The previous days had been full of interesting information to Pinkerton. The true revelation came when he realized that his engineered genes became the basis of a global revolution. The true scope and magnitude of the changes to humanity and the environment over the sixty years between going to the University as a test subject and landing on what used to be a tiny atoll were bewildering. Especially considering the fact that Tokelau had become a series of mountains sticking out of the sea with coral lined freshwater lakes atop each island. Before the ice age started just 50 years ago, Tokelau had all but disappeared beneath the waves. The combination of natural and man-made disasters had not only reversed the warming of the planet, it had gone too far on the backswing and displaced more people than the warming would have. Earth’s population just before Pinkerton’s exile was nearing 8 billion, and the best estimates after his return showed the population at around 3 billion. That scale of loss was stupefying to the Inspector, and it apparently sat heavily on everyone old enough to remember the old days.
Pinkerton ate his freeze dried meal and walked down to the beach. He found a small boat with a sail and a double outrigger tied off about halfway between the road and the beach. For some reason, he couldn’t resist trying his luck with the craft. He dragged the little vessel down to the water and sailed off to the west. Pinkerton was at odds with himself over the choice between sailing away in his stolen vessel, or coming about and returning to the island.
He decided that he should try to sail back to the island but soon realized that he didn’t know the first thing about sailing, not to mention sailing against the wind. As he turned the sailing craft about and began tacking against the wind, the wind grew stronger and capsized the vessel. Pinkerton suddenly found himself floating in the open ocean again, assessing all the decisions he had made in his life to that point. While he stared up at the sun and had his long moment of introspection, one thought became unshakable. He was unique among the dwindling numbers of humanity, he was durable and had longevity on his side. On the other side of the coin, he was floating in the open sea for the second time in a week.
“Maybe they’ll use their handy little J.R. tracker and come get me.”
As the sun was setting, Pinkerton started to question the existence of a tracking device and attributed George and Samira’s finding him the last time to pure dumb luck. On the bright side, the high salinity of the condensed oceans made him buoyant enough to take a little nap. The Inspector fell asleep and his body went into hibernation status until he washed ashore at Rotuma. His body, still able to control skin tone and to heal itself thanks to some genetic tinkering, had camouflaged him to match the sea and healed itself over and over from the torment of the sun. The Rotumans tried to wake Pinkerton and were not successful. They didn’t know who he was and didn’t want to attract any attention to their island, so they took the apparently lifeless body to the other side of the island and cast it into the sea once more.
A soldier had found him on the beach and recognized him immediately. The soldier took the hibernating body to the barracks and put him in a hammock by the window. As the Inspector aroused from his slumber, he looked out the window and saw the snow falling. He nodded off for a few more hours, then got up to find out where he was. He looked around through the window and saw a sign on a nearby building ‘Welcome to Midway Polar Research Center’ and could see large submarines moored at the docks below.
Pinkerton felt rather hungry and began looking around in the soldier’s flat for something to eat. He found some apples, a loaf of bread, and a refrigerator full of condiments and beer. Pinkerton decided beggars couldn’t be choosers and ate the bread and apples.