Copyright to Norman Ng © 2012
Published here October 2012.

Editor's Note
Norman's First Story | Sam Makes an iVisor™ Call | Next Station: Cairo
Norman's Second Story | Underground | Attack!

Norman's Second Story Begins ...

"SUCCESS. Now all you have to do is report that insurgents destroyed Desert Cry 1 before the National Guard could arrive," said the man on the other line as Green walked out the door. Suddenly Green caught a sound from the corner of his ears. Bang! He turned around. Bang! Two more shots were fired as he fell to the floor. Suresh crawled up and shut off the gas valves. His life's work was saved. He took a deep breath as he stared out of the tower. Dark clouds covered the land. He sighed in relief. The series of events began lapsing through his mind.

Seven hours ago

"As we can see from the satellite images, Hurricane Nakahara will break land in four hours. In the European front, a super cell has dumped eight inches of snow and caused chaos in central London. Now back to the world headlines of year 2069. Project DC promises..."

"Papa, what is a hur-rica-ne?" exclaimed little Chandra. "Turn off the television and come have your breakfast. It's off to school with you young man."

The desert heat was already starting to get on his patience as he took his eyes off the microscope. "Tensile strength = 28,000 pounds per square inch" the envelope said. He sealed the specimen in and kept it in his lab coat pocket.

"I don't want to go to school."

"It's alright my son, let those kids laugh. There's nothing wrong if you haven't seen rain before. I promise you that you will see it soon. Now go pack your bags."

It was a promise that Dr. Suresh made a million times. He might have to make it a million more. For you see, little Chandra was born in Desert Cry 3. Right in the middle of the Sahara, Project Desert Cry is a series of outposts that hopes to lead a revolution. Like any revolution, there are those who live it and those who oppose. In the distance, a loud boom echoes. A black SUV pulls out in front of the veranda, stirring up the desert sands. "Stay here Chandra, until mummy comes back."

"The National Guard will be here soon. Why do you need me?" Suresh exclaimed. "Dr. Suresh, the attack on DC 1 has gotten worse. If the insurgents blow the plant, it will start a chain reaction in all 50 outposts. We have to safely cut DC 1 off the grid or lose the project! You have the access codes and the know-how. You will be vital help. I know you will," yelled the driver.

In Suresh's mind that meant two generations of hard work is about to be destroyed - two billion jobs along with it. "OK, let's go Mr. Green." Dr. Suresh got into the vehicle. "Why would someone do this? Bomb a waste treatment facility," asked Green as he put the pedal to the floor. "It's not only a waste-treatment facility my friend. It's a source of life!" replied Suresh.

Desert Cry was a pilot project in year 2030, to prove that humans can reverse the climate change and even terraform inhospitable land. The project saw wastewater being diverted from major cities across the continent into a series of reservoirs beneath the desert sands. Flora slowly replaced the undulating desert drive.

"Look around you, Green. See what a little bit of wastewater has done." Around them was a vast ocean of vegetation, towering some 50 feet above their heads. Everyone laughed at the thought of greening the desert. Earth engineer Dr. Suresh proved naysayers wrong. Funded by world carbon credits, a forest the size of England suddenly appeared in the middle of the desert. It was no easy task though. Like his father before him, he struggled with criticism and sabotage. The concept of sinking so much carbon has shifted the balance of power in the world and some factions will stop at nothing to see Project Desert Cry be reduced to ashes.

"So, there are terrorists wanting to destroy this forest of kwalu?" "No, Green. These are mercenaries. There are many companies who would do better without the existence of OUR kwalu forest," Suresh replied. Kwalu is Zulu for bamboo. A common grass, it is the plant kingdom's fastest growing woody plant. It grows up to three feet a day and produces lush clusters up to 50 feet. Desert Cry started with one million tonnes of bamboo. Now after the years, it has a hundred billion tonnes. Its rapid growth makes it one of the largest natural carbon sinks in the world. Bamboo is now harvested every year and the bulk of it used for food, wood, textiles, hydrocarbons and fuel.

"So that's the objective of Desert Cry?"

"That's only a by-product. DC is actually a rainmaking operation. By putting moisture into the desert atmosphere, we want to demonstrate that we can control the climate. Earth's climate control system is the equilibrium of water, but at any one time only so much of the Earth is inundated by rain. Rain not only brings life to the land, it helps clear the air of particulate matter that causes air pollution. In most places, moisture is low, so the air remains smoggy. Few machines can rival nature's million year old solution," explained Suresh.

Next Station: Cairo  Next Station: Cairo

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