A Few Things Ill Considered

The Bottleneck Years

by H.E. Taylor

Chapter 82 Table of Contents Chapter 84

Chapter 83

The World Park, December 3, 2059

The next UNGETF meeting opened like an autopsy. Peter started with a catalogue of the destruction wrought at the L1 point. “The command centre has been destroyed, as have several dozen of the 1 km. sunshields. But there were more than 2,000 of them, so a sizeable number still exist. Some were damaged by flying debris; many were not.”

“Some factions have expressed a desire to repair and rebuild the cluster; however, with the AU forbidding financial support, Group 5 has no choice but to shut down the operation. Brahmaputra are withdrawing their people from the moon and Carillon is not sending anyone back to the L1 point.”

I felt exceedingly uncomfortable at this annnouncement and kept my eyes down. Nobody said a word to me.

“On a more cheerful note, Dr. Makeba has something she wishes to tell us about.”

There were curious looks around the table.

Makeba was naturally loud and proud and now she had something to trumpet. “We have an alternative SRM solution,” Makeba started. “Sunbugs! They are in the database marked ‘Theoretical’.”

I noticed several people begin to access the database while Makeba spoke.

“Luc mentioned the sunbug implementation file in FabNet of all places and I was dubious. I decided to take a quick look, just so I could say I had, but the more I looked, the more intrigued I became.

“I decided to to run the implementation and to my amazement, it worked.”

She turned to address me directly. “This is brilliant, brilliant work. The self assembly algorithms alone are priceless. Who did this work? I must talk to them.”

I shrugged indicating I didn’t know. I wasn’t about to start talking to these people about Matt and Henry.

“Taking this apart will be a major challenge,” Makeba went on. “It will change the way we live. And more immediately it provides an SRM technique just when we most desperately need one.”

Peter was listening intently as if he knew nothing about it. I began to appreciate how devious he could be. He just let Makeba run on. It struck me as an odd way to run a meeting, but then I had come to expect that sort of thing from him.

When Makeba ran out of steam, Peter quietly announced, “I have struck a 12th Group to handle the Sunbugs. It’s likely that local jurisdictions will want to use them for power generation, but there will be a need for global coordination.

“More importantly, for geoengineering purposes, the poles will have to be handled by Group 12 because there are no sizeable communities there. The methane levels are still rising.

“If the Sunbugs are going to replace the sunshield, an effective global program will have to be created and managed. We, by which I mean the human species, are being dragged willy nilly into a new era,” said Rhamaposa. “Whether we like it or not, we are faced, for the foreseeable future, with the prospect of managing this space ship earth’s biosphere. We might not be very good at it yet, but we broke it, so we have no choice.”

An argument over how that would happen broke out. Should UNGETF be the manager or should some other agency? Should individual nations? What about failed states? We have to recognize the global nature of ecological systems and problems. If UNGETF were involved, should it coordinate nations, corporations or do the job itself? Questions like this play on people’s political biases, their sense of how the world should be. There are still American religiosos muttering about conspiracies of world government.

There would be no agreement and Rhamaposa seemed to realize that because he shut down the discussion as soon as he had an opening. “Before we descend into total anarchy, there is one last item on the agenda,” he quipped. “I don’t think it has made the media yet, but there was an odd event in a small Arctic village called Cambridge Bay that may interest you.”

He was looking at me as he said this.

“There was a dust storm a while ago and, within a week, the EF1 lichen in town more than doubled in size. Group 10 is of the opinion that this is a reflection of some input deficiency the dust satisfied, but they would like to consult with you in particular Luc.”

“Sure.” I nodded.

“Okay then, let the fun and games begin,” said Rhamaposa with a grin. His hologram winked out.

We looked at each other in surprise. Nobody really wanted to restart the argument. One by one we said our goodbyes and signed off.


Excerpted from _The Bottleneck Years_ by H.E. Taylor

For further information, see
A Gentle Introduction.

If you want a copy, see
The Deal.

Last modified March 11, 2014