Startup Escalation 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 Chocolate .
Superhuman World 2010 is a work of fiction. The characters herein and the commentary about them should not be considered "real".
SUPERHUMAN WORLD 2010
The Last Chocolate Crop
As ever, I keep track of events. This is especially important now that the Earth's in a new orbit. There's a particular demand to hear about whether chocolate will survive on our new Earth.
(signed) Wyatt Ferguson.
Introduction by Wyatt Ferguson.
23 January: I'm sharing a big suite on a National Geographic tour of Ghana and the Ivory Coast. Our tour leader is my friend Prince Adu Asantemantse of Ghana's Ashanti tribe. He stays in royal suites, and he's offered me one of his guest rooms.
24 January: Looks like I should have been hardwired like The Trillions. I now have a tropical disease! The group doctor says, I won't be taking the Ivory Coast part of the trip. Adu says don't worry, he'll cover for me, and he'll keep my passport in a safe place while I recover.
25 January: I count my blessings. For one, I can get my tropical drinks double-strong here. And at least I won't be under attack like my tour leader was.
Can Science Save The Chocolate From Earth's New Climate -
And One Warrior Save It From The Jungle?
The bus had taken the Warrior Ashanti across the border. But now he had to swim - for his life.
Adu Asantemantse, the superhuman Warrior Prince of Ashanti-Ghana, was on a mission for his people. Officially, he was a tour guide for the National Geographic, to see where the alien "Trillions" had landed. Secretly, Adu was carrying genetically-modified coffee and cocoa beans for his people to plant in Ashanti-Cóte d'Ivoire, just across the international border the colonial powers had imposed upon his people.
The modified beans were designed by Adu's super-scientist contacts, the same who'd given Adu his super strength and endurance. The beans would supposedly grow better in cold temperatures - like those the Earth would soon endure, since its orbit had been modified shortly after the aliens arrived. (See Related Story) The beans came in several varieties to plant in several places. At least one would work - as far as the experts knew.
Adu was on this mission only for the Ashanti tribe. They'd already arranged for the new beans to be planted in the Ashanti regions of Ghana. But the neighboring country of Cóte d'Ivoire (or "Ivory Coast" in English) was jealous about the current cocoa crop (possibly the last one ever) and suspicious of the new plants. To get these plants across the border, Adu officially had to be on other business. So he would be a celebrity tour guide.
There was no problem crossing the border. But at the first river crossing, a new checkpoint had been set up for agricultural produce! Cóte d'Ivoire was enforcing its new restrictions on foreign coffee and chocolate.
Adu had to admire his enemies. The Cóte d'Ivoire government knew, wherever Africans can walk, they can and will carry anything they like. Only at choke points like river crossings could they enforce their rules on travel.
It was time for Adu to leave the tour. Unfortunately his assistant leader was sick and had stayed home. All he could do for the tourists was put the bus in command of one of the translators, and promise to meet them later. Then without hesitation, he ran out the bus door and into the rain forest up the riverbank.
Normally Adu could have expected to find a native with a rowboat to take him across the river. But the river was flooded. With the Earth in a new orbit, December had been unusually warm, and there had been storms. So Adu took his waterproof bag with the beans, and slipped into the water.
But then a government gunboat came into view from down the river - and started shooting at him. Local authorities knew about his escape!
Adu ducked under the murky water to save his life. He couldn't outswim a gunboat while dragging a load of beans. So he dropped to the bottom and waited for the ship to pass above him. But the ship stopped! Thirty seconds, sixty seconds... Adu had to move.
He flutter-kicked down the river, then found a log he could surface and hide behind. Ninety seconds... He headed for the surface.
But before he could get a breath, Adu felt a sharp pain in his leg - and a downward tug. Crocodile!
Adu had to save the beans! He let the bag float to the surface, then pulled his knife. One hundred twenty seconds.
One knife thrust to the brain cage and the crocodile was dead. But it didn't loosen its grip. Adu had to kick its teeth out. One hundred fifty seconds... finally a gasp of air at the surface. And gunfire!
