We teach girls to shrink themselves
To make themselves smaller
London. Munich. Bern. São Paolo. Minsk. Turin. Marseille. San Diego. Twenty-one thousand, four hundred sixty four and a half miles. By the time that I was eighteen, I had lived in three different continents. I thought nothing of it. I thought that this was how everyone lived, never planting their roots too deep in one town before letting go and flowing with wherever the wind took you. My infancy in the United Kingdom is barely a smidgen in my memory and my childhoods in Munich and Bern were von kurzer Dauer sein and innocent. It wasn't until São Paolo when I was nine years old that I learned that this was not the case for everyone, when that cuzão, Ernesto, the bully on the play yard told me otherwise. He said that vacas like me didn't stay anywhere too long because the country didn't want them. My own reply called him a buceta and challenged him to fight. Ernersto told me that he didn't fight girls. At least my father wasn't a dealer at Cracolândia. I'm pretty sure that Ernesto is doing the same thing as his father and that gives me a sense of satisfaction knowing that I did something with my life, even if part of it was covering for a corrupt government.
After we moved to Minsk, I begged my father to get a "normal" job so that we didn't have to move around, so that I could have a chance at a "normal" life. One where I could make friends that I wouldn't have to leave behind barely after I made them. One where we lived in a small house with a white picket fence and had a lawn and we had a dog in Suburbia, America. One where I wouldn't be the "weird" new girl that struggled to speak the local language and had a weird accent from somewhere else in the world that didn't quite fit my pale complexion and dark hair. He was disappointed to say the least, hoping that I would gain a sense of worldliness from a young age, one that I would not attain fully until I finally moved to the States, almost eight years later. I am disappointed in my own actions, as I was, for a lack of a better word, a Дурак, for not realizing what my father was trying to teach me. He retreated even more into his work and I saw him even less until after our next move. Those two years were pretty damn lonely. I fell even deeper into my books, teaching myself how to read Latin in attempt to ignore how I felt, not really making many friends during my time in Minsk. I think that when I left, my classmates didn't really notice as I was just the необщительный человек at the back of the classroom that whispered foreign words underneath her breath during recess.
I do suppose Turin was better. Much different from the desolate city in the former Soviet bloc that was still attempting to find itself after the USSR fell apart. It was nice, bella even, as I experienced the beginnings of puberty in the northwest of Italy. It was an experience, to say the least, At least I fit in more. I had the same porcelain skin that most people around me also had, only having a different hair colour, my slightly darker than chestnut brown hair standing out amongst the dirty blondes and butterscotches that the natives had. Despite looking much more like my classmates in Minsk, I was accettata, something that helped me make up with my father. He opened up to me on how hard it was to be a single parent with a full time job, working for the United States military, a highly intensive job that kept him busy. It was during this conversation that I heard him talk the most about my mother in my entire life, never much more after and barely any before. I believe that I would have liked her very much, me sharing her milk chocolate coloured eyes and height. She was an engineer, working alongside my father whose visions that she turned into realtà. I remember Turin as a time of discovery, the only place that I would truly classify as my home besides Washington.
I did not particularly like Marseille at all., at least the lycée général that I attended was incredibly clique-y. I'm not attempting to make a hasty generalization but these girls, they were vicious. As I was the new kid, something that I was more than used to by the time that I was fifteen, I was the easiest target. At least, I had a couple of friends, the other quiet kids in my classes, that stuck together and avoided those chiennes with their stupid hair that they crimped (hello it's the 80s, they asked for their hairdo back) and inevitably dyed blonde if it wasn't that colour originally and their caked-on makeup and their padded bras that contained more padding than actual breasts. It was as if their biting insults that barely made sense to my mind was the thing that would magically get them a perfect score on the baccalauréat. At least I had my friends that kept me sane through it all. They taught me French and I taught them helpful phrases in the other languages that I could speak and offered to help them in Latin, which I had already taught myself way back in Minsk. We protected each other and the bonds that I created were very fort. However, I had to leave them also behind several months before our baccalauréat test as my father decided to retire and move us back to his home in the United States: San Diego.
