Sunday, July 18, 2021

The Advancement of Mateo Matic: Tuesday, December 7, 2275

This wasn’t the first time that Mateo and Leona returned to the timestream to find their environment having changed dramatically. Mateo once broke his leg when the train he was on at midnight was no longer under his feet. Later, he and Leona woke up in a forest that experienced a devastating fire sometime during the year. Now on this planetesimal, in this hangar, their instinct was to venture out, and just figure out what was going on. Olimpia didn’t think that was such a great idea. “Computer, whisper mode.”
Yes, can I help you?” the AI offered, but in a much quieter voice than she generally did.
“How did you get into this hangar? Is it where you landed?” Olimpia asked.
I was transported here after landing,” the computer replied. “The outpost on this planetesimal was established five years ago.
“Has anyone made any attempt to breach the hull of the Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez?” Olimpia continued.
They have made attempts, but all have failed. They wanted to get in carefully, and without damaging anything.
“Do you know what their hypothesis is regarding the nature of this ship?”
I am not cognizant of that.
“No one has been in here,” Olimpia stated to the group. “No one knows that this thing has been empty for the last five years, let alone that last nineteen, and that people have suddenly appeared out of nowhere. They probably think it’s from an alien race, but they’re afraid to do anything to upset some kind of cosmic balance.”
“So, what should we do?” Leona asked. She was happy with not being the one to have to come up with all the solutions for a change.
Olimpia considered it for a moment. “Let’s just bail. Why go out there and introduce ourselves? We’re not here to meet them. They’re not supposed to be here at all. Our business is on Earth. Let’s teleport to maximum distance, and continue doing that until we reach our destination.”
“Leona, can you plot a course that avoids detection until we reach Earth?” Angela questions.
I can’t, but the AOC herself can.”
“I don’t wanna, like, try to force anyone to agree with me,” Olimpia said, a little defensively. “This is just what I think we should do. Anyone else have any ideas? I mean, it’s entirely possible that the hangar was built for us, and the people out there have been waiting for our return, because they’ve known who we were the entire time.”
“If we were meant to go talk to them,” Mateo began, “then something would force us to do so. Like you said, let’s just bail.”
Everyone else seemed to agree as well, much to Olimpia’s relief. Though they had been friends for the last three years, she still felt a little bit like an her opinion mattered less than the rest of the group. Of course that wasn’t true. Hopefully they would be able to convince her otherwise in time. For now, they needed to get out of here. Leona and the computer synthesized the present-day solar system. They accessed a detailed map, which told them where every outpost, every ship, every beacon was right now. Knowing this was going to allow them to teleport to blindspots, where no one would be able to detect their presence. They wouldn’t go full burst mode, because that endangered the integrity of the hull, but if they teleported fast enough, even if they accidentally got too close to a sensor, they would be gone before it could verify what it was seeing, and maybe mark it down as a technical error.
It took them most of the day, since the best route didn’t max out their teleporter range, and they couldn’t go through the manifold highway, so it wasn’t the fastest, but they made it back. They were now in the hangar where the Sharice Davids was once kept. At first, it didn’t seem like anyone was using it. Then four people came out of the shadows. No, they weren’t in the shadows, they were behind them. They appeared out of an illusion of a wall, but behind it was the past version of the Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Ramses, Tracker, The Stitcher, and Flex. These were the four people Leona found to help them with their fight against Erlendr Preston. That was in an old reality, though, if they weren’t mistaken. Why were they here now?
“You’re not supposed to arrive until next year,” Leona said, looking at her watch. “We thought this place would be empty.”
“I don’t know anything about that,” a past version of Ramses said. “We’ve come here to meet you, and it seems we’re right on time.”
Leona shook her head. “We are future versions of your friends. If Past!Us are gonna show up today, then we have to get the hell out of here.”
“It’s okay,” Mateo tried to assure her. “I think I have this figured out. It’s a different reality. We don’t have to worry about a paradox. In fact, we should save them some trouble, if we can.”
“That’s dangerous, Mateo,” Leona warned.
Nerakali suddenly appeared with past versions of Mateo, Leona, and Jeremy.
“I think it’s kind of too late,” Future!Mateo said.
Nerakali took a step forward. She was surprised, but not shocked. “Report.”
Future!Mateo smiled, and looked over at his crew to make sure no one wanted to say anything for themselves. He decided to take charge of this situation. “First, let’s do introductions. Future!Jeremy Bearimy, Future!Leona Matic, Angela Walton, and Olimpia Sangster. Over on this side, we have my good friend, Ramses Abdulrashid. Next to him is Vidar Wolfe, Tonya Keyes, and Yadira Cordosa. Lastly, we have a younger version of Nerakali Preston. She is still alive, and it looks good on her.”
