Sunday, December 27, 2015

The Advancement of Mateo Matic: May 1, 2055

Click here for the 2015 table of contents.

The Delegator returned Mateo and Leona to Topeka last year where they were finally reunited with their family. Aura was still clearly perturbed about having been abandoned twice, but Samsonite had apparently convinced her to convert this anger into love and understanding. Leona’s father and stepmother were notably older, but still looked more youthful than people their ages did back in the day. They say that in less than a decade, aging will be relegated to the developing populations, but that even those would be lifted up and the death rate will slowly begin to decrease from 100%.
When the two of them returned to the timeline in 2055, they were informed that Horace Reaver had been killed in an explosion in his prison cube, along with all five of his guards. There was no further information on the matter, as the powers that be would want to keep details out of the hands of the lowers. Apparently, Danica wanted to discuss something with The Rovers, alone in The Constant, and so the entire group headed for Lebanon. The rest of them waited patiently in the RV.
Danica sighed as they were getting off of the elevator. “It’s nice to see you again, cousin.” She walked them over to the counter where a smorgasbord awaited them.
“And you.”
“Leona,” Danica nodded.
“Concierge,” Leona nodded back.
“What seems to be the problem?” Mateo asked.
“Now that the whole Reaver thing is over, I figured we would reconnect.” She took a beat. “Mostly, I just wanted to make sure you were okay.”
“We’re all right,” Leona assured her. “We’re worried about the next Reaver.”
“How do you mean?” Danica asked.
“Ours are dangerous lives. We don’t expect to go back to doing nothing all day, everyday. Our next enemy is right around the corner. Because that’s how this works.”
“This isn’t a book or movie, Leona,” Mateo told her.
“Isn’t it?” She tilted her head like a teacher trying to get a student to figure out the problem on their own. “Horace did say that his daughter told him that the choosing ones do this primarily for entertainment.”
Mateo was confused. “When did he say that?”
“Oh, I guess you weren’t there. He spoke of it in my prison suite. Evidently they just...like to watch.”
Mateo turned to his cousin. “Danica?”
“I didn’t know that, and I still don’t,” Danica answered, “but I wouldn’t be surprised. Would you?”
“No, I suppose not.”
“I do have a job for you,” Danica said, changing the subject. “It won’t be easy.”
“I thought the Delegator doled out the jobs.”
She ignored the remark, “the powers would like you to inform the families of the Guards who died in the Reaver explosion.”
“Why did they choose us?”
“The reason is dependent on whether you’re right that they’re purpose is just to mess with our lives.”
They just looked at her.
“They didn’t tell me why,” Danica explained.
“How do you communicate with them?” Leona asked.
“How does the Delegator?” Mateo furthered.
She frowned. “They implant thoughts in my subconscious. Of course, I don’t know exactly how they do this, but no one ever tells me to do anything, I just know I’m supposed to.”
“That’s frightening.”
“Just count yourself lucky that you’ve not experienced it. Because it’s more frightening than you could imagine. I can tell when it’s not really my thought, but I also can’t stop it. It’s like someone whispering loudly, straight at my brain, and it doesn’t stop until I’ve agreed to its demands.”
“Those are some sick puppies,” Mateo pointed out.
“Indeed.”
“So,” Leona began, “how are they going to send us to the future to give the bad news? Mario? The door-walkers?”
Danica shook her head. “They do not intend to break your pattern. That is the hard part. You’re going to have to wait until you reach the time period on your own. I don’t have the precise timeline at present, but they’re waiting for you sometime in the very early 23rd century.”
“That’s almost five months our time,” Leona exclaimed, having done the math in her head extraordinarily quickly, even for her.
“Somehow, I don’t think the powers that be are bothered by that,” Danica said.
“Rule Number Nine,” Leona said. “gather as much information on the future, and your future, as possible. Write it down if you have to.”
“I’ll write that down,” Mateo said, taking his notepad out of his bag. “Another thing,” he said as he was writing down the rule. “I need to understand what you knew about where Reaver and Ulinthra came from. Did you know about The Gravedigger? Do you know all of the people at Daria’s funeral? What exactly do you, and don’t you, know?”
Danica took in a deep breath and prepared herself. “I am The Concierge, Mateo, of something called The Constant. It is my job to be there for my guests. That doesn't mean fluffing pillows and stocking the minibar. It means that I have to understand what they've been through, which means that I am aware of every single timeline, and everything that was changed between them. Yes, I remember the timeline where you timeslipped mostly alone. But I was not allowed to intervene. I'm walking the line just talking about it here.
“I was not at Daria’s funeral,” she continued, “but I do know every salmon who has been to my present or earlier. I don’t, strictly speaking, have a confidentiality agreement, but I try not to divulge information about my other guests. You wouldn’t have wanted me blabbing to Reaver about what you were up to, right?”
“Reaver was down here?”
“Yes, he spent many nights recharging down here. Everyone does, at one point or another.”
“But the powers that be never come down?”
She laughed. “If they did, then they claimed to be a salmon. Wouldn’t be that hard to convince me. Not for them.”
“Never met anyone named Melly? That’s Reaver’s daughter’s name,” Leona explained to a lost Mateo.
“He told you a lot more than he told me,” Mateo noted.
“I can’t imagine why,” Leona replied sarcastically.
“I’ve never heard of her,” Danica said honestly.
“What about a man wielding a knife who calls himself The Cleanser? He tried to kill me and Reaver in an alternate timeline.”
She shook her head. “I don’t. I don’t know him. I know what you’re talking about, because they implanted the knowledge of the events in my head, but I never met him. Are you sure he wasn’t just an angry former employee of Reaver Enterprises?”
Mateo smiled, grateful to know something others don’t. “He came out of nowhere, and he was there to kill salmon, not Reaver specifically.”
“Then it’s my guess that he’s one of them,” Danica suggested.
“Mine too,” Leona agreed.
A choosing one who goes against the plans of the other choosers,” Mateo thought out loud. “I think we can work with that.”
“Let’s not count our hatchets before the chit,” Leona said...oddly.
“Can our family come down now?” Mateo asked.
“What for?”
“To rest.”
“They’ve been fine,” Danica said. “You’re the ones who need rest.”
“Okay, well they can be our plus...” Mateo tried to count in his head.
“Five,” Leona finished. “Let them in,” she ordered.
“Very well,” Danica conceded.

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