Sunday, October 25, 2015

The Advancement of Mateo Matic: April 22, 2046

Mateo’s birth mother, Aura was waiting for them, along with her love interest, Samsonite, and Leona’s half-brother, Theo. She stood in front of him patiently, unsure of how she should proceed. Mateo began to cry as he wrapped his arms around her neck. He needed his mommy. Leona and Theo moved off to have their own heart to heart. Mateo stayed in Aura’s arms, trying to tell her what had happened, about how he witnessed Leona’s and his father’s deaths, but he was shrieking and sniveling so much that she had trouble understanding him.
After several minutes of this, Mateo fell asleep, still on her shoulder. And when he awoke, she was still there. She hadn’t budged, and he was grateful. “I’m sorry for leaving you,” he said, having composed himself. “That was foolish of me. You were right. We need to stay as far from that man as possible. I don’t want to lose anyone again.”
She nodded and prepared herself to continue the deep discussion. “I need to ask you something very important, son.”
He pulled away and sat up so that he could look at her at a proper angle. “Okay.”
“For me, we haven’t seen each other in years. A lot has happened since then.”
He almost started crying again. “I know, I’m sorry. It won’t happen again.”
She stopped him, “I know, that’s not what I mean. Have you encountered a girl, of any age? Someone you didn’t know before, or maybe someone you did who you didn’t know was one of us?”
“Yes. The girl who sent me back in time. She was Reaver’s daughter.”
She frowned. “She wouldn’t be who we’re looking for. No...” she hesitated. “This girl would have Samsonite’s eyes.” She paused again. “And hair like mine.”
“Oh, mother.” He buried his face in his hands. “You had another child? I have a sister?”
“Somewhere. Aquila.” She smiled, but sadly. “She disappeared from us when she was only three years old. I have been told that that is how it works.”
“How what works?”
“Apparently, you’re not allowed to raise your own children if both you and your partner are salmon. They disappear on you, never to be seen again.”
“You and my birth father are both salmon. You didn’t do it alone, but you raised me for seven years.”
“I had not yet been activated when I had you. You’re not full salmon offspring, or whatever. No, I think they took me away from you just because they’re mean-spirited, not for the same reason they took Aquila. I think they do something with salmon children. I don’t know what, but the children might be the whole purpose of this parody of a life.”
“So, Leona and I shouldn’t conceive.”
She became even more concerned. “Have you been thinking about it?”
“No,” he replied honestly. “But we grow closer every day, and in the next 300 years, we’ll be all alone together. Once the three of you make the next jump, it’ll just be us.”
She nodded. “I don’t know what’s going to happen 300 years from now. Theo has pretty much stopped aging, just like us. But there’s no telling where we’ll go for our next jump, or if we’ll die before then. We have no control over our lives.”
“Yeah.” They sat in silence for a little while before Mateo fell asleep again.

When he reawoke, it was late in the morning. He found Leona still asleep and lied down next to her until she woke up herself. “Are you feeling better?” she asked.
“Are you?”
“I didn’t go through what you did, Mateo. I’ve only seen the one timeline. I never saw myself die.”
“Then I should be fine. You’re fine. You never died.”
“That doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.”
“You understand this time travelling thing better than me. Do those alternate timelines still exist? Are there multiple versions of us running around in parallel?”
“We don’t know. Present-day science has not caught up with time travel technology. They may never since the powers that be are powerful enough to stop every development. It’s possible that alternate realities run parallel to our own due to some kind of point of divergence. It’s also possible that there is a single master timeline, and all others are ultimately destroyed. It appears to be our job to create some kind of perfect reality, so my gut tells me the powers are only interested in having one reality at a time.”
“I see.”
“Would you rather there be alternate versions of us?”
“I’m not sure. A part of me wants there to be, to know there may be a set of us out there who are happy, but do I really want that? I think I would be uncomfortable knowing a version of me has a better life since it implies a version of me has a worse one.”
“In the end, my love, we cannot worry about what might have been. This is where we are now. I know you think you have no control. But you do. Just the fact that your father was sent back to stop the Reaver from killing me, but failed, proves it.”
“How so?”
“The powers that be would have us believe that they control everything, but they were so hopeless in that basement that they were forced to send one of their own to clean up their mess. I don’t know where their rules come from, but they were obviously technologically capable of simply whisking us away from Reaver to protect us. Why didn’t they?”
“Maybe they’re just middle management.”
Mateo’s head hurt, so he changed the subject. “My mother and I didn’t talk about it. Did Theo tell you where they’ve been living?”
“They moved around a lot, living as rustically as possible. They stayed quite a long time in the mountains of Kentucky once your sister was born. They decided to contact Ulinthra after Aquila’s disappearance since she was her only way to find us.”
“I have another time travel question.”
“Go ahead,” Leona replied, already used to him needing things spelled out.
“We’re not necessarily looking for a 3-year-old. The next time we see my sister, if ever, she could be an old woman.”
“There was this girl at the funeral. She was really close to Daria’s nurse. Did you notice either of them?”
“I did not.”
“My mother said that Aquila looks like her and Samsonite, and...”
“And you think this girl at the funeral might have been her?”
“I doubt Aura and Samsonite would have noticed her, but they must have seen her six years earlier in The Constant, ya know when I had to escape from Reaver’s facility?”
“I don’t know, your mother was pretty focused on you.”
“Did you ever talk to that girl?”
“I didn’t. She wasn’t there when we jumped out of the timestream, but I obviously wasn’t really paying attention.”
“From now on, we need to take note of every single person we encounter. It could be someone trying to kill us, or just a child passing on the street. We have to remember everything.”
“Agreed,” Leona said. “Which means I’m going to need you to do your absolute best to draw the face of that man who stabbed you in the other timeline. There is a near zero percent chance we don’t run into him again.”
“No need,” Harrison said, coming into the room. “I can interpret his thoughts and convert them into a readable image. It’ll be the last thing I do before going back to my boss to see if I’ve been fired or not.”

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