Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Microstory 1618: The Annual Coat Drive

This is a nice little non-depressing story about a lovely version of Earth, which isn’t perfect, but is defined primarily by a wholesome and fun annual event that just about everyone loves. But first, you need some background. There are only a few people throughout the bulkverse who are able to travel across it. Even if you include the people who managed to get themselves on board one of the machines, like The Crossover or The Prototype, the number is strikingly low. The number goes up when you include The Transit Army, and the Westfall experiencers, but it’s still nothing compared to the number of people throughout all of existence. Only a handful of people can do it through other means. Joseph Jacobson is one of these people. He was born to a mutant time traveler named Jacob, and a mother whose nature may be more complicated than anyone can understand, though there’s proof of nothing. Jacob sired twelve sons, and one daughter, and all of them have abilities. They all possess some form of temporal manipulation, but Jacob was drawn to powerful women, so they all also have other abilities. None of them is as impressive as Joseph, though. Before any of this, one of those things capable of crossing the bulkverse suffered a major engine failure that could have resulted in tragedy were it not for the quick-thinking of its crew. Still, there were side effects, and one of these was a simple coat that someone happened to leave in engineering while they were working to stop the catastrophe. This coat was imbued with the ability to travel the bulkverse, but not for just anyone. The only people who could use it were those who had already done it at least once, and even then, they could only go to places they had been before. It’s an amazing piece of cloth, but it’s not all that useful to most. Joseph is different. With it, he can go anywhere he wants, and no one is sure what it is that makes him so special, because none of his siblings can do it, not even the one with whom he shares a mother. The two phoenixes in the family can technically travel as well, but they have to die first, and navigation is sketchy at best. Joseph is the one true bulk traveler, and it makes all of his brothers extremely jealous. For some, it makes them murtherous. That is a story for another time, though.

If these names and situations sound slightly familiar, that’s because you’ve probably heard the story. This family is important to the collective history of the bulkverse, so a lot of people are aware of it. Some see it as part of their religion, or someone else’s, while others know it as fiction. Either way, the story itself is powerful. If the right people produce the right interpretation of the story of Joseph and his Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, it will actually summon him to their location. From there, they can make requests to him. He’s not obliged to follow through, of course but you can always ask. Finding the right way to tell Joseph’s story is difficult, and requires clear intent. Lots of people have put on a show, and nothing has happened, continuing to allow them to believe that it’s all made up. If you know that it’s a possibility that Joseph will appear in the flesh, then you can try to make it happen. Again, it’s not guaranteed, but it’s kind of the only way to get a hold of him. One thing I never mentioned before is that hypnopediaverse has a history of people randomly finding themselves trapped there from elsewhere. I don’t know why, and it’s not that important. The point is that these people once came together, put on Joseph’s show, and were able to summon him to their location, so he could ferry them back to their respective homes. Two of these people told their own story when they returned, and surprisingly, people believed them. Not only that, but they wanted to recreate the magic. So they produced their own version of the musical, and found success. Joseph appeared, and regaled them with stories about his adventures across the bulkverse. Every year since then, the people of that universe have repeated the experiment, not just with one show, but with many. Multiple productions are shown simultaneously around the world, each one hoping to be the one that attracts Joseph Jacobson to them. Of course, once he does show up, Joseph allows his tales to be broadcast worldwide, but the cast and crew that won the contest that year will end up with bragging rights, global recognition, and other ancillary prizes. The true reward comes from the lessons that Joseph unwittingly teaches. Understanding what goes on in other universes has given this one the perspective it needed to make sure it didn’t make any of the same mistakes. They learned to better preserve their planet, and were justifiably ignored by the Ochivari, and the Darning Wars.

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