Saturday, October 3, 2009

49. Indium


On the India Line

It's not entirely clear who had the idea to flatten out the Himalayas and reverse the direction of the continental drift of the Indian Subcontinental Plate. It certainly had a marvelous effect on the weather, though. Without the monsoons, India became an island paradise.

But paradise doesn't pay the bills. So it was decided that, as long as India was on the move anyway, the nation might as well get into the shipping business. Which is why today it gracefully sails the Pacific from Africa to America and back, with stops at China, Australia, and the Hawaiian Islands.

It's a slow trip, of course. Even with Twelfth Millennium technology, it's not safe to move something that large more than a mile or two per year. This means that even the briefest jaunt will take many lifetimes. Luckily, most Indians believe in reincarnation, so maintaining a continuity of investment is merely a matter of bookkeeping.

Oh, it's a pleasant way for a nation and its peoples to make a living! It's a good deal for shippers too. The unit cost is negligible. Size and weight are no issue. And the India Line—investors take note—has an excellent safety record as well.

Well, yes, there was that unfortunate incident when a pilot died and wasn't replaced in time to keep India from bumping into North America. But the current pilot is both alert and on duty at least once every other month.

Anyway, there's no denying the lofty beauty of the San Andreas Mountains. Californians are assured that, in time, they'll get used to the monsoons.

© 2002 by Michael Swanwick and SCIFI.COM.

No comments:

Post a Comment