The United States were weird. It was foreign to me, a girl that had citizenship in the country but that was about it. My sotaque was a mixture of almost all of the countries that I had lived in, twinged with the Southern California voice that my father had from his younger years. Despite my obviously American and English name, most people believed that I was not who I said I was, as the especially prevalent French in my accent said otherwise. My father and I always spoke English at home to help ensured that I actually knew the language, but I struggled to find the right words almost every day. I was now the tarte in English class, me having to ask those that were bilingual in Spanish and English for assistance in broken Spanish that was more Italian that it was anything else.
I was the weird girl that had lived everywhere but the United States, but that didn't bother me. I immediately started excelling in each of my other classes, barring English, especially Spanish, as my knowledge of the other Romance languages finally came in handy. I found my own ниша in school with the other so-called weird kids. We went to prom together, something that I did not quite understand at the time, as it seems to be something that is exclusive to the States. The lingering Italian accent that had managed to stick through my stay in Marseille finally disappeared, My last legame to that town that I classified as my home was gone. What was left was the weird mixture of a reminder of the south of France and one recognisable to my classmates. I managed to get over the learning curve that had held me back for at least a month and a half and could finally write a half-decent essay to better prepare me for the unis that I had applied to earlier that year. I was not the top in my class by any means, but as damn close as I could be with all of my struggles from early on. Because of my struggles and constant moving, I was able to write an Aufsatz on it, which gained me admission to Brown University, where I could build my own curriculum as long as it had a concentration. And I waved San Diego, and my father, good-bye as I flew across the country to Providence, Rhode Island, excited to see what this would bring.
We say to girls
You can have ambition But not too much
Brown University was a rêve. I was among some of the smartest students in the entire world. My undergraduate time was full of academics as I secluded myself in my dorm room, a single as I was not sure if I could actually share a room. In hindsight, I probably should have been more willing to share my living space, as I was lonely without my best friend, my father. I buried myself the глубочайший into my books that I ever have been, poring over the various characters that made up the Chinese, Korean, and Japanese languages. I was obsessed with finding the similarities between the three languages for most of my Bachelor's Degree, despite the obvious one of the Japanese stealing some of the Chinese characters for their own language. Spoiler alert: there were barely any. It wasn't until after I received my doctorate that the characters that I studied for hours on end would stop swimming in my visão whenever I closed my eyes. I survived solely on coffee (only the largest cups with as much caffeine pumped into it that wouldn't put me into cardiac arrest) and poorly seasoned ラーメン, as my cooking skills had (and still have) much to be desired. I had lived pampered, almost, as my father had talents rivaling a Michelin star chef, or so I claimed whenever I returned home during the winter and summer vacations.
It was a treat whenever I came back to our small house on the fringe of the wealthy area of San Diego, as my father always threw a 'welcome home' party. He would take a break from his "retirement," otherwise known as his "normal" job as a Kassierer at a local hardware store, to spend all of his time with me. I loved those precious moments with him, staying up late as we binged the Indiana Jones film series and planted a flower garden in the backyard for the butterflies to flock to. I still can distinctly remember him spontaneously deciding to paint my room when I was home, the two of us painting murals on each of the walls. We were no Picassos, but they looked like capolavori to us, depicting four of the cities that we had resided in together: Turin, Marseille, Minsk, and São Paolo. I might not have had a boyfriend or someone to love romantically, but that truly was my summer of love, where I fell even more in love with my father, my only living family member. The times that we shared together brought me out of my loneliness that dug itself deep into my 灵魂 when I was away at university.
Despite this, I still made the executive decision to return to Brown University to pursue my Doctorate after I graduated. I was at the top of my class, the valedictorian actually. I can still picture my father in the third or fourth row of chairs for guests at my graduation, crying profusely as I addressed the rest of my class. That was one of the last times that I saw him as I moved out to Providence permanently that next fall. I had planned on visiting him during Christmastime as I normally did, but several weeks before I got onto the plane that would take me there, I got the news. My father had had a Herzanfall at work and by the time the paramedics got to the scene, he was gone. I journeyed back to San Diego for the final time to attend his funeral and sell his home. Many times I have been told that I have been an emotionless human, a cold pute even, but I cannot remember another time in which I wept so deeply, having to paint the walls to my room that we had painted together. The beige that I covered up the memories with soon became my least favorite colour and still remains that, all these years later.
