“The world is a Rube Goldberg machine, a bowling ball on a teeter totter, and all it will ever do is scratch someone’s ridiculous itch,” Amira d’Kay coolly observed to Riisa who nodded thoughtlessly, content to let her aunt ramble in the smothering warmth of the sunroom.
It was bitterly cold outside. It was almost always bitterly cold outside. Had been since Finrow’s Folly. Riisa hadn’t been born then, but she knew her aunt had been a part of the project. In an ambitious attempt to counter increasingly destructive climate change caused by global warming, Augustin Finrow, a Scandinavian climatologist had proposed a seemingly far-fetched plan. But, at that point of near hysteria in 2051 his audacious idea of climate rescue went viral. News pundits provided the sound bites, corporate moguls marketed the concept and desperate politicians coughed up the resources.
Then, it was up to scientists and engineers like Amira d’Kay to make it work. They did. In three short years, 17,000 twenty-square-meter mylarium discs were designed, manufactured and launched into high earth orbit to reflect “enemy sunlight.” The plan worked well. The discs cooled runaway warming within a decade. Finrow’s plan tipped the scale.
And then Finrow couldn’t tip it back.
Aunt Amira had told Riisa dozens of times that deploying the reflector discs had not been that difficult. There had been such common cause among the nations of the world. Such cooperation. And, then when the plan began working and people felt their futures were saved from runaway global warming, it all went wrong.
The discs were well designed with mylarium irises that could be opened or closed incrementally to regulate the amount of sunlight being blocked. Finrow himself monitored the flow of sunlight. Until the Shock Docs, disaster capitalists, hacked his codes and took control of them. The Shock Docs, a nebulous group bent on exploiting global catastrophe, touted a new Ice Age as a great business opportunity. For over three decades, they kept the reflector discs fully deployed and earth cooled an average of ten degrees.
Year after year of climate cataclysm and geo-political upheaval reshaped the world and its markets. Uranium became king: for atomic fuel to stave off the deathly cold and for nuclear weapons to stave off the deathly desperate.
Riisa understood all this terrible history because her aunt despised it—even the role she’d played. Aunt Amira would often lament, “Why couldn’t we leave well enough alone? Why’d we try to one up Mother Nature?”
Riisa only smiled and cooed “there, there” at her aunt’s outdated grief. She was content to roll with the earth she’d inherited.
In the blissful warmth of their sunroom, in a controlled environment fueled by micro-nukes, she just saw it as a beautiful row of dominoes that humankind was fond of setting up and then knocking down in a predictably unpredictable cascade. One after the other.
That was humanity’s gift. All of us together. Building the codes, the machines, the chains of causality. Line by line. Gear unto gear. Link upon link.
Why try to break it?
Why not embrace it?
“Come sit by me, Auntie. Let me rub your shoulders and scratch your back,” Riisa coaxed. “My hands are wonderfully warm.”