Monday, July 27, 2020

Microstory 1416: Identity Theft

As on Earth, there were a lot of special temporal locations on Durus. Watershed provided the planet with water, while the broken portal released enough waste heat to warm the entire surface, and Gaspunui created breathable air. There were other places that weren’t so helpful. When Savitri, Escher, and Rothko were living together during the first Triumvirate era, the former went off to hunt for copperoot, which tasted exactly as they sounded, but they were a good source of carbohydrates. When she returned to camp, she learned that she had been gone for a whole week. The other two searched for her all over, but couldn’t find her. For her, however, only hours had passed. They knew they had to understand the discrepancy. After some sleuthing, they realized she had walked through a crevice in the ground, where time moved much, much slower than the rest of the world. A few seconds in there meant days for everyone else. This made it a very dangerous hazard, so they spent weeks out there, filling it in as best they could, just in case other people found themselves trapped there, and didn’t know what they were in for. Escher and Rothko would go on to warn Hark about its properties, but they never told anyone from Springfield about it. They knew that some would use it as a weapon, and that it was just best to hope no one ever discovered it again, as if that were possible. They couldn’t keep it a secret from Effigy. In 2021, time was nearing for Escher and Rothko to return to Earth. Their dealings with certain people in town earned them this right, and only them. Others would be put on the list to make the journey, but power was scarce, so no one was certain whether the machine they built would work more than once, if that.

Hogarth Pudeyonavic was the machine’s inventor, but the one she built was destroyed during the Deathfall. This was what gave her her time affliction, where she would spontaneously and uncontrollably blow up, and be sent randomly across time and space. When she, Hilde, and Hark accidentally jumped five years into the future—which some theorize was partly due to Hogarth’s affliction—they left the plans for her machine in the past, hidden away in the library. A few Springfielders discovered these plans while they were gone, and took it upon themselves to recreate what she had used to bring them here intact in the first place. Now it was ready to be used, and they wanted Escher and Rothko to be the ones to escape. Effigy had other plans. The only reason she hadn’t tried to get to Earth before now was that she wanted the portal to bring all of her people into this universe first. She spent a great deal of her life trying to make this happen, and she was thwarted at every attempt. Perhaps the answer would be on Earth, but this machine was the only way to find out. Of course, no one would have let her go, so she had to take matters into her own hands. She waited until Escher was alone, then she abducted him, and dragged him to the Time Crevice. There she left him for the better part of a day, which was more than enough time for her to alter her appearance to look like him, and take his place in front of the machine. Because of the time difference, when Escher finally made it all the way back out of the time trap, over a hundred and eighty years had passed. He returned to a world he didn’t understand, but he was welcomed there.

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