Themba took the moletrain because he was too scared to teleport. Most of Cape Town was.
They had all seen the first public demonstration on Watchtube gone horribly wrong. Watched Miss Kruitvoet be turned from a nubile young lady into a gooey pool of malformed DNA in a matter of nanoseconds. The kinks had been mostly ironed out of teleportation machines since– and incidents were far and few between – but still most people preferred the moletrain.
At some level you had to wonder why. The trains had been state of the art in 2043 but now looked as though they could fall apart any time. A lot of them did as a matter of fact. These days travel by moletrain was 108.7 times as hazardous as teleportation. It was also 1,000 Rand cheaper.
So far Themba had dodged every possible bullet. No power cuts. No fires. No head-on collisions. But today his luck ran out. A bolt popped, a track swayed and the carriage was flipped to its side amid ominous fire sparks.
Themba grabbed a bar and pulled his body as close to it as he could. Corpses of fellow passengers bumped painfully into him but Themba didn’t let go. He just closed his eyes and prayed. And he promised himself that if he came out of this alive, he might give teleportation a try.
That was exactly the kind of reasoning The Beam-Up Company, patent holder of teleportation machines, was hoping for when they bought a 75 percent stake in the biggest moletrain operator in South-Africa as a silent shareholder, cutting the maintenance budget in half every year since.
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