Sunday, April 21, 2019

The Advancement of Mateo Matic: October 21, 2228

Many years ago, back in the version of reality where Mateo Matic did not exist, Leona was on her way with a crew to a rogue planet called Durus. There they would find the daughter of Saga Einarsson, and her wife Andromeda. Étude would go on the be the Last Savior of Earth, which meant she was incredibly valuable to the powers that be. So they evidently decided one ship was not enough. A second vessel, called The Emma González was secretly sent behind them, presumably to support the primary team. The Failsafe Vessel never did make it to Durus, and the crew of The Elizabeth Warren were never able to make contact with them again. As it turned out, they were diverted by some mysterious force. Against their will, Captain Kestral McBride and Lieutenant Ishida Caldwell found themselves all the way at Gatewood. There they were charged with maintaining three to four major projects, one of which involved the production of all the facilities the Ansutahan refugees would need to escape their universe, and survive in this one. Apparently, this was in the works long before anyone on the ground knew it would ever be necessary.
Unfortunately, in order to protect the people of Dardius, which he was responsible for, Mateo was forced to destroy the Muster Beacon. When combined with the power of its counterpart, the Muster Lighter, it was causing a flood of duplicates, which were threatening to destroy the solar system. If not stopped, the beacon probably would have continued to add more and more to the population, and wouldn’t even stop once there was literally no more room. Its original creator was never known, with The Weaver assuring them that she would have had nothing to do with it in any reality. There was no on or off switch, and it only ever worked according to a psychic connection it made with its operator. They never had a chance to figure out why it was able to keep going unsustained by this connection, which meant the only solution was to destroy it completely. That appeared to have been enough to stop the onslaught of Freemarketeers, leaving everyone wondering whether they made a huge mistake by not starting out by trying to destroy the Muster Lighter first, since it was a hell of a lot less powerful anyway.
So here Mateo was in a different universe with Ramses, Weaver, and Goswin. They were discussing their options with Mateo’s girlfriend, Serif, their new friends Kestral and Ishida, and newcomer Greer Thorpe. Time was not the same here. Their only hope of solving this problem was to use the lighter by itself, but it featured a far smaller capacity. According to preliminary attempts, it was capable of summon a maximum of eight hundred and sixty-one people at one time. In order to save all eleven billion humans presently living in Ansutah, it was probably going to take them over two years. The good news was that two years wasn’t the worst possible solution, but it all came down to a very special girl, with a very important temporal power.
Many years ago, a woman named Melissa Atterberry went off on a quest to rid herself of her special ability. The reasons she wanted to do this were her own, but she ended up discovering what she was looking for, as did dozens of other people. Long story short, however, some of her friends were in need of getting their powers back, but of course, it wouldn’t be so easy. They began a new quest, and found themselves on a place called Eden island, where their powers were waiting for them. No one there at the time remained long enough to tell the story, but historians were able to piece together fragments of information, which ultimately told them that their plan at least worked in part. Right at the spot where they were standing, a tree grew. This tree bore fruit of different colors; each one containing one of the quester’s powers. To protect the Fruit of Power from falling into the wrong hands, a special order of humans was created. No one would be allowed to live on the island, except for this order. As anyone might expect, this could not last forever.
As the war with the Maramon of Ansutah raged on, a small group of young humans began their own quest. They sought the Fruit of Power, hoping to end the war, and free their people. They were met with no resistance upon reaching Eden Island, for this island was also being used by Serif as the location of the bridge that could transport them all the way back to their home universe. The protectors were simply too busy with trying to figure out how to get everyone through the bridge to worry about the tree anymore. Something went wrong during an attempt to recreate the power of the Muster Twins, and most of the young men and women who partook in the fruits were either lost to the multiverse, or killed. Only Greer remained, having eaten the yellow fruit, which imbued her with Missy’s original power. She was now able to create bubbles, inside of which time would pass at a slower or faster rate. Knowing it would take some time before the bridge made it all the way to Gatewood in the first place, Greer used her new ability to form a bubble around the entire planet. She linked the passage of time to Serif’s pattern, so that only days would pass inside, while the Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez made its way through interstellar space on the outside.
