Saturday, June 9, 2018

Missy’s Mission: Metas, Worlds, and Pieces (Part X)

Both Dar’cy and the supercharger looked around in a panic. “Are you sure?” Dar’cy asked. “We didn’t do a headcount, maybe it just looks like there are fewer people here because we have more space.”
“Cassius!” a woman began to cry out, along with several other people, looking for their respective loved ones.
“Pretty sure,” Missy said.
“Oh my God,” Dar’cy said, dropping her head.
“What have we done?” the supercharger asked rhetorically.
“We have to go back,” Dar’cy declared.
Suddenly a teenager teleported in between the main players, and the crowd. He was wearing a funny hat, and darting his head back and forth. “Who are you people? What are you doi—” He stopped when his eyes met with that of supercharger’s. “’s not safe here,” he stammered. “For, uh, humans.”
“Where is it safe?” Missy asked him.
He scoffed. “Eden Island.”
“Great. Take us there.”
“It’s on the other side of the planet,” he clarified.
“You can teleport.”
He flicked the bill of his cap. “This is what lets me teleport. I can’t take everyone with me.”
Supercharger took hat guy’s hand in hers, reminding Missy that she needed to be better at learning people’s names. “Together, we can.” The energy pulsated between the two of them, causing a new temporal bubble to form around the crowd. Before the people who were missing family members could protest, they had made the jump to a beach.
Curtis stepped forward, doing his best as a leader. “Okay, everyone who’s missing someone, come with me. Everyone who’s fine with staying here...go collect firewood, or something.”
Dar’cy felt responsible, so she went with them, but that all had nothing to do with Missy, so she stuck around. The hormonal teens were still holding onto each other’s hands, even though it was no longer necessary.
Missy cleared her throat. “Did The Weaver make that for you?” she asked the boy, referring to a chooser on Earth with the power to imbue objects with metatemporal properties.
“Oh this?” The boy pulled off the hat, and tossed it over to her. He couldn’t take his eyes off the girl. “It’s made from a teleporter’s hair, as a gift to the primary gods, so they could always escape danger. I stole it, because I need it more than Esen does.”
“This is human hair?” Missy was generally pretty open-minded, but there was a line, and body parts were on the other side of it. She let it fall to the ground.
The boy ignored her. “I’m Avidan. My mom called me Avi. My mama called me Dan.”
The girl was as enthralled with him as he with her. “Savitri. Just...Savitri.” She giggled.
They still had not let go. “I feel something when we touch,” Avidan said.
“Me too,” she agreed.
“I bet,” Missy sassed.
“No, it’s not that. I mean, it’s definitely still that. You are...” he stopped talking, but his face was saying wow. “I can diagnose people’s time powers, but when I touch you, I don’t just see you. I see what we can do together. What we will do. There’s a future for us.”
“I can’t see that, Savitri admitted, to his sadness. “But I...I can see it. In the figurative sense. What does our future look like?”
Avidan broke his gaze for the first time in a million years. “Why are these people here?”
“We all want to get rid of our time powers, and our journeys have led us here,” Missy answered. “Well, I guess not all of us. My friend just came with me to help.”
“I’m not here for that either,” Savitri explained. “I accidentally tore open a microscopic tear in spacetime, and ended up here.”
“Wait, you didn’t walk through the haze on Durus?” Missy questioned.
She was still watching Avidan. “What’s a Durus?”
It had been a long time since Missy had encountered anyone who didn’t know what Durus was. “What year do you think it is?”
“Uh, we estimated it was, like, 2004? There was no sun on Blightworld.”
“I think you were on Durus,” Missy postulated. “I think you were there before it had a name.”
“Oh,” she said, unperturbed. “Okay.”
They were silent for a beat before Missy broke it again, “Avidan, what do you see in the future?”
“I can’t literally see the future. I can feel love. Between the two us. And I can...” he trailed off.
“Go on,” Savitri encouraged.
“I can feel the product of that love,” he went on.
“You mean, like, a child?” Savitri asked. She was intrigued when she should have been creeped out.
Avidan took Missy’s arm in his free hand. “And I feel the end of your quest.”
“A supercharger and a diagnostician,” Missy started to work out in her head. Both of you are metachoosers.”
“What’s a metachooser?”
“It’s someone whose power has something to do with other people’s powers. If the rest of us didn’t exist, your powers wouldn’t either.” She started mostly talking to herself. “For the most part, time powers aren’t hereditary. They’re not even always genetic. But it has been known to happen. Daria Matic was a Savior, and her brother The Kingmaker. They both jump in and save people’s lives; they just do it at different times, and in different ways.”
“What does this have to do with us?” Avidan asked.
“What if this is it? What if we’re all here because your child can take away people’s powers? Everything has been leading us to this.”
“We just met,” Savitri pointed out.
“And I’m not ready for that,” Avidan said, embarrassed, though he needn’t be.
“We all ended up right here, right now. That doesn’t mean we get what we’re looking for immediately. Savitri, you came here with us, so we were always going to have to wait for time to catch up with us. There is no pressure to speed up this relationship, if there even will be one. I have zero intention of telling anyone what we’re thinking, not even my partner.”
Speaking of Missy’s partner, Dar’cy suddenly screamed, “no!” from the meeting. It was accompanied by an uproar from everyone else.
As Missy and the lovebirds were rushing up to see what was the matter, they could see Lucius stepping away from the angry mob. “Back up! Stay back! he demanded. “I can do the same to you—all of you, all at once—and I don’t even need Savitri’s help!”
Missy slid onto her knees in front of Dar’cy, who was hovering over a pile of what looked like ash. “Oh my God, who was that?”
Dar’cy shook her head, and sniffled. “It was no one. It was the wrench.” She looked up at Lucius, clingy tears trembling on her eye sockets. “He destroyed it.”
Missy stood up and confronted Lucius straight on, unmoved by his stature. “Why would you do that?”
