Scout - - NON-FICTION - By auline iranda

You’ve al­ways dreamed of be­ing able to tele­port. The con­ve­nience this lit­tle magic trick or su­per­power could give would be a so­lu­tion to all your prob­lems, you think. Es­pe­cially so on this chilly spring evening.

You are on a ferry boat in a for­eign land. The waves at the har­bor rock the ship gen­tly, but cou­pled with your hunger and your heart-stop­ping rst bi­cy­cle ride across busy streets, even the gen­tle sway­ing makes your head and your in­sides turn. You’re get­ting sea­sick.

You look out from your win­dow-side seat but see noth­ing. Noth­ing but the lit­tle patches of light at the har­bor re ected on the wa­ter. Noth­ing beyond, no land ahead. Just sea. Lots and lots of sea.

When are we ever go­ing to leave? You won­der, head in your hands. Min­utes pass. The un­in­tel­li­gi­ble ram­bling of a sea safety video buzzes in your ears. The waves con­tinue to rock the boat. Your stom­ach rum­bles. Your head pounds. Why aren’t we mov­ing?

And then you think, how con­ve­nient it would be if you could tele­port. Then and there. Maybe back home, where you can nally lie in bed and rest your tired feet. Or maybe to a good restau­rant rst, be­cause God knows it’s your hunger caus­ing this ter­ri­ble pain in your head.

But tele­por­ta­tion doesn’t hap­pen the way fantasy sto­ries show it. Science says phys­i­cal tele­por­ta­tion isn’t pos­si­ble. (Or per­haps not yet.) Tele­por­ta­tion, the sci­en­tists say, can only be at the atomic or quan­tum level, and only par­ti­cles or data can be trans­ferred. Phi­los­o­phy ques­tions it: If, for ex­am­ple, you were to break your­self down to your core atoms and trans­port these atoms, will the you at the des­ti­na­tion be the same as the you from the point of de­par­ture? A video game se­ries, on the other hand, com­bines all these el­e­ments, break­ing char­ac­ters into atoms and trans­port­ing them—rather, their con­scious­nesses—not through space (alone) but through time.

You lift your head and you see your fel­low pas­sen­gers stand­ing, dis­em­bark­ing one by one. You look out over to the sea, but you see noth­ing. What is hap­pen­ing? Why are we be­ing made to leave?

Slowly, you your­self dis­em­bark. Of all the times for a mal­func­tion it had to be tonight. No one says a thing. Or rather, no one says a thing in English, or any lan­guage you can re­motely un­der­stand. You fol­low the crowd, un­til you exit the har­bor.


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