Saturday, January 4, 2020

Dardius: Amanda Moss (Part I)

Roughly two-point-eight-three million light years from Earth, there is a galaxy called Andromeda XXI. This galaxy is also known as Miridir by its native inhabitants, nearly all of which live on a planet in the Beorht system called Dardius. This world is remarkably similar to Earth in as many ways as possible. From the mass and radius, to its distance from its parent star; from the ratio of dry land to water, to its atmospheric composition. Dardius enjoys a Terrestrial Habitability Similarity Index of .998, which is the highest ever discovered anywhere in the known universe. It was chosen as a second home for humanity for this very reason. A man with a special connection to time and space intuited that Dardius existed without ever having gone anywhere near it, but it was a woman named Meliora Rutherford Delaney-Reaver who sparked civilization there. She founded a hotel she called Sanctuary, which she built to protect those who were in everlasting danger from certain people with time powers. She named it after her first rescue, Dardan Lusha, who she believed was under constant threat from her very own father. Though Meliora was in charge of how Sanctuary was run, even she answered to someone. She was leasing space from the man who actually owned Dardius, Gilbert Boyce. And when he died, he passed it on to his good frenemy, Mateo Matic.
Another one of Meliora’s early rescues was a woman named Amanda Moss. She presently served as the Transportation Administrator for the entire planet. She was responsible for making sure the planes, trains, and automobiles ran smoothly, but she also had to worry about how to transport more rescues from Earth. This was traditionally done using a special machine called the Muster Beacon, which was capable of summoning large numbers of people, even from millions of light years away. Unfortunately, the machine became corrupted in its attempt to save the crews of two ships in recent past, and Moss had no choice but to allow the Muster Beacon’s destruction. Shortly thereafter, the other machine they used to connect to other civilizations was also destroyed, but this time by terrorists. The Nexus replica could only transport a handful of people at a time, and required a second machine on the other end, but it was at least better than nothing. So the Dardieti were isolated from the universe. They couldn’t save anyone, and they couldn’t communicate with their allies. The Muster Beacon was far too complicated to replicate. No one knew how it worked, or really even where it came from, so their only hope was to figure out how to rebuild the Nexus replica. It was also complicated, but not impossible, and about six years ago, the world’s top scientists finally figured out, and got it operational.
The first thing they discovered after rebuilding the machine was that there was a new destination that wasn’t there before. While they were working on it, a sixth replica was built on a new world, which they eventually learned was called Glisnia. It was only about sixteen light years from Earth, and very few entities lived on it as of yet. They had no knowledge of who built it, or why, and no reason to believe any permanent resident would have any interest in visiting Dardius. There were, however, several people on it right now that needed to come. The co-owner of the whole planet was recently murdered. Thanks to time travel, Mateo was actually still around and kicking, but that didn’t mean the Dardieti didn’t need to mourn his passing. He and a group of his friends were on their way to do just that. The Administration had just spent over a year preparing for this moment, and now the day was finally here. Administrator Moss was standing on the edge of the Nexus replica, eagerly awaiting arrival. After an hour, eight people magically appeared in the cavus. Just as one stepped out to greet Moss, the other seven disappeared again.
“What was that?” Moss asked.
Étude turned around. “Where did they go?”
“Are they back on Glisnia?” Moss asked, to no one in particular. Then she turned to one of the machine’s operators. “Did they go back to Glisnia?”
“I don’t know,” the technician replied.
“Well, find them!” Moss cried.
As the scientists and engineers were scrambling to figure out what went wrong, a voice came on the radio. “Transportation Administrator Moss.
“Not now,” she spoke into the mouthpiece. “We’re gonna figure this out,” she assured Étude, who was concerned about all her friends, but mostly her daughter.
It’s important,” the voice returned.
“I’m dealing with a crisis here,” Moss argued.
And I have a solution to that crisis,” the voice claimed.
“How could you possibly?” Moss asked. “Who is this?”
The voice cleared her throat. “This is Meliora.
Holy shit. Meliora Rutherford Delaney-Reaver was probably the absolute most powerful person in the universe. As a choosing one, she had pretty much every time power anyone had ever heard of. She could teleport, travel through time, see the future, even de-age herself, and rapidly heal from her wounds, among many other things. She was the one who built Sanctuary out of nothing, but after it became self-sufficient, she disappeared. Her last sighting was more than thirty years ago, and that one was never confirmed. “Madam Rutherford, I’m so sorry. Wha—I...” Moss didn’t know what to say. What can you say to someone who was practically a god? Well, there was only one reasonable response. It was respectful but neutral; brief, but eliciting. It could be said by superiors and subordinates alike, because it made no assumptions about status or potential.  “Report.”
Everyone is here and accounted for,” Meliora replied.
“How?” Moss asked. “We saw them disappear.”
