Monday, July 20, 2020

Microstory 1411: Harken Back

Paul Harken was happy to go along with the plan to observe the first town on Durus from a distance, but he didn’t agree with Escher and Rothko on how exactly they would go about doing that. He wanted to use technology they had accumulated over time to protect the town from the monsters. He also figured they would eventually reveal themselves, and explain to them the best they could what had happened. Escher and Rothko, on the other hand, were kind of acting like they were never going to become involved. This was no big surprise. Escher had been there for twenty-six years already, which was the majority of his life. Rothko had been there for sixteen, which was about half his life. Hark had spent less time there thus far, and had the most experience in the real world. He knew how to deal with people, and how to learn to trust them. The other two were just too far gone, so they stormed off in a huff, leaving Hark alone in his mansion. They never planned on separating from each other for good, but that was what ended up happening. Shortly after Springfield fully integrated itself on Durus, a dyad came upon Hark’s door. Most of the townsfolk stayed behind, trying to figure out how to survive the monsters that descended upon them almost immediately after they arrived. Hogarth Pudeyonavic and Hilde Unger, however, separated themselves from the group, and traveled a new path. They weren’t scared or disillusioned with the town. They were out looking for something when they saw Hark’s abode. Hogarth was ultimately branded the cause of the Deathfall, but that was not entirely accurate. She was what saved Springfield from certain death. Had she not built her machine, the last of the town would have still fallen into the portal, but it would not have survived the trip, just like almost none of it had before. Still, she felt responsible for this mess, and went off to search for a way to repair the machine she had invented, and get her people back home. When they found Hark, they asked him what he had been up to, and he altered the truth a little to protect the rest of The Trident. He chose to keep Escher and Rothko a secret, under the assumption that the truth would come out reasonably soon. Using a machine of his own that he had constructed over the course of many years, he attempted to transport Hogarth, Hilde, and himself back into town, so they could compile the supplies they would need to return to Earth. Unfortunately, he was no scientist, and the machine ended up sending them all years into the future. Much had changed about the world in that time. A society formed, founded on poor values, and unfair living disparities. He saw Escher and Rothko here again, though not for long before they were both sent back to Earth, and only them, for reasons he was not told right away. That was fine, though. Hark was not yet finished with this planet. There was still so much work left to do, to make its inhabitants’ lives easier. He was not alone in his efforts, but he was a more important force for good than the historical records depicted him. They didn’t portray him as bad, but they definitely downplayed his contribution. He was fine with that too, though. Because he died much later, knowing that humanity’s second home was better off with him having been part of it.

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