17 Мар 2014 | Author: | Комментарии к записи Miawithoutoil отключены
Mia electric Electric Cars

The future

(posted this on my blogger account first due to livejournal issues. Here’s the last post, to complete the story. Took me ages to get livejournal to accept this. )

July, 2019

Mia wiped her brow in the early summer heat, leaving a streak of brown earth across her face from the land beneath her feet. She dusted off her skirt and put the last of the vegetables into the wicker basket and headed out of the allotments. It was midsummer and many of the little vegetable gardens were alive with produce.

She rushed up to the stop just in time to squeeze onto the tram as it reached the top of Whiteladies Road. As always, the electric trolleybus was full of students, shoppers and those like Mia who had an allotment on the Downs. She flashed her ration card across the conductor’s reader and grabbed a handrail as the tram lurched onwards.

The market was busy, as ever, full of ramshackle stalls and semi-permanent shops where the cars once drove. Security walked prominently amongst the crowds of shoppers, subtle but conspicuously watching. Little boys chased in amongst the stalls, enjoying their fun whilst their holidays were on.

Mia lived in Clifton, in a house that had once been one tall Georgian home but after heavy retrofits was now occupied by four couples. she entered the kitchen/living space and put the basket of fruit and veg on the counter. She reminded herself to make sure she had enough electricity rations to use more than two rings on the hob.

She splashed some water onto her face and called into the flat’s only other room.

Alex? she said. You done with the computer?

Sure, came the reply. You logging onto work?

She went into the bedroom and put her arms around her husband’s shoulders as he logged off his workstation and got up to let her use the computer. She gave him a long kiss welcome.

Thanks, she said. How’d work go?

Alright, he said, scratching his neck. We’re getting close to having enough people signed on to make the panels now.

Excellent, she said, giving him another kiss. I’ll let you know when I’m done.

That’s ok love, he said. I’ve got to go check out the shipment of raw materials makes it here safe. I’ll see you later.

‘K. She watched him leave, his powerful body distracting her.

Alex had been American most of his life, although he now tried to hide it. His English parents had sent him to university in Bristol with the last of their savings after the third oil crash. After the fourth, they came to the UK to join him permanently.

Mia had met him at university. He studied engineering, she did biochemistry. They were both part of the students wing of the local energy conservation project. They got to talking and then to other things.

When he finished university, Alex went to work for Greg’s local solar company. After Greg died in the Bird Flu epidemic of 2016, Alex took over the company, trying to encourage local craftsmen to build the panels in small batches, using the bare minimum of imported materials.

She logged on to the power-saving computer — a small lcd screen and a low powered processor to use as little energy as possible. She checked her emails. A few related to her work on the ecosystem of the new Severn barrage — she was trying to cultivate a family of fish that would be farmable and help solve the silting of the reservoir.

There was also one from Uncle Andy.

What trouble are you in now? she wondered. Andy had gotten more and more into the open source drug scene, an underground movement to reverse engineer medications and release them as creative commons licensed recipes for anyone to use. Needless to say the drug companies heavily clamped down on it, and now Andy was having to dance around their checks, again.

‘sorry kiddo,’ the letter read ‘looks like we’re under the cosh here again for a few months — nothing more than potatoes and sheep on the farm, I promise! It means your little delivery isn’t going to make it, I’m afraid. Lots of Love, Andy.’

That made her sit up and take notice. Her ‘little delivery’ was her contraceptive pill — far cheaper by open source than what it costed from the government, even if they did try to push it on everyone to reduce the population targets. The government pill didn’t suit her — gave her cramps.

This was going to be a pain. She put the thought to one side and read over the days reports from the students working at the reservoir. The barrage was soon to open and they’d been trying out a number of breeds of fish in small enclosures to see which survived the best.

Rapidly absorbed in her work, she was only stirred by the blinking light that told her the power credit for the computer was running out. She saved her work and let the screen power down silently. No point in wasting any more rations — she could do the rest by hand.

Alex returned. She put a finger to her lips and led him out to the window of the living room. He frowned.


Alex, she said, what do you feel about a child?

His look was stunned. She explained the situation with the birth control.

But you’ve never wanted to bring a child into the world before, he said. You’ve always said this world is too dangerous to bring a new life into.

Mia looked out of the window with Alex’s arm around her, thinking about the events since the first oil spike. She thought about the Iran war and the bombing of Jerusalem. About Alex’s stories of the corn famine in Alberta, when the biofuel crisis kickstarted the third oil crash and the breakup of the USA. She thought about the clashes between Cascadia and the remaining states, about the billions starving across the world.

She thought about her mother and Greg and nursing them during the flu crisis, and their deaths. About the flooding of Bangladesh and the electricity riots of 2013.

Mia electric Electric Cars

Then she looked around at the small but comfortable house and the husband she shared it with. She looked at the streets, empty of traffic, where kids played in the road and every house had something growing. She thought of the barrage and the power it was going to supply, as well as the food from the fish.

She thought about Alex’s work with fitting locally made solar panels on local roofs, and the vast number of local businesses thriving in their own little ways.

A dark shape appeared in the sky, sending a shadow down onto the streets. They watched as the supply airship drifted languidly into view, fresh from dropping off important components and materials such as those Alex needed. Its vast helium balooon meandered lazily across the sky, heading back to its home port slowly but using very little fuel.

The underslung cabin caught the dimming sunlight, glowing deep red as it passed over the city and out towards the Atlantic. Mia turned away from the window.

You know, she said. I think we’re ready.

Really? Alex didn’t look convinced.

Yeah, she said. We’ve lived in a world without oil for 12 years, with all this doom and destruction but we’ve survived. Our life isn’t rich compared to what my parents had, or yours. But it’s rich enough.

This world’s not perfect, but it’s ours. I think we’re ready to bring a new life into it.

Ok, Alex said. He hugged her and turned towards the kitchen table. I traded some of our potatoes for some quinoa the airship brought in. You want that tonight?

Sure, Mia said, that sounds good.

She moved away from the window, and the moment was gone.

[author’s note: week 32 (or 632, if you like)

I’ve been planning this for a while — a look into the future without oil (does that count as the letter ‘f’?). I want to end it with a cautiously hopeful note. There is a world out there without oil where people can live their lives. It won’t be as material rich as ours and it may take a lot of struggle to get there.

But ultimately, we will get there, because we must.

I just want to say how much I’ve enjoyed the experience of wwo and a big round of applause for all the guys running the site and everyone contributing. Together we created a world. That’s a hell of an achievement — and I hope that it leaves our real world a little more informed and aware than it was before. I hope so.]

Current Location: Future Bristol

Current Mood: contemplative

Current Music: M83 — Teen Angst

Mia electric Electric Cars
Mia electric Electric Cars
Mia electric Electric Cars
Mia electric Electric Cars
Mia electric Electric Cars
Mia electric Electric Cars
Mia electric Electric Cars
Mia electric Electric Cars
Mia electric Electric Cars

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