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Teleporter Accident

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"Enterprise, what we got back didn't live long... fortunately."
Transporter chief, Star Trek: The Motion Picture

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 getting telefragged.

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 carbohydrates (or a screaming mass of carbohydrates), 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.

Alternatively, the trope can be Played for Laughs with silly (but harmless and easily reversed once it's no longer funny) effects such as coming out shrunken, expanded or with body parts exchanged with someone else who teleported along with you.

A Sub-Trope of Teleportation with Drawbacks, due to this being a drawback on "safety". 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. Also compare with Destructive Teleportation, which is 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.


    open/close all folders 

  • An advertisement spoofing The Fly (1958) had the Damsel in Distress (after shrieking in terror over the human-fly reveal) realising she can invent the world's first integrated stereo system this way.
  • An old 1980s bumper for The Disney Channel, which serves as a spoof of The Fly, involves Mickey Mouse testing a teleportation machine with Mousekteer hats, one of which gets crossed with a bee to form the Disney Channel logo in use at the time.
  • This ad for a British power company spoofing Star Trek: The Original Series has Captain Kirk swapping heads with a woman after they beam up, because Scotty didn't have enough power.

    Anime & 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.
  • The classic Astro Boy story The Transparent Giant features a Teleporter Make It Look Like an Accident. A scientist who's in debt to the mob is apparently killed when the gangsters sabotage the teleporter he's working on during a test. As it turns out he's able to partially manifest in a ghostly form, haphazardly mixed with a robot and several animals he'd also been experimenting on, for brief periods through the broadcast signals for the holographic 3D TV sets that have recently become available to the public. Tezuka was inspired to write the story after reading the original short story of The Fly.

    Audio Play 
  • In the Big Finish Doctor Who audio "The War Valeyard", the Valeyard- the Doctor's dark future self- was recreated when the Doctor went through a teleporter while holding a genetic resequencing device, which allowed a new version of the Valeyard to manifest after the Doctor left, although the Time Lords note that the 'new' Valeyard was still unstable enough to require them to do some work to stabilise his condition.

    Comic Books 
  • 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".
  • One Bronze Age Justice League of America story involved Hawkman and the Flash both getting accidentally composited with an alien creature that had wandered into the transporter with them. They all get sorted out by story's end.
  • One of the main plot arcs in 52 involves Adam Strange, Starfire, and Animal Man all getting stranded in space when one of Adam's Zeta Beams malfunctions. Several other characters were deformed or maimed in the accident.
  • Robin: The wannabe hero turned villain Dodge gained teleportation abilities when the prototype teleportation belt he stole from Star Labs malfunctioned and started fusing with him. He's shortly thereafter killed by disintegration in another teleportation accident when he tries to teleport someone who is using a teleportation device, the other person is knocked into a permanent coma.

    Comic Strips 
  • Three Boys' Life comics, Webelos Woody, Dink and Duff, and The Wacky Adventures of Pedro, cross over after Woody constructs a "matter transporter", which teleports all the series' main characters (except Dink) into and out of each others' stories. When Woody tries to wrap up the crossover by teleporting everyone back into their own comics, Woody's, Jake's, Duff's, and Pedro's heads end up on each other's bodies, with only Jake and Dink noticing.

    Fan Works 
  • 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.)
  • In Sword Art Online Abridged, among the invoked many issues the titular game suffers from are its Teleport Crystals, items that simply don't work half the time, or worse, leave their users stretched out and tangled like a plate of spaghetti, or a pair of floating eyeballs over a set of teeth. Unless that was both the same player.
  • The Star Trek: Deep Space Nine fic "Palinopsia" features a uniquely positive accident when a power surge caused by a plasma storm essentially "overloads" a rarely-used transporter on the station that causes it to rematerialise the last pattern to go through it, resulting in Jadzia Dax being essentially brought back to life over a year since her demise.
  • Harry Potter story Make a Wish has this happen repeatedly to the Death Eaters. It's a combination of genuine accident and getting on the Portkey maker's bad side; Harry himself, as Mr. Black, is only involved by being in the general area of the accident.
  • Khaos Omega: The titular character uses this in an interesting way as his self-based OC Jet has only ever gotten Chaos Control to work properly once, and only because he couldn't use his preferred Instant Transmission. He was called in to neutralize a rare side effect to a newly-obtained Raging Soul upgrade by Anise, who got said upgrade on ascending to a power Jet couldn't lock onto; Anise didn't learn until the following day, after further upgrading her new powers, that her notorious bad luck forced her into her first pregnancy a year earlier than she was planning.
    • One incident that often gets mentioned is one time he got particularly lucky with it; Bowser, flying at high speed off the secondary impact of a newly-transformed Rochelle's new element-fusing Nova Rush, hit Jet with his front side and not the spiky back of his shell. Jet was not yet immortal at this time, as he had yet to meet Anise even though this incident is when Rochelle fixed her growth-stunting issue via the transformation she had just unlocked.
  • Two assassins hired by a renegade Goblin to kill their leader in The Awakening of a Magus are given deliberately faulty escape Portkeys. When they are captured, the effects are demonstrated upon furniture and are not pretty.
  • In Chapter 4 of OSMU: Fanfiction Friction, Oscar tells Oswald that Odd Squad was originally planning on building and refining teleporters for assorted use, but when agents kept on coming back with things (presumably body parts) in the wrong order, they abandoned the concept.
  • The Maretian starts with an accident where the Sparkle Drive teleports sideways to evade a micrometeoroid... a little too sideways.
  • The Palaververse: Second Sun: Twilight's teleporting calculations end with a mention of how she wants the targets to make it to their destination intact. Implying that that part can be excluded and would therefore cause an accident.

    Films — Animation 
  • A driving plot point in Big Hero 6. Long before the events in the film, Krei's company developed a teleporter machine inside a laboratory on an island near San Fransokyo and put on a demonstration with a military captain, with Professor Callaghan's daughter as the test pilot. Despite the device being slightly unstable, Krei continued with the experiment, until a malfunction caused one of the teleporter portals to be destroyed after the pilot went in through the other portal, trapping her inside the portal dimension, forcing Krei to stop the demonstration and causing the laboratory to be shut down by the government. Callaghan, furious at Krei for supposedly killing his daughter, sought revenge against him and is later revealed to be Yokai, whose ultimate goal was to destroy the Krei Tech Industries building by sending each and every piece of it (along with Krei) through a newly constructed portal.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 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 the more obscure short story it was based on, the scientist André Delambre 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 1986 remake The Fly by David Cronenberg has both accidental teleporting and telefragging. The animals that Seth Brundle sends through his teleporter initially come out "synthetic", inside out, and die in terrible pain before he figures out the mystery of "the flesh", as he calls it, and properly programs the computer that controls the machine. Once he is able to safely teleport living things, his drunken decision to become Professor Guinea Pig doesn't go well either: he doesn't notice a fly enter the chamber with him, and the two are merged together on the molecular-genetic level because the computer is confused. Body Horror results. In the climax, "Brundlefly" tries to become more human by repeating the experiment with himself and his pregnant girlfriend. Stathis saves her by damaging the equipment, which causes pieces of the telepod itself to be teleported and merged with Brundlefly instead, whereupon he convinces his lover to Mercy Kill him.
  • 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. Bizarrely, McCoy's famous distaste for the transporter is then played for laughs mere minutes later, though hours have passed within the film, by which time the faulty module that caused the accident had been replaced, and others had already beamed up successfully. In the novelization, the other unfortunate was Kirk's ex-wife (not Carol Marcus, though).
  • Parodied in Galaxy Quest. The Thermians based their Teleportation technology off of the old Galaxy Quest show, and as such it could only successfully teleport humans. When Fred tests the teleporter on a pig-lizard creature, they learn exactly how incompatible the teleporter is with non-human anatomy:
    Jason: Did I just hear that the animal turned inside out, and then it EXPLODED?
  • 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 has to be cut off before teleporting away. The scrying mirror she used to divine the teleport location is 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 to be switched around (ex. DJ has Bugs' tail, Kate has Daffy's legs, etc.). This is fixed shortly afterward.
  • Fantastic Four (2015) has Reed Richards' teleporter being the source of the team's powers — just before Reed, Ben and Johnny are teleported back to earth from Planet Zero, rocks get in Ben's pod, fire gets in Johnny's pod, and when it is teleported back, Sue gets caught in the blast radius.
  • The odd, murderous creatures that the would-be documentary makers in Devil's Pass encounter are results of being warped by teleportation. To be more specific, the creatures are the two final cast members who took a blind jump into a teleporter, and were send into the past.
  • Anti Matter: A woman named Ana begins to have difficulty forming new memories, no longer feels hunger, and has other bizarre symptoms after a teleportation experiment. Her research partners who were working on the teleportation machine with her seem strangely unconcerned when her room is broken into by a person wearing a chimpanzee mask who steals her work, and they later seem to be Gaslighting her. She becomes convinced that she lost her soul when she was teleported. It turns out she was accidentally duplicated during a teleportation test, and we have been seeing things from the point of view of the duplicate. She cannot form new memories and feels no hunger because she isn't a real person, she is just an echo of the real Ana made of light. The real Ana and her partners were hiding this from her because she kept forgetting she was a duplicate and getting distressed by the revelation.
  • Beauty and the Beast (1946) has an example that is unusual for being minor and harmless but not Played for Laughs. The first time Belle teleports using the Beast's glove, she arrives with her back stuck to a wall and her feet about eighteen inches above the ground. The wall releases her unharmed, but the next time she tries to teleport, she lies down first.

