Columbus Warp: World Without Boats

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
In a parallel Earth where boats haven't been invented, trans-dimensional explorers, Fred Watson and Debra O'Brien, go on a tour of the Republic of New Brittany. A country that only exists … in the World Without Boats.

Submitted: October 19, 2019

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Submitted: October 19, 2019

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My girlfriend, Debra O’Brien, and I had woken up that morning and walked down the corridor to the living room: where our guides, Michael McCallum, and his sister, Stephanie, waited for us. Debra and I were trans-dimensional explorers working for a company called Columbus Warp. We had been dating for over a year now. Michael and Stephanie were our guides to this parallel world. 

 

Michael and Stephanie lived in Attenborough Village, Republic of New Brittany, in a parallel world where boats haven’t been invented. They did not have any boats in this world! The only way they can travel across the sea is by aircraft. 

 

Let me explain the history of this universe. In this world, mankind did not think of building the raft. It never occurred to them to build a boat. They never even thought of travelling across the water. And this had a huge effect on the history of this world. 

 

During the ice age the American Indians crossed the Bearing Strait into America. Mankind made it as far as Indonesia, Japan and the British Isles. When the seas rose at the end of the last ice age, those people became isolated from the rest of the world. Australia, New Guinea, New Brittany, the Pacific and the Caribbean remained uninhabited until after the air plane was invented. 

 

During that time, Indonesia got divided into the Kingdoms of Borneo, Sumatra, Saluwesi, Timor, Bali and Java. The Philippines were ruled by island kingdoms. The Kingdom of Samoa covered the south eastern part of China while the Papuans lived in an area between Tibet and Samoa. Japan was divided into the kingdoms of Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu. Great Britain was ruled by the Kingdom of Wales. The Kingdom of Ireland ruled over Ireland. 

 

The English ruled over Brittany, Normandy and Belgium to the north of France. The Fins ruled over all of Scandinavia. The Vikings were restricted to Denmark. 

 

When the hot balloon was invented by Montgolfier in September 1785, the Europeans started exploring North Africa, the Middle Eastand colonised the African continent: trading with the various African kingdoms such as Ethiopia, Ghana, Mali, Ashanti, Benin, Swaziland, Lesotho and African empires such as Zimbabwe, Zulu and the Congo Empire. When the dirigiblewas invented in 1852, they explored Asia and colonised the Indian Subcontinent.  

 

Once the Wright Brothers invented the plane in 1903, the Europeans started exploring the American Continent which they named Victoria after the great queen that ruled England during the 19th century. The English established the United States of Victoria along the Atlantic sea board in 1908 with its capital in New York. The French formed the Republic of Louisiana in 1910 and the Republic of Quebec in 1912. The Spanish founded Florida in 1914, Texas in 1916, Republic of Arizona in 1918, Sierra Nevada in 1920 and the California Republic in 1921. 

 

They also formed the republics of Argentina in 1926, Uruguay in 1927, Paraguay in 1928, Brazil in 1931, Bolivia in 1932 and Venezuela in 1936. By then the Aztec Empire ruled over Mexico and Central America while the Inca Empire ruled over Chile, Peru, Ecuador and Columbia. The Guiana Empire ruled the Guiana highlands and western Brazil. The Caribbean was ruled by the various colonies while the Fins colonised Iceland and Greenland which they named Paradise even though Paradise was cold and inhospitable.  

 

Edmund Hillary explored Australia and New Guinea during the 1950s with New Guinea being colonised in 1953 and Australia in 1958. Then David Attenborough went on to explore New Brittany during the 1970s which was what New Zealand was called in this world. New Brittany was first colonised on May the 8th 1983 with Penrose as the capital city of New Brittany. South Island was colonised on October the 16th 1998 with Stewart Island being colonised on June the 17th 2016. 

 

This is where we are now.Debra and I said good morning as we entered the livingroom. 

 

“How are you two, this morning?” asked Michael as he leaned back against the bench. 

 

“Good. Debra and I had a nice sleep, thank you” I replied with a smile. 

