Year 2150 AD
The names Leon, twenty nine years old and I've made a living posting videos of my adventures throughout the world on the internet. It took a long time to get to a point where I could pay for everything with the money I make from this job. I don't even want to think about all the side jobs I had to do, I will never be a fry cook again. But, the longer I stuck with it, the more people started to watch my videos and soon, people started to donate to me. The donations helped, but eventually, I got so popular that I started getting sponsors.
Freedom has always been a big subject in my videos. In fact, my channels name is “To Be Free”. But, people mix up the true meaning of my channel because I'm always posting videos of being out in the wild or history of the areas I go to.
So, now that I had sponsors, I was stuck going to places they wanted explored. Normally, I focused on exploring forest areas, going out to the hidden gems of the world. But, this time I've been requested to go to the concrete jungle where the top lady lives. I was talking about the Statue of Liberty and my venture this time was to explore the underwater world surrounding Liberty Island.
My sponsor was a zoo that wanted me to advertise their new aqua exhibit. Luckily, I didn't have to spend the plane ride in coach, since the zoo paid for first class.
Looking out of the plane window, I notice us passing the symbol of peace, the Statue of Liberty. Than came the rest of the city which seem to make time fly by. Before I new it, the plane had landed and I recorded every second of it. Every possible shot was priceless, I didn't want to miss a single thing, so I had started the recording once it dropped below the clouds.
Getting through the airport wasn't hard, it was getting out. After getting all three of my bags, I headed to the outside. Here, cars were bumper to bumper screaming their horns as much as they could. I was beginning to think that they were just hitting their horn to hit it, there wasn't even any real reason to hit them. To make things worse, this state was suppose to be a cold state, yet it felt like I was in a state like Arizona where the word cold doesn't exist.
If the horns weren't bad enough, after getting into a taxi, I had to close my eyes, cause the way my driver zoomed in and out of traffic just made my eyes want to jump out and hide.
Getting to my hotel couldn't happen fast enough, but since I was at a hotel near the Statue of Liberty, it was filled with tourist. Just looking at the outside, I could tell that this was a hotel that catered to mostly tourist. Long banners with the Statue of Liberty were hanged on both sides of the entrance, there was also a shuttle bus that took people to the ferry every day during certain times. It's actually the main reason I choose to stay at this resort, because the courtesy bus took us to the ferry which was near the port I needed to be at. That and it was one of the cheaper places to stay.
Checking in wasn't too bad, though it was funny to stand in a land with a whole bunch of Asians wearing “I love New York” shirts. Looking around, that shirt seemed to be all around the lobby, they were even selling it at the front desk.
Than came the moment I hated as I approached the front desk and that was the price. Even though the zoo was going to reimburse me for the hotel, paying one hundred and fifty a night just made my stomach curl.
When I was all checked in, I headed to my room by taking the elevator. My room was on the fifth floor, room 515 all the way at the end. I picked this room for one specific purpose, it had a great view of Liberty Island. Or at least I thought it would, but when I opened the blinds, I noticed something very wrong. A very large building cut off a third of the statue. Still, I haven't been doing this job for so long that something like that would get in my way. After all, my shoulder camera has been recording since the plane. I had a mic on my shirt, so every reaction I had would be heard, so I played with it. I used this chance to make a video dedicated to how I got past this obstacle. Quickly, I unpacked my equipment while calling the front desk. After getting a hold of the manager, I explained my situation and she had one of her maintenance men take me to the roof. It couldn't have got up there at a perfect time, since the sun was starting it's set. I had thirty minutes to get my shot, so I quickly went into action.
“This is Leon from 'To Be Free', standing before you in the roof tops of New York”. This time I decided to do a speech about the history of New York and how it was a major port for immigrants that made up a large portion of the country. I went on about how the Statue of Liberty was a beacon for all those who came here seeking freedom. I continued my little speech with, “America, the land of the free, which became an example to the world, which has revolutionized the way people live. Now over two thirds of the world is free and even though the United States of America is no longer the freest country in the world, it still stands as the symbol of freedom”. Than I made the decision to go off topic even though it wasn't necessary, it was still a big subject I like to rant about, “The decline of Americas freedom started when it started sacrificing it's freedom for security. Where this decline began was with a law that forced people to pay for something besides taxes. If the people didn't pay, they were punished with an annual fee depending on how long they didn't pay for the services. This law took away the right to call each citizen completely free and made way for new laws that sacrificed even more of the countries freedom. Before we the citizens noticed, it was too late, this country was no longer the country of freedom it once was. Still, there is no denying that it's still an amazing country with so many wonderful achievements occurring everyday”. I pulled myself off my rant, “The past made it's mistakes, but times have changed, now the port that use to bring in immigrants, now stands as one of the top checkpoints for incoming goods, where the men and women of our police and military forces work night and day to keep drugs off our street”.
