A crash course in changing the world.
There's not a cloud in the sky as the jet-copter approaches the island of Nippon. Why did I assume there would be storm clouds here when we arrived? The sun is just rising over the western horizon, greeting us over the massive skyscrapers as the huge neon and hologram billboards fade with the retreat of evening.
Our wind brakes kick in, conserving energy in our batteries much like hybrid-electric car brakes did at the turn of the decade. If Alchemy hadn't cleared a heli-pad for us already, it would be almost impossible to find a landing place, but a beautiful green veranda with a big white H in the middle beckons from one of the tallest buildings.
We touch down in seconds, and a team of agents stream up to the copter to start unloading the mobile seed bank. The solar powered climate control system on each case maintains the seeds at optimum temperature and humidity, and each pod comes with a micro-nursery for the quickest germination in either a hydroponic or soil medium. We haven't started that process yet though, because we haven't even asked the locals what they need.
"What exactly is the problem, Alchemy?" I ask the dark figure leaning against the support column, tapping away rapidly at his PDA.
Alchemy looks up briefly, his eyes meeting mine from behind his gla****. "The rice stores have all gone bad. Locusts and other insects are decimating what crops remain in the field. Its getting biblical..." he states matter of factly.
I remember the briefing I'd gotten from Agent Michael Andersen years earlier. Ten years ago Japan had a chance to both diversify their genetic stock of rice, and grow a wider variety of grain sources. Instead, they kept their protectionist tariffs in place, invested billions of dollars in genetic research to find disease resistant strains of rice, and then overplanted just a few varieties that the large seed companies marketed to them. This only worked for a few years, and when new mutant bugs, fungi, and bacteria arose, they quickly decimated the mono-cultures the Japanese people had cultivated.
Fortunately, the seeds of change were already planted. Alchemy's base in Tokyo was a fully functioning vertical farm. Several of F**uoka's followers had maintained diverse farms over the years, and they were the only ones not being wiped out by the famine. Evoke's network was several hundred thousand strong in the islands, but the population was in the hundreds of millions, and each one of those agents would be needed to create societal change. Many farmers have already bought into the Gentan system of diversified food production. Now its just a matter of connecting the dots.
"Well Alchemy", I say, "lets go find out what's really going on..."