A story of everyday folks from 2017 who take off from Japan landing in San Francisco, but the year is 2037. Enjoy!
I guess I should have realized something was off, judging from the pilot’s announcements, the tone of his voice, and the odd whispers from fellow passengers. But it wasn’t until we were sitting on the big yellow and green striped square waiting for access to the arrival gates that I truly realized, we weren’t in Kansas anymore. From my window seat vantage point, San Francisco International Airport had grown into an amazingly large city of technologically advanced looking buildings a large series of circular runways, and the aircraft I was seeing, well Wow!
A half-hour or so later we were all walking through a tunnel to the arrival lounges, our mouths agape, eyes bulging in confusion and astonishment at the same time, trying to wrap our heads around it. San Francisco International Airport had changed inside as well. The in-terminal announcements for one kept saying “Welcome to the San Francisco International Space Port.”
Our plane as I watched from window seat 14c, taxied onto the aforementioned large yellow and green striped square, halted and powered down. Then the elevator dropped us down into a massive hanger, spun us one hundred and eighty degrees, moved us forward at a brisk pace, a turn here, then another, and we pulled up to a well-lit departing tunnel. Men in black pinstriped suit boarded, briefly chatted with our pilot, took the hand-held microphone from the flight attendant, who, now pale in complexion, was obviously in distress. The pilot watched on as the man in black he stood next to, proceeded to give us the shock of our lives.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, I am Chief Garfield, director of International atmospheric bound flight security, welcome to the San Francisco International Space Prot.” He paused for a moment to let the spontaneous exclamations subside. “There is no easy way to say this, so I will just get it done. Today is June 28th, 2037.” He paused again. “I assure you; we are as perplexed as you are but we are committed to helping you through the transition and will help answer any and all of your questions along the way. Government officials have been notified and are in route to assist all of you.”
“2037.” I leaned back in my seat and took a deep breath. “Did he say 2037?” I asked Julie my just made friend on the flight from Japan. We looked at each other, she nodded her head and turned to look out the window. “When we left Japan, it was June 27th, 2017, right, yesterday I mean.” Again she nodded, still looking out the window.
Now we are all in a big room where counselors are working with us. Ms. Akiama or Julie was sitting across the room from me the counselor had provided her with what appeared to be a Bluetooth headset, he spoke English she seemed to understand, she spoke Japanese, he appeared to understand.
“Mr. Jarmin, as I said, your old device just won’t work anymore. The Government has asked us to provide you with a new device it is powered by Constances and I have been able to transfer over all your contacts. Here you go, it is updating now.”
Ashley my counselor handed back my iPhone 7 and the new Constances device. I took both and examined the millimeters thin phone.
“Please call me Jake. Thanks. Hey, what is that earpiece she is wearing over there?”
I pointed towards Julie and her counselor.
“That is a wireless translation device it is connected to the Space Port’s communications system; it instantaneously translates languages for the user. They are extremely popular among travelers these days. Most have the App on their Personal Terminals, but, well you all don’t have the latest versions.”
“Obviously,” I said. “They are called Personal Terminals instead of Phone or Cell Phone now, I am guessing?”
Ashley smiled, “Oh, yes, nowadays people just call them PTs. Speaking of Personal Terminals, your Constances 5 is the most current and intuitive of all PTs in my opinion. You start by saying hey phone, it will answer you and you go from there just ask it questions and talk to it or tell it what you want, it will learn to anticipate your requests. It is connected to the web and Cellular system. I’m afraid your phone number and E-Mail accounts are no longer yours. Just ask your phone when you want to learn your new phone number. I am told the government is figuring out how to handle financial matters for you and your fellow travelers,”
I looked around, folks were crying now, some just sat staring off into space, their counselors patiently waiting. I looked at Ashley, she sat patiently waiting.
“I can’t imagine having family and going through this, its bad enough thinking about my friends being twenty years older while I haven’t aged at all,” I said.
Ashley appeared to be in her twenties, and she was a pretty lady. Normally I would have already hit on her but given the circumstances, me being Seventy in a Fifty-year old’s body, I was having some trouble getting beyond the moment.
“How long will it be before I know about money, I would like to get a place to stay since I no longer own a home in Oakland.”
