Sunday, February 21, 2021

The Advancement of Mateo Matic: Sunday, July 28, 2143

Mateo decided that there was no need to rush off back to his home universe. Leona would still be there waiting for him, and theoretically, no time will have passed for her. He possessed some of her memories, which meant he could recall her meeting his daughter, Dubravka, but he had never actually met her himself. She grew up in Ansutah, and spent her latter years in a different universe that he had never heard of, so this was a gift he would never get again. She couldn’t return with him since she had work to do, along with her cousin, Dar’cy—though they had never considered themselves related to each other, due to some timeline discrepancies.
They spent the whole day together, getting to know each other, and catching up. By the time it was over, Mateo was so calm and confident that he only needed to meditate for a few hours to be ready to slip back home. Meliora was impressed, having often spent days priming passengers to go with her. She was not born with the natural ability to travel the bulkverse, like Limerick, and she didn’t use technology, like The Crossover. It was something she learned to do after centuries of study and discipline, and even then, it wasn’t something she could simply do at a moment’s notice.
Things weren’t quite what they should have been when the two of them made it back home. It was indeed 2141, and only seconds had passed since Past!Mateo left the group with Nerakali and Imzadi. Those he left behind looked around for him for a bit, hoping he would come back immediately, but that wasn’t what happened. Mateo and Meliora were stuck in some kind of observation dimension. Time was moving at the same speed, and they could hear everything their friends were saying, but they couldn’t talk back, or interact with them in any way. “It’s okay,” Mateo assured her.
“I don’t know what’s going on,” Meliora lamented.
“I’m not worried about it,” Mateo said. “We’ll get out of here eventually. Until then, let’s just watch over them.”
“Like a creeper?” she asked.
“If that’s your truth.”
“What is going on with you?”
“I’m a new person. Amber didn’t just give me my memories back, she helped me let go of my insecurities, and my guilt. Even though Hitler was a terrible person, I always felt a little gross killing him. I spent my whole life never having murdered someone, and then it happens. And then it happened so many times afterwards. I buried my feelings, but they were always there...until now. Now they’re gone, and I feel totally good about it. I no longer hold a grudge against Zeferino, or Arcadia. I’m no longer mad at the powers that be for having turned me into this. I’m just...”
“Chill?” she finished.
“Yeah,” he agreed. “I’m just chill.” Intellectually, he knew that not being worried about anything could get him into trouble. After all, risks were still there, as they were a part of life. But it was a nice change of pace, knowing that everything would turn out okay, if that wasn’t true. “I have you to thank for it. I was already feeling a lot better after I got my soul back, but your meditation technique really pushed me over the edge. Meeting my daughter helped too, I can’t forget that. She’s where she needs to be, as is Imzadi. They’re good, Leona’s good, the two of us are good. It’s all good.”
Is Leona good?” Meliora questioned. “She looks depressed.
Leona was lying in bed on the mobile home, fully clothed. She wasn’t sleeping, or reading. She just lied there, still.
“Nah, she’s good. She’ll be fine.”
It was true, Leona was fine. Ramses showed up, and asked for her help engineering some time travel something or other for The Sharice Davids. It was something that needed to be on the ship, but also needed to be kept secret, or something bad could happen in the future. This proved to be slightly more difficult than they thought, so they had to come back a year later to finish the job. Mateo and Meliora continued to watch them, as if they were stars in a really boring television show. Nothing interesting happened until they were finished with the temporal displacement drive, and someone showed up to complicate matters. Only one of them seemed to recognize him. “Tal’at?” Sanaa questioned.
“Hello, sister.”
“Sister?” Leona gasped. “You have a brother?”
“Yes.” Sanaa was regarding Tal’at with moderate unease, but not hatred.
“Why didn’t you tell me? Why don’t you ever talk about him?”
“Do you talk about it every time you poop?”
“You don’t really think that’s the same thing, do you?” Leona asked.
“She’s always been jealous of me, and my life,” Tal’at explained.
Sanaa nodded ever so slightly, and made no move to contradict her brother’s statement.
Tal’at went on, “I was born with a freedom she always wanted. I didn’t have any psychic powers, and that allowed me to pursue whatever life I wanted.”
“I live the life I want now,” Sanaa argued.
“I know,” Tal’at agreed. “It’s not come without consequences, however.”
“What do you mean?” Sanaa asked. “What consequences?”
“Our great grandmother,” Tal’at started to explain. “She’s the psychic in this time period, and your presence is interfering with that.”
“Oh, yeah, that makes sense.” She was never supposed to become a time traveler, but the consequences from her having done so were always assumed to be limited to her having lost her telepathic abilities. At some point, she got them back, and it would appear this caused more problems. “I didn’t mean to.”
“We all know that,” Tal’at acknowledged. “The problem still must be corrected, however, and I was dispatched to see that that is carried out. We’ve let you go on for a while, because we didn’t have very many options. We didn’t want to solve a time travel problem with more time travel—that felt so...hypocritical—but now we think we’ve found a good compromise.” He looked at the walls of the ship’s corridors, almost like he was admiring them.
