And that is how it all started.
“Global Warming!” The scientists shouted.
“Nonsense,” The non-believer’s shouted. “It’s too cold to be true.”
The threat went unheeded. No one understood what destruction Global Warming would cause. As time went on, it became clear. The ice caps began to melt, the sea levels began to rise and the question soon became, “How long do we have? Where can we go?”
The people living on the coast were the ones immediately disrupted. It happened gradually and soon they all realized Florida would become uninhabitable. People walked away from their homes as the ocean swallowed them up. They looked for a new start at a higher elevation.
It took a century before the ocean completely engulfed Florida. One hundred long years of displaced people finding new homes and longer still before that land was put back to use.
Once the decision was made they moved quick. It only took six months to turn the Sunshine State into the Solar Power State. The construction teams was remarkable. Florida was razed. Although you couldn’t tell from above the water. The solar farm consisted of large panels atop tall pillars to keep the panels out of the oceans choppy waves as best as possible. During the solar farms construction a decision was made on how best to maintain this farm. A team? How large? How would they operate? The powers that be quickly realized these solar panels do not need much attention and one man would be sufficient to maintain the entire farm. However, with only one man maintaining the farm, it would become a live-in job.
Alfred was chosen because of his range of skills. A jack of all trades, mostly learned at war, some learned in life. Alfred was a skilled boatsman, fisherman, and had knowledge of electronics and solar panels. Not only could he do his job well, he could also be self sustaining and this former Naval officer could handle anything. Supply-runs went out to Alfred once a month and of course Alfred could head into port to pick up supplies he needed. There will always be a need for extra things. Like, toiletries, parts, equipment, cookies, bread. Essentially anything that could not be caught in the ocean.
Alfred maintained the solar farm alone, living on the boat, crab trapping and fishing, and finding entertainment wherever he could. Alfred talked with the local fisherman and crab trappers when they were around. Often helped them pull in their catch and sometimes fixed broken traps and fishing reels for them. Everyone helped each other out here.
It didn’t take long before Alfred started messing with the supply crew. He loved putting in odd supply requests. It all started with the hammock. One day he decided that was exactly what he needed, it would make life on the boat all the better. So he decided to put in the request, the worst they can say is no. But instead he got a yes and he was surprised to get a pretty decent hammock.
This spurred Alfred to start making unorthodox requests. He would request a single serving of oreos and milk. Some Coca Cola and a bottle of Caribbean spiced rum as he signed the request ‘CAPTAIN Alfred’.
After they said yes to all those requests, Alfred was living the high life. After the daily rounds in that days quadrant, he was relaxing in his hammock with a rum and coke in hand. What more could you want?
Alfred then decided to try his luck with a television. If the satellite phone works out here, why can’t a satellite television work too? He filled out the form, dropped it off to the supply crew on his next pick up and waited for the verdict. He really didn’t expect them to say no, not with the way his luck has been going. But of course, you never know.
Before he could even get an answer on that television, Alfred found a different problem. During his Southeast quadrant check, he noticed a ship that should not have been there.
Real pirates, not the Captain Jack Sparrow’s of the sea, but the ruthless, killing sort. Alfred kept his cool, navigated his boat into the solar panels, hiding himself from their view. He quickly called the supply crew chief.
“Mike. This Alfred on the Voyager, come in.”
“Alfred, this is Mike. Over.” Mike’s response sounded a bit confused. Alfred never used the satellite phone, never had a need so urgent.
“Mike, we have pirates. They seem to be attempting to take a solar panel. I need backup.”
“Pirates? Your serious? I didn’t know there were still pirates out there. But of course that makes sense, why would pirates just suddenly stop pillaging...” Alfred stopped listening, Mike was rambling. Obviously freaking out.
“Mike, of course there are pirates, there have always been pirates, there will always be pirates. Mike! You have got to get a response team out here!” Alfred had to wake him up, call him into action.
“Yes, Alfred, hold your position.”
It seemed to work. Alfred was put on hold and Mike called whoever he needed to call to get help out to the southern end of the solar farm. Mike came back on the phone.
“Alfred! Come in!”
“Still here Mike.”
“A team will be out in about two hours.”
“Two hours! You’re joking. They will be long gone with all they came for in two hours. That’s the best you got?”
“I’m sorry, Alfred, that is the best I got. Just hide, stay away. Get out of there.”
“Yea, Mike, got it. Thanks for getting help.”
Alfred was not pleased with this. Run and hide? That is not how Alfred was trained to handle problems. There had to be something he could do. But what?
While his mind was running through an inventory check, his marine radio buzzed and a voice came through.
“Alfred. You there? Al, dude, you have pirates, you seeing this?”
Alfred smiled. Good ol’ Cliff. What is that crab trapper up to?
“Cliff! Yea, I see those pirates. Called for some help, they can’t be here for two hours! Can you believe that? Whattaya say old man? Give ‘em a run for their money?”
“Aye, matey!” Cliff laughs over the radio. “Let’s show them what a mess they have caused.”
Alfred and Cliff quickly devised a plan to scare off the pirates. If they ran at the pirate ship from opposite sides, roaring, making noise, shooting off flare guns, maybe they would think a whole squadron was closing in on them causing them to turn tail and run? They didn’t have much else to work with. Flare guns could obscure the pirates vision, the plan had potential. They had more boats than the pirates, just not more men, but they didn’t need to know that.
With pistols as a last resort, Cliff and Alfred moved into position. Slowly, quietly, using the radio to talk.
“Thanks for the help, Cliff. Don’t get shot, you hear?”
“I’m not getting put down by some pirates! Be safe, Al. See you when it’s done.”
Alfred had been in the thick of it, but nothing ever compared to this moment, when you had to dig deep, find what you needed to get it done. Alfred took a deep breath and gave Cliff the signal. They raced towards the ship.
Thank goodness their plan worked.
Scared those pirates good. Amatures, obviously. Those pirates couldn’t turn their ship around fast enough.
Alfred reconnected the solar panel. Cliff watched his back. An hour later a helicopter roared into the area. Alfred waved and his marine radio talked to him.
“This is Captain Tom to Captain Alfred, is everything ok down there? What happened to the pirates?”
“Aye, Cap. Everything is fine. Cliff here and I managed to chase ‘em off.”
“Great job, Gents. We’ll check the area and head out.”
Three hours later a government ship came into view and Alfred could hear his supervisors voice over the radio.
“Alfred, this is Lt. Cathy. We have your T.V. Impressive work today, didn’t realize you had it in you.”