Sunday, July 10, 2016

The Advancement of Mateo Matic: April 30, 1975

Makarion was, not surprisingly, shocked by Mateo’s actions. But Mateo had resolved to carry out the plan to kill Hitler, even if the Cleanser had no intention of him doing that. This was a chance to rid the world of one of the worst people in history. Yes, the timeline would be changed by this, but at the time, he felt like it was worth it. No one will know that Hitler was assassinated, though. Before too long, Mateo’s birthfather, Mario Matic jumped into the room and took the other time travelers away. He somehow dropped Theodore back in the same point in the timestream, but at a new location, before bringing the other two to the future. They accidentally landed in a puddle of mud. Everyone on the campgrounds was running around, somehow both chaotically and systematically. Mateo recognized a few of them as salmon, and the others held themselves in a similar fashion. This was another major time travel undertaking.
“Are you two all right?” Mario asked.
“Yes, thanks, dad.”
“Dad?” Mario asked. “I’ve only one son, and you’re definitely not him.”
“Dad, what are you talking about? It’s me, Mateo.”
“Sorry, never heard of you.”
Makarion stepped in, “this must be a perspective issue. He’s not yet learned of you, or he’s not yet even conceived you. We better not say anything further.”
Mateo was too upset, though, and he had already altered the timeline, so he wasn’t really in the mood to keep himself in check. “I am Lauren Gardner’s son.”
“Well, I’ve met a Lorraine Gardner,” Mario confirmed. Mateo remembered this as one of her aliases. “But we did not sleep together. I’m afraid you have me confused with someone else.”
“No, that’s not right.”
“Mateo,” Makarion pleaded, “that hasn’t happened to him yet. If you keep talking, you might end up changing it.”
“No, it’s already been changed,” Mateo said darkly. “Mario Matic and Lauren Gardner had me in 1986 when they were both in their early 20s. This man is at least thirty. If it didn’t already happen for him, then it never happened. I don’t exist.”
Mario looked at Mateo carefully, possibly trying to remember him. “You’re from an alternate timeline. You’re literally the son I never had.”
“So it would seem.”
Makarion appeared to be horrified by this. “Mateo, I’m so sorry.”
“Does anyone remember me?” Mateo asked, all emotionally businesslike. “Any choosers? Do the powers that be know me? What about Leona?”
“The powers still know you, and will likely return you to your pattern at some point. Some choosers are capable of perceiving alternate timelines, while others are not. All salmon, and all humans, have been overwritten. They have only memories of this timeline.” He paused before continuing, even though everyone knew what he was going to say. “Leona included.”
Mateo smiled and nodded, not happy, but he assumed that there was nothing he could do about it. He had been aware of and prepared for the changes that would come out of killing Adolf Hitler before his supposed time. He had even considered the possible ramifications for his own personal timeline. But the world was a better place without Hitler in it, even just for the following couple years. This had to be a better reality; it had to be. Maybe it was even better for his family. If he were never born, his adoptive parents, Carol and Randall, would live longer. If he were never born, Leona would not be put in danger, or would she? What about Horace Reaver? “What about Horace Reaver?”
“That’s who you ask about? That’s who you care about?” Makarion was disappointed. “Only one person in the entire world both remembers you, and cares about you, and you want to know about one of the worst people in history?”
“You knew him?” Mateo asked.
“Yes!” Makarion yelled loud enough for half the camp to hear.
“So do I,” Mario said.
“He died in 2050-something. I can’t remember the exact year. Did that still happen?”
Mario looked between Mateo and Makarion with a poker face. “I just left 2063, and he was there. Which is a weird coincidence.”
“I don’t know if that’s good or bad,” Mateo said.
“No, it’s bad. It’s very bad. We have to go back. We have to stop you from killing Hitler. I knew this would happen, but The Cleanser wouldn’t listen to me. I knew something would change that we didn’t like, and Horace Reaver being alive is the absolute worst outcome.”
“Honestly,” Mateo began, “after meeting The Rogue and the Cleanser, I don’t think that’s true. He at least had his motivation. He was trying to save the woman he loved. I can understand that.”
Makarion shook his head and looked to the ground. “You don’t understand. My God, you don’t understand.”
“Then explain it.”
“Mateo Matic?” Guard Number Two had walked up to them. He repeated his question after Mateo looked at him without answering, “are you Mateo Matic?”
“Yes, sorry. It’s just weird that you don’t recognize me.”
“I don’t know what you mean by that, but we can sort it out at the canopy. She needs to give you your assignment.”
“He’s not going to be part of Operation Second Wind,” Makarion argued. “We need to speak with The Repairman.”
“No,” Mario disagreed, “we need The Blender.”
“Shut the hell up!” Makarion yelled again. “We’re not doing that! We have to stop Hitler’s death. He’s exempt. He always has been. He’s a an Essential Temporal Juncture, so his death should never have been changed. We have to repair that.”
“They’re not going to let you stop that mission,” Guard Number Two noted. “And the Blender isn’t here. By her very nature, she would be useless for us. I can help you put in a request for a metalink to her, though.”
“Yes, that would be great, Kolby. Thanks.”
“Your name is Kolby?” Mateo asked.
“Yes, I was under the impression that you already knew me.”
“Of course, but...” Mateo trailed off. “Never mind.”
Kolby, a.k.a. Guard Number Two, left to request a metalink, whatever that was.
“Why is he here?” Mateo went on. “He only became whatever he is because of things that I did, in my timeline.”
“I don’t know,” Makarion said. “The Repairman, or The Stitcher, could have manipulated the timeline to make him discover our world in some other way. That’s what they do. When someone alters the timeline, like what we did by killing Hitler, they go through the timestream, making several minor adjustments so that certain things remain the same.”
“Yet they chose to let my son never be born.” Mario was more upset than Mateo would have thought. The whole thing was that he didn’t remember Mateo at all, so why would he be so passionate about fixing the issue?
“What does the Blender do?”
“She can’t change the timeline itself, but she can merge memories across alternate realities. She can make your father remember an alternate version of himself; the one who knew you and your mother. It won’t make it so it actually happened, but he’ll have memories of it. The problem is that those new memories will conflict with the ones he has from this timeline, which is why it’s dangerous. Overriding an overwrite can make the subject go crazy. I do not recommend it. We should find a way to stop you from killing Hitler at all.”
“It won’t matter,” Mario disagreed. “They’ll just send someone else. If they want him dead, he’ll die. You would have to repeat that moment ad infinitum if you wanted to protect it from change.”
“Mateo, I’m telling you, we have to make sure Horace Reaver dies, or at least gets locked up. He was born late enough in history to live forever. Can you imagine what that will do to the world?”
“He doesn’t seem like such a bad guy,” Mario said.
“You’re not helping,” Makarion spat. He too was inexplicably passionate. What was going on with people?
Kolby returned, hopefully to diffuse the situation. “All right, my boss isn’t happy about losing you for Second Wind, but she knows that your powers don’t give us much of an advantage anyway. Unfortunately, she would not authorize a metalink. If you want to find someone, you’re going to use a different method.” He left to get back to work.
“What is a metalink again?” Mateo asked, knowing that no one ever explained it to him in the first place.
“It’s like a phone call across time,” was all that Makarion said about it.
“Well, then what’s this other way he mentioned?” Mateo asked.
Makarion took both Mateo and Mario by the shoulder and said, “your cousin.”