  • The Star Challenge books have this as one possible outcome of warping — how is named their teleport. The nasty effects range from being sent elsewhere in space and/or time, usually to bad places, to funny stuff such as being ripped apart, becoming a sprinkling of atoms across the entire galaxy.

  • A couple of relatively mild ones happen in Artemis Fowl: The Lost Colony in the time-tunnel. Artemis and Holly each wind up with one of the other one's eyes, and No1 loses a couple megabytes' worth of memories.
  • Lampshaded, but not used, in The Restaurant at the End of the Universe: there's an anti-teleporter Protest Song that goes:
    I teleported home one night,
    With Ron and Sid and Meg.
    Ron stole Meggie's heart away,
    And I got Sidney's leg.
  • Arthur C. Clarke's short story Travel by Wire wryly outlines some of the problems inherent in teleportation, with the system's designer admitting that he'd far rather travel by rocket.
  • The Fly: Scientist André Delambre accidently merges with a housefly after using himself as a Professor Guinea Pig on his teleporter. Later in the short story, in a scene that's Adapted Out of its more famous movie adaptations, Delambre goes back through the teleporter to try and undo the accident, only to end up further fused with his pet cat that he had sent through earlier who never appeared at the other end.
  • In Interesting Times, Ponder Stibbons does go into excruciating detail about the risks of it happening (e.g. ending up inside a mountain, that kind of thing). The calculations come off much better than that, but Instead of just swapping Rincewind and the "Barking Dog" again, they accidentally send Rincewind to XXXX. The kangaroo he replaces is teleported to the university and ends up laminated against a wall. Ponder figures out a Technobabble explanation for this.
  • While scrambling into action at the climax of the second Time Wars novel, several people are teleported to exactly the same time and place. The resulting monstrosity is reported to be mercifully short-lived.
  • Played straight, and averted in a Ciaphas Cain novel. A squad of World Eater Berserker Marines are teleported in front of Cain and co. These Berserkers are fine and butcher their way through hordes of Slaaneshi cultists. However, the foot notes mention that teleporting is inaccurate, especially when done through a planet (as was the case here). It's likely that there are dozens of World Eaters entombed in solid rock from near misses, unless the cultists' Summoning Ritual helped.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Apparating (a witch or wizard's ability to teleport from one place to another anywhere, anytime) is far from safe. It actually requires a license from the Ministry and weeks of painstaking (sometimes literally) training to perform legally. If one apparates without their fullest concentration, splinching occurs. Splinching is when the person teleports, but they leave a little bit of themselves behind. Sometimes it's something tiny, like an eyebrow. Other times, it's something big like a freaking leg!! It's extremely painful all of the time. However, the Accidental Magic Reversal Squad can easily fix most splinchings - unless you're currently on the run from the Big Bad.
    • The Floo network requires stating your destination while stepping into a fireplace. If you don't pronounce your destination clearly, like Harry did the first time, you'll end up somewhere else (Harry thankfully ended up not too far away in nearby Knockturn Alley).
    • Travelling by Portkey doesn't seem to have any risks (apart from trusting that the person that set it up set a destination you WANT to go to), but is still unpleasant.
  • In book 2 of Jade Blonde, the heroine and her friend travel by satellite like TV signals would, Split into a thousand pieces and put back together at their destination. While they knew it was experimental they did not expect to switch voices and right arms.
  • Several examples in the Star Trek Novel 'Verse:
    • In Star Trek: Genesis Force, the Aluwnans manage to save 10% of their population from the deadly Genesis Wave by storing them as transporter patterns in a series of satellites. When it comes to rematerializing them, the process is delayed when one individual comes out as a bloody heap of flesh - contaminants in the system were responsible.
    • In another Star Trek novel, a Betazoid scientist loses his wife during a routine transport to another transporter station on Betazed due to an unpredictable solar flare that scrambles the beam.
    • In the novel Death Count, this is deliberately caused by activating the transporter while the Enterprise's shields were up. The transporter beam was bounced off the shields back into the transporter room and whatever was in the beam (in this case a security guard and a Federation auditor) were rematerialized as a pile of scrambled flesh, bone and blood. The perpetrator was able to pull it off by getting the transporter chief (who would have prevented the accident from occurring) out of the room for a few moments.
    • In the book Section 31: Cloak, a Starfleet captain materializes and promptly falls over dead. The investigation reveals the transporter suffered an irregularity that caused the captain to suffer "cellular shock" from the transit. Scotty admits that it's possible to intentionally cause such a malfunction, but it's just as likely it was the result of a poorly-maintained system being overworked and he can't prove which it was.
    • Star Trek: The Lost Era: In The Buried Age, a research team led by Picard and then-lieutenant Janeway try to recover some beings from an ancient stasis device. It goes incredibly wrong, scattering their particles through everything nearby, which includes two spaceships in orbit. It frags the base they found it in, and Picard is quite horrified to think this means he's now got bits of dead people in him.
  • An old sci-fi story dealt with aliens coming to Earth and offering to share their technology with humanity, including teleportation. Unfortunately, the alien civilization is stagnant, and has been for centuries ever since the discovery of the teleporter, as the alien interacting with humans and studying their 'quaint' beliefs in souls and psionics learns that souls do exist and anyone who's been run through a teleporter loses his soul and all that's left is a soulless shell. Without souls all development and creativity had stopped for them and to save humanity from that (apparently he was unwilling or didn't believe his people would believe the truth) the alien destroys his ship and all records in their database referencing Earth. It ends with a reporter detailing the story and sadly thinking how he'll never again create anything new, as he was part of the group of humans run through the teleporters to show that they were safe.
  • Raymond E. Bank's "Rabbits to the Moon" involves an elderly owner of a business needing to get to the Moon for an important meeting where he was going to be removed from his position due to his absence. He uses a teleportation technology to make it which transports only soft tissue, as evidenced by the rabbit. Bizarrely enough, both he and the rabbit have absolutely no problem or pain just oozing around afterwards...
  • A short story by Stephen King called "The Jaunt" describes a method of teleportation in which those who use it must be sedated. Although the reason why is alluded to early on, it becomes horribly apparent to the reader when the narrator's son avoids taking the sedative; it turns out that going through the Jaunt while conscious causes the mind to experience a millennia-long span of time in a few seconds. Needless to say, this is a bad thing.
  • Secret City has this weaponized: a mage powerful and/or skilled enough can crush another mage's portal mid-teleport, grinding anything passing through to Pink Mist at best.
  • "Counter Foil" by George O. Smith is a short story where the ubiquitous teleporter system breaks down. People go in, but suddenly people stop coming out.
  • Done intentionally by Picard in Star Trek: Federation to get rid of the Big Bad (at this point little more than a computer entity) for good. He orders the transporter set to "maximum dispersion, maximum range" and beams the computer carrying him off the ship.
  • In the Perry Rhodan Series, this is what happened to one of the main characters, Alaska Saedelare. The accident merged him with an alien, disfiguring his face in such a way that everyone who saw the horrible squirming thing he now had for a face went mad immediately and died shortly after.
  • Iain M. Banks's "The Culture" universe features short-range teleport devices known as "Displacers". Except in dire emergency, they are only used to transport inanimate objects because of the risk of this (the risk is in fact vanishingly small from a human perspective, and grows increasingly smaller in subsequent books as technology advances, but still unacceptably high from the point of view of the controlling A.I.s). Ironically, since transporting inanimate objects is not usually very exciting, most of the times we actually see them used they are transporting living beings (without ill effect).
  • In The Prestige by Christopher Priest, (which differs from The Film of the Book) Robert Angier suffers one of these. It happens when the teleportation machine is shut off during the few critical seconds the transfer occurs, and it results in Angier being duplicated. His original body is mostly intact (but doomed to terminal illness) while his Alternate Self is a ghostly phantasm (and immortal).
  • The 1877 Edward Page Mitchell short story The Man Without a Body focuses around the aftermath of this trope, making it a possible Ur-Example. The receiver of Prof. Dummkopf's teleporter (or "telepomp" as Mitchell terms it, since the term "teleport" wouldn't be coined until 1931) runs out of power partway through the rematerialization process, leaving him as nothing but a disembodied head, rendered immobile and mute by the absence of legs and vocal chords, respectively (but apparently unencumbered by the absence of lungs, heart, and other vital organs). One thing leads to another, and the (American) Prof. Dummkopf finds in the collection of a London museum, which is where someone *finally* notices that he's still alive. All things considered, he takes it pretty well.
  • In the Kameron Hurley novel The Light Brigade, teleportation technology used to transport soldiers to and from missions is the central plot device, so accidents happen as frequently as you'd expect. People get partially teleported, teleported into solid objects, get their bodies reassembled wrong, and so on. The protagonist experiences something weirder: most every time she teleports, she moves through time as well as space, plopping down into missions that she fought months in the past or years in the future, and likewise when she returns to base, rendering her experience of the war wholly nonlinear.
  • A harmless version happens in Magic 2.0 when Phillip and Martin are traveling to meet Phillip's friends at Gary's cave. Gary gives Phillip the teleportation coordinates. When they materialize, Phillip finds himself ankle-deep in mud. The rest point out Phillip should've known not to trust Gary, whose sense of humor is... questionable. From then on, wizards tend to be wary of coordinates received from Gary.
  • In The Final Reflection, "scramble cases" are noted as having occurred when Klingon personnel are beamed off a heavily damaged ship during a raid on a Romulan colony.
  • Bounders: A year before Jasper was born, an entire crew of aeronauts was killed during a routine bound when they failed to materialize on the other side. Their atoms were scattered across the universe. The Bounder Baby Breeding Program that produced Jasper and his friends is supposed to prevent something like that from ever happening again. Or so it seems. They were actually trapped in a rift in spacetime, as Jasper and Mira discover when they themselves suffer a failed bound at the end of The Forgotten Shrine.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Transporter Accidents are recurring plot devices in various Star Trek series. Which makes several characters' insistence to the safety of the procedure rather bizarre. As any viewer can tell you, when transporters mess up, the result rarely are pretty. Perhaps, like air travel, they're very safe except when they really aren't. Usually, the more difficult the transport, the more likely side effects occur. Transporter malfunctions have been known to:
    • Create a clone of an individual (Riker).
    • Merge two people and a plant together (Neelix and Tuvok) into one distinct being. Then unmerge them through the power of mad science! In a funny bit of Fridge Logic, the plant they were with never gets unmerged, so Neelix and/or Tuvok is part plant from this point on in the series.
