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Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Microstory 1263: Lavitha Kistler

Before starting college in the spring, Lavitha Kistler was all set for a road trip with her friends. She had left Lawrence before, but she had never gone anywhere without her parents. She always struggled with growing up, and though no one would say they coddled her, they did often have to help her figure out things that most of her peers seemed to just get. She had an adventurous spirit, though, and this was her chance to do something without any help. Of course, the original plan was to not go alone. She had a good group of friends, until a tragedy caused everyone else to back out. Her friend, Cassidy’s mother died shortly before they were going to leave, so no one was up for it anymore. Lavitha was saddened and empathetic, of course, but this meant more to her than it did to them. This was a growing experience, and she worried if she didn’t do it now, she never would. She was going to college less than an hour and a half away from home, and was intending to take a pretty heavy schedule of classes every term, including the summer, so this could be her last chance. Cassidy understood why she was still doing it, and didn’t hold it against her. The funny thing is, it didn’t matter how Cassidy felt about Lavitha, because their relationship would soon go from really good to literally nonexistent. Lavitha’s second stop after Manhattan was Springfield, Kansas. It was a fairly small town, but due to a temporal anomaly, was once one of the largest in the state, and though that had since changed, a lot of tourists felt an inexplicable draw to it. That phenomenon came to an end, however, when the rest of the town was sucked into the Deathfall portal, and completely erased from everyone else’s mind. Almost no one outside of its borders could remember that it, nor anyone inside, ever existed. While she wasn’t a permanent resident, Lavitha happened to be there at the time, so she was spirited away as well, all the way to a rogue planet called Durus. But her situation was even more complicated than that, because within the temporal anomaly was yet another anomaly, and she was caught in that, though no one else would ever know it.

The Deathfall occurred on September 23, 2016, but it was followed a nearly hundred and forty-five years later with the Deathspring on May 19, 2161. For that, even more people were unwillingly pulled up to the rogue world, and it is with this new batch of refugees that Lavitha ended up with. At first she thought that what had happened to her was normal. Well, it wasn’t normal, but at least she wasn’t the only person who accidentally ended up on another planet, in the future. But she quickly realized that her situation was unique. All other refugees believed that it was 2161, and they were correct. She was the only one who experienced a temporal change, as well as a spatial one, and since she never told anyone about it, no one ever had the chance to study why that was. She kept her head down, stayed quiet, and did as much investigating as she possibly could on her own. She got her hands on some information about Earth, and eventually had to accept the conclusion that not only was everyone she ever cared about long dead, but also that they died with no memory of her anyway. So this was it; her life now. Even if she asked for help going back in time—which was not impossible—life on Durus in 2016 was said to be just god-awful. If she also managed to find a way back to Earth in her own time period, because of the nature of the original Deathfall, she wouldn’t have a life to return to. So she spent twelve years there, building herself a new life as an unremarkable office administrator for the provisional government, and for all the forms of leadership that rose to power throughout the decade. It wasn’t until an interstellar ship called The Elizabeth Warren arrived that anyone seemed to have any chance of reaching Earth. She decided she wanted to do that. Things were finally starting to improve for Durus, but she still longed for a self-sustainable world, with real plants, animals, its own sun, and everything else that Earth had to offer. She helped found a group of what she thought were like-minded individuals, who wanted on that ship too. It was too late before she realized that the other leaders were more like terrorists, who were willing to commit violent crimes to get what they wanted. They took hostages, and made their demands, but luckily, they lost, and no one was hurt. Because she was one of the few high-ranking members who opposed these actions, Lavitha was placed in charge of peaceful negotiations. She had never done anything like this before, but she was going to have to step up, for the sake of all the other hopeful passengers. This was finally her moment to grow up.

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