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Sep 26, 2021 8:45 AM
Aquaman in 1990s Possession
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...he looks down at himself to check. Yup, he's still wearing his Aquaman gear. Two-piece wetsuit, orange at the top, green at the bottom, belt with a stylized letter 'A', no shoes. He's pretty sure he'd have noticed himself suddenly wearing shoes. 

"Uh huh. And what's your explanation for why a private in the British army is dressed like Aquaman?" And why get his first name right, but not the surname...

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"Warping can alter the body and the clothing on it as well as the mind."

He poduces a notepad and a letter, and reads from the former:

"Arthur Peterson, adoptive son of Derek Peterson. You left this letter to yourself prior to your warping;"

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...sure, he might as well read the letter. Even with all the other strangeness, it's unlikely that the ink is magical and staring at it will send him to sleep or something.

Hey, it's been a long couple of days.

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It's written in his own handwriting, or at least a reasonable imitation thereof. 

Dear Arthur, or whatever your name turns out to be,

My name is Arthur Peterson and I'm adopted. God that sounds like an AA meeting I have no idea who my birth family were—maybe you do, maybe you were raised by them, I have no idea. I was raised by Derek Peterson, in a small town on the outskirts of Newport in South Wales. He's shit how do I describe him ...

...

...had a fight, right before I left. I yelled at him, told him he wasn't my real dad. And I guess I could have called to apologise but I was scared never got around to it. So...sorry for making you deal with that. 

...

...university, she's always been the smart one. She's studying politics, blowed if I know why. One thing I do know, you're not a politician. If you are, I'm disowning you. Can't stand politicians, they're all air and no grit...

...in a week's time. So, see you then, I guess.

Private Arthur Peterson

There's a photo, folded in with the letter. Peterson, wearing a giant '18' badge, stands with one arm around a red-haired girl Aquaman doesn't recognise—Casey, according to the description on the back. On his other side, grinning out at Aquaman from a much more familiar face, is Derek Peterson. 

The letter is dated 1990. Peterson wrote it last week. 

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That...could be him in the centre, if he squints...but the older man is the spitting image of his adoptive father, Tom Curry. 

He blinks at the date on the letter. 1990? "...last time I checked, it was 2001."

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"As I said, your memory has been altered. Since 1963, regions we call Warps have been appearing which cause apparently random changes to people who enter them, especially to their memories. These normally include erasing their memories of Warps themselves ever having existed. You volunteered to enter a warp in the hope of gaining superpowers or unprecedented technical knowledge, both of which are known possibilities."

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This seems consistent with the contents of the letter, at least. The Arthur of a couple years ago—Peterson is two years younger than him, not eleven, somehow—would absolutely have signed up for something like this, and was probably hoping for superpowers. Which, actually, implies that he didn't have them...

"If it's been going on that long, I can't be the first to come out remembering the future. Any word on whether you can get accurate predictions that way?" he asks, instead of discussing the matter of superpowers immediately. 

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"We can get roughly accurate predictions of the future. Last year they were able to predict an earthquake in San Francisco, but it was about a month off when they expected it. Stuff with more human involvement like wars seems to be less predictable but not totally unpredictable, but it's also harder to say what's cause and what's effect there. There's a clear baseline those memories follow, and actual events sometimes conspicuously follow it but also sometimes diverge from it a lot- we think it might be the course history would have taken if Warps hadn't happened. And memories from further in the future are less convergent as well as rarer"

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He nods. It makes sense that erasing someone's memory of the Warps would also change everything that happened as a result of them, but he can't figure out how that alone would result in Tom Curry becoming Derek Peterson, especially since both of them were born before 1963. 

"Well, if anyone wants my contribution, I'm happy to tell them what I remember of the last eleven years." 

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"Major Reed will want to find out anything that's changed about you first. Lewis! Show Private Peterson to the Major."

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He follows Lewis obediently, taking the opportunity to look around them at the people and infrastructure in the base. 

