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The Race This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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It's always been a race, hasn't it?
First it was who could develop the best society. Then it was who could invent the best car. The first and best airplane. Then we began to race them.

That was the main argument against teleportation when it was first marketed, I think. It will destroy competition, they said. There will be no more races because people can just teleport places. But more than that, it will completely ruin people's sense of urgency and increase procrastination, because oh, I can just teleport whenever.

A stupid argument, really.

But one we overcame. You see, teleporters have ranges. The farther you teleport, the more chance you have of disintegrating or otherwise scrambling your molecules.

In today's teleportation race, I'm hoping to reach the moon.

I teleport to the starting site a few minutes before post, from my home in New York to the Huntsville Space Center – a historic spot in space travel, and a perfect starting site for a moon landing of a different kind. They're announcing my name as I appear on a small dais, and the people clap mildly. The act of actually teleporting isn't all that interesting; it replaced cars years ago. It's the communication from a distant place they enjoy, the tracker buzzing and displaying an error message, as its subject is out of range.

My competitors appear within seconds of me. They're small, wispy guys who have worked toward this their entire lives. They don't talk much, and their faces are always contorted in concentration. I am the most personable of the four of us, which is probably why I'm the favorite for today's race.

Though my fourteen successful first-prize teleportations help somewhat.

I smile at the crowd, and they cheer. Some, I see, were simply dragged along. I fight to avoid scoffing. They don't understand. They think teleportation is just a function of life. But what they don't get is that teleportation is still a force of will – the type of teleporter matters, but to go the greatest distance one must want with all his or her being to be in that place. That is what gives professional teleporters their edge. And sometimes it's only a fraction of an inch that ­determines the winner.

I don't really hear what the announcer is saying – the same old tosh about the importance of teleportation innovation, the fact that we're trying to get to the moon and if we don't we die, blah, blah, blah. Then, suddenly: “Are the competitors ready?”

I know my part. I say forcefully, “Yes, sir!” My competitors simply nod.

A gunshot, and, through instinct, I am gone. I don't even feel the activator's switch as I flip it; I've done it so many times it feels like an extension of my arm. But in an instant my molecules are rearranged, scattered but still connected by tiny ribbons of energy, and I burst into nothingness.

Here is the hard part of teleportation. In everyday use one simply says where they want to go or enters it onto a keyboard. Once the untrained teleporter enters this window of nothingness, he loses all sense of self and only the essence he left behind can carry him to his destination. But it doesn't work for the longer distances outside the teleporter's range. This is the realm of the professional, those who have been trained to retain that sense of self, that consciousness.

I have that, perhaps more than any competitor, simply because of my strong personality. It sustains me while I am nothing. While I technically do not exist, I will myself toward the moon. I see it in my mind's eye literally zooming toward me. I am vaguely aware of the shadows of my opponents, racing me, trying to will themselves there first. But I will win. I will win. I will …

There's a noise. A ringing …

And I see one of their faces clearly, though I shouldn't. It's probably a memory, but it's clear, as if I was seeing it right now. He's brought with him a distracting whistle, a diabolical cheating method for teleporters that's nearly impossible to detect but still rumored to exist. It permeates my entire nothing-being, resonating through my scattered molecules. I can feel them breaking one by one.

And I think, I'm going to lose myself. And I'm too far to get back.

I'm going to lose the race.

And this is probably my last coherent thought.

Because I can feel myself fading. Fading.

Fading away intoa;sldkjfmacs;dkljfoaisufoeiajflscmksdvfaslkdf;lasdfoiweoiweora;snvnasf'SFASOIF[asjhdfasdhfpoawehfjxzkvnaksjfdhpa …

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.





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This article has 4 comments. Post your own!

LadyJaneGreyThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Feb. 25, 2012 at 4:26 pm:
If it helps, the formatting was off. The last "fading away" was supposed to have trailed off into the string of letters, and there was supposed to be more space in between the letters as the main character's conciousness left him. That was the concept. 
 
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Mathias said...
Feb. 25, 2012 at 9:56 am:

Extremely interesting concept. I really liked how it was written as well. The only thing I would do is take out that part with the dsfkjdfa;jipowjeojas;d. It makes the story take a turn out of its tone, and that was a bit annoying to me.

Otherwise I really like the concept. For something written in a day, it's really well done.

 
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MalBrei said...
Feb. 23, 2012 at 4:52 pm:
Best story ever. Lady Jane Grey is a super-mega-awesome.
 
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asmonderThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Jul. 27, 2011 at 12:18 am:
cool! 
 
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