America

He had often wondered if those who took part in such a bold undertaking truly realized that since the beginnings of the History of Mankind in the Sumerian plains, there had been no greater or nobler enterprise.

Indeed, what greater endeavour than to liberate men from the chains of the monarchs!

Thirteen colonies in a brave New World would become the vanguard of liberty and equality for all of the Lord’s children.

Thirteen colonies would unite to create one great Federation.

Nevertheless, its rise would not be as meteoric as some would have thought, although many new territories joined, and the Union expanded southward and westward.

Washington, Chicago, New York, Detroit, Philadelphia, Boston: those were the names of some of the greatest cities on God’s blue Earth. He had passed them by a few months before.

The air was good and fresh in Alabama, and the roads were as good as they were long.

He had passed Tuscaloosa a while ago, and he would soon pass into the Republic of Texas, a nation that had been honed through incessant tensions from the inside and the outside, shaped and moulded through conflict and war of all kinds.

It had certainly been harmed by the Great Revolt of the Negro slaves, but not quite as much as the southern states of the Union, such as Virginia, Georgia, and South Carolina. And it rose despite the Mexicans breathing down its neck, and the Californians putting up some trouble at their borders.

California. That was the end of his great trip around North America, or to be exact, he was headed for the northern part of its confederation: British Columbia.

In this world where everyone was leaving green land behind, his dream was to stride across it all, and to lay his eyes upon all that was upon it. He wanted to stand above the red stones of the Grand Canyon, walk in the middle of the burning sands of Death Valley, look up at the emerald foliage of the redwood trees of the West Coast, and climb on the back of the mighty Rocky Mountains up to the teal waters of Lake Louise. And one day, perhaps, he would lose himself for a time in the immeasurable emptiness of the Canadian tundra. He would ride through the Prairies down to the Great Lakes.

He would walk across three of the largest countries on Earth on his own two legs, as men were meant to do.

Just thinking about living at sea, like all those mariners sailing around the world, was enough to make him seasick.

How useful could he be, then, to that world?

How useful could anyone be who had not been cut from the same cloth as those who lived in Venice, Amsterdam, Boston, Far Coast, or Sydney?

Well, as long as ships and subs were made of steel, landlubbers like him could make a living. For now, though, he was content with being a vagabond, living off what was left of his inheritance: even in the young United States, there was old money aplenty.

Robert “Bob” Riker, excerpt from the novel Across the Lands

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