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Monday, October 19, 2020

Microstory 1476: Quantum Love

In 2148, a girl was born on Durus with the ability to make quantum duplications of people. For some reason, it only worked on people, rather than other objects, so she wouldn’t be able to generate infinite resources for Durus. Not that it mattered, she was a girl, and it was the government’s official position at the time that there was no such thing as a female mage remnant. When she was three years old, her powers manifested for the first time when she accidentally made a copy of her younger brother. This wasn’t the most famous family on the planet, or anything, but people were well aware that the parents had two children; one daughter, and one son. If this twin were to be revealed to the world, people would know that something fishy was up. They considered lying, and claiming that the baby boy had duplicated himself, but he was too young for that to be likely, and he wouldn’t grow up with the ability to prove it. So they kept one of them a secret, and sent him off to live on a farm outside of the city with a family friend. The two versions of this individual lived separately for sixteen years. They didn’t even know about each other, but upon reaching the age of eighteen, the parents, and their farming friends, figured that they were old enough to know each other. What they didn’t consider was the possibility that these two would end up falling in love with each other. The circumstance was unprecedented, but there were plenty of similar situations on Earth, where siblings separated at early ages were reunited. No one here had ever actually seen it happen, but still, their romantic connection was weird. It was very weird. Was it worse, falling in love with an alternate version of one’s self, than it would be for two twins, or even regular siblings? No one could answer that question, but it made people uncomfortable either way. There were protests.

Phineas Hanlin, and Philadelphia Kikkert didn’t really do a whole lot to resist the feelings that were brewing between them. They spent the day together when they first met, and hit it off, as if they were on a date. They easily gave in to their feelings, and started pursuing each other with equal vigor. Their families tried to keep them apart, but there was nothing illegal about it. They wanted to take the two men to court, but the government would not let it continue. It would set a dangerous precedent, they felt, to start deciding who was allowed to be in a relationship with who. The oppressive phallocratic government was over, and they were paranoid about the slippery slope. The fact was that they were two consenting adults, and they were free to be with each other, if they wanted. Incest was only treated as an offense if it would lead to the conception of a child, and as two men, this was impossible, so people would have to get over it. Well, they didn’t. Society shunned them, and marriage officiants refused to let them cement their love in ceremony and contract. They thought about asking the crew of the visiting ship to take them back to Earth with them, but already so many people wanted in on that, and they couldn’t be sure Earth would treat them any better. They had to stay together, and if that meant being alone, then that was what they would do. When Hokusai Gimura joined the crew of the Elizabeth Warren, she stripped her tiny one-person ship for parts. What she left was mostly the skeleton of the vessel, capable of supporting and insulating life in outer space, but not capable of launching off the ground, or propelling itself anywhere. She did fail to remove this extra little feature that halted aging for all those inside, regardless of how long the trip took. Still, Phineas and Philadelphia figured that it was their only option. Now people actually started helping them. No one wanted them to be together, but if they weren’t going to do the right thing, then at least they could do it somewhere else. The community came together, and started repairing Hokusai’s ship. Engineers and mechanics pooled their knowledge, and figured out how to add the right instrumentation to the controls. Paramounts added special upgrades to keep the ship going indefinitely. Wherever they chose to go, Phineas and Philadelphia wouldn’t be able to get there instantaneously, but at least they would be together, and from the Durune’s perspective, at least they wouldn’t be on Durus anymore.

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