Saturday, November 12, 2016

Rogue Possession: Formerly Known as Prince (Part II)

Click here for the previous installment...
Click here for the entire story.

“Okay, well, we’re all The Mavericks,” Sevastian complained. “You don’t get to own that title yourself, Darrow.”
Darrow spit in Sevastian’s general direction. “You’re nothing without me.”
“Could someone please tell me what’s going on?” Gilbert pleaded.
“I already told you. The Donald Trump thing. Darrow, who is this guy, and how is he not Octavian?”
“No, what’s going on with you two...I mean, you three. Or we three?” This was more confusing for him than it should have been. He was genre-savvy, so the concepts of body-switching and time travel should come easy to him.
“As he pointed out, we are the Mavericks. We travel through time, taking care of business.”
“Murder business.”
“Well, you call it murder, we call it necessary. Most choosers call it assassination. We don’t just kill any rando we see in the timestream, or someone who cut us off in traffic, or every blonde chick named Kathy because they remind us of our mother. We eliminate problems with the timeline. Trump, for instance, needs to be taken out of the timeline.”
“In my timeline, he didn’t run for president in 2000.”
“He does, for the Reform Party.”
“So he couldn’t possibly win.”
“No, but that’s not the point. His campaign sets off a series of events that leads to policy issues in the country. People start looking at him differently, and this cannot be allowed to happen. I assure you that this is all above board. Like I said, we’re not just murderers. The powers that be have contracted us to handle this for them because they don’t want any of their salmon to have to do it. We get our hands dirty so no one else has to.”
“That you’ve been asked to do this by someone else does not make it right. That’s not how morality works. If Genghis Khan asked you to shine his shoes, would you do it...just because somebody asked?”
“What I’m saying is that if we don’t do it, somebody will,” Darrow insisted. “They contract us because we get it done right. Sevastian here, along with his brother, Octavian—whose body you’re possessing—were legionnaires in the army of the Roman Kingdom. I raised them up from their world before toilet paper was invented, trained them to survive in modern worlds, and set them to work.”
“So they’re not choosing ones?” Gilbert asked.
“Quite the opposite. They’re chosen ones. They’re the equivalent of salmon, but instead of being under the control of the powers that be...” He didn’t feel the need to finish his sentence.
“Why have I not heard of them before?”
“They’re rare,” Darrow explained. “It’s more difficult for choosers to take control of others, but I figured it out.”
“And how do you feel about that?” he asked of Sevastian.
“I do what needs to be done,” Sevastian claimed unconvincingly. “And our mission is righteous. That is all I require of myself.”
“I’m just...trying really hard to understand why you exist. I mean, I get it on the surface. There are some people in this world that shouldn’t be. But you clearly have lines, because Hitler’s still alive, right? You never killed Hitler. If I were one of you, that would be my first pick.”
“That would harm the timeline.”
“So you say, but is that any different than what you’re doing here? Donald Trump is important to this timeline, so how can you justify removing him from it? We all contribute to the future in our own way. We all make ripples.”
Darrow was sick of discussing this. “This said by someone who knows hardly anything about how time works. I don’t have to explain myself to you. I just need you to leave so I can have my assassin back.”
“I’m not leaving. I’m going to stay here and do everything I can to prevent you from going through with this.”
Sevastian was furious, which was probably a standard condition for him. “You want to save this man? Do you know how despicable he is? He wants to ban Muslims and Mexicans!”
“And that’s terrible, but I’ve been to his future. He loses the race in 2012. None of that happens.”
“But his words have repercussions for society. People hear him, and they agree with him, and it takes us years—decades!—to move us forward.”
“I heard those speeches. He doesn’t make people become racist and xenophobic. They already were.”
“Yes, but now they feel they have the right to be that way. He validates their position, and gives them a way to express their hatred. At least without him, death can turn them over, and the future can arrive on time.”
“Hitler is the same way, but he kills eleven million people!”
“It’s not the same thing. We’re not allowed to kill him.”
“Why not?”
“He’s out of our jurisdiction.”
“He’s human! We can’t kill humans. Well, not Hitler-level famous humans.”
“What is Donald Trump?”
Darrow didn’t say a word.
“Darrow, what is Donald Trump?” Gilbert repeated.