Adu ducked back under. He knew the gun crew were as likely to shoot at a crocodile as at him, just for target practice. He couldn't find the crocodile's body, but he found another log that would look like one. He shoved it out toward the boat. The machine guns obligingly followed the log, while Adu swam back down river.
Adu's leg was tougher than most, but it was bleeding. He had to get to shore and bind his leg wounds. He'd have to use his shirt.
The beans were still up river - next to the gunboat! Adu had to sneak through the jungle to get there.
The bag of beans was by the shore, where Adu had thrown it - but it was surrounded by a hunting pack of male chimpanzees. They were each almost the size of a man, with more upper body strength. Together they were enough to weigh even Adu down. And they almost had the bag open!
Adu went to one side, and growled like a leopard. The chimp pack erupted with warning howls.
As Adu expected, the gunship opened up on the chimpanzees for target practice. But Adu noticed the ship captain ordering a crew onto one of the boats. They'd seen the bag!
Adu threw a large stone up river, into a bush. A flight of birds erupted out. The gunship crew didn't use those for target practice for once. But they were still distracted long enough for Adu to take the bag of beans and run into the woods.
Adu hiked northwest. He had to cut a stick to support his wounded leg, but he still made good time.
Several hours later, he came to the edge of the Ashanti plantations. The first worker he saw looked greedily back at him and said in French, "Cripple, let me help you with that bag."
Adu knew French, of course; as an Ashanti prince, he'd studied every language his people were made to speak. He responded, "This bag is not for you. Take me to your master planter."
"Perhaps if you make me, cripple."
Adu didn't trust his leg enough for a fight. So he said, "Very well. But allow me this, so you can kick the cripple better." Adu sat down.
The greedy worker rushed in to kick Adu's face. Adu grabbed his enemy's foot and flipped him over.
"Your tricks will not save you!", the worker said. He took out a machete and rushed at Adu. Adu blocked his enemy's wrist with his stick, then lashed out with his good leg at the worker's groin. The worker fell over groaning.
The fracas attracted more workers. They all laughed. One of them said, "We can do better than trip over a cripple," then took out his own knife.
"You will stop!", Adu exclaimed. "I am your prince and require your aid."
"Prince my ass!" The new enemy rushed in, with two others behind him.
Adu whipped his stick around at knee level to drop the first attacker. Then he brought the stick up to block the next two attacks. Each attacker then got Adu's stick thrust into his solar plexis. They all fell down breathless.
"He can't get us all! Get him!" Adu braced for an onslaught, under which his mission might yet fail.
"NO FIGHTING!" A man drove up in a cart. The master planter had finally arrived. He saw Adu sitting serenely with four enemies fallen around him, and said, "Prince!"
Adu had finally made contact with his tribe. This plantation's planter promised to plant his share of the beans wisely. Plantation trucks would now take him the rest of the way on his mission.
The next morning Adu settled into a pickup truck's passenger seat, and let his mind wander while the driver played gospel radio from Liberia. The preacher was saying this must be the Christian Apocalypse, the end of the world. But Adu knew that wasn't true. When the end of the world came, he'd finally draw the holy Anokye Sword of the Ashanti to fight it. Until then, he'd fight in other ways.
The vital beans of coffee and cocoa had come where they were needed. This year's chocolate crop would be followed by more.
The Superhuman World website now works with concepts from the Usenet group rec.arts.comics.creative. "The Last Chocolate Crop" arose from this challenge for Contest #6: "When the Earth is infested by hardwired aliens, one Earthling and his chocolate respond by swimming." Yeah, the challenge was written by a committee (me, Saxon Brenton, and Dave Van Domelein). Does it show?
All characters in this fiction and the phrase "Superhuman World 2010" are copyright © 2010 by Eiler Technical Enterprises. The map of the Superhuman World is based on one from Henry Bottomley's map software which is well worth a visit.
(signed) Scott Eiler