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Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Microstory 1162: Dave Seidel

David Seidel was not born with any special time powers. He was just an average human being who couldn’t hold down a job for very long. He had trouble working with people, and wasn’t what multiple unrelated employers would call a team player. He was so happy when the gig economy started really taking off. Almost overnight, he was able to start making money by being self-employed. He would never become a millionaire this way, but it let him make his own schedule, and pay the bills. He was particularly suitable for driving jobs. At first, he was just delivering food, but he wasn’t making enough money that way, so he knew he would have to expand to passengers. Of course, this meant interacting with people, but he soon realized he had a secret weapon. He spoke Icelandic. He spent his summers with his aunt on the other side of the state, because she retired early, and his parents were too busy to watch him, and too poor to send him to camp. He remembers fondly his time over there, but she never explained to him why she taught him a language with only a few hundred thousand speakers. Perhaps she could see the future, and knew it would come in handy one day. It was easy for him to pretend he didn’t speak English, so as to dissuade his passengers from trying to make conversation. All he had to do was say a few random things to get people cheerful, and they would give him a five star rating. It only got him into trouble a few times when they got the bright idea of using a virtual translator. Then he actually had to have a conversation. One woman even used it in secret, and heard Dave spout the random assortment of words that had no semantic meaning. Not only was she cool with what he had done, but she offered him a permanent position, and a literal blank check. He was free to choose his own salary, and that was an opportunity he could not pass up.

The job was not without its risk, however. This woman was named Meliora Reaver. She was born with pretty much every time power there was, and had attempted all of them, except for one. She had never tried to give someone their own power, and wasn’t sure she could do it. It wasn’t exactly a painless procedure, but Dave came out with the ability to teleport. Teleportation is a not uncommon ability, but his version of it was unique. Salmon and choosers are basically subspecies of human, which allows them to experience nonlinear time in practically any way, whether it be by their own hand, or someone else’s. Regular humans are not capable of this, however, and are in danger of contracting time illness. Not only could Dave teleport, he could ferry other people with him, and if they were human, they would not fall ill because of it. This was the perfect power for him to have while under Meliora’s employ. She needed someone who could rescue people in danger from violent choosing ones, and transport them to her Sanctuary on Dardius. She didn’t know what she was doing when she gave him this power, so she couldn’t be so deliberate. It just so happened that he had life experience as a transporter, and that she needed someone with those particular set of skills. She only chose him because she was aware he had worked for a not so great person in an alternate timeline, and maybe needed a little nudge in the right direction. As it turned out, though Dave did not need to become a villain, he also wasn’t likely to become a hero. He treated his job at Sanctuary as just that; a job, and had no strong feelings about the people he was helping. He was neutral about the whole thing, just like had been his whole life. He never considered himself to be special, even though there was no one like him. To him, he was just The Chauffeur.

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