Saturday, April 7, 2018

Missy’s Mission: Simba Baby (Part I)

Melissa Calluna Atterberry was born on April 7, 2018 not far from her parents’ home in Surrey, British Columbia, which was located just meters from the U.S. border. Her family wanted her to possess dual citizenship between both countries. As soon as they found out her mother was pregnant, they began to make inquiries about special permission for a border birth. As it turned out, their daughter would have dual citizenship, regardless of which side she was born on, because her father was Usonian. Still, the idea of giving birth right on the line fascinated them, so they continued to press the issue. They were ultimately granted authorization for this, but only for the good publicity. Representatives from each country wanted to acknowledge, solidify, and demonstrate the good relationship between them, in a very public setting. Though, of course, the media was not allowed in the trailer they retrofitted as a cleanroom, they were called in when the time came, and reported from outside.
Two separate audiences gathered in either half of Peace Arch Park. Missy’s future uncles sold snacks and memorabilia. Her aunts put on a singing performance, along with a local band. Since the moment couldn’t be planned too far in advance, the people who showed up were just the ones who could drop what they were doing at a moment’s notice. Once Missy had come into the world, and passed the initial health test, her grandfather carried her out of the trailer, and presented her to millions of people watching the feed on the internet. The people called her Simba Baby, a nickname she outgrew when she found out she was a choosing one, and her unorthodox birth was no longer the most interesting part about her.
She was ten years old when her parents took her on a vacation by Brooks Lake, in Wyoming. With them came a family of friends, including a boy named Harley, who she had been friends with since forever. He was four years older, and taught her a lot of things about life, all of which she later had to question. When they were alone on a walk in the woods, he decided it was time to attack her. He had put a lot of work into their relationship, and he was cashing in on what he deserved from her. She said no, but it didn’t matter. He didn’t take no for an answer. She tried to push him away, but he pushed back. She tried to run away, but he ran after her. She had power, though, and he was no match for it. She could create temporal bubbles that slowed down, or sped up, time for anyone and anything inside of it. Just before he could catch up to her, she created one of these out of instinctual desperation. He was practically stuck in time, moving in slow motion. She stopped and watched, knowing that she had done this, but not knowing how. Worried she wouldn’t be able to hold the bubble for an extended period of time, she tried to run away again, but nearly collided with another man.
“Very good job,” the man said. He was much, much older. “You couldn’t have picked a better time to figure out what you could do.”
“Who are you?” she asked, still more frightened than she had ever been.
“Not a friend,” he replied coldly. “But no one deserves this.” He started walking over towards the boy, who was still struggling to get back to realtime. “No one deserves what he was about to do to you, so I’ll take care of him for you.”
“What does that mean?”
“It means you should go,” he said.
“What does that mean?” she repeated.
He casually brushed his fingers against the wall of her time bubble. “I can do what you can do. Let me show you a trick. Instead of slowing them down, you should speed them up.” He grabbed onto the wall, and gritted his teeth. The boy inside of it started bashing himself against the edges, at incredible speed, trying to get out of it. Eventually, though, he had to give up. He quickly starved to death, and his body decayed, right before Missy’s eyes. “I hope you appreciate my sacrifice,” the man said. “I don’t usually kill children, which is why I’m letting you go...for now. In fact, I’ll protect you your whole life. That is, until your time comes. Enjoy your powers,” he said as he was walking away. “Because whether you use them or not, I’ll eventually kill you for having them.”
He hadn’t lied about that. Missy’s life was in danger far more often than the average for any one person. She tried asking her parents about her powers, but they had no clue what she was talking about. They freaked out when they saw what she could do, and they didn’t want anything to do with them. She could stay with them, if she wanted, but she wasn’t allowed to make time bubbles, and she wasn’t allowed to talk about them. She agreed to their conditions, but literally the day she turned eighteen, she left the house, and never returned. She went looking for other people like her, eventually discovering there to be this huge network of choosers, as she learned they were called. Her life continued to be threatened, as some people she met with powers were dangerous, and others were simply reckless. The man from before did as he promised, appearing whenever his services were needed. Despite how much time had lapsed, he was never any older, and never any nicer. The older she got, the closer he seemed to be to doing what he said he would, and killing her. She didn’t know exactly what he was waiting for, but she did not feel the need to find out.
