Friday, November 13, 2020

Microstory 1495: Time Rocks

There was only one person left with powers in 2234. Everyone else had completely lost any ability to manipulate time in any way. Had Durus the medical technology necessary to study these former paramounts, they might have learned whether their powers were gone forever, or if they just didn’t have the temporal energy necessary to use them. The world was emotionally troubled. Fearing the worst, engineers expanded the bunker clusters, and moved everyone underground. Though the sun was still shining, and the wind turbines still turning, trying to remain on the surface was just not worth the risk. Only a few technicians went out daily to make sure these perfectly normal power generators were still fully operational. And only they were left outside when the sun blinked out of existence. Calluna—named after Missy Calluna Atterberry, who was a historical figure from the interstellar ship, The Elizabeth Warren—didn’t disappear completely, but it was no longer useful to the people of Durus. The old woman who still possessed a modicum of temporal energy used it one last time to explain what had happened. It was the Time Crevice. When a group of apporters banished a kilometer wide patch of land from the surface of the planet to get rid of the crevice, they didn’t give much thought to what was going to happen to it. It didn’t seem like it was their problem anymore, and they didn’t think they would have to deal with it ever again. The instantaneous journey from Durus to outer space took a toll on the land, and broke it apart. These parts were still on the same trajectory, however, so they stuck pretty close to each other. Most of it didn’t have any special temporal properties at all; they just wanted to make sure they got the whole thing. They ended up calling the central structure the Time Rocks, for they were the ones responsible for messing with the passage of time inside the crevice. Evidently, even as a bunch of rocks, they were powerful enough to place the whole sun into a temporal bubble, and since it was stuck in this bubble, light could not escape fast enough to shine on Durus anymore. They were smart to move underground, because they would not have survived for long above.

It was absurd that something smaller than a house could have any impact on something as massive as a star. Experts hypothesized that there was more temporal energy stored in those rocks than anyone realized, or that it was channeling it from somewhere else. Then it dawned on them. They didn’t know how, or why, but that was finally the answer they were looking for to the question about their own time powers and time tech. Somehow, as the Time Rocks were hurtling through space, they were also absorbing temporal energy from all of Durus. The rocks were draining people of their powers, and stripping away everything that allowed the Durune to manipulate spacetime. All that energy, concentrated into one tiny spot, was like setting an armed nuclear bomb next to a lamp post. The lamp post never stood a chance. The energy exploded, overtook Calluna, and trapped it in time. Now remember that it was still giving off light, but it was doing it at an incredibly slow pace, and that just wasn’t enough to keep the planet warm. The world didn’t end, but even if Calluna escaped eventually, it would do the Durune no good. The resulting explosion sent a gravitational wave towards Durus, which was strong enough to knock it out of orbit, and cause durusquakes all over, but not enough to destroy the bunkers, which were designed to withstand heavy seismic activity. The remains of Aljabara above collapsed, though, as did most structures still standing after all this time. So now their relationship with 70 Ophiuchi was all but over. It would seem that Durus, or some other entity, did not want it to be anything more than a rogue planet. It would take them a long time to escape interplanetary space, but there was nothing they could do to stop it. They had no temporal energy, very little electricity in the reserves, and not a lot of time to repair the turbines. Fortunately, once they did make those repairs, they were up and running again. Through all this, Durus lived up to its name, and endured. Some suggested they change the government back from the Solar Democratic Republic, but most agreed it didn’t really matter right now. They had to focus on survival, and hope that something about their situation changed eventually.

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