Saturday, February 15, 2020

Dardius: Meliora Rutherford (Part VII)

Savannah Preston: Hello. I figured it was high time we met. Hi, my name is—
Meliora Rutherford: I know who you are.
Savannah: Are you sure? Because...
Meliora: Yeah, I know. I can see the hat.
Savannah: You can?
Meliora: Listen—wait, what do you want me to call you?
Savannah: Savannah will be fine.
Meliora: Fine. Listen, Savannah, I’m not going to interfere with what you’re doing. You think you’ve seen a lot, and it gives you some sort of entitlement to manipulate the passage of time on a grand scale. But you’re a little baby compared to me, and you haven’t seen past your nursery. I have been all over the bulkverse, and I can tell you that all pointless. You’re going to lose, and you know that, because you’ve seen the future.
Savannah: No future is immutable.
Meliora: That’s not entirely true, and you’re going up against the Matics.
Savannah: So what? They’re not so amazing. Mateo is a dum-dum.
Meliora: He is, and you’re right, they’re not powerful. He’s a salmon, and she’s a spawn with limited abilities. But that’s not really what we’re talking about here. What makes them so special is all their friends. People want to help them, and they do. You can’t beat them, not because they’re better than you, but because no one will let you. My God, Savannah, your own daughters are helping them. Nerakali and Arcadia are powerful, so you should be scared.
Savannah: I’m not worried. When this all comes to its inevitable climax, I can count on Arcadia to betray her new friends, just like she always does, and I can count on Nerakali to break down and go along with it.
Meliora: It’s over, Madam Preston. You have hundemarked everyone on your list, so why are you putting this off?
Savannah: I was hoping to get your help.
Meliora: Why would I help you?
Savannah: All powerful being to all powerful being.
Meliora: ...
Savannah: All right, very powerful being, at the least.
Meliora: What do you want from me?
Savannah: How do you do that thing you do?
Meliora: Are you going to elaborate, or just—I do many things. I really am all powerful.
Savannah: How do you jump to other universes?
Meliora: Very carefully.
Savannah: I’m serious. I want you to teach me.
Meliora: You think you’re done with the work you need to do in this brane, so you’re ready to move on to another?
Savannah: Isn’t that what happened to you?
Meliora: Yes, but I went to those other worlds to help people. And before you start arguing that what you’re doing is a necessary evil, spare me the apology. You know what you’re doing is wrong. The love of your long life died, you flipped out, and corrupted your own life’s mission.
Savannah: You listen to me now, buckaroo billy. I may not be the holy angel saint that you are, but I have my reasons, and I’m not evil. Mercury’s family had to die so he could become the hero his city needs. Mateo had to die so he could return through an extraction mirror with temporal invincibility. My daughter had to die so she could have eight more chances to be a better person.
Meliora: Why didn’t Arcadia earn the same gift?
Savannah: She already became a better person when she stepped onto The Prototype.
Meliora: And your son? Why did he have to die?
Savannah: That wasn’t me.
Meliora: It wasn’t? I thought—
Savannah: That I was the architect of the hundemarke’s entire journey? No. Plenty of people have used it to serve their own agendas.

