Sunday, November 12, 2017

The Advancement of Mateo Matic: August 7, 2153

At the moment, Mateo was sitting on the floor, up against the wall. Lincoln, Kivi, and Darko were there too, along with The Weaver, and Porter. The latter would provide them with anything they needed, and some other things that just made this whole ordeal easier. Her power, and drive to help, seemed to have no bounds. While the rest of them were working the problem, she used her ability to apport objects to fill up the building. Everyone had their own bedroom and bathroom, complete with running water, and electricity. There were common areas, entertainment centers, laundry services, a kitchen, and anything else a home would have. The lab itself was full of diagnostic equipment, electronics, soldering tools, and a ton of other junk that never really amounted to anything. They were hours away from the deadline, and though they had made some progress on the task, they didn’t know if they could make it in time.
Arcadia was requiring them to build a map of time and space. Lincoln Rutherford had the ability to navigate this map in his head, but now she wanted an actual piece of paper that could be used by anyone; namely her. Weaver generally had the ability to transfer other people’s abilities to objects, but this particular one was proving profoundly difficult. They had a map of sorts now, which was good, but it wasn’t near enough complete. Weaver drew upon the power of the time mirror Leona had found on this island years ago, but that could only show one thing at a time, rather than the entire system. They called upon Juan Ponce de León so they could borrow the Compass of Disturbance. It took him awhile to arrive, and even longer to be convinced to help them. He was a generous man, but that was asking a lot. Weaver had to take his most prized possession apart and figure out how it worked. If she couldn’t put it back together right, he would feel a great loss.
In the end, the map was proving itself capable of showing them some things in time and space, but not everything. Darko said it would be like trying to invent the whole internet all at once, rather than coming up with the basic structure, and letting it add upon itself over time. “That’s it,” Weaver said in response to his remark. “What we lack is time. More to the point, we lack perspective.”
“How do we get more...perspective?” Mateo asked, pulling himself out of his funk, and standing back up. He nearly tipped back over from the change in blood pressure, but managed to stay upright.
“We’ve been going about this all wrong. It’s not about Lincoln.”
“It isn’t?” Kivi asked.
“Of course it isn’t,” Lincoln agreed. Then he leaned towards Weaver. “Why isn’t it?”
“We and Arcadia alike have been operating under the notion that we need to somehow make a paper version of Lincoln’s brain. I’m not saying that’s impossible, but it’s not easy, especially since we only have until midnight central.”
“So, we go back in time?” Kivi suggested.
“Or we create a time bubble.” Mateo remembered when Future!Leona put him in a five year bubble so he could recover from a traumatic experience in only a day. The Rogue had done something similar when he trapped him on, and around, Tribulation Island for an extended period of time.
“No, because we’ll still have all this work that isn’t necessary. Again, it’s not about Lincoln. He’s not the only thing with a map of time and space.”
“Who else does?”
“Danica?” Darko wondered.
“No.” Weaver was getting excited. “Time. And space. Itself.”
“We don’t have to build a map using the one we have in this room. It would be much easier if we just mapped the whole thing ourselves.”
“Yeah.” Kivi held her hand up like a student in a classroom, indicating her puzzlement. “How is that easier?”
“Dimensions,” Weaver said simply.
“Dimensions,” she repeated, still without expanding her thoughts.
“For us, spacetime is a continuum. But if you leave the universe, then it happens all at once.”
“Okay, how do we leave the universe?” Kivi asked.
“It doesn’t matter, it wouldn’t work,” Lincoln noted, to everyone’s disappointment, except for Weaver, who was still confident in her idea. “Arcadia asked for a map of time and space. If we go into the bulkverse, sure, we can see what’s happening in this one brane, but not all of it. The bulkverse is still part of it.”
“Can you?” Weaver asked with a smirk.
“Can I what?”
“Can you see what’s happening in the rest of the bulkverse? Can you see other universes?”
“Then Arcadia isn’t asking for that. She only cares about this universe.”
“I guess that’s true...” Lincoln may have been feeling genuine doubt, or petty sadness over no longer being the objective of their mission.
“I don’t know about you,” Darko began, “but I don’t know how we get outside of the universe, or what we would do there in order to map it.”
Weaver turned to Mateo. “He does.”
This was a surprise to everyone. Mateo rarely had an edge over anyone, least of all something involving physics. “I may have a way, but I will need Porter’s help.”
Porter elegantly glided over to him. “I am at your service.”
He took a deep breath and reluctantly said, “would you be able to provide for us...Bell’s bell.”
She held her smile, but widened her eyes. “That will be rather difficult.”
“But not impossible?”
“That is a metalink object, which means it cannot be retrieved from a microreality. I will have to take the real thing. I believe Arcadia has it at the moment, and I don’t think she would like that.”
“Then don’t take it from her,” Darko said. “You can pull things from the past and future, so take it from someone who had it before her. Then we’ll give it back, whatever it is.”
