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Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Microstory 1233: Dodeka Sarkisyan

Temporal manipulation of any kind is a dangerous thing, especially for those who have no time powers at all. For the most part, time travelers prefer to stay out of regular human business. Well, that’s not really true—sometimes their whole purpose is to change the past—but they do like to stay in the shadows. They don’t interfere in personal human affairs, unless it specifically has to do with them. Even the so-called bad time travelers stick to their own kind, because causing harm to a human is too easy, so they generally don’t see much point. They could go back in time and kill their enemy’s grandmother before she has any children, and their ultimate target would have no way of protecting themselves. This is where Meliora Rutherford Delaney-Reaver comes in, because this does sometimes happen, along with many other unfortunate things. She built Sanctuary millions of light years from Earth, in a heavily fortified building, to prevent other travelers from hurting the innocent. Dodeka Sarkisyan was one of these humans, though by her own part, she had nothing to do with what transpired. Dodeka’s mother died when she was only ten years old, and her father did not handle it well. His wife made a lot more money than he ever could, and he found it extremely difficult to make ends meet while trying to raise five children on his own. One of them was old enough to be emancipated, but probably not responsible enough to help take care of the rest. The second oldest was incredibly intelligent, and landed a scholarship at a prestigious boarding school on the other side of the country, so she was out before anyone knew what happened. Their late mother’s sister was capable of taking in one of the children, but not all of them, so the middle kid went off to live with her on the other side of the state. This left Dodeka and the baby with their dad, who was still struggling with his demons, even with the lightened load. He surrendered to a life of crime; organized crime, to be more specific. He was nothing special in the organization, but he wasn’t totally blameless either, so when a vigilante time traveler decided to go back in time and eliminate every single member of the crime family from the timestream, Sarkisyan was not excluded.

So now fifteen-year-old Dodeka was alone, and solely in charge of her rambunctious little brother. She might have been sent into the foster care system, but Meliora already knew enough about the future to know that this would not turn out well. So she stepped in, and fabricated distant relatives in Australia who were supposedly going to take care of the two youngest Sarkisyans. Instead, Meliora brought them to Sanctuary, which was at the time, basically a fancy hotel that no one ever needed to leave. Dodeka was grateful, perhaps more so than any other guest, because she understood what a gift this was. During her first week there, however, she noticed something odd about everyone else, and realized that she wasn’t built quite like them. Others were perfectly happy to have their every need catered to, but Dodeka didn’t like to feel useless, and she could see that there was plenty of work to be done at the hotel. Even if Meliora could do it all on her own, she shouldn’t have to. Dodeka needed to contribute, even if only in some small way, not only to justify her own presence in Sanctuary, but also to help protect those in most need. She knew she could have survived in the real world—even with her baby brother—but there were people there who had no choice; whose lives would have been in immediate danger if they ever found themselves back on Earth. She became the hotel’s bellhop. It was her job to check new guests in, and help them with special requests. She wouldn’t be the only employee in Sanctuary for long, though. She set an example for all to see, and pretty soon, more people were offering their various services. The staff, and the population as a whole, was growing at an alarming rate, and Meliora knew she needed to expand. People with the right experience left the original hotel, and built other structures, like houses, restaurants, and recreational areas. Sanctuary turned into a village, and then a city, and then a nation, and eventually, a fully populated world. The growth would have happened anyway, but it was Dodeka’s initiative that allowed for smooth transitions, and made way for a safe and prosperous new society on planet Dardius.

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