Strange New Land

Outland: Chapter 19

The long road out of the city seemed busier than any city I had ever visited back in the states.  I could see people clearing out of the way, looks of fright and intrigue on their faces, and I piloted Gulliver the best I could.  Lining the streets were many stalls holding all types of merchandise from clothes, handbags, food of all imaginable type, as well as shady looking stalls chucking flip phones and various sorts of beaten up technology.

We wandered out off the long city streets out into the slummy suburbs, eventually leading into a sort of no man’s land, covered in filth and remnants of civilization.  Some of the children from the city had chased me out on the street, but eventually lost interest and trail off.  I took a look back at the old port, with the boat as tiny speck out in the distance.

Carefully treading through bits of trash, I had Gulliver wade out into the water, the waves sitting just below the windows of the cockpit.  Flipping the switch to put the solar array up, I finally took a breath preparing myself to speak.

“Well, Gulliver.  We’re here.”

“Where exactly, is here?”

“China it would seem.  The thing is…”  I trailed off, looking out at the dark waves.

“What are your thoughts, Andrew?”

“I don’t know.”  I slumped down in the seat.  “The whole trip over, I was so anxious about the trip, I never stopped to think about what we were going to do while we were over here.  I don’t speak really any of the language, I don’t have any money to speak of, and there’s likely nothing anywhere near us that will be of use to us.  I’m just some outsider who came here in some giant robot to do who knows what.

“Living a life outside that of others is the usual for us, is it not?”

“I guess you’re right, but up until now, we had a goal that we could follow, without the need to have someone show us the path.  Now… who know where we’re headed?”

“I was under the assumption that we were headed to Japan?”

“Japan is an island country.  Who knows if it’s under water or not?  If not all of it, then the big cities.  I’m not even sure which area of China we’re at.”

“You are… resourceful, Andrew.  There is always a way to make something work.”

I sat, looking at the waves and the dark smog hanging low out on the water.  Standing up, I looked out at the rear porthole to the shore back behind us.  Luckily, nobody had followed us.  Up in the hills inland, I could see nothing but more smog covering the sky.

“We can’t stick around here, Gulliver.  I don’t like this place.  It’s… gross.”

“If I may warn you, Andrew, I would recommend waiting for my power cells to charge.  In this current light, it may take up to four hours to reach max.”

I put my head down looking at the floor and the ladder below.  “I guess there’s no helping it then.  This is what I chose.  I’m going to have to deal with this situation.”

“I approve of this positive outlook, Andrew.”

“I don’t know if I would call it positive, but we need to do something if we’re going to make progress out here.  I’m going to head ashore, and into town.  I get the feeling I’ll be better received if I’m not inside of a giant machine.  Perhaps there will be someone there who can help us out, if even in the slightest.”

Grabbing onto the ladder, I began sliding down to the bottom compartment where my diving gear laid neatly where I had left it.  Slipping inside, I called up to Gulliver.

“Open the hatch for me.  And close it back up for me as soon as I’m done. Head out several meters until you’re sufficiently under water.   I don’t know when I may be coming back.”

End of Book 1

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