Sunday, September 27, 2015

The Advancement of Mateo Matic: April 18, 2042

Click here for the 2015 table of contents.

Harrison was assigned to remain with Mateo and Leona indefinitely, which he seemed to have no problem with. He gave the impression that he had grown as impatient with Ulinthra as they had just from five minutes of speaking with her. Last year, he interfaced with the aircraft, tinted the windows, and flew them to Iceland. They spent the rest of the day there as tourists. Harrison remained firmly in position inside of a secret cave for the entire year until they returned and woke from sleep.
“That was a nice vacation,” Mateo said.
“Harrison. Status report.”
“The whereabouts of your family is currently unknown. They have theoretically managed to evade detection for years now. Ulinthra has evidently suffered from a crisis of conscience, and is currently spinning off her subsidiaries, liquidating her assets, and donating vast amounts of money to charity. Your conversation seems to have made a huge impact on her perspective.”
“I didn’t expect her to make such radical moves,” Mateo said honestly. “She barely knows us. Why does she care what we think?”
“I believe you severely underestimate the level of respect you hold over the salmon community,” Harrison said.
“What? I haven’t done anything. Other salmon are running around pulling people out of burning buildings, shaping the future, fixing the past. I’m just...occasionally around.”
Harrison laughed. “People have been telling stories about you two. Remember that others have seen the future and come back. You may have done nothing yet...but you will. And most would argue that donating your kidney to someone you had only known for a couple of weeks was admirable.”
“This is true,” Leona said, knowing that Mateo had no way of responding without losing his humility.
“All right,” Mateo said, anxious to change the subject. “Let’s get to the nitty-gritty. Where’s Reaver? And what might he do next to try and kill us?”
“I doubt that he would be able to do anything from where he is.”
“Is he dead?” Leona asked, with a tad bit more enthusiasm than a well-adjusted person should show.
“No. But he has been incarcerated. He was found guilty on a number of counts after the cascade event years ago. He was left in house arrest, and his movements were severely restricted, but he violated the terms when he ran off to visit Daria.”
“That’s an interesting development.”
“He has been secretly placed in a private maximum security prison in—”
“Don’t say it.”
“Utah,” Harrison finished.
“He said it.”
“We have been monitoring him, but the majority of people are unaware that he is there. We suspect even that other inmates do not know he’s there. Our intel suggests that he has been in solitary confinement this entire time.”
Reaver was in prison, and presumably unable to communicate with his people, but there was no way of knowing whether he had formed relationships with the prison guards. He could be out in a few months, and be ready to cause more trouble for them tomorrow. This was their chance. They knew where he was, they had transportation, and they were as safe from his wrath as they were ever going to get. They had to act. “Take us to Utah.”
“Mateo, no!” Leona cried.
“Yes!”
“I’m not going to take you to the man who has made it his life’s mission to kill you and my boss,” Harrison responded, like it was the dumbest thing he had ever heard.
“We command you to take us.”
“I don’t have to do what you say. I’m an employee; not a slave. If my boss told me to do something I didn’t want to do, I would likely lose my job, but I wouldn’t be bound to it.”
“Robots don’t have to do what their told?”
“I’m not a robot. Where are you getting this? Movies? I’m an artificial intelligence. Big difference.”
“Then we ask you to take us to Utah, Leona said.
“I thought you didn’t want to go,” Mateo said to her.
“Yeah, remind me of that again, and see if you get your way.”
“I’m not going to take you to Utah. That’s final!” Harrison yelled.

