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Beyond the Land

John Ward

In the year 2223, humanity had achieved a great technological feat - they had built floating sea enclaves that could sustain human life. The old world had been devastated by climate change and rising sea levels, and the only way for the human species to survive was to adapt to a new environment. The people of this world embraced this new way of living beyond the land, in The Vessel.

The first floating prototypes were rudimentary structures able to shelter a few hundred people who had to labor intensively to establish their new existence. History has it that the original vessels were platforms built to extract a substance called oil. Due to over-extraction and the outdated and failing technologies employed in its refinement and use, oil was depleted, and with it, life on the planet. These obsolete structures were left anchored to the sea floor or floating around the ocean with no purpose other than the reminder of their destructive power.

The first reclaimed vessel was powered by what its dwellers described as a revolutionary technology that harnessed the energy of the waves, the energy of the wind, and the energy of the sun. It was able to move with the tides, constantly drifting and changing position, always seeking out the best conditions to extract lithium from marine salt water, an alternative to oil-generated energy and technology while lithium-dependent, the vessel allowed its small human community to live sustainably in a changing environment, while contributing to a slow transition inland. Overtime, the adaptations strengthened the platforms, reaching deep into the water to spread the crystalline lithium cell plates around existing parts of the old structure.

As massive climate migrations continued to drive humans off land, news of the sustaining vessel spread across the seas. While redrawing a new geopolitical world after the erasure of old nation states, floating platforms drifting around the growing coastlines started their transformation. Soon, dozens of oil platforms had been transformed into lithium extraction vessels, teaming with life and searching the oceans for the perfect waters.

These autonomous, early lithium-dependent communities were only large enough to sustain themselves. Beyond the land, as the population continued to grow, new vessels were built, each one bigger and more complex than the last. They developed new technologies to recycle waste and minimize energy consumption. They cultivated sea gardens and stewarded the sea natures as a lifestyle. Marine biologists and environmentalists worked hand in hand with energy providers and designers to ensure that this time around humans would protect the very delicate sea ecosystems they depended on.

In a future where climate change is manifest and sea levels have risen drastically, floating sea enclaves built on reclaimed oil rigs provide an alternative to living on land. Over time, as massive climate migrations continue, these vessels evolve into larger and more complex lithium-powered communities adapted to the changing climate.



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