Saturday, January 11, 2020

Dardius: Newt Clemens (Part II)

In a universe called Ansutah, a young woman and a young man met each other, and fell in love. Their names were Savitri and Avidan, and before too long, they conceived a child. Avidan had the ability to diagnose people’s general health through fairly simple examination, so it was he who actually alerted her to her pregnant status. He said she was pregnewt, however, and this way of saying it stuck around so long that they ended up using it for their child’s name. Sadly, Newt Clemens came into the world stillborn. His first, final, and only act was to remove the time powers for every single person on the whole planet. This was only in one reality, however. There was another timeline, where Newt was born perfectly healthy. His life would not continue to be so perfect, however. The primary species in this universe were the Maramon; white monsters who had complicated feelings about the humans. Many Maramon felt extremely threatened by Newt’s existence, and were always worried he would strip them of their immortality. So he had to escape.
He found himself on a vessel called The Transit. It was larger than The Prototype, and smaller than The Crossover, but was equally capable of traveling to other universes. He, a man named Nereus, and dozens of other humans fled Ansutah, and ended up in back in their own universe. The others were now fine, but Newt was not out of the woods yet. His ability was as dangerous as it was powerful, and there were people in this world who were just like the white monsters, and did not like that he could take away their abilities. His only hope was to be rescued by Dardius, where he could live in Sanctuary forever; safe and content—still separated from his family—but at least alive, and that was all his parents wanted. But even living here, things couldn’t be so easy for him.
While Dardius was a great place to live, and people were generally happy here, it was certainly no paradise, and Newt remained in danger. He was afforded protection by the world government, and the majority of the population had no ill intentions towards him, but as a public figure, there were those who wanted him for their respective agendas. A war broke out when the Dardieti attempted to rescue a ship full of capitalists from destruction. They were not happy with being forced to move from one non-capitalistic society to another. They wanted to stop being moved around, and they wanted control of their own world. After years of fighting and stalemates, a peace was finally reached, but that didn’t mean each individual was happy with the outcome. A faction of terrorists rose up and attempted to kill Newt because of how important he was to the leader of Dardius, Patronus Matic. They failed in this endeavor, and their operation was significantly diminished, but they weren’t destroyed. They returned, angrier now, and more determined than ever to complete their mission. They found Newt, fitted him with a suicide vest, and sent him off to kill the Patronus. The Patronus survived, along with most of his friends, but Newt was not so lucky.
Just as the bomb vest was about to explode, everything around Newt froze in place. He could see his friends being spirited away by a teleportation machine. “Hello?” he called to the void, but there was no answer. He cautiously stepped out from his own body, but did not turn around to look back at it. He knew exactly what was happening. This was the work of an extraction mirror. It was capable of accessing any time and place in the past, but there were many other ways to travel through time anyway, so its most common use was to slow time to a snail’s pace, and retrieve someone from the brink of death. The catch was that if you needed to slow time to accomplish this, it probably meant that whatever had caused this person’s death could not be undone. He looked down at his own neck. His new and temporary body was free from the suicide vest, but there was one thing on it that remained. It was called the hundemarke, and it prevented temporal alterations within the vicinity. His death was unavoidable. He was now free to move about time and space at will, but in the end, he would have to return to this moment, and finally let himself die.
Newt didn’t have an infinite amount of time, though. He quickly found the entrance to the extraction mirror, and stepped through the threshold. The barrier between now and then closed back up. He was standing in an unfamiliar place; a darkened hallway. It was clean, but stoney, like a billionaire’s secret mountainside winter getaway. A blinking arrow appeared on the floor beneath his feet, pointing down the hall. When he stepped forward, the arrow flipped off, only to be replaced with another arrow a meter away. This continued as he walked on, letting them direct him to whatever his destination was going to be. “Hello?” he repeated every once in awhile. The arrows led him to a room. It was just as stoney as it was everywhere else. Nothing was inside of it except for a chamber of some kind, and a note hanging from a string in front of it.
This will take you home,” Newt read the note aloud. He looked up to the aether around him. “What exactly does that mean?” He waited for a response. It was possible no one else was here anymore, or that they had been watching him this whole time. “They say that home is where the heart is,” he went on, “but maybe that’s not what you mean. Maybe this returns me to Earth, where my mother was born. Or maybe it goes to Durus where my mother was trapped, and where my father was born. Or does it go to Ansutah, where the two of them conceived me? Will it take me to 2226, which is where I was before I died? Tribulation Island? Sutvindr?”
