Monday, August 5, 2019

Microstory 1161: Ida Reyer

After the death of her husband, Ida Laura Pfeiffer decided to fulfill her dream of becoming an explorer. She went all over the world, from Brazil to Persia; Australia to Oregon. She also jumped through time. In 1851, she found herself in Kansas City when it was still in its very early infancy, and there she met a woman named Holly Blue. Holly Blue was from the future, and after a weeks-long relationship, sort of accidentally admitted to Ida who she really was. Ida asked her to take her with her on trips throughout spacetime, but Holly Blue refused. At this point in her own personal history, she hadn’t yet discovered a way for nontravelers to safely travel through time. Certain people were capable of it, while others would experience terrible medical issues. She later overturned this decision, but it was long after Ida had left Kansas City, and returned to her life. Holly Blue went back to eleven years before they were meant to meet, and rewrote her own history—and Ida’s. She bequested Ida one of her newest, and most valuable inventions, which she called The Compass of Disturbance. Holly Blue disappeared without giving any explanation for why she chose Ida for this give, presumably not wanting to repeat their unfortunate breakup. The compass turned out to be a powerful tool. Its main purpose was to seek out, and stabilize, natural tears in the continuum, which would allow a user to travel through them, even if they wouldn’t otherwise be able to survive the trip unharmed. It had other functions as well, but it took months of trial and error to understand them all. And so Ida began to lead a double life. She spent part of her time exploring the world in her own time period, but part of it elsewhere. She particularly enjoyed going into the far, far future, because life there was just so fundamentally different. In her travels, she encountered others, but they were born to manipulate time, and did not require technology to do so. She learned of special places with unusual temporal properties, and of other objects that regular humans would be able to utilize. She even discovered that there was a way to live forever, given the right ingredients. Unlike her successor, Juan Ponce de León, Ida had no interest in finding immortality water, or in living forever. She wanted to live a full life, partially in the future, and partially in her own time, and she wanted to write about her travels. The reason she kept exploring her own world was so that she could publish her adventures, and build a legacy. That was her way of living forever. She knew it wouldn’t be safe to author her time travel stories, but she kept a fairly detailed diary in the internal memory of the Compass of Disturbance itself. A few years in, she met someone who recommended she go ahead and publish those works, so they could be distributed to people who had the permission to see them. She took her up on that advice, and eventually ended up with a full series on her life that most people in the world would never see, yet it made her more famous than would have been without the books. The woman who suggested she do that was known as The Historian, and anyone wishing to read her work, or those of others like her, could find copies in the library section of her museum on Tribulation Island.

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