"When you have gone so far that you can't manage one more step, then you've gone half the distance that you're capable of".

(Greenland proverb)

Sometimes life is just bliss. For some unusual reason fate's intricate mechanisms can just click into just the right rhythm and transport its lucky passengers along a road littered with opportunities, lucky breaks and streaks of luck. When the sun rose over the Atlantic on this beautiful day and a warm wind blew down from the mountains over the vast expanse of single storey houses that was modern Qaqortoq, a lot of very happy people started to wake up. Solar panels twinkled in the dusk and the air was enriched with a salty, fishy aroma. Since the temperature in south Greenland had reached a balmy average of 18 degrees and the permafrost was literally gone in an area twice the size of France, Qaqurtog had become the most desireable urban space in the whole of Europe, surpassing the heavily fortified Monaco and the semi-submerged London as the most expensive piece of real estate in Europe. Initially deemed as a climatological disaster during the big melt, Greenland had turned into one of those rare opportunities that climate change had created in the north: vast, luscious green fields full of genetically unmodified sheep, wheat and various pulses were intertwined with lushious woods only planted ten years ago and already full of wildlife. The state-owned agriculturural sector of the Republic of Greenland was self-sufficient, with enough resources to distribute its harvest with generous subsidies to its population and still make an absolute killing by exporting megatons of food to the food-strapped old European countries. Greenland declared itself independent from Denmark shortly after the Chinese American War (in which the Danish were forced to observe their Nato allegiances and give the Americans at least some symbolic military support, give them flyover rights over Greenland and allow them to refuel in Thule). This was the final straw in a long line of complaints and Greenlanders finally had enough of their Danish overlords. After a short referendum that produced a overwhelming majority, Greenland declared itself independent. The third largest landmass with only a smidgen of humanity spread over its southern coast was now an independent nation with rapidly expanding arable lands.

Up in the hills of Qaqortoq, in one of its recently finished new subdivisions, Grinvald Hansen closed his bright red door behind him. Gently whistling the first 3 bars of Brahm's first symphony over and over again and blinking in the morning sun, he bouncily walked over to his garage and dislodged his bicycle from between the removal boxes. He closed the garage door, put on his sunglasses, swung himself on the saddle and, continuing the Brahms whistle loop, drove down the hill to the old part of the town past various new subdivisions full of 100% carbon neutral houses with photovoltaic walls, roofs and geothermally heated saunas.

Qaqortoq's branch of the geological department of the University of Nuuk was just down by the harbour, overlooking the bay. The simple wooden structure, painted in gregarious red, was one of the oldest buildings of Qaqortoq but contained some of the sexiest hardware that someone interested in Lithostratigraphy could get his hands on. It was now 6:30 in the morning, and Grinvald leaned his bike against the building, unlocked the door and hung his light windbreaker on the rickety wooden old wardrobe that was bolted against the wall. He walked into his office, pulled up the blinds and opened the windows, letting the orange-pink glow of the morning sun in the small room that was dominated by a 2 meter tall rack full of very mildly humming electronics, a terminal on his desk and a multitude of unwashed woollen socks, thermal underwear and anoraks. He made himself a coffee with the small electrical stove next to his desk, switched on the terminal and waited for the computer to present him with last night's data. Beeping unhappily, the terminal reminded him to validate his identity before the boot sequence. So the same daily ritual of retinal, pheromonical and finger print scan was duly endured. To top things up he had to look up the daily random password sequence on his little pocket terminal: “ushdfgakjasgh”. Grinvald doubted that it was really necessary for his geological data to be protected that way, but as the University of Greenland had become a little paranoid after an alleged attempt to gain access to their latest geological surveys of a newly accessible area 1000 km north-east of Kulusak, the full shebang of security measures had to be endured. At least he didn't have to have a chip implanted in his index finger like some of his more senior colleagues. The terminal projected last nights seismic data on the wall and there were new geochemical analyses from the strata he sampled 2 weeks ago, but apart from that, nothing exciting. There were some messages from some of his colleagues (he refused to carry a wrist-communicator and preferred the convenience of screening his messages instead of being coldcalled) which he would have to answer at one point in time, but there was one that appeared to come from the Netherlands which piqued his interest.

He instructed the terminal to open the file.

Qaqortoq: Chapter I | Qaqortoq: Chapter III

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