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Saturday, June 2, 2018

Missy’s Mission: A Place Beyond Time (Part IX)

“No,” Curtis said. “We are here to destroy this universe. Helping these people is not part of the deal.”
“What was the deal?” Missy questioned.
“None of your bloody business.”
“Hey!” Dar’cy shouted. “You work for some mysterious entity who’s asked you to destroy Ansutah, right?”
“Indeed,” Lucius answered. That one word, in his voice, gave Missy chills.
“Well, you need my power to go back in time, and I work for Missy, so whatever Missy says, goes. We go nowhere without everyone else.”
Curtis sighed. “Then I suppose we should go get them first. We broke out of the our cell, but didn’t bother opening all the others.”
“Lead the way,” Missy said. “Please and thank you.”
Curtis tried to lead them back to the jail, but was too disoriented. Now that none of the natives were around, it looked a lot different apparently. Lucius still knew where to go, so he took over as guide. There were twice as many humans as Missy had thought there were before. While Lucius evidently used his time power primarily to kill, he could do it with anything. He could ripple space, separating individual atoms from each other by teleporting each one to a slightly different location. He destroyed the bars and doors from the cells with ease, letting everyone out so they could congregate in a common area of what must have been some kind of police station.
“Missy?” one of them asked while Missy was helping usher people down the hallway? Another one she knew from before. She turned her head to find herself face to face with none other than Leona Matic. They had last seen her years ago when she boarded The Warren with the rest of the ship’s crew, along with over a hundred other passengers.
“What the hell are you doing here?”
“Umm...I came to get Serif back,” Leona said.
“What happened to her?”
“She was stuck in Ansutah when it separated from the Warren.”
“In here,” Leona said, ushering Missy into one of the now open cells, along with some woman she didn’t recognize. “You remember how Annora created those pocket dimensions on the ship, so we could fit all those passengers?”
“Yes,” Missy recalled.
“Well, a child was born in one of them that could make it bigger and bigger. And by could, I mean that just by being alive, her power made the pocket’s size increase exponentially. There was another who could create these monsters you’ve already seen; one monster with every breath he took.”
“My God. Are you telling me it’s only been a few years since this universe was created?”
“No, it’s been thousands. My guess is the monster-maker eventually died, leaving them to propagate the species on their own. The universe expander, on the other hand....” she looked over at the other woman, “was removed from the pocket at the last second. Her power started putting the ship at risk, so Dubravka here took her out of the timestream. Besides retrieving Serif, we came to let the girl out, so she can go back to making this world bigger.”
“She doesn’t seem happy about that,” Missy pointed out.
Dubravka looked like she was sucking a lemon. “I never wanted to come back here.”
This confused Leona. “What? You were never in pocket four.”
She was irritated, and wouldn’t make eye contact with either of them. “I grew up here. When we were told that we we would get Serif back if we did this, I didn’t think it meant eight years after I was born! I thought we were going to stop it before it happened.”
Missy still didn’t understand, nor did Leona. “Eight years, you’re—holy shit.” Leona seemed to have figured something out.
“What?” Missy asked.
“Are you...?” Leona began to ask.
“My daughter?” came a voice from around the corner. Serif appeared, holding the hand of a young girl. “Yes. Adult!Dubra, meet Young!Dubra. Young!Dubra, this is what you grow up to be.”
“I suppose I could do worse,” a sassy Young!Dubra said.
“Mom, I thought we were going to change the past,” Adult!Dubra said to Serif. “But it’s all happening exactly like it did before!”
“I don’t want you to change the past,” Serif said. She was many years older than before, having aged across thousands of real-time years since either Leona or Missy would have seen her.
“I do!” Adult!Dubra cried.
“This is your home,” Serif argued.
“My home sucks,” both versions of Dubravka screamed simultaneously.
Missy leaned towards Leona. “If these two get too close to each other, is this building gonna blow up, and turn the leaves red?”
“What? No.”
It was a fair question.
Serif let go of Young!Dubra’s hand, and gave it to Leona. “You need to go with Mother Leona now. She’ll take you to our universe.”
“Miss Atterberry, you need to get out there to the meeting with all the other people who want their powers to be removed. Dubravka, go with her,” she said to her adult daughter.
“Why would I do that?” Adult!Dubra asked.
“Stick with her, and you’ll end up exactly where you’re meant to be. I promise you won’t spend much more time in this universe. Don’t get separated from Missy and Dar’cy, though. Remember to pull Adamina back into the timestream before you leave.”
Presumably after having not seen her mother in many years of her personal timeline, Adult!Dubravka took Serif into a bear hug, and deposited about a gallon of tears on her shoulder.
As Missy was leaving with Adult!Dubra, she caught a bit of Leona’s conversation with Serif. “Is Mateo the father?”
“Yeah,” Serif answered. “Same for yours?”
Who the hell was Mateo?
When Missy and Adult!Dubravka arrived at the crowd, they were in the middle of clapping. Dar’cy was on a raised floor acting as a stage. She too was clapping, at a young woman from the audience who was blushing. Curtis was standing in the corner with his arms folded, still not really in favor of figuring out how to save everyone. Lucius stood at the women’s flank, arms folded too, but scanning the crowd like a nightclub bouncer.
Missy waved at Dar’cy to get her attention, then held up the international gesture for huh?. Dar’cy thanked the girl on stage, then stepped down.
“What’s goin’ on?” Missy asked. “Did someone just get an award?”
“That girl up there. She’s a supercharger.”
“Like an air compressor?”
“No, like she can enhance my powers. I can get everyone out of here.”
“Correction,” Dubravka said. “You can get everyone to the past, but still in this shithole.”
Dar’cy frowned. “And who is this lovely woman?”
“Dar’cy, Dubravka. Dubra, Dar’cy.”
“Well, you’re right, but this is what everyone here wants.” She gestured to the mob in general. “Are you in, or out?”
Dubra scoffed. “My powers are fine. I don’t need them to live whatever kind of life I want. But I don’t need them gone either. I was told I had to come with you to survive, so I’m in, but as soon as that stops being the case, I’m out.”
“She’s positively charming,” Dar’cy noted.
“Leona brought her,” Missy said.
“She’s Serif’s daughter.”
“Dar’cy!” the apparent supercharger called down. “It’s time to go!”
“You two stand next to me and the Wrench of Creation,” Dar’cy said to Missy and Dubra. “If this doesn’t work, at least you’ll make it through.”
As the three of them snaked their way to the stage, the crowd started clapping again. Dar’cy was already a hero, and she hadn’t even done anything yet. The four women stood on stage together. The supercharger and Dar’cy held onto either end of the plastic wrench toy. Missy held Dar’cy’s other hand, while Dubravka held hers. An energy pulsed between them, like that middle school science experiment where students stand in a circle and use their own bodies to close a circuit. They held up the wrench, letting a bubble not unlike the kind Missy could create emanate from it. It eventually encompassed the entire crowd, which had huddled together.
Dubravka’s watch beeped. “We have to go now!” she cried. “The maramon are coming back into the time stream!” She held up her free hand, and aimed it to the outside of the bubble. She released her own energy pulse, which revealed a young girl, standing there, confused.
The bubble started becoming more and more opaque as a bright light formed from everywhere at once. When the light receded, and the bubble collapsed, they found themselves in the middle of a desert. A younger Serif was now suddenly standing in line with them, holding Dubravka’s hand. “Uhh...what’s happening here?”
At first they thought it worked, but a brief glance at the crowd showed that half of them had not come through with them.

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