Sunday, November 13, 2016

The Advancement of Mateo Matic: June 16, 2101

After a good night’s rest all the way through the morning of 2101 in the Kansas City safehouse, Mateo used Baudin’s headquarters as a bridge back to Tribulation Island. “I have this Nexus that can easily transport me to anywhere on Earth, but how do I get back once I’ve done that? This is something we should have discussed before.”
“I’ll give you a key when I can. There have been some complications with transferring ownership. Once the process is complete, you’ll have a way to return home as needed. You’re basically in escrow right now.”
He moved on to what he was eerily comfortable calling his home. Baudin had expanded Leona’s one-stop movie shop to include more than one auditorium. At the same time, he had greatly reduced the size of the Mission Hills mansion, removing entire sections of the building, to something that better fit a modest couple. Choosing ones and salmon alike slowly began to frequent the island to satisfy their needs. Téa was responsible for providing clothing and other accessories appropriate for literally any given era in history. This allowed travelers to blend in immediately upon arriving so as to not arouse suspicion.
Mateo’s mother, Aura became a counselor of sorts. She mentored recently activated travelers, especially salmon, providing them with healthy ways of coping with their new lives. Similarly, Samsonite’s job was to teach the more literal facets of time travel. Not only had he always been a history buff, but he was also found to be extremely good at finding and comprehending timeline changes. He was somehow given the tools to look at time itself in a strikingly similar way that the powers that be evidently could. Only he was allowed to use whatever it was he used, though, and he was charged to not talk about it with anyone. Leona was rather bored and unfulfilled in her job to just entertain people. She was great at picking the perfect film for them to watch and forget about their dangerous responsibilities, but this also seemed trivial to her. Since she only worked one day out of the year, it was an awkward appointment either way. The Rogue was probably reaching when he engineered that position for her.
Speaking of Gilbert Boyce, he and the brand spanking new Horace Reaver had become unlikely good friends since Mateo had last seen them. Leona called their last couple years the Three Men and a Baby Tribulation since they and Darko had been working together to raise and protect, Xearea Voss. When she and Mateo returned to the timeline in 2102, Xearea will have been activated, and would have been working as the new Savior for three months. Horace’s other pseudo-daughter, Paige Turner treated Xearea as a younger sister, in that she ignored her and focused on her own life.
Just weeks ago, Paige began working at the newly constructed Museum of Alternate History. It was run by The Historian who did her best to keep track of adjustments to the timeline that choosers and, have would will going to be make. Mateo was told that it was confusing and unsettling in there, so most people stayed away from it. While Paige contributed pictures of important historical events from before photographic technology, a man known as The Archivist kept records of every single salmon and chooser, along with every human involved in time travel in any way. Mateo was about to enter the building so he could get his hands on The Cleanser’s files, but was stopped by someone he did not recognize.
“Hey, you’re Mateo Matic, right?”
“It’s pronounced Muh-teek since I’m not a retro infomercial product, but yes.”
“Oh, sorry.” She presented her hand. “My name is Kivi Bristol. I’m not an infomercial product either.”
“That’s funny. I once knew a Bristol.”
“You own this place, right?”
“So they say. I’m not a king, or anything, though.”
“Okay, well I’ve been here for about a month.” She pointed to the former mansion. “I live in that house, they tell me it’s yours, but what no one has told me is what the hell I’m doing here.”
“How did you get here?”
She shrugged. “I woke up in the master bed.”
“Hmm. You’ve never time traveled before? Or teleported? What year was it for you?”
“2245. I grew up in this sort of...anti-technology community? It’s hard to explain, we live in circles? Never mind, anyway. When I woke up here, I was actually kind of relieved. I’ve never been offworld, and I was excited to explore life outside of my circle. But I feel like there’s more to it, and I’ve now only ever seen this island.” She took a beat. “And my circle.”
“What’s a circle?”
“Don’t worry about it. Do you think you could, I dunno, talk to your boss? Do you have a boss? Am I meant to be going somewhere? I feel like I’ve just been hired and everyone in my department is too busy to train me.”
“Honestly, Kivi—”
“It’s Kivi. Its more like a quicker v-b sound, uh...never mind. Sorry, go on.”
He did his best to pronounce it correctly. “Kivi. This planet was given to me as an inheritance following the death of a very powerful man. I don’t actually do anything here. In fact, I only exist one day out of the year—
“Like Brigadoon!?”
That was jarring. “A bit. point is that I have no clue what you’re doing here. They call it my planet, but it isn’t really. I don’t even know where the bathrooms are, because since I got this place, I’ve spent more time away from it.”
“So you can’t help me?”
“Have you spoken with Samsonite Bellamy?”
“He says something about The Delegator; that he brings people to him, and that I wouldn’t be able to find him.”
