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Hyperborea

A cli-fi love story in the Arctic Circle

By Edoardo Segato-FigueroaPublished 5 months ago 26 min read
2
The Grandchildren of Perun: The Exodus of the Hyperboreans (Vsevolod Ivanov, 2006)

Denial - Norway

When Karl steps off the plane, the thin layer of frost under his feet cracks. The weather is eerily merciful, the midnight sun is right above the horizon, but honestly, he has no idea if it’s rising or setting. The smell of pastries, smoked salmon and caramelized onions from the skyport cafes mixes with the metallic rotten cabbage smell of hydrogen and ozone from refilling and sterilizing. His 16 years old daughter stands behind him, fiddling with the copper extensions of her braids as she impatiently waits in line to exit the Boreali hydrojet.

“Let’s try to have some fun, all right?” says Karl, not too hopeful that his miserable attempt is going to turn into an actual conversation.

“Whatever.” She replies religiously.

She stares absentmindedly at the flag above her, where an Arctic poppy flower dances in the wind, enclosed by an arch of lines reminiscent of the northern lights. As they descend the tower on elevators they can finally marvel at the city below. A female voice cuts in over the loudspeaker, interrupting their moment of awe.

God morgen og velkommen in the Arctic city of Hyperborea, the smallest, tallest and most advanced metropolis in the entire world! This is the Svalbard district, off the coast of the Scandinavian peninsula! My name is Padmapriya Pranayama, I’ll be your guide over the next few days, if you wish you can call me Pray.”

“Where are all the cars?” asks someone in the elevator, directed at no one in particular. The voice of the woman called Pray replies casually as if it radiates directly from the glass the lift is made of.

“Hyperborea is a car-free city. Public transportation is really efficient so you won’t need a car. In fact, I bet you’ll wish you’ll never have a car ever again, especially after you try the Bifrost.” Through the transparent walls of the elevator, an intricate web of suspended bridges, escalators, walkways and riding gangways catches the eye as it twists and twirls above and between the buildings. “The name is an homage to the legendary bridge of Norse mythology, connecting the divine world of Asgard with Earth and the other realms. Our Bifrost links different parts of the city for faster and more direct travel, making complete use of the airspace, since the whole district develops vertically. We’ll be up there in a few minutes.”

The bell dings as they finally halt half way down the skyport tower. The thick glass door opens, revealing a fleet of bicycles bearing the city colors and a beautiful seemingly Indian woman right next to them, her hairdo and clothes like nothing they’ve ever seen.

“Ready to pedal it up, folks?”

“You gotta be kidding me.” he mumbles, echoing his daughter’s thoughts in a rare and unacknowledged moment of mutual agreement.

“Karl Njetic, right? The lawyer?”

“The one and only.”

“Mr Njetic, pedaling is considered good practice on the Bifrost since the whole structure is off grid and powered entirely by pressure and kinetic energy. We leave the electric assistance for the steepest uphills and the lower levels.”

“I bike to work everyday, can I take a break, at least while on vacation?”

“When you take a break from walking or biking, it means you’re dead, Mr Njetic! Hop on, lazy butts. This is going to be fun!”

The Arctic air stings his cheeks as he zooms down the slope in the back of the convoy. He can taste dew on his lips, smell earthy moss and hear the summer mating calls of seagulls, brant goose and razorbills. He glances up at the red-beaked Arctic terns hovering over the city, enjoying the last days of Northern summer before migrating back to Antarctica.

“What are those weights hanging around the bridge?” asks one of the tourists into their helmet mic.

“Those are gravity bricks,” replies Pray promptly. “It’s where we store the energy accumulated across the Bifrost.”

“How did the city get its name?” questions someone else.

