Checking Out

Part 31 of my third global warming science fiction novel “Last Week”. Link to Part 1: “Back To Paradise Era”.

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 14 2023 8:57 P.M.

“So, that’s it,” Angel said. “It was nice spending my last week with you. Thank you. Do you have any last comments for me?”

“Yes,” Satoshi said. “Thank you as well. And don’t worry. I don’t love you one bit. I will phone for some escort or other once I get out of here.”

He was lying through his teeth. Angel didn’t need the Glaring Glasses to understand that. It was rather obvious from his expression.

“I’m not worried. You’ll do just fine,” Angel said, lying right back to him.

“And one other thing,” Satoshi said. “These little global warming and asteroid deflecting problems. I’ll take them from here. Your mission has been a success.”

“I guess it has,” Angel said. “I wish that was not true, though. But there’s no way I could have avoided succeeding, once I actually got started. Go get me a glass of water, please.”

Angel prepared a couple of sleeping pills. They would be strong enough to knock her out for the remaining six hours of her life, but not enough to kill her.

“Here you are,” Satoshi said, coming back with the glass of water. “’Bye.” The tears in his eyes were clearly visible now.

“’Bye,” Angel said, gulping the pills down. “Let’s hold hands for a couple of last moments.”

Angel lay down on the bed in Satoshi’s apartment’s guest room. Satoshi lay down next to her, holding her hand for a couple of minutes, until the pills worked and she was fast asleep.

Then he left the apartment, exactly as he had promised he would. He didn’t hesitate for a second, didn’t even look back at Angel as he left her room. He would have liked staying until the last moment. Angel would never know. But he had made a promise, and while he was not schooled in the Ten Commandments of the 24th Century, he did agree with the idea of keeping his word.

He had told Angel that he would buy himself a hooker to keep him company right after he left the apartment. But that was a lie. He had even understood that she had seen right through it. He didn’t feel like doing that at all. Not today. Not as Angel was in the process of disappearing from the 21st Century World.

Instead, he tried writing. He had a couple of projects going on which he had neglected for the last week. And he would, of course, write a book on his experience with Angel.

But he couldn’t concentrate. His thoughts strayed back to the apartment all the time. Was she still there? When exactly would she disappear? Could he make it in time if he decided to break his promise and go back, to touch her one last time?

After the fifth time that his mind wandered away from the manuscript at hand he finally gave up. Today was not the day to make any progress. He would continue tomorrow.

Instead he put on the Glaring Glasses and started to check out some future history. That would distract him, he hoped.

He started looking at the asteroid. Moros 27. He already knew that it had a 400 kilometer diameter and would impact on Earth on July 17th, 2327. He had already seen the computer simulation of how that would lead to a tight blanket of vaporized rock hugging the planet for a couple of years, destroying all life.

The Glaring Glasses showed him pictures and video of the asteroid. The 24th Century humanity had not lost all space technology, but all they could do was watch as the threat came closer each day. They had no way left to deflect the asteroid to a safe path on the short notice of only a couple of years.

It could be done with a big, coordinated effort over a couple of Centuries. There were several different strategies. Delaying the asteroid for only a couple of minutes would be enough to avoid impact, since the Earth would have moved out of the impact zone in that time. Deflecting it by a very small amount would do the trick as well.

There were lots of methods to do that already known to 21st Century technology. Use nuclear weapons to generate some deflecting energy. Attach a big solar sail. Attach conventional rocket engines. Use focused solar energy to vaporize part of the asteroid, creating thrust. There would be other methods developed in the coming centuries, once humanity understood the stakes.

Angel’s sacrifice had a good reason, Satoshi thought. And even with the Glaring Glasses his thoughts went back to her. He took them off. This didn’t work either.

Satoshi started up his computer and pointed his browser to Alexandrina’s blog. Maybe that would help to distract him.

He noted that Angel’s comment had been published, just like the previous comments she had made at the “Galileo Now” blog. Alexandrina was wrong about global warming, but she did not reject comments just because they disagreed with her. That of course helped growing her readership base.

And she had actually answered this comment in a post of her own. Alexandrina said again that this story about a Princess from the 24th Century didn’t convince her one bit. And the idea of Angel disappearing after one last week didn’t have much merit either, in Alexandrina’s opinion.

But she did acknowledge that one could support the “Buy&Hoard” idea from a skeptical position about global warming. Obviously, fossil fuel took millions of years to form, so it would run out eventually. And it was indeed a requirement of basic fairness to leave more of the treasure for future generations.

On the other hand, she didn’t believe that this “solution” would make sense as an investment strategy. How could oil become more valuable if you refused to sell it? What was the sense in developing the Canadian tar sands and building the Keystone pipeline at great cost, just to let the oil stay in the ground? People could have had that result much easier.

“She may have a point,” Satoshi thought. He would need to think about it. But he wasn’t able to concentrate on that either. Today was not the day for any productive activity. He finally gave up.

He poured himself a glass of water and took exactly the same amount of sleeping pills Angel had taken.

After a couple of minutes he joined her in a deep sleep, though at a different place.

Link to part 32: Discussing the Princess Hoax

Published by kflenz

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

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