Before I knew it, the sun had went down and I thanked the maintenance man for his help as we headed back down. I dropped off my stationary camera and decided to grab some grub before I edit the video footage and post it to my channel.
Since I was in New York, I figured I should grab a famous New York hot dog. I did some quick research on the history New York hot dogs. After grabbing some quick facts, I headed out with a face camera as well as my shoulder camera attached.
“This is Leon from 'To Be Free', standing before you in the streets of New York. The New York hot dog has been around even before it was ever known as the New York dog. There are those who say Germany was the creator of the hot dog over six hundred years ago”.
I paused my speech as another car started smashing his horn and it seemed like he didn't plan on stopping. Eventually he got far enough away and I continued, “When all the immigrants came over many started selling sausages since they were a cheap and easy food to make since they were processed. Vendors started to pop up all over the state and soon a sausage on a bun with sauerkraut became a common food to eat. But that was just the start, because it wasn't enough to thrive by itself, until from Europe came the all beef hot dog. It was cheaper and most importantly, it was delicious. Even more vendors started making a living sell hot dogs and eventually, the menus grew bigger than just hot dogs or sausage, which I will soon discover just how big when I order my personal New York hot dog”.
There was a hot dog vendor almost right outside the hotel and he had quite the selection. He had burgers, hot dogs, sausages, and even quesadillas. For sides, there was everything from ketchup to saute onions. As for the vendor, he looked like the typical guy, until he said, “So, what you want a hot dog or something”. He had a very strong New York accent and it was the clearest when he said hot dog. I asked him if he could go ahead and say hot dog a few more times to the camera and said it a few more times. After asking for a hot dog, he went off about how much he gets asked to say hot dog and other types of words. The tourist I guess love it, which is what I am hoping my fans will agree, so I can get a lot more views. Before leaving I asked as I put on my condiments, “So I hear if you want a real hot dog, you have to come here to New York”. The Vendor smiled, “Of course, do you think any other state could make a hot dog as good as us, we the best at everything”.
I left the cart and took the first bite. Soon after, I began my review of the dog. “In this world, there exist places that are known for their foods. Arizona is known for their Mexican food, Delaware is known for their chicken, but here in New York, they got the hot dog”. As I did my review, someone passed by me and said, “Don't forget bagels”. I looked towards the lens, “Yes, lets not forget New York's famous bagels”.
When I was finished eating, I headed back to my room and started working on the video editing. I posted the review of the hot dog first, since there wasn't much editing required. However the video about freedom was going to require much more editing, especially since I was going to mix it with other rants I went on in the past.
Seeing how I have to wake up early, I had to put the video editing off till I was done with my current assignment. Which meant it was time for bed.
The next day I was at the pier where I was meeting with a police boat. I had brought my underwater gear and a few underwater cameras. And the nice thing about underwater videos, is that I'm wearing a mask, so I can just add voice to it later. No redoing a shot over and over again till I got everything just right. At least with this one, I only had to do one shot with me talking.
I met with Sargent Bowers at the pier, normally scuba diving is prohibited around Liberty Island, but since the request came from New York's top zoo, the mayor pulled some strings.
The boat I got on, was equipped with three fifty cal machine guns. One was stationed on the front and the other two were placed on the sides of the back. It may seem a little over power to have that much on a police boat, but it was necessary, because of drugs. At one point, drugs nearly destroyed this country.
It was definitely a sad day when war broke out between the drug cartels and the people of the country. The drug cartels used everything from kids to their drugged up slaves to try and win. If it wasn't for the fact the drug cartels refused to work with other drug cartels of different races, the people may have lost. But, with the help of Canada, the people swiftly pushed them out of the country, but doomed Mexico which was already under the Cartels control. Still, now the citizens of Mexico had to deal with even more gangs. But ever since than, the government has put everything into the military, police force, and drug rehabilitation. It was easier for the country to fix the country's drug problem when they started treating drug addiction like a problem and not a crime.
It's been twenty years since that day and somehow we manage to keep living our daily lives the same way we did before the war. It seemed like the past was just a hurricane that swept through the country, but for those in law enforcement or the military, it was still alive. I could see it in the eyes of Sargent Bowers and his men, they all had something in their eyes that you don't see in the average citizen.
As for me, I completely support the men and woman who fight for my freedom, especially since they fight an enemy that takes peoples freedom of choice with addictive drugs.