“We are hoping soon, however, ANA’s successor, Global Japan Airways, has offered to transport you, and pay for your accommodations at the Four Seasons, San Francisco, I can contact you as soon as we find out about your finances. I will be your advisor until the government agent arrives to take over. Would you like me to set up a room for you?”
“That would be great, that way I can shower, and have a psychotic break in private, and catch up on things you know. Maybe call an old friend. ”
My new phone, I mean PT, made an audible series of beeps that sounded like the death notes from PackMan.
“There you go, the updates are complete. You can begin to get acquainted with 2037 now.”
“Thank you.” I looked at the screen, it was cycling through the startup screens, Samsung, then Constances, then a home screen that looked like a Moonscape, with a city on it? I shrugged it off thinking it a kind of cool futuristic screen saver.
“Could I pass Ms. Akiama, Julie, over there, a message before I go to the Hotel?”
“Sure,” Ashley said and closed her eyes for a moment.
I looked at her then over towards Julie and her counselor and noticed the counselor look toward us and nod, he then spoke to Julie. Julie looked over, spoke to the counselor, he nodded toward us, and spoke again to Julie.
“Jake, just hit the Airport message symbol, there,” She pointed to the Screen. “and type jasf00814b then hit request connection and wait for her to respond. Your address is jasf00814c. Or you can just step over and speak to her.”
“Wait! What was that! Telepathy? We haven’t figured that out in the past twenty years, have we?”
“I guess it might look that way to you.” Ashley smiled and quietly chuckled. “Jared and I have Alpha Doc Com, neural interface Implants, they allow us to communicate via the digital world directly from our minds. The Space Port provided it after my third year of employment. It is an amazing piece of technology Jake you should read up on it when you get a chance.”
“So, you have a computer in your head?”
“I guess so. … It’s more like a PT, about the size of a flash drive.”
“Ok, connect to the Airport Message system I have sent you your lodging arrangements. Just show them at the hotel when you get there.”
“Wait, you haven’t moved.”
Ashley smiled and pointed to the side of her head. “Quick as a link. Excuse me Jake, I’ll be right back.”
I looked around breathing deep, nothing much going on in my head at all, a low hum of a trance-like state when your environment has overwhelmed you, and your just not sure what to do next. Images of those closest to me faded in and out of my thoughts as I sat and stared into space. I was thinking of the flight trying to remember any odd event as we flew over the Pacific. I could not recall anything. Suddenly a great weariness came over me and I wanted a bed to sleep in.
“yes sir, how may I help?”
“Send a message to Julie Akiama Please.”
“Would you like to type the message or speak it?”
“At the tone, please speak your message.” The packman death tune played.
“Julie, I can only imagine the horror of it all for you. I am sorry, I hope that you will stay in touch. Ashley, my counselor has set up room accommodations for me at the Four Seasons Hotel just down the street. If you stay the evening there, let me know, we can get together and chat. Thanks, Jake,” I hit the send button before the PT could say anything.
It spoke anyway. “The intended recipient is a native speaker of Japanese, would you like the message translated before you send?”
“Ok, translating …, sending …, message sent,” My phone replied.
I looked over as Julie raised her tablet and looked at the screen, she tapped it once then twice, looked over and smiled, spoke a few words while looking at the screen, then looked at me and smiled again.
My phone spoke, “jasf00814b has responded, would you like to read the message, or shall I read it to you?”
“I would like to read the message please,” I said forgetting it was my phone talking to me.
“Ok, here is the message from jasf00814b.”
The message popped up on my screen. It read, “I will. Thank you. Take care. Julie.”
I stared at the screen for a moment, thinking, then spoke. Something I hardly ever did, I hated doing anything except making phone calls with my phone. It had been only a couple months since I had sent my first text message.
“Hey phone,” I paused, this is stupid I thought and moved to tap the screen.
“Yes Sir, how may I help?” the phone responded.
“Open Facebook and create an account.”
“Yes Sir …, May I use the personal information from the stored memory on this Personal Terminal to create your account?”
I was looking at the screen, “yes please.”
“Sir, Facebook requires an active E-Mail account, would you like me to create one for you?”