“He can warp reality. He can adjust the outcome of the future just by willing it.”
“Like Christopher Clark?” Gilbert asked.
“Yeah, like Christopher Clark,” Darrow agreed, “except that he’s real.”
“Who’s Christopher Clark?” Sevastian asked, ignored.
Gilbert took a deep breath and tried to process what he was hearing. It only made a certain level of sense. By being able to manipulate reality itself, it would allow Trump to gain the advantage over his enemies, and take the bigger half of any business deal. It didn’t explain everything, though. “Why did he not win the election in 2012?”
“His power grows every day,” Darrow said. “He’s not powerful enough in 2012. He will be later in the future. Or rather, he would have become stronger, had the election not ultimately caused a gradual decline in health, leading to his death before he could exercise that level of influence.”
“Let’s just leave in the way it is then,” Gilbert tried to reason. “He dies in 2015, and that should be enough. Don’t. Tamper. With time.”
“That’s what we do,” Sevastian argued. “We’re time tamperers.”
“Shut up, Sevastian.”
Darrow went on, “that’s not good enough for me. And it’s not good enough for the powers that be. We take care of him now, and the future turns out better.”
“Do you know that for sure? Have you seen it? Do you have someone who can visualize alternate futures?”
“Umm...a few, yeah. But we’re not using them. We just know. It has to be better. It has to be.”
“That’s just wishful thinking. I would think someone as powerful as you would have something more concrete.”
“Don’t try to cater to my ego, I don’t have one. This is about reality...everyone’s reality. This is about truth and justice.” Darrow seemed to have pretty strong convictions.
“That’s not good enough for me,” Gilbert said, not sure if it was true.
“It will have to be. You can leave Octavian’s body, or not. I’ve decided that I don’t care. Sevastian can do this on his own. You’re not powerful enough to stop us.”
“But you are.”
“You’re a choosing one. Which means you’re capable of traveling through time at will. You can do whatever you want.”
“Oh no. Don’t do what I think you’re gonna do.”
“Oh I’ma do it.”
“What are we talking about?” idiot Sevastian asked, still ignored.
With Octavian’s body, Gilbert took hold of Darrow’s arms. He concentrated like he had before when he purposely left Rebecca’s body. But this time, he couldn’t just go to any random place. He had to be precise. He had to jump into a very specific person’s body. Fortunately, he had his target in his sights, which meant he didn’t have to learn true accuracy. He closed his eyes, and before Darrow could stop him, hit him point blank with a possession bullet.
“What just happened?” Sevastian asked. They were standing at the edge of a pond at midday.
Gilbert, now in Darrow’s body, looked between Sevastian and Octavian.
“I have no idea. I feel like I lost time. Darrow, did you take me somewhere briefly?”
Gilbert sported Darrow’s evil smile. “Not yet.” He took both of their hands, quickly guessed on how to use Darrow’s ability to jump through time, and forced all three of them to the future.
“When are we?” Octavian asked. “Are we not going to kill Donald Trump?”
“You’re not, no,” Gilbert confirmed. He looked at his Darrow wrist where he found some kind of special digital watch that told him it was 2074.
A man teleported in front of them. He didn’t recognize him, and Sevastian and Octavian didn’t seem to either. “I have a job for you two.”
“Who the hell are you?” Octavian spat.
“Important,” the man answered. “Unlike you.” While the brothers tried to start a fight, the man ignored them and addressed Gilbert. “I have to get them out to build a golf course on an island on another planet for me. You still have to do something about Donald Trump. Darrow was right, you can’t just let things stay the way they happened.”
“You mean...?” Gilbert asked, not knowing what question wanted to ask.
“Yes, I know who you really are, and no, what I said doesn’t mean you have to kill Trump. There are other ways. Life isn’t binary, never forget that. You need to learn to find Door Number Three. But you won’t do it like this.” The man pulled out a handgun. “I’m sorry to do this to you again, but Darrow’s time is up.”

Before the mysterious man could pull the trigger, Gilbert shut his eyes and accidentally sent himself to the body of Darko Matic. Darko could travel through time by touching objects and sliding up or down their temporal stream. He used this power to go back to the year 2000 and scare Donald Trump into dropping out of the presidential race. He then took a brief trip forward thirteen years to discover that his mission had been successful. Donald Trump didn’t even run for president in the 2012 election, and Barack Obama had won handily against Mitt Romney. But this wasn’t over. Click here for the next installment...

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