Nerakali rolled her eyes, but couldn’t hide her own smile. “Anything else?”
“We’re not just from the future,” Future!Mateo went on. “We’re from an alternate reality. Nothing you do will impact what has happened to us. What’s done is done. Fortunately for you, we went through the heartache for you. We can fix your Erlendr problem. Then once we do...” He hesitated.
“Once you do...” Past!Mateo pressed, “what?”
Future!Mateo sort of started focusing on his alternate self more. “This timeline ain’t big enough for the both of us.”
“You’re suggesting we assimilate with each other?” Past!Mateo presumed.
Future!Mateo shook his head. “We’ve made a lot of friends since 2275. I don’t know what you’ve been through, who you’ve met. I don’t even know when you and I diverged. But at some point, someone suggested to me that they could get me and Leona out of here. They could take us to a place where the powers that be, and the choosing ones, couldn’t get to us. They called it Havenverse.”
“I’ve heard of it.”
“That dream is dead for us,” Future!Mateo revealed. “Leona, you agree?”
“Yes,” Future!Leona said, completely sincerely. She hadn’t thought about the prospect in a long time.
Future!Mateo continued, “I’ll get you there. I’ll reach out to someone I know who knows someone else, and we will find you a ride. Would you like that?”
“What are you gonna do?” Past!Mateo asked.
Future!Mateo chuckled once, and looked lovingly over at his wife. “This is our life now. I wouldn’t trade it for anything, not anymore.”
She smiled back.
Past!Mateo and Past!Leona did the same with each other. “Can we do that?” the former questioned. “Can we just...bail?”
“I think we deserve that, don’t you?”
“I guess, I just...”
Before either of them could produce a definitive answer, a horn echoed throughout the facility. The Transit came flying across the room out of one portal, and into another. Just as before, it stopped. But that was 2276. What was it doing here a year early? Why was everyone a year early in this timeline? Saga didn’t come out this time. It was a man that no one recognized. That was another thing, no one was frozen in place this time around. Everyone was seeing this happen. The man cleared his throat while he was consulting his handheld device. “My name is Wyatt Bradley. I have been asked to come out here, and inform you that we are looking for Evaluator Nerakali Wilson.”
“Scroll up, buddy,” Nerakali said.
Wyatt swipes up on his device. “Oh, you’re right. Nerakali Preston. Sorry about that. I think Wilson’s already on the train.”
“I’ve always wanted to meet her,” the real Nerakali said excitedly.
“Can you even go?” Future!Mateo asked. “I mean...because...”
“I’m sure the universe will figure it out. I have been summoned.” She started to head for the ramp.
“Wait,” Future!Mateo said, prompting his friend to stop. “Can you take two more? Can you take them to a different universe, somewhere that’s outside of the war?” This would be easier than trying to communicate through Amber.
Another man appeared from the train car. “We do not rescue refugees. Are they fleeing oppression?”
“Yes,” Future!Leona claimed. The truth was too complicated to say whether she was lying or not.
“I’ll send word to The Strongbox. If they accept your application, then they’ll be here immediately after we leave. If not...then you’re out of luck. I don’t make those decisions. That’s for Thack to worry about.”
Nerakali tried to leave again, but Yadira said, “wait,” as well. “I was told to get on the train by someone who knows the future.”
“You’re already on it,” the unnamed man said.
The man sighed. “I suppose you can’t have too many Flexes, can you? Come on.”
Yadira looked back to make sure everyone was cool with her decision, and their facial expressions showed that they were. Now both she and Nerakali started trying to make it up the ramp.
“Wait, I have to know what this is,” Vidar said.
“If you come, you have to fight. This is a war transport vessel, not a ferry.”
“I...have to know,” Vidar explained.
“Very well. Does anybody else want to come, besides the refugees?”
No one else seemed to want to, so finally, the three conscripts were able to start leaving. But there were two more delays. Before Vidar could make it past the threshold, he disappeared. He then started jogging up from behind the group. “Sorry, sorry. I just kind of had to...die first. But I’m resurrected, and back!” Having returned from the afterlife simulation, his loop was now closed, and his destiny was his own to do with it as he pleased. The same thing happened to Nerakali, whose death was also predetermined.
Once the doors were closed, the Transit left through its portal. A much, much smaller vessel appeared from its incoming portal, and stopped in the same place. A woman came out from it. “I hear we got some refugees?”
“Are we sure about this?” Past!Mateo asked. “This isn’t going to cause any problems for the timeline.”
“We’ll handle it,” Future!Mateo said honestly.
“Thank you,” the two of them said simultaneously. As they were boarding, the woman introduced herself as Rosalinda. They heard a scream, and the ship disappeared.
Mateo clapped his hands. “Gang’s all here. Let’s go take care of The Warrior.”

No comments :

Post a Comment