Tuesday, February 7, 2023, 4:07 A.M.
The bar was almost empty. Only three people were sitting at the counter when Angel and Satoshi entered the place. Jazz music was playing quietly in the background. The bartender greeted Satoshi and took their orders.
“Nice bar,” Angel said. “You come here often?”
“No,” Satoshi answered. “Sometimes. It’s just the only one in the area that’s open all night.”
“You drink a lot?” Angel asked.
“Not really. That would distract from writing. I can get high much better on writing than on booze. Do you have alcohol in the 24st Century?”
“Yes. Fortunately, that is one of the wonders of civilization that has survived. We also have all sorts of drugs. We sure need to get plastered every once in a while to forget the miserable life we get. Of course, the variety and quality has gone way down,” Angel explained. “By the way, can you give me the time? I need to know if the time machine hit the target.”
Satoshi looked at his watch. “It is ten past four o’clock in the morning.”
“And what date?”
“Excellent,” Angel said. “It worked. I arrived exactly at my destination. What a fantastic success!”
“So, what’s your mission?” Satoshi asked. “Ready to tell me about it already?”
“Not everything. But I will explain some more. It’s not just about me getting to eat a hamburger. Though, as far as I am concerned, that part of the mission clearly has priority over everything else. Can you guess what else I might want from your World?”
“That’s easy,” Satoshi said. “These time travelers from the future always want to prevent some disaster from happening. I write this kind of stuff all the time.”
“Any specific disaster coming to mind?”
“Again, that’s easy. You’re here to stop global warming,” Satoshi answered.
“Exactly. At least, that’s the part I can explain to you right now. There is a little bit more to it. We’ll get to that later,” Angel said. “You are moderately smart as well as rich. I was very lucky to find you at my first attempt.”
“You sure were,” Satoshi said. “But your mission is still hopeless. You want to stop global warming with only one week left in your life? And you won’t even concentrate on that task, but take a lot of time to eat hamburgers or something? You think you can stop global warming in a week, only devoting a part of that time to the task? I don’t know if you’re from the 24th Century, but I sure know you’re crazy. I like it.” Satoshi smiled.
“Of course I can do that in a couple of days. That’s the easy part,” Angel said. “I’m a Princess. Everybody will listen to me.”
“You may run into some problems with that,” Satoshi said. His smile grew bigger by the minute. He was having a great time. This was clearly worth already handing over those 600 dollars.
“I know,” Angel said. “Of course, most of you morons in the 21st Century don’t know me yet. A most unfortunate state of affairs. I must admit it. But that will change. Tomorrow I will contact Theo and Roberto, for starters. They will help me spread the message.”
“Theo? And Roberto?” Satoshi said.
“Listen. I may have only one week to solve this little global warming problem. But I have spent a lot of time preparing for this mission. I know exactly what I’m doing. Theo Birnbaum. And Roberto Romero. That ring a bell with you?” Angel said.
“No,” Satoshi said. “I’m sorry. I am not familiar with who is who in the climate activism network.”
“Okay. No problem. You will learn. Theo Birnbaum is the leader of Greenpeace. You may have heard of them. And Roberto Romero is the leading climate change blogger.”
“I see,” Satoshi said.
“I will meet them tomorrow and tell them what to do. I will also start some attacks on the opposition. Alexandrina Heathershaw. Annalina Nutt. And James Baker. Ever heard of them?” Angel asked.
“I have. I could check them out from the 24th Century. They have Wikipedia entries. Those have survived. We still have Internet in our World. And, in the case of Alexandrina, we also have the archives of her blog.”
“She’s a blogger?”
“Yes. One of the leading climate change deniers in your time. It will be a lot of fun dealing with her. I am looking ahead to getting to meet Alexandrina. I really do. Not so much as I was looking forward to that hamburger, though,” Angel said.
“And Annalina Nutt? That name sounds sort of familiar. But I can’t place it right now,” Satoshi said.
“She’s a Senator. To give you a hint, she has received some substantial contributions from fossil fuel interests. What do you think might her position be on global warming issues?” Angel asked.
“Probably whatever her sponsors want it to be,” Satoshi said.
“Exactly. You really are smart. I am very lucky to have found you so early in my mission,” Angel said. “And John Baker just happens to be the most important of those sponsors. He’s the CEO of Non Standard Oil, the biggest fossil fuel company on the planet after the great mergers of 2021.”
“These fossil fuel companies make a lot of money, don’t they? Why do you think you have a chance to win against them, with only one week left?” Satoshi said.
“I am counting on my considerable force of persuasion. They will listen to me. Believe me. Again, that’s the easy part,” Angel said. “By the way, I will need some place to stay for the remaining week of my life.”
“I think I may be able to help with that,” Satoshi said.