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Saturday, April 6, 2019

Proxima Doma: Neighborhood Watch (Part III)

“That doesn’t make me the Last Savior,” Vitalie pointed out. “You’re still the one who can teleport. I’m just the source of your intel, like the powers that be.”
“I can apport you anywhere you need to go,” Étude explained, “but you have to be the one to help these people directly.”
“Why would that be?”
Étude was quiet.
“This has something to do with your mysterious future-seer, who has dictated your life since you retired, doesn’t it?”
“So, what if it does?”
“Are you still in communication with them? Do you have access to the quantum messenger.”
“Look, all you need to know is that I’m not meant to continue the job. It’s all about you now. This is important.”
“If you knew all this, why did you not say anything? Why did I just have to convince you of any of it?”
“I didn’t know exactly what was going to happen, Vitalie. I was just told to hand my torch to an old soul who has seen tomorrow.”
“You think that’s me?”
“Well, it can’t be some rando resident of Proxima Doma. You just came back from twenty-four hours in the future, you understand what it is I used to do, and you were the one who came up with the plan to restart the Savior program in the first place.”
“Ya know, it’s really convenient you always have this seer who has already made big decisions for you. It’s like you forged a doctor’s note that gets you out of gym class.”
“Are you saying I’m lying about him?”
Are you?” Vitalie asked. She could trust that Étude was a good person, and wanted to do the right thing, but that didn’t mean she wasn’t capable of lying.
“I’m not. He hasn’t been dictating my entire life, but he has gotten me where I am today. Who knows how reality would have turned out if I hadn’t teleported to the Sharice Davids? I saved your life, and Ram’s. I protected the Insulator of Life, so Brooke and Sharice Prieto could be extracted from it. So yeah, I believe in what he’s told me to do, because I have years of experience with his predictions. I think he’s done more than enough to prove himself.”
Vitalie didn’t say anything right away. Then she stepped closer, almost condescendingly, but also quite affectionately. “Things are good, but they are not perfect. You can’t ever know how well history would have turned out if he had just kept his mouth shut. Perhaps our lives would have been even better.”
Étude mirrored Vitalie’s actions, and stepped closer still. “There is always a better timeline out there. Fortune-teller or not, we can never truly know what might have been. I’m just trying to do my part. Now, I spent seventeen years as Earth’s Savior. It may have been one of my kind’s shortest tenures—and it may have been the easiest shift to work—but I still know what I’m talking about when it comes to saving people’s lives. I just got promoted to management, while you’ve been offered my old position. You don’t have to take it. I’ll keep my ear to the ground, and do my best without you. But I’m not handing you my new job. It’s either this, or nothing. And that’s not coming from my seer; that’s from me.”
Vitalie hadn’t before thought of the Savior as an employee. In the real world, you can’t simply work whatever position you wanted; it had to be offered to you. Étude was the hiring manager, so it was her call. She had to take the job, or no one would. “Okay, I’m in. As long as you’re sure you can remotely apport me to the danger zones. I didn’t know you could do that.”
“Eh, not every teleporter can, but when I’m using my power to build a structure, teleporting objects from other places is exactly what I’m doing. Before you ask, this isn’t something I considered trying until after the Sharice Davids catastrophe. If I had realized it back then, I could have pulled everyone out of the other half of that ship, and saved them from the explosion. I’m not proud of myself.”
Vitalie sighed shortly, and placed a warm hand on Étude’s shoulder. “A bunch of maniacal capitalists destroyed that ship. No one blames you for not saving everybody. You barely got the five of us out of there once the rest of the ship blew up, and two of those people were stuck in a magical object. It’s a miracle that anyone was saved.”
“Thanks.” They paused in a moment of silence for their fallen friends and enemies. “So, now that you know what happens today, who needs to be saved first?”
Vitalie laughed. “Nobody. Nothing really happened today. A mining bot will be hit by a cave-in, but he was due for a hardware upgrade anyway, so we should leave that alone. Besides, he practically struck gold when he did it, so they’ll want that section open. The world is a lot more dangerous than present-day Earth, but that doesn’t mean it’s the stone age. People still have a lot of redundancies, and emergency protocols.”
“Yeah, you’re right. Though, things will get worse once the OPPs arrive.”
“The who?”
“Opps. Oblivio-primitivist Pioneers. You’ve heard about this; don’t you keep up with the news?”
“Not really. Aren’t those the people Brooke and Sharice fought against? They blew up a space elevator, because they want us all living like monkeys?”
“Not exactly. The Oblivios want to go back to a simpler time, but they’re not terrorists, or violent at all. They’re coming to Proxima Doma, so they can be free from all the distractions. They don’t want to see any aircraft flying around, or spaceships blasting off. They just want their farms and covered wagons.”
“How are they going to get that here? We have spaceships too.”
“There won’t be any in the gargantuan dome they constructed near the pole. It’s going to perpetually simulate a normal terrestrial sky. No advanced technology allowed. None of the other Domanians are going to be allowed inside either. We’ll sneak in when necessary.”
“Well, will these people be able to leave, if they want to?”
“They won’t want to. That’s the oblivio part. They’re having their minds wiped, so they have no clue that there’s anywhere to go beyond the dome, or even that there is a dome.”
“That sounds unethical.”
“They agreed to it. The first thing the nanofactory ship did when it first arrived twenty years ago was start working on their dome, and on local terraforming. This has been in the plans for a very long time. The primitivists who first came up with it are dead now, and will never see how well it goes.”
“That’s sad.”
“Welp, they knew this wasn’t going to be easy. They wanted to build a dome on Earth, but leadership wouldn’t let them. There was a huge debate about whether the dome would support, or undermine, our attempts to give the surface back to the wild. There’s wildlife inside, but it’s still just a simulated environment. Anyway, I don’t know if you’ll be able to do any good in there, because we don’t want to start giving out your secret, but we’ll see in a few months. Savior gotta save.”
“Yeah, I wanted to ask you about that. If I’m going to be doing this, do you think we could come up with a different name? It sounds a bit...”
“Pretentious? Self-indulgent? Prideful?”
“You said it; not me.”
“That’s okay. I obviously didn’t come up with the title myself. I’m sure we can think of something better for our new little Neighborhood Watch.”
So the two of them got to work. Before Vitalie could go on even one mission, they had to make sure they had the logistics ironed out. They needed to come up with a good name, because if they didn’t, other people would do it for them. They also needed to know how they were going to gather their intelligence, and how Vitalie was going to remember all the details. She wouldn’t be able to write anything down, since only her consciousness would be going back in time. They needed to make sure Étude was indeed capable of apporting Vitalie where she needed to be, and they needed ways to protect her from harm once she was there. They would have to stay in constant communication when she was out in the field, so the technology they used had to be reliable. In the end, they realized there was only one good replacement title Vitalie was comfortable using. She would now be known as Proxima Doma’s Caretaker.

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