Friday, August 7, 2020

Microstory 1425: Parade

Now that there were more than eleven mages to protect the humans living on Durus, some people decided it was time to expand. When Springfield came through the Deathfall, it landed in a random spot on the rogue planet. Perhaps due to rotation, or just because the universe is chaos, it didn’t even end up in the same place as other people who fell through the portal previously. They were fortunate to be as close to the only water source, Watershed, but they still wished they were closer. It took a lot of work, piping all that water all the way to Springfield and Splitsville. Since there was no longer anything holding them back, some in the population decided it was time to move closer, and live easier. The process of getting to this point wasn’t going to be easy, though. Building an entirely new town from scratch without the plentiful resources that could be found on Earth was going to be a very involved ordeal. Fortunately, there was someone who could help. For the last ten years since the Mage Games, Madoc Raptis had been selecting one person on his own to be transformed into a mage. These people were mostly there to keep the peace within Springfield’s borders, but there were plenty of other possible applications for their powers. One in particular would be useful to them. He could make their new town faster. He couldn’t make it easier, but it would at least get done in a fraction of the time. He created a time bubble over a massive area of land, nearer to Watershed, where workers could build the infrastructure at extremely high speeds. Those inside the bubble would feel as if time was moving at a normal rate, but as they looked outside, everything else would appear to be frozen in place. In total, the construction workers spent ten years in the bubble, building everything they would need to support a significant population, before anyone else even moved there. They didn’t need to be protected from the time monsters, because the bubble itself was impenetrable while it was standing. Once they were finished, it was taken down, and the people were able to reenter normal time, of which only ten months had passed.

They called this new place Parade, inspired by the idiom rain on one’s parade. That didn’t mean that it rained there. Watershed, though flush with clean water, was an inhospitable place to actually live inside. The rain never stopped, so the soil was unstable, and the excess moisture prevented crops from growing. Water always had to be taken out, and transported elsewhere. The point of Parade was to just make that easier. While the workers were proud of what they had accomplished, it was not without sacrifice. They were ten years older, even though they should have aged less than one, and they had been away from their families for months. Fortunately, there was a way to remedy this. All it took was a little bit of de-aging, and a timeloop. There were some issues with this. First, no human had ever been granted the power to make someone young again. It was certainly possible, and some people on Earth were capable of it, but no one had received this gift after the Mage Games, and Madoc always randomized his sources, to remain honorable and honest. To undo all the aging the workers had experienced, they needed to strike a deal with the retroverters, and the verters would not agree to do it for free. They were intelligent, and reasonable, but not altruistic. Still, what they asked for was a price they were willing to pay, in order to repay the workers for their hard work. Even after this, however, they had still missed out on time they could have spent with their loved ones, but there was a solution for that as well. Madoc had managed to source someone with the ability to travel back in time. Now, a long time ago, the source mages secretly gave backwards time travel to one of the townsfolk. This person attempted to go back in time, and undo all the heartache the Springfielders had experienced. He was completely unsuccessful, and ultimately suffered under Smith in the early years. The source mages knew this man from their past, but hadn’t realized he was the same person until it was too late. There appeared to be no way of undoing the Deathfall altogether, and altering the past afterwards was just too dangerous. So it was outlawed. Any mage who ended up with this ability was charged never to use it. But Madoc’s associate was exempt from this rule, and was free to create another time loop, especially since the time bubble was cut off from the rest of the world anyway, so there was little risk of screwing up the future. So the workers jumped back in time, and lived their lives as they would have if the bubble had never been created. Once their Past!Selves had completed their jobs, they all moved to this new town, and enjoyed the fruits of their efforts.

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