Saturday, February 1, 2020

Dardius: Pribadium Delgado (Part V)

Pribadium Delgado never saw herself becoming a parent. She was still pretty young when she found herself introduced to the world of salmon and choosers, but the plan was always to become transhumanistic. Given enough upgrades, an individual will be incapable of conceiving or gestating a human. Their body will just no longer be hospitable to new life. Of course, this didn’t mean she couldn’t raise children, or even that she couldn’t have them before she received these upgrades, but it was still never in her plans. This did not change when she was forced to mother baby Brooke Prieto-Matic, but it did give her an idea. In the year she spent taking care of this precious little thing, Pribadium did form a bond, and it was unclear whether the woman who forced her to care for someone else’s child, Arcadia knew this was going to happen, or not. That didn’t matter, though. The point was that she could use this situation to her advantage. There was something she needed to get done, and convincing Arcadia, and all the others, that she felt compelled to continue raising Brooke was the best way to do it.
The year was 2129, and Leona was preparing to take Brooke home to the 21st century. The latter was incapable of experiencing nonlinear time, so the only way to get her to Earth was with the relativistic ship that Pribadium had built. It would take millions of realtime years, and thousands of years from the perspective of anyone inside the ship. Brooke was set to be placed in stasis, while Leona had to pass the time in an unusual way. Arcadia set things up for her to stay awake the entire time, but unable to hold onto short-term memories. She would recall enough to maintain the ship, and correct issues, but would not be totally aware of the passage of time. Technically, she could have been placed in a stasis pod as well, but Arcadia wasn’t allowing that. As terrible as that was, it was what gave Pribadium her big idea.
“What are you doing here?” Arcadia questioned. “I thought I let you cross back over to the other side of the merge border.
A man named Kayetan Glaston had the ability to put two different points in spacetime together, so that one could walk back and forth at will. He had merged modern-day Tribulation Island with ancient Tribulation Island. Pribadium, Vitalie, and Cassidy were sent over to the other side, so they could make their way back to the future, but the other two agreed to do things differently. They had formed a bond with Brooke as well. So when Arcadia wasn’t looking, they snuck back over to the ancient side. “We want on that ship,” Pribadium demanded.
“Who are these people, Arcadia?” Leona asked.
“You’ve not met them yet,” Arcadia explained to her, before turning her attention back to Pribadium. “This wasn’t part of the deal.”
“It’s a new deal,” Vitalie said. “We’re going back to Earth with the two of them. There’s plenty of room. It was built with three pods that you’re not even using. It’s perfect.”
“Do you even need a pod?” Arcadia asked.
“I’m immortal,” Vitalie replied, “but I still get bored.”
“Why do you want to do this?”
“I can’t let Brooke go,” Pribadium said. “I want to be there for her.”
“Really?” Arcadia wasn’t so convinced.
“You’re the one what made me nurse her,” Pribadium tried to explain. “What did you think was gonna happen? That I could just walk away?”
“Say what?” Leona asked.
Arcadia pointed to the ship. “This thing is going to arrive on Earth in the year 2025. That’s essentially random for you. None of you has been there before, and it’s not anywhere near when and where you need to be.”
“I was close once,” Cassidy noted. She first disappeared from her old life in 2019.
“Don’t you need to get to Mateo’s memorial?” Arcadia questioned.
“Mateo’s memorial?” Leona asked, upset. “What are you talking about?”
“This is many centuries in the future,” Arcadia lied to her, which only seemed to make her feel a little bit better. “Don’t worry, I’ll make sure you don’t remember any of this when you get to Earth.”
“There’s no reason to not let us do this,” Pribadium said, trying to get back to the matter at hand. “Not only does it not hinder your plan to make Leona stay awake for thousands of years, but it reinforces it. Now there really aren’t enough stasis pods for her.”
“I suppose that’s true,” Arcadia had to agree. “But what do you plan to do when you get there? I’ve already set things up so that Leona takes care of her on her own for a little bit, and then Brooke’s cousin, Mireille takes over. How do you plan to insert yourself into her life, and how long do you intend to remain there?”
“You let me worry about that,” Pribadium said. “Again, this has nothing to do with you. What do you care where we go, when we go there, and whose child we raise while we’re there?”
