Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Microstory 1488: Bottom of the Abyss

Until it started borrowing some of the sunlight that Sol was giving off billions of miles away, the best source of heat that Durus had was the broken portal. It was originally created to let all of Effigy’s monster friends into this universe, but Escher Bradley used his time powers to prevent it from working properly. This caused friction that wouldn’t be present in a well-functioning portal, and that friction generated enough energy to keep the surface warm, especially in the areas closest to it. It wasn’t entirely clear what was warming the planet enough for Savitri to survive there for ten years before Escher even showed up, but people had some theories. When Jayde Kovac finally shut down this portal, seemingly for good, in 2090, something was left behind. They called it The Abyss, and while there were no more monsters coming through from the other side, that didn’t mean everything was perfectly normal. The Abyss was a dangerous place, mostly because no one knew what it was, or what happened to people in there, because no one ever came back out. Some went in on purpose, for various reasons, including curiosity, so the first Republic had to make it illegal. They posted a guard detail around the border to stop anyone from entering, and even though that border was gigantic, they had time powers which allowed them to sense when anyone was approaching from any direction. It was one of the few things the phallocratic government did right during this time period. They even passed laws to prevent anyone from trying to use it as a form of punishment, which was, quite frankly, impressive for such an oppressive administration. Over time, it became more difficult to enforce these policies, but the laws never went away, and they were carried over into the new Republic.

Once Durus finally reached its destination in the 70 Ophiuchi system, and settled into its orbit, things started to change for the Abyss. People who happened to live near enough to see it noticed that it was less hazy than before. They still couldn’t see through it, but it was definitely thinning out. It would seem that the two real suns they now had were having some kind of impact on the weird temporal energy that once covered the area. The haze dissipated more and more as the weeks went by, and by October, experts confidently declared that it had pretty much disappeared completely. People loved that the Abyss was gone, but others pointed out that it could be interpreted as a bad omen. Perhaps all nonlinear temporal properties would eventually go away. People’s time powers, the time tech they had invented, even the unusual and artificial orbit were all in danger of being wiped off the face of this planet if this theory were true. Into 2205, things remained okay. It appeared that only the Abyss was affected. However, that didn’t mean things wouldn’t change in the future, especially since they hadn’t even completed a whole orbit yet. They couldn’t even be sure the suns had had anything to do with it, because they just didn’t have enough information. There was no reason to freak out, but it would also be foolish to not do something about it. A special committee formed, comprised of governmental officials, temporal manipulation experts, scientists, engineers, and more. They started thinking about what might happen if they lost all their powers, all at once, or gradually. It was probably something they should have considered long ago, and technically Durus was no stranger to the idea. That was why Hogarth Pudeyonavic built Splitsville centuries ago. It was always better to be prepared.

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