339 BCE, Greece
Alexander the Great is the best master the Genie has had to date, and the best he will have until Aladdin. He understands the importance of rules, of things that should not be meddled in. He uses the Genie's powers to further his goals, but not in a way that makes him regret his actions.
When Alexander's beloved companion dies, the Genie regrets that he cannot revive the man. Alexander follows his friend into death, and the Genie retreats into his lamp.
192 AD, Rome
Septimus Severus finds his lamp and uses it to take over Rome. He refuses to tell his children where the lamp is hidden, so Genie is forced to watch as they search desperately, allowing their dynasty to fall. This is followed by years of war and turmoil, and what he later learns is the fall of the Roman Empire.
While he is out of his lamp, he travels the world, watching the upheaval happening all across it. China, Africa, so many regimes rising and toppling. He can't stand all of the death and destruction. He returns to his hidden lamp.
1042 AD, China
Many years pass. He is found by a magistrate and scholar, at a time when the Dynasty is flourishing. Wanting nothing for himself, Bao Quingtian asked the Genie for guidance in improving the lives of his workers. He wished for a solution, and wished that the government would listen when he proposed it. It was the most selfless wish the Genie had ever received, and he was proud to make it happen. Unfortunately, the success went to his master's head, and his last wish, for riches, was painful to grant.
Disappointed, the Genie retreated to his lamp and thought about the reasons behind his creation.
2005 AD, Pakistan
His lamp is discovered by a crazy man who refuses to give his name. The Genie dislikes this man intensely, and the man refuses to listen to his rules. Jafar will be more cunning, but at the time, this man is the worst master he has had.
When he refuses again and again to kill, the man finally asks him to keep him hidden from all the eyes that watch him. The Genie obliges, but he does not know enough of this new world.
The technology of satellites and recorders that watches without eyes escapes him, and eventually the man is found. Genie hides and watches as a group of men storm the fortress and kill his master. They are followed by many people collecting the man's belongings, and the Genie retreats back inside his lamp as it is boxed up.
2113 AD, American Federated States
A hundred or so years have passed, and the Genie is summoned again. The people in the museum are surprised to see him, and the Genie surmises that his summoning was an accident. Soon his lamp is whisked away in an armored truck and he is deposited in a sterile steel laboratory.
The scientists ask him all kinds of questions, and run all kinds of tests on him. When they do not need him, he is allowed to watch a clever invention called a TV, and he learns much.
They have some sort of block, so that he may only watch classics and cartoons; all news, current events, and history programs are inaccessible. Still, he gets bits and pieces, and he begins to understand the mistake he made with his last master.
Finally, after years of study, they bring a distinguished looking woman to meet him. Ruth officially rubs the lamp, and the Genie begins to serve her. Her first wish feels as though she is testing him, as she asks that he return her daughter safely home from a trip abroad. He does this easily, and then they get down to business.
She understands his rules, and promises not to disobey them. She has understood from the scientists that his powers are not compelled by cause and reaction, she says. From what she gathers, he will not kill anyone outright, but he is not incapable of setting in motion a chain of events that might lead to a death.
The Genie thinks about this for a long time. Surely people died as a result of Alexander's quest to see the far horizon, and he helped with that wish. Was that the same as killing someone?
The Genie did not think so, and he told the woman as much. She smiled, as though he had answered correctly, and he began to feel the first hints of unease. Finally Ruth wished that he protect her land from any kind of harmful biological pathogen or radiation. She wanted an invisible shield over most of the continent. It took him a few tries, but the Genie fulfilled her wish.
The next day, she ordered that nuclear bombs be dropped on many other areas of the world.
The Genie watched by her side as the other places turned to barren wastelands, as the crops died and the creatures mutated. And he hated her. For all that she had treated him with the utmost respect, he hated her.
He felt no guilt when the ash darkened skies resulted in the loss of crops in her country as well, and he let her know. She tried to fix what she had broken, but he could only do so much with the one wish she had left.
When he finished, he retreated back inside his lamp. He heard as she ordered it to be buried in the wastes, and he was glad.
