Sunday, October 30, 2016

The Advancement of Mateo Matic: June 14, 2099

Mateo, Gilbert, and Horace spent the rest of the day hatching their plans and explaining themselves to each other. After the alternate version of Reaver shot Gilbert in the Australian cell, Gilbert began jumping into other people’s bodies. He eventually learned precision, and could use whatever temporal powers his victim at the time had. He spent years leaping from life to life, not putting right what once went wrong, but doing anything he wanted. He leapt into good people, bad people, helpless salmon, and powerful choosers. Each jump corrupted him further, and caused him to lose a little bit of his old self. But he was back now, and he was ready to help. Unfortunately, their plans were thrown out of whack when midnight came and they discovered an unusual phenomenon. Gilbert and Horace were meant to spend the interim year setting off a series of events that would culminate in a climax that would come once Mateo returned in 2099. For some reason, though, the other two jumped forwards in time with him.
“Why did this happen?”
“It’s happened to me before,” Gilbert said. “Someone high up the chain wanted me to help Mateo bring you in,” he said to Horace. “They temporarily placed me on his pattern.”
“That could be explained by you reverting to some earlier version of yourself,” Mateo began, “but why would Horace be here now?”
“We bound you together this once,” said a child who came out of nowhere. “We know the kinds of things you’re planning in your campaign against The Cleanser, and frankly, we don’t have time for it.”
“Who are you?” Horace asked, skeptical.
“He’s The Emissary,” Gilbert answered.
“This is is correct,” the Emissary confirmed. “I speak for the powers.”
“Why don’t they speak for themselves?”
“We are not yet prepared to explain that to you.”
Mateo and Horace looked to Gilbert for answers, who simply said, “that I actually don’t know.”
They looked back to the Emissary, who went into his spiel. “Mateo Matic, you operate at the pleasure of the powers that be, but they have loaned you out to the Cleanser for whatever he feels like he needs to do.”
“Yes, I am aware,” Mateo said.
“The powers, however, maintain precedence. Right now, we are in need of your services.”
“Hold on, go back,” Horace argued. “Why have you loaned him out to the Cleanser? What obligation do you have to do such a thing? I thought you hated the choosing ones.”
“I am but the Emissary.”
“That has been established,” Horace retorted. “Why don’t you give it your best shot?”
The Emissary did not look pleased, but could tell that they would not let him proceed without some explanation. “The Gallery is a separate entity. It is a sort of...home base for choosers, and we are not allowed to go there. The powers have their equivalent where choosers are not allowed to go. We arrangement. Asking us to interfere would be like asking Apple to police AT&T.”
“You’re afraid of him,” Mateo guessed.
The Emissary did not want to let on that this was true, but his face betrayed him. “We respect him.”
“I bet.”
“May I proceed?” the Emissary asked rhetorically.
Just the same, Mateo nodded to allow him to continue. It was important to maintain dominance over any conversation with a chooser, power, or whatever else he encountered from now on.
“We need you to protect a young girl named Xearea Voss.”
“What kind of name is Shayaraya?” Gilbert questioned rudely.
“The kind that starts with an X.”
“Why does she need protecting, and why do we need to do it?” Horace asked.
“She angers someone in the future who’s coming back to kill her,” the Emissary explained. “She becomes extremely important when she grows up, so she cannot be allowed to die.”
Horace and Mateo both squinted and tried to remember why that sounded familiar. Then they looked to Gilbert for answers again. “Yeah, it’s Terminator 2,” he said confidently.
“It is not Terminator 2,” the Emissary protested, extremely offended by the suggestion.
“It’s Terminator 2,” Gilbert repeated, not havin’ none of that.
“No matter what anyone says, all of my tribulations have been tied to movies. This one is no different.”
“I guess there’s nothing new under the sun,” Horace pointed out.
Gilbert chuckled. “Depends on the sun.”
The Emissary just shook his head, dumbfounded by their bizarre reactions. “Look, she’s the new Savior. She was conceived and marked for duty upon the death of Makarion Dimitrios, but she will not be activated until she turns thirteen. Until then, the powers can’t protect her themselves.”
“Oh, and you say it’s not Terminator 2.”
“Wait,” Mateo said, “Saviors start their pattern when they’re thirteen?”
“It’s true, Gilbert noted.
“I started even younger,” Horace said, referring to the fact that he started repeating each day from the moment of birth.
Does she know who she is?” Mateo asked.
“Her brother works part-time in 1999, so she’s aware of our world, but she does not know her own destiny. Now, if there are no further questions, I’ll send you off.”
“Actually, I have a question—”
“No? Good. Byeeeeeeee.”

