Thursday, August 26, 2021

Microstory 1699: Separate and Actually Equal

When the small universe of Ansutah was created, a woman named Serif found herself trapped inside. She was trying to get out, so she could rejoin her crew on The Elizabeth Warren, but in the attempt to save an innocent little boy, she couldn’t make it in time. She was not a salmon, but she was not a choosing one either. Her form was forged from stone, and her life sparked by a very powerful chooser. She was created to share a salmon’s temporal pattern. At the end of every day, they would jump forwards in time one year. If this salmon had been left in Ansutah, his pattern would have ceased, as the powers that be would no longer have any control over him. Serif was never being controlled by them, however. Her ability to jump through time was simply part of who she was, and it followed her over the threshold. So she continued to do this, as did her child, once she was born. The Maramon who dominated the landscape were aware of her, and they left her alone. To them, there were three types of humans: the primary gods, who were responsible for their creation, and the creation of the world itself; the secondary gods, who were around when it happened; and tertiary gods, which included everyone else. Serif was secondary, and that afforded her some reverence. If any tertiary god were to be found in their presence, they would probably ultimately be killed. As time went on, the Maramon progressed, but Serif only aged a few years. They were heartbroken and angry to learn that their universe was so small, and they would have no way of supporting their ever-growing population. The Crossover missions had failed, and they were going to run out of usable space on the surface of the planet if they didn’t do something. A group of scientists realized that Serif could actually help.

Serif was responsible for their predicament, as it was she who kidnapped their primary god, and sent her to the Warren, where she could no longer increase the size of the universe. They had always been aware of this, and also of the fact that there was no way she could have known what would happen. Once the world was large enough to include outer space, they lost track of its breadth, and couldn’t tell how small it still was. Plus, as their universe became larger, her home universe grew more unstable, and they understood something had to be done. Either way, that was then, and this is now. Now she could help alleviate the strain. She let scientists study her for decades, which for her, was only weeks. They were able to synthesize her pattern, and graft it onto a living host. It was years before they could garner enough socio-political support, but they were able to institute new policies to make the process mandatory for nearly everyone. At any one time, no more than half the population would exist. The other half would be out of the timestream, and would only return later in the day, after the first half had disappeared. In between was a transitional period, when almost no one existed. Only a few constants were left to provide some level of continuity for the rest of the people. Once everyone realized how dire their overpopulation problem was, war broke out, but Serif’s pattern brought the violence down to negligible levels, and for a time, there was peace. It wasn’t perfect, but it was the best they could hope to achieve under these conditions. They still wanted out of their universe, and they kept trying to reach that goal, but then the situation changed. Their missing primary god was finally returned to them, and she was able to restart the expansion. Suddenly, space exploration was back on the table, as was interstellar colonization, and they owed it all to Serif’s war-ending gift.

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