Nonetheless, I powered through the grief, which helped me move forward on working on my dissertation. I still do not know how I got through it, as there were so many times in which I struggled. But through the loneliness that came even more evident from an obvious lack of an important support system, I found 힘. I found myself getting ahead of my classmates in the few classes that I still had to take. I made deep bonds with my professors who offered to help me take the extra mile to ensure the success of my dissertation. The countless hours that I researched during my undergraduate finally payed off as my research started becoming something vaguely cohesive. It started coming together around my five or sixth year of finding myself at the same dead ends that left me feeling indefenso and stuck. I even was contracted by the FBI who noticed my research to translate their documents that they planned on declassifying into various different languages to help a variety of people in return for a stipend and access to other previous declassified files that might help me with my dissertation. Out of my original class of twenty, I became the only one to actually receive my Ph.d., an achievement that still astounds me to this very day. I was one of fifteen in the entire country to receive it, which is pretty outstanding in my opinion.
Due to both my degree and my job while working towards it, Georgetown University reached out to me shortly after to offer me a job as an adjunct linguistics and languages professor. Adjust was better than nothing to me, as I was young for a professor. I was surprised to have such a prestigious college be interested in me, but it soon became clear that it was the federal government that had informed them of my achievement, as the agency still wanted to employ me. After I moved for the last time down to DC, I was in for a wonderful удивление. I fell in love with the city, as it had the same charm that made me love Turin. My job was absolutely fabulous and I love the older professors that I got to work with and have intellectual conversations with nearly daily. My students, if they weren't completely uninterested in the topics that I lectured about, were wonderful and everyday, I learned something new, as cheesy as that sounds. My other job was also absolutely amazing. Getting to work in the White House as a translator was like a dream, my knowledge of so many 语文 finally coming in handy besides for my thesis. I also did some document translating like I did before, which was still enjoyable when I had a free moment between grading and attending important events. My life was practically perfect and I wish that my father had been there to celebrate my success with me. I thought about him everyday and everything that I did and worked towards was for him with the hopes that he knew, somehow, how I was doing. Little did I know how much life was going to change. Sometimes I wish that i didn't agree, but nothing can change the past, definitely not just a measly desiderio.
You should aim to be successful
But not too successful Otherwise
you will threaten the man
Now that I think of it, I was practically everything that TTIA wanted. I had no family to cling to as my father, my only living family member, had died when I was twenty-three. I already had ties to both the military and the FBI due to both of my parents' jobs and my own involvement in translation of documents while I received my doctorate. When they reached out to me, I was blinded with the possibilidades that would come from what meager knowledge the TTIA offered to me. As depressing as both parts sounds, I was fascinated to be part of something important and groundbreaking, which was what the goal of my whole career was. Sure, being a translator and a college professor is pretty damn influential, at least in my own opinion, but this unknown thing with the government that required to me to get a certain 安全 level was like a beaconing light in which I was a moth. I do not regret my own involvement but it was through this that I just became so blind towards what one of its main proponents was actually doing. I should not speak for the other Fixers, but I have a feeling that they feel the same exact way about the предательство. We were seen as nothing more than a cover-up for a fraud of a government that wanted to correct its own mistakes that it learned from, for the most part, keeping the rest of the countries in the all important alliance in the dark, so that when we tried to do something about it, we were the ones that were pursued and threatened. But more on that after I describe as to how I describe my own partecipazione in this scheme.
I really do not know where to begin on the rest of the Fixers so I'll begin on my own involvement. Due to my own involvement with both the United States national government and the FBI, I was the first person that TTIA reached out to about the Fixers. The head of the TTIA, Jack Thorne, pulled me aside during the State of the Union dinner that I was attending, mentioning something to me about something grande was occurring in regards to Beaulieu, who had been found dead about three or four months prior. I had no idea as to why they would choose me, as there were plenty of far more qualified candidates that they had been considering, according to Thorne. We had a nice discussion over dinner, nothing too wichtig, seeing that we were at a very public dinner, but I had a meeting with him several days later in which he gave me the limited knowledge that I mentioned earlier. I practically agreed after that first official meeting, but officially signed the contract during the next, the first Fixer locked down. Technically, I am not supposed to be telling any of this information to 誰も, but seeing that most if not all of my original world has been annihilated by the Darkness, there's no point to violating such a frivolous piece of paper that no longer means anything. Seeing that I have yet to find any of the other Fixers or have any of the TTIA agents, John included, find me, there is no harm in bringing up these topics, as they technically didn't occur in this world that I now live in.