“Glad you asked. Hyperborea was the name of a legendary utopian society that the ancient Greeks believed inhabited the northern part of the known world. All myths have a bit of truth in them: Proto-Indo-European people did live in Siberia but were forced to migrate southward during the last ice age, about eight thousand years ago. And perhaps some racial memories rippled all the way to us from even earlier, when the North Pole wandered at different latitudes and longitudes and more temperate climates allowed these lands to flourish into a lush oasis. Now global warming is making lands like Siberia and Greenland habitable again. Oil companies started making advances on the freshly melted lands, so descendants of those ancient indigenous communities wised up and thanks to movements like #LandBack managed to get most of the Arctic Circle back from the colonizing nations. It took four decades of legal battles and the support of many influential figures, artepreneurs and cryptophilantropists, but to everyone’s surprise, they succeeded. We lost the Arctic to climate change, it's very appropriate that we were able to get it back for the same reason.”

For the first time, Karls’ daughter speaks. “Why did you build a city on native land? Aren’t you supposed to protect it, turn it into a natural reserve or something? It sounds a bit hypocritical.”

Her dad winks at her, but to his disappointment, Pray sounds thrilled as she replies.

“Great question! What’s your name, young lady?”

Suddenly she shies up and blushes, a very visible reaction on her pale skin.

“Luna,” she mumbles.

“First and foremost Luna, our priority is always to preserve nature and to perfect ideal models of climate-positive development. We have several districts across the Arctic Circle and if you look at urban density across Hyperborea you’ll see each one of them takes up a minute portion of our millions of acres of wildlands. Thanks to its vertical extension, this city covers as much ground as a town while containing as many people as a metropolis, leaving plenty of room for greenspace. Here, architecture, design and material engineering are all chiefly informed by biomimicry and the most advanced regenerative models available. We created a blueprint for decentralized green cities, relying on our fleet of electric and hydrogen planes, geothermal trains and tidal boats to transport people across the North Pole, with no carbon emissions at all.”

A voice from the group pipes up. “Sounds too good to be true. How do we know this isn’t just a cover to be able to take control of the oil in the Eurasian Basin at the bottom of the Arctic ocean?”

“Petroleum extraction activities in Hyperborea is like a Microsoft employee using an Apple device. It would be quite the paradox, wouldn’t it?”

A few members of the group laugh timidly. “Thank you, my comedy act is on Wednesday night at the Aurora Lounge Bar, in the Siberian district.”

Karl rides next to her as he says, “What’s funny is that you think a few years of outnumbered animals farting and smoking up the atmosphere can cause a real life apocalypse. Earth’s climate changes every few thousands of years regardless of the culprit, sometimes so drastically that it nearly kills all life on the planet. But that happens to be exactly what makes room for new species to thrive and replace the previous ones with even greater diversity. Environmentalism and ecology are purely driven by an egotistical existential human crisis. God forbid we go extinct and lose our place as apex predators!”

Pray now is visibly irritated, but intrigued too, and somehow manages to keep her cool and stay professional.

“Mr. Njetic.”

“Karl.”

“Mr. Karl, I’m always surprised to learn that in 2098 there are still people like you, denying the reality of the Anthropocene. The definition of our genetic code now includes microplastic and mutations caused by nuclear radiation and electrosmog. Petroleum reserves have been practically drained, artificial materials are creating new strata in the geological record and even under our skin. If it wasn’t for the green singularity of Hyperborea and the reforestation of the Amazon and Sahara jungles, this planet would look more like Mars than Earth by now.”

She catches her breath, remembering she’s not a photosynthesizing cyborg. Yet. But Karl is ready to present his rebuttal.

“Throughout Earth’s history, the climate has changed more drastically during volcanic winters or ice ages caused by asteroids than during human civilization. The amount of waste and toxins released in the environment by those events is so much higher than our pollution.”

“Are you proud of the fact that the damage that our species causes to our environment is second only to a meteor?”

Karl dodges her question with terrifying grace. ”I just can’t believe they gave you guys all this land, just like that. First you blamed it on climate change for pushing you away from the Arctic and now you use it as an excuse to steal it back from other countries. How convenient.”

Tired of all the grownup talk, and especially of her dad’s, Luna asks, “When are we going to see the auroras?”