    • Cause people to get transporter psychosis, going nuts. Implied to be the result of putting the complex structures or chemical balance of the brain back together just slightly wrong. O'Brien waved aside fears about that in The Next Generation as ridiculous, saying that it was rare to begin with and a new case hadn't been reported for a century (i.e. since the original series) due to improvements in transporter technology.
    • Split one entity into good and evil entities.
    • Mix certain non-corporeal entities together with a person.
    • Send people to alternate universes or realities.
    • Send people back in time.
    • Beam people inside solid rock or out into open space, if the coordinates are set improperly.
    • Outright kill people. As indicated in the page quote, not always as quickly as they might prefer.
    • Being unable to re-materialize and thus being stuck in the pattern buffer having to exist as a hologram.
    • According to Chakotay, re-materialization without clothes has happened... which considering the alternatives is getting off very light.
    • De-age people back into kids (they found a way to reverse it, of course).
    • Though part of an experiment, the Star Trek (2009) film has mention of Admiral Archer's prized beagle failing to re-materialize. A deleted scene would have shown the beagle re-materializing aboard the Enterprise at the very end.
    • Being stuck in the buffer too long so your pattern has degraded too much to be rematerialized.
    • All of the above involve the Starfleet-standard transporter systems. Alternative transport systems (like the Interdimensional Travel system in "The High Ground") tend to have their own drawbacks (in the aforementioned, using it results in internal body damage).
    • In the first season of Star Trek: Enterprise, the transporters hadn't gotten all the kinks out and weren't certified for transporting people. In an emergency, a Red Shirt was transported from the surface of a planet during a windstorm and arrived with leaves and twigs embedded in his body. Luckily he would make a complete recovery, which for a redshirt is amazing.
    • Another episode has a scientist attempting to perfect the means of interstellar teleportation. Previous attempts have resulted in his disfigurement (and having a metallic spine) and his son being stuck in a beam.
    • Note that despite all this, in every series except Enterprise, when a character is shown to be unwilling or scared to used the transporters, they are treated as eccentric and unreasonable in their fear of the device (because by the time of the original series, transporters had been in use for around a century, making it like what elevator phobia would be in the present day).
    • In the main Star Trek universe, none of these effects are reproducible when you might actually want them. A gizmo that can turn an old man into a child, with his memory intact? In Deep Space Nine the characters of the Mirror Universe have created technology to allow transport between the two universes at will, but even they only use it once.
    • A spy who'd spent many years posing as an ambassador used an apparently fatal transporter accident to fake their own death. Only detailed analysis of the... remains revealed the deception.
    • On DS9, Weyoun 5 dies off-screen in a transporter accident. At least, they never prove that it wasn't an accident, nor do they ever determine whether or not Damar was involved...
    • In Star Trek: Discovery, the spore drive requires a living creature to mentally interface with the spores in order to make a jump—first a giant alien tardigrade, and then Lt. Stamets after some gene therapy. However, this takes a massive toll on the host—so that by the end of the episode "Into the Forest I Go", Stamets appears to be mentally shattered, and the entire starship Discovery has been dropped into the Mirror Universe. Except it's revealed that this was Captain Lorca's plan all along, as he's actually Terran and wanted to get back to his home universe and take over the Terran Empire. Also, when attempting to jump without a navigator, the USS Glenn suffered a disaster, resulting in the crew being turned inside-out. In the 32nd century, they discover that the Kwejian people, who are natural empaths, are able to act as navigators without any genetic manipulation.
  • MythBusters played the Star Trek transporter accidents above for laughs, by having Tory "teleported" with some of his clothes missing. (This was done during testing for a myth originating from the Star Trek episode "Arena".)
    Tory: Gosh dang it! That's the third time this week!
    Grant: He needs to get a new service provider.
  • Stargate SG-1:
    • O'Neil and Carter enter the Stargate to return to base, but end up on an ice planet instead. However, it turns out they did make it back to Earth, only they rematerialized in Antarctica by coming through Earth's original Stargate, which had been lost.
    • In another episode, the whole SG-1 team ends up traveling back in time due to the wormhole crossing a solar flare. In this case, due to a time loop, Hammond knew what was going to happen. Unlike other examples, this is reproducible, and the solar flare method makes up the majority of time travel in the various shows of the Stargate-verse.
    • Teal'c also ended up spending a few days as data trapped in the gate's teleport buffer after the other gate was hit by a crashing ship during transit, forcing the SGC to shut down gate operations (to avoid overwriting him) until they got him out.
    • The technobabble explanation is that the gate sends objects as energy through the wormhole, reintegrating them on the other side. The buffer keeps that information for a short instant before the gate re-forms and expels the travelers it just received. It's also the reason iris stops reintegration with a Portal Slam.
    • A thorough explanation was given on-screen in Stargate Atlantis when a ship gets jammed in the middle of a Stargate: as a safety feature, the Stargate only dematerializes whole objects that pass through its threshold, then transmits them through a wormhole as energy to another Stargate. If it dematerialized objects the instant they crossed a certain threshold the front half of your face would disintegrate while the back half of your body bled out. Thus an additional safety feature is that if you only stick part of an object through the stargate it will act like a doorjam, forcing the Stargate to stay on — Jack did this once by sticking his gun into the portal to make sure it stayed open. Yanking out the power supply from the Stargate, however, will immediately shut it down, safety features notwithstanding, resulting in a Portal Cut.
    • Dialing without a proper "Dial Home Device" (the interface created by the gate builders) has caused its share of problems, such as a wormhole dropping materials in a star it was intersecting, causing it to go haywire and potentially supernova and thus potentially dooming the system's population of Space Amish (a normal DHD has safeguards to prevent this). Fortunately this one is reproduced as well, and allows them to solve the issue (or provide enough of a distraction to allow the Asgard to save it for them).
    • A ring transporter near a dialing Supergate and its singularity will send the matter stream to the galaxy where the Supergate connects to. It's implied that the Ori made sure the matter stream would then find a ring transporter on a planet for Vala to re-integrate into.
    • An energy discharge in a wormhole bisecting a black hole causes all subsequent wormholes bisecting the black hole from the same direction (in any alternate universe to boot) to connect to a specific alternate universe's Stargate on Earth.
  • In Fringe the teleporter has rather horrible side-effects: you have to stay in a decompression chamber for a few weeks, and even then it slowly kills you. Then again, you become Immune to Bullets.
  • The Doctor Who two-parter episode "Silence in the Library"/"Forest of the Dead" features Teleporter Accidents on a planet-wide scale, used deliberately like a lifeboat. The main computer of the Library teleported everybody into her database in order to save them from evil shadowy pirahna particles.
  • The Comic Strip Presents: "The Yob" parodies The Fly (1986) by having a scientist accidentally merged with a soccer hooligan. Also, at the end of the episode, a macho stud ends up with the lower body of a tomcat.
  • Earth: Final Conflict:
    • An early episode has a human scientist develop a teleporter (something even the Taelons haven't thought of, although they do have alternate means of travel). He uses it to assassinate some prominent Taelons with teleported bombs. The feds search his warehouse but don't find anything. Later, when found by them, he teleports himself to his warehouse, but gets "merged" with a shelf that the feds moved when they were searching the place. Just as the feds are moving in on the warehouse, he sets the device to teleport to its own location, which will somehow cause a matter/antimatter reaction.
    • A season 5 episode has Renee chase after a female Atavus who's been rampaging through human history thanks to a temporal ID portal. At least three time periods were shown: ours, the Middle Ages, and the prehistoric time when the Atavus ruled Earth and humans were little more then animals. Renee tricks the female Atavus to follow her to the prehistoric time, then turns the portal to face a cave wall, causing the Atavus to materialize in the wall. Her fossilized remains are found in our time.
  • In Battlestar Galactica (2003), the faster-than-light drives are basically ship-wide self-teleporters, complete with some very bad things that can happen if your coordinates aren't exactly right. Jumping from too close to another ship can tear both vessels apart, a slight error when jumping in close to a planet or asteroid can leave you embedded inside a mountain, and a long range jump with questionable coordinates can leave you lost without any reference points at best—or kill you instantly thanks to the above-mentioned mountain issue. All of these things end up being done over the series, usually out of sheer desperation.
  • In American Horror Story: Coven the young witches are being tested on their ability to teleport and they decide to play a game of teleporter tag. One of them does not have as much control over her abilities as she assumed and ends up teleporting herself right onto a steel fence, which is quite fatal.
  • In one episode of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, Lord Zedd created the latest Monster of the Week from a taxi cab while Kimberly, Bulk, and Skull were inside it, resulting in the "Crabby Cabbie", as it was called, joyriding through Angel Grove with them trapped inside it. Alpha 5 eventually deduced that the only way to rescue them safely would be to teleport them out, but because he had never done something like this, warned that a mishap might happen. (He didn't go into detail; fortunately, there were no problems.)
  • In the Pixelface episode, "Body Swap", an accident involving the transporter and a plasma ball results in Aethelwynne and Sgt. Riley experiencing a "Freaky Friday" Flip.
  • In the '70s British sitcom Come Back Mrs. Noah, the characters decide to try an experimental teleporter to escape the space station they're trapped on. Fortunately they test it first by sending down a robot Mrs. Noah, whilst simultaneously sending up a parrot and a cat, resulting in the inevitable parrot-cat creature (maybe the cat tried to eat the bird mid-transport?) It's not clear what happens to the robot.
  • Quark: Quark suffers a mild (but probably more realistic) version when he beams down to a planet and ends up knee-deep in a swamp.
  • A minor gag in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (1981). Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect end up in the right place, but wearing each other's clothes.
  • Discussed in Breaking Bad, where Badger shares his idea for a perfect Star Trek episode: the Enterprise is having an Eating Contest, and Scotty is secretly helping Chekhov cheat by beaming the food out of his stomach. But Uhura walks into the transporter room, and Scotty presses the wrong button while he's Distracted by the Sexy... causing Chekhov to drop dead when his organs are beamed into deep space.
  • One game from Whose Line Is It Anyway? was about suggestions for unlikely moments in scifi, which led to Ryan Stiles loudly declaring from out of frame "beaming one up from the planet, sir!", then chucking one of his shoes in front of the camera. There's a slight Beat before the audience catches on.
  • Henry Danger: Considering there were no a Shout-Out to the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Mirror, Mirror", in "Opposite Universe", Henry and Charlotte were switched with their evil twins from an evil universe after a thunderstorm storm caused problems when they went down the tubes.
  • Future Man: Three characters use a Time Travel device that functions pretty much the same as a teleporter. Unfortunately due to an unstable fuel source, two characters swap scars... and two others swap dicks.

