Friday, May 24, 2019

Microstory 1110: The Escapologist

Atlantis is the place that houses the powers that be. These people are...complicated, but they live in a universe with quadrillions of others, most of which are not at all cognizant that this small group of children have control over another universe. They are the ones who manipulate salmon, moving them up and down the timeline, and all throughout space, recruiting them to complete various missions. For the most part, there are only a few ways of traveling to these other universes, which are known as branes. You can take The Crossover, or its predecessor, The Prototype. If you’re lucky enough to catch a junction for the massive Universal Bridge Collapse, you might be able to get to another brane, but it would be practically impossible to get back. Joseph’s Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat will grant you access to certain branes, but not just any. If you want to go from the salmonverse to Universe Prime, there’s a special permanent connection that very few people know about. The Escapologist is one of these people, though she did not go by this name at the time. She was born Ariadna Traversa; a perfect name for what she would come to do later in life. She discovered the Prime Bridge—which was actually more like a tunnel—after years and years of searching for it. Most people don’t go looking, because they don’t know about it, but she intuited that it must exist. Lots of people had heard of the powers, but no one had ever seen them. They were expected to exist in some other dimension, but there were those who could see in more than the usual three dimensions. They reported seeing nothing of the kind, except for The Gallery, which was something different. No, if the powers that be were to have any influence on her world, they would have to be both detached from it, but be utilizing some link to it.

Since her return from this place, she has refused to divulge where the access junction to the Prime Bridge is located; not to prevent anyone from learning the truth, and keep it to herself, but because she barely escaped with her life. There was nothing particularly dangerous about Universe Prime itself. Most people she encountered there were going about their day, and had no problem with her. It was the bridge itself that was the problem. Unlike the bridge between Ansutah and the salmonverse, it is long and treacherous. It isn’t merely a connection between two points, but an actual bridge with significant dimension. It is here that reality breaks down, and time is difficult to calculate. It can simultaneously feel as if you’ve been there for one second, and one thousand years. It can cause you to lose all memories, and any sense of who you are, or any drive to move forward. And your destination can appear infinitely far away. These are not obstacles created by some intelligent entity who doesn’t want you to pass. It’s like this because you are crossing through something called the bulkverse, which is the collection of all universes, inside of a hyperdimensional construct, which was not designed to be hospitable to life. The matrioverse, as it’s called in metaphysical terms, was never meant to be traveled, or even perceived. You are meant to live in your brane, and your brane alone. Your identity—your self—is tied to your environment. If that environment changes, then you change. The more dramatic the change, the more of the original you can be lost. Ariadna had to fight against every instinct she had to just remain inside the Prime Bridge, for her will to do anything but stand in place was all but gone. Going through the first time was bad enough, but the return was even worse, because now she was scarred by the trauma from having learned the true nature of the powers that be. She took up the moniker as a reminder of what she went through, but she has never told anyone else about it, and she never will.

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