Wednesday, July 13, 2022

The Advancement of Mateo Matic: May 10, 2398

The map was finished when Mateo woke up the next morning. It took him a few minutes to confirm what he was seeing, since he didn’t exactly take any training to use this software. According to this data, there is indeed some kind of access shaft right about where he always suspected there should be. That’s all he can tell about it. He’ll only have to dig a few meters down in order to reach the empty space. It’s too square and perfect to have been made by natural causes. Someone built something down there, and then covered it up. It can’t be anything but The Constant, because that would be too great a coincidence. He’s so excited. This is the first time since coming to this reality that a plan someone on the team came up with to find answers has actually gone well. Furthermore, he’s the one who conceived it, which is just wild considering...
The joy of success wears off quickly when Mateo realizes that there’s a huge problem here. Just because there’s something down there doesn’t mean he can go down and get to it. The Lebanese people won’t—is that what he should call them? Probably not. The people who live in Lebanon, that is, surely won’t care for it, or maybe just not whoever owns this particular acre. Scanning is one thing. It wasn’t hard for him to run the machine over this land without causing a stir. It might even be public land, but that doesn’t mean he can excavate it. Now he’s both literally and figuratively at a crossroads, and he needs help.
Just then, as if she could sense his desire, Leona calls. The quality is loud and clear, but she pretends that it’s shoddy. “Captain. Can you hear me?
On your left.
“You’re the Captain.”
She sighs. “I know, which is just one more reason why I should be there, and you should be in this car. Look to your left,” she reiterates.
He looks over to find Heath’s flying carboat coming right for him down Highway 191. “Did you get up to drive in the middle of the night?”
We flew most of the way,” Heath answers proudly. “That’s why I bought this.
“I was trying to remain conspicuous,” Mateo complains.
“Inconspicuous, you mean,” Leona teaches.
“I’ve heard it both ways.”
The giant vehicle pulls over into the grass, and parks right next to the location of the ground anomaly. Leona gets out first. “You bought that thing with our shared credit card,” she begins to explain. “That means I had access to the serial number, and therefore the data in the app. Angela happened to be awake early, and noticed what you found. So we took off work, piled in here, and came out to investigate with you.”
“I’m sorry I left without you. I was just worried how Danica would react.”
“It’s fine,” Leona says sincerely. “We’re not mad. We’re all kind of doing our own thing. It’s time for a joint adventure, though.”
“I found what I was looking for, but not necessarily who. My cousin may not even be alive. If this reality suppresses powers, then she died billions of years ago.”
“Somehow, I doubt that,” Ramses says with a smirk. He’s walking over the access shaft, arms down at his sides, feeling the air churning under his palms. “Do you feel that?”
“I felt it when I arrived,” Mateo agrees. “It’s become stronger since you showed up.”
“There’s temporal energy here,” Ramses believes. “There may be enough.”
“Enough for what?” Marie questions.
His smirk widens. He closes his eyes to concentrate, locks onto the apparent energy around him, and disappears.
Heath is shocked. “I always believed. I always believed it was all real, but a part of me still experienced doubt.”
Marie takes him by the shoulders, and leads him closer to the shaft. “That’s fair. I’m glad you stuck by me, and you will be too. The first time is always a rush. “She holds on tight, and jumps him down to meet Ramses.
The other three come together, and follow. The lights are on in the elevator, and a little beyond the open doors, but no farther. Ramses is already venturing out, and Marie is smiling at Heath’s look of exhilaration.
“Hey, computer...I’m home,” Mateo says out loud.
Welcome,” comes the AI’s voice. Lights begin to illuminate for them, but never get too bright, possibly to conserve power.
The team continues down the passageways, splitting off every once in a while to check out rooms to see if there’s anything of note in them. All but Angela meet back up in the main lounge once it becomes rather clear that they’re the only ones down here, and it’s probably been this way for quite a long time. “Computer, report.”
I’m afraid I do not understand.
“What happened down here?”
You arrived seven minutes, thirty-two seconds ago.
“What happened before we arrived?” Leona clarifies.
No data available,” the computer answers.
“I’ll look into it more,” Leona tells the group. “There might be answers in the system that the processor doesn’t have direct access too, or even a handwritten note on the refrigerator.”
“This alone is a pretty big answer,” Mateo points out. “Just the fact that it’s here proves that we may have everything we need to get everything we ever wanted. We could leave, not leave, travel back and forth. This gives us possibilities that we didn’t have yesterday, or at least lights us the way.”
“You were right,” Leona admits. “This is real.”
Angela walks in. “So is the med bay. I think we can work with this. Marie, you’re gonna be okay.”

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