Sunday, May 13, 2018

The Advancement of Leona Matic: September 2, 2179

Vitalie was waiting for Leona when she arrived in pocket five in 2179. “This area has been cleared, madam,” she said like a law enforcement subordinate.
“What are you doing here? I thought your fathers weren’t going to let you interview people, or go anywhere alone.”
“I’m a rebel,” Vitalie answered in a British accent, “I rebel.”
“I realized that it doesn’t really matter whether my dads are okay with me doing this or not. I’m capable of it, so I’ma gonna.”
“Typical teenager,” Leona said.
“I am Groot,” she said in feigned mockery. Leona had provided the pockets with a decent library of entertainment choices, which Vitalie was clearly making good use of.
“Well, I assume you’ve already cleared pocket six too,” Leona guessed.
“I have,” Vitalie confirmed.
“So...who done it?”
“The killer is not on the ship, or one of the six pockets.”
Leona just stared at her, knowing that Vitalie was just dying to reveal the truth.
She finally broke down and continued, “you would have never found him.”
“He’s in a seventh pocket dimension, isn’t he?”
“That’s right,” Vitalie said, impressed.
“And you’re sure?”
“I can’t actually get into said dimension, but I can feel that it’s there. It’s been eating at me since last year when we went to visit Serif and Saga. Like...interference. I have to pass it in order to get from my pocket to any other. I guess it’s something I’ve always been able to sense, but now I really notice it.”
“Well, looks like this has all been a waste of my time. I should have just asked for your help in the beginning. I even studied the manifest. I knew about everyone’s paramount powers before I went in.”
“I was too young to do any good back then, so it likely wouldn’t have helped. But it’s done now, and I assure you that he has not been able to hurt anyone else. He’s trapped there, just like everyone else.”
“Why did Annora create it?”
“That I do not know, but the ship’s sensors would have picked him up if he had left. He’s been there the whole time, and I’m fairly confident that he’s alone, but maybe that’s just because it feels pretty small.”
“Do you know how to get to it? Where exactly on the ship is the access point?”
“I don’t know that either, but I’m also fairly confident in your ability to figure it out.”
“Just...” Leona hesitated. “If I leave here, and you, umm—”
“Made a mistake?” Vitalie offered. “You will have wasted an opportunity to interview all these people, yes. You’re just gonna have to trust that I watched every single episode in the Law and Order Franchise, as well as 24, Homeland, Without a Trace, and of course, The Closer.”
That would have to do. “I guess I’ll go back and try to find this secret dimension, eh?”
“Call me if you need me. I figured out how to make one of those phone numbers that some choosers use to communicate across space and time. All you do is find one of those ancient Earthan one cent coins, and say, be the penny.”
Leona smiled. “Okay, I’ll remember that, and see if I can find one of those things lying around.”
Just after the sun turned back off, Leona activated her emergency teleporter, and went back to the ship.
The first thing she did was debrief her captain, Paige. Then she went to find Hokusai in her lab, hoping to recruit her to find the seventh dimension. Unfortunately, she was very not happy about being interrupted. Loa came from down the hallway, and pulled Leona out of the line of fire.
“She’s in the zone,” Loa said. “You can’t bother her when she’s like this. Believe you me, I tried many times back on Durus, which is why our relationship started falling apart. It took years for us to find each other again.”
“I need her help,” Leona explained.
“She’s already helping you, trying to get Serif and the other humans out of pocket four. She thinks she may be able to reopen the entrances to the pockets, using Annora’s DNA, but she wouldn’t be able to open only one at a time, or close them again afterwards. Until we find this murderer, she can’t risk that, so she’s frustrated.”
“That’s what I need her help with. Vitalie found the murderer. He’s in an unregistered dimension, that can be accessed on this ship somehow, so I need her to find it.”
“Oh, well if that exists, then it’s not on the ship.”
“How do you know?”
“That was one of the first things we did. Hokusai built a temporal anomaly detector, based on what little data Missy left for her regarding Ida Reyer’s Compass of Disturbance. We were looking for anyone who was invisible, or moving at superspeed, or, yes, even a dimension we didn’t know about. We found absolutely nothing.”
“Well, shit,” Leona said. “Vitalie was pretty sure of herself.”
“Well, there are six places on this ship that we couldn’t scan with the detector. It’s possible to attach a pocket dimension to another pocket dimension. Hindsight 20/20, we should have given you the detector.”
“So I’m going to have to go to every other pocket and scan them now? That’ll take too long, we’ll land before I’m done anyway.”