“Which E-Mail service provider would you like to use?”
“Google; try firstname.lastname@example.org, please.”
“I’m sorry sir that address is taken, Google recommends email@example.com. Would you like to use that address name?”
“No, use firstname.lastname@example.org.” I smiled at this bit of wit.
Ashley approached; I put the PT down next to me and looked up.
“Jake, I can take you to the cab exits or you can ride the underground tram to the hotel if you like.” She said, smiling.
Her perma-smile was beginning to get to me. “Taxi Please, I need some air. So, what is he telling her that has caused her to cry so?” I pointed to Julie.
“Ah … Well, Ms. Akiama’s home was in the City of Kagoshima, it was devastated in 2025 when Mount Sakurajima erupted. Her entire family was killed in the eruption,” Ashley said, the smile was gone.
“Sir, I have created your Google E-Mail account and set up your Facebook account. Would you like me to send out friend requests using your contact list?”
“No, not now, thanks, shut down please.”
“Yes sir, shutting down.”
“Holy Frack.” I looked over to Julie who was sobbing, head in her hands, her counselor waiting patiently.
“Yes, I thought just about the same thing …” Ashley said her smile not yet returning. “and that Jake, is just one of many tragedies sitting in this room tonight. I cried this evening as we were being assigned to our guests.”
“Well, let me get out of the way then, since the only tragedy I have is lack of finances,” I said, standing, picking up my bags.
Ashley led me out of the arrival lounge.
“So, Ashley, I keep hearing that this is a Space Port. What exactly does that mean, aside from the obvious?”
“Jake, it means exactly what you think. We not only receive and depart atmospheric bound aircraft here but extra-terrestrial flights as well.” Ashley said her smile returning with a bit of inspirational sparkle in her eye.
“Extra-terrestrial? You don’t mean aliens like Men in Black extra-terrestrial spaceport, do you?”
Ashley pause, blinked, and laughed. “Sorry, I had to find a reference to Men in Black that made sense, I might have to view that old movie tonight. However, the answer is no, not yet anyway, but who knows, maybe one day.” She continued to talk as we walked. “So, in 2025, the first large scale Lunar base, Tranquility began accepting tourists, in 2029 the International Space Station, Tulevasuus, a joint venture between the governments of Finland and China, and the corporations, Virgin Galactic, Mars One, and RRK Energyia, also began accepting tourists. To gain revenue and drive down the cost of space tourism, the US Government, NASA, and Space X co-developed the Phoenix Space plan, and San Francisco became its base of operations.”
“Really, I would love to see one of them take off,” then before she could respond, “Did Elon ever colonize Mars?” I asked.
“Forty-Seven thousand people and counting. I’m saving up, I applied last year,” Ashley said.
I stopped, “No fracking way. What! Are you serious? Damn!”
Ashley stopped, turned to me, the smile on her face brighter than ever before. “There are so many things in the year 2037 that will cause that reaction Jake, just wait. I get off in a few hours. Do you want me to come get you for dinner?”
“I would really like that. Thanks, Ashley,” we began walking again.
She led me down a wide airport corridor to elevators, up a few floors down another wide corridor and out the front doors to a short line of waiting passengers. The steward at the front of the line opened the door for me.
“See ya later Jake, I will text you.”
“Great,” I sat back, eyes closed as the door shut.
“What is your destination, Sir,” Came a voice that sounded like my phone.
I opened my eyes to see no one in the car with me.
“Please say the name of your destination.”
Of course! I was in an autonomous taxi; it is the year 2037 for god sakes. “The Four Seasons Hotel, please. Tell me is the fare paid for?”
“Yes sir GJA has chosen to pay the fair this evening.”
“Good choose a long route where the speed limits are moderate so I can chill and think and take in the sights, in fact, head South down to 92 then West over to Highway 1 so I can look at the coast,” I told the car.
The car pulled out and drove. I sat in silence for some time not even thinking just a low hummm of nothingness in my head as I tried to get myself in tune with 2037. “Car.”
“Are you connected to the internet?”
“Is there any news about ANA Flight 008.”