The rest of the team was assembled within the next four months. During that time period, what was the time machine, which us Fixers referred to lovingly as the Harbinger, was assembled in a bunker in Australia that was in the middle of nowhere. There were five of us: a linguist (myself), a protector, a historian, a designer, and a computer whiz. We were all so different and had completely different from each other with various milieux and ways as to how we earned our respective parts of the team. For the first month after we were assembled, the TTIA, which had yet to tell us the complete details for our purpose, had us doing team-building activities and practical things like that, so that we were more cohesive as a team. This was deemed as incredibly important, seeing that we needed to understand each other and how we worked to be able to properly carry out our missions. Teamwork was important and throwing five women who were practically 낯선 사람 into the most important secret missions in practically all of the world's history sounded like a complete disaster. The TTIA moved the five of us into a home in upstate New York, so that we were off the grid, but not so much that we were completely out of touch with the rest of society.
Finally we were given an official briefing, as the organization wanted to help ensure that none of us were going to flake and have a press conference where we announced to the world what the first-world was up to. What came after was nothing too difficult, a practice run so to speak, where we just had to retrieve a few important 文档 in regards to the Lockheed scandals in Italy during the late 1970s. It went without a hitch, not too much of a butterfly effect apparently, and our first mission, even if it was a test, was successful. I won't go too much into detail about our other ten or so missions that we had before the scandal, seeing that there were fairly mundane. It was when we were in Greece in the early 2000s, dealing with their equivalent to American Watergate, that we started uncovering some shit. It wasn't on purpose at all and if it weren't a verbal slip, that I'm still not sure to this day whether or not it was actually 故意的. I don't care either way, as I believe that we would have continued on, blissfully unaware of what dark dealings were being done.
I give some of the crédito to John, one of the TTIA agents that I had grown... close to during my time working for the organization, who mentioned something fishy accidentally during a case briefing. I was the only one to pick up on it and once we were out of the earshot of anyone that would not like us knowing this information, we began searching. Under the guise of actually working on our case in Greece, some hardcore hacking allowed us to find a few email messages between Thorn and the American president, in regards of a second machine, one that no other country was aware of existing. We knew that we couldn't just let the United States continue on with this as continued 해킹 uncovered more and more things that we, frankly, didn't want to know, but yet were still morbidly curious in. As information continued to be uncovered, there was a certain point... after we learned about the disappearance of Project MK Ultra from history, which we were aware of due to our own time traveling. Ties needed to be severed and soon, before they could use us a diversion again. So we left in the middle of the night, their tracking devices in our communication devices and the Harbinger having been rerouted, as we decided to figure out the most appropriate way to expose such a scandal.
the person who believes in the social,
Political, and economic equality
of the sexes
I am ashamed that the reason that I lost the rest of the Fixers before everything occurred was because I wanted, no needed, a smoke, a habit that I had (and still have) yet to kick and ultimately led to my separation from the rest of the team. We were at one of the few remaining non-ransacked towns on the border of Germany and France, hiding from the TTIA that was trying their damn hardest to найти us. We were at a bar to celebrate the good times that we had had thus far and I needed a cigarette so I excused myself from the rest of the group and headed out back. I obviously couldn't just pull out one of my Basic cigarettes (that weren't popularized until the 1970s apparently), so I had to get one from someone around the area. Luckily, one of the bartenders that were on his break had one to spare and even lit mine for me, so we just stayed out there for ten or so minutes, just talking about things that would keep his mind off of what was occurring. He was a nice fellow that captivated my Interesse for long enough that I didn't notice that John, and a few TTIA agents, had made an appearance at the bar. Luckily, they were blind enough to not have noticed the other four women part of the group, choosing to just get a drink as they were just passing through the town. The Fixers left the bar in a hurry, not telling me as that would draw attention to them. I would have been alerted otherwise, but I had forgotten to tell that my communications device was quebrado during transit between there and the United States at present time earlier that day.