Loa thought about this. “Not necessarily. If the secret pocket can be accessed from another pocket, it was probably discovered by someone in that pocket; someone who lives there.”
“Thankfully, we have someone who can transport herself to any pocket, without waiting a whole year in between.”
“I don’t know that I could ask her to do that for us.”
“I don’t know that you can afford not to,” Loa noted. “We have the full manifest, so all she has to do is run a roll call in each dimension. That should tell us who’s missing, which should tell us where they escaped. Now, as far as what you need to do to get to them, and get them out, I couldn’t tell ya.”
“So I do need Hokusai’s help.”
“I suppose you’ll need that done before midnight central, so you can use whatever she invents next year. And I suppose she can take a break from the pocket four problem to work on that.”
“So you’ll talk to her for me.”
Loa sighed. “I’ll do anything, just to be done with this horror film.”
Paige agreed to let Leona use the fabricator to create one tiny little penny, so they could make contact with Vitalie. After joking about how quickly after speaking that Leona needed her again, Vitalie agreed to do what they needed of her. Since there was no way to send even data between the dimension, she kept having to return to an interface terminal in the ship to memorize as many names on each manifest as she could at one time. She found two names missing; one from pocket six, and another from pocket three. Leona and Serif should have thought to do a roll call back when this began. That was a stupid error; one of many. Just to make sure they covered their bases, they continued with the head count in the other pockets. Since pocket four was so incredibly large by now—existing at the scope of an entire Earth-sized planet—Camden had to feed them the information. He had long ago memorized the entire list of original residents, who were now outnumbered by Maramon almost 600,000 to one. He had no reason to believe anyone had survived undetected at the earlier stages of development. Pocket two was so dangerous for Vitalie, even while supposedly protected by the astral barrier, so she never spoke to a single soul. Instead she was provided with profile images of all the residents, and checked them off one by one.
So it seemed the two missing persons could be found in either pocket six, or pocket three. They had always considered the chance that the killer was not working alone, which was a possibility they were clinging to now. Because if only one was the killer, then the other could be in grave danger, or already dead. Leona decided to enter pocket six, because neither suspect carried a dossier that made them sound more dangerous to the other. They were both big strong men who, while not leaders of the passenger rebellion that started this whole mess, were also not the caring and peaceful type like the kind Vitalie lived with in pocket two. It was really just a crapshoot, but as long as Hokusai found a way to detect and open the secret dimension before midnight, this issue would be resolved in at most a matter of two years.
Once this was all finished, Leona asked Vitalie for one last favor; to astrally project her fathers to the ship, so she could personally apologize to them. She then assured them both that Vitalie’s part in this ordeal was officially over, and that she would no longer accept any further help she tried to give. She was still a fourteen year old girl, who likely had a hard road ahead of her growing up on a planet she wasn’t born on. Wayne and Raphael wanted her to have a safer life, which was why they were bringing her home, but that didn’t mean it was going to be easy on her. She had already done so much, and it was now time for her to focus on her own mental health. They were appreciative of Leona’s words, but could not express happiness for how things went down, and they certainly weren’t planning any dinner parties with Leona and Serif once they arrived on Earth. That was fair.
With an hour to spare, Hokusai was finished retrofitting the temporal anomaly detector with an access feature. She couldn’t begin to guess what Leona would find in the secret dimension, or provide any way for her to prepare for it herself, but this was just going to have to do. Paige tried to give Leona a gun for her protection, but she had just spent the last several days without one, fully believing the culprit could be on the other side of every day. A weapon never occurred to her then, so it shouldn’t be necessary now. Still, she felt more comfortable with a little defense, so Brooke fabricated a graphene bullet-proof uniform, which Paige was completely happy to authorize. She also made it so that it would be nearly impossible to remove the emergency teleporter from Leona’s person. They didn’t want a repeat of the pocket one incident. Leona sat at the entrance to pocket six, passing the time before midnight struck by performing some meditative breathing techniques that Dar’cy had taught her. Then it was time to go back to work, and finish this.

No comments :

Post a Comment