Friday, November 15, 2019

Microstory 1235: Catania Porter

Catania Porter discovered her time power when she was seven years old. On the first day of second grade, she learned the hard way that a boy in her class was deathly allergic to peanuts, but they were living in a time before email, so requesting other parents to not send peanut-based products with their children was difficult at best. She felt responsible for having brought the sandwich, and if there was anything she could do to help, she had to try. This was also before the epinephrine autoinjector was invented, so the teacher didn’t think there was anything anyone could do about it before the ambulance arrived. Fortunately for him, when it came to what existed when, Catania had no apparent limits. She instinctively summoned the life-saving device into her own hand, ignored her shock at what she had just done, read the instructions quickly, and jammed it into her friend’s leg. The other students, and their teacher, asked Catania what she had done, but she played dumb. The autoinjector disappeared as quickly as it had first come, and no one could prove that it was ever there. For the rest of the school year, and beyond, everyone knew that it was Catania who had saved the boy’s life, even though they didn’t understand how. They didn’t call her a witch, or a freak, or anything like that. They liked and respected her, and it was this reaction that led her into choosing her life’s path. Despite everyone’s curiosity, she continued to keep her ability a secret, while she practiced and studied it. Much like Ruby Nelson, Catania had the ability to find anything in the universe, at any point in its history, past or future. The two major differences were that she could also summon the things she found to herself—a skill known in the business as apportation—and that this power had no negative impact on her psyche. Still, it wasn’t guaranteed that she would do great things with this power. There were endless possible applications she could have chosen. She could have smuggled drugs from one country to another, completely subverting the borders, or any of the space in between. She could have broken people out of jail without being caught on security cameras. She could have stolen money from banks, or taken anything else she desired, from anywhere else, all without leaving her home. But none of that would have made sense to her; not with her personality. Helping people get what they needed was intuitive for Catania. It never crossed her mind to collect meaningless possessions for herself when she could be far more useful as a sort of superpowered assistant. People proved to be pretty grateful. So this was what she did with her life, delivering special requests from people—particularly choosing ones—that the powers that be decided against commissioning The Courier to handle instead. She also helped regular humans who had no idea that she had any time power, and thought she was just a really good investigator. For them, she would find missing cats, and misplaced keys, and misdirected mail. These types of jobs were the most rewarding for her, so she eventually started really focusing on those, and kind of leaving other time travelers to their own devices.

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