My strong feelings about freedom may come from what I saw before the war started, back when I was surrounded by people who would beg on the ground like a dog for their next fix. Like many other kids, I was sold to the cartel to do their dirty work so my parents could shoot up. I will never forget my past, but at least my present is pretty good.
Calm was the water as we headed for the reef of Liberty Island. From far away, the people surrounding the statue looked like ants. Sargent Bowers spoke, “Amazing isn't it?” “Yeah, it is quite the sight”. Than one of the other guys looked back from his station and said, “So, your channels all about education right, you do a lot of history if I remember?” Yet another person who misinterprets what my channels about, but that's okay, as long as the money keeps coming in, I say let everyone think what they want, “Yeah, so, are you a fan of my channel?” He let out a fake laugh, “Actually, I just looked at it since I heard we had you were coming on the boat, but if you want, I got some pretty neat info if you want it”.
After scratching my head, I opened up my bag and pulled out a camera while saying, “Alright officer, you okay with being seen online”. He quickly responded, “Oh hell yeah, let's get this show started”. When I found some good lightning and hooked him up with a mic, I started the interview, “So Officer Parker, what kind of information can you bring to the table”. He must of felt pretty cool, especially since he had a fifty cal and the Statue of Liberty as his background, “So, people from all over the world come to see this magnificent lady behind me, but how many actually know anything about her. Well your good buddy Officer Parker is hear to tell you some interesting facts. First, it's said that the Statue itself can last a minimum of three hundred years without human maintenance. After that, it's at the mercy of time. As for the pedestal, it is suppose to last a minimum of one thousand years without human maintenance before it's at the mercy of time. Second, Liberty Island only allows one family to live there and that is the family of the Park Ranger who works as the superintendent for the statue. Three, There use to be others that lived on the island back in 1818 to the mid 1930s. These people were military families, just imagine being a kid and climbing up the torch whenever you wanted. Well, some kids back than had that luxury, but today only a few are allowed up the torch. Fourthly, the green lady wasn't always green, when she first arrived, she had the skin of a penny. Lastly, the sculptor Frederic Bartholdi's sculpted the statue and used his mother as the model, so the Statue of Liberty can also be known as lady Charlotte”.
I finished the interview and put down the camera, while saying, “Thanks, you were great”. He brushed his chin, “It's like I was born to be in front of the camera”. As I put the camera back in the case, I smiled, “So how long did you practice that speech for?” A smile grew across his face, “Just a couple of hours”.
Thanks to Officer Parker, the trip to the reefs went by fast, now it was my time to do my part. But as I stripped down to put my yellow diving suit on, the guys on the boat started whistling at me. I just brushed them off and finished getting ready. I equipped a camera on my head and than I had a surround camera on my front and back for surround video capture. These cameras were for the Virtual reality part of the Zoo's new exhibit.
Now that everything was ready, I sat on the back of the boat and said, “This is Leon from 'To Be Free', sitting before you outside Liberty Island, in a few moments, I will have entered a new world”. Since I had time, I redid the shot a few times, than when I was satisfied, I turned on the oxygen. I had a total of two hours of air and a spare on the boat, so I had four hours to get as much footage as possible.
I looked at my right arm where I had a GPS in an armband just to make sure it still had this location set as home point. Than I tilted back and let gravity take me down under the water and into the world below.
Quickly, I started flipping my fins in the back to get to one of the spots I wanted to take footage of. This first spot was in the center of underwater traffic. Not human traffic, but one of the countless places were hundreds of schools of fish were swimming around. Fishes of all shapes and sizes surrounded me, there wasn't a single spot I couldn't look without there being a fish. In fact, there were some schools of fish that were so tightly packed with thousands of fish that they looked like a giant moving ball. Another school of fish came swimming above me, blocking out the sun like a humongous blanket. Every single scene was breath taking and made me glad to be alive. But, the fun wasn't over yet, there was still plenty of amazing spots to see.
Since it was hard to see, I turned on the high beams on my shoulder and started swimming towards the second scene I was looking forward to.
Seeing millions of fish was nice, but approaching the underwater homes of the sea was a whole new level. Yellow, green, blue, pink, purple and every other single color could be found here along the descending under water cliffs and hills of Liberty Islands outskirts. There were fish a fraction the size of the fish on the open sea and they swam around in circles around many of the underwater fish towers.
Being in the coral reefs was breath taking scene, honestly, if I kept looking at these incredible scenes, I wasn't going to have much breath left.
