“It’s designed to jettison into space in case of a boarding. But if you do jettison, then you need a code to keep it from blowing up. Benj, the Captain, never gave me the code.” He says this idly, as the doors close. “You come from interesting times, you know.”
“I come from interesting times?” I extend a pair of tendrils like arms gesturing at the walls, movement has turned out to be almost as simple as thought, “You say this will jettison into space. That means we’re on a space ship? Do you have any idea how long I've dreamed of being on a space ship? How many people like me have dreamed of it?” I pause a moment, wondering at the source of the sound I am making, wondering at the shape of myself. I am confused, but steady. What strange and familiar sensations I bring myself. My thoughts are clear, “How the deuce do you know what times I come from? Who are you? Where am I? What’s going on?”
He laughs. “You know it’s a little eerie to talk to you. I’ve never met a free spirit before.” His teeth form a piano and he smells amused. “Benj told me that they found you in some Martian ruins. It’s part of my price of hire that I act as a sort of chaperon for you. Mykola--that’s the old man--Mykola has been working on the stone for decades, and I’d imagine he knows more about you than you do. He’s told me a bit, but I’m not all that clear, honestly. Asking him questions is like putting your hand into an open flame.” The box comes to a stop. I hadn’t even noticed it moving. The doors open into an amphitheater. “Here,” he says, walking down a flight of stairs towards the stage, “Skipper! Get us a picture of the Solar System. I’ll try and catch you up on the history.”
The room goes pitch black for a fraction of an instant and then is lit by a globe of pure lava. Wait, no... that’s the sun. And there’s planets surrounding it. It looks so totally different from what I remember of going through it a few moments and centuries ago, “That’s the Earth. The continents are wrong. It’s upside down or something.” Continental drift wouldn’t account for this. The basic layout is too similar. I’m not that far in the future, it seems.
He laughs at me. “Upside down?” He takes the Earth in his hands and brings it over to me. The whole Solar System moves in concert with it. “There’s no such thing with a ball. Regardless, it is aligned North-South.”
“No. Antarctica should be on the bottom. What year is this?”
“The year? 529 UN. You used the energy released by the polar shift to bring yourself here. Skipper, take us back to UN 67.973 and hold.” The Earth flickers into a different position. “Bring up the stars, please.” The room instantly becomes almost bright. “Now, this point of the year should be the Solstice, when winter and summer begin, depending on your hemisphere. This is the point when one end of the Earth is pointed most directly at the sun, and the other end of the Earth is pointed most directly away. At this point the North Pole is experiencing perpetual night, while the South Pole is basking in an endless day. Skipper, play it three million times.” Why would anyone want to watch something three million times?
Oh, he said, “at” I realize as the Earth spins at what is probably three million times its normal rate. Oddly, though, the planets behind us are moving down until they fade into the floor and the planets ahead, and the sun, are all moving up. “What’s this all about?”
“Slow to one thousand times.” The Earth spins at a rate where I can focus on its surface. “The computer is holding the Earth in front of us so we don’t have to move to watch it.”
“Yes, I get that, but why are the planets all moving?”
“Only in relation to the Earth. Here. Skipper, return to UN 67.973 and play from the view of the whole system, give us a meter distant, top-down view. Play at fifty million times.” The planets flicker into a wheel in front of us. “So now you can see a little better, maybe.” I can see. The Earth flips over within about fifteen seconds. The other planets turn, too, but I’m not watching them.
“Well, at least it’s quick, I say,” wryly.
“Twenty three years,” he says.
“Goes by like that.” I have no fingers to snap so the statement is a bit meaningless. I see it in my mind, though. The tilt of the Earth shifting more and more, making summer and winter both more drastic. Twelve years into this, day will have been seasonal in the tropics and a constant teasing twilight along the equator. The weather wouldn’t know what to do with itself, like God Himself has gone manic depressive, laughing and crying in random ecstatic bursts. Twenty three years of the science of meteorology going schizoid. “What did people do?”
“Skipper, access tube archives for news for the decade of UN 70, as well as personals. News on the right. Personals left.” He orders.