  • The music video of LCD Soundsystem's "Oh Baby" features an especially tragic, self-inflicted case. The video features an elderly inventor couple creating a teleporter in their garage, designed as two door frames that they can travel between in an instant. When their house is suddenly broken into, the wife is shot, and knowing there's nothing that can be done to save her, the husband carries her with the teleporter's power cord tied around him. The two spend their final moments passing through the gate — with the teleporter unplugging as they move through, neither emerges from the other side.



  • In Dawn of a New Age: Oldport Blues, Vivian creates a portal to teleport a small group of students out of a public street and into her house. However, her power starts to malfunction halfway through, and Zia ends up getting teleported somewhere else- namely, into a stranger's house where two people are having sex. She hurries back to Vivian's house and emphatically tells them not to ask where she's been.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Regular teleports don't always take you to 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.
  • Munchkin: In Star Munchkin, the Teleporter Accident trap makes you swap gender with one other player and swap race with another.
  • Pathfinder: Teleportation is a very delicate form of magic, which requires very precise concentration, calculation and timing, exacting knowledge of the intended destination, and great control over one's magic. A lapse in concentration, a sudden surge of magic or a mistake in picturing the destination can turn a shortcut into absolute disaster.
    • Tintavex is a half-dragon griffon created when a wizard who was collecting the eggs of rare, mountain-dwelling creatures decided to complete his collection with those of a cloud dragon. He succeeded in pilfering an egg, but when the mother returned ahead of schedule he teleported away in a hurry... enough so to fatally bungle the complex teleportation spell. The wizard and most of his collection were never seen again, but the dragon egg was fused with a griffon egg the wizard had previously obtained and deposited in a distant corner of the mountains, eventually hatching into Tintavex.
    • Amalgamites are aberrations created when a spellcasters makes a mistake when teleporting, warping their body into a mass of twisted flesh and misaligned limbs and driving them completely mad. Amalgamites remain suffused with the energy of the teleportation magic that created them, and create a constant aura that slowly shifts and warps other beings and allows the amalgamite to teleport any two of them to each other's positions.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • The game 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.
    • When Big Mek Grabork started throwing Orks into his space hulk-sized shokk attack gun, due to a lack of snotling ammunition to continue the assault on the Imperial world of Fratarn, one of his fellow Meks attempted to stop him by switching the weaponized tellyporta into reverse, causing it to suck the target planet through the gun's dimensional conduit, utterly annihilating both the world and the ship.
    • Warp Spiders can make a special teleportation "shunt" move during their assault phases. This is not without risk, and on a bad die roll 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.

    Theme Parks 
  • The original finale of Universal Studios' Horror Make-Up Show was a homage to The Fly, with one of the hosts stepping into a teleportation pod and getting mutated into a fly monster before the process is reversed.

  • In BIONICLE, Makuta Icarax was killed when Makuta Gorast's Mask of Power disrupted his teleportation ability, causing him to simultaneously be teleported to 1,000 different locations at once.

    Urban Legends 
  • 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.