“The Sharice?” Sanaa guessed. “What does that have to do with anything?”
“It has an interesting future,” Tal’at replied.
“Yeah, it’s destined to be destroyed,” Sanaa confirmed.
“We’ll program you to be released before that happens.”
“You’ll program me to be released from what?”
Tal’at grinned, and banged on the wall twice with his fist. A secret door fell open, like a broken grade school locker. “I had it installed before you guys got here. That’s why Ramses had to wait until last year.”
“What is it?” Sanaa asked, getting annoyed about this whole thing.
“It’s a temporal stasis pod,” Leona answered.
“You won’t even think five seconds have passed,” Tal’at said, like that should give her comfort.
“I was here in the future,” Ramses began. “I was here when this ship is destroyed. She wasn’t rescued.”
“You sure about that?” Tal’at widened his grin. He reached into the pod, and flipped the ceiling down, revealing a bunch of mechanics that most people couldn’t recognize.
“It’s also an escape pod,” Leona realized. “If programmed appropriately, it should clear her of the blast and debris.”
“Then what?” Ramses pressed. “This isn’t going to get her back to Earth, or even Proxima Doma.”
“It will take time,” Tal’at said, “but that doesn’t matter. In fact, we want it to take time. The other Sanaa is destined to travel through the time cave in 2254. This Sanaa can’t wake up until after that, or she’ll just end up interfering with her own past self’s psychic responsibilities.”
“This is crazy, it’s crazy. It’s stupid, and I’m not doing it,” Sanaa complained.
“It’s either this, or you’ll be shunted.”
“Do you mean shunned?” Ramses asked.
“Time shunting,” Tal’at clarified. “You don’t have that in your reality? She’ll be placed in a pocket dimension, where time loops every day, or even every minute. And she won’t be let out until 2255. Do you want that? That’s your only other option. Either you jump right to the future, or you let yourself be tortured while you’re waiting. Kai Parker did it, and it made him even crazier than he already was. So I recommend...the pod.”
Sanaa huffed. “What do you think I should do, Mateo?”
“Mateo?” Leona asked, looking around. “You’re communicating with Mateo.”
“Yes,” Sanaa answered, acting like she had already been over this, which she hadn’t.
“Have you been able to connect with him this whole time?” Leona pushed.
“Of course,” Sanaa said. “You knew I could reach out to The Superintendent’s universe.”
“Well, yeah, but you didn’t say anything. How is he? Is he okay?”
“He’s fine, don’t worry about it. He’s here, he’s been watching us from an observation dimension. Meliora doesn’t know why they’re stuck there, but the barrier weakens every time we jump to the future, so they’ll probably be free next year.”
Mateo didn’t know that she could read his mind from there, but he wasn’t surprised, and he wasn’t shocked, and he certainly wasn’t going to let the development harsh his mellow.
“I’m not tryna harsh your mellow, dude-broh,” Sanaa said. “Just give me your opinion about the time pod, broh.”
“Do you trust your brother?” Mateo asked. “I mean, would he possibly be doing this to hurt you?” They were both talking out loud, but technically she couldn’t hear him. She was just listening to his thoughts.
“Yes, and no,” Sanaa answered. “He would not do this to hurt me.”
Mateo shrugged. “Then get in the pod, man. Sounds fun.”
You get in the pod,” Sanaa snapped back on instinct.
“All right, cool.”
“Get out of the pod, Mateo,” Meliora ordered, shaking her head in disappointment.
“Did he get in the pod?” Leona asked Sanaa.
“He’s just screwin’ around, he’s out.”
“What about you?” Tal’at asked her. “Are you out?”
“Who am I to question the wisdom of Surfer!Mateo?” Sanaa reasoned. Poorly.
“I don’t know what that means,” Leona said, “but you don’t have to do this if you don’t want to. We’ll find another way. Hell, the easiest way would be to just call Nerakali, and have her ferry you to the future.”
“I can’t read Tal’at’s mind like I can other people’s. All of our family’s non-psychics learn to ward their thoughts. Still, I can tell that he’s keeping something from me. There’s something he can’t say.”
“Is it that his intentions aren’t entirely pure?” Ramses figured.
“It’s that there’s more to this plan than just getting me to the future,” Sanaa corrected. “It’s where this pod ends up that’s the point. I do have to do this. I don’t know why, but this is where I get off.” She stepped into the pod, and stood there, waiting.
 Tal’at nodded gently. “Seal it up, make sure no one finds her, just like you did with whatever it is you built here.”
“Wait, you don’t know?” Ramses asked.
Tal’at stepped over to another wall, and reached down to open a portal like it was just a really big zipper. “We understand the value of discretion. It is your secret to keep.” He stepped through, and sealed the portal zipper behind him.
“Go ahead, Lee-Lee,” Sanaa said to Leona. “Start this thing up, and...let me go.”
“Do you have any idea where you’re going?” Leona asked. “July is almost over. For us, it’ll be 2256 in three weeks.”
“I don’t know,” Sanaa said honestly. “I don’t know if we’ll ever see each other again. But that’s okay. You helped me become a better person, and now maybe time will give me the chance to use what I’ve learned to help others.”
Mateo smiled and nodded, like a proud big brother who had to help raise her.
“Don’t give yourself so much credit, Matty,” Sanaa said.
Leona and Ramses inspected the pod, and made sure it would do what Tal’at claimed it would. Sanaa trusted him, but they didn’t know him, so they needed to see for themselves. After some more farewells, they closed the hatch, engaged temporal stasis, and covered it up with more walls, so no one would ever find it.

No comments :

Post a Comment