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The Pyro Plague had finally run its course. The only plants left to make the air marginally breathable were the ones that were too toxic for the Plague to attack. Which was nice for those plants, but not so great for the humans who needed them to live.
Of course, the people revolted against the companies who had made the plague possible. And who insisted on monocultures of food crops, genetically engineered to be delicious. When the plague came and the crops had to be burned in an attempt to stop the Plague’s spread, those same companies attempted to sell manufactured air to their beleaguered customers. Everyone agreed that that was the last straw.
There were no companies, any more. Very little left of society at all.
But they still had power. And they still had google.
It was how Cassandra found out about Svalbard, and the treasure trove inside it.
Heritage seeds. Food seeds. Seeds that had never been messed with by the corporate scumbags that the rest of humanity had literally feasted on during the Burning Days.
She told the people she could trust. Bartered with the people who had resources. Tried to explain to so many without hope that hope was possible. In the end, only a handful of her friends listened.
It was a long and arduous trek. They had to hunt and preserve enough insects to last them the weeks it would take to walk across the tundra and arctic circle. At least it had frozen again. Otherwise they’d have to steal a boat and risk getting attacked by angry orcas.
Without the crops, the chemical fertilisers had spilled into the oceans. The fertilisers caused gigantic algal blooms. Half of those blooms poisoned the fish. And the orcas were smart enough to know who to blame.
They started out a group of ten. There were four left by the time they got to Svalbard. A tiny little island in the arctic circle. And a nearly-invisible road to get to the treasure vault.
The few people who still lived in Longyearbyen had already begun growing crops. Some under glass roofs. They welcomed Cassandra and her friends and offered manuals to share across the internet about how to grow food from the seeds they had to share.
Manuals in Norwegian.
The more global manuals, alas, had been locked inside the safe inside the vault. With the keys to said safe.