By the time that I had emerged from out back, it had only been fifteen minutes or so since I had left and yet they were gone. The ladies that is, the TTIA agents and John were there still. I managed to duck out of there as fast as physically possible. I still have no idea if they actually saw me, but if they did, they didn't pursue me. Maybe he said something, but I don't know. I was desesperado once I had gotten out of the bar, looking everywhere for the rest of the Fixers. I still have no idea where they ended up going, but I'm fairly sure that they abandoned me. If I hadn't broken my earpiece and never told anyone or needed to have a smoke or had such a long conversation with Émile or just been so selfish, I would not have lost my four best friends. I don't even know if they managed to escape the Darkness. I would have checked to see if the Harbinger was still where we left it, but I never had the 時間 to do so. We had placed it out in the middle of nowhere in a clearing in the woods about one and a quarter miles away from the main part of the town so people couldn't find it easily. Random people in the 1940 wouldn't have taken well to this at all. I would have looked around more too, but as I was heading back to where the Harbinger was located, a random woman was further down the path, going in the same direction as I was. Obviously, I couldn't let this happen, so I pretended to be lost, asking for some made-up lieu that I don't even remember existing ever. I wasted twenty minutes trying to ask for directions, to no avail, which was my intended target. By the time that we made it back into town, I was certain that I had been abandoned. We had trained for this, of course, but as I was without any form of communication device, cell phone or earpiece, I was basically out of luck. Not that it mattered. It happened soon after.
The Darkness washed over the town, its tendrils destroying buildings and killing innocents in a single swoop and without thought. I stood there, just outside the main part of town, frozen as I watched the бойня and demolition occur. I had never seen nor heard of anything like this ever occurring and I had no idea as to what to do in this situation. We had not prepped for a supernatural being that could kill everything that it touched in mere seconds as they didn't exist. I first thought that I was hallucinating, that it was my guilt manifesting as large amounts of cigarette smoke that was taking over this town, but no. It was reality. I-I would have tried to do something, but I didn't think that I could do anything. I had no magical powers, no special skills, no mystical abilities that only existed in children's stories and movies to make it go away. Screaming at it in Russian wouldn't do anything- only lead to my own Untergang, which I was terrified of. So I did the only thing I could think of possibly doing; I ran. I went in the direction of where the Harbinger had been docked, away from the spread of the Darkness. There wasn't really anywhere to run, as running into the midst of Nazi-occupied Germany was not preferable, as I had no historian to help me survive. And running in heels, even if they were short, wasn't very helpful at all. I didn't make it that far. Maybe half or three-quarters of a mile away before my nicotine-stained lungs just gave up on me. I was out of breath, lost, and afraid. There really wasn't a good way out. Then I saw it... the portal. It was shimmery doorway light thing that looked like the kind of thing that the religious assumed would take them to Heaven or whatever it was. Now, I'm not, nor will I probably ever be, a religious person and wasn't raised to be one either, but I prayed that this would bring me libertação from the hellscape that I was experiencing. And with my last bursts of energy remaining in my body, I stumbled through the doorway, promptly collapsing on the other side. I blacked out, physically and emotionally exhausted, and I don't remember much of what happened after that.
I woke up two days later in a strange hospital room. Some lady told me that I was in San Francisco in the year 2010. I was dazed and confused to say the least, as it was 1940 where I was when I crossed the portal and it was technically 2025 back home. To my relief, I was informed that time travel didn't exist and TTIA wasn't a thing and the world wasn't in the same 食堂 that it had been in before. That was alright with me, even if that technically meant that I was out of a job. I stayed in the hospital for another two days so that the doctor could berate me for my smoking habit and ensure that I was healthy enough to be discharged. This nice place that helped displaced Darkness victims, Haven Hill, set up me up with an apartment and forged me some documents so that I could begin work at USF as a linguistics professor, like I did before being hired by the TTIA. It's been eight years since. I've continued my work as a professor and I have no plans on changing that or working for the government even if this is a different world. I cannot be taken advantage of again. I still have yet to find the rest of the Fixers or have the TTIA find me. Even though it's been a long time, I must remain optimistic about them. There are no other options. I can and I will find them. Us ladies have got to stick together if we plan on taking down the goddamn patriarcat somehow.