Sunday, July 3, 2016

The Advancement of Mateo Matic: April 30, 1945

There was really no way to describe what Mateo was feeling. He knew that his body hadn’t actually experienced four thousand years in a hell dimension, but he had memory of it. Yet the memories weren’t like regular memories. It was more like a constant state of paralysis. After at most fifteen seconds in the alternate timeline, time would reset itself, which meant that he was only able to hold a fifteen second thought. After each reset, he wouldn’t have to rethink that same thing, but he also couldn’t continue his train of thought.
Future!Leona took a page out of The Rogue’s book and placed Mateo in a temporal bubble. This allowed him to experience years of time without breaking his pattern. Less than a day passed in the outside world while he lived his life at a rate far faster than ever before. By the time he felt recovered enough to return to the timestream, he was 35 years old. During the first several of his jumps, he was way too old for Leona. She kept aging, though, while he was stuck, until they were finally the same age. Now he was again seven years older than Present!Leona. As if there wasn’t already enough chaos tearing them apart, this was going to make things so much more complicated. Leona would use math to explain it away, claiming that their age difference wasn’t a big deal, but it would always be in the back of his mind.
To make things even weirder, only the one version of Leona was seven years younger, while the other was ten years older. However, it all had to be done. Following the alternate memory implant, there was no way he was going to be able to move on with his pattern in real-time. He could barely eke out a full sentence, let alone complete The Cleanser’s dastardly tribulations. Not long after Future!Leona took down the bubble, Makarion teleported in front of them. He scrutinized her face and worked it out in his head. “You’re not the Leona I last year saw in the—never mind.”
“I’m from an alternate timeline,” she explained once more.
Makarion breathed in deep, but Mateo didn’t see him let it out. “Yes, the Cleanser mentioned that. He also told me that he killed you. Is that a perspective discrepancy?”
“No,” Future!Leona clarified. “It’s happened in all of our pasts. I’m just not as easy to kill as I used to be.”
“Then I suggest you leave so he doesn’t find out.”
“My thoughts exactly.” She lovingly placed her hand under Mateo’s chin.
Over the last five years, he had fallen back in love with her. But she was wise and careful. While in the bubble, she treated him more like his nurse or mother, and not like a lover. She made sure that his feelings for Leona were directed towards Present!Leona instead. She looked exactly like her, so it was hard knowing that this might be the last time he would see his caregiver, but it was the right thing to do. The Cleanser thought that she died quickly in this timeline, and she would need that to maintain advantage over him. She had to go, and Mateo had to refocus efforts towards Present!Leona, and the tribulations. “I understand. You need say nothing.”
“Take care of him...Boyce.” she said, sporting a knowing smile. Blue electricity began to surge all over her body. She feigned surprise about this. “Oh boy.”
“I’m still trusting you,” Mateo said to Makarion after Future!Leona was gone, possibly for good.
“I’ll continue to try to earn it. I promise that I do not want the Cleanser to know that she is still alive.”
“She knew your true identity.”
“The truth always comes out eventually. Even I know that.”
“What happens now?”
“It’s time to continue the Gladiator II tribulation on April 30th, 1945.”
“Doesn’t the Cleanser have to send me back through his loopholes?”
Makarion looked at his watch. “He’ll be throwing us back remotely in half a moment.”
“He’s not coming with us?”
“No, he just likes to watch from afar.”
“Could someone tell him that?”
A transparent bubble formed around both of them. “Oh, not again,” Mateo said.
“Actually,” the Cleanser considers this to be a treat.”
“How so?”
“Just watch.”
The scene began to change, little by little at first, but soon quite rapidly. The grass went from green to brown, and then to white as snow quickly covered it completely. Trees lost and regained their leaves and limbs. The sun shot across the sky from West to East. Clouds tickled the light in between nighttimes. The terrain changed a little. In the distance they could see the skyscrapers of a city grow smaller. Eventually, every single building was gone, or at least the ones large enough to be seen from that vantage point. While they remained in the bubble, the earth below them rolled away from their feet. Again, it started out slowly, but picked up speed the more it moved. Their bubble raced down the countryside, over the ocean, along the highway, and through the streets. They began to slow down enough to make out the faces of people going about their day. They were fortunately completely invisible to the 1945 population.
“This is Germany?”
“It is, yes.”
“Have you ever traveled through time before?”
Makarion laughed. “Of course I have. Far more than you, actually.”
“What exactly will I be doing here?”
“We’re here to see Adolf Hitler at his final moments.”
“Adolf Hitler did not die in 1945.”
“He will now.”
“Are you saying...?” Mateo started to ask, afraid of the answer. It would seem as though the Cleanser had plans to kill Hitler before his time and make a major alteration to the timeline. Salmon, and especially choosers, were evidently always running around, making changes to history. But this was big. No, this was massive. What would this act do to the future? Things would have to play out dramatically differently. It would have an effect on everyone on the planet from now on. What would it do to Mateo’s own personal timeline? Would his mother or father still be alive? Would his birthmother never be chosen as a salmon? Would he? Mateo thought about asking what part he was to play in this, but he was pretty sure he already knew. The Cleanser did say he wanted Mateo to kill at least one person every day. Apparently, Hitler would be that someone today. All right.
“I know that you and the Cleanser are kind of, well...rogue elements, but surely the powers that be will stop you if you go too far out of bounds. This would change everything. Literally. This will stop people from being born. This will introduce people who were never supposed to be born. Can anyone predict the butterfly effect from something like this?”
“Honestly, Mister Matic,” Makarion said ominously, but waited to continue.
They floated down through the ground. A magic glow emanating from the space in the bubble itself protected them from total darkness. Mateo couldn’t help but hold his breath. It must have just been instinct.
Makarion finally finished his thought, “this is a sanctioned mission.”
Mateo didn’t say anything further, because the trouble was about to begin. He did wonder why this was a sanctioned mission and the Cleanser was in control of it. It just seemed like those two conditions would never exist at the same time. Letting him do whatever he wanted was one thing, but teaming up with the Cleanser would make the powers that be about a hundred times more dangerous than they already were. Hopefully this was just a one time thing, because if it was going to become a trend, there would be no hope of stopping any of them.
The bubble passed through a couple more walls and settled in a room where Mateo could clearly see Adolf Hitler and his wife, Eva Braun. They were on the sofa, but were not moving. At first Mateo thought that they were already dead, but then he saw another man in the room. He was old, but looked familiar. He walked over from a corner and carefully placed something in Eva’s mouth. Just as he noticed the other two time travelers, their two different temporal bubbles apparently collided with each other and popped. He couldn’t be sure, but Mateo thought he heard the faint echo of the Cleaner’s laugh.
Shocked by the sudden appearance of three strangers, Eva closed her mouth and back up against the cushion out of fear.
Hitler yelled something in German, but of course Mateo had no idea what. He pulled out a gun which Makarion promptly took from his hand and pointed at the Führer. Hitler looked like he was planning on taking back control, but then Eva started gasping for air and thrashing about. He dove to her and tried to help, but there was nothing he could do. She was dead in seconds. He obviously wanted to cry, but he kept a straight face so that he could bark at them, again in German.
“Who are you people?” the old man asked.
“We’re part of your future. Mum’s the word, Theodore,” Makarion answered rather dismissively, still holding Hitler’s own gun towards his throat. He slightly shook the weapon towards Mateo. “You’re up, sport. Now, I know you have reservations about killing, and I’ll give you a little time, but—”
Mateo took the gun from Makarion’s hand and shot Adolf Hitler in the head.

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