First Teleport I
Benedetto wakes up. It’s already eleven. His cab will arrive in 30 minutes. He has not yet finished packing and he feels a little despair that it won’t be enough time. He jumps out of bed and start to dress up and simultaneously to put stuff inside his suitcase. The trip isn’t long but I should make sure to look “professional” — he thinks. Every time he is confronted with the need to look professional he wonders if maths would have been a better choice than economy. I don’t see mathematicians wearing suits often — he begrudges a bit in thoughts. But then, as he goes through his suits to choose one, he feels a bit pleased that they seem to make him look like a grown up man.
After choosing the blue-grayish suit, he checks his reflection in the mirror to make sure he made his best effort to look formal and respectful within the limited time available. A quick check also on the clock; he still have ten minutes to go. That seems enough time to get a cup of coffee before leaving. He thinks about checking the news but quickly gives up — There won’t be much that can cheer me up and honestly, I don’t need anything to put me down — he concludes pouring the fresh coffee in a large cup. He watches the vapor vortex spreading in the air while slowly drinking his coffee and enjoys these few peaceful minutes before leaving the house for another travel.
The cab arrives at eleven thirty two, Benedetto is already outside waiting, with a relatively small suitcase and a computer. He enters the car and hopes that there won’t be heavy traffic, but his hopes quickly vanish when he looks at the GGPS (Gravity global positioning system) screen with loads of red areas in the road map. Isn’t is astonishing that today, 100 years after the first successful teleportation, we still need to deal with the same problems? I never actually believe in teleportation before it became a thing, but If any, I would have expected it to solve the problems of traffic and mobility — Benedetto wander in his thoughts until he is interrupted by the driver:
— What time do you need to be at the Teleport?
— What time is your travel? I guess we’ll be pretty slow for a few kilometers.
— 1p.m. Do you think we can make it?
— Well, guarantees we have for nothing, but we’ll see. Where are you going?
— New York.
— To work?
— Sort of…Well, yes.
— So what do you do?
— I am a researcher.
— What do you research?
— The economic and to some extend social and political impacts of teleportation in our society.
— I see…one thing you can know for sure is that the impact of eliminating traffic didn’t happen, huh? — Jokes the driver, loudly laughing afterwards, as if he was proud of his own funniness.
And silence is re-established. Benedetto thinks again about checking the news but is captured by the same kind of thought he had earlier and decided to just contemplate the view outside the window. Even after living so many years in other countries he still thinks Rome is somewhat fascinating, despite all of what it had gone through. He finds himself excited about his trip after all, the Rome teleport has recently being inaugurated and everyone is wondering if it will be as successful as the one in Milan. It’s a nice chance to check it personally.
Despite his self-amusement with his own train of thoughts for a great part of the journey, suddenly the windows become not very exciting, landscape barely changes and it seems that they are hardly moving. Precisely 45 minutes went by since they left. Benedetto then starts to worry they won’t make it in time. He ask the driver if there is any alternative route they might take.
— Not that I am aware of. I guess the problems are the celebrations, you know?
— I see.
Benedetto goes silent and engages in a bit of self-mental flogging. I should have known better. I should have been aware that people would come to those celebrations, I should have checked what would be the attraction in each teleport and not relied in my shaky assumption that everywhere else would have a talk just like mine. Maybe I should have read the news this morning, whatever it is the celebration in this teleport, it should be on the news. Maybe I should have tried something else? Subway?
— From this point ahead we cannot proceed by car — The driver interrupts Benedetto stream of thoughts, pointing to the barricades placed by the police and the crowd of people they behind them.
— Okay, thanks.
He pays and hops off the car. There is a 15 minute walk ahead. Or at least it should be, if it wasn’t completely crowded with people. The clocks strikes 12:30h, Benedetto worries.
Outside the Teleport there is a huge stage, there is also some loud music but it is not clear, for him, what exactly is the connection between the bands playing and the celebrations of the teleportation anniversary, if there is any. As Benedetto slowly moves through the crowd he realizes he may not make it in time. And although he tries to calm down, the thought that he is going to be late, or even worse, completely absent of the most important event of his career cripples in and makes him anxious.
He tries to walk faster, but there is only 8 minutes left and he gets on the verge of despair. He keeps pushing through people but it doesn’t seem like he will have enough time to make his travel. He keeps going anyway, in the hope that somehow he will find a solution. He wonders how many years we will still need to live before our lives are not heavily based on hopes. He finally reaches the teleport hall, and anxiously approaches the helpdesk, he avoids to look at the clock, trying to keep a magical thought that everything would be fine.
— Hello, I have a teleportation for New York at 1p.m. — He says, already offering his thumbs for finger scanning.
— I am sorry, but you are too late.
— No even a chance…?
— Unfortunately not.
Benedetto tries to keep the composure but his disappointment doesn’t let him. He immediately sulks and freezes while his heart is accelerated beating. I cannot believe it, I cannot believe it. I cannot…
— But there may be an option Sir. — The clerk voice breaks his recently started trance.
He again fix his eyes on the clerk. He noticed that she turned her screen towards him as if to explain something. He again tries to keep composure and low expectations, but he is quite relief even by the possibility that it might exist an option.