Eclipse Phase characters with an Emergency Farcaster implant can attempt this, assuming there's a receiver prepared to resleeve them in the same solar system. One gatecrashing team detected a farcaster signal from another system that had degraded into noise.
  • In Hc Svnt Dracones Cogsune have quantum backup systems that download them into a new body shortly after their death, they also casually use this process for travel.

Jan 6th 2018 at 1:11:08 PM

For the Guyver example, was that deliberate or an Unintentional Backup Plan? I thought Sho's enemies killed him by ripping out his armor's Control Metal so that it ate him alive, then the Control Metal recreated him inside the enemy base and he woke up with no idea what was going on.

IIRC one of the live-action movies had a Zoanoid actually eat the Control Metal, only to explode when the Guyver regenerated inside him.

Jan 6th 2018 at 1:19:43 PM

  • Quantum Vibe does it with Android bodies. How. For context, Humans who are old or damage their bodies in fatal ways download their human personalities & brain engrams into androids and make frequent backups. Any future androids do the same. They wake up back at the facility they designated as the place their new body fabricates. That can be a planet or any ship that holds the backups and fabricating technology.

Jan 6th 2018 at 2:04:26 PM

Shadow Of War features this at the conclusion of the intro Arc: Talion is defeated by the Witch King and about to be corrupted when Eltariel intervenes. Knowing that she cannot defeat the Witch King, unwilling to leave Talion to be corrupted, and knowing she cannot make her escape while carrying him, she instead kills him and makes her escape, knowing that Talion's Resurrective Immortality will transfer him to an elven burrow. By the time Talion is resurrected in the said burrow, she'sitting nearby, nonchalantly asking him what it feels like to die and be resurrected.

Jan 6th 2018 at 2:48:59 PM

I've written a new (hopefully better) description, which is more to-the-point and focused.

Jan 6th 2018 at 3:34:17 PM

Added an example:

  • In Jumanji Welcome To The Jungle, Martha sacrifices one of her lives in order to respawn away from a horde of venomous snakes she gets trapped in while traversing the final level, "The Defenders".

Jan 6th 2018 at 5:28:22 PM

@Skylite: The current description specifies that the character retains their memories. In Quantum Vibe they don't remember anything after their last backup.

Jan 6th 2018 at 8:28:37 PM

Added more context to the second South Park example. I also might've spelled Mystieron wrong.

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