“No one’s going back to the future. I won’t allow it,” he replied.
“Don’t you understand that you just created a new timeline? Everyone standing here potentially has a duplicate of themselves, running around the timeline.”
“Exactly,” Lucius agreed. “They’re alive.”
“What? You did that on purpose?”
“If the wrench no longer exists in the future, Dar’cy and Savitri can’t thread it back to this moment. If they don’t do that, everyone there survives. They are not the duplicates...we are.”
“And what happens to this new timeline’s versions of us? They’ll still come to this world, but they’ll have no escape.”
“I gave them a fighting chance,” Lucius argued, “if that ends up happening, which I’m not sure it does. I suspect we all heard of this magical place that can take away time powers because we ended up going back in time, and started spreading the news. Now that won’t happen.”
“You can be sure of nothing,” Missy reminded him.
“Can anyone ever?” With that, he turned and disappeared past the treeline.
Dar’cy reached down and tried to gather the pieces of the wrench, which had gotten all mixed up with the sand.
“What are you doing, love?”
She wiped the snot from her face. “Maybe someone can put it back together. Maybe someone has the opposite power that Lucius does. Or did, rather, since I’m gonna kill him for this.”
Missy knelt back down. “Darce. This is not your fault.”
“It’s mine,” Dubravka confessed.
“How’s that?”
“I broke through the bubble to put Adamina back into the timestream,” Dubra said. “The half that didn’t come through were standing on that side of the room.”
Missy stood back up yet again. “We don’t know that you had anything to do with anything.” She stepped back, and raised her voice to address the crowd. “Take note of that, everybody! We don’t know anything! Time is a mysterious bitch, and I think we’ve all figured that out, or we wouldn’t be here, trying to get our powers removed. No one is to blame for this, not even Lucius! We don’t know if your loved ones are even still in the future. Maybe they went further into the future, or to a different moment in the past, or another planet, or even another universe! Hell, they could have landed five months ago, and we just haven’t found them yet!”
“Uh, that’s not possible,” Avidan piped up. “I showed up because I sensed your arrival. I would have sensed them too.”
“Shut up, Danny,” Missy spat. “Does everyone understand, or are you trying to figure out how to build torches and pitchforks from scratch?”
No one answered, but they didn’t act ready to riot.
Missy took a breath for the first time since they got here. “Now, the end of our quests might still be here, because again, we don’t know the nature of the thing! I suggest we start helping the others make camp!” She looked over to Savitri and Avidan while she said one final thing, “remember...patience is a virtue!”
Everyone spread out, evidently taking her advice to heart. There was no shortage of food to eat here on what may very well have been the inspiration for the fictional representation of Eden in Abrahamistic proof texts. A few people came up to her and thanked her for her words. It was comforting to realize that, though they all had amazing temporal powers, they were still just as clueless as everyone else. There were just some things that were impossible to understand, and life went a lot easier if you assumed the best. Optimists lived longer. But there was one man who was not working. Instead he just stared at Missy eerily from a distance.
She slowly approached the man, who remained steadfast. “Can I help you?”
“The wrench will be fine,” he said, almost as if he was trying to reassure her.
“You can see the future?” she asked, not surprised to be meeting a seer. It might have been the most common time power.
“I see everything. For now...”
“What do you mean, everything?”
“I see all of time and space. Everything that has happened, is happening, and will happen, across the entire universe.”
“I’ve never heard of that.”
“I’m one of a kind,” he explained.
“And you’re trying to get rid of your powers because all that information hurts?”
He looked over her shoulder, right at the happy new couple.
“Do you know what happens to them?” she asked.
“Yes, very sad.”
“What’s your name?”
He shook her hand. “Lincoln Isaac Rutherford.”
She laughed. “I know Lincoln Rutherford. Though I don’t think anyone told me his power. And I know you’re not him. I mean, ya...kinda look like him. But I would recognize him.”
The man who claimed to be Lincoln pulled at an invisible mask on his face. It wouldn’t come off entirely, but stretched away from his skin, like a smudge of ink from a marker not given enough time to dry. The mask shuddered, like a dying lightbulb. A second face peeked out from underneath the top layer in this unbelievably disquieting sight. She still couldn’t recognize Lincoln, but the face she was seeing was definitely not the real one.
“What in the actual ass is that?” she asked. “And why do I keep saying that?”
“It’s a motif, don’t worry about it,” he said as he was returning his face to normal. I’m kind of, uhh...famous in this universe.”
“Famous how?”
He tilted his head back and forth. “Famous in the way that a red guy with horns and a pitchfork is famous in our universe.”
“They think you’re the devil?”
“A little bit?”
“Why would they think that?”
“I might have gotten drunk one time, and predicted a bunch of bad things that did happen. Anyway, The Superintendent sent me to a guy who could give me an illusory face, but I cannot get it off. So I’m stuck looking like this until I get my powers stripped, and they let me go back home.”
“They! Them!” he yelled, but was acting like it was but a joke. “Anyway, I was just trying to tell you that I know how this ends. The wrench is not dead. You were right about those two kids, and the part about us needing to be patient.”
“If you end up losing your powers, how can you see anything beyond you losing your powers?” she prodded.
“Because I have my powers now. I don’t see the future. They’re memories, and those memories won’t go away until they’re deleted, and when they are, I don’t know what I’m gonna be left with.”
“It sounds like you don’t wanna do this.”
He sighed. “I don’t. I was forced here.”
“By who?”
“An actual god.” He paused for a moment. “I better go help. You’re a good leader, Melissa Atterberry,” he said as he was walking away backwards. “Maybe you should explore that.”

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