Friday, June 24, 2022

The Advancement of Mateo Matic: April 21, 2398

It should have been a happy reunion, but Fairpoint bogarts the conversation right away. He’s first through the door, followed by Heath and Angela. Before Marie can even hug her husband, he starts to yell at her. “You lied to me! You told me he didn’t know about the baby!”
“I said that we’ve not had the chance to talk about it,” Marie defends. “I never said he didn’t know. It was literally the last thing he found out before we got separated.”
“What is this?” Fairpoint questions accusatorily. “Who are you people? Why did this happen to Heath?”
“We told you all that we can,” Marie continues. “Why are you still so pissed off about it? It’s done.”
“It’s not done. Now I’m out there. Now the authorities know my name. Now I’m on some list.”
“You’re not on a list,” Heath argues.
“You don’t know that!” Fairpoint growls. “Who are these people?”
Marie tries to reply, “My sister—”
“No!” Fairpoint interrupts. “I want him to say it, because I’m starting to get the feeling that it’s all bullshit, and if your stories don’t line up perfectly, then I don’t know what I’ll do.”
At this, Heath loses it. The truth is that most of the team doesn’t know him that well, but their first impression was that he was incapable of anger, or at least incapable of expressing it. This moment disproves that. He slams his ex-husband against the wall, and holds his chin up with his forearm. “You know what I’ve done when someone has threatened my family. You know how far I’ll go, because I’ve gone there for you. I don’t know what Marie told you about what’s happening here, but whatever she said, you’re going to accept it. If you don’t, you’ll only see me again under one condition, which is if you leak any of what you know to external forces, and if you do that...Fairpoint Panders, it will be your last day above ground.”
Fairpoint reaches up, and yanks Heath’s arm off of his neck and chest. “You and I are done. I’m done with all of you. No more favors.”
“That’s fine,” Heath agrees. “We should never have kept in contact.”
“Clearly.” He opens the door, and walks out of the condo.
Marie tries to hug her husband again, but Heath catches her wrist midair, and gently keeps them off of his shoulders. “You knew I couldn’t have children. You told me you couldn’t on a physical level.”
“There’s a famous chaotician back where I’m from,” Marie begins. “He says...life finds a way.”
“I will always love you,” Heath says, practically ignoring her meaningless explanation. “I will always protect you. But right now, I can’t even look at you.”
“I’m taking care of it,” Marie spits at him.
“You can’t do that. That’s just as bad. The Daltemisik states—”
“I don’t belong to your religion, so I don’t have to worry about what your stupid book says.”
“We’ve already talked about this, Marie! You can’t just—”
Now Angela interrupts. “Hey!” She takes the both of them by the hand, and drags them down the hallway, into the bedroom she was using. She steps back out. “We learned this technique when we were training to be a counselor, remember?” she reminds Marie. “You’re staying in here until you can find a resolution.”
“This is our house, we can leave—” Marie starts to fight.
“I just spent a week in a holding cell for you. Stay! In! The room!” Angela slams the door between them. “Love you!” she yells too, but affectionately this time. She exhales, and walks back over to the group. “I don’t know if that’s going to work, but we don’t need to hear all of that. It is none of our business, and it is not my problem.”
No one else says anything. They just frown at her.
“Oh, it was fine,” Angela claims. “The police chief’s religion preaches killing your enemies with kindness. From what I gather, like, they sometimes interpret that literally. I don’t know how it works, but it must be a lovely way to die. Still, I’m glad to be back with my people. Tell me, what have you learned?”
“About all the religions, errr...?” Leona asks.
“No, about the parking lot. Did you...see anything?”
“We haven’t done anything with that,” Ramses apologizes. “We haven’t looked at the feed, or...”
“What have you been doing this whole time?” Angela scolds.
“Mostly worrying about you.”
Angela rolls her eyes. “Four people, eight days of footage. Rambo, load it up, divvy it up, and shut up. All we have to do is get through the last week, and then it will be easier to keep an eye on it in realtime. I want answers, don’t you?”

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