Written by Haisam Elkewidy
By metro, it took me half that time assuming I had a pound in my pocket each day.
In hyperspace, it was only a matter of seconds. And it was for free.
And nobody knew a thing about it.
A new firm allowed us to use this technology, on the contractual condition that it wouldn’t be disclosed to anyone. Argyle Inc., a company dedicated to clandestine operations with adjacent Middle Eastern nations, knew that their employees lived in far remote locations across Cairo. Because of the severity of the job, the chairman allowed each one of us to brandish Rolex watches of a certain kind; the kind that put our entire bodies into hyper drive and allowed us to travel far distances in almost an instant.
I rose out of my bed and donned my clothes. Wearing the watch on my right hand, I walked out of the door and out into the open street. Once traffic was clear and empty, and it usually was the case at around five a.m. or so, I twisted the watch hands clockwise then counterclockwise. As soon as I took a step forward, my entire body accelerated at speeds far greater than light. Einstein’s relativity kicked into action, and it kicked harder than someone’s foot slamming into my rear.
Lights blazed and glowed in front of me, while my surroundings went into a complete blur. I couldn’t feel my legs, only aware of how quickly they cycled through the roads.. The thrill was ecstatic. I crossed the Ring Road with tremendous ease, and I bedazzled myself every time I made it back to the office unscathed and unnoticed. If I ever have kids, I’ll let them know that this should not be tried at home, I told myself. Still, I braced for the worst and tried to maintain my balance trying to head to work.
Seconds later, I was at Argyle Inc.’s front door. The apartment was in an abandoned, unfinished tower among many in the Fifth Settlement. Only three out of the fifty apartments scheduled for completion here were done, and it had remained so for years. Nobody bothered to come by here and, evidently so, there was not a single car in sight – for a good reason. I entered the building and ascended the somewhat-working elevator, rising to the tenth floor and entering the office just normally.
For people who can get to their office almost instantaneously, it surprised me how nobody was as lazy as in other places I worked in. I would’ve reckoned that people would have more excuses for being late. As the idiom went: If I could teleport, I’d still be late. But nope, this was not the case here.
Since all the employees had arrived, they were staring at the TV screen.
Somehow, a long, thin, dent had been created in the middle of the Ring Road highway. Live footage from Akhbar Al-Kanaa El Owla showcased aerial footage of a large cut through the middle of the highway, which created a dent so deep into the asphalt that cars skidded off the road and tumbled to their sides off-balance. Many cars and trucks circumnavigated the incision; a closer inspection from the cameras showing drivers baffled by the cut in the road, some have parked to gawk at the huge unnatural occurrence. Many janitors, and police officers, stood near the dent and tried to make sense of how it happened. “This isn’t supposed to happen,” one employee justified. “Someone misused their hyper drive and left a devastating mark on traffic!”
I peered further into the news network, trying to see what they were uncovering. Until they started showing footage from people’s cellphones. A tall female with brown hair stood before the camera and started talking to the media. From what I could gather, the monologue account went as follows:
“It had just occurred this morning,” the lady said. “I felt a huge thrust of wind push me off the highway and to the side of it. I was lucky the cement blockades prevented me from falling off into the sand. Praise the Lord there were no cars in sight, they would’ve gotten crushed easily.”
“Did you see anyone driving recklessly, or unusually?”
“No, I don’t even think it was somebody driving,” the lady said. “But would you believe it? Someone was actually running at these incredible speeds! Like it was Superman or something…”
“Any individuals you noticed? Anyone catch your eye?”
“I believe so,” she said. “I was trying to shoot a video to trigger the homesickness of Egyptians abroad, early in the morning, and somehow I caught a glimpse of the natural force occurring.”
I paid close attention to that line, somehow battling my own angst. Not to worry, you should be fine.
Then she started showing the cellular footage. Early in the morning, they were situated in a vehicle trying to capture the environment. Until the blast occurred, and someone was caught dashing along the center of the ring road, blitzing along the highway like nothing could stop it. As much blurry as it was, I squinted at the blurred-out shape in the footage, and simply could not believe my eyes.
Holy shit! I told myself. We’re on the verge of being exposed, and I’m at fault here, I told myself. It was strict protocol at Argyle, Inc. not to get caught with this technology or tell anyone. Why? Because it was a privilege to bypass the tenacious traffic of Cairo streets. One discovery, and everyone will suddenly be on our heels trying to do the same thing. Rather than try to solve the problem, we were told to avoid it completely.
And I wouldn’t mind that at all until the word starts to get out.
I heard murmuring near the cubicles and the main lobby, and it became crystal clear. Aware of the stakes, I slowly walked out of the office and out to the main front door. Adjusting the watch, I set the coordinates for the position at the Ring Road, trying to recall where the dent might have occurred. Then I closed my eyes, breathed heavily, and took an extra step into hyperspace.
I’d have to find a way to clear the mess I, apparently, created before everyone starts coming after us for it. The demand for hyperspace would skyrocket, and even risk governmental intervention if it ever got to that point. And all the while, I asked myself one question. What have I done?