 

“Ready to get some breakfast?”  

 

“Yeah. Let’s” said Debra. 

 

“Let’s go get some breakfast then”. 

 

Debra and I followed Michael and Stephanie out of the sliding ranch door of the living room. Attenborough was a small sea side village in the northern part of Penrose City where Auckland Central would be. We stepped out of the house. Michael locked the front door. Then we walked over to the AttenboroughWarp car and climbed in. Michael and Sarah’s house was exactly where the Atrium was in our world. 

 

Michael started the car, backed down the driveway onto Elliott Street, then we turned left onto Victoria and right onto Queen Street. Countdown Attenborough was at the same location as Countdown Metro in our world; along with a parking spot next to it. As Michael took us down Queen Street I saw that the shops were mainly one story high. No sky scrapers here. The shops were surrounded by houses. The Penrose Region was divided into Penrose City, Henderson District, North Shore District, Rodney District, Middlemore District, Bathurst District and Franklin District. 

 

Michael parked at the beach. We got out as we followed him to MacDonald’sAttenborough where we ordered our breakfast. Stephanie chose pancakes, Michael ordered sausage muffin combo, Debra picked the big kiwi breakfast and I chose eggmuffin combo. Once we had purchased our breakfast, we took our food across the road and started eating our breakfast on the beach. 

 

We were at Attenborough Bay. Michael showed us Britomart Point on the right. Britomart Point had not been demolished in this world as they didn’t need to reclaim any land. Every colony in this world had their cities and towns built around airports; so that people had easy access to the cities and manufacturers did not have to travel far to get their freight to the airport or receive supplies from other countries. 

 

“It’s nice and quiet here,” I said chomping on my egg muffin and chewing it. “Not like Auckland which is extremely busy. You know? In my world, Britomart Point was demolished so that we could reclaim the land to build ports for the ships”. 

 

“They destroyed a beautiful peace of land to build ports?” yelled Stephanie, her eyes wide open. Stephanie was not happy to hear this. “Why not just load freight onto smaller boats and float them to the beach”. 

 

I explained to her that ships needed deep water to move, but Stephanie wouldn’t hear of it. She screamed “I can’t believe your people would destroy a beautiful piece of land just to host these vessels you call ships”. 

 

“Yes,” I agreed “It’s sad that we did it. But we had to find some way of importing products into our country”. 

 

“You could have used air planes. You didn’t need to destroy a perfectly good piece of land”. 

 

“I know. But it’s progress. Off course people tried to stop this. But air planes weren’t invented when New Zealand was colonised in our world. You see? We didn’t know that the Wright Brothers were going to invent the air plane at the time”. 

 

Once we had finished our breakfast and placed our rubbish in the rubbish bin, we watched the waves crash against the soft sandy beach. Michael asked us “Do you guys want to visit the cemetery?” 

 

“Sure. That would be splendid” I said. 

 

“That would be awesome” said Debra. 

 

“Come on then” said Michael. 

 

We followed Michael into the Attenborough Warp car. Michael pulled out of the car park and we went over the hill, past Britomart Point and along the beach to Mechanics Bay.  

 

Michael said “The reason why we call this bay Mechanics Bay is because the mechanics work here”. 

 

Debra and I burst out laughing. Our laughing must have been contagious as Stephanie laughed along with us. The idea of a bay full of mechanics and being named Mechanics Bay was hilarious. When Debra and I first arrived in this universe I expected us to arrive at Penrose where our Columbus Warp base usually is. But, instead, we arrived at Mechanics Bay facing towards Rangitoto. We were surprised to find Auckland’s original shoreline in our time! 

 

My Columbus must have detected the signature from the beacon at Attenborough Warp which was based in Mechanics Bay. A stream ran out of the bay through Grafton Gully. Which was still in its natural state. We turned right onto Grafton Road to the car park at the base of the cemetery. We climbed out of the Attenborough Warp car and headed towards the cemetery. 

 

One of the mechanics waved to us and Michael said “Morning, Gus” as we waved to him. I shouted “Do the mechanics live in Mechanics Bay too or do they just work here?” 