    Video Games 
  • A teleporter accident with Lucca's latest invention is what starts off the adventure in Chrono Trigger, opening a portal to the same spot 400 years in the past. A relatively mild example, as Lucca is soon able to figure out what went wrong and reproduce the effects in order to travel back and forth between time periods at will. It later turns out that the portals are semi-natural phenomena (depending on which writer, Contested Sequel, or wacky fan theory you subscribe to) and the teleporter (and pendant that caused it to malfunction) was only a catalyst. The fact that she just happened to set up her teleporter experiment right on top of an invisible thin spot in space-time is apparently just a wacky coincidence... maybe.
  • Day of the Tentacle: Played with during the ending section. In their rush to go to yesterday in pursuit of the Tentacles and stop Purple Tentacle from conquering the world, Bernard, Hoagie and Laverne all use the same Chron-o-John at once, despite Dr. Fred's warning not to do so. After the trip, the three find themselves stuck together, apparently transformed into a three-headed monstrosity. After defeating Purple Tentacle and switching off Dr. Fred's pollution machine, the three return to the present and ask Dr. Fred to unmerge them. However, Dr. Fred discovers, via an x-ray, that they haven't actually been merged. They just accidentally became stuck inside one set of clothes. The three embarrassed heroes fortunately manage to pull free of each other without any adverse side effects.
  • in Final Fantasy XIV, Y'shtola uses a forbidden teleportation spell, Flow, to escape from Ul'dah after the Scions are framed for an assassination attempt on the Sultana. The reasons it's forbidden become evident, as the three characters caught up in the teleport suffer severe consequences. Y'shtola herself is trapped in the Lifestream and, when recovered, is now blind and must use a life-draining technique to see aetherically. Thancred is prematurely aged and loses the ability to manipulate aether (i.e. to perform magic). The most severely affected is Minfilia, who was trapped in the Lifestream, apparently permanently, to serve as a human avatar for Hydaelyn the Mothercrystal - this last, at least, being an intended effect, as Hydaelyn is weakened and has been having trouble communicating with her chosen otherwise.
  • In Marathon, Durandal has trouble teleporting you while you are in the alien ship. Before that, Durandal, the rampant AI, captures the player mid-teleportation, and forces him to "Play a game" of killing the pfhor in a quarantine storage (leading to the level "Blaspheme Quarantine"), in which if the player wins, "(He and Durandal) will continue the relationship on friendlier terms," but if he loses, he dies. Later, Durandal has trouble teleporting you while you are in the alien ship. Tycho also steals the player from Durandal mid-teleportation a few times in Marathon: Infinity and once in Marathon 2: Durandal.
  • Doom has teleporters that use hell as a stop over. It's also the game that introduced the Tele-Frag.
  • In Pokémon Red and Blue (and their remakes), Bill accidentally combines himself with a Pokémon and the player has to help him become human again.
    • However, it doesn't mention with which Pokémon and where it is right now. And outside the plot, the various cloning glitches in the early generations follow the same principles.
    • Such fusions are implicit in certain trade evolutions such as Scizor and Steelix, both steel types, evolving from non-steel type pokemon holding a Metal Coat. In such cases it's invoked by the player, and might even be an in-universe Good Bad Bug. That said, it's possible in some games to find Steelix in the wild, so it may just be for gameplay purposes.
  • The Half-Life series has a number of teleporter incidents:
    • The resonance cascade scenario that triggers the events of Half-Life resulted in aliens from the Xen border world teleporting into the Black Mesa complex, leading to a series of catastrophic events that would later be cheerily known as "The Black Mesa Incident". The crystal that caused the cascade was retrieved from Xen, which itself was discovered as a result of the earlier teleportation research by Black Mesa.
    • One of the later puzzles of the first game involves navigating a complicated array of teleportation portals; jumping through the wrong portal at the wrong time will often result in Freeman falling to his death. Also, one of said teleporters is visibly malfunctioning and will kill you if you enter it.
    • In the Opposing Force expansion, one of the weapons is the Displacer, a hand-held portal generator. The primary fire fires a highly unstable portal that can be used to damage enemies due to its effects on nearby objects and space-time, while the secondary fire teleports the user to a semi-random location. Shepard first picks up the weapon from the body of a scientist who had teleported to thin air at high altitude. If Shepard uses the secondary fire in the wrong place, the same can happen to him.
    • In the second expansion Blue Shift, Calhoun suffered a temporary resonance displacement, which could have resulted in an infinite harmonic reflux (according to Rosenburg) while teleporting to safety at the end of the game.
    • Early in Half-Life 2 the rebels try to teleport Alyx and Freeman to Black Mesa East. Mention is made of a teleportation incident with a cat that Calhoun apparently still has nightmares about, which doesn't reassure Alyx at all. Alyx is teleported successfully, but when Freeman is teleported, Lamarr interferes and he ends up randomly appearing in various locations before finally materializing just outside the lab he started at.
      • Also possibly a sly reference to Schrödinger's Cat.
      • In the same scene, there's a mini-teleporter in the corner of the lab. Activate it enough times and it will short out, earning you the achievement "What Cat?"
      • While it isn't shown, in the same incident another potential example of this trope is mentioned when Barney tries to free Gordon - Kleiner shouts in response "You can't just wade into the field; it will peel you apart!"
    • Later in the game, when teleporting out of Nova Prospekt, the teleporter explodes while Alyx and Freeman are in mid-teleport, resulting in them being caught in a week-long teleport loop. As a result, by the time they emerge the revolution is in full swing.
      Dr. Kleiner: Fascinating. We seem to have developed a very slow teleport!
    • The Borealis was an Aperture Science Research Vessel that suddenly completely disappeared from the shipyard, taking part of the drydock with it. 20 years later, it is discovered by a team of Rebel scientists in the Arctic.
  • Halo:
    • In Combat Evolved, Cortana accidentally drops John-117 on his head. Thankfully, it was only a few inches; he was on target, but arrived upside down (Cortana was working out the alien coordinate system and got plus mixed up with minus).
      Cortana: Oh, now I get it: the coordinates need to be— (John smacks the side of his helmet, and Cortana continues in a sheepish tone) Right. Sorry...
    • In Forge mode from Halo 3 and onwards, players can put teleporters wherever they wish. Naturally, this includes setting them up so that anyone using the teleporter will fall to their death.
  • A Running Gag in the Henry Stickmin Series involves a teleportation device that hardly ever works and results in a fail. Stealing The Diamond is the only game in the series where it is subverted, and Henry noticeably looks skeptical/worried as he prepares to use it; it still teleports him above the intended destination, but the fall isn't too harmful.
    • The final chapter, Completing the Mission, has the biggest example of this trope. Henry, tired of the teleporter's constant failures, throws it on the ground - which results in him being teleported to a bunch of random locations in quick succession. The final stop is precisely the vault he was trying to enter.
  • The developers of Portal and its sequel wanted the player to feel safe using the portals, so if you close a portal you're standing innote , you'll simply be pushed out rather than cut. However, under some circumstances, it's possible to die or get stuck in the wall if you do this.
  • In Poker Night 2, this can happen to any of the opponents when they lose during The Venture Brothers themed map.
    Ash: Hey! Where's the rest of me?
    Max: Check it out, Sam. Free shoes.
  • In Space Quest V: The Next Mutation Space Quest V, a transporter accident swaps your head with the head of a fly, in a Shout-Out to The Fly (1958).
    • At one point, Roger's head is turned into a giant eyeball and at another, he was partially melted. (These were just sight gags and were fixed immediately afterwards)
    • Eventually, the characters figure out that they can use the teleporter to intentionally create an accident and thereby separate the toxic goo from the people it's infected.
    • It's also mentioned that, originally, Cliffy installed a voice-control system for the teleporter and set it to the sound of a clap. This got ugly when a visiting dignitary got on the platform and applauded the crew... while in deep space. Cliffy had it changed to react to "Energize" instead.
  • In the first Wild ARMs game, a teleporter accident will send you to The Abyss. Oops.
  • World of Warcraft has craftable teleporters which can send you to certain cities. They're stated to be safe and reliable, except they aren't, having possible mishaps such as making you an evil twin, changing your appearance to that of another race or sending you high, high up in the sky. In the case of the latter, it's a good thing the engineers capable of making these devices also have the option of adding a parachute to their cloaks.
  • If you forget to eat your peanuts in the brutally unforgiving Infocom game of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (1984), being teleported off the Earth winds up killing you. Since the text directing mentions this, it was probably the easiest puzzle in the game to solve.
  • The Suikoden series has the recurring character Viki, a young sorceress with very powerful teleportation magic. Unfortunately, she's also an error-prone ditz who occasionally botches a teleport. In gameplay, her errors are completely harmless: a time-consuming annoyance at worst, and sometimes actually helpful since they're the only way into certain rooms that are locked from the inside. Story-wise, more serious accidents (one at the end of each game) explain why she's able to appear in every game of the series despite her being a teenager in all of them and the games having gaps of as much as 150 years between them: when she really botches a teleport, it's not just a matter of where she'll end up but when.
