Saturday, December 12, 2015

Reavers Wobble: One Grave (Part III)

Click here for the entire story.

Horace and Leona postponed their honeymoon following the realization that Allen never came back from looking for a party boat they knew was going to go missing. The boat never returned, and the search for it was called off a few days later. Ulinthra backed up Horace’s lie that Allen had felt the need to find it, when really he had been murdered by Horace. Convincing the authorities that this was what happened was a little harder, but the family had no reason to think that they were not being honest; especially since the two of them had been able to practice the lie during Round One of their day. The team held off on saving lives for a couple weeks, taking time to grieve for their lost loved one. But their responsibilities beckoned to them, and they all went back to the routine, minus one important member.
On the fifth of April in the year of your lord 2030, they met a salmon named Mateo Matic. His inescapable pattern was to live for one day every year. At the end of it, he would be thrown exactly one year in the future. He had heard of The Delegator, and other salmon, but had met only one other of their kind. He spent his days doing whatever he could to stay alive in a world without identity. He had left his family days ago from his perspective, no longer wanting to subject them to the torturous roller coaster that was his brief appearances. Having nothing better to do, and wanting to fulfill a purpose, Mateo joined their team as an honorary member. He successfully helped them on missions six times before the fateful seventh day.
“She’s gotten so big,” Mateo exclaimed after returning to the timestream on April 11, 2036. He had just peeked in on Leona and Horace’s daughter. “I know, people say that all the time, but for me, it works.”
“Wouldn’t have it any other way,” Horace said playfully.
“Be nice,” Leona warned him.
“Good morning, everyone. We have a busy day,” Ulinthra said, coming into the room. “But we’re playing with our full roster, so I think we can make it.” She picked up her clipboard. “A shipment of tin is coming in to Port of Wilmington from Columbia. It turns up stolen. We don’t know when this happens, but we know it’s after coming into port. I need both brains and brawn on this one, so Mateo will accompany Horace and Leona to protect and investigate, if need be. Richard, that means you’ll have to go up to Yale University alone. A small riot breaks out during a protest for...” she trailed off, looking through her notes. “...molecule teleportation. I don’t know, but a girl who was never named is injured when she gets caught in the middle of the fight. You’ll spend more time driving up there than actually helping. Fortunately, you’ll also be close enough to stop a three-car pileup on the 91, and help a little girl find her cat in Hartford. Here’s a hint, it’s in her neighbor’s basement. I know it’s not that important, but your night mission in Boston is. I’ll discuss that with you in a minute. While you’re all doing that, I have to drive all the way up to Montauk to assist with flood rescue.”
“I could do that instead, if you’d like,” Mateo offered.
“No, I should do it. Other people will be there helping, and we can’t risk exposing the fact that you’re supposed to be old and dead to the public.” She looked around the room. “No more questions or comments? Gear up, take your timelines, and head out as soon as possible.”
Leona pulled Horace into the other room. “Remember what we talked about?” she asked.
“We’re not going back in time,” Horace said. “I don’t understand why we’re discussing this.”
“It makes me nervous when we deal with other salmon. Anything could happen. I’ve heard rumors that his father can go back in time. If something happens, I need to make sure that you understand time travel protocols.”
“I do, I get it. Let’s go. The ship will be coming in soon.”
“Repeat them to me.”
“Leona, we have to go.”
“We can’t go anywhere until the babysitter gets here. Repeat the words. Quietly,” she insisted.
“Dougnanimous Brintantalus,” Horace said the magic words reluctantly. “Those are so stupid.”
“That’s exactly why I chose them. No one would think to say them. If you go back in time, say those words to me, and I’ll know that I can trust you.”
“Do you know what the odds are that I’ll go back in time and run into you sometime after you’ve come up with these silly rules?”
“I do actually know the odds. Would you like to hear them?”
Horace shook his head steadily. “Shut up, smarty pants.”
After an hour drive, it was still dark outside. They didn’t always start working so early in the day, but they liked to make full use of Mateo’s availability. He drooled a little on his shirt, sprawled out in the seat across from them as the car automatically took them to their destination. The man could fall asleep in an instant, wherever he was. Being homeless, and always on the move, this skill came in handy.
They quickly found the shipping container that they needed to protect, hoping their presence would not alert the robbers and put them in harm’s way. Mateo continued to sleep through the majority of the day while they waited on the sidelines for someone to make a move. But no one ever did. The proper owners of the tin came to pick up their shipment and left with a truck. It was a good thing Leona was there to make sure the people who came for it were authorized to do so. Convincing people to give up information to a stranger was not Horace’s strong suit, but it was hers.
“You don’t think we should still follow them?” Mateo asked.
“No, something’s changed.” Horace was very concerned. “Something’s not right. We must have proverbially stepped on a butterfly.”
“If we changed the outcome just by being around, then that seems to me like we definitely should follow them.”
“No,” Horace said. “I don’t like it here. We need to leave. We didn’t do enough to alter the timeline. Only one thing could have.”
“What?” Mateo asked.
“Another salmon,” Horace and Leona answered, practically at the same time.
“Well, great. Then we have some help. We should find out who they are; maybe even add another person to the team.”
“No,” Horace said.
“I agree,” Leona nodded. “Let’s get the hell out of here.”
“I don’t understand why you two are so afraid.”
“Ulinthra?” Horace asked to his phone.
Yes?” Ulinthra responded.
“Mission bust. Back-up mission.”
Uh...” Ulinthra thought it over. She sounded winded. “Armed robbery in Woodstown. No one gets hurt, but the convenience store suffers some damage. That’s all I got for ya. I had planned on you sitting there awhile. What’s going on?
“I’ll explain later,” Horace said. “It may be nothing. Send our car the details.”
While the car was driving them to their new mission, Richard called in urgently, “help!
“What’s wrong, Richard?” Leona asked.
The riot has become larger. I don’t know what happened. These eco-freaks just came in and started throwing things at people. And now I think people have started joining in without any idea why they’re supposed to be angry. It’s gotten way out of hand.
“Richard,” Horace said. “No one can get to you. We’re all too far away.”
“I can get to them,” Mateo assured them. “Uh...computer? Take us to the nearest cemetery. Um, please?”
“What are you talking about? Stay out of this!” Horace redirected his words, “Richard, are you somewhere safe?”
I don’t know. I’m hiding behind some bushes, but—oh no, a group is coming this way. I have to be quiet, they’re like zombies!” Richard whispered loudly.
“I just need to find an open grave! Hal, take us to a cemetery!”
“The car’s name isn’t Hal,” Leona said.
“Oh, forget it!” Mateo crawled over to the dashboard, and figured out how to switch the vehicle to manual.
Horace tried to pull him off, but wasn’t strong enough. “Get away from the wheel!”
“I can do this,” Mateo swore. “I just need one grave for one minute.”
“No one drives by hand anymore!” Leona yelled.
“I knew we shouldn’t have gotten a car with a steering wheel. This isn’t 2025!” Horace continued to struggle with the wheel. But it wasn’t enough. The car crashed into the pillar of the Broadway bridge. Click here for the next installment...

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