Beyond the Sea
The World As We Know It
Welcome to the Real World. This world is exactly the same as the world we (the players) live in every day. It’s not “just like the real world,” it IS the real world. Other than those ghost hunting and cryptozoology “reality” shows on cable tv, or those specials on Syfy, or even the so-called History Channel, speculating about alien life, there is no scientifically proven or documentable existence of the supernatural. Judging by the popularity and longevity of those shows, people are still fascinated by that crap nonetheless.
The date of departure for the Pinnacle Conquest (the starting date for our story) is July 15th, 2012. The end of the Mayan Calendar is about 6 months away (leap year calculations notwithstanding). Do you remember the Y2K fears that had everybody in a panic as the century turned? Yeah, this is just like that. Media outlets, especially the less reputable ones, are playing to the fears of the masses every time there is an earthquake (like the 7.4 in Oaxaca, Mexico on March 20th or the 7.1 near Talca, Chile on March 25th), an outbreak of tornadoes (like the ones that destroyed West Liberty, Kentucky on March 3rd or the ones that tossed shipping containers, cars, and semi-trailers hundreds of feet in the air in Lancaster, Texas on April 3rd), or even unexplained noises from under the ground or in the sky (like those reported in Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and several parts of Canada). For the news media, it’s business as usual.
One thing that is very real is an outbreak of severe solar storms sending large amounts of radiation earthward. Yes, it’s a normal part of the solar cycle, but this is the strongest these things have been in more than a hundred and fifty years. They’ve been strong enough to disrupt satellite transmissions (some of the NBA playoff games down at the local sports bar in May were damn near unwatchable with all the static and blue screen interruptions) and kill cell phone reception (as if AT&T didn’t already suck enough for you… what, it’s not like Sprint’s any better). The people who forecast these kinds of things are saying there could be another Carrington Event (yeah, you had to Google it to find out what it was too).
On the plus side, the aurora borealis, or northern lights, have been visible as far south as Texas, Louisiana, Florida, and the Caribbean. Actually, the cruise business has benefitted from these solar storms, since the middle of the ocean is a perfect place to watch the light show, and when your kids grow up, they can tell their grandchildren about the time they watched the Aurora from a cruise ship as far south as the Bahamas.
Did I mention that you are about to leave the Port of Charleston, South Carolina aboard a cruise ship, the Pinnacle Conquest, for a 7-night cruise to Bermuda and the Bahamas? Of course I did. That’s right, you’ll be sailing into the Bermuda Triangle about 6 months before the predicted end of the world in a period of intense solar storms, unstable weather, and unpredictable geological activity. There are even a few of those conspiracy theorists and UFO nutcases boarding the ship with you. They should make people watching on the pool deck a ton of fun. Oh well, you’re here to celebrate, soak up some sun, spend some quality time with the person (or people) you love, whatever. You paid a ton of money for this cruise and you’re not going to let some half-baked nutjobs spoil your good time.
Think of all the memories you’ll have; great food, great entertainment, watching the Auroras with the kids – like I said, they’ll be telling their grandkids about that years from now. Unless the Mayans were right.