Sunday, February 14, 2016

The Advancement of Mateo Matic: May 8, 2062

Click here for the 2016 table of contents.

The year’s Tribulation did not begin until rather late in the evening. And they knew this from the very beginning. They were not able to make calls on their phones. In fact, they were not allowed to do anything on them. There was only a timer, counting down the hours until they were to be pulled away from their lives. They last year asked their family to find them tactical gear and certain supplies to aid them in whatever was coming next. Just before the timer hit zero, they dressed themselves in bullet proof vests, which were thinner and easier to maneuver around in than those found in Mateo’s time. Over that they wore black uniforms with tons of pockets for flashlights, pocket knives, those rebreathers they’ve used on occasion, and various other survival items. They gave their loved ones hugs and kisses and prepared for the jump.
Mateo and Leona found themselves standing in an orderly line with a bunch of other people. They were all wearing beige jumpsuits and staring at the newcomers with little surprise. A security guard walked over for a look. “New prisoners?”
“Uh...” Mateo tried to think quickly.
Leona covered for him. “No, we’re not. We’ve been sent to work here.”
“Which chooser assigned you to us?” the guard asked.
“It was Melly,” Leona lied.
The guard was noticeably shocked by this. “She never sends us anyone. We are to understand that she’s not a big fan of keeping her kind locked up.”
Mateo shrugged. “I don’t know what to tell ya. We’re here for her.”
“What year are you from?”
“2062.”
“It’s 2062 right now,” the guard said, shaking his head. “They don’t ever send guards to their own time period.”
“I meant 2014,” Mateo tried to say.
The guard looked up to a couple of other guards and gave them a hand signal. “I don’t know who you are, or why you’re dressed like this, but I’m going to assume that you’re inmates until I’m told otherwise. You will be temporarily placed in a cell.”
The other guards started removing Mateo and Leona’s gear and outer clothing. “No, please,” she pleaded. “We’re supposed to be here! Not as inmates! We’re a tack team!”
The first guard scoffed. “Tell it to the poster girl.”
“What?”
The other guards took them by the arms and escorted them upstairs to a corner cell. They weren’t too terribly rough, but they did push them in and ordered the bars closed. For what was presumably a salmon prison facility, it was rather antiquated and unsophisticated. It was made of metal and concrete. They saw no security cameras, or lasers. There were no robots roaming the hallways, and a quick look out the window showed them that they weren’t placed on top of a kilometer-high platform. The gates were, however, electronic. The cell itself felt familiar. “I feel like I’ve been here before.”
“Yeah, Mateo, we’ve both been locked up a number of times. Too many to count.”
“No, that’s not it.” He looked over the room and tried to remember. There was a single small bed, with a table next to it. A shelf of books was on the other side of the bed. Besides a number of postcards, there were a couple of pretty girl posters. They were familiar as well, but Mateo could not remember their names. He decided to focus on the table where there was a bible and a chessboard. “Like I said, in prison, a man will do almost anything to keep his mind occupied,” he quoted.
“What was that?”
“It’s Shawshank Redemption.”
“The movie?”
“Yeah. We’re in it. This is Andy’s cell.” Mateo stepped over to one of the posters. “See, this is Rita Hayworth.” He picked up the bible. “There should be a rock hammer in here.” He opened it up and found himself to be right. The book was completely hollowed out with a small hammer placed inside.”
“Did he teleport us into a movie? I don’t think that’s possible.”
“No, not everything is perfect. Andy carved the chess set himself. This was obviously bought at a store. And these posters are clearly replicas, and there should be...” He walked over to the Raquel Welch poster and lifted it up to find a hole in the wall. “Yep. There it is. Our escape.”
“The Rogue recreated a movie set so that we could recreate a scene from it?”
Mateo laughed, “I guess.” He laughed some more.
“You’re a little too happy about this.”
This was true. He was rather excited. This was one of his favorite movies, and now he was Andy Dufresne. Who else can say that? “I knew it would be important that the Rogue has an obsession with pop culture.”
“You were right.” She pointed to the hole. “So we just crawl through that and we’re home free?”
Mateo scrunched up his face like he was smelling something disgusting. “It’s a little more complicated than that.”
Mateo described to her the events of the film, including the parts not directly related to the escape itself. If they had had time, he probably would have recited the dialog and narration word for word, because he was definitely capable of that.