He heard a click, and a sigh. “Just step into the time chamber, please.
“No,” Newt argued.
Why not?” she asked.
“I don’t know who you are, or what you want with me,” he tried to explain.
You think I’m trying to hurt you?
If I thought you wouldn’t get inside of this thing unless I forced you, I would have just forced you. If I were going to kill you, I would have just left you in your death moment. There is no reason to extract you unless I want you to live.
“You may just want to exploit my powers.”
The voice didn’t respond for a moment. “Okay, well, I can’t argue with that logic. That’s not what I’m doing, though.
“Prove it.”
Another sigh.
A hidden door cracked open on the right side of the room. A woman came through it, and walked forward. “My name is Ellie Underhill. Perhaps you’ve heard of me.”
He shook his head. “Are you in a band, or something?”
“I don’t mean I’m famous, though...I kind of am. I’m a choosing one, so it was possible you’ve heard my name before.”
“Wait.” Newt thought about it a moment. “Are you DJ Mount Alias?”
“The very one.”
“My father loved your show.”
Ellie pointed towards the way he had come. “I have other people to extract, and they all need to use this time chamber. Well, except for one, but the next one definitely does.” She looked at her watch. “He’s going to be coming through in two minutes. He’s very badly hurt, and Doctor Sarka is going to need this time chamber to get here to treat him, since the powers that be won’t be dispatching him themselves. I kind of need you to get the hell out of here.”
He jerked his head at the note. “It says home. Explain what that means.”
“It’s what you said,” Ellie explained. “It’ll take you to where your heart is.”
“My heart is with Étude and Cassidy.”
She sported a wide-eyed knowing look, but didn’t say anything.
“Am I going to see Étude and Cassidy?”
“I know of one good way to find out.”
“Thank you.” Newt nodded. “As long as you’re telling the truth about trying to help me, thank you.”
She nodded back, but then stopped short. “Wait, is that the hundemarke?”
Newt looked down, even though he obviously already knew the answer to that. “I don’t know how those capitalist terrorists got their hands on it, but that’s how they killed me.”
“No, I know that. I just...I didn’t think it would come with you. Like, I thought it would stay with your real body.”
Newt shrugged.
She eyed it.
“Do you want it?”
“No, but I know someone who needs it. We’ve been looking for it. Except...” She trailed off as she got lost in her own thoughts. “Why have we been looking for it if it’s already been found?”
He watched her, and waited for her to either answer her own question, or remember that he was still standing in front of her.
“No, I can’t take it. You have to.” She looked down at the floor as she spoke. “You have to give it to Horace, so he can get it to Bhulan.”
“What are you talking about? Who is Bhulan? Which version of Horace am I meant to meet?”
“This solves everything.” Now Ellie was getting excited. “You keep it, but give it to Horace Reaver, who you’ll see after you step into that time chamber. If all goes according to plan, this entire future will be erased.”
“If it’s erased, then you won’t extract me before my death, but if you don’t extract me before my death, then I can’t go back in time, and give Horace the hundemarke.”
She searched for answers on the ground again. “It’s a loophole. We can’t extract you permanently, because of the hundemarke, but we can extract the hundemarke itself, because it couldn’t have been destroyed in the explosion anyway.” She looked back up at him. “I don’t know what’s going to happen to you when you do this, so I guess it’s your choice. Can you make that sacrifice? Because I can’t make it for you.” And with that, she walked back through her secret door, and sealed it up behind her.
He let out a sigh of his own, and gazed at the time chamber. The hundemarke was one of the most powerful objects in histories. It could undo time travel complete. It could make a permanent world, with one timeline, and no second chances, or it could save humanity. But it was only ever used to kill, And it was for that reason that it needed to be destroyed. Newt knew a lot about Horace Reaver. He lived a lot of completely different lives, and he wasn’t always a good person, but he was one of the best in this reality. If he needed the hundemarke, it was surely to destroy it. That could only be good for the love of his life, and his daughter.
Newt Clemens, stepped into the time chamber, let it activate on its own, and disappeared through it. He appeared in the main restaurant of the original Dardius Sanctuary. Everyone he loved was there, including his wife, and his little girl; all grown up now. He hadn’t seen her since she was a baby, but he knew this was her, because it had to be. Mateo and Leona were there as well, along with Saga Einarsson, Vearden Haywood, Vitalie Crawville, Ramses Abdulrashid, Amanda Moss, and a few people he didn’t recognize. Horace Reaver was there too.
“Newt?” Étude asked, shocked and glad
“Dad?” Cassidy asked.
“I love you,” Newt said with a smile. “A lot of people say they would die for their children, but I get to prove it.” He began to remove the hundemarke from his neck. “This is a fixed moment in I will always have been here.” He reached out towards Horace. “But I cannot stay.”
“Oh my God,” Horace said, staring at the dog tag.
“Take it,” Newt insisted.
“What is this?” Cassidy asked. “Dad? What are you doing? What do you mean, you can’t stay?”
“I love you,” he said again, because it was all that truly mattered.
Horace reached for the hundemarke and pulled it from Newt’s hand. And then Newt disappeared, like he was never really there.

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