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On the way to Reed's office he will see infantrymen, corridors and doors. Depending on how much he know about the relevant history, he may notice weaponry and locks too high-tech to be from 1990.

Reed addresses him brusquely in an upper-class English accent.

"Peterson. You have recently emerged from a region we call a Warp which induced changes to your memories and body. Prior to entering the Warp, you swore allegiance to her Majesty the Queen of England and obedience to your superiors in her army. I expect you to continue to honour this oath."

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...he nods, cautiously. Sure, he'll do that, as long as it doesn't conflict with his other obligations. Which they probably don't need to know about just yet.

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"Captain Blain tells me you remember being from 2001. What do you remember of the technological state of the art from that time?"

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...sure, okay, that's where they can start. Laptops get better, so do cell phones, and the iPod just came out. DVDs exist. The internet's starting to be a big thing. 

If they're comparing to reports by other Warped, his version of 2001 is slightly, subtly ahead in some areas. A few of the companies he mentions don't exist in this world, or in most others: WayneTech. LexCorp. Kord Enterprises. 

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Still, generally behind current Warped-boosted technology levels.

If he doesn't cover medical or weapons technology in detail, Reed will ask about those things specifically.

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Not being medically trained or part of the US military, he doesn't know very much about those particular areas. But he'll do his best. The same pattern seems to hold true: World War Two played out exactly the same technology-wise, but there's been a slight acceleration since then relative to the standard timeline, nothing spectacular. Nothing worth noting.

"...superheroes have their own tech, but they don't tend to share it. Like Wonder Woman's invisible plane." 

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Next Reed asks him about the eleven years of extra history he remembers, especially with regards to natural disasters and military and political affairs.

(He takes note of Arthur being a civilian and from a world with superheroes)

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It's pretty similar to the baseline without-Warp timeline. A few of the country names and city names are different: the major threat in the Middle East, for example, is Bialya. The addition of superheroes doesn't seem to have thrown history majorly off course otherwise. 

Superman started his superhero career in Metropolis in 1998, around the same time as the magician Zatara. Batman started fighting crime in Gotham the following year, and Green Lantern came on the scene the year after that, in 2000. Aquaman has been around for a few months. There are rumours of another new vigilante over in Star City, and Wonder Woman has been sighted for the first time since the forties. Arthur hasn't ever seen any of the heroes in person and doesn't have many details to share. 

Superheroes have prevented and mitigated some, but not all, of the disasters which occur in worlds without their presence, and the existence of supervillains seems to have created new ones—all, thankfully, dealt with. He doesn't mention 9/11. It would have happened about a month ago in the standard timeline. 

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"Do you have any superhuman or supernatural powers yourself? Do you know of any ways to obtain them?"

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...okay. Moment of truth. He either has to lie to Peterson's commanding officer or give up his secrets.

It's 1990, and his counterpart was 19. Even if Aquaman was always going to exist in this world, he doesn't yet. No-one knows who he is, no-one knows anything about him. They don't have to know any more than he tells them, and he doesn't have to tell them about Atlantis.

"...yes." He gestures down at his outfit.

"This isn't just a costume I put on for fun. I'm Aquaman." 

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Reed is surprised.

"You said Aquaman can breathe water and talk to fish. How does talking to fish work? And do you have any abnormal abilities besides those?"

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"I have no idea how it works." It's only mostly a lie. 'Magic' isn't really that much more of an explanation than 'I don't know', and none of the other Atlanteans he's talked to have been able to replicate the trick with sorcery, so it might not even be magic. 

"I can communicate with all sea creatures, although most of them don't have much to say—dolphins are great, though. I'm a little stronger than most humans, I can swim faster, I'm more resistant to the cold..."

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"What sorts of distance can you communicate with sea animals over? And have you found any tactical applications for that ability?"

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"They have to be able to hear me and vice versa." He's still not sure whether the thing he does is more like speech or telepathy, but there's no relevant difference in how he can use it, so he doesn't care.

"I can persuade dolphins and whales to harass enemy vessels, that sort of thing?"

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