    • If you use her teleport rune in battle, she will teleport things (enemies out of the battle, or heavy objects that will fall on the enemies). If she botches a teleport at this time, it can have disastrous results (such as teleporting all allies except her out of battle, or making the heavy object fall on the party).
  • Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri: Upon discovering Matter Transmission, the quote from Professor Zakharov is: "The first living thing to go through the device was a small white rat. I still have him, in fact. As you can see, the damage was not so great as they say."
    • The Bulk Matter Transmitter secret project cutscene shows a spacecraft entering the transmitter and reappearing at an identical one far away... but as an outline of light that then drifts away. This is followed by a quote from Sister Miriam Godwinson (a religious fanatic) asking if the human soul makes it through the transmission.
  • The Chronosphere teleportation system from the Command & Conquer: Red Alert series (see above) is lethal to unprotected human passengers, although this is somewhat inconsistently applied. In the first game, teleporting an APC full of soldiers results in the APC arriving at its destination empty, implying the soldiers were all what about the driver of the APC or any of the other vehicles that can be teleported? Makes more sense in the second game, where the Chronosphere only kills infantry out in the open (and indeed can be used as a weapon directly against the enemy in such a way).
    • You can also use it to sink enemy tanks or put enemy ships on land. Not very effective in Red Alert 3, where many tanks are amphibious and some ships are able to walk on land.
    • It's also inconsistent with the opening cutscene, in which Einstein uses it to travel back in time and kill Hitler. Then again, that chronosphere was built in another timeline by an Einstein with different priorities... but then a cutscene in the Soviet campaign has the Allies rescue Einstein from a (fake) firing squad by chronoshifting him alone.
  • In the Unreal Tournament series, the Translocator sends a beacon and the player then teleports to the location where it landed. Should that location happen to contain another player, this will result in violent death, for them. The beacon can be damaged if an enemy shoots it, at which point attempting to teleport, or calling back the beacon, will result in violent death, for you.
  • The prologue to Saira involves one of these, where the main character seems to have been accidentally teleported into the distant future (or another dimension, or something). Her apparent boyfriend was a mis-teleport victim, too; he was hurled to the other side of the galaxy by mistake, and the plot of the game revolves around Saira trying to teleport herself there. Most of the endings are also teleporter accidents; she gets sent to the wrong place if the teleport parts used aren't fancy enough, but somehow she always ends up somewhere habitable.
  • The Game of the Ages: Until you learn to protect yourself, portal pools rip you apart.
  • A recurring mission hook in LEGO Rock Raiders is that the teleporter aboard the LMS Explorer is malfunctioning due to power problems, resulting in various things being beamed into the wrong cavern and Chief sending you to retrieve them.
  • Nethack:
    • Averted, otherwise random teleports would be too dangerous. And are a number of ways the player can be teleported by accident or incident. Any teleport will result in a destination square that's not open water, not in solid rock, not on a trap and not occupied by other monster. It may be possible to overcome this fail-safe by filling all safe squares with monsters, and randomly teleporting from an unsafe square. (By levitating over water or polying into a Xorn that can phase through rock.)
    • Played straight for some cases of controlled levelporting, the ability to teleport between levels. Basically you input a number corresponding to the level you want to teleport to. Teleporting too deep of a level has little consequence, as the game will simply teleport you to the lowest level of the current branch. Teleporting to a zero or negative level, however...
  • Shin Megami Tensei:
    • In Shin Megami Tensei I, a scientist named Steven was attempting to develop teleportation technology when an improperly calibrated teleporter dragged a demon from the Expanse into the material world. Although Terminals do exist and operate normally later on, this incident kicked off the rebooted franchise and put Steven in a wheelchair when the demon turned hostile and attacked.
    • A brief one is featured in Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne. Due to not fully understanding how Amala Terminals work, the protagonist is physically tossed into the Amala Network itself, as opposed to simply being transmitted across it. Luckily, he escapes and reaches his destination after a short dungeon.
    • Downplayed in Devil Survivor 2. When you first use the teleporter, it is poorly calibrated. Fortunately, instead of something horrible happening like missing half your body, you only teleport high above the floor, and you end up with Makoto landing butt first on your face. This scene also is a Subversion because Fumi expected you to end up with missing body parts, but apart from the fall you were unharmed.
  • The plot point for Teleglitch, when all hell breaks loose inside a weapons testing facility after the successful transporting of a single molecule from an alternate universe. Who thought murderous AIs could fit inside a single molecule?
  • An adventure in Kingdom of Loathing has some Space Tours fan ghosts getting in a teleporter, which is then ruined by your character sneezing. The end result is a fusion of all of the ghosts, which mutters "Ges... und... heit" before offing itself.
  • Terraria plays this straight with the Rod of Discord, which is used to teleport over distances. If the item is re-used during its cooldown period, it will cause heavy damage to the user. The game lampshades this if the teleport damage is fatal, mentioning that the player failed to rematerialize or now has feet where their head used to be.
  • In Warframe, the original Limbo was killed when trying to enter the Rift, an alternate plane of reality. The Tenno can find pieces of him scattered through the Origin System, and creates a copy of Limbo's Warframe to honor him.
  • Invoked to the characters advantage in the second installment of the Deponia series, Chaos on Deponia. Three teleporters are set up, but in each there is an animal (platypus, flog, fly) that cannot be moved. Teleportingb away will merge Rufus, teleporting back will split him back up — unless the target teleporter cell also is occupied, in which case exchanges happen. You have to set everthing up so that Rufus appears on the far side without merge.
  • Averted in Worms, where you cannot teleport your worm to a place occupied by other or into solid space. However you can send it very high in the sky and since falling from excessive heights causes damage to a worm, it has creative uses if said worm has very few life points remaining.
  • The X-Universe's plot is kicked off this way: the player is testing a Jumpdrive-equipped fighter, but the drive malfunctions and he winds up light-years away in a system he's never heard of, with his ship wrecked and barely functional. Fortunately, a Teladi trading vessel was nearby and helped in getting the ship back into pilotable shape, but they aren't able to repair the jumpdrive, leaving the player in a foreign land with no way home.
  • Salt and Sanctuary: In the backstory, a mage called Planne the Seeker sought test subjects to try and figure out teleportation spells, and Duke Garldon provided his own personal guard for him to use. The result ended in many of them losing limbs, organs and other assorted chunks to the void, ending up in And I Must Scream territory with their portions scattered between the material and immaterial world, and provide the Split Swordsmen you now fight, who twitch erratically when they're not teleporting around and slicing you up.
  • In Knight-Tyme on the ZX Spectrum, the transporter starts off broken. If you try to use it before it's repaired, you get the message "The transporter has malfunctioned and spread your atoms across the cosmos in the shape of a butterfly. What a pretty way to die!"
  • Kirby: Planet Robobot: Part of Pres. Haltmann's backstory has this, where his use of supercomputer Star Dream's spacetime transport program accidentally resulted in the loss of his daughter. Thinking that she was dead, he tried bringing her back with Star Dream, to no avail, which made him bitter and more coldly focused on his company. His secretary, Susie, turns out to be his daughter after several years, but he didn't recognize her partly because of some memory loss from overusing Star Dream.
  • In The Feeble Files, Dolores attempts to use a teleporter that Feeble's evil brother described as malfunctioning, thinking that he only said that to dissuade them from using it, and she ends up being turned into a squid.
  • One of the many steps in the RuneScape quest One Small Favor is to use an animate rock scroll to rescue a person who fused with a stone wall in a teleportation accident. The first time they cast the spell, they completely miss the wall and hit a pile of rocks which comes to life and becomes the quest's boss. On the second try they succeed in freeing the trapped person.
  • In Library of Ruina, W Corp is a Wing whose Singularity involves teleportation and this technology is what backs their famed WARP Trains. One plotline details a train ride that went wrong with the occupants being stuck inside for 2000 years as they slowly go crazy and maim one another, unable to truly die no matter how much they're battered. Later chapters reveal this is actually averted. While there was some interference, the event overall was no accident and is how WARP Trains normally operate. W Corp's true Singularity is restoration, which they use to revert the passengers to their original states while they're left none the wiser.
  • In Final Fantasy XIV, there's the "Flow" spell, which allowed users of the spell to teleport from one spot to another. However, since doing this involves going through the Lifestream, you run a very big risk of getting stuck there or being affected by it. Y'shtola uses this spell twice. The first time, Thancred loses his ability to use aether and was tossed into the Dravanian Hinterlands while she is rendered blind and needed a convoluted way of being rescued. The second time Emet-Selch saves her.

