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Thursday, September 26, 2019

Microstory 1199: Nadia Dupond

Nadia Dupond was so excited to finally move out of her parents’ house, and into her own place. She had just spent four years after college, trying to find a job good enough to allow her to fend for herself. But things weren’t going to go perfectly for her, at least not at first. One night, she was driving home from work when she noticed something strange on the radio. It was broadcasting a show that was clearly from clear on the other side of the country. Well, there must be some logical reason for it, she figured. Maybe they were sister stations, and were just doing some kind of cross-promotional thing. But the more she listened, the stranger it became. After playing another song, the radio personality got back on the mic, and started reading off some of the recent news, which appeared to have taken place about a week in the future. Okay, so not just a bizarre cross-promotion, but it’s also a prank on the listeners. She shrugged it off and moved on with her life, because she had no reason to believe she was in a science fiction movie. But weird things continued to happen to her. She approached her front door, and found it to be both open and closed at the same time. Seeing one state was like adjusting her eyes to a different distance, and she could just as easily readjust to see the other state. It smelled of barbecue where there was no barbecue, and it felt like winter in the middle of summer. She expressed her concerns on social media, but deleted it within seconds, worried how people would treat her if she started talking about these things. She thought she was going crazy and/or hallucinating, and probably would have checked herself into some kind of facility had she not made that post. No one who knew what was happening to her would have had any inkling to approach her about it.

That post’s short life on the internet was enough to alert a news-obsessed man, who regularly searched the web for anything that sounded like a time traveler. He generally stuck to the tabloids and obscure local news sources, but he did place some social media alerts for certain keywords. He didn’t know exactly why Nadia was experiencing disjointed time, but he knew what she was; either a choosing one, or a salmon. He made sure she acknowledged that the things she was sensing were very real, perfectly normal for their kind, and probably not going away. Her best bet was to practice what she could do, so she could do it at will, rather than at inopportune or dangerous times, like while driving. As it turned out, she was capable of seeing, hearing, smelling, feeling, or even tasting different points in time, but not space. Radio waves could subvert the spatial component since they’re always in motion, but they were practically impossible to control, so this exception wasn’t much use to her. Any and all of the past and future could converge upon her, so she needed to be able to filter out what she wanted to receive, and what she needed to leave when and where it was meant to be. The first person to contact her about this could only do so much to help her. He wasn’t a doctor, or an expert of any kind, but he did know other people like them, so he made some introductions. That was sort of how it worked. Once you met one, you could eventually gain access to anyone else. With the help of others, Nadia continued to learn about her time powers, and learn to control them. While she had chosen to pursue a pragmatic career, she was always interested in history, and this was her chance to explore that side of her. She eventually quit her job, and focused exclusively on her new role. Other time travelers can go witness historical events, even from the safety of an observation dimension, to prevent interference. Nadia, however, can watch history unfold over time; fastforwarding and rewinding as needed. She started taking on more responsibility as she got better with her powers, and ultimately came to be known as The Historian.

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