Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Microstory 1243: Vendelin Blackbourne

Time travelers are constantly going back in time and making changes. Even if they go back only to watch a Broadway musical they weren’t alive to see when it was running, they create a new timeline. This is happening on the quantum level, so no amount of restraint can stop the new branch from taking shape. And when it does, almost no one is aware of the change. Because it’s not really a change at all. Everyone living in the new timeline never lived in the old one, so there’s simply nothing for them to remember. There are a few people with the ability to recall events from alternate realities, but these are still not truly memories; just implanted knowledge. Vendelin Blackbourne was possibly an exception to this rule, though it’s impossible to tell, because his experience with nonlinear time seems to have only ever happened once. Before the incident, his life was a mess. He always thought of himself as a good person, but he was a less skilled web designer than he had hoped, and every job that passed him by pushed him further to the extreme. It started out small. He was just looking for a little company. Everything was consensual, and no one got hurt. But now he was in the dark web, and he couldn’t have predicted how far things would get. Before he knew it, he was actively helping build unindexed websites for extremely illegal activity. He wasn’t selling drugs, or other blackmarket items—and he kept his business firmly away from child exploitation—nor was he involved in the system security and anonymity. He just made the sites themselves look pretty, which was what he was meant to be doing for reputable companies. The FBI found him out, and locked him up. The prison he was sent to was actually not the worst place he had ever lived, especially since he hadn’t directly harmed anyone, but it wasn’t great, and his reputation took the worst hit. He didn’t understand how everything unraveled so quickly. College was only two years ago. But time, as he knew it, was a lot more complicated than that.

A time traveler who Vendelin had never met, and who probably didn’t know he ever existed, went back to before his parents were born, and altered history. By killing Adolf Hitler years before his time, he created a ripple effect that changed more about the future than anyone could fathom. Vendelin was both a victim of these circumstances, and a survivor. Even though the events resulted in him never having been born, here he was, in this new reality. Somehow. No one had any memory of him, so he figured that this was his chance at a fresh start, because all of his past mistakes had been erased. He found himself standing outside, next to what was once his work detail. He was dressed like all the other prisoners assigned to clean up the yard refuse, but the guards had no clue who he was. Since he wasn’t in the system, they had no choice but to assume it was some ludicrous prank, and let him go. He quickly learned that he wasn’t just not in the prison system; he wasn’t in any system. He didn’t have a birth certificate, or a driver’s license, or a social security number. It was like what would happen if the angels in It’s a Wonderful Life just forgot to put George Bailey back to where he belonged, but kept him alive. He was nobody, which would have been frightening for some, but to him, it was a major relief. Vendelin became a day laborer, and saved his money by living modestly. He didn’t commit any crimes, besides not being a real citizen of the country, and he didn’t attract any attention. Most people who realize time travel is real end up encountering other people with powers or patterns, but not Vendelin. He just lived out the rest of his days as a normal person. He never told anyone his secret, or tried to figure out what happened. He considered this new life a gift, and not only was it a risk to try to give the gift back, but it wasn’t likely to work anyway, so what would be the point in investigating? He was truly a better person now, and that was all he ever asked for.

No comments :

Post a Comment