“Why would you do that?” Weaver was asking Serif. “If you thought Mateo and Leona would be on their way with the Muster Beacon, why would you try to make one of your own, especially before you had even arrived on Gatewood?”
“I wasn’t responsible for that,” Serif explained. “I am not the leader of the Ansutahan humans, as you can imagine, since I only live for one day every year. Bureaucrats decided that, if the Muster Beacon could be invented once, then surely it could be invented again. I would have stopped them had a I been there. Surprisingly, though no one would call what they did successful, they did come damn close. They harnessed the power of the bridge itself, and used it like a vacuum cleaner, sucking everyone on the island into it. Sadly, most of those people disappeared into the bulkverse, but they were onto something.”
“What?” Mateo asked. “You think we can combine the technology of the bridge vacuum, and the Muster Lighter? You think we may be able to get it to work?”
Serif nodded. “If Miss Blue here helps us, yes I think we can.”
“People have been calling me Weaver, in order to distinguish me from the Holly Blue who belongs in this reality. And I’m not sure that would be such a good idea. I mean, this is alien technology we’re talking about here. The Maramon developed as a society completely independently from the rest of humanity. Even the humans here came up with their own technology, and all of it would be totally incompatible with anything I learned to build on Earth. We don’t even know where the Muster Lighter comes from; perhaps even a third universe. You may have this idea that, as an engineer, I can invent pretty much anything on the fly, but that’s not how this works. I’m going to need time, if it’s even possible. There’s also this belief that everything is possible, if the right people have the right tools, but some dogs just don’t hunt.”
“Time I can give you,” Greer said. “In a panic, I created an Atterberry bubble so big that it encompassed the entire planet. That’s what’s keeping us from suffering years of war. But the war is still going on; it just hasn’t been very long yet. I think...” she trailed off, hesitant of her own convictions.
“Go on,” Serif urged her.
“I think I can pop this bubble, and make a new one. I think I can place all Maramon in a bubble where time moves slower, and put all the humans back in real time. Except for Serif and Mateo. I can’t end your salmon patterns.”
“Speaking of people who can end salmon patterns, any word on that?” Mateo asked Weaver.
Weaver shook her head. “I’ve not been able to get the Nexus replica to take me anywhere since we saw Newt hopelessly trapped in that awful suicide vest. I may be able to get to Durus or Earth at some point, but I assume Dardius has been completely cut off from everyone. They’re on their own now, unless someone like Dave or Maqsud goes out there.”
“How did you know how to build the Nexus?” Mateo asked Kestral and Ishida. “How did you know to do anything when you got to this star system?”
The two of them gave each other this look. “The instructions come to us in dreams,” Ishida answered.
Shared dreams,” Kestral added. “They don’t tell us what to do, but they tell us how to do things, and we decide whether we want to.”
“So we didn’t know why we might need the centrifugal cylinders, or the Nexus, or—”
Kestral interrupted, “the point is we don’t know how the Nexus works. It’s not like a real Nexus, which if what you say is correct, is from a real universe that we could potentially go to. It was just made to look like that, but it utilizes temporal energy from our universe to travel the stars.”
“We’re still not clear why you need a Nexus at your destination. You should be able to teleport anywhere in the observable universe, as long as you have its coordinates.”
Mateo turned back to Weaver. “Maybe you could use that too.”
“What?” Weaver asked. “The Nexus? You want me to combine whatever powers the Nexus, with the Muster Lighter you brought back from Dardius, with whatever crazy Maramon tech sustains the universe bridge?”
“Greer can give you time to study all three of them. Plus, you have at least two other brilliant engineers helping you out.” He gestured to Kestral and Ishida.
“We would be most excited to work with you,” Ishida agreed.
Kestral was excited too. “The cylinders aren’t finished being built, but we don’t have to maintain them manually. The robots do pretty much everything.”
Weaver sighed. “I will see what I can do, but Miss Thorpe will indeed have to change how this temporal bubble works. I’ll need to be able to go back and forth between our universes without getting stuck.”
“Give me an hour,” Greer requested. “Maybe longer.”
“Done,” Serif said, like a leader. “As for Misters Abdulrashid and Montagne, there are other considerations for this venture. While Weaver finds a way to get everyone here, we’ll need you two to figure out the kind of society they’re going to build. I understand you both have experience in government?”
“I do,” Ramses said.
“Yes,” Goswin said.
“Good. Many of the human leaders got themselves sucked into the bridge vacuum. I obviously can’t lead them, since I’m going to disappear at the end of today, after Greer changes the bubble.” She looked around at the group. Most people had something important to do, but Mateo certainly didn’t. “All right. Break!”

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