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Playing With / Time Abyss

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Basic Trope: A living individual or an artificial construct older than recorded history.

  • Straight: Bob the Occult Detective meets Alice the Mysterious Waif who comments on his resemblance to the palace guard chieftain of King Alulim of Ancient Sumer. His investigation eventually uncovers hard evidence of Alice's presence during the Crucifixion, the Sack of Troy, the Exodus, the Xia dynasty, and the construction of the Great Pyramid of Giza.
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  • Exaggerated: Alice existed before the formation of the universe, and witnessed it.
  • Downplayed: Alice is pretty old, and has some very good memory, but she really couldn't tell you anything a knowledgable historian couldn't.
  • Justified:
  • Inverted: Bob meets Claire who looks like a teenager. It turns out, she Really Was Born Yesterday, pumped with Fake Memories, and will die of old age before midnight.
  • Subverted:
    • Alice laughs it off, explaining that she majored in Ancient History twice, and Paleontology and Geology once each, and that Bob has an all-too wild imagination.
    • Alice has been around for a hundred thousand years, but was frozen for most of them.
    • Alternatively, Alice is a time traveler.
  • Double Subverted:
    • Well, she did major in history twice: in 2003 and 1787. Which in no way nullifies her affairs with Khufu and Ajax. And her Paleontology and Geology majors are from the Dinosaur University of Pangaea.
    • Alice was frozen for most of her existence... but still conscious.
    • Alice is a time traveler... who's experienced thousands of years of subjective time while exploring the past and future.
  • Parodied:
    • Alice had a bunch of wacky adventures with almost every famous historical person.
    • Alternatively, Alice is a slacker, and spent the last million years chilling. She knows very little of history, not much more than the Average Joe would know, because even though she was there, she didn't care.
    • "Name: Alice* Date of birth: None, predates time *predates last names"
    • Alice wakes up one morning to cheers and crowds celebrating as Emperor Justinian retakes much of Italy. She then falls asleep, and wakes up when Constantinople is being sacked by the Ottomans. She then wakes up again when the Battle of Gallipoli is heard in the background - and she shrugs it all off.
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    • Alice's vast age is contrasted with a truly grand level of Immortal Immaturity; mortal Bob still has to essentially babysit her.
  • Zig Zagged: Alice was a modern teenager who was transported to ancient Sumeria, given an immortality serum, and left to take The Slow Path through history back to the present day. Then that timeline was erased somehow. Now Alice is a modern teenager again, and she really is 17 years old, but thanks to Applied Phlebotinum she also remembers her adventures in ancient Sumeria and can draw on her experience as the plot demands.
  • Averted: All characters have reasonably human lifespans.
  • Enforced: Alice is introduced solely to explain historical backgrounds to the target audience.
  • Lampshaded: "You just wait until she claims to be Really 700 Years Old, man."
  • Invoked: "I will be there long after you humans are gone, to tell the future masters of Earth about your fate".
  • Exploited: ???
  • Defied: Alice gives up her one shot at immortality to spend a regular lifetime with her lover.
  • Discussed: "Have you seen her eyes?" "Yeah, it's like an abyss of time. Creepy."
  • Conversed: ???
  • Deconstructed:
  • Reconstructed:
    • Bob's insanity is just a stepping stone in himself becoming just like Alice.
    • No matter what she saw, Alice has proof (Humans Rights, better treatment for diseases, regress of famine...) that no matter what, things CAN get better.
  • Implied:
    • Alice remembers all these things, but Bob doesn't believe she was there for any of it. When Bob ends up time travelling to one of the events Alice said she witnessed, Bob thinks he sees her there but he can't be sure.
    • When someone asks a knowledgeable third party how old Alice is, they simply say "very old" and strongly advise against prying further.
  • Played For Laughs: "I had just finished puberty when the moon rose for the first time. But who cares about that? This is my cat, Muffins!"
  • Played For Drama: Alice is horribly scarred by all the things she has witnessed, and has nightmares about them every night. Every night.

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