He teleported them to the little chapel just outside of Lebanon, Kansas that was standing in the middle of the country. It looked different than the last time he was there, but then he remembered that this one was destroyed in a vehicular collision sometime in the future. “This is 1975 in an alternate timeline. She won’t know me.”
“She knows you,” Mario assured him as the special elevator started dropping them down. “She knows everybody. This is The Constant, after all.”
“Oh, that’s right.” Maybe he was losing his memories as well.
Danica was waiting for them at the bottom. She immediately threw her arms around Mateo, and was almost crying. “I’m so sorry about what happened. I’ve seen people erase themselves from history before, but it’s always either reversible, or they were alone anyway.”
“It’s okay,” Mario said to her. “You’re gonna help me get my memories back, and then we’ll do it for everyone else.”
“Yes, right, the Blender. I can contact her.” She opened something that looked like a thin portfolio binder, but didn’t let anyone see the contents. “That’s funny. She exists in this moment. In fact, she’s in Belle Fourche right now.”
Makarion disappeared without a word. Danica went over to a console on the side of the wall and punched in a code. They could hear the sound of something turning off. “There’s a field around this place. Only certain people can get in without an invitation. I turned it off so Boyce can return.”
“Where did he go?”
“South Dakota,” Mario answered. This is the center of the country if you don’t include Alaska and Hawaii, and Belle Fourche is the center if you do.”
“I see.”
“It’s nothing special,” Mario continued. “I mean, it’s not a special spot for salmon or choosers. She must just be there as a coincidence.” Another one. What other interesting circumstances arose from the timeline change. Where was everyone else he had ever met?
Makarion teleported back in, the Blender in tow.
“What do we have here?” she asked.
“He erased himself from the timeline,” Danica told her. “This was supposed to be his father, so you need to blend his mind with that version of him.
The Blender eyed Mateo, and he couldn’t help but think that she was reading his mind. She almost certainly had the ability to do so, and would use this power to choose her clients. “I will do it for one.”
“Dowhatnow?” Mario asked.
She shrugged apathetically. “I’ll blend your brain, but only you. No one else will have the benefit of alternate memories.” She looked over at Mateo. “If you want an ally, then I recommend you think long and hard about who you want that person to be.”
“Why are you doing this?” Makarion asked.
She shrugged again. “I have my reasons. You know what that’s like, don’t you?” She smiled at him knowingly.
Mario rubbed his mouth and chin while he paced around the room. “I trust you,” he said. “You’re my son. I don’t know you, I don’t remember you, but I don’t need to in order to love you. Our bond cannot be erased, so do not choose me. Something tells me you have someone else in mind.”
Makarion nodded. “Leona.”
“Doesn’t matter to me,” the Blender said. “Just tell me where to go so I can move on with my life.”
“2083,” Mateo said.
“No, I have a different idea,” Makarion said. “Let’s go, Nerakali.” He took her by the hand and they disappeared again.
“What is he doing?”
“I’ve no idea,” Danica responded.
“They’re making me leave, son,” Mario said. “But I promise that we will see each other again. I’ll do everything I can to remember. I’ll put the pieces together.” He disappeared as well.
The Cleanser appeared right after. “I honestly didn’t know that was going to happen,” he said with the air of truth. “Hitler’s death is tricky, but we can’t go back now. Makarion is off to get Leona for you, but if we don’t go to The Pentagon, he will find nothing but her grave.”
“Well...what are we waiting for?”

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