 

We all burst out laughing as Gus replied “Fuck you. Very funny”. 

 

We walked up the pathway through the Attenborough Cemetery. The sign was set up by the Penrose City Council. Michael said “That was a good joke. First time I heard it”. 

 

“Thanks,” I said “I just thought it up myself”. 

 

“I would not say that in a room full of mechanics, honey,” said Debra. Debra held my hand as we walked through the cemetery. “They might beat you up”. 

 

You do notice, darling? The graves look newer then the ones back in our world”. 

 

“Yeah. And they’re more recent too”. 

 

“The oldest grave in this cemetery,” said Michael “is in October 1982. A little boy got hit by a ditch digger when he got too close”. 

 

We walked through the general section of the grave to the Anglican section which was well kept. The lawns were maintained, the graves looked after, the grounds man was using the leaf blower. The graves weren’t crumbing at all. As we reached the top of the cemetery I said “Honey, look. A monument”. 

 

“That can’t be William Hobson,” replied Debra “He died before New Brittany was discovered”. 

 

“No,” said Stephanie “William Hobson died in theCongo Empire. That’s Edmund Hillary's grave”. 

 

“Come on” said Michael as he led us towards the memorial. 

 

There was a white obelisk at the head of the grave which was covered in white marble. I placed my arm around Debra’s waist as we read the plaque on his grave. 

 

Here lies the body of Sir Edmund Hillary. 

Born July 1919. He was the first man to climb Mount Everest with Sherpa Tensing in 1953. He discovered the New Brittany Islands in January 1973, which he named after the province of Brittany in England. He founded the Republic of New Brittany in October 1982, becoming the first President of New Brittany from November 1982 to October 1991. He died at Penrose City Hospital in November 2008, aged 88. 

RIP Sir Edmund Hillary, father of the Republic of New Brittany. 

 

 

“That’s sad that Edmund Hillary died” said Debra. Tears streaming down her cheeks. 

 

“That is sad” I said. 

 

I remember when they held his funeral,” said Michael “I was 17 years old at the time”. I could see the tears streaming down his face. Stephanie was sobbing too. So he must have meant a lot to the people of New Brittany. 

 

Yes,” sobbed Stephanie “It was sad. I remember they paraded his coffin through Penrose City Centre. People came from all over the country to see his funeral. From North Cape to the Bluff. All the world leaders came to attend his funeral including the Queen of Normandy and the UN Secretary General. Even the leaders of the Aztecs, Incas, Guiana, Texas, Louisiana, Victoria, Hokkaido, Kyushu, Sumatra, New Guinea, Papua, Australia. It was so sad”. 

 

She cried on Michael’s shoulder. Debra and I cried too. Michael said “They held a state funeral for him. Even President John Key gave his eulogy along with the UN Secretary General, former President Reagan who knew him well and President Xi from China. He was so admired by the world”. 

 

We looked so solemnly at Edmund Hillary’s grave. I was breaking inside. I told him my memory of Edmund Hillary’s funeral in our world. They had paraded his coffin through Auckland Domain which didn’t exist in this world. But it will soon I think. Debra hugged me as I fell into tears at the thought of Edmund Hillary’s death. 

 

“Come on,” said Michael “Lets head back to the car”. 

 

We turned around and headed back down to the car park. Michael unlocked the car by remote. We climbed into the car. Michael pulled out of the car park. We headed back down Grafton Road and turned right onto Parnell Rise. 

 

We went past some houses and farms through Parnell Village and through the countryside. Along the way Michael told me about the presidents that ruled New Brittany since 1982. “The first President of New Brittany was Edmund Hillary from 1982 to 1991. Then there was President Jim Bolger from 1991 to 1999, President Helen Clark from 2000 to 2008, President John Key from 2009 to 2016 and now President Jacinda Adern”. 

 

We drove through New Market Village where I spotted the New Market Sale Yards where they sold sheep and cattle. I said to Michael and Stephanie We had the New Market Sale Yards in my world too. Before I was born. That was in the 19th century. Now there are shops there”. 