“We’re in the Arctic, love,” replies Pray with a proud smile, “auroras are everywhere.”

Death - Greenland

Their rooms are next to a vast hilly park, facing the iconic Norwegian fjords. Sparse on the grass and embedded in the cliffs, are thousands of transparent glass spheres, unique solar harvesters of different sizes, reflecting the colors of the Arctic ocean, the green fields and the long pink sunset, the last of the season, which will render the sphere useless for a while.

The next day, everyone is on their yoga mat as early as 7am. Not that it makes any difference, since sunrise is now about five months away. The group sits in meditation in a room that smells of sage and amaranth. A soft gong plays once every many heartbeats, creating a sense of time dilation. The thought of that moment suspended indefinitely makes a few people smile while they breathe into every cell of their body. Karl opens one of his eyes, just enough to see that everyone else’s are closed, except two. Pray’s hazel eyes are also open and they’re looking straight at him. As soon as they meet, their eyes shut abruptly. His heartbeat doubles, making the next gong beat seem a lifetime away. When his breathing finally paces down, he tries again. This time her eyes are closed, but she’s smiling. The color of her skin reminds him of caramel chocolate, melting under spring sun rays. He blushes and shuts his eyes again, seconds away from when Pray opens hers again, looks at him with a smile and sinks back into meditation.

After a long shavasana, the electric jet they’re flying in moves from supersonic to subsonic speed above what used to be North Greenland.

“I’ve never been in a supersonic plane so steady you can do acroyoga in it, I love it!” Luna tells Pray.

“It’s my favorite.” Then makes a quick hand gesture that gets picked up by the cameras and activates her mic. “All these mountains used to be covered by the Sermersooq, the biggest ice sheet in the world, second only to Antarctica, before the massive meltdown event in ‘68 that contributed to the drastic sea level rise we see today.”

The jet lands next to a series of giant buildings made of glass and steel and shaped like igloos, each enclosing smaller houses and complexes, illuminated by soft orange, violet and emerald lights. The air is filled with the smell of Alpine bearberry and stew, probably caribou. A pack of narwhals is playing in the cove water not so far away from them, their odd helical teeth popping in and out of the water. A sign says ‘No killing outside of hunting season’.

“Where’s the fun if you can’t hunt?” Says Karl without thinking.

Pray rolls her eyes to the sky and turns to the rest of the crew. He irritates her but somehow there’s also something sweet and childlike in his sassy remarks.

“Welcome everyone to the Greenland district of Hyperborea!”

“More hyper boring, am I right?” Karl whispers into Luna’s ear, hoping it would make her laugh. Pray’s binaural system picks up his comment but she decides to ignore his innocent attempt to bond with his daughter and continues.

“Hunting used to be sacred to the people of Greenland, but when they learned that excessive hunting drove the majority of the megafauna extinct in less than a hundred thousand years, they changed their traditions."

A flock of indigenous kids stormed out of the igloos and went straight to hug Pray as if they had known her their whole life. She then drives her tour inside one of the domes, her eyes still wet from laughing and crying.

"Keep in mind this is a work in progress. That’s the district flag, with the niviarsiaq flower, the white-tailed eagle and the polar bear. As you can see the bear is lifting its left paw, due to the Inuit belief that polar bears are left handed.”

They kill time during a morning snowstorm by playing traditional Arctic winter games such as Finger Pull and Snow Snake. As the Silap Inua of the weather calms down, they can experience post-defrost activities like collecting ancient ocean shells from the hills around the city to make necklaces and wristlets. Luna is in seventh heaven when Pray shows her clever tricks to carve a hole in the shell and pull off the unfathomable task of getting a string through it. Karl marvels at them, unnoticed, struggling to believe how well they get along. An old lady suddenly appears from behind white curtains made of Arctic hare and fox fur. Karl is too distracted to notice her and boggles when she softly touches his shoulder.

“ᐋᓪᓚᐅᔪᖅ! ᖃᐃᔪᖅ ᖁᓪᓕᓕᐅᕆᐊᖅᑐᖅᖢᓂ.”

