Friday, September 13, 2019

Microstory 1190: Aldona Lanka

Aldona was an only child, born out of Cambria Buchanan by Alexi Lanka in 2042. Her mother was a drone operator, and her father a gardener. She chose a career in science, ultimately specializing in antimatter rocket engineering. By the time she earned the equivalent of a master’s degree at the age of 20, particle physicists had already devised a way to produce sufficient quantities of antimatter at practical costs. What the world needed now was to apply these methods for actual use, with rockets and auxiliary technologies that did not exist before. Her name never appeared in the history books as a pioneer in her field, but she contributed greatly to the development of antimatter-powered spacecraft, for travel to the outer planets of the solar system. This work paved the way for the refinement of that field, so that even more advanced propulsion systems could be built for interstellar travel. Though she was young enough to reach the longevity escape velocity, and live long enough to witness such engineering triumphs, she was not allowed to stick around for them. While her family had a history of being involved with people who had time powers, she spent most of her life in ignorance. They were part of secret Lanka lore, though she never believed they existed, because she had no empirical evidence. One day, a woman approached her with some information about how to make a ship travel faster than light. According to everything she had ever been taught, she believed this to be impossible, so she refused. Besides, this woman didn’t have any credentials, and that was a huge red flag. Who knows who she was working for, or what hidden agenda she had? Out of petty resentment, the woman, Arcadia Preston proved she was telling the truth by instantaneously transporting her and her family to an island on a different planet, in another galaxy. She let Aldona have some equipment, so she could verify as much by the wildly different star constellations she was observing in the sky. Arcadia was about to send them all back when Aldona’s mother starting arguing with her about what she had done. This angered Arcadia even more, and out of spite, she tore everyone out of time, except for Aldona. It was now her responsibility to complete several challenges, which she called expiations; one for each of her family members. If she failed even one of these, she would lose everyone she cared about for good. The expiations were dangerous and incredibly difficult. Arcadia was born in another dimension, completely cut off from anything resembling civilized society, and she grew up with powerful temporal abilities, which blinded her to human limitations. She made them far too hard, and after barely scraping by with the first two, Aldona failed the third. She was left to fend for herself on that island, though she wasn’t always alone. An immortal named Ambrosios was placed there as punishment as well, but he was mentally unstable, and the two of them did not get along. She lived there for over fifty years before dying of age-related causes at the age of 90. But there was still hope for her family. Arcadia’s latest victim of this sick game, Mateo Matic agreed to take on Aldona’s expiations himself. He managed to save all but one of the Lanka-Calligaris family, which is what left her as an only child in the first place.

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