    Web Animation 
  • In one hololive - Holo no Graffiti skit, Korone, Noel and Pekora discover that Shion got stuck inside of a wall while practicing teleportation. They manage to get her out, but through a convoluted series of events Pekora ends up trapped in her place.

  • 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 has 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.
  • Tower of God: While some forms of teleportation seem to be safe, Poe Bidau Gustang mentions that if "spatial distortion", used by an immensely powerful character to get somewhere fast, were to go wrong, "every organism here..." (interrupted to leave hanging ominously).
  • Alluded to in Schlock Mercenary: Early in the strip, Kevyn (re)develops the "Teraport", and the early design gets its power (converting mass to energy) from the object(s) being moved... which includes people. At one point, two characters are teraported in the middle of a conversation; one of them immediately states he forget what he was saying.

    Web Original 
  • SCP Foundation. SCP-761 ("Slightly Less Dangerous Trampoline"). When someone jumps on the trampoline they are subjected to Teleportation Misfire and end up in a random location within 15 meters. If there is already a solid object where they arrive they become merged with the object. Depending on how much of their body is merged with the object they can suffer a Tele-Frag.
  • 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.

    Web Videos 
  • 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!
  • Game Grumps: Arin opens Sonic Boom episode seven by referencing this trope.
    Arin: [as a game character he's partially no-clipped inside another] "WHAT'S HAPPENED? THE TELEPORTER HAS GONE HORRIBLY WRONG!"
  • 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.

