Chapter Eleven

- Half Life

It’s been almost exactly twenty-four hours since every ship in the fleet, scattered around the globe are all able to make it to the emergency confab in Hawaii called first by President Romaine and then by the Captain of the Donald J. Trump. There are thirteen days left on my count-down clock.

Then, I notice that there’s one ship, the Russian Nuclear Submarine, the Sergei Molotov who does not appear to be following her instructions and in fact is steaming in the opposite direction away from the much diminished Hawaiian Island chain.

At the same time, the Gerald R. Ford has arrived a few miles away from the suggested coordinates, and has taken a short detour to examine a small spit of land on the horizon which is actually the peak of Mauna Kea, the highest mountain top on the big island of Hawaii.

This place, almost three miles high and due to the very thin atmosphere up here, was once used as the world’s most powerful land-based observatory of the twin Keck Telescopes, what many liked to call our ‘eyes’ on the universe.

On board the Ford, the sailors have reason to believe that a small group of Hawaiian citizens may have taken refuge up here as the sea levels wiped out everything below and forced them to scurry to higher ground.

When they finally pull to within a few hundred yards of the newly minted beach, they spot a few dozen extremely frazzled and weary people lying about the barren rocks. Upon seeing the Ford, they run around picking up blankets and sticks, pieces of old tarps, wave them in the air so that the sailors on the ship can see them and effect a rescue.

It will be just in the nick of time. They have gone without food and fresh water for weeks, barely living off of a few cans of beans, jars of peaches and other food containers that have floated by.
As the skiff pulls to the shore of the little island to effect their rescue, a sailor in the bow spots and then points out the two twin telescopes of the Keck Observatory peering up at them from the depths like two very large and ravaged retinas.

From the volcanic crater nearby at Mauna Loa, a huge gushing steam cloud bursts forth and threatens to quickly engulf them. The sailors barely get the survivors on board the skiff when a second, even larger, much louder cloud of steam bursts forth and blasts thousands of feet into the air. Just a few miles away, the blast sends the Ford bucking up and down furiously in the water.

“Come on, faster, man. We have to get out of here!” Captain Black yells down at the skiff through the bull-horn

The crew of the Ford scrambles in all directions to grab the survivors and yank them onto the small loading dock and then hoists them one by one into the bay-door which then rolls shut behind them.
From the deck, Captain Black watches carefully as the door is closed behind them. He orders them to let the skiff go because he can see that there is no time to secure it in the bay.

A third, even bigger blast of steam and debris explodes all around them. They are in the middle of a volcanic eruption taking place just a few hundred feet below. The cold sea water is being funneled into the volcano’s main conduit where the magma from the center of the Earth will escape to the surface. The throat of the volcano swallows huge gulps of the ocean and instantly converts it into steam and then blasts it violently out through the ocean’s surface and high into the sky making huge mushrooming clouds that turn day into night.

The noise of the volcanic eruption is so great that nearly everyone aboard has come out and onto the deck to watch the tremendous activity exploding all around them.

Lucy, Louden Nelson, Bennett, Tony, Patty, Cortez, most of the other staff members, and the rest of the crew come crashing together in the middle of the flight deck and look on, horrified, as the steam cloud blows out of the water all around them and high up into the sky. It’s about to suffocate them where they stand. From their position in the middle of the ship, it feels as though the ship itself is also being blasted high up into the sky along with all of the debris.

They finally realize it’s an illusion created by thousands of tons of debris flying past them. Extremely relieved, they soon find that the ship is slowly pushing its way out of the core of the eruption and back to a gradually smoother sea surface as they get further and further away from the eruption.
A fourth blast of pyrotechnic steam cloud bellows all around them and then far up into the sky, but this time, they can find cooler air to breathe and enough of it so that they can believe they will survive. Moments later, they are out of the worst energies of the eruption and can watch it ongoing with the confidence of a safe distance between them.

“Wow, that was close!” Sharona exclaims to Captain Black, smiling brightly and shaking his head in total agreement.

“Too close,” Captain Black admits, readily.

Gazing back at the huge column of steam still looming above and roaring like a banshee he pushes the engines to the maximum. The huge boat responds obediently, pulling further away from the scene.

United by their near-death experience, everyone on board the Ford takes time to recognize and congratulate one another. The women are extremely popular, giving hugs and kisses all around, deeply appreciated by all.

The Hawaiian people just rescued are the most grateful, realizing that they were minutes away from being cooked alive like lobsters.

# # #

Meanwhile, I’m picking up the radio description from the Ford to the rest of the fleet regarding their close call with the volcano on Mauna Loa and the gigantic eruption of steam and molten rock.
This is a completely unexpected, yet totally predictable event that is now taking place all over the planet. As the water rises, now almost three miles above normal levels, it finds its way down the throats of the world’s great volcanoes. From there, it travels deep into the molten crust of the Earth and then is instantly converted to steam. The steam then bursts forth much more powerfully than any normal volcano would have done and pours billions of tons of debris and ash into the atmosphere which will tend to create a ‘Nuclear Winter’, an atmospheric condition where the sun is blocked from hitting the Earth which is thereupon cooled down to sub-freezing temperatures.

No one had predicted this potential way for all life to end because it had never occurred to anyone that the water could get this high.

Absolutely everyone in the Scientific community over the past thirty or forty years missed how fast things would happen after hitting the ‘Tipping Point’ in the rapidly worsening scenarios of the Global Warming. We totally missed how things could go from bad to worse at almost lightning speed.

First the sea levels around the world would rise due to the higher temperatures of the atmosphere, the melting of the ice caps at the North and South Poles. Then, it is accelerated by the unprecedented rise in carbon dioxide levels in the oceans and the heat of the water which makes the water molecules in the oceans actually begin to expand enough so that the oceans themselves will become twice their size under more ‘normal’ conditions. The expansion of water molecules keeps going until the sea levels have risen up into the mountains high enough to pour down the throats of all the world’s volcanoes where they will travel all the way down to the huge oceans of molten magma at the Earth’s core. The oceans of water are instantly turned into vast oceans of steam, which then create the biggest volcanic eruptions yet known in this part of the galaxy.

The process is slow at first, and this is why I didn’t notice it until now as the volcanic activity around the planet becomes more prevalent from the rise in the levels of the ocean. This is all worsened by the fact that the weight of the oceans themselves begins to push down on the tectonic plates forming what we have known for millennia as the continents. In other words, as the oceans are rising, they are forcing the mantle, the entire land mass of the planet below, to be sinking.

It is becoming a vicious cycle making for more and more water, turning into more and more volcanic activity, which in turn creates more and more steam bursting into the atmosphere which makes more and more heat and carbon dioxide absorbed by the water which makes the sea levels rise even more. Eventually, this cycle turns into the cold cycle where the planet is then cooled by the dust in the atmosphere and the Earth will become a huge frozen snowball. It’s happened at least once before to our planet, but unlike the present catastrophe it was not caused by man-made conditions.  

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