From: JoJo To: LindaHi. Please help me in this moment of distress. I am in Rafing. I had to come here due to some urgent work. But due to some unfortunate events, I am now stuck here without any money. Could you please send me €1000 at Offen Inn, Rafing, 3749, Austria. I'll return the money as soon as I arrive home. Thanks in advance. From: Linda To: Jack Jack, I have received this email, should we send the money? Seems urgent. From: Jack To: Linda It's a scam! And who is this JoJo? How can you even think about lending money to some stranger? From: Linda To: Jack JoJo is Prof. Joshua Johnson. Don't you remember? He was our neighbor in Madison. Lived alone. Kept his lawn neat. Sometimes visited us. Simple guy. Nice guy. From: Jack To: Linda Oh. OK. Prof. Johnson. But why should he mail you? And is his mail id JoJo? From: Linda To: Jack Yup. I had mailed him a few times when we moved here. From: Jack To: Linda Yeah. OK. But why is his id so corny? Like a teenager? He must be pushing sixty. From: Linda To: Jack His official id may be proper. This is Gmail id. Maybe he could not access his university account. Who knows? Now should we just keep discussing or take some action? Should I call you? From: Jack To: Linda Don't call. In a meeting. Sending mails from iPhone. From: Linda To: Jack Should I wire the money? From: Jack To: Linda NOOOOOOOOO. It's a scam. His mail account must have got hacked. And if not - then why would he go to Austria? And why should he ask us for money? He must have other friends or relations. Also Thousand Euros IS BIG. From: Linda To: Jack At least some money? From: Jack To: Linda No. Going to lunch with the client. Can't talk. Can't mail. From: Linda To: JoJo Prof. Johnson, did you send this mail? Or is your account hacked? Could you please confirm? Also, it may be easier to transfer money to a bank account. Could you please give your bank account details? From: JoJo To: Linda Thank God you replied! I tried to mail fifteen contacts, but no one responded. And the mail ids these days are so random! I couldn't recall most of them. Sorry, cannot access the bank account here. Maybe you can transfer to the account of this Inn's owner. Let me get the details and mail you. From: Linda To: Jack Prof. Johnson gave details of one Innkeeper in Rafing. I am transferring $300 from my account. He sent a couple of mails and they seemed genuine. From: Linda To: Jack Guess what! Finally got a mail from Prof. Johnson! So take back whatever names you have been calling me for last two days! He is really stuck there. As soon as he reaches Vienna, he'll contact. From: Jack To: Linda You won't learn! Ever! If he wants to call, he can call even now. Why wait until he reaches Vienna? And how is he planning to go to Vienna? Did you transfer more money? From: Linda To: Jack I transferred only 300. He might have made other arrangements. And don't you whine about that 300. That was MY money. From: Prof. Joshua Johnson To: Linda I have returned to Madison now. I am sending this mail from my university id. Thanks for helping me when I needed it the most. I won't ever forget it! Let me tell you what happened. I teach Particle Physics in the University, but my area of interest is Teleportation. It has been my interest for a long time, but I don't talk about it much. I have been collaborating with Dr. Max Fluke of Vienna University of Technology for the last twelve years. We have recently devised a Teleporting machine. Just a prototype so far. It has one portal in my lab, and the other portal in Max's lab. These portals are like doors. If I start in the Madison portal, next moment I am in the Vienna portal. We had successfully tried this experiment seven times. But this time there was a problem. Instead of landing in Max's lab, I landed in Rafing. I was lost! But at least I was in Austria. I decided to contact Max and reached the nearest place, which happened to be the Offen Inn. Unfortunately, I could not remember Max's phone number. Curse our Smartphones! We rely too much on them. The Innkeeper had no idea about Vienna University of Technology and he was least concerned with our experiments. All he wanted was money. I wrote a few lines in my broken German and convinced him to send mails. To Max and to some others. I could vaguely remember fifteen email ids. Only you responded. Thanks a lot! I could not contact Max for a long time. Apparently, Max's mail server was down! Thanks to your three hundred dollars, I could reach Vienna and meet Max in person. Thank you so much! I'll send a check and I'll try to come and meet you. From: Linda To: Jack Forwarding this mail from Prof. Johnson. We'll know more when he comes here. Or I'll try to get his Madison number and call him. From: Jack To: Linda Great! Maybe we should call him tonight. I really want to talk to him. From: Prof. Joshua Johnson To: Linda Linda, got your message. You wanted to talk, but I was not able to. Maybe I'll explain in the mail itself. Teleportation basically means instantly transporting something from one place to another. If you can visualize a thing breaking into zillions of particles, and these particles traveling at the speed of light, you've got teleportation in a nutshell. Now what is more important is to convert these particles back to the original object. Exactly. This is where our research comes in. What we try essentially is to send the encrypted master plan of the object along with its particles. This is the information or metadata required to reconstruct the object to its original form. We had almost cracked it. Our experiments were working fine so far. But that day, something messed up. I got into my portal and started the machine. However, my encrypted information somehow got muddled up and instead of Vienna, I landed up in Rafing - 50 miles off! And not just that. The metadata got bungled up, too. My reconstruction hit a snag. I am almost the same original Prof. Joshua Johnson - but minus my speech!
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This reminds me of a Star Trek episode when Bones McCoy is kvetching about using the transporter and "scattering my molecules all over the Universe." I kind of liked the email epistolary approach, too. A nice first story by Dr. Dalvi. Join me on our BBS to welcome her to Anotherealm.