Sunday, October 18, 2015

The Advancement of Mateo Matic: April 21, 2045 (Part II)

Click here for the 2015 table of contents.

Unlike his regular timejumps, Mateo didn’t move physically. Instead, his mind was sent back to his younger body. He was in the middle of the dark jungle with Leona who had no recollection of dying, or anything else that had happened in the other timeline. The security contingency overwhelmed them, just as they had before. They patted the two of them down, bound their wrists, and took them back up to the house. Reaver was cooking in the kitchen, as predicted. Everything was the same.
Mateo was about to say something to change history for the better, but stopped himself. Reaver had already experienced this day once. Presumably, he did the same thing in both of the first two timelines. If Mateo deviated from what had happened based on his new knowledge, Reaver would be suspicious. Until they got up to the room, Mateo would have no choice but to play this out exactly as he had before, saying all the same things. But could he remember everything? “Cooking? What did you do, watch every movie with an evil villain and just copy their movements? Next you’re going to speak in an accent and touch my skin with vaguely homoerotic undertones.” Shit. That was wrong. He didn’t say undertones last time. He said overtones.
Reaver did seem to notice. He crooked his neck and squinted his eyes slightly, but then either thought he had unwittingly altered the conversation, or that he was remembering it wrong. “Right,” he said, “I’m impressed. You so often prove yourself to be completely out of touch and uncultured, but here you are making hollywood cliché references.” He responded with about the same quip as before, but his voice had changed. He was no longer in a good mood. That undertones mistake had somehow ruined his attitude.
“I like to play to my audience,” Mateo said, also with less snark than last time.
“We had a deal,” Leona said. “We help you out of prison, and you help us stop the powers that be.”
“No, you misunderstand,” he explained. “I needed your help breaking out of prison. And you did a good job. Very clever using your own pattern against the security system. I would have preferred not waiting a whole year for your return, but...it all worked out. Anyway, I’m not here to help you find the powers that be. You’re still the ones helping. I’m going to contact them for my own reasons, and whatever happens to you as a result is irrelevant to me.”
“Well, we don’t know the context,” Leona said. “How are you contacting them? You said you know where they are, but how do we get there? You even admit that you still need us, otherwise you would have done it this past year. So you have one day to get it done.”
“You’re right,” Reaver agreed. “You’re not just helping; you are vital to my plan. But we can’t actually do anything until the end of the day. Like your prison break, my plan hinges on the fact that you’ll jump into the future in 24 hours.”
“Explain.”
“I will later,” he said. “I’m gonna stick you two in a comfortable room for the time being. Don’t worry, there aren’t any cameras. I have no interest in seeing you two...” he trailed off again. “I suggest you get some rest since you were up all day yesterday, paranoid that I would try to kill you.”
“Why should we be less paranoid now?” Mateo asked. “Nothing has changed.”
“This is true. Do whatever you want. I don’t even care anymore. Someone will bring you food later.” He redirected his words to Lieutenant Franklin whose name Mateo wasn’t supposed to know. “Take them upstairs.”
Mateo decided to risk sleep. Even though Reaver might have been suspicious that he knew more than he was letting on, there was no getting around the fact that both he and Leona needed the rest, especially if they were going to make yet another escape. His suspicion about Reaver’s suspicion was reinforced when Franklin came in two hours later than he had in the original timeline, to give them cold noodles instead of hot quiche. Things were diverging faster than Mateo could handle. Soon, time will have changed so much that he would have no chance of predicting what was going to happen next. He had to act. “Franklin.”
“What?” Franklin asked, confused.
“That’s your name.”
“It is.”
“But Reaver never told me your name, so how would I know that?”
“Mateo, what’s going on?” Leona asked.
Franklin looked down at the floor and pondered. He wasn’t the least intelligent person in the world, but it probably took him a little time to figure things out. Mateo was giving him as much time as he needed, because an ally would come in handy. “Horace is a time traveler.”
“Right,” Mateo said, relieved that he knew as much.
“You’re time travelers.”
“We are.”
“You found out my name, and then you went back in the past to now, and now you know my name.”
Mateo closed his eyes and nodded once. “That’s exactly what happened.”
Franklin scratched the hair on the back of his head rigorously, like a dog. “Well, what happens?”
“We die,” Mateo said, but then he began the lie. “We all die. Leona, me, your entire team. Everybody dies, Franklin. And it’s Reaver’s fault.”
“No, Horace would never do that,” Franklin protested. “He’s my friend. He lets me call him Horace.”
Leona followed Mateo’s lead and improvised. “He is your friend, but you two get in a fight, and he loses control. He doesn’t mean to, but he’s just so mad at us. He doesn’t really want us here, but he doesn’t know what to do.”
“Horace always knows what to do!”
“He always has, yes,” Leona tried to calm him down. “But he doesn’t like us, and we kind of confuse him when we’re around. Accidentally,” she clarified. “You have to help him, Franklin. You have to get rid of us for him.”
He pulled out his gun. “I can get rid of you.”
She held up her hands in defense. “No, not like that. We’re time travelers, remember? If you kill us, we’ll just come back.”
That was completely ridiculous, and 100% untrue, but Franklin seemed to be buying it. Maybe he was the dumbest person in the world. “Okay, what do I do?”
“We came here with an android. Do you know where he is?”
“Horace turned him off and chained him up in the basement closet.” He looked at the floor shyly. “But I turn him on every once in awhile when Horace is away. He’s my friend too.”
“Okay,” Leona said. “I need you to turn him on one more time. He is our friend as well, and we need his help.”
Franklin was still hesitant, but in the end, agreed to help them help Reaver. About ten minutes after he left, there was a ruckus downstairs. Shots were fired, wood was cracked, screams were screamed. Harrison burst through the door, face like a rabid animal. “Next time I tell you to stay away from an evil psychopath, listen to me!”
“You don’t have to tell us twice,” Mateo said.
“That was, like, the tenth time!”
They stole Reaver’s aircraft, disabled the tracking software, and flew off to safety in Baker Lake, Nunavut where Mateo described to them what had happened. Click here for the next installment...

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