12157 AD, Agrabah
Ten thousand years, give or take, had passed since her soldiers buried him in a top secret artifact chamber. And his new master was a young boy with an intelligent monkey. It was something that the Genie would wonder about, as he embarked upon this new world. Every animal he saw had some level of human intelligence and emotion. He pondered if this was the end result of centuries of radioactive mutagens.
Aladdin was cunning, true, but in the way of Alexander, not in the way that Ruth had been. Aladdin was the closest thing the Genie had ever met to an innocent. And he desperately wanted to keep the boy that way. In his thousands of years on this earth, the Genie had seen too much destruction and death and not enough goodness and life.
Getting them out of the bunker was easy; it had a genetically encoded lock that Aladdin's DNA keyed open, though it appeared that such technology was now lost, at least on the boy. The Genie steered the carpet - an old friend who was also studied in the laboratory - towards the first oasis he saw.
As they came in for a landing, he wondered what this new world looked like. Was this desert the only thing remaining of the countries he had known, or was it an anomaly in a newly lush world? Aladdin was a poor boy from a small town, it was clear from his appearance, and Genie knew that he would know nothing of the rest of the world. Clearly much had been lost over 10,000 years.
Genie learned quickly, and he was pleasantly surprised by what he saw. It was true that the world had moved backwards in many respects - most technology was lost or misinterpreted - but humans were still surviving. They weren't necessarily thriving, at least in this corner of the world, but they were doing what they could.
As Aladdin moved into the palace, Genie moved about the city streets in disguise, trying to find information about the rest of the world. Most of them knew nothing of the world outside Agrabah's walls, but he did find one trader who had been to the Chinese border. Most of the world was still a wasteland, but there were a few small oases remaining, and even more communities eked out an existence on the fringes, as those in Agrabah did.
The Genie did see more and more of the sentient animals, and he began to wonder about the humans too. While he couldn't pinpoint any strange things about them, he was certain that there must be something.
He did, however, notice a strange tendency towards agnosticism. While his viewing had been restricted, he had seen enough while working for his old masters to realize that the world had come to be run by religions. Each of his last masters had demanded his compliance in the name of a different god.
But now, however, the strict worship of the old ways seemed to have disappeared. If the princess's attire was anything to go by, quite a lot had changed. Sure, the words were still there, but the culture and meaning behind them seemed to have vanished.
The Genie pondered this as he returned to the palace.
Al was in one of the palace gardens, pacing miserably because he had no idea how to woo his princess. Genie gave the best advice he could, with his new knowledge of this world, but he knew that an innocent like Aladdin would not understand.
He was grateful that the carpet took the young lovebirds on a ride around the globe. It would help Aladdin, and it would give the Genie a chance to see more of the world.
He saw miles of wasteland, punctuated by small oases, just as the trader reported. In what had been Egypt, they appeared intent on rebuilding their past, and he watched them slave away at work that the machines he had witnessed could have done easily. In England, he found a neo-classical, though he supposed it would now be called a neo-neo-classical garden fashioned as a Greek temple. China didn't seem to have changed much, from what he remembered of it.
But the animals... again Genie noticed them. Albino horses raced across the desert. Intelligent birds flocked towards the princess. And then there were the places where all life forms seemed to have fled.
It was extremely odd, and Genie couldn't yet figure out how the humans had escaped unscathed. Or appeared to, at any rate. But that concern was quickly replaced by Al's next need.
The battle between his Al and Jafar escalated and the Genie once again found himself working against his own heart. But in the end, the day was saved by the street-rat after all.
Genie knew that he had been right about Aladdin, and this was a master he was pleased to call his friend. Genie was willing to give up his freedom, despite Al's promise, in order to make the young boy happy. He had seen little enough happiness in his generations on Earth.
But then, the unthinkable happened. Al wished him free.
As the magic surged through him and his shackles fell off, the Genie felt something he had never believed he would. He was his own person. For the first time in his long, long life, he could do what he wanted. Anything he wanted. Nothing he didn't want. It was the most amazing thing he had ever felt.
And then, with a word, the Sultan dispelled his last remaining worry. The Genie felt his heart lighten with the rush of pleasures. He would be able to leave his friend in a good life while he took off to explore this new world. Still feeling a fizzing pleasure suffusing his skin, the Genie shot away from Agrabah in search of his first personal adventure.