Saturday, December 10, 2016

Rogue Possession: Absolute Corruption (Part IV)

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Gilbert Morley Boyce was born in the District of Columbia in 1987. His parents were both low-level civil servants, providing support for a number of different politicians. He saw them work their asses off every day for very little. In his teenage years, he began to feel angry about the government. He believed in taxes, but not in the way they were actually implemented. Rich people had too many loopholes, and not enough responsibility. Meanwhile, the lower classes suffered, sometimes even being unable to maintain even simple law-abiding lifestyles.
One day in his college literature course, he learned the truth behind the legend of Robin Hood. As it turned out, he wasn’t simply stealing rich people’s assets and giving them to the poor. He was stealing from the government and redistributing tax money to the people who had originally paid it. This inspired Gilbert to right the crimes he felt the government was making. But he couldn’t put on a mask and ransack Fort Knox. Nor did he have the taste for the political life, and he had already made certain decisions in his life that prevented him from being a successful candidate anyway. His only option was the private sector. But in order to succeed in the business world without starting at the bottom and doing a bunch of work, he knew he would need capital. He didn’t have any particular skills, nor was he born into a wealthy family. He needed to get creative. Quite simply, he became a burglar.
For years, Gilbert would break into rich people’s homes when they were not at home, steal whatever cash he could find, and leave. He did this all over the country so that they couldn’t be connected, never worked with a team, and never got caught. During the FBI’s investigation, and the court’s trial, nobody ever uncovered evidence of his origins. Even to his dying day, not a single person who wasn’t some kind of time manipulator ever discovered his life as a petty criminal. He had told almost no one about it. Once he had enough money to start his company, he hired a hat-switching hacker who went by the name of Micro to cover his tracks and make it look like the money came from legitimate sources. Only she had any clue as to who he really was, but not even she knew exactly where the money had come from.
After careful research, Gilbert decided that the most lucrative and economically beneficial industries would be healthcare, and hospitality. He founded H&H&H Holdings. Through takeovers and mergers, he would go on to ultimately provide employment for hundreds of thousands of people in hospitals, hotels, and housing developments. All and all, he should have been richer than Horace Reaver, but he was not. Instead, he chose to lead a minimal lifestyle, and pour all personal capital into his organization. He formed an unusual business model where most profit not used for expansion was rerouted back to the employees in the form of raises and bonuses. Employees were made aware that, because of the unpredictable nature of the market, all wages were subject to constant raising and lowering. Most of them were okay with this, because they were still generally making at least ten percent more than national average for the position.
This was all well and good, except that a not insignificant amount of all this maneuvering was actually illegal. He managed to stay out of the crosshairs of the authorities for as long as he did because he did not resemble the average white-collar criminal. In the end, he wasn’t taking any money for himself, and so no one really suspected that he was doing anything wrong. Still fed up with the government and tax law, Gilbert took every chance he could find to screw over the man. Despite all the raises, they were making more money than they knew what to do with. Well-paid workers tend to have high morale, and do their jobs better, which in turn satisfies customers, which encourages them to return and spread the word, which raises profits. Knowing that at a certain point, you’re just paying your workers too much for the job their doing, and potentially damaging the economy, Gilbert took new risks.
He started funneling profits into various charities, attempting to hide his practices by spreading the wealth so thin that no one would notice. Except that people did notice, and he was ultimately sent to prison for his crimes. What he did was noble, but still fraud. And though his methods contributed to a boost in the nation’s and world’s economy, it had done little to actually change the way the law handled tax brackets.
Gilbert thought his experiences as a businessman would be invaluable once he became a powerful chooser, and possessed the body of President Donald Trump. It was true that this made it easier to pretend to be Trump in the first place, because he could understand what people around him were talking about. His knowledge, however, much like with the real Trump, was not sufficient for helping the populace. Still locked in a struggle with the original inhabitant of his new body, he failed as a president more often than he succeeded. He managed to stop Trump from dismantling everything that previous president, Barack Obama had accomplished, but this left him no energy to accomplish much of anything himself. By all accounts, he was a terrible president, but he did get through it. In the year 2019, he announced that he would not be running for a second term. This was met with no argument from the real Trump in the back of his mind. He honestly was not capable of being a 77-year-old head of state. On January 21, 2021, just to be safe, Gilbert Boyce finally left Donald Trump’s body, and started looking for a new life.