“Hello?” a young girl said from the other side of the threshold, arms crossed, chewing gum. She was wary, but not fearful, of three grown men at her door. Mateo could immediately tell that she was sarcastic and irreverent. “Can I help you?”
“Xearea Voss?”
“Yeah...?” she waited for them impatiently.
“We’re not sure how to say this,” Gilbert said awkwardly.
Now she was a losing a bit of her edge. “Are you from the 20th century? Is it my brother? Is he okay.”
“No, your brother’s fine,” Horace tried to backpedal. “I mean, I assume he is. We’ve never met him.”
Mateo took over. “Oh my God, your brother is fine. We’re not here about him. We’re here for you.”
“Is it about to happen to me too?” She asked. “I’m a little young for you, don’t you think?”
“It won’t happen for you for another three years. We cannot stop it, though we would like to.”
“Why would I want you to stop it? My brother’s life sounds awesome.”
Mateo looked to Horace and Gilbert, just to make sure that they were all on the same page. “I always err on the side of pure honesty,” Horace admitted.
“Yeah, we know,” Gilbert snarked.
“Xearea,” Mateo began. “You won’t get your brother’s life. Yours...will be much harder. It will be nonstop. I’ve seen it. Saviors don’t have personal lives.”
She tightened her arms around her chest. “In three years? They don’t even wait until you’re an adult.”
“How old were you?” she asked of Mateo.
“I was twenty-eight.”
“Well, maybe I’ll be twenty-eight too. You don’t know.”
“We do,” Horace assured you.
She clearly wanted to deal with the news, but was determined to continue. “If it’s in three years, then what are you doing here now?”
Mateo went on, “the people controlling us don’t want you to die, so once you’re activated, they’ll keep you safe. Don’t get me wrong, your job will be dangerous, but you’ll survive anything until retirement. They’re not protecting you because they care, but because they have no use for dead people. They sent us to keep you safe so you live long enough for them to protect you.”
“You really know how to make a girl feel special.” Sarcastic and precocious.
“I’m sorry, Xearea,” Mateo said. “I’m sorry this is the way it has to be. I’m sorry these people exist, and that they forced you into it.”
“Wow, this is nothing like Terminator 2,” Gilbert noticed.
“Are you sure about that?” They could see Xearea’s eyes widen in fear at the sight of something behind them.
They turned around to see a stone-faced man walking towards the door, completely unperturbed by the fact that the three of them were standing between him and his apparent target. “Xearea Voss. You have been judged by time and found guilty.”
While Mateo raised his arms to shield Xearea from the attacker, Gilbert walked down to meet him halfway. “Now, you know that we’re not going to let you do anything to this young lady.”
“We shall not be moved,” the man claimed.
Horace took a pistol from the holster hidden in his coat and shot the attacker in the head without a second thought.
Scared for Xearea, Mateo looked back through the doorway, only to see her spin around a bolt towards the back of the house. As he was running past them to catch up with Xearea, he could hear Horace say, “man, I wish Serkan were here.”
Even without Serkan’s help, they were able to catch up with Xearea before she made it all the way through the backdoor. Had they not, she probably would have been killed. Another attacker was waiting for her in the messy backyard. He swung an automatic rifle from behind his back and began spraying bullets in their general direction, presumably hoping he would eventually get lucky. While Gilbert and Mateo pulled Xearea to the floor and protected her like a blanket, Horace removed his second gun from its holster and began laying down returning fire.
Horace ran out of bullets at about the same time as the attacker did, so he left his weapons on the kitchen counter and marched out to confront him in person. It was no contest, though, as the man thoughtlessly brushed him away like dirt on his shoulder. Gilbert, the next violent person in their group, stood up with the intention of taking up the reigns, but this was not necessary. Darko Matic jumped into the timestream by object threading Horace’s guns. He engaged the enemy in close quarters combat. Seeing him again was his own reward, but Mateo was especially excited to watch the fight. He was never into boxing or MMA, but Darko’s work was particularly impressive. Still, it was not safe there, not for Xearea, so they had to get away. While Darko was keeping the attacker busy, Gilbert went out to make sure Horace was okay and Mateo took Xearea upstairs.
A third attacker teleported into the room just as they opened the door. He smiled at them sinisterly and started to remove a knife from its sheath. Mateo grabbed a nearby lamp and bashed it across his face. This didn’t seem to faze the man, but he was amused and curious. Mateo continued to grab random items from the room and hitting him, or throwing them at him. “All right, that’s enough, kid,” the attacker said.
What would Vin Diesel do? He would kick ass, that’s what. And he would do it all on his own. But Mateo Matic was no Vin Diesel. He was just a normal guy with no fighting experience. He wasn’t even particularly clever, but he did have a random desperate idea. He looked over the man’s shoulder and shouted, “okay, now!”
This was enough to distract him. Mateo slammed the door shut and rapidly entered the Baudin code. Before the attacker could stop her, Xearea ran through the new door Mateo opened for her. The Constructor’s headquarters was no fortress, but one thing he noticed when he was last there was that it did have some level of security. A muscular man running after a ten-year-old girl in their lobby was enough for them to raise their defenses. The man was quickly apprehended and taken to another room for questioning.
As Mateo was trying to catch his breath, the Cleanser appeared. “Oh no.”
“Oh yes,” the Cleanser said. He shook his open hands in the air and formed this weird sort of mirror portal which he promptly ushered Xearea through.
“What did you do with her!” Mateo argued.
“She’s back home.” Then he waited for dramatic effect. “I’ve spent so many years, peering through time, looking...for you.”
“Dear God, no. Not now. I’m already in the middle of a tribulation.”
The Cleanser arched his arm and opened a spark portal. “Now you’re coming with me on another one.” Mateo reluctantly followed him through it.

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