By Jeremy C. North

The land was once one.

It stood as a lone entity, encompassing every continental body so rigorously defined by mappers in present day. There were no arguments about whether the borders between Europe and Asia were arbitrary, or if the Americas should be better categorised as one unit. There was only Pangea. Immovable and uncontested—but for the passage of time.

Ernest Hainsworth, President of Terranovia Inc., referred to this continental dissolution as the greatest of our planet’s failings. Though necessary for humanity to evolve, he saw the separation of the continents as the undoing of a grand puzzle, fostering all prejudice and division that would later come to pass. I agreed.

His theories enticed us to support the concept of a man-made continent when it was first proposed. They were why we did not protest it. Why so few legal blockades were set up against its widespread marketing campaign. Why such little outcry was heard from environmental advocates when its decade-long construction was finally greenlit.

People wanted to be unified again—and that was exactly what Hainsworth’s trillion-dollar investment offered.

Designed by a board of scientists from every corner of the globe, the world’s eighth continent was to be the ‘Pangea’ of the millennium, a geographic collaboration unlike any before. Over the course of ten years, a behemoth of synthetic bedrock rose from the depths of the Pacific Ocean.

Mr. Hainsworth could have easily bathed in a goldmine from the wealthy jetsetters that lined up to stake claim to Pseudopangea’s virgin shores. Instead, an egalitarian contest was announced.

Cartographers were sent out to measure the perimeter of the landmass. A sweeping guessing raffle was distributed far and wide. One simple question was asked: what was Pseudopangea’s total coastline length? To honour the eighth continent, the eight percent of participants with the closest estimates would become the first colonisers of the new land.

They called it ‘The Great Continental Count’.

With one modest guess, I was thrust into the ranks of the continent’s occupants. Fate and a plane ticket were all that separated me from an alien biome in the middle of the sea. Setting foot on its 11,532km long coastline, I was nothing less than awestruck.

Strange, winding trees rose from coal black earth, towering higher even than redwoods. Scorching desert plains shared margins with icy glacial fjords. The buzz of tropical insects dispersed against bellows from distant, temperate megafauna. Amongst this wonder, civilisation thrived—schools, businesses and social lives, tucked safely in the foreground of our bioengineered Terranovia Inc. postcard.

On the day the earthquake tore through the continent, that postcard was shredded.

The seismic plunge came like a bath drain being unplugged, swift and all-consuming in its effects. What remained in the aftermath were chrome villas and verdant forests too hopelessly entangled to be distinguished. Our new world had been reclaimed by the sea—and the sea wasn’t finished yet.

When the landmass began to sink, pandemonium erupted. There were only a limited number of aircrafts on the island, and it was only a matter of hours before history would repeat itself and the continent’s structure would collapse, this time submerging every trace from sight.

Mr. Hainsworth should have allowed us to fight to the death for a place on one of the departing arks. Instead, an egalitarian contest was announced.

Cartographers were sent out to measure the receded perimeter of the landmass. A sweeping guessing raffle was distributed high and low. One simple question was asked: what was Pseudopangea’s total coastline length? The eight percent of participants with the closest estimates were granted an escape from the dying world

We called it ‘The Last Continental Count’.



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