“Beginning an internet search for ANA Flight 008, please wait. … Sir the most recent news pertaining to ANA flight 008, is a CNN article dated, August 15th, 2017. There are Three Hundred and Fifty News articles pertaining to ANA Flight 008, between the dates 28 July 2017 and 15 August 2017. There is a short VLOG Post on alienoverwatch.com, posted at 1:30 pm today, 28 July 2037.”
“Show me the Alien Overwatch VLOG post.”
“Yes sir, retrieving … please wait.”
“Hey all.” The image appeared in the air in front of me a semi three-dimensional projection as we drove.) this is Zed coming at you with some news you will not believe. Today I witnessed a Boeing 737, registered as ANA Flight 008, registration number N1237S landing in San Francisco. Folks 737s don’t fly anymore, they were retired years ago and that registration and flight number, as you know belong to a plane that went missing in July of 2017! Twenty years ago! They ushered the Passengers into a secure area and assigned hundreds of security, airline, and airport personnel to assist the passengers, most of them are still at the spaceport now. Nothing yet in the news, I’m not sure what is going on here, but it is very odd indeed.”
I turned my phone on, no messages; I don’t know why I thought there might be. No-one but Ashley and Julie, and the airport, I mean spaceport officials, and government officials know I’m alive. “Hey phone.” The phone illuminated and responded with a beep. Call Tim, it placed my call for me.
“Is this Tim Camp?”
“Yes, who is this?”
My mind raced how to make him believe so he will not hang up. How hard was it for him and Frankie to bury me? Did they cry? It’s been twenty years do they even remember me? Of course, they do but connections die over time I know this.
“Sorry, Tim, I was just trying to figure out how to proceed. Do you recognize my voice?”
“Well, you sound very familiar, but you can’t be the person you sound like, because he died 20 years ago, … today as a matter of fact. Who the hell is this?”
“Please do not hang up Tim, give me just 5 minutes, please. I promise you will be amazed if not anything else. Like that day I helped land the financing for Gama Electronics.”
“You have my attention, but no promises on the hang-up and fuck face; you didn’t help land the financing for Gama Electronics that honor belongs to Jake.”
“Jarmin.” I interrupted him. “I know, believe me, I cannot explain to you why you haven’t gotten any news about this but if you would please do me one favor and visit a website called alienoverwatch.com, it will help explain everything.”
“What the hell is this shit?”
Did he already view the site? I didn’t even hear him move.
“Did you, do it? Did you visit the Vlog?”
“Yes, what the hell is this?”
“Tim, it is the only thing out there pertaining to the real-life event that is unfolding right now. I am Jake Jarmin, Tim, I have been waiting for the government since we landed to do something official so it would only be a surprise, not a shock. But they haven’t even shown up yet.”
“Bullshit! How?” Click the sound was like thunder in my ear.
“Find a gas station that sells newspapers, do they even sell physical newspapers anymore?”
“There are multiple gas stations near our location sir. They all sell physical newspapers.”
“Take me to the nearest gas station.”
“Create a list of the largest man-made structures built after the year 2020.”
“There are seven thousand, eight hundred, and forty-six large structures that fit your search parameters, sir.”
“Eliminate all structures that were planned prior to the year 2017.”
“That has reduced the number to four thousand, six hundred and fifty-three, sir.”
The car pulled into a Chevron gas station; I was surprised to see four types of fuels other than the typical gasoline for sale as well as electric charging stations in the parking spots. The vehicle parked.
“It is now safe to exit the vehicle sir; shall I wait or is this your final destination.”
I smiled and chuckled to myself at the words, “final destination”.
Inside the gas station, I grabbed a paper walked to the counter, and pulled out a five the smallest bill in my wallet.
“Hey man, we don’t accept cash here. Sorry.”
I’m not sure how long I stood there just looking at him, wallet and five-dollar bill in one hand, and the newspaper in the other, I’m not even sure if I was thinking.
“You ok buddy? ok, give me the five, I’ll pay for the paper for you, but I can’t give you change.”
I handed him the five, turned and walked out of the lobby, and got back in the waiting driverless taxi.
“May I help you, sir, this Taxi is reserved for Mr. Jake Jarmin, please identify yourself.”
“I am Jake Jarmin.”
