Story Archives

Story Archives
Use the calendars below to start from the very beginning:

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Fervor: Time Slider (Part IX)

We all go back to the Bran safehouse to rest and regroup. Dr. Hammer said that the treatment she provided would slowly return the three patients’ memories. The brain doesn’t handle well the sudden onslaught of memory. Evidently things like this have happened before, and when proper precautions are not taken, the subject can totally freak out. Remembering all the bad things one has done, and that which has been done to them, always outweighs the good things. It doesn’t seem to ever do irreparable damage, but it’s always safer to bring them back more gradually. This left them with two options; either for Hilde and me to move on with the plan without help, or to wait until the others were ready. The first one wasn’t going to work, since we didn’t really have a plan, so now only one option. Well, still two, because it wouldn’t be a bad idea just to let it all go, and leave it to the professionals. As confident as I feel as an independent person, I do know that I’m still just a kid. What can we do?
Theoretically out of an attempt to answer that question as nothing, Jesimula Utkin shows up the next morning after breakfast with her private security. I recognize one as the guy who shot me with a taser gun, but I don’t see the one who helped me get back at the first. I feel like I should be worried he was found out, and suffered consequences. That makes me responsible.
“It took me longer than it should have to find you,” Jesimula says. “I guess that’s why they call it a safehouse.”
“So, we’re not safe anymore?” Slipstream asks. She now remembers a fair better chunk of her life. It’s not anywhere near enough to really know who the rest of us are, but she recalls the hero she became to help rid this city of gang violence, which makes her the leader here again.
“Yeah, that sounded bad,” Jesimula admits. “We got started all wrong, and I’m here to clear the air. I spent years working on my company. I wasn’t drawing up profit schedules, or commissioning the most lavish of offices—as you saw with our fairly drab two-story brick building. My friends all went above and beyond to make their organizations high-end cash cows. I just wanted to cure the world, but I can’t do that if just anyone can walk in and out as they please. I personally vetted every single one of my employees. When we slide through time, we dismiss all but essential personnel, and we use a trick I picked up in the future to erase specific memories. We can do this because they each underwent comprehensive medical testing.
“When you showed up unannounced, we were not ready for you. We don’t know how your respective brain chemistries work, and you were too close when we released the memory blocker. We need to be able to slide out of any time period without alerting the locals to it. There’s a reason why we chose to set up shop in that part of Independence. It’s kind of dead, so there aren’t a lot of people around, and those that are, are usually far enough away to avoid the full force of the memory field. Like I said, you were a mistake. We give most people an uncontrollable desire to leave the immediate area, but you were too determined. That is a contingency that we are currently working on, so it does not happen again.”
“What do you mean when you say you’re trying to cure the world?” Leona asks. She now possessed almost all of her memories. What Hammer learned by consulting with other choosing ones was that Leona had before experienced memory manipulation, which apparently makes it easier to remedy.
“There’s a cure for what ails you,” Jesimula answers. “It may not be from now, and it may not be on this world, but I promise you that it exists. There’s this blue flower on Orolak than turns everything around it blue, wherever you plant it, and it can...anyway—it can do amazing things, as can others, and we can get those to the people who need them.”
“And they’ll all be very grateful to you for it,” Hogarth points out. Hers was the worst memory of all, but her love for Hilde negated all that. She knew how she felt about her, and she didn’t have to remember what they had been through to trust her. “They might even give you a little money for it.”
“It’s 2025,” Jesimula says with a sour face. “Capitalism reigns. It won’t in the future, but I’m not trying to cure people in the future. People expect to pay money for value. If I gave it away for free, they would reject it. I actually did try this. Then I went back in time and rewrote my own history, because it does not work; not in this time period. However, I have a special team, just like any other company, who know how to price. We charge just enough to get people to think it’s worth it, we have a discount program for the less fortunate, and we donate what we don’t use for upkeep to free clinics. I don’t know who told you I’m the bad guy, but I really do have good intentions.”
“Yes, good intentions,” Hilde begins to say.
“Road to hell, yeah, I’ve heard that. Life isn’t so simple.”
“Are you here for nothing more than an apologia for your business model?” Slipstream asks, trying to get to the point.
Jesimula glances back at her security detail. “I’m here for an offer.”
Join me, and we can rule the world together!” I mock.
“It’s not like that,” Jesimula says. “We could use a couple more scientists, and Miss Horvatinčić, there is suddenly an open position on the security team.”
“You seem to know a lot about us,” Hilde notes.
“More than they know about themselves, I would suspect,” Jesimula agreed. “I think we’ve established that I do my research. If you think that I’m destined to do something wrong with that research, we would all be better off with you by my side. I don’t want to keep fighting you if it’s just going to end to disaster. If you know something, then let’s act on it.”
“We don’t know enough,” I finally speak up. “You would have to shut the company down. I mean, even if we stop what we already know is going to happen, maybe your new path leads to something worse. You could go back to the cretaceous period, and awaken some ancient fungus. It doesn’t matter how many safety protocols you come up with, there will always be leaks and accidents.”
“Why don’t you help me with that?”
“You could find the loopholes.”
“Weren’t you listening to me?” I ask. “You can never be one hundred percent safe. This whole operation is too risky.”
“Plus, she’s fifteen,” Slipstream argues.
“Fourteen,” I correct her.
“Even worse!”
“So, you’re young, so what? I can fix that for ya,” Jesimula says, casually and seriously. She hovers her open palms in front of my temples, and forms a warped spacetime bubble around me. I suddenly feel myself being stretched and altered. I grow a little taller, my boobs get bigger, and my face feels rougher and wrinklier. I can’t see anything while it’s happening, though, and by the time I can reopen my eyes, Slipstream is midbattle against Jesimula’s security team. Hogarth and Hilde are right next to me, presumably having tried to break through the time bubble.
Leona is holding Jesimula’s arms behind her back, like a cop trying to make an arrest. “Put her back!” she orders.
“No,” Jesimula replies plainly.
“Put. Her. Back,” Leona repeats.
“No, you let me go, I’ll finish it. She’s still younger than I was planning.”
“You planned this?” Hilde growls.
“I got the idea from your daughter, and her friends.”
“What are you talking about?” Hilde questions. Does that mean she doesn’t have a daughter, or that she doesn’t know what Jesimula knows about that daughter’s future?
“You’ll see...” Jesimula teases.
Slipstream is finished putting down all the guards, so she takes tiny Jesi by the shoulders and presses her against the wall. “You’re going to fix this.”
Jesimula is not at all intimidated. “I offered you peace amongst us. I expect you to come around eventually, and I won’t return to this time period until you do so.” She tilts her head and smiles, then she disappears, evidently not needing her hands to use her powers.
Slipstream turns around. “Tie them up with their own zip cuffs. They’re going to help us. Paige, I promise we’ll figu—” she stops short, and freezes, trembling slightly, but violently. She suddenly falls hard to her face.
Behind her, Jesimula is bringing her leg back down to the floor, having kicked Slipstream in the back. She’s pointing a weapon at the rest of us. “Get up!” she orders her men.
They struggle to their feet, and gather around her. “I know this doesn’t help how you feel about me, but we all make mistakes, as you pointed out, Older!Paige. I believe you will one day forgive me.” She creates a bubble around her and her people, and slides them all out of time.

No comments :

Post a Comment