Meliora: Well, I didn’t know that.
Savannah: Maybe you’re not as all powerful as you thought.
Meliora: That’s how you talk to someone whose help you’re asking for?
Savannah: Will you help? Is there a world where that happens?
Meliora: Well, there is one, yes.
Savannah: You mean...?
Meliora: I can’t teach you how to jump universes. It’s not a skill; it’s just something I can do.
Savannah: I was to understand you spent decades in training for it.
Meliora: I did, but it was always in me. No one else could replicate it. I can help you escape to another world when the time comes, but that will be your home forever, unless someone helps you travel somewhere else.
Savannah: You would do this for me? You would go against your own mother?
Meliora: Leona Matic is not my mother.
Savannah: No, Nerakali blended her brain. She remembers the reality where she and your father got married.
Meliora: Horace Reaver isn’t my father. Lincoln Rutherford is, because he’s the one who raised me.
Savannah: Everyone knows the story. Rutherford took you in when your mother died, and your father went to prison. He barely had anything to do with your life.
Meliora: That’s the story I spun. I was very young and stupid back then. I came up with this story about choosing ones and powers that be, claiming they were one and the same. I was trying to create a reality where people believed I could exercise more control over the salmon than I really could, and the best way to do that was convince people I was removed from foster care, and indoctrinated into the system. My birth father died in prison, and Lincoln Rutherford raised me for years, until I felt confident enough to go back in time and alter the past. Everyone calls me Meliora Rutherford Delaney-Reaver, but my name is Meliora Rutherford.
Savannah: Does he know that, the Lincoln from this reality?
Meliora: He knows everything. Literally. He is a great man, and I try to honor him everyday with my actions. So I’ll help you, but only to stop the dream team from killing you. If that future comes to pass, they will never recover from what they did to you.
Savannah: Mateo and Leona have killed before.
Meliora: I’m not talking about them. Your daughters will regret what happened, but since they used the hundemarke, they won’t be able to go back and change it. We all know what happens when a Preston spirals.
Savannah: We don’t know if they use the hundemarke on me. That’s a big mystery.
Meliora: You die from by means of the hundemarke; that’s no mystery.
Savannah: it can’t be changed. It really is inevitable.
Meliora: No, there’s a loophole.
Savannah: ...?
Meliora: The other world. Nothing is more powerful than the bulkverse; not even the hundemarke. It has consequences, though. Time will never be the same if you do this. In fact, it will undo everything you have ever done with the hundemarke.
Savannah: What?
Meliora: There is a reality out there where the hundemarke does not exist. All we have to do is get you there, and then you can leave. Don’t get me wrong, you’ll die, but not you you. It will be a different version.
Savannah: Well, why do I have to go to another universe, if I can just live in this other timeline?
Meliora: You can’t stay there forever. It’s unstable. You have to leave, and let it collapse behind you.
Savannah: Why would you do this for me? I came here asking for help, and you were very adamantly against it. What’s changed in the five minutes since we’ve been talking.
Meliora: It has been longer than five minutes for me. After you told me that you weren’t responsible for your son’s death by means of the hundemarke, I took a little detour, and investigated the timeline to corroborate your story. That was about a month ago.
Savannah: I must have blinked.
Meliora: No, I froze you in time for three seconds while I disappeared, and returned.
Savannah: Why are you like this? How did a salmon and a spawn...spawn someone like you?
Meliora: I won the lottery. It’s as simple as that. The fact that my birth parents experienced nonlinear time before conceiving me made it so that I was genetically predisposed to being born with time powers. At that point, it was a crapshoot which ones I got. I could have ended up with anything, and it just so happened that I ended up with pretty much everything.
Savannah: So now that you know I was telling the truth, and maybe I’m not as bad of a person as you thought, you’ll help me survive my hundemarke death?
Meliora: I will, but I won’t do it for free.
Savannah: What’s your price?
Meliora: As we’ve established, I’m very powerful, but I don’t have a mind like yours. You can see the threads of time, and make subtle changes to arrive at the outcomes you want. I need that gift now. There are several people who are meant to attend Mateo’s memorial services here on Dardius. They were all torn away from that, for reasons I do not yet understand. There is someone else; someone like you, who is manipulating events from the shadows. They’ve been destroying Nexus replicas, and causing other problems. My month-long sabbatical allowed me to rule you out as a suspect. I’ve also ruled out Mirage, Boyce, and Zeferino. I don’t have any reason to believe the powers that be themselves are involved, but I can’t rule them out yet. Either way, I need someone smart enough to combat their changes. I’m going to give you a list of people. I’m not going to tell you anything about them, but the list itself is dangerous. You could hurt a lot of people with it, so I have to be able to trust you. With your skills, it’s a simple task. Get these people to Dardius within the next hour, and I will help you. Miss even one of them, and our deal is off. Cause harm to any one of them, and not only is our deal off, but I will kill you myself. Like I said, your hundemarke crusade has been completed. This mission doesn’t interfere with that, but you can help a lot of people feel a lot better about themselves by helping them go through this catharsis. Mateo is important to people, throughout all of time and space, and they want to be there for him. Do you think you can help?
Savannah: I can make no promises. I would have to see the list first. Just a glance, to make sure there aren’t any conflicts of interest. You can erase my memories if I choose to decline because of something I see there.
Meliora: I agree to your terms. Here it is.
Savannah: This one is going to be tough. I know a lot about his timeline, and he would not be cooperative in later years; I can tell you that much.
Meliora: When would you suggest we take him?
Savannah: Uhh...2027.
Meliora: He didn’t even have his brain blended back then.
Savannah: I can arrange for it to happen early, if I have your permission. You said I’m not allowed to hurt these people, which I have no problem with, but this is a bit of a gray area. I don’t know who Pribadium Delgado is, but I think I can get everyone else with just a few historical nudges. This guy is more complicated, though, and brain blending isn’t exactly pleasant. He has a lot of really bad memories, so it’s going to be particularly bad for him.
Meliora: Do what you have to do, but he’s really busy in 2027, so make sure he gets back before anyone there misses him.
Savannah: They won’t even know he’s gone, until he...tells them about it.
Meliora: Okay, go ahead. You have fifty-seven minutes now.
Savannah: I only need one.

No comments :

Post a Comment