“You misunderstand. There can be only one. If I try to call forth a second version of a single metalink that’s not designed for that, it could destroy them both. Very few things in this universe hold it together, and that is one of them.”
“Please,” Mateo begged. “I’ll deal with Arcadia.”
She took a deep breath. “Very well. Bell’s bell.” She held up her hand and apported the object into it.
Mateo took it from her and rung it. A door appeared on the wall that was not there before. The bellhop, whose name was definitely not Bell, came out of it. “What can I do for you, sir?”
“I need access to the rest of the Crossover. I need to speak to Vearden.”
“Who is Vearden?”
“Doesn’t he run the Crossover? Or maybe his wife, Gretchen.”
“Never heard of ‘em,” Bell said unemotionally. “Perhaps they take possession of the Crossover sometime in its future. No one holds onto for very long. It’s kind of an unwritten rule that you pass it onto someone else afterwhile.”
“Oh. Well ,who runs it now?”
“That would be Harmony.”
“Okay. Could Harmony here?”
“I will ask her. Please wait here a moment.” Bell stepped back through the door. He returned ten minutes later with a beautiful young woman wearing a cat t-shirt.
“My presence was requested?”
“Hello. My name is Mateo Matic. We were hoping to gain entry into the bulkverse.”
“You mean the m-void?” she asked.
“If...that’s what you call the space that’s, like, above all the universes, then yeah.”
“We’ve been tasked with creating a map of time and space,” Weaver stepped in to explain. “We have all the pieces, but we need data from the entire universe, which we can only get by leaving it.”
Harmony turned to Bell. “What brane is this again?”
“Your Highness, this is the one with all the time travel.”
“Temtea?” she asked.
“No, that was a galaxy in the composite universe. This one doesn’t have any simplex dimensions, or hyperspace, but does have temporal manipulation. Salmonverse is what we sometimes call it. Your Majesty.”
“You make him call you Your Majesty?” Darko questioned.
“I am Imperatrix Harmony, Ruler of Three Worlds, Founding member of QS-1.”
“Yes, of course. Sorry.”
She looked over the group, weighing her options. “Very well. You may do whatever it is you wish. Let me know when you’re done so I can return you to your Earth.”
“Oh, this isn’t Earth.”
“Just as well.”
Bell closed the door. Once he released his hand, the doorknob disappeared. He turned around to reveal a doorknob on the other side of the door now, which he opened for them. A woman was already in the room, looking over her instruments.
“Emery,” Harmony said to her. “Please navigate us to just outside this brane. The scientist apparently needs to study it.”
“Copy that,” Emery replied. She pushed buttons and turned knobs. They couldn’t feel the Crossover moving, but she seemed to think it was. Once she was where she evidently wanted to be, Emery stood up and gestured towards the back door. “I will escort you to the interface sector.”
“Thank you,” Weaver said. She and Lincoln followed, while the rest remained. There was really no way they could help. None of them was qualified to make any significant contribution, and any time they had helped over the last two days was nothing more than illusion and delusion.
“So,” Darko started a conversation. “How long have you had the Crossover?”
“Darko, you have a wife and child.”
“What does that have to do with anything?”
“I have been here for three of your Earth months. I will be returning home soon, though.”
“Where’s home?”
“A little planet in the Peg—”
“Mateo!” a voice cried from another room. “Mateo, where the hell are you! This place is a freakin’ maze!” It was Arcadia.
“We’re in here,” Mateo called back, knowing he couldn’t literally hide from her.
She finally found them. “What did I say about traveling to other universes?”
“Well, it was implied.”
“Why shouldn’t I? Because the powers that be can’t control me when I leave?”
“Yeah, kinda. I”
“It’s all right, I have no intention of leaving without Leona and the rest of my family.”
“Well...good. What are we doing here?”
“This is where we’re gonna make the map.”
She looked at her wrist. “You don’t have long before midnight central. If you’re not back where you belong before then, your pattern is gonna get screwed up, and the powers will get mad.”
“How did they handle it the last time I was in the Crossover?”
“They didnt.”
What? Mateo had to let that go for now. We need it, Arcadia. I promise to be back in time, even if that means I leave Weaver and Lincoln here to finish the job.”
“The expiation calls for you to finish it by end of day,” Arcadia argued.
He got closer to her. “Something tells me you’ll be willing to let the time limit lapse for this particular thing.”
“If you’re not helping—which I’m okay with in this case, you’re right—then you might as well leave now. Be on the safe side.”
“Okay. Come on, Prince Darko. Kivi, the island or Lincoln?”
“Lincoln,” Kivi answered.
“Hold on,” Darko said. “This ship can go anywhere?”
“It’s not a ship,” Harmony corrected. “I know ships.”
“But it can take me anywhere, at any time, in any reality.”
“It can, yes.”
“Can it take me to my daughter?”
“Where is your daughter?” Harmony asked.
“I don’t know exactly.”
“Then no.”
“She made her choice,” Arcadia said impassionately. “You’re going to have to live with that; without her. Everybody comes, including you, Kivi.”
“It’s Kivi,” Kivi corrected the pronunciation that few of them could really get.
Darko walked by with steam coming out of his ears. He whispered something in Arcadia’s ear, and then left the not-ship. Kivi followed.
“What did he say to you?” Mateo asked, fearful for his brother’s safety.
“He thinks he’s gonna kill me one day,” she relayed. “If you’re interested in seeing that happen, I suggest you work hard on the next two expiations. Otherwise, you’ll never see him or Marcy again.”

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