“What is she saying?” asks Karl directed to Pray.

“She’s inviting you to go make traditional Qulliq lamps with her and her fellows. She’s funny, she just called you Skræling.”

“What is that?”

“It’s an ancient word that Norsemen from Europe used to refer to indigenous people when they first arrived in Greenland. You could translate it as ‘stranger’, or ‘barbarian’ I suppose.”

"Tell her that everyone ends up a Skræling, sooner or later. We're strangers to this world from the moment we're born until the day we die."

"I'm not telling her that," says Pray while nodding to the woman, "But I do think we're only guests on this planet and as such we should respect the house of our host." She bows as she walks past the curtains, Karl right behind her, followed by Luna and the rest of the group. "They taught me that."

The room is filled with pillows, soapstone sculptures, ivory masks and a dozen old short ladies and men, wrapped in white fur.

“How do you speak their language?”

“I lived here for three years when I was younger. That’s when I learned Inuktitut. If you ask me, the best tongue in Hyperborea. Very sexy.”

“Sexy?”

“I’ll show you one day.”

The elders keep them busy for three hours, teaching them how to make authentic Qulliq oil lamps with new seal blubber substitutes, while telling them ancient whale hunting stories or songs, full of lore and nostalgia. It’s late at night when they emerge from the room, too tired even for dinner.

Luna is walking too close to the edge when the piece of ice she's on cracks under her feet. She manages to cling onto the edge but the ice platform starts floating away before her dad can reach her.

“Jump!” He screams, frozen in place.

She’s brave and leaps right away but barely makes it and almost falls in the cold water. Pray, who’s closer to her, grabs her hand and pulls her ashore.

“Thanks!” says Luna, shakingly, her body half wet but safe and sound on solid surface.

“You’re too young to die. Anguta, the bearer of souls, won’t take you to Adlivun today.”

Karl hugs his daughter and squeezes her repeatedly, mad and relieved at the same time.

“Daddy… I want to stay here.”

“Baby, you literally almost died in the freezing Arctic water.”

“Pray saved me,” then right at her, “Please Pray, show us a safe place to live. I don't want to go back to Cali.”

“You know we can't stay Luna, daddy has work to do back home.”

“There's tons of work to be done here too, Karl.”

“Luna, go to your room. I’ll be there in a minute.”

Pray stares at Karl observing his daughter getting rubs and hugs from the rest of the crew as she walks off to their igloo.

“She’s a wonderful kid. You should listen to…”

Pray starts talking but Karl interrupts her.

“Can I take you out to dinner?”

“What? I… now?”

“Tomorrow. Let me repay you for saving my daughter.”

“Karl, it was nothing. It was my…”

“I want to. It’ll be fun. I have this thing, I like to collect beer caps from every country I visit. Can’t return home from the famous Hyperborea empty handed.”

“Very smooth. Well, can’t say no to that,” she says, sweating like a teenager. “But we only have draught beer here, no glass waste.”

“I guess I’ll have to make an exception then.”

“All right, I’ll take you to my favorite place tomorrow after our tour. They have the best cyder in the whole Arctic circle.”

Dessert - Siberia

Karl finally relaxes when they sit down in the geothermal bullet train, almost a mile underground. Less than three hours later, after cruising under the Nunavut and the Alaskan archipelagos, the Chukchi sea and the never ending Russian steppe, their pace finally slows down until it nearly stops.

“Grab your things my friends, we’re here. Notice the logo of the railway company, spelling Naraka, the Hindu underworld.”

Soffuse neon lights in the Hyperborean colors guide them across the tunnel and seem to follow them on every wall, every corner, in the elevators, until they emerge to the surface.

Siberia is also in the dark of the polar night, the winter lights going off as if it was Hanukkah all year around. The day goes by quickly as they ride around the city on rollerblades and electric scooters with lights on their wheels and quirky sound design. They look at the walruses hunting in the wilderness nearby, watch a musical theater show called “Whistleblowers'' and visit a natural history museum with a permanent exposition called “The Dzungarian Gate - Gryffins guarding Hyperborea’s gold”. Some people start yawning before dinner time approaches.