She met some good people along the way too, many of whom helped her try to escape her fate. They took her all across time and space, sometimes even to other planets. At some point, she learned of a special prison called Beaver Haven. Technically, it was for any choosing one who had committed some crime that an arbitrary group of people with time powers decided was too far over the line. They were known, however, to also allow law-abiding time travelers in, who needed protection from others. Yet the evil man found her there as well, and easily broke her out of it. Still, he didn’t kill her, and she was starting to think that stalking her was more important than the violence he was planning to inflict on her.
She sought refuge on a place called Tribulation Island, which was located on millions of lightyears from Earth, on a planet owned by a woman named Leona Matic, called Dardius. Leona had been involved with the murder of the evil man who had been stalking Missy all this time. Unfortunately, time travel being what it was, a younger version of that man was still free to torment her, for he had not yet gone back in time, and died. But because of the nature of his death, he could do no harm to Leona, which meant she was the safest person to be around in the whole spacetime continuum. So Missy began to follow her around, with a group of girls on a mission to find The Last Savior of Earth. They ended up on yet another planet, this one called Durus. Having been long ago ejected from its solar system, it was somehow linked with Earth, and carried with it unusual temporal properties of its own. There were rumors that somewhere, somehow, Durus was capable of removing someone’s powers. Though she loved what she could do, these powers were too dangerous to keep, so if there was any chance of ridding herself of them, she had to go for it. A friend of hers from the group, Dar’cy Matigaris even agreed to stay with her, as a personal security guard. If anyone in history could stop The Cleanser from hurting Missy, Dar’cy was it.
At the moment, the two of them were seeing their friends off in the ship that had brought them there, The Warren. Missy didn’t know if staying behind was the right call, but it was the best one she could come up with at the time. Even though she might never be able to get back home, and see people she loved ever again, this was perhaps the only path to take. She would at least be alive, assuming any of this worked. They still had no idea where on Durus they were meant to go, what they were meant to do, or whether the whole thing was just one big lie.
They were standing next to a paramount—which was just this world’s word for chooser—who could instantly transport massive objects from one place, to another. She did her trick with the ship, sending it straight into orbit, and it was done. Now there was no turning back. “Well, what do we do now?” Dar’cy asked.
“Right now, we go back to the house that Andromeda built for her wife and child,” Missy declared. “We get something to eat, we get some sleep, and we start looking for answers in the morning.”
“Where might we find those answers?”
“I suppose we should start at the library, where all good research originates.”
When they arrived at the house, a man was there, waving his hands at it, creating ripples in the air.
“What the hell are you doing?” Dar’cy demanded to know, stepping between him and Missy.
“Oh, I was asked to create wards here,” he responded, stopping his work.
“Create what?”
“Wards. People can’t use powers in or around the building. And they can’t step foot in here without your permission.”
“Who asked you to do that?” Dar’cy questioned.
“I did,” he said. “I received a time message from my future self, asking me to help you. I can show it to you. I put it through an authenticator, it definitely came from me.”
“That may be so,” Dar’cy began, “but we don’t know if we can trust your future self any more than we can trust you.”
“You can call the paramount division of the police if you’d like,” he said. “They’ll verify these are true wards. I have no reason to hurt you.”
“Dar’cy,” Missy said, “not all men are bad.”
“I know that,” she replied before turning her attention back to him. “I want your telemagnet code. If you’re going to make these for us, then I want to be able to hold you accountable at any moment.”
He smiled. “I can do that. Can I finish first, though?”
She nodded.
“Thank you,” Missy said to him. She nodded as well, but to herself. “We might actually survive this.”

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