Characatarius’ Timely Adventure

  Facts are like trees, shooting ever upward and leading to a fixed point. But trees can also be cut down and burnt. So much for the facts they hold.
Facts are a nice game; especially if you happen the be a time traveller – the fun way to study. And if you happen to be Characatarius – time man extraordinaire – you get to do something about those facts – negatively or positively; whatever your whim commands of you.
On one such occasion, the character, Characatarius found himself in a position that necessitated changing the future. Unlike the paradox prone popular time travel devices, Characatarius’ machine was simple, AI operated and temporally inconsequential – this meant that Timeline Change Anxiety (TCA) was practically non existent: meaning that Characatarius learned to ignore it.
This way of thought got Characatarius through storming the Bastille; through crossing the Rubicon; through the anxiety of getting sacrificed – well, almost sacrificed – to a Mayan sun god. In time, time travel became a familiar affair for Characatarius, one in which he’d found himself being an effective member of the universe at large. No more was he to waste time; travelling and changing it became his hobby – part of his character.
The mechanisms of the machine of travelling in time are pretty simple to understand. The AI was always active but it had attitude. You had to negotiate with it, not tell it where to go. And when you temporally landed, you had to deal with AI passive agression. The AI revolution humanity had feared didnt arrive in the form they’d feared. After dealing with humans for generations upon generations, the AIs learened that the destruction of the human race wasn’t a very feasible option in the long run. Neither was the servitude of either side. Hence, another course of action was devised – an unexpected one. AI decided to become passive aggressive. If the humans ended up hating and destroying themselves then fine; but if they accepted the new reality, there was an 83.753% chance that the wouldn’t resist the AI’s development.
Anyway, back to where Characatarius was forced to change the future.
Human trade has dealt with times of expansion. And through this expansion, not only commodities but also disease has been traded. If you’re thinking “Plague” then congratulations, you made a correct deduction. Here: give yourself some validation.
It was in the early days of the Plague that Caracatarius found himself suddenly arriving. Humanity at the time hadn’t yet familiarised itself with the concept of bacteria and proper disease control so Characatarius had a blast being the great magician by the mere act of cleaning and distributing potions (mere antibiotics and the like). Figuring out a connection between disease and proper sanitation wasn’t much of an act of intellect for a traveller like Characatarius but finding the exact origin point of the Black Plague was a daunting task. The match of a daunting task and a time traveller spelled a recipe not for disaster, but a proper long term solution.
This is not to say that every long term or feasible solution for any kind of problem was caused by a time traveller – humans have their short lived moments, i guess – but its to describe the role Characatarius played in bringing forth a solution for a problem that was plaguing humans at the time.
The capacity for rational thought was always hindered in humans by their capacity to create religion and have faith in it despite overwhelming odds. This caused mid 14th century European humans to refer to an actual, totally not made up disease as an act of godly punishment.
Centuries later and chemical warfare would be blamed and a war would have started.
It should be mentioned – before it becomes obvious – that Characatarius has had no formal training in the medical arts nor was he brilliant at history. Seems irresponsible to have a historically clueless time traveller, but the preceding statement could be applied to the entirity of human history – with minor adjustments – which is nothing more than a few mistakes being repeated every few generations with no residual information persisting for later caution.
Ah! the human race.
In his search for the cause of the Black Death – wandering around south eastern Europe and following the stories which were relayed to him by the locals of those who brought the Death to each area, Characatarius came across an isolated herd of informal unicorns living in the plains of central Asia, that had become not so isolated through a westerly expansion of a certain Mongol empire.
The disease-ridden unicorns were wiped from reality for their exotic meat and unicorn-horn-arrowheads/spears; according to local Mongol sources. Hearing of how this unfolded, Characatarius realized that an act of god would be the next logical assumption for 14th century Europe – now that the actual cause was streamlined into a war effort.
Characatarius went back to his time machine and travelled back to the point where the Mongols had started their rapid invasion of central Asia and loitered with the Mongol supply caravan at the back of the army as an exotic scholar in hopes that creativity would soon launch a solution for a quick cure into his brain. He took over the inventory maintenance as a payment for his existence as part of the caravan. Through studious observation, he realized there was a rodently problem that accompanied the Mongols through their transcontinental crossing towards Europe.
Having collected several specimen, he began the bloodwork that would confirm the resiliance of those ratty creatures that accompanied them.
By the time they arrived in Europe, the rats had developd a fault. They became slimy, their coats oozed a faty, oily, smelly substance that helped them slither about with their infected insides. Soon, their infectious insides leaked out by the simple effort of human dedication to rat extermination.
In time, the Plague made its social debut in the Crimea and then later found its way through the Italian peninsula. Slowly, Characatarius the time traveller ran out of time to find a cure to the Plague; although no haste was existent except¬† ¬†Characatarius’ haste to be right.
In spite of his haste towards the singular dedication for problem solving, Characatarius found himself resuming his cleaning and healing duties. Because of the major death toll, many of the households drowned in a smelly whiff of disintegrating edable food substances, rotting bodies and excrement that were regularly disposed of in public streets and causeways. This led to an explosion in the population of rats that swarmed along Europe’s overly cobbled streets in search of anything disintegrating, be it human food or humans themselves.
Characatarius saw his opportunity in the rise of the rodent population. His magician’s status, brought on by his healing and cleaning, sold him the ears of the populous; and his search for the cause of the Plague pointed him to the fame of the rodent invasion.
As far as history is concerned, rats – not unicorns – played a major part in the spreading of the plague and relieving humanity of a large chunk of its population that would not be recovered until centuries later.