 

After travelling though Broadway Road we turned left onto Great North Road, entering Penrose City Centre. We went past the car sales, past the St Marks shops and a high school. By the time we reached Greenlane Road, I foundthere were Sky Scrapers through Penrose Suburb. Greenlane Countdown was two stories high. We turned right onto GreenlaneWest. After going down a few blocks we turned right onto the New Brittany Government buildings opposite the One Tree Hill Park. 

 

Michael parked the car. We climbed out of the car, walked towards the buildings, past the flagpole baring the New Brittany flag showing the image of One Tree Hill on a blue background surrounded by the red southern cross. We entered the building where Michael introduced us to President Jacinda Adern of New Brittany. 

 

Welcome to our universe, Fred Watson, Debra O’Brien. So nice to have you here” said Jacinda smiling. She was in her late thirties with long brown hair, thin face and tall slender build. She wore a navy blue dress and mahogany leather boots. 

 

“Thank you, my dear madam President,” I said “So nice being here”. 

 

Same here,” said Debra. I placed my right arm round Debra’s waist. “Pleasure meeting you, Mrs President”. 

 

Debra smiled. She and Jacinda shook hands. Jacinda said “Come. I'll show you around”. 

 

We followed the President up the flight of stairs to the top floor and down the corridor to the senate which appeared as a small meetingroom with a long glass table and ten chairs where the senators were seated. In New Brittany the Government was in two parts. Jacinda introduced us to the senators. 

 

The senate was the upper house in Government. The Senate consisted of ten senatorsrepresenting the nine provinces of North Island which were Northland, Penrose, Hamilton, New Plymouth, Bay of Plenty, Gisborne, Hawkes Bay, Palmerstonand Wellington. The tenth senator represented the South Island which included Stewart Island and Chatham Islands. 

 

Once we had made our acquaintances, we followed Jacinda and her senators to the House of Representatives which was the lower house of Government. Jacinda introduced us to the Representatives. The House of Representatives was a bigger room which housed 40 electorate representatives and ten list representatives. There were 21 Labour representatives, 21 National representatives and 8 Green representatives. Norman Green was the leader of the Greens while Simon Bridges was the leader of the National Party. 

 

It’s quite a pleasure meeting you all” I said with a smile. 

 

“Thanks,” replied Simon “How are you liking our world so far? 

 

“It was fun. We went for a walk around Freeman’s Bay, went to the Mount Albert Shops, Mount Eden and One Tree Hill. 

 

“Nice seeing you” said Representative Judith Collins of National. 

 

Judith explained that therepresentativesrepresented the districts of the North Island and the regions of the South Island:including the representative of the Chatham Islands and the newly appointed representative of Stewart Island which was newly formed when Stewart Island got colonised a few years back. 

 

Then Jacinda suggested “Shall we head to Lake Churchill, Fred and Debra?” 

 

“Where's Lake Churchill?” asked Debra. 

 

Simon Bridges grabbed the New Brittany Atlas, opened it and pointed to it. Oh, I get it. Lake Taupo is called Lake Churchill in this universe. Simon said “It was named after Winston Churchill who was a great hero in World War Two. He liberated Saxony from the Nazis. They speak English there”. 

 

“Oh, Ok,” I said “Let's go there. Sounds like fun”. 

 

“A great idea” said Debra smiling. 

 

After saying goodbye to the representatives, we left the House of Representatives and went down the stairs to the car park where we climbed into Jacinda's car. Jacinda pulled out of the car park. We turned left down GreenlaneWest and right down Great South Road. 

 

We went through Penrose City Centre with all the sky scrapers, past the Penrose City High School, Penrose City Council and the Penrose International Airport where Mount Smart Stadium would be. Freightways was next to the industrial airport. We left the Penrose City limits, past through Middlemore City where Otahuhu would be. We past through Picasso Village, Manchester Town, Mariana Village, through Bathurst District, Brookfield Village and Huntly District. 

