Pundit Chen is a forester on Sydney 707E, which is one of the floating cities built on a barge island; the barge is 8 kilometers in diameter and about 15 meters in thickness with multiple layers on the frame. The underside of this island is a lush green conifer forest where trees grow up-side-down. Concentrated sunlight is transferred underwater through special tubes, and from a depth of 20 meters, the natural rays are thrown on the underbelly of the island. Chen is responsible for adjusting ray spreaders; he makes sure that all sections of the unique plantation get enough of the sunlight. Chen spends most of his working hours underwater, and sometimes he has to dive as deep as 30 meters for manually adjusting a stuck ray spreader. His diving suit comes with a device called shark repellant, which protects the diver by producing short-range, ultrasonic deterring waves. The genetically modified shrubs and trees ignore gravity as their shoots grow toward the light while the strong roots grow in opposite direction, tightly gripping the frameworks of the floating mass.
The spacious buildings on Sydney 707E are constructed like multistory basements,
protruding downwards into the water, but each building also consists of an equal number of floors erected on the upper surface in air. Each basement floor is essentially provided with a vacuum-sealed water exit for instant access to various sections of the underside. Chen uses one of these vacuum exits for going to work. The woods along with the air-tight sections of buildings on the underbelly and the strong thick barge with all the heavy structures on its surface are in such proportions as to balance and stabilize the whole floating metropolis. Moreover, at times of emergency or for maintenance purposes when the barge is split into a dozen subsections, each section is capable of balancing itself separately and of existing independently.
Huge but very light kites, high in the air, not only gently pull the island alongside natural highways of air currents, but also harvest the much-needed sun rays, which are securely transferred down through the string-tubes. The island fully runs on solar energy and even artificial photosynthesis is performed for producing all kinds of amino acid and other nutrients; food is industrially manufactured in a number of natural textures and flavors. Although there has been an abundance of healthy synthetic food, the island succeeded in retaining wild fish, which depend on the plantation from its underbelly. Natural fruits and greens also grow on both surfaces, and now the inhabitants have multiple chooses, thanks to the efforts of foresters like Chen.
Chen and his wife Sara, both were born on a similar island, as their parents were hard-working free citizens, they continued enjoying the fruit of their parents’ labor. They have been living on the ocean since their birth and have never spent a day on mountain slopes where restricted citizens abound. However, now things are about to change for this family because they have been accused of displaying irrational and aggressive behavior. Chen has a strong desire of dissolving himself and more than once during his maintenance work, he swam into the forest without turning on the shark repellent on his swimming suit. Sara who loves her husband did not report these incidents, so she is considered an accomplice in Chen’s suicidal attempts.
The Islanders know that every living body is like a water pool where the flow of fresh material constantly replaces the old, it is the material which enjoys life through various living-bodies; they know that the “self” is a great deception. They believe that physically they are related to the whole universe, and spiritually it must not be very different.
Chen like his wife is 22. He seems to have been enjoying his life, but sometimes he is just upset for no apparent reason. Previously with the recommendations of philosophers, psychologists and with their own consent, the judges located and then relocated the couple on different islands, but the results are not desirable. Now both have been demoted to the life on land. Sara doesn’t want to abandon Chen and is prepared to learn to survive on mountain slopes, so she has to leave too. Soon, a senior and learned couple who has been limited citizens for their whole lives and who has earned enough money to buy a chamber on the island will be given their slot.
After global floods, less than 8% of the earth surface is above sea level, but because of the lifelong work of inspiring leadership and because of collective efforts of 700 million surviving individuals, almost all the mountain slopes are now covered with trees, the glaciers are expanding on poles and the severity of weathers is receding.
People of land are relatively aggressive; they fight with each other, hunt animals and even harm the land forests. Their primary occupation is collecting manure and preparing rich soil for the use of islanders. Although each of the barge islands is self-sufficient as each generates a lot of organic waste, the islanders like to replenish the washed away soil with soil from mountain slopes. Each year some of the soil is washed away from each tree pit of the inverted forests, and as there are thousands of floating islands with millions of trees, soil preparation is a rewarding business.
Chen and Sara are about to be accommodated in one of the manure collecting communities; Chen will be involved in producing rich soil, but Sara’s main job will be to analyze and record the behavior of each community member. She will recommend individuals ready for promotion to the status of free citizenship. Additionally, both will provide support to the community teachers. This desired demotion is a great opportunity for the couple to observe the behavior of land animals and rationalize their own natural instincts; the couple is excited about their forthcoming experiences.
By Hassan Azra