By the time runaway global warming was finally accepted as a fact and a threat by all the world’s governments, the imposition of only carbon dioxide reduction measures was too late to halt the process. Out of desperation, climate engineering was introduced on a large scale. Intensive computer modeling helped to determine where to apply the technology so that unintended weather side-effects such a droughts or severe storms and super-monsoons would be minimized. On the oceans, all ships, especially large cargo ships such those of the Chao family’s China Shopping Enterprises, were equipped with powerful pumps that sprayed atomized sea water high into the air to augment clouds so that they would reflect more sunlight back into space. Planes flying their commercial routes were equipped to seed the atmosphere at high altitudes with micronized calcium carbonate—ie tropical beach sand that had been processed—to reflect the sun. Scram jets, traveling at the very upper edge of the stratosphere, were especially important to introduce a more persistent reflective upper layer. Computers controlled when and where the ships and planes released their loads. It was especially important to rebuild the polar ice caps and the glaciers that were fresh water sources in so many areas of the world. Reversing sea level rise however, would be a very slow process.
Jessica Turner and two Cecilias
The separate scram jet lounge was quite luxurious compared to the Business and First Class lounges for regular airliners. Jessica, Little Ceci, and Big Ceci sat in high-backed, deep, suede cloned-leather chairs. Little Ceci’s feet dangled in the air and she kicked them back and forth in excitement.
“And is the sky really black where we’re flying, Auntie Ceci?” she asked.
“Not really black, Ceci,” her auntie explained. “Just very, very dark blue.”
“Why is that?”
Big Ceci had learned that Little Ceci would want a detailed explanation, so she replied, “Because we’ll be flying so high, four times as high as a regular airplane, and more than five as fast, that the air is so thin way up there that the sky looks very dark. Not only that, you will see the curve of the Earth too.”
“I’d like to look out the window and see that,” said Little Ceci.
“This kind of jet doesn’t have windows, but you’ll be able to see it on your seat video screen,” said Big Ceci, “And this jet, like Yeye’s ships, is helping to cool the world. And I just heard the chime that means we’re about ready to board.”
Once on board, the cabin staff helped them settle into their body-conforming individual seat pods, that adjusted even to Little Ceci’s body. They would automatically fully recline for the take off and the acceleration to cruising speed and altitude.
“And how long will it take us to get to Hong Kong, Auntie Ceci?” she asked, speaking into the pod intercom.
“Just under three hours.”
“Your father is really too generous to book us to fly scram jet this time,” said Jessica to Cecilia Chao, “This is absurdly expensive.”
“Normally he leads by example for his executives, and he always flies commercial jet and expects them to do the same. As well as family. This time, he wanted to give you and Little Ceci a treat and an experience that she would remember.”
“He is has been just too good to us,” said Jessica.
“And this time I get to tag along too. He and Mom feel that they only get to see you and Ceci sporadically, so every minute is precious. Especially since she is growing and changing so rapidly.”
The announcement that they were preparing to take off came through their pod speakers and they were asked to suspend use of the intercom until they reached altitude and speed. Soon they felt themselves pressed back into the gel cushioning of their seats more and more as the craft began its climb and acceleration until it leveled out.
“I can see how dark blue it is outside, Auntie Ceci, and the horizon is curved! Just like you said it would be!” exclaimed Little Ceci as she looked at her seat screen.
Their attendant came by to take their refreshment orders. The flight was so short that tea pastries and an assortment of gourmet light and heavy snacks was offered instead of a complete meal. A full complimentary bar that included red and white wines with ratings of at least 94 was also available.
“You don’t think you’ll reconsider Dad’s offer to move to Hong Kong and work for the company, Jessie?” asked Cecilia as she took a bite of her shrimp. “It’s not a made-up job. It would be doing basically what you’re doing now with the bank, but in the shipping industry. He will hire someone else anyway if you don’t do it.”
“Right now I’m not ready to make a big move,” said Jessie. “I told him that I could help him from San Diego, that I don’t have to be physically there, but it wouldn’t be full time and I guess he and your Mom really want to see Little Ceci more.”
“And then there’s Carlos, right Jessie?” asked Cecilia with a sly grin.
“Yeah, and then there’s Carlos. He called me some months after he interviewed me about Greg. Giving me some space. I appreciated his thoughtfulness. We’ve gone out, but there’s nothing serious going on. I enjoy his company when he isn’t involved with that secret project with Dr. Octavian.”
“What’s that all about?”
“He says he can’t even hint about it to me. Said that he had to get a top secret clearance before Octavian would discuss it with him.”
There was a long pause, and then Cecilia said, “Well, even as Greg’s sister, I hope you will find some joy in your life. It’s got to be about more than just your job and trying to keep up with Ceci.”
“You’ve been a big support Cecilia, and you know I’ll never forget Greg. No matter what else happens, I’ll always love him,” replied Jessica.