Artemis Scout could feel the air around him become warmer as he adjusted the solar panels of his catamaran, 'Searcher' to face North. North was not supposed to be a warm direction, but it was just one more thing he had to get used to, after a humongous asteroid destroyed the Antarctica ice cap, and global warming heated the Earth.
The Searcher was as much raft as sailboat, with one central hull and two parallel keels. There was a fair sized cabin built into the centre platform, which housed his sleeping quarters, chart room, head and galley. Each keel had a motor at the back, powered by solar panels. After sunset, the sail went up if there was any wind. If not, he either dropped anchor, or drifted in the direction his course was set.
He pulled out his long range binoculars to watch a thick stand of pine trees get closer. All but short lengths of trunk, and the tips of the trees were submerged in the ocean. He sighed and went down into the cabin to shut off the engines. He'd let Searcher drift a bit, while he tried to set his bearings off the stand of pines he saw in the distance.
He went into the chart room and unrolled a chart that had been made out of tanned animal hide. It had other strange properties, too. Every time he opened it, the chart changed since the last time. The stand of pines showed on the chart today, but it wasn't there yesterday, because he hadn't been close enough to see them yet. This was one more thing he had to accept on this journey, whether he wanted to or not.
Artemis was a marine biologist, before an enormous asteroid crashed into the Antarctica polar ice cap, and destroyed it, five years earlier. The ocean had risen about 200 metres. The impact threw the Earth slightly off its axis, closer to the sun. There was still landmass on the continents to live on inland from the coastal areas, but it became smaller every year, and more people were forced to live on it. Needless to say, there was less agricultural land, to feed the people who hadn't drowned in the tidal waves and tsunamis from the initial impact of the asteroid. Most habitable islands, including the big ones like England and Ireland, were now underwater, except for the mountainous areas.
After the impact, anyone who knew anything at all about the oceans, became part of a global think tank based in the Rockie Mountains of Canada. Their job was to design ways of using the ocean to their advantage to feed, and shelter what was left of the Earth's population, before the whole world drowned. Artemis was the head of this group, because of the work he had been doing on farming the ocean beds for food. About a month earlier, he found a very strange message on his computer:
IF YOU WISH TO PROVIDE SANCTUARY FOR YOUR RACE, FOLLOW THIS CHART
There was no email address, or source of any kind, so he thought it might be a joke from one of the scientists in his think tank.
He ignored it, until he went to sit down in his office chair, and sat right on the hide bound chart that now had pride of place in his chart room. He studied the thing, and it seemed to follow his footsteps since he awoke that morning. It also showed directions to his office, and then more detailed directions to the ocean shore, several hundred kilometres away. He showed it to his team mates, and they agreed that he should follow it to see where it led. He picked out a small team to go with him before he set out the next day, until he opened his lap top and found a new message.
YOU ALONE MAY SERVE AS EMISSARY FOR THE REST
He closed the laptop, and told the others that he would have to go alone. Everyone else thought he was crazy, it could be a ruse to sabotage their efforts to survive in an increasingly wet world. He had a feeling it wasn't, though. Sometimes he just ... knew things. In a way he was psychic, but it was as much intuition as anything else. He had been expecting something big to happen for weeks, he just didn't know what it was.
He finally talked the group into outfitting a catamaran for him, with enough food and equipment to survive several months. He had a satellite phone and solar powered computer equipment, so he wasn't all that worried about being alone. The ocean had been reasonably calm since he set out, except enough wind to fill his sails. Now he was a month from shore, and the pines was the first sight of anything that wasn't water.