    Western Animation 
  • In Men in Black: The Series episode "The Worm-Guy Guy Syndrome", Agent J and one of the Worm aliens are both simultaneously sent through opposite ends of a portal. The result is that their molecules get switched around, causing J and the Worm to gradually become mutant hybrids of each other (complete with exchanging their personality traits).
  • In one episode of The Venture Brothers, Dr. Venture ends up (harmlessly) stuck in the walls of various parts of the house, in three pieces, 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.
  • In the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "SpongeBob TentaclePants", SpongeBob and Squidward get 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.
  • Phineas and Ferb:
    • When Candace and Perry fall into Phineas and Ferb's teleporter in "Does This Duckbill Make Me Look Fat?", they swap 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: A cartoon 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.
  • A similar thing happened in an American Dad! episode, only with Steve's prom date clone and Stan's pet dodo.
  • The Simpsons:
    • In "Treehouse of Terror VIII", Bart winds up swapping heads with a fly after fooling around with Homer's matter transmitter pods.
    • Another episode has Professor Frink suffer a power outage while transporting Sir Isaac Newton to the present. What emerges from the teleporter is a pair of sizzling legs... which proceed to chase Frink around the room and kick him.
      Professor Frink: Ow! OW! Sir Isaac’s legs are hurting!
  • Code Lyoko:
    • This happens to poor Odd thrice in three episodes. 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 causes a lot of problems.
    • Even worse is the time Jérémie tries giving Odd's Lyoko form the power to teleport. When he returns to Earth, there are three of him. (And they all don't like each other.) Jérémie is able to fix the scanner to reverse it, but first Odd has to find his other selves who have wandered off, and XANA isn't making it easy for him, his latest attack being a smog that can turn people to stone.
    • And once again involving Odd and also Yumi, one time they end up materializing after a mission on Lyoko, they end up swapping bodies, with Jérémie unfortunately having to inform them that it will take him a day to resolve the issue, to Yumi's chagrin at the idea of having to sleep in Odd's body and having Odd parade about in her body scratching her bra and making a fool of himself. To make matters worse, the swap is shown to be unstable, requiring them to virtualize and swap back before it's too late.
    • In another episode, Ulrich is used a test subject for a program to transfer a person directly into Sector 5, but he fails to appear in Lyoko at all. A few hours later he emerges from the transporter but as an invisible ghost that can only communicate by possessing people. It turns out his body was transported to Lyoko without his mind, which made it so they couldn't detect it. When they modify the scan to find his body, they discover it has been taken over by XANA. They have to defeat his body to merge it back together with his mind.
    • Two early episodes had cases of this where XANA tricked the Lyoko warriors into believing this has happened. The first time happens in an episode where Yumi seemingly devirtualizes for no reason and comes out of the transporter unconscious and behaves out-of-character after waking up. Jérémie worries that virtualization is affecting their health. It turns out Yumi was actually captured by a new kind of monster and replaced by XANA's first usage of a polymorphic specter.
    • Something similar happens in a later episode where Aelita vanishes after Jérémie tests a new program to bring her to the real world and shortly after a girl who looks very similar to her appears in the real world, causing Jérémie to think the program worked but erased her memories. It turns out to be a coincidence and Aelita was actually captured by the same monster from the previously mentioned episode.
    • And in another early episode, Jérémie tests a program to bring Aelita to the real world by materializing a single hair, but a mistake in the program causes Aelita's code to become glitched such that if she deactivates a tower she will disappear. Circumstances force her to deactivate a tower before Jérémie can fix her code, but luckily they figure out that they can restore her using the hair.
  • My Little Pony:
    • My Little Pony 'n Friends: All unicorns can "wink out" and perform line-of-sight teleports, and in "Little Piece of Magic" Baby Ribbon tries to wink to a high shelf to get a toy. She isn't too good at winking, however, and when she tries to materialize after winking out only her top half returns into existence, leading to an understandable spot of panic until her mom arrives to fix the issue.
    • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
      • "Twilight's Kingdom, Part 2": Averted, 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.
      • "All Bottled Up": This is discussed as a possibility with unicorn magic. Starlight urges Trixie to try teleporting "something... not living" instead of Spike, and Spike decides the safest place for himself during the spell is far behind Trixie. When Trixie does try to teleport something, namely the castle's magic map table, her lack of concentration ends up sending it who knows where. After a hectic day searching (and dealing with Starlight literally bottling up her emotions), the two find it at the Ponyville Spa, as Trixie just happened to be thinking of the day the two met there back in "No Second Prances".
  • Transformers:
    • The Transformers: The Deceptions initially treat the new spacebridge as wildly dangerous when it's first introduced, but we never see anyone get disintegrated and they quickly come to view it as routine. Then "Child's Play" does show the thing malfunctioning, sending several characters to a random planet that they spend the next couple of episodes trying to get home from.
    • Transformers: Robots in Disguise: Most space bridges are built by amateurs with substandard materials. As a result, they tend to fail more often than not, sending users to the wrong location (the arctic, an erupting volcano, etc.) One jury-rigged Spacebridge produced a black hole that nearly destroyed the planet.
  • Regular Show: The plot of "Mordeby & Rigbecai". Mordecai and Rigby using a teleporter results in Mordecai getting Rigby's torso and arms, while Rigby becomes taller and gets Mordecai's arms. Mordecai is less than enthusiastic about his reduced height.
  • Wacky Races: In the reboot episode "Peter Imperfect", I.Q. Ickly creates a cloning machine to be used on Peter Perfect, only for Dick Dastardly to step into the other chamber and cause Peter's "perfectness" to be transferred to him.
  • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power: Exaggerated. Long ago, Mara learned her people had turned Etheria into a superweapon with her as the key. Horrified, she created a portal and hid the planet in a completely empty dimension, destroying all the First Ones' tech she could to prevent it from re-opening. In the present time, Hordak and Entrapta made a new portal, to return Etheria to the wider universe. However, with the portal capabilities still offline, the machine was unstable. Adora convinced Entrapta not to go through with it, though unfortunately Catra, suffering from Sanity Slippage, turned on the portal. The result was the entirety of Etheria being stuck in a collapsing reality that took the form of a Lotus-Eater Machine with people, objects, and time sporadically disappearing. Queen Angella was forced to pull a Heroic Sacrifice in order to prevent the destruction of reality.
  • Star Trek: Lower Decks:
    • "Much Ado About Boimler": Boimler ends up stuck phasing when he helps Rutherford test his upgrade to the transporter beam. It ends up causing him to be a little translucent, glow blue, and produce an annoyingly loud ringing sound (although Rutherford manages to fix the noise). It wears off by the end of the episode, though Mariner and the crew of another ship go through the same issue, though they also turn out fine later.
    • "Kayshon, His Eyes Open": History Repeats as Boimler has a transporter clone created due to a distortion field screwing with the transporter beam. Ironically, it happened twenty years (canon-wise) after Riker's clone was created and Boimler had used Riker's incident as inspiration to save his away team.
    • "Twovix" While preparing the Voyager for its ultimate fate as part of the Fleet Museum, Billups and T'Ana are put through the same incident that brought about Tuvix above. Learning of what happened to Tuvix, Captain Freeman decides to send them to Starfleet to try and save them, but "T'illups" learned of what happened to Tuvix as well and, to try and save themselves, try to force the entire crew of the Cerritos into an army of hybrids. However, that plan is foiled when T'Lyn accidentally fuses all the hybrids into one barely-sentinent Blob Monster, allowing them to separate them all without all the moral quandaries.
  • The Fairly OddParents!: In "Booby Trapped", Timmy uses Cosmo and Wanda's wands to transport himself and Chloe to the rain forest. The wish results in them having their heads swapped. They try to fix it, and become Conjoined Twins. A second attempt gives Timmy a kangaroo body.
  • Cyberchase: In "Be Reasonable", Hacker and his henchmen Buzz and Delete are ejected from the Cybrary by a teleporter pad. Unlike when the CyberSquad traveled by one, it doesn't work quite right. Their physical features are shuffled between them.
    Hacker: It can't be! I'm a duncebucket!

    Real Life 
  • Quantum Teleportation is state-of-the-art in the meantime, but due to lack of Heisenberg compensators, the quantum states are rather impure. (Luckily, since we only teleport particles, this may suffice for an application.)


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Splinching


"I'm a Duncebucket!"

In "Be Reasonable", Hacker and his henchmen Buzz and Delete are ejected from the Cybrary by a teleporter pad. Unlike when the CyberSquad traveled by one, it doesn't work quite right. Their physical features are shuffled between them.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / TeleporterAccident

Media sources: