New York Gone in 2323

Part 18 of my third global warming science fiction novel “Last Week”. Link to Part 01: “Back To Paradise Era”.

Thursday, February 9, 2023, 3:03 P.M.

“Thank you very much, Senator Nutt, for agreeing to this meeting on such short notice,” Angel said, smiling. “This is my friend Satoshi Sakamoto, who is helping me with my time travel mission. I hope you don’t mind his surgical mask, he has a cold and doesn’t want to infect anyone. For starters, I know you all doubt that I am, in fact, a Princess from the 24st Century. I need to establish proof of that basic fact before we can move on.”

“Yes,” Senator Nutt said. “That would certainly be in order. How are you going to prove something like that? You could tell us anything about the future. We would have no way of checking your story.”

“That’s correct. Of course if I tell you that in your Wikipedia article in the 2323 edition you are one of the American presidents, you would probably be inclined to believe me. People always believe it when some prophet or fortune teller tells them that they have a very bright future. But you are right. You would have no way to actually check. But I do have proof. Don’t worry. Note the sunglasses I am wearing? We call them the Glaring Glasses in our Century. There is no way they could have been made by human technology of the 21st Century.”

“They look like normal sunglasses to me,” Alexandrina Heathershaw said. She had found the time to attend. She didn’t expect Angel’s story to actually be true. But she would grab any chance to meet Senator Nutt, who was one of her heroes.

“Do they now,” Angel said. She activated the Glaring Glasses. A short flash of blue light hit Alexandrina in the eyes.

“I am very sorry for having doubted you, Your Majesty,” Alexandrina said, going down on her knees. Obviously the hypnosis worked on her.

“That’s all right, Alexandrina. I expected nothing else. Please get up and take your seat again,” Angel said. “Everybody note some changes in Alexandrina’s behavior right now?”

“I certainly did,” said Senator Nutt. “Have you two been joining forces to pull some kind of prank on me?”

“Of course not,” Angel said. “Alexandrina is under hypnosis from these Glaring Glasses. I’m going to release her right now.” She turned to Alexandrina. “You will now get back to your usual self and you will not remember one thing about the last couple of moments.”

“You still think she is a Princess from the 24st Century?” Roberto Romero asked Alexandrina. He had found the time to attend as well. He didn’t believe in time machines. But he liked the idea of time travel from the 24th Century as a rhetorical device. He was always interested in finding new symbols to make the message of his blog stronger.

“What are you talking about?” Alexandrina said, puzzled. “I never thought her story worked out. Obviously she’s crazy.”

Senator Nutt, Roberto Romero and Theo Birnbaum exchanged looks. Had they just dreamed that Alexandrina was on her knees, calling Angel “Your Majesty”?

Theo Birnbaum was here because he knew the World needed a miracle. Climate change had proceeded unchecked until 2023. CO2 had still not peaked. The World was on a course set firmly for runaway global meltdown. When he heard that Senator Nutt had agreed to meeting someone claiming to be a Princess from the 24th Century, and that Roberto Romero and Alexandrina Heathershaw would be at that meeting as well, he had a hunch that this might just be the miracle he was looking for.

Right now, he was starting to believe that there actually might be something to Angel’s story.

“Listen,” Angel said. “This could be just some cheap magic trick. Hypnosis has been done through the ages. I could even have paid Alexandrina here a million dollars or two to pull this stunt off. But it was the power of the Glaring Glasses all right. Let me try another demonstration. We have this computer game we call the ‘solar cross’ in our Century. Want to try it out for a moment?” Angel was looking at Senator Nutt.

“What’s that game about?” Senator Nutt asked.

“Actually, you’re one of the stars. There are two modes of playing. You can only watch as a spectator. Or you could feel like the star of the action,” Angel explained. “Which one would you prefer?”

“I don’t know,” Senator Nutt said. “Being the star of the action sounds more interesting, I guess.”

Angel smiled.

“You might want to try the other mode first,” Angel said. She put the Glaring Glasses in gaming mode and handed them to Senator Nutt. “Put these on for a moment, if you would like to kindly cooperate in establishing my proof.”

Senator Nutt put the Glaring Glasses on. It took her a couple of moments to understand that she was the main character of the game. And what the point of the game was. She hastily took the Glasses off, frowning.

“That’s a rather tasteless computer graphic,” Senator Nutt said. “Who produced that disgusting garbage? I need to sue them immediately.”

“You won’t be able to sue anybody for that. The creators of this game lived in the early 24th Century,” Angel said. “You didn’t like the idea of the solar cross?”

“What’s the solar cross?” Alexandrina asked.

“You don’t want to know,” Satoshi said. “You really don’t.”

“Anyway. Listen. Senator Nutt, do you understand that present technology could not come up with a graphic interface of that quality?” Angel asked. “The whole point here is to establish that I am, in fact, a time traveler from the 24th Century.”

“I am not familiar with what present computer game technology can do,” Senator Nutt said. “I am rather busy. I don’t have time for games.”

“I see,” Angel said. “We could bring in some experts and have them look at this device. They will immediately recognize that human technology of the 21st Century could never have built this. We will do that later. You can choose some experts. Maybe Greenpeace can choose another expert. Let them look at the device. But we don’t have time for that right now. I think I should start my mission.”

She turned to Satoshi.

“Please take out your phone and take a video of my presentation. We will post it later to my new blog for the World to see.”

Satoshi took his phone out and started recording. He made sure that none of the other people in the meeting were in the picture.

Angel directed her eyes to a white wall of the office they were sitting in. She changed the Glaring Glasses to projector mode. The number 2023 appeared on the wall in a bright red color, filling the whole space there.

“Listen,” Angel said. “This is a presentation from the 2323 Wikipedia article on global warming. Or ‘global meltdown’, as we call it. It’s only the part about sea level rise, and it shows only what happens to New York. Watch.”

The picture changed to a satellite view of New York City in 2023. Then it showed in a rapidly progressing time lapse video how New York City would look after sea levels got 60 meters higher in 2323. The animation took about one second per year, with the year numbers visible in the lower left corner of the picture.

The good news was that Wall Street was still above water, a small island now. The New York Stock Exchange building had survived. Which was good, because they could set up the time machine for Angel on dry ground in 2323. It would have been much more difficult to launch from the bottom of the ocean.

But most of New York City was gone.

“Got that? You can stop recording now,” Angel said to Satoshi.

“Yes. I got it all right,” Satoshi said.

“How about this one? Does it convince you that I am from the future?” Angel asked.

“Yes,” Roberto Romero said. “At least I think that this would be exactly how it would look if someone really came back from the future to warn us. I’ll blog about it. I sure will.”

“Are you kidding me?” Senator Nutt objected. “That kind of animation could easily be done with present technology. That’s just more of the usual unfounded alarmism. I don’t believe one bit of it.”

“That’s unfortunate,” Angel said. “How about you choosing an expert to look at the device?”

“I won’t be party to such a ridiculous exercise,” Senator Nutt said. “Are you done already? I am not sure I have much more time for this.”

“Actually, I’m not done. Not by a long shot. There is much more I have to tell humanity. There is the death count, for example.”

“Death count?” Theo Birnbaum asked. “How did that play out?”

“The United States was lucky. Almost a million people survived. Most nations suffered much worse,” Angel explained.

“Let me get this straight,” Alexandrina said. “You say that billions of people will die from global warming?”

“Exactly,” Angel said. “Listen. This is actually the easy part. After a couple of hundred years, our generation will finally stop the positive feedback loop caused by your greed and your stupidity. But there is something else. An even greater danger.”

“What? A greater danger than global warming?” Theo Birnbaum asked.

“Yes. There is a 400 kilometer asteroid called Moros 27 headed for Earth. It will impact on July 17, 2327, ending all life on this planet. That’s why I came back to your Century. We need to start a serious asteroid deflection program over the next three hundred years. But there won’t be the necessary resources for that if global warming proceeds unchecked,” Angel explained.

“So what do you propose? How are we supposed to deal with the crisis?” Roberto Romero asked.

“I’ll tell you that later. It’s really easy for someone who knows a bit of the history of the coming three centuries. The purpose of this meeting is not to explain the solution. The purpose of this meeting is to prove that I’m for real. I need your help to get my message out to humanity,” Angel said.

“I think this whole business is completely crazy,” Senator Nutt said. “This meeting is over, as far as I’m concerned.”

“I see,” Angel said. She activated the Glaring Glasses briefly. A short burst of blue light hit Senator Nutt.

Nothing happened. She was immune to the hypnosis.

“Never mind. It was nice talking to you. Thank you for your time,” Angel said. “I’ll be in touch.”

Link to part 19: Non Standard Oil CEO John Baker

Published by kflenz

Professor at Aoyama Gakuin University, Tokyo. Author of Lenz Blog (since 2003, lenzblog.com).

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