“Dad, I think I'm gonna go out tonight.”

“Wait, now?” says Karl, a bit hesitant.

Luna smiles and winks at him with her dark eyebrows, “I think you already have plans for dinner, am I wrong? I'll be fine, you have fun.”

“How do you…?”

But she's off before he can even protest. Pray smiles as she addresses the whole crew. “It’s tradition that on our last day of tour, each family has dinner in a different place around the city district and exchanges reviews and experiences with the others the following day. We sent coupons directly to your inbox. I’ll see you tomorrow morning for our last ride. Enjoy!”

After everyone’s gone she unlocks the safety brake on her rollerblades and leads the way through the city as he follows her clumsily on the iceway for skater commuters. After a few turns, they stop by a tall hill covered in trees and lichens.

“Uh, Pray. Maybe you heard me wrong. I said ‘fine dining’ not ‘fine with hiking’.”

“If that was the audition for your comedy act, you passed. I’ll let you know if I need a side-kick.”

Now Karl notices that a smaller iceway diverges from the main frozen highway into the side of the hill. They follow it, up to a grand pair of long bioluminescent curtains covering the mouth of a large deep cave, two golden statues of a turtle and a griffin stand tall to its sides.

“Reservation for two,” speaks Pray to no one in particular.

“Names?” Recites the turtle.

“Pranayama and Njetic.”

“Come in, Ms Pranayama,” continued the griffin, “Welcome to Hyperborea, Mr Njetic.”

After sitting, Karl confesses, “I thought you were going to take me to a pub.”

“Why not go all the way, right? Maybe I’ll finally get a chance to find out how you became so annoying and petulant. Dinner in an atmospheric cave restaurant on an Arctic island is guaranteed to break the ice. Pun intended.”

A band is playing electro-jazz with ice instruments. A drum accent from the percussionist is the perfect sting to her joke. The timing is almost spooky.

“Love how the place is decorated, in the style of ancient cave art.”

“This isn’t ‘in the style of’, this is original cave art. It was one of the first hard archeological proofs that the Veda were right and that the home of Indo-Europeans really was in the Arctic.

“And they made a restaurant inside it?” Karl seems almost scandalized.

“This is an historical hotspot of Hyperborea, where cuisine and preservation meet. You probably wouldn’t have been able to get a table here without me. No harm has been done to the art or to anything you'll be eating, trust me. Our ancestors would have wanted us to use this place just like they did, rather than let it get covered in ice and dust.”

She spoke looking at the pompous menu, half distracted by the thought of the amazing meal awaiting her. Long ascending scales of cello and harp highlight her movements and face expressions. Cutlery clingings all around them mix with a soothing background of crystallophone and glass harp. Pray looks preoccupied for a moment.

“Are you alright?”

Her next words come out almost without her control over them.

“I can’t have children.”

His face is unreadable. He doesn't look surprised, which in turn is very surprising to her. Or he’s just being surprisingly discrete. On the other hand, his answer definitely surprises her.

“Me neither.”

“Well, that’s quite the coincidence. Why can’t you have children?”

“I wasn’t always a man.”

She’s not as good as him at camouflaging her emotions. Her face goes through so many changes in such a short time that the house band could use it as a music sheet to play a short symphony. She stutters and blabbers before she manages to say, “I did not see that coming.”

“Most people don’t.”

“Well, I’ve never heard of a trans republican.”

“I’m not a republican.”

“Are you kidding me?”

“You’re the comedian, not me.”

“I’m sorry, I misjudged you.”

“Did you think I was a flat-earther too?”

She laughs loudly. Her obliviousness towards everyone else dining around them flatters him more than he expects. He blushes when he realizes how big of an impact she has on him.

“Kind of. I was actually planning on taking you to Mount Meru to show you that the world doesn’t end in the Arctic and continues on the other side.”

