Sunday, October 9, 2016

The Advancement of Mateo Matic: June 11, 2096

Mateo woke up on the morning of June 11, 2096 to a little more than just a gift or two. He discovered that Baudin had constructed for him several more things besides the Nexus portal, but he did not know why. From his initial vantage point, he could see his childhood home in Topeka, his mother’s present-day home in Kansas City, and the Mission Hills mansion they lived in briefly in the original timeline. As he continued walking around in shock, he could also see what appeared to be a video store and movie theatre in one, and also some kind of clothing store. What exactly was going on? He needed to speak with Baudin again, so he stepped inside the mansion, closed the door, and performed the secret knock on it.
Baudin answered the door, as expected. “Mister Matic, what a pleasure. I thought you might have questions once you returned.”
“You did too much.”
“Did I?” He smiled slyly. “Do you not like it?”
“Well, I’m not so sure. It looks like a city. I don’t need a city. Hell, I barely need a house.”
He crossed his arms. “The best part of being a choosing one is being able to defy the hopes and expectations of the powers that be.”
“I’m not surprised that they don’t want me to have this, why would you go to the trouble just to be rebellious.”
He stepped in further and sat down on a bench. “Mateo, you are the rightful owner of this territory. Have ever heard of a salmon accomplishing such a thing? I’ve certainly not, but you have, and they can’t take that away from you.”
“But how did I become the owner? I didn’t ask for that either.”
“Boyce—like you, Leona, and Serkan—was a special kind of his breed. He possessed a level of choice that no one could match; not even Zeferino, not even Meliora. He wanted you to have this, and so you do. And he asked me to construct certain things here when the time was right. I am still bound by his wishes, so if you do not want these buildings, I am afraid that I cannot accommodate you. His wishes must take precedence over yours. I signed one of our contracts, and I shall honor it.”
“So, he wanted all this.”
He shifted in his seat. “He was unhappy with how salmon and choosers were handled. He believed in a sort...central government. He tried many times to build a time traveler hub, but failed. Eventually he realized that he had simply done too much damage. Nobody liked him, nobody trusted him. They can trust you, however, so that will be your job, whether the powers that be like it or not. You are responsible for this planet, and all that goes here. I will be constructing more things down the line, and I will also be merging preexisting structures so that they can all be found in once place.” He took a drink of water. “We’ll be keeping a few satellites, like Stonehenge and The Pyramid. I couldn’t even bring Atlantis here if I wanted to. But everything else...will be here, and will ultimately be your responsibility.”
“I understand what you’re saying, but I don’t understand why any of this is necessary.”
“You’ll get used to it. This is your life now. I have to leave, but at some point, I’ll be moving my operation here as well.” He stepped back through the door, but then he turned to say one more thing. “It’s time you stopped being alone. Initial instructions can be found in the Nexus control module.”
Mateo went straight away to the Nexus and entered the control module. He found only a sticky note that said to push the big red button. He set aside his doubt and pushed it. The Nexus in the other room filled with an orange light. When it subsided, Leona, Aura, Samsonite, and Téa were left standing there, confused. He took a deep breath and walked around the controls to the Nexus chamber.
“What just happened?” Leona asked nervously.
“Things have changed,” Mateo answered. “I believe...that this is our home now.”
“Where is this?” Aura asked.
“An island, on a planet, that belongs to me.”
“I thought you were a salmon,” Téa said.
“I am. It’s a bit of a long story. But I can show you what we have.” They left the Nexus building towards the rest of the little village. “Téa, I believe that clothing store belongs to you. Why don’t you guys check it out? Leona and I need to talk.” The other three walked on ahead with no question, completely unaware that they knew the other two of them in another life. Leona did not speak, and Mateo did not look at her. “I am no longer angry with you,” he said to her. “I was hoping that you could say the same.”
“A lot has happened since we last saw each other,” she answered.
He pulled the time mirror out of his bag. “I know.”
“You were spying on me?”
“I didn’t watch you 24/7, but yes, I needed to keep an eye on you. Since I couldn’t get to you, I felt it necessary. That was a choice that you made.”
“I suppose I can’t be mad at you for that. I would have done the same.”
“Still, it is not the first time I’ve watched you from another dimension, and for that, I do apologize.”
“Mateo, I—”
“You don’t have to explain your actions in the other timeline. You’re here in this timeline because I forced salmonhood on you.” He finally looked her in the eye. “If that doesn’t make us even, then it will just have to be good enough.”
They observed a period of silence to cleanse their palate.
“What exactly is all this?”
“There’s a man named Baudin, a.k.a. the Constructor. Boyce asked him to build me all this and more. I guess he wanted all salmon and choosers to live in once place. Or at least he wanted this to be our headquarters. I believe that there movie theatre is yourn.”
“Yes, I would imagine.”
“I’ve made a deal.”
“Oh no.”
“I know. It was an older version of The Cleanser. He promised to keep you safe. I don’t know if that’s necessary in this place, but you won’t have to experience any more tribulations.”
“But you will?”
“Yes, as always.”
“Will they ever end?”
“They will. I don’t know when, but he gave me the impression that it won’t be long now.”
“So I’m just supposed to sit in my video store, waiting for you.”
“Think of them like jobs. You provide people with movies, I do what my boss wants. I’ll come home at the end of the day, you’ll close up for the night. We’ll almost be normal.”
“Except that you own an entire planet, and could die at any moment.”
“Normal people can die at any moment.”
She couldn’t help but laugh. “Are you going to tell those three who you are?”
“Are you?”
“Yes, I feel that Téa has a right to know.”
“That would be logical.”
“You don’t agree?”
“No, no, I just...I don’t know. I already feel like I’ve ruined your life.”
“Like you said, that was my choice.”
“I know I said that.”
“You don’t have to tell your mother that she’s your mother, but it may help her understand why she’s on your planet.”
As if summoned, the other three came back out, having apparently finished their tour. “What exactly are we doing here?” Samsonite asked.
What have you three been doing for the last sixty-five years?” Mateo asked back.
“Nothing, really,” Samsonite answered. “We were never given any assignments.”
“You were given assignments during your previous time periods?” Mateo continued.
“I believe that you have been released from your...contracts,” Mateo began. “You were sent throughout time to complete whatever missions the powers that be wanted you to do. But they’re done with you now. Evidently, my former chooser boss wanted to give you something to do with your time since you don’t age.”
“You seem to know a lot about us,” Aura pointed out. “Are you sure you aren’t one of them?”
“He’s from another timeline,” Téa reminded her.
“Then you have us at a disadvantage,” Aura said. “I only just met you today.”
Mateo could only stare at her, unsure of what to say. Their relationship had always been rocky, due to the fact that he had been raised by a different couple. But this was different. She was looking at him like he was a stranger, which of course, he was to her. He started feeling nauseated. They were all going to find out the truth at some point. If Mateo didn’t choose to act now, the Cleanser would take care of it for him, and he would use no tact.
“Well...?” Aura pressed.
“Honey, don’t be rude,” Samsonite suggested.
“He clearly knows more than he’s revealed thus far. So? Out with it.”
“You were my mother,” Mateo finally admitted. “You were my mother.”
Everyone just stood there in silence, until the Cleanser arrived to break the ice. “Wow, this seems like a tense situation. Fortunately for you, I have a cure. Mateo, you must come with me right now. There’s something I need to show you, and it cannot wait.”
Mateo left with him, almost gladly, for the situation was less tense, and more just awkward. He didn’t really want to have to explain himself further.

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