South of Cuba, 2038 December
The young man's first steps on Castor Colony were unsteady, since he expected the ground to move like the ship that took him there. The floating, artificial island did sway and vibrate, but due less to the Caribbean Sea beneath it than to the thousands of people walking, working, and playing where nature had said there was nowhere to live. Stan hefted the backpack containing nearly all he owned and crossed the dock to get started.
The colony was a sort of jungle gym or raft made from an oil rig, a retired cargo ship, a set of purpose-built "seastead" platforms offering a flat surface well above the waves, and a flotilla of boats that rearranged and jostled constantly. He smelled something baking until the wind shifted and brought him a scent of seaweed instead. Under his feet the ground was concrete reflecting the warmth of an early winter day. Stan left the dockside view behind as he got in line beneath a canopy, which led him to the entry gate.