Eh,” Meliora began. “Time, right?” It was a common phrase, spoken by those who understood the flexibility of time, and time travel. For people like this, encountering alternate versions of the same individual, or even one’s self, seeing people come back from death, or meeting someone who knew something about the future were everyday occurrences. Simply taking note that time was indeed a thing was sometimes the only explanation needed for what most would consider a supernatural event.
Moss nodded her head, as did Étude. They didn’t know what the other seven people had been through, or how they had made their way back to present-day Dardius. It could have been years since they disappeared, even though it was seconds ago for everyone in this room. Or it could have been seconds for them as well.
“Would we be able to transport to your location?” Moss asked her—for lack of a better term—boss.
Meliora didn’t technically have an official position on Dardius, but neither did Mateo’s wife, Leona. That didn’t mean they couldn’t ask for anything they wanted, and pretty much get it every time. “Come to the hotel. Main restaurant.” The original Sanctuary hotel was no longer in service, and was converted into a museum years ago, but it also sort of became a holy place. People didn’t visit, not because they weren’t interested in history, but because they felt contaminating the space would have been disrespectful, and irreverent.
Moss hadn’t returned to the hotel since she and the rest of the original rescues left. It was an amazing place to live, but it was becoming overcrowded, and they needed to branch out. This was their opportunity to start fresh, and to make the new world as they wished Earth could be. The problem was that everyone in those early days was from Earth. They still couldn’t ignore all that history; good or bad. They could do better, though. Luckily, they had people like Amanda Moss to make sure they didn’t make all the same mistakes that their ancestors had. This was how Dardius ultimately became, not a paradise, but a safer and more prosperous version of Earth.
She pulled up a map of the planet, and showed Étude where Sanctuary was. Then they took each other’s hands, and teleported there. “Madam Rutherford,” Moss said, taking the goddess’ hand in both of hers. “It is such an honor to see you.”
“We’ve met before,” Meliora reminded her.
“I know, and you saved me, but that was before we made all this. Now what you did is so much more amazing.”
Meliora smiled. “I give you and your friends the credit for all that.”
“I thought you said everyone was accounted for.” Étude forced herself to separate from the hug with her daughter. They just kept losing each other, and they were both clearly growing tired of it.
“They are,” Meliora said. “Mateo, Leona, and Cassidy are here, while the others are in other places on the planet.”
“Why aren’t we doing this together?” Étude asked.
“Respect,” Moss whispered to her.
“No, it’s okay,” Meliora said, not offended at all. “There’s something you should know.” She pointed to the three who had been temporarily missing. “Theses people are from the future, as are Miss Pudeyonavic, Miss Unger, Miss Delgado, and Miss Crawville. When the Nexus replica was sabotaged—”
“It was sabotaged!” Moss cried.
Okay, now Meliora was a little perturbed. “It all worked out, so we’re gonna fix it, but we’re not gonna try to undo it. As I was saying, they’re from the future, but not the same points in the future. They were relocated elsewhere in time, and eventually made their respective ways to this point in history, but they’ve each experienced various amounts of the future. Leona here is a few days ahead of Mateo, while I believe Vitalie is from the 24th century.” She seemed to notice Étude giving her daughter the same sad look she always does. “You’ve not lost that much time with Cass,” she assured her, though it kind of sounded like a lie. “She’s actually why we’re here.”
“Forgive me, but what is this about?” Étude wasn’t as astounded by being in the same room with such an important woman as most people were. Though, to be fair, most people were awestruck by being around Mateo and Leona, while Moss had no strong feelings about it, so she understood where Étude was coming from.
“We’re here to discuss some legal matters. What with the Patronus clause being activated several decades ago, and Mateo’s death, things are kind of complicated. They’ve made some decisions, though, and it’s time we discuss that. We’re just waiting on your third.”
“Our third what?” Étude questioned.
Meliora held up her fingers, and dropped them one by one as she counted. “Five, four, three...” then she only mouthed the word two, and when it was time for one, she pointed out the door across the room. Right on time, the door opened. Étude’s mother—Cassidy’s grandmother—was on the other side, along with her partner.
“Mom?” Étude asked. She hadn’t seen her mother in...she didn’t even know how long, but she was a child back then.
“Grandma?” Cassidy echoed. The two of them had never met.
Saga Einarsson ran over the threshold, which was actually a portal to a different time and place. Her partner, Vearden Haywood closed the door behind them, and stepped over to shake Mateo and Leona’s hands. They had been good friends for awhile now.
After the tearful greetings and introductions, Étude looked back over at Meliora. “What is this? Not that I’m complaining, but why are we finally all together?”
“Oh, you don’t understand?” Meliora asked. She looked around to see if anyone knew what was going on, but only Mateo and Leona were apparently cognizant of what this was all about.
Not even Moss knew what the hell was happening.
“Well,” Meliora began, “it’s about Dardius. The Matics have decided that it’s impractical to own a planet when they’re hardly ever even on it. They would like to transfer ownership to you three.”

No comments :

Post a Comment