Story Archives

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

Friday, August 30, 2019

Microstory 1180: Beth-Anne McAlister

Beth-Anne McAlister, who didn’t allow anyone to just call her Beth, or Anne, was a normal human being, born in a very old timeline. She remembers watching the news when it was reported that a man with the power to temporarily erase obstacles to his path was using his ability to rescue miners trapped under a cave-in. He didn’t physically move the earth from on top of them. He just made it so that it wasn’t there, but only long enough to allow a pulley system to be lowered down, and all the survivors to be lifted up. Then he put it right back. After that, more people with special time powers started appearing. A woman who claimed to be a Savior of Earth came into the spotlight, and her apparently inherent side ability to erase people’s memories of her good deeds was suppressed. A couple of magicians finally outed themselves, revealing that they weren’t just using tricks, but actually instantaneously transporting volunteers across the stage. As it turned out, the world was full of these people; some good, some not so great. New legislation was passed in most countries to deal with these new possible crimes that most did not know was possible before. Though the world changed dramatically, it was hard to determine whether it had gotten better, or worse. For every good deed, there was a bad one; just like it always was, even before the secret got out. Beth-Anne was not in a position of power, but she chose to create a platform for herself, warning the world of what could happen if these people were not heavily regulated. She turned out to be right, when a particularly angry time traveler went back to before she was born, and killed her mother as a child, Terminator style. Fortunately for Beth-Anne, she had followers from all walks of life. Not everyone with time powers felt the same way about how they should be handled, and relatively few would have condoned the killer’s actions. One man, who could make himself aware of alternate timelines, sought help from an ally, and still in Terminator fashion, sent himself backwards in time to stop the killer, thus creating yet another new timeline.

The protector continued to keep watch over Beth-Anne, making sure she survived through adulthood, and he allowed her to voice her concerns to the public, just as she had before. At all times, she wore a bracelet that has since been lost to temporal changes, which prevented her personal past from being altered too significantly. But the protector could see that this would not be enough. The world just kept getting worse. War broke out between the two sides, and the humans stood no chance. Any sufficiently violent time traveler could wipe out any opposing force before it could even begin to gather. So he used his ability on Beth-Anne, transforming her into a different kind of person. Beth-Anne would always be born, no matter what any temporal manipulator tried to do in the past. She would always be able to remember her alternate lives, and she would always be free to make her own decisions. The biggest decision she made was to prevent that first choosing one from choosing to save those people in the mine. She explained to him why she had to do this, and he accepted it. He wanted to help people; not break reality. Unfortunately, Beth-Anne knew that his position was not shared by all. There was too much of a risk of it happening again, and not all timelines would benefit from at least getting its start with an example of a choosing one who wanted to do good. She built a prison, called it Beaver Haven, and became its warden. She didn’t care about time traveling criminals, per se. She was only worried about exposure. Good or bad, if any chooser or salmon risked the prosperity of the world by revealing their power to a high enough degree to risk everyone’s secrecy, she would lock them up. There was a little bit of trial and error with this. She eventually devised a decent system of monitoring for exposures, reversing time, and changing the recent past, and because she was protected, no one could stop her. She knew not everyone would agree with her goals, and certainly not her methods, but she was convinced this was the only way to keep members on both sides safe. The world of humans, and the world of temporal manipulators had to stay separate. Perhaps she was right, but not all of her choices would be good. Her ability to recall events from alternate realities had terrible consequences for her mind, and over time, it made her lose her sense of morality. That was still hope, though.

No comments :

Post a Comment