by Isabelle Reiff
2018 was the time
Shift in the shaft, the last spade fell, coal mining in the Ruhr area was stopped for good. “At last,” thought those who paid a pittance to pump out the water that seeped into these pits. They turned off the pumps – hundreds – one every month. According to the calculations, the higher cavities were completely connected. The measured gradient to the west would provide a natural drainage: the rising mine water would go down the Rhine all by itself …
There were enough doubters and environmentalists who protested against it. But then an armaments company appeared on the scene. The flooded subsoil came just in time. He held out the prospect of billions of third-party funds to the then TU Dortmund University: a project team was to use the money to construct an underwater railway. The acceptance of replicas of the successfully tested prototype was guaranteed. All arguments against this were powerless. The first section of the line between Dortmund City and the Technology Park was completed in 2025 – one year before “UhrZeit” was recorded.
Smart City at its best
Who would have thought that this underwater track would offer a last refuge from the ever-increasing control of intelligent wearables? Dortmund developed into a pioneer in the field of Smartwatch-supported citizen optimization: a sophisticated bonus system made each individual lead a life without weaknesses. But one hundred metres below the surface, enclosed in millions of litres of cold mine water, this technology was ticking away – and anyone who knew how could raise his level without any power at all.
Clueless present time
In 2118, no one remembers the four young people who spread this know-how in their Hood. One of them later developed a process to remove toxins from the underground water. The waste, which was hidden underground, had successively been removed from its concrete containers. Even today, there are still countless robot-controlled super newts filtering and processing in the underground. The underwater orbit has not been replicated once. When it was discovered that it was a security breach, the entrances were sealed. Probably the super newts have assimilated them by now.
The Ruhr waters are now officially counted among the largest lakes in Europe. With its approximately fifty islands – formerly allegedly called “slagheaps” – it is one of the most popular VR teleportation attractions. The artistic buildings on top are still a fascination. Some consider them to be memorials to the miners who died in the accident. Others claim that at least some of them are transmitting stations from the era of mobile telephony. Information on this is missing. The electromagnetic pulse is now almost 100 years old. So far only a fraction of the lost data has been recovered. Recently, however, Tec divers have recovered several DVD cases. The reader from overseas is due to arrive here in six weeks.