Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Microstory 1183: Ennis Patton

Ennis Patton had a tough go of it in his early years. He was born in raised in Springfield, Kansas, beginning in 1991. Shortly after starting classes at Springfield University, his parents went off on vacation, and he was asked to drive back home, and check on the house. It was there that he discovered a mysterious package that automatically teleported itself back to his parents’ stoop whenever he attempted to move it to one of its rightful owners. He had little time to question what was happening before the bomb inside this package exploded, and inflicted severe burns on his skin. He survived the attack, though everyone in the two neighboring houses was killed. The police never solved this crime, and it had a profound impact on applications for employment with the United States Postal Service. Ennis wasn’t scared, though. He would come to apply for a position himself a few years later, and experience what would be just another of many encounters with temporal anomalies. He became obsessed with the possibilities in college, and spent his extra time—as well as time he was meant to be working on school assignments—researching the lore. Even when he wasn’t getting anywhere, he never stopped hunting for answers. He wasn’t just trying to explain what had happened to him, but also wanted to understand how the universe worked in general. He built his own anomaly detector from scratch, which was something no one else had been able to do, except for The Weaver, who had an unfair advantage. There were two primary kinds of temporal manipulators in the world. Some had the ability to control their movements, while others were under control of the powers that be. Understanding of how the PTB operated is minimal, but it would seem their ability to choose salmon was limited. They couldn’t just take whoever they wanted; the individual had to be capable of surviving time travel.

Best guess is that Ennis Patton was neither born a choosing one, nor destined to be a salmon. He would later earn his position simply by proving himself worthy. The powers bestowed upon him his time traveling gifts because they felt he deserved them for what he had been through, and what he had done with his life after learning some of the truth. Or perhaps it was only pity. It is unclear how he was transformed, and whether this could be replicated for anyone else. Ennis became The Courier, tasked with transmitting messages across time and space, for a variety of reasons. Time travelers of all kinds themselves sometimes needed to communicate with each other, but most of his messages were directed towards regular people, who had no idea any of this existed. While salmon like the Saviors and The Kingmaker were responsible for affecting people’s lives directly, there were many cases where a simple written note was enough to put a person on a better path. These letters will self-destruct as soon as they are read, and the recipient’s episodic memory of it having happened will be erased. They will move on with their lives, hopefully heeding the message’s advice, but without being fully aware that the decision is not entirely their own. It is only when such subliminal provocations are not enough that an actual person is dispatched to alter a subject’s actions more substantially. Though exact statistics are hard to come by, it is believed that Ennis Patton is responsible for the betterment of thousands of more lives than most travelers with similar obligations. He is respected and revered amongst his colleagues, and there is an ironically unwritten rule that his work is not to be interfered with; a truth acknowledged by even the most meddlesome of travelers.

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