“May I communicate with your PT?”
“Thank you, sir. How may I help.”
“Drive, continue on the route we started, do you have the results of the search I asked about?”
The car began to move I looked at my phone still no messages.
“List them please, sort them by largest.”
“Moonbase Campbell — Futtaim” is the largest man-made structure in the solar system not on the planet Earth. On clear nights it can be seen from the Earth with a pair of standard sportsman binoculars and most hobbyist telescopes.”
“Stop, that is good I don’t need to hear any more of the list. Thanks.”
“You are welcome, sir.”
“Show me pictures of Moonbase Campbell — Futtaim.”
A series of images appeared on the screen. I picked one and saved it to the phone; I then turned and took a video selfie in a way that showed the driverless vehicle moving.
“Tim, it is really me, and here is proof. The car driving itself, a pic of moon base Campbell — Futtaim, you can explain the name later, and this.”
I turned the camera and got a video of the newspaper the headline and the dates.
“It is crazy I know, but it’s real, and how crazy is that, a moonbase that large and forty-seven thousand people on Mars! Dang! Call me man, I’m more lost than you are on this, I guarantee it.”
I compiled them into a text message and sent it.
My phone rang, I answered, it was Ashley. We decided to meet for dinner. A little while later my phone rang again, it was Julie.
“Hello Julie, I am so sorry to hear about your loss, what can I do?”
“Thank you, Jake, I just arrived at my hotel room, I am going to lie down but I thought I might enjoy some company at dinner.”
“That sounds great Julie I will call you at around six this evening. Is that ok?”
“Yes, that sounds great. Thank you, Jake.”
“You are welcome Julie; time travelers have to stick together you know.”
“Ah, yea isn’t that something, time travelers, I think I’m still in shock.”
“I can only imagine, call me if you need anything Julie, get some rest.”
We ended the call and I rode just staring out the window. The vehicle was headed North now up Highway One. The sun was high in the early evening sky and the views were as spectacular as I remembered them being a day ago or twenty years ago.
“Take me to Taco Bell Beach.”
The car pulled up to the parking area about 30 minutes later, I exited and told it to wait and started to walk. The phone rang it was a representative from JGA. They were concerned about the tab I was running up on my UA, Uber-Autonomous, and asked if I needed assistance. I told them that I wasn’t sure how to pay for a new cab if I let this one go, and I wasn’t ready to go sit in the hotel room yet. They assured me that by scanning the pass they had provided in the next cab they would cover the toll and that I could just ask the current cab to send another cab at a specific time or I could ask my PT to arrange a cab. I received an e-mail a little while after that from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. It read, “Sir, we are sorry to hear about the unfortunate turn of events that have left you in need. Congress has authorized FEMA to assist you for the next ninety days with a Financial Aid package. Please use your phone's optical device during this period to pay for the necessary items. Sincerely, FEMA director Goldbern.”
Tim called after that. Around seven in the evening, they all started to arrive at the Cliff House, for dinner. It had changed a bit from 2017, but it was still there. First Tim and Frank, then Ashley, Finally Julie, I introduced everyone, and we ate and chatted. It seems that Humanity has changed some but not too much. Even though the United Nations has become a more aggressive leader in world affairs there is still hunger and poverty, but we are getting better at responding to it in a Humanity styled way. More togetherness less unilateral action, in 2030 the member states agreed to a constitutionally controlled non-debt-based fiat, UN, Currency that compelled all members to deal with each other in more enlightened ways. There are still hostile conflicts but far fewer than ever before. Educating children with a forward-thinking attitude and a focus on technologies is the norm in most nations. Using localized modular devices, humanity is bringing electricity, clean water, and sustenance to all the peoples of the world, without much concern with costs. A reduction in Nuclear weapons worldwide and space the final frontier. I like that! Julie and I have become great friends she decided to stay in California. My old partners have hired me back on, ignoring my outdated skillset and I do believe that life in 2037 is going to be interesting. Oh, and from the Cliff House, the Space Plane taking off is spectacular! The most spectacular thing I’ve seen since arriving in 2037. I am told that planet Earth from the International Space Station, Tulevasuus, is much more spectacular. You should join me.