 

We stopped off to have lunch in Hamilton, which was a small town in this universe. We got out of the car and walked into the cafe.Michael got himself a steak and cheese pie with sausage roll and coke, Stephanie bought a ham sandwich with doughnut and coke zero, Jacinda got a hamburger with chips and an orange juice, I bought Debra chicken and chips with ginger beer and me a spring roll, hotdog, chips and chocolate milk shake. Once we had purchased our lunch we sat down and chomped it down. 

 

The University of Hamilton had just been established but it was still small though. Once we had our lunch, we got back in the car and drove all the way to Lake Churchill. We went through Hamilton South District via Patterson Village and Trafford Village. By mid afternoon we arrived at Lake Churchill. 

 

Jacinda parked the car at the Lakeside Cottages in front of the lake. We entered one of the cottages, unpacked and made ourselves at home. 

 

“Come on,” said Jacinda “Lets go for a walk”. 

 

As we got out of the cabin, we spotted the pukekos wading in the lake.  

 

“Look,” said Debra “Pukekos. And look at the wekas”. 

 

Michael called the pukekos Attenboroughs and wekas Kennedy after John F Kennedy of Victoria. Off course I saw the Pukekos in Auckland, but the Pukekos and wekas were more common in this world because of a lack of predators. We walked into the forest and my heart raced when I got my first glimpse of moas walking through the forest. 

 

“Look,” whisper Debra “Moas”. 

 

“Yes,” I said “Moas went extinct in our universe because they were over hunted by the Maori”. 

 

In this world,” said Jacinda “We call them Giant New Zealand Ostriches. After the African ostriches”. 

 

The moas were very common in this part of the multiverse. They were amazing. These giant birds with brown feathers which stood at three metres tall. 

 

“What are you doing!” screamed Debra. 

 

“We’re hunting giant ostrich” replied Jacinda pointing her shotgun at the moa. 

 

“You can’t do that!” I yelled. My heart racing. I was horrified to see the President of a country about to shoot a moa. “That's how they became extinct in our universe”. 

 

“Sorry, Mrs President,” said Michael, pushing his palms towards her in a calming gesture. “He’s not from here. I’ll talk to him”. 

“Ok” said Jacinda nodding. 

 

“Fred, Debra. Do you see how common these giants are. You think Doc would allow these massive birds to go extinct?” 

 

I guess not” I said. 

 

“People hunt giant ostriches all the time. The Government has laws on how many giant ostriches you can hunt. Even David Attenborough and Edmund Hillary hunted giant ostriches in their time”. 

 

“Surely Steve Irwin wouldn’t have approved” said Debra. 

 

In fact, Steve Irwin hunted giant ostriches when he was here,” said a middle-aged man. “Come to my cabin. We’ll have ostrich and wood pigeon for dinner”. 

 

“Ok,” I said “You can shoot it”. 

 

“No!” said Debra. 

 

It will be alright, honey. They'll survive. Step aside”. 

 

“Ok” nodded Debra. 

 

Jacinda aimed, pointed and bang!  The moa fell to the ground. 

 

 

*** 

 

 

That night, we had brought the moa back to the cabin where we skinned and butchered it for meat. I was told that they farmed moas for meat and fur all over the country. We threw some moa steaks and wood pigeon on the barbecue. We had it with salad and potato. The moa was juicy and the wood pigeon tasted moist. 

 

“The wood pigeontastes delicious,” said Debra. “Pity we're not allowed to hunt it in our world”. 

 

“They are endangered in our world, dear” I said. 

 

Once we had finished eating moa meat and wood pigeon, we drank down some beers and headed off into the forest where we watched the kiwis dig for worms in the forest floor. They were so common in this part of the multiverse. Not like in our universe where they were endangered. 

 

They’re so cute, honey” said Debra smiling at me. 

 

“Yes, they are, darling,” I said “They’re so happy. Free from possums”. 

 

We smiled at each other before kissing each other full on the lips, sticking our tongues in each other'smouths, before smiling at each other, then continuing to watch the kiwis dig for worms. 


© Copyright 2020 simon arthur. All rights reserved.

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