Years passed from Gilbert’s perspective. He continued to jump into random people’s bodies across time and space, not really bothering to focus on a certain destination. He never even considered trying to go back to his own past and correct his mistakes. He wasn’t worried about destroying the continuum, or creating a paradox, he was just ultimately content with how things turned out. He was dead and reborn, and that was good enough. After spending a literally unknowable amount of time in the body of a salmon who uncontrollably perceived time so quickly that he couldn’t make out objects, he found himself in the possession of The Apprentice. “What makes him an apprentice?”
“He’s not an apprentice,” the woman explained. Gilbert didn’t always choose to keep his presence a secret, and this person clearly didn’t care one way or the other. “He’s the Apprentice. With practice, he can actually learn to adopt other people’s temporal powers.”
“Kinda like me.”
“Kinda...but he gets to keep his body and personality, as well as his new powers.”
“If he’s learning, then that makes you the teacher. What are you teaching him?”
“They call me The Weaver. I can make objects adopt temporal powers, so that conceivably anyone could use them.”
“That sounds like a recipe for disaster,” Gilbert said.
“It can be, which is why I’m extremely selective with my creations. We can’t have every Tom, Dick, and Mateo runnin’ around with a time mirror.”
“You know Mateo?”
“I know of him. He’s not been born yet. You, my friend, have leapt into the late nineteenth century.”
Gilbert took a look around at his surroundings. “That explains your rustic dwelling.”
“This is just for show. My true home is significantly more advanced. I’ll never show you, though. That is for me, and my apprentice.”
“That’s fine. I could also possess you.”
“Not while I’m wearing this.” She pulled her shirt collar down to reveal a symbol he recognized tattooed on her chest.
“That’s from Supernatural. It keeps demons out.”
“I repurposed it. The truth is, the design of the tattoo wasn’t important, just that I was the one who did it.”
“Interesting. I wish I could do that. Though, I suppose, if I remain in this body, that’s exactly what I’ll eventually be able to do.”
“I highly recommend you not do that. You don’t wanna test me.”
“All right, all right,” Gilbert stood down. After a pause, he continued, “I’ve seen people use objects before. Do you make all of them? What is that spike thing that I used when I was the Constructor? I never did figure that out.”
“It’s not a spike, it’s a bone stake.”
“What’s a bone stake?”
“It’s a stake made out of bone.”
“Couldn’t you have just made it out of wood?”
“It’s true that I had a hand in the creation of the bone stake, but I could not have done it with just anything, like the tattoo. The Constructor is of a special class, so it had to be bone. It had to be his bone.”
“You took out his bone?”
“Yep. His femur. Replaced it with a metal implant from the future.”
“Why would you do that?”
“He wanted me to. He could be the Constructor just on his own, but having a tool like that allows him to do so without expelling so much time and energy on his creations. After all, that’s what tools are for.”
“Yeah, but...still. A bone. That’s messed up, dude.”
“Well, we can’t all be Meliora Rutherford Delaney-Reaver.”
“No,” Gilbert agreed. Then he had a thought. It was not just his own thought, though. After so much time as Donald Trump—and so many other people with hopes and envious desires—his mind had become corrupted. He was aware of this issue, but could do nothing about it. The ability to possess the body of the most powerful people in spacetime was far too intoxicating. There was no way he was giving that up, even when the main reason he felt that way was because of the issue itself. He had actually once tried to possess Meliora, hungry for her power. Like Trump, she was strong enough to prevent him from taking over, but unlike Trump, she did so effortlessly, and never gave in. There was no way he was breaking that barrier, not in a million years. In the end, he was glad for this, though, because she was an important force for good, and corrupting her legacy might have been the worst thing he ever did. Still he needed to feel her power, and his only option was this body he already had.
The Weaver picked up on his intentions, and was not happy about it. “You are going to leave this body, and you are going to do it now.”
“Or what?”
“I am prepared to destroy it, if only to prevent you from keeping it.”
Gilbert reached deep into his new heart. With enough thought, he could figure out what power the body he was possessing at the moment had, even without asking someone else, or just guessing. It was true that the Apprentice carried with him a great deal of power, but he only needed one at the moment. “You’ll never be able to catch me.”
He teleported away, and began a lovely stroll down Central Park. Then he felt the hair on the back of his neck stand up, and turned around. The Weaver was chasing after him.

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