Beachfront Property 2105

Meera rested her forehead against the see-through paneling of the transport drone, daydreaming aimlessly until she saw the checkered orange balloon appear in the sky ahead. She was nearly home. It had been an especially bad season—four category-fives plus a minor earthquake caused by the erosion the hurricanes brought with them. But there was her balloon, tethered to her habitat by a kilometer-long graphene rope, signaling that everything was still intact. The drone docked with the flexitube lock on the ocean surface and Meera descended through the hatch and into the service elevator.

Her grandparents had purchased beachfront property from a resort on the Placencia Peninsula nearly 80 years ago. The ocean had long since claimed their beach home, but through a legal anomaly she still owned the plot of land, no matter how deep the water got above it, as long as she kept up on her taxes. It was an effect of the legal system’s denial of the permanent nature of the situation. Regardless, her parents had anchored a habitat here, and now she maintained it.

Meera was a coral farmer. With a little artistry and a lot of genetic coaxing she raised sea fans, yellow tube sponges, and brain coral. As they matured, she carefully harvested self-sustaining sections and sold them to the Australian government; their New Great Barrier Reef project off the Tasmanian coast still had the momentum of public support. It was a pipe dream, but the project was a point of pride, and therefore it remained fully funded.

The elevator reached the ground level and the doors parted to reveal her wrecked habitat. The unit itself was undamaged, but her possessions were in complete disarray. Furniture flipped and broken. Cabinet doors torn from their hinges. Contents of drawers and closets and dressers scattered across the floor. This wasn’t the result of some natural disaster. No, this was something her own generation was responsible for. Storm looters.

Meera picked up a splintered stool leg and held it like a club as she entered the habitat. They were probably still here.

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