Wednesday, June 29, 2022

The Advancement of Mateo Matic: April 26, 2398

Mateo and Angela are sitting in the living room together, reading their respective books from the library. Marie and Heath are out on the balcony, having a private conversation. Though, it probably can’t be too private, because any other resident could potentially hear them. A phone rings from their bedroom. Upon seeing that the two of them don’t hear it, Mateo gets up and goes inside. On the nightstand, he sees four phones lined up next to each other on what’s probably a wireless charger. On top of each one is a scrap piece of paper, tucked into the case, labeling them by name. Using his newfound genius level intelligence, he surmises that the one labeled LEONA is Leona’s new device. He answers it, and clears his throat. Then he almost laughs, because he remembers that being a problem back when he was just a normal person in the main sequence. The rational thing to do would be to clear one’s throat first, and answer second.
“Leona Matic’s phone.” A bright light shines into the corner of his eyes. He pulls his head away from it as fast as he pulls the phone in the opposite direction. He didn’t realize that it’s a hologram. “Oh, sorry. I thought it was audio only.” He didn’t even know holograms were a thing here in this time period. They have some weird expectations when it comes to technology.
The little lady standing over the screen nods respectfully. “That’s quite all right. Is Magnus Matic available?”
She must be talking about Leona. That’s his newfound genius coming through again. “I’m afraid she’s unavailable, she’s at work.”
Apparently surprised by this, the woman looks all around her. “I’m sorry, I was to understand she would be starting here soon.”
“Starting where?”
“Oh, forgive me,” she says in a horrified tone. “This is Magnus Petra Burgundy of the University of Usonia Kansas City Astrophysics and Cosmology Department. According to our records, Magnus Matic has recently requested transfer from U of U Denver.”
“Oh, yeah, right, of course. Yeah, she’s just working part time in retail. We were to understand it could take months for the transfer to go through. We sort of had to move out here on late notice due to family circumstances, so she just took what she could right away to support us.” No joke this time, that was a decent lie.
“That’s understandable,” Petra responds. “We foresee her ability to maintain her position, assuming it’s not too demanding, and still be able to work with us. However, when we received the notification for the request, we were quite ecstatic. Someone with her credentials and experience is exactly what we were looking for in regards to a special project we’ve been struggling with. I can’t say much over the phone, or to you, but we would be greatly relieved if she could begin work here immediately.”
Really? What fanciful claims did the forger make on her fake background documents? Magnus sounds like some kind of educational title, which he knows Leona not to have achieved in real life. Hopefully it’s not something she can’t fake her way through. “I imagine she would be happy to do that, though I cannot speak on her behalf. We just got new phones, so she forgot to take it with her today, but she’ll be back in the next few hours, if you would like to speak with her directly.”
“Yes, we would. And I apologize if calling today has caused any faith conflict. We know quite a bit about what Magnus Matic has accomplished in her time at Denver, but she did not list any shabatica. We operate seven days a week, but we respect our team members, and their disparate religious observances.”
“Rrrright,” Mateo answers, not sure what a shabatica is, but sure that he’s supposed to know. “I’ll give her the message.”
“Thank you.”
“Thank you.”
She just kind of stands there a moment.
“Could you hang up first? I’m not good with technology, she’s the smart one.”
“Very well.” The hologram disappears.
Mateo spins around, and comes face to face with Heath. “You found the phones?”
“Yes, Leona received a call.”
“Yeah, we bought them years ago. I don’t know why we bothered, it’s not like it would have been urgent. But we stuffed them in a drawer, and kept paying the data plans. I don’t know what kind of devices you’re used to, but you don’t ever turn these off. They will last for weeks on one charge, but they will eventually lose power. Even if you were to indeed switch them off, they would trickle it away slowly. We forgot about them, then Marie remembered last night, and rushed to charge them up. Y’all left before we could get them to you.”
“It’s okay,” Mateo determines. “She’ll be back soon.” He starts to walk towards him, like he’s trying to leave, but Heath doesn’t budge.
“One question.”
“It’s going to sound random, you like oyriri?”
Do I?” Mateo asks as if it’s obvious that he does. “Do I?” he repeats, but in a more genuine tone. “What is that?”
Heath pulls a hologram up on his own device.”
Mateo squints and turns his head into different angles. “That’s a pineapple.”

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