“Did you just assume I was a republican because I don’t think climate change was caused by us?”

“You said you live in the Red States. Plus, only republicans are stupid enough to believe that.”

“I’m the proof you’re wrong. You should know that I’m not really anything you think I am. My parents were republicans and climate deniers. I’m not but I just can't help playing the devil’s advocate.”

“How did Luna react when you decided to transition?”

“She was very supportive, which I would have never imagined.”

“Kids are like that. They’re wiser and tougher than we give them credit for.” Her voice changes when she says, “So, about her request to stay… What are you going to do about it?”

“Nothing. Our home is in Cali.”

“Home is wherever you make a home. She has the right to choose her own path, Karl.”

“I gave birth to her, I know what’s good for her, alright? She’s part of me and I’m part of her, I cannot afford to lose her too.”

“What if something like the iceberg accident happens again and I’m not around?”

“There are no icebergs in the Red States.”

“That’s right, because they’re consumed by wildfires.”

“No, because they're sinking.”

A waiter with a golden mask brings their first course and pours both of them some wine. Karl raises his glass.

“To children and wildfires, for taking me all the way here, to this exact moment.” Sips his wine, then begins eating. She observes him, puzzled and intrigued.

“You could still have children if you wanted, you know that right?”

“As a woman, yes… but I don’t want to go there… at all. Plus, I’d have to find a donor. I guess I could find a surrogate, or I could just adopt. But…”

“Do you want more children or not?” She interrupts him. Now he's the one stuttering.

“I… I’m not sure. I think that’s one of the reasons why I transitioned. So much pressure on women to make babies.”

“Yup. I mean, we’re way past that point, right? In spite of space colonies, war and natural catastrophes, the world is still overpopulating. People keep fucking as if they're still in the twentieth century.” Then after a brief break, “You look pale.”

“I’ve never talked about all this with anyone since I transitioned.”

“There you go. Girl, that's the last thing you want in your life to stay secret, or worse, a taboo. Is this why your ex… partner… divorced you?”

“Husband. Yes, that's definitely part of it. He really wanted children. We married out of infatuation, not love.”

“I say if you care about having children you always want to question whether the world they’re coming into is one worth living in.”

Dense, tense, vibrant silence. Karl eats his Borscht soup, then, “I must confess that curiosity isn't the only reason why we're here.”

“It never is. It's just the excuse people write in the visitor's application. I wonder why you all seem to be so ashamed of showing you want a better life…”

“I'm not ashamed! I just.. ugh. Our house is getting slowly swallowed by the ocean, ok? And I'm not sure what to do anymore.”

She thinks for a moment, then says, “Remember the statues outside?”

“How can I forget? Was that gold, by the way?”

“Oh yes. All dug from underground.

“You weren’t joking when you said that Hyperborea doesn’t reject capitalism.”

“No, I was not. I told you, we’re one of the top economies in the world right now. But that's not because of the gold. The gold, as you can see, is all here on the streets. Our wealth comes from solving problems and selling those solutions… to you guys.” She gets closer to him across the table. “There’s a place for you here, Karl.”

“And where would that be, exactly?”

She looks at him straight in his eyes, then moves everything to the side of the table and puts her plate at the center. With a knife she starts drawing a spiral in the leftover of her soup.

“The design of this district is inspired by the remains of Bronze Age Indo-European cities unearthed across Siberia. My house is right here,” says marking one of the arms of the spiral, as if she’s showing him the location of the solar system in the Milky Way.

“You live here?”

“I was born here, just a few blocks away.”

Karl looks surprised.

“You wanna see it, Skræling?”

“Your place?”

“Yes, my place.”

“Are you asking me to skip dessert?”

“Not at all, I think we should take it to go.”

Their first night together smells of Siberian lilies; her lips taste of cedar and green-fir cones jam, his skin is like honey and Omichka sweet buttercream. They didn’t need that dessert after all.

