Sunday, March 27, 2016

The Advancement of Mateo Matic: May 14, 2068

Click here for the 2016 table of contents.

Darko threaded them through a couple of commercial aircraft all the way back to Kansas where they spent most of the day catching up with their family. Mateo, Leona, and Darko were in the bedroom together, trying to play a card game later that evening. “Can anyone else do what you do?” Leona asked, out of the blue.
“I’ve not encountered anyone else, no,” Darko said. “Not even a salmon, which I find somewhat strange.”
“Why would that be strange?” Leona asked.
“Well, it’s clearly physically possible to thread an object. And the powers that be like their time travel with as much variety as possible; portals, flash jumps, blinkouts, shuddering. It’s just weird that I appear to be the only threader. It makes me quite a bit weaker than some other choosers I know. The more specific your flavor is, the less powerful you are, as you can imagine. That’s why Meliora is such a big deal. She has very few limitations, if any.”
“That’s Melly’s full name?”
“It is. I actually think she prefers it.”
“Do you choosers all, like, know each other? You hang out at the Y and have Saturday game nights?”
Darko laughed, “we run into each other now and again. All of time and space, and our paths cross more often than you would think. I guess we just run in the same circles.”
“What makes you different than salmon? Why do the powers not control you, and how do you seem to understand it better than others we’ve met?”
“The only person who knows less than salmon is the Delegator. You people are purposefully kept in the dark, and he’s just insane. What you might find surprising is that many choosers know less than salmon. This is because they’re not bound by tasks and expectations. We jump through the timestream to our liking, and usually only do what we want. Choosers are like orphans, while salmon know who they’re parents are, because they’re living by house rules. That’s actually only half an analogy since most choosers aren’t raised by their parents, as I’m sure you’ve heard by now. I was raised differently, and so Meliora read me in personally.”
“Why is it that we were told powers and choosers were the same thing?”
Choosers often take on the persona of powers. They’re false prophets, but salmon believe them because why wouldn’t you? They can be powerful, yes—especially the Rogue and the Cleanser—but they’re just lying.”
“What do you know about the powers that be? The actual ones.”
“Very little. Meliora says she doesn’t know much. One thing we do know is that they are not from the future. That’s usually the assumption, just because it’s a logical conclusion. That’s all I can say.”
“It’s not much, but I should expect no less from you.” A stranger had appeared in their room.
All three of them instinctively jumped into defensive positions. “Who the hell are you?” Mateo demanded to know.
“I am the new Daria.”
“What are you talking about?”
“I should clarify; I was made as Daria’s replacement. There is always a teleporter who goes around helping people, like Bruce Banner. And I’m the lucky guy.”
Mateo let his guard down a little at Daria’s name, but the other two were not so easily moved. “Do you know this man, Darko?” Leona asked.
“I do not, but what he’s saying is a real thing,” Darko admitted. “The Savior is a special position. Your father can jump around time to complete missions. There only ever needs to be one of him, and they’ll call him in when necessary. But a teleporter is fixed within their own lifespan, which means if the powers that be need something done following the Savior’s death, they’ll need a new one.”
“I was born upon Daria’s retirement, and I was activated following her death. I guess they used an interim savior in the meantime.”
Mateo outstretched his hand. “It’s nice to meet you. I don’t know what you know of us, but I’m Mateo, and this is Leona and Darko.”
They were still not receptive to the stranger.
“You can call me Makarion.”
“Interesting name.”
“Taken from a character in a saga that was running around the time I was born. You missed it.”
“Well,” Mateo tried to calm his people down. “The Savior is welcome in our home.”
“Don’t be so quick to judge,” Makarion said.
“I’m sorry?”
“I was activated as the Savior, but that’s not what I am anymore.”
“What are you talking about?”
“A few years back, I met the Rogue.”
“Oh no, please no,” Leona said, shaking her head.
“He taught me how to take control of my pattern,” Makarion continued.
“This can’t be happening.” She started rubbing her head and pivoting out of frustration and general fatigue.
Mateo put his face in his palms.
Makarion went on, “I owe him my life. So I became his apprentice. Should anything happen to him, I was charged with continuing his mission. I’m here, not to introduce you to the new Savior, but to the new Rogue.”
“Jesus, Mary and Joseph!” Mateo cried.
“I knew this would happen,” Leona lamented. “I knew we wouldn’t be through with his games.”
“Don’t worry, there will be no tribulation today. He told you that you would have breaks in between. He was angry with how you handled the prison tribulation, which is why he prolonged the next four, but we’re going back to the original plan now.”
“You don’t have to do this,” Darko pleaded. “Just walk away...teleport away and leave us all alone.”
“I’m afraid I can’t do that.”
“He’s dead!” Mateo was still yelling. “Whatever debt you felt towards the Rogue, it’s done; it’s over! Let it go!”
“No!”
“He taught you to take control of your power,” Leona said. “So don’t waste it on us. You can go wherever you want. Rob a few banks, build a lair in the desert, fight some paladins; we don’t care! But don’t trade one master for another. If you continue the Rogue’s ambitions, then you might as well be answering to the powers that be again. Because you’re still not a freethinking individual.”
“I don’t see them as the same. The Rogue has no hold on me. This is my choice.”
“It’s not, because you hate us like he did. Which makes no sense, because you have different motivation, if he ever even had one.”
“I share his dream,” Makarion said.
“And what might that be?” Darko asked.
“Wouldn’t you like to know?” Makarion volleyed.
Mateo sort of ushered Leona and Darko to the corner, not to protect them, but so that he could foster Makarion’s undivided attention. He peered at their new enemy and waited, hoping it was possible to instill fear in him. “Do you know what happened to the last two men who opposed me?”
“Of course I do, we were just talking about the last one. They died.”
“They didn’t just die,” Mateo said. He put on his best crazy eyes. “I killed them. I murdered them.”
“The Cleanser killed Reaver. And I would hardly call what you did to the Rogue murder.”
“The Cleanser and I are good buds.”
“I don’t believe you.”
Mateo laughed sinisterly. “Horace Reaver was in prison. And he was gonna die there, before too long, I’m sure. The Cleanser wants to rid the world of time travel.” He raised his voice and started talking with his hands. “Well, Reaver was not a threat. He was just sitting there, in his little rat cage, with his little rat food. His story was over, but I was angry, and I was done with watching him suffer, so I ended it. I deployed the Cleanser, and he took care of it for me. So if you think you can come in here with your little Crowley act and scare me, then you clearly don’t know who you’re dealing with.”
Makarion was noticeably afraid, but stubborn and determined to persist. “Your eighth tribulation begins tomorrow. I suggest you watch the movie.”
“What movie?” Mateo asked, knowing the answer would be revealed soon.
Makarion disappeared in a sharp but short-lasting flash of light, leaving behind a a now very deprecated DVD. Leona picked it up. “The Martian.”
“Never heard of it.”

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