Friday, June 17, 2022

The Advancement of Mateo Matic: April 14, 2398

He felt it. He felt that pull he was so used to, and even the nausea he eventually got over. He had almost forgotten it was even a thing, but yeah, back when Mateo first became an unwilling time traveler, he could sense it coming when his stomach felt a little upset. It was always brief, and of course, not usually useful because of a little invention they call a clock, but it was specific to him, and later Leona. He stops running, but doesn’t let go of Marie’s hand. “Did you feel that?”
“Feel what?” she asks.
“Ah, you didn’t.”
“No, I felt something, but you need to tell me what you’re talking about, so we can compare.”
“I felt like I was about to jump to the future. I was a little queasy, and—”
“Yes, what?”
“Yes, I felt that too,” she elaborates. “I figured it has something to do with how shitty I feel about leaving my husband with those pigs.”
“You call them pigs here?”
“Not the point, Mateo!”
“Sorry. I don’t think you ever felt the nausea, though, once you became one of us?”
“No, is it because I had a resurrected body before this, and now Ramses’ upgrade? I think I kind of remember Leona mention in passing how it once felt in the beginning.”
He slowly turns back towards that empty parking lot. “There is something about this place. If we come back here, I think we’ll jump. I think it’ll happen. I just think we have to be closer. It is midnight, right?”
“Yeah.” Marie double checks her watch. “Yeah.”
“We have to come back. We have to get the other two, break Angela and Heath out of jail, and then return to that lot just before the following midnight that comes. I did that once. I broke out of a holding cell, and—well, I tried to run into the treeline so they would never catch me, but then my cousin caught up to me; it was this whole thing.”
“Mateo, I wouldn’t be able to do that.”
“Why not?”
“Because Heath isn’t one of us.”
“Crap. Oh, no. You’re stuck here forever. This...this is the only world where you can be happy now.”
“I think so, yeah. It was uncomfortable at first, but now it’s a gift. I’m not a time traveler anymore, and I don’t wanna be.”
Mateo breathes deeply, and sits up against a mostly fallen tree.
“We have to get to the rendezvous point. You can still do what you want. You can still get out of here, if that’s even what’s happening. Maybe it’s just a glitch, so don’t get your hopes up. But I’ll be fine. You’ll still have Angie.”
“No, we’re a team. We keep having to promise you that you’re part of that, and so is your husband, and so is that baby...”
Marie reacts to this reminder in a way that shows she doesn’t know how to feel about it.
“I’m sorry that’s...that’s a private matter. I can’t speak to it.”
She sits down next to him. “It’s okay. I found out right before you showed up, and I was going to tell him, but then we were dealing with all of this, and...”
Mateo sighs again, but more contently this time. “We’ve been looking for a home. We keep saying that that’s what the main sequence is, but who cares? I mean, I have people that I love back there, but I haven’t seen most of them in ages anyway. My own mother doesn’t remember me. Most of the people that I love are right here, and that can be enough. We always wanted to be free, which is why we sent our alternate selves to Havenverse. Why can’t we just make this our own haven?”
She stands back up, brushes the dirt off her hands, and extends one back down to him. “We can, but we have to get out of here before they find us, or we won’t be able to tell Ramses and Leona what happened. We’ll need them to put the team back together.”

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