“Better that I show you. It’s not exactly my focus. Not exactly required reading.” There’s a list of videos like on Youtube, splayed in a wheel just in front of the Tropic of Cancer. “Pick one that looks interesting.”
Is that Ron Paul? “Ron Paul?”
“Ladies and gentlemen,” He begins. He looks haggard. More haggard than he’d been while campaigning in LA and he’d been a skin-made costume for the god of sleep then. “Ladies and gentlemen of the congress, it is time that we face facts.” It is almost as though he were a silicone copy of himself left in the sun too long and sagging. “It is the thirty-first of March. The sun set two hours ago. I myself, woke up about four hours ago.” His smile is forced and the laughter is nervous. “These are not ordinary times. I remember only a few years ago, there was a scare about oil scarcity. Wow. With the heating bill, and the national debt, being what they are, I’m amazed now that the heat here is running.” His voice rises to a punchline pitch. “There’s more empty seats here than full.”
He wheezes like a ghost, “This is not how I ever pictured the Rapture. I remember an old spiritual, ‘God gave Noah the rainbow sign, no more water but fire next time.’” He sounds almost as though he is singing. He is laughing. “Is that really important anymore?” His laughter sobs itself away. “Right now work is beginning on a new UN headquarters in Antarctica. I’ve heard rumors that they’re really just renovating ancient ruins there. Of course it’s impossible to get there and see, security measures being what they are. I do not have to tell you how strange this is. With calls coming all over the nation to ratify this bill ceding US sovereignty to the United Nations, I myself am tempted to urge you on in favor of it. Even despite its innapproachability. Desperate times. They say desperate times call for desperate measures.” He trails off momentarily.
“I’m not finished. Are you finished? Finished fending for yourself, making your own decisions? Living. No. But I know this bill will pass and with it goes freedom. We’ll all be implanted with international ID chips so that evacuations become easier. There will be a lot of evacuations, this is true. The world has turned upside down, and now its crust is catching up. And then how long until the weather goes back to normal? There’s the violent storms, the tidal waves, more and more every year. But worse than that is the bone-shattering cold. Already more and more young children and old people are dying. I lost--” He chokes up. “I’ll be dead before I finish speaking.
“I suspect I will be, because I swear to you I am not going to stop speaking while there is any chance that we are going to turn over the lives of three-hundred-million men women and children to an international bureaucracy with no sense -- no mode -- of accountability!
“Sure, sure, if the Earth is really not going to stop tilting until it’s flipped over completely, then we are going to need organization that can remove and house an entire hemisphere of the globe. The US government can’t do that. We just don’t have the authority to migrate our people to the other half of the globe! But what’s to say that the UN can? Or will?
“And as for the Federal Reserve--”
“How long does this go on?” Raoul asks.
“After a ninety-two hour solo filibuster, Representative Ron Paul was rushed to the ER.” Gretchen Carlson says, her name written under her face in the new video. Fox News. “Doctors say it is unlikely he will survive. More and more of our elderly are dying every day in what experts are calling, ‘The Worst Winter in History,’” the title appears at the bottom of the screen. “In light of the fact that the world is being turned upside down, Congress rushed a bill through detailing the cession of authority to the UN until this state of emergency comes to a close. A similar bill is making its way through the Senate. President Obama urges compliance with new codes, stating, ‘This is an unprecedented level of danger on a global scale. It reminds us that we are not truly Americans, but human beings. Earthlings. If we are going to survive then we have to work together.”
“How about some of the personal videos? That guy looks angry.”
“The international bankers have controlled the world economy since before there was a world economy. They have killed presidents, inventors and revolutionaries. They have financed every side of every war with cynical, diabolical mathematics to make the winners pay as much as possible before the end. They hyped up the Year Two Thousand so that we would ignore the warnings about Twenty-Twelve. And now, with all of human history at its climax, what do they do? The Rothschild family relocates to what used to be the South Pole. Ford releases its Sky Rover, a flying car which runs on water, which we as a species have long had the technology for...”