“So we’re going to have to slide through fecal matter.”
“That’s the plan,” Mateo replied, trying to be upbeat.
“Then we end up in a creek, and we’re home free.”
“That’s right.”
“The Rogue said we wouldn’t likely survive this one. This all sounds gross, but not deadly.”
“True. I imagine he has something in store for us in addition to this.” That was immediately proved to be true. The tunnel did not lead them to a replica of the pipe system from the movie. They were in a hallway. No one was around, but it was much more advanced than Shawshank.
“You didn’t say anything about this.”
“Now I have no idea what to do.”
“Wait, now I recognize this,” Leona said after they looked around for any guards. “This is Fox River State Penitentiary.”
“I’ve not heard of it.”
“It’s from the show Prison Break. This is a mashup.”
“So, how do we get out of here?”
Leona paused and carefully recalled the events from the show. “We have to climb through the window and crawl along the cable. But we’ll have to tear the bars off first. In the show, they tore out the firehose and tied it to the elevator which forced the bars from the window frame.”
They walked into the med bay to find they didn’t actually have to tear off any bars. “Again, not a perfect replica,” Mateo noted.
Leona opened the window and looked out. “There’s no cable.”
“No cable?”
“No cable. There’s no way to get all the way over to the wall.” It was several yards away from the side of the building. “He’s creating a no-win situation.”
“No, he’s not. There’s a way out of here. There will always be a way. He likes to be entertained. They all do. If something is too easy then he has to throw a wrench in it.”
“So what do we do?”
“We give him a show.”
“How do we do that?”
“We get you to a computer. It’s not like you haven’t broken someone out of jail before.”
They searched the hallways and found a computer terminal in an office. Leona started working her magic. She didn’t have full access to the system, but as long as there was a single connection through the network, she could make anything electronic do just about anything. She programmed most of the prison doors to open up at once, and she sounded the alarms. She also made the lights start flashing on and off and turned the volume up on every television set. On the security feeds, they could see guards running all over the building, trying to contain a riot.
“What was the point of this?”
“It’s a distraction. We have to get down to the chooser block. I found something in the files.”
Mateo followed Leona down the stairs. They ran into one of the guards on their way. Now, Mateo was not known for fighting, but he used his memory of every combat movie scene he had ever witnessed to subdue his opponent. He wasn’t able to knock him out, but he knocked him down so that he wasn’t able to get back up again by the time Leona took his badge and continued forward.
They ended up in a different block of the prison. Some salmon had made there way there and were either fighting guards, or each other. Leona looked around before settling on her target. “There.” It was Prince Darko, in his cage.
“What are you doing here?” Prince Darko asked.
“We’re getting you out,” Leona explained.
“Why?”
“Yeah, why?” Mateo asked.
Leona swiped the guard’s security badge and unlocked the cell. “How are they suppressing your time traveling?”
Prince Darko presented his arms. He was wearing a fancy set of wrist restraints, not unlike the ones Mateo was given way back when they were in the Reaver warehouse.
Leona took a key she had stolen from the office desk and removed them. “Okay, get us out of here.” She took his shoulder and motioned for Mateo to do the same.
Prince Darko searched around the room.
“What are you waiting for?” she asked angrily.
He pointed to one of the security guards. “Get me his hat.”
“The hell you talking about?” Mateo yelled.
“Just do it!” Prince Darko yelled back.
Mateo ran over and took the hat from the guard who was too busy to care because he was fighting off two particularly vicious salmon prisoners. He handed it to Prince Darko then took his shoulder again.
“This is going to be jarring,” Prince Darko warned.
Mateo felt himself being torn from the timestream, but it was different than all the other jumps. It was like there were multiple versions of him, each one a little bit behind the other in a cascade. A small tremor shook his body as an electrical charge jumped between every single one of his atoms. The scene changed. They were standing in the foyer of someone’s home. Prince Darko released his hand from the security guard’s hat that was now resting on a hook. Light came through the window, proving it was daytime.
“What just happened?”
“You just threaded an object,” Prince Darko told them enigmatically.

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