On paper, Arcadia obviously knew that Pribadium was right, but she was the kind of person who didn’t like being dictated to. She liked to come up with the rules, and the plans, and she didn’t appreciate when someone came along and changed things on her. Her face transformed as she was considering the options. When at first she was annoyed, now she was apathetic. “Whatever. Do what you want. I don’t care. It’s your responsibility to return to your own time period when you’re ready. That ain’t got nothin’ to do with me.” She started to walk away. “You best get on your way, though. That does have to do with me.”
Leona gently took Arcadia by the arm. “Thank you,” she said. “I don’t know who these people are, but they seem really nice, and I’m happy to see that you have a heart...even if you won’t admit it.”
Arcadia scoffed. “You don’t even know what the hell you’re talking about.” She reached down to the ground, and lifted the fabric of space like it legit was indeed fabric. She slipped under the magic curtain, and let it fall back into place behind her.
Fifteen minutes later, Brooke, Vitalie, and Cassidy were safely tucked away in their stasis pods. Pribadium was meant to be the only one left, but she had other plans. Leona and her husband, Mateo were always very kind to her. They immediately accepted her into their group without question. She felt that she had made a lot of mistakes, and still felt responsible for them all becoming trapped in the past. This version of Leona had no idea who she was, but she was still herself, and she deserved something good to come to her. There was really only one gift that Pribadium could give, and it came in the form of the last stasis pod.
“This is not meant for me,” Leona argued.
“No,” Pribadium agreed, shaking her head. “Arcadia wanted you to be awake, so you’ll end up around the same age as your husband. But who cares? Arcadia’s not here, and neither you nor Mateo is going to fall out of love with the other because of the age difference. It’s not even really an age difference. Mateo hardly thinks about the time he was stuck in that crazy spatio-temporal dimension. He’s not four thousand years old, and you don’t need to be either. So this is what I’m going to do. I’m going to sip on this Youth water, and sit here in the pilot’s seat. You’re a great physicist, Leona, but I built this ship. I know how it works, and how to fix any problem we come across. You just need to go to sleep, and forget about all this. When we get to Earth, no one will know what happened. I’ll wake you up first, and tell no one that we switched places. The worlds will keep turning.”
“I don’t know if I can let you do this for me,” Leona lamented. “You’re a stranger.”
“No,” Pribadium said with a kind smile. “I’m not.”
“Are you sure?”
“Hundred percent.”
Leona agreed to the new plan. She crawled into the stasis pod, and let Pribadium put her to sleep. Pribadium went on to live for thousands of years, but she didn’t do it the same way that Arcadia had planned. She switched off the temporal distortion feature, and passed the time in a totally different way. Stasis pods served two primary functions. First, they were designed to keep the subject alive and young, so they could actually survive long enough to see the end of the journey. They were also made to put the subject in a dreamless sleep, so that they woke up however much time later with no memory of it. To the four of them, the whole thing would last mere seconds; not centuries. But that was a human necessity, and Pribadium Delgado wasn’t entirely human.
Transhumanistic upgrades were not black and white. At no point did someone transform from human to android. It was a gradient, full of complicated choices and variables. While Pribadium was predominantly a biological entity, she was also a little something more. The Youth water that was meant for Leona was more than enough to keep her alive like suspended animation would, but that was easily rigged up as an IV fluid. In order to capitalize on that second function, all Pribadium needed to do was program her brain to experience time differently. Arcadia was wanting to do this for Leona using magicks, but Pribadium was capable of it through technology, and she could exercise her own control over it. The ship was going to be traveling through space for 2.83 million years, and her body was going to be sitting in the ship for just a hair over four thousand years, but her mind was only going to be there for twenty-four days. She could have sped time up for herself even more, but this made it easier to snap out of it for any maintenance issues. Hopefully, when this was all over, she would feel better about everything she had done, even if it didn’t really make up for it.
Millions of years later, they were on Earth in the year 2025, and no one discovered what Pribadium had done. She didn’t wake her friends up until Leona and Brooke were exactly where they were meant to be. When Vitalie and Cassidy asked why it was she wasn’t helping take care of baby Brooke, she said she didn’t want to talk about it. This was easier than coming up with a lie, and it seemed to be good enough for them. Now the only question was how the hell they were going to get back to Dardius in 2263. Surprisingly, it was Cassidy who came up with a good plan to accomplish this.

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