I swam by paying attention and getting close up shots of all the different types of coral. There was coral that looked like mushrooms, leafless trees, a bushel of grapes yet to be plucked from their vines. In some spots, a single type of coral covered the ground with a field of green cabbage looking type coral.
All the different types of colorful coral was nice, but what really gave the coral it's wonder was how they grew, off the cliffs, the mini hills, and the towers of rock. There were parts that allowed me to swim into coral reefs that formed into a sort of semi cave. So I got to see coral that grew like upside down icicles off of the sides of houses in the winter states.
I used up almost all my time with just the reefs, but eventually I found my self on the part of the bay floor where life became limited. I still had some time before I had to go back up, so I decided to head towards a sunken ship I saw in the distance.
It wasn't anything special, looked kinda like an old fishing boat, but from it's style, I would guess that it was a boat from over a century ago. It's been down here so long that it was covered from head to toe in green moss. I decided that the best shot for this one was to circle it, than move to it's deck and see if I could find something interesting.
As I started my encirclement, something else caught my eye at the base of the boat. It looked like when the boat hit the floor, it opened up a hole in the ocean floor. I looked into the hole and noticed that it turned into a huge underwater cave.
This was a big discovery, so I marked the location on my GPS and headed back up to grab my spare tank so that I could explore this cave that most likely has never been explored before.
I swam like crazy back to the boat, adrenaline was pumping through my veins from anticipation. But that adrenaline quickly changed when I emerged from the water to see the boat up in smoke.
I was only a few feet from the boat, so I rushed to get on it to find Sargent Bowers and his crew all dead. The boat and them looked like they were shredded by very large bullets.
When I looked at my surroundings, I noticed that Upper bay had turned into a war zone, with the military and other boats firing machine guns and explosives at each other. I didn't have time to worry about the war going on around me, I had to see if anybody on the ship was still alive. But as I went around checking their bodies, I heard the radio go off, “The cartel has released a nuclear weapon in the heart of Washington DC. The president and all of DC's citizens have been lost. In retaliation, USA has launched nuclear weapons at Mexico, we could be facing Nuclear winter by the end of the day”.
After confirming that everyone was dead, I knew better than to stick around, so I tried to start the engine, but it was completely dead. I looked back at my surroundings, to see one of the enemy ships heading towards my direction. Whether or not they were heading this way because they saw me or it was just a coincidence, I wasn't going to stick around.
Quickly, I flopped my way to my bag to switch out the air tanks.
I couldn't have jumped off at a better time, since bullets came flying past me, shredding up the boat even more.
Immediately, I swam down with bullets flying past me in the water. Somehow I had managed to escape death, put how long would that last. Going back up to the surface was suicide, I was close to Liberty Island, so I could swim to it, but there is no telling how safe I would be there.
Since, I had two hours of air, I figured I minus well stay underwater before heading to Liberty Island. So, I returned to doing what I was doing before, I went back to the sunken ship and entered the hole in the ground. There wasn't much to say about the big hole in the ground, besides it seem to go down quite a bit at a slant. But, after a while, the slant switched to going back up, but at a slightly larger slant.
Than I noticed stairs on the bottom floor, which came in handy when out of nowhere, I reached air. I pulled off the fins off my feet and began walking up the stairs. Looking at my GPS, I noticed I was coming closer and closer to Liberty Island.
Than things got weird, a large object started to appear in the distance. As I got closer, I notice the object almost looked like a weird airplane or a super fancy submarine. I was going to go with plane, mainly because it was painted white like the planes you saw at the airport. I looked at my GPS again and notice that it was exactly right below Liberty Island. Now I was starting to think that maybe this was a secret government cave, which if it was, than there had to be a way up to the surface.
But, before I went looking for a way up, I figured I minus explore the plane that was left open with stairs leading up to its entrance.
Quickly, I made my way into the plane filled with darkness and when I looked around, I was sure this was a plane. Especially since the cockpit was exactly like a cockpit in regular planes.
Since the door was open towards the back, I venture in, but what ever this plane was, it was deader than a door nail. Maybe I had to find a generator before I could turn on the lights. Looking around, the back of the plane kind of looked like a super fancy motor home, but in the back there was another door opened. As I approached that room, I thought about how crazy it was that I was just swimming for my life, but now I was exploring a plane underneath Liberty Island.
Inside the back, back room was small, but there was a pedestal in the middle with a glowing purple hand print on it. I wasn't sure what this hand print was, but it was the only thing that was on, so letting my curiosity take over, I placed my hand on the print.
Suddenly, the whole room grew bright, so bight that I couldn't see a thing. Fearing that I would go blind I closed my eyes, but when I reopened them, things would never be the same.