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Thursday, September 19, 2019

Microstory 1194: Duane Blackwood

Duane Blackwood came from a long line of people who helped others flee systems of oppression. His ancestors were members of the underground railroad, and subsequent generations helped ferry refugees from terrible places where their lives were in danger. Duane’s parents had their own way of rescuing people. Their main claim to infame was when they worked with the Gunbender-Tracer alliance to help rid Kansas City of its gang violence problem. They discovered that many people wanted out of their respective gangs, but even as gang power over the streets was dwindling, defectors were still in danger of retaliation. Their own gang might go after them for selling them out, even though they were never expected to snitch, or a rival gang might see the act as a sign of weakness. The Blackwoods forged papers for these people, and helped them get out of the city, so they could start new lives elsewhere. The local police were aware that this was happening, but since it wasn’t costing them, or the federal government, any money, they were allowing it. It wasn’t exactly legal, but the cops wanted to end the gang violence just as badly, and this whole new method was proving to be quite effective. The end justifies. Duane would have followed in his parents’ footsteps if he had had any choice. Instead, the powers that be decided they would use his inherited skills as a forger for a specific class of people. His physiology allowed him to survive nonlinear time, so they conscripted him to work exclusively with other time travelers; primarily with salmon. When one of them is dropped into a completely new time and place, sometimes they’re fine as they are, but sometimes they need new identities. It was Duane, a.k.a. The Forger was responsible for providing that for them. He wasn’t just capable of forging the papers themselves. His power reached into the past, and modified history to account for the newcomer. An authority who suspected a time traveler to not be who they said they were would be unable to find any evidence to this, as an entire false life will have been fabricated for them. Occasionally, the powers will allow Duane to work for a choosing one, or just a regular human, reminiscent of his parents, but for the most part, he is beholden to their assignments. He had few strong feelings either way. He liked meeting people, and he enjoyed the work, but he probably would have been all right if he had never learned anything about the secret underworld of choosers and salmon. He still would have found purpose.

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