The trip was uncomfortable. Cira longed for the days of airplanes and their idea of ‘economy’. To think that people had paid extra for more leg room! If only they had known what was to come, they would have taken those economy seats and rejoiced at the luxury they provided. Aboard the Pravda 214, you could count yourself lucky if you found a seat, and once you found one, it was a fight to keep it amidst the pushing and shoving of those all around you. The best that could be said for the transport was that it was quick. Thousands of metres in mere minutes. Cira could recall the days when it had been unthought of to travel so deep below sea level. Now, what choice did they have.
“Next stop,” the overhead voice announced, “Newdon”.
Cira smiled as she heard the whispers of PTDs repeating the phrase in language upon language for their owners. The wonders of the modern world, she thought to herself. It had brought people so close together, and yet still kept them so far apart. Personal Translation Devices had allowed foreigners to better understand and communicate with the natives, and had been lauded by the tourism boards as the best thing to happen in the 22nd century, but Cira their exorbitant prices hadn’t gone unnoticed by Cira. Nor had the removal of other languages from school curriculums and the insistence that all education be conducted primarily in English. It was funny how advances had a tendency to move forward by pulling everything in their path back a few steps.
Cira transitioned from Pravda 214, through the connection channel and into the hubbub of Newdon Station. What had been a whisper of PTDs became a buzzing of unending voices translating everything around them, to the point where Cira had to block her ears just to think straight. She had no luggage – it had only been a short trip to the surface, and she had known that bringing a bag would delay her by hours, even if it would have meant the opportunity for a change of clothes. She was still swathed in a suit, despite the stuffiness of the Pravda and the humidity of the station. She could never get used to being surrounded by so much water on every side, and yet feeling stiflingly hot. She made her way as quickly as she could through the crowds and out into the streets that were at once strange and familiar. They were a perfect replica of those that she had walked just that morning, and yet they were different – newer, less potholed and somehow less likeable for it. The streets above, the city above, had character where this place felt like nothing more than a cheap trick of the mind to try and convince its inhabitants that they were ‘home’ when really they were thousands of metres away from the homes up above. No matter how they tried, Cira thought, Newdon was nothing like London.
Isaac Asimov once predicted underwater cities would be prevalent in 2014 – that it would be relatively common for populations to live entirely underwater, in pressurized cities, accessible only by submarine.
Write at least 500 words set in this alternate future. You could tell the story of a character in this future, or transport someone from the present day into it, and observe the differences.