Dawn - North Pole

The next morning is another dark, cool day, and instead of the Sun, the sky is filled up by a stunning number of stars. The moon rises as they board the bladeless-turbine submarine that will take them to the geographic North Pole. Pray and Karl sit by the arc-shaped front window-screen facing North. She sits closer to him, doesn’t try to hide it nor does she look worried to be seen with him.

Through the glass they can see a vast school of Lion's mane jellyfish, clouds of zooplanktons, polar codes, banded gunnels and a small pack of female whales who recently moved to the Arctic ocean from warmer waters. Thanks to infrared visors, giant statues appear underwater, many meters below. Text running on the windows says they’re for housing endangered corals when the ocean water will be too hot by the equator, which will force them to find shelter in cooler waters up North.

Slowly, a constellation of lights starts emerging from the murky waters in front of them. As they get closer, the glimmers reveal themselves as part of a giant vertical structure, floating close to the surface and extending all the way down into the dark abyss. The North Pole district of Hyperborea is an oceanscraper, a miracle of physics and human ingenuity, in the middle of an ecological disaster. Between the statues on the ocean floor, a fleet of robots is tirelessly working to retrieve fragments of illegal oil drilling pods.

“How can you even like me?” suddenly asks Karl without even looking at her. “I'm your opposite, I represent exactly what you hate the most in humans. I made those drilling pods, my parents and their parents before them did. My mother is white, my dad was black, my blood carries centuries and centuries of colonialism and slavery both from the victims’ and the perpetrators' perspectives. I'm cursed and doomed and there's nothing I can do about it. This is who I am. Why are you asking me to stay?”

“Everyone deserves a second chance,” then sighs and continues, her eyes transfixed by the city ahead. “If only there was something so strong and inevitable like what I’m feeling for you right now, that could heal the great divide between nations and political parties. Something that would push them to find a compromise. Love can bring together completely different people like us. I wish there was something like that to fix the world and unite competitors, extremists, and ideological movements, just like it united a climate activist and a climate denier.”

“Oh, but there is.”

“Oh yea, and what would that be?”

“Love is invisible and impalpable. The world is made of people, not emotions and feelings. Once people see us, they’ll wish they had what we have.”

“Which is?”

“Something worth living for.”

She free dives into his black eyes, then hops onto his lap, as if his knees were rocks above the waves.

"Ahead of us is the number one oasis for climate refugees in the world. Think about it, you could move in with me back in the Siberian district, or we could live here, free woman and man. Hyperborea could use a lawyer like you, there’s so much to do. If deep down you see this city like a perfect utopia…”

“I don’t.”

“Good, because it isn’t. It’s imperfect, still full of conflicts and contradictions. But here you have a chance to make a difference, for the world and for yourself. And if not for yourself, for Luna. To me, it sounds like you’re hurting, and that you don’t want to anymore.”

She lets that sink in.

“I’m not asking you to change who you are, but I do think a part of you is imploring it.”

“You're an incurable optimist, you know? You never give up.”

“I know, I learned from my family. If they weren’t optimists, I wouldn’t have been born here nor been part of this revolution.”

Karl looks at the surreal oceanscraper floating in front of them.

“Stay at least until dawn,” asks Pray.

“That's in five months!”

She smiles at him, “I know. I’m sure Luna won’t mind.”

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About the Creator

Edoardo Segato-Figueroa

Storyteller, Singer-songwriter. Husband and dog dad.

Author of "Countercurrent", Italian biography of Nikola Tesla.

Sci-fi and Cli-fi novellas. Sciencey essays.

Co-founder of NYADO and producer of Mission to Earth music-film.

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  • Randy Wayne Jellison-Knock5 months ago

    This is beautiful & compelling writing, Edoardo, filled with all kinds of hope. Great job. And yes, this is part of what I do, so I simply have to say, "It didn't take five months for it to dawn upon him that dawn wouldn't be for another five months." Yes, you may groan now.

  • Alex H Mittelman 5 months ago

    Whoa, very intense! Great job! Nice work!

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