The North Wind

Inspector Pinkerton’s curiosity was nearly sated after he read a few books about what had been happening on Earth over the previous fifty years.  The stories of disasters, refugees, wars over resources, mass migrations, and the struggles of the remaining powerful nations jockeying for supremacy had made him sullen.  He went to the bar and asked the bartender for something strong in a big glass, the bartender made a drink he called ‘The Abyss’ and slid it over to Pinkerton.  As ‘The Abyss’ sunk into the Inspector and he sunk into the abyss, he made his way to his new quarters in Atafu by means he couldn’t recall.  The last he remembered he was half way through his first glass, then he woke up face-down on the floor about halfway between the door and the bed in a room he had never been in before.

He got to his feet and wandered into the bathroom where he found a towel, a bathrobe, and a note saying, “Clean yourself up, get dressed, and meet me for brunch at the Tupuna Inn.”  There was a hand-drawn map on the bottom of the note, but no indication of who had left it for him.  He decided he ought to give it a go.  After showering and finding an outfit laid out for him on the bed, Pinkerton followed the map to a large cabana near the beach with a small hand-painted sign telling him he had gone to the right place.

The Inspector looked around the Tupuna and didn’t see anyone that appeared to be looking for him, so he took a seat at a table facing toward the beach and asked for a coffee.  Someone walked up behind him and poked him in the back of the head.

“How’s the head?”

Pinkerton turned around to see the Admiral standing there, “It’s a bit tender for some unknown reason.  I suppose you might have some explanation for it though.”

“I do.  You drank The Abyss after not having alcohol for over fifty years and fell off your barstool.  Your head hit the floor hard enough that it got everyone’s hearts racing, we couldn’t have our honored guest be the first death on Tokelau since the occupation began.”

“And you carried me to my room?”

“You wouldn’t have any of it, I just walked behind you shouting directions.  I opened the door and you walked a few steps into the room and fell face down, started snoring instantly.”

“Flattery will get you nowhere, Admiral.”

“The name is George.”

Pinkerton recalled instantly who the Admiral was.  He was Inspector Tomkinson, J.R.’s old partner.  He knew there was something familiar about the man, but he had never seen George’s face since he was blind when they worked together.

“So you didn’t drop me off at the lab, you stayed there?”

“I put in my retirement paperwork and was recruited by the University to join their genetic manipulation study.  I was glad to sign myself up for the possibility of healing my own injuries, but when I learned the true scope of what they were planning to do, I had to bring you in.”

“Thanks, I guess.  Why are you always whistling Gymnopedies No. 2?”

“It seemed to be the only song that calmed you.  Your gene therapy had the unfortunate side-effect of occasional bouts of furious insanity.”

“Check.”

The waiter chuckled at Pinkerton’s request and told him that his coffee was free.

The Admiral and the Inspector walked to George’s house nearby and sat down to catch up.  George told Pinkerton about the wars that happening while Pinkerton was hibernating, some of which Pinkerton already knew, and about the disastrous effects of climate change that had caused more wars.

The planet had been in a warming cycle when Pinkerton and Tomkinson had last spoken, sea levels were rising and they continued to rise until billions of people were displaced.  Then, hypothetically as a result of the sea level rises and water seeping into magma chambers, hundreds of volcanoes began erupting.  The ash clouds from the ring of fire and Yellowstone Caldera blacked out the sun for several years, dramatically cooling the planet in spectacular fashion and spiraling it into another ice age. Over the ensuing fifty years, the ice caps progressed to around 45° latitudes with winter ice and snow to nearly the Tropics.  The rapid shift in conditions was attributed to a combination of the volcanic ash and the nuclear fallout when the wars for food resources began.

Tomkinson snickered and said, “Mexico built a border wall and wouldn’t let the Americans in, it still makes me laugh.”

“What about the space colonization?”

“Well, old friend, you were a hero to all for a while there.  Somehow Alexander managed to wipe out all the stocks of medical and military technologies made from your DNA, then went on a crazed mission to rule the solar system.  He wiped out all of the modified humans, then killed off all of the colonies.  We were worried when he got a hold of you that he’d put an end to it once and for all, but he apparently saw the tactical advantage of only having supercharged DNA in his crack troops.  It seemed a bit odd that he didn’t keep you for longer until we got this.”

George slid a tablet over to J.R., it showed an intercepted communication between Haruki and Alexander.  The message stated that Pinkerton’s genes were breaking down and nearly unusable for the project, and his abilities would be rapidly deteriorating.  Then George told him that the tests the Atlantians had conducted to confirm or deny those claims would have results by the end of the day.

Pinkerton walked back to his room, reeling from the information he’d taken in and the fact that he had a ferocious hangover and still hadn’t eaten anything.  He found a freeze-dried meal on the table in his room with a note that said, “Nothing like home cooking when you’ve had a rough day. – George”, on it.

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