“Yeah, that’s true,” Mateo nodded. “How about this? I’m about to go speak with someone they call The Archivist. I need him to pull a file for me. While we’re there, we’ll pull your file and get to the bottom of this. Does that make sense?”
“Like a dog on Pluto.”
“I’m sorry?”
“Because of how they put transdogs on Pluto. Mostly for a joke. Do they not have that reference yet?”
“Oh. It’ll be funny when you get there.”
“You’re kind of a weird one, aren’t ya?” They started to step into the building.
“I am but a product of my circle.”
“Again, what’s a circle?”
They followed the directions and ended up at the Archivist’s office. Mateo knocked on the door, and it did that thing where it turns out it’s already open, so it swings in a little bit. “Hello?”
They could see a man on the couch fidget at the sound of someone’s voice. “Did you just curtsy?” he cried, supposedly due to a dream.
“Are you the Archivist?” Kivi asked.
The man squinted and pretended to put on a pair of glasses. “Is that Kivi Bristol?”
“You already know me?”
“I know e’erbody,” he answered. “Everybody. I mean. Sorry, I haven’t had my coffee.”
“It looks like you’ve had some other things to drink,” Mateo said, gently nudging a tipped over but not quite empty bottle of vodka with his foot.
“Mateo Matic? Is it Thursday already?”
“Well, it’s nice to finally meet you.” He stood up and tried to rub the sand out of his eyes. “I would shake your hand, but I think I’ve had it down my pants.”
“You’ve had my hand down your pants!”
“I need Zeferino Preston’s file.” Gilbert had given him the Cleanser’s full real name earlier in the day.
“And I need my own.” She turned to Mateo. “Who’s Zeferino Preston.”
“Don’t say his name a third time or he might show up and kill us all.”
“Bloody Mary. Beetlejuice. Biggie Smalls.”
“Why would you still know those reference?” The Archivist was just staring at them. Or rather he was staring at the space between them. Mateo leaned in a bit to examine his eyes. “Did you fall asleep again?”
The Archivist blinked once. “What? No.” He waited a long time before continuing with, “you’re asleep.”
“The files? Zeferino Preston? Kivi Bristol?”
“Kivi,” The Archivist corrected in unison. She was impressed that he could do it without being taught.
The Archivist yawned. “I can get you hers, but his, I cannot.”
“Oh my God,” Mateo said, exasperated. “Don’t tell me you too have some kind of contract with the Cleanser.”
“I don’t,” he assured him. “But he did steal some of my files. He took his and those of several other people.”
“Well, Darko Matic’s, yours, Nerakali Wilson’s—I mean Preston’s.”
So the Cleanser and the Blender were related. That wasn’t all that surprising, but it was useful information. “Let me guess, he also pulled Arcadia Preston’s file.”
“That’s right,” the Archivist confirmed.
“Well, I would be disappointed, but it was a longshot anyway. No way was a man like that going to let anyone get ahold of anything that could be used against him.”
Kivi nodded in agreeance even though she didn’t know who he was talking about.
“Well, let’s go ahead and take a look at hers. At least we’ll get something out of this visit.”
“Yes, quite,” the Archivist said as he was standing up and hobbling towards his filing cabinet. “Kivi Bristol. Kivi Bristol, Kivi Bristol, Kivi Bristol. Kivi Bristol!” he cried once he finally found what he was looking for. “Just let me make sure I have this right,” he said as he was scanning the pages.
She looked anxious. “That’s fine, take your time.”
The Archivist’s eyes narrowed as he focused on one part of a page. He then looked back and forth between it and Kivi’s face. His eyes one time darted over to Mateo.
“What? What is it?”
“You’re not supposed to be here. You’re waaaaaay too early.”
“We’re time travelers,” Mateo said. “Who cares?”
“Everyone cares!” he argued. “All the cares. Total care. You shouldn’t be here, it messed with everything.” He went back to studying the file, making the two of them nervous. “But if you think you’re...and you remember...? But that can’t be, because Nerakali...” He shook the chaotic thoughts out of his head. “It doesn’t matter. I have to fix this. I’m sorry, but I have no choice but to force a hard reset.”
“What the hell is a hard reset?” Mateo asked.
The Archivist closed his closet door and hastily pulled down the coats and hats that were hung on some hooks behind it. Doing this revealed a red emergency button on the wall.”
“Don’t push the button.”
The Archivist adjusted a few knobs under the button.
“Don’t you push the button until you tell me what it does! This is my..planet!”
The Archivist took in and released a deep breath. “You weren’t even in the timestream during the corrupted month. None of it would matter to you anyway.” Before anyone could stop him, the Archivist hit the big red button.

After a good night’s rest all the way through the morning of 2101 in the Kansas City safehouse, Mateo used Baudin’s headquarters as a bridge back to Tribulation Island. “I have this Nexus that can take me anywhere, but how do I get back? I can’t believe I’ve never asked you this before.”
“I’ll give you a key when I can. There are complications with completing the ownership transfer process. I promise that you will soon have a way to return home whenever you need to. You’re in escrow right now.”
Mateo spent the rest of the day catching up with his family and friends. He was especially happy to be reunited with Leona. Later that afternoon, he went up to the new Museum of Rotating History, hoping to get some information on The Cleanser from a man named The Archivist. Unfortunately, he wasn’t there, and it would have to wait.

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