Monday, November 11, 2019

Microstory 1231: Quivira Boyce

What is identity? Often when factoring in the concept of time travel, people conflate an individual from one timeline with an individual from another. The truth is that these are approximations of the same person, and are always technically different. The body is composed of organs, bones, muscles, etc. Each of these parts are composed of cells, and each cell is composed of cell parts. If we go down far enough, we get to molecules, atoms, and subatomic particles. These smallest pieces are constantly being exchanged for other pieces. You’re not even the same person you were just a second ago. You’ve been shedding skin, eating food, breathing air. Your neural pattern has been updated, your microbiome has grown. So when someone says that Quivira Boyce is the female version of Gilbert Boyce, from a newer timeline, understand that this is not entirely accurate. They don’t even have the same birthdays, let alone the same genetic makeup. Their mother and father conceived them at two different points in history, and remember, even the parents aren’t the same across these realities. So really, we’re just talking about two completely different people with similar parents, born at different times, with different genes, and experiencing different life paths. Still, there seems to be some kind of quantum entanglement going on here, because even though Quivira lived a very different life than her alternate counterpart, Gilbert did, she ended up in about the same profession. They both turned out to be nighttime thieves, and while they both later redeemed themselves, they did so in wildly different ways.

Gilbert stole from people to fund his business aspirations. He committed petty crimes so that he could build an empire, boost the economy, support important charities, and screw over the government. Quivira, on the other hand, just stole because she was good at it. She looked at her jobs just as she would any other career. She didn’t have any bosses, but she kept strict hours, researched heavily before starting a new project, instituted deadlines, and improved procedural efficiency. By all accounts, she was a model employee, except that she didn’t work for a company, and she wasn’t doing anybody any good, except for herself. It took her a long time, but she finally learned the most important lesson of her life. If she was this good at doing something bad, she could probably reapply her skills, and be really good at doing something good. It was time to try, at least. She had just been helped by a couple of time travelers, so now she knew they existed. What she didn’t realize quite yet was that she had become one of them. The experience had a profound effect on her, ultimately transforming her into something new. She discovered that she could now possess other people’s bodies, while they possessed hers. This was a parlor trick on its own, but upon doing a little directed research—which was her specialty—she found someone who could help her make a real difference. Garen Ashlock could send other people through time, and maintain a parallel temporal connection while his tether to them remained intact. By combining his ability with hers, Quivira could possess people in the past, and alter their lives for the better, using information about their evitable futures. Of course, the world at large never learned of what she was, or of all the people she helped, but she did become a lauded hero amongst other time travelers; an admiration which was well-deserved. She was even given the opportunity to erase the absolute biggest mistake of her own life.

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