Before landing in Utah, Harrison multitasked and coordinated with Reaver loyalists, prison officials, and shady underground people. They were able to get ten minutes alone with him, but they had to go in practically naked and undergo invasive cavity searches so that there was no way for them to sneak anything to him.
They sat at the table across from their enemy, Horace Reaver. He looked at Mateo with disgust, and Leona with bedroom eyes. “Stop looking at her like that.”
“Five more minutes, mom.”
“Stop it!” Leona shouted.
He immediately complied, as if her wish was his command.
Realizing that he was more prone to listening to her than to Mateo, Leona took control of the conversation. “What is your problem with us?”
“I have no problem with you,” he corrected. “My problem is with him.”
“Are you going to keep trying to kill us? We could keep avoiding you and wait you out until you die.” She pretended to look at a watch on her wrist. “It’ll take us a few weeks, but that will be hell for you. For you, it’s twice as long as it is for normal people, and they go crazy waiting for us to come back.”
“I’m not trying to kill you,” he corrected her again. “I’m trying to kill him.”
“I’ve been there. I was certainly in danger as well.”
“When?”
“He brought back a virus from the future that killed his mother, and could have killed me. That was your fault.”
“I have no clue what you’re talking about. Are you referring to the 2025 pathogen? That was Mateo?” He snorted and looked over to him. “You idiot.”
“You kidnapped my brother and his mother so that you could lure us to your plane and blow us up, or something.”
“Yeah, or something. You didn’t get on the plane, so how would you know what I was intending to do with you?”
“I could have been in the house when your sleeper cell, Mirage tried to kill him.”
“I programmed that machine to go after him when the rest of the house was empty. You were never in danger.”
“The Kessler cascade! You blew up a space probe so that we would be bombarded by debris, and killed while trying to return to Earth.”
Reaver looked offended. “Hey, that really was an accident, which is why I wasn’t immediately sent to prison. I was just trying to find you.”
“I don’t believe you.”
“Keyword in space probe is probe,” he over enunciated. “I wasn’t trying hurt you. I just knew that you were somewhere in space, and I was trying to get to you. The cascade was an accident. I promise.”
“The volcano,” Mateo interjected.
“The what?”
“He means the forest fire,” Leona clarified.
“That legit was not me. Sure, I sent my people to pick you up after it, but I didn’t start the fire. Again, I’ve only ever wanted to hurt him. A fire would have been stupid, because I couldn’t guarantee your safety.”
“Why would you care about my safety? Wouldn’t I just be a casualty?”
Reaver paused for half a moment. “That’s all I’m saying. I’ll tell you more next year.” He pretended to look at a watch on his wrist. “Or the year after that, depending on how long it takes you to get me out of here.”
They howled with laughter. “We shall do no such thing.”
“I know you heard me the other day when I told Daria about the the choosing ones. I really do know how to stop them. I know who they are, and I know where they are. Get me out, and we’ll stop this together.”
“Why do some people call them the powers that be, but others the choosing ones?”
“Potato, tomato,” Reaver said simply.
“This is crap. Even if we wanted to, we don’t know how to break people out of prison. We’re a couple of kids from Kansas.”
“You’re exactly who I need. You came in the back way, but this building, and much of the world, is loaded with facial recognition scanners. Nearly the whole population has been scanned into a database or two, many against their will. Except for you. You’re dead. You’re the only ones who can sneak in here without alarms.”
“That’s dumb. They still have guards. They’ll see people they don’t know, and sound the alarms manually.”
“Not likely. It’s mostly automated. Very few humans work here. Look, here’s the deal. My team will provide you with whatever resources you need, and support you however they can. But you have to do this. You’ve already agreed to it. Yesterday. We’ve already had this conversation. You just don’t remember because Ulinthra and I are the only ones who go back and repeat our days. I’m just rehashing our conversation from before. Besides, it’s not like it would be your first prison break.”
“There’s no way for us to know whether you’re telling the truth about us having agreed to this in an alternate timeline,” Leona pointed out.
“There is. Dougnanimous Brintantalus.” He smiled like a creeper. “How would I know that?”
Leona was noticeably upset. “We have to do this, Mateo.”
“What? What the hell is Dougblagablah?”
“We have no choice.”
“I’m not going to break Horace Reaver out of prison. That’s final!” Mateo proclaimed.
At 11:00 PM local time, Mateo and Leona jumped back into the timestream, intending on meeting with Reaver’s loyalists to once more go over the plan to break him out of prison. They learned, however, that he had been moved to a new prison; one ominously called The Platform. Click here for the next installment...

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