Friday, July 15, 2022

The Advancement of Mateo Matic: May 12, 2398

This is going to be a lot of work. It was hard to tell back when they were using the elevator to get down here in the main sequence, but it’s incredibly far below the surface. According to Ramses—who stuck around long enough to find Mateo and Heath a blueprint—the main floor is five kilometers under the surface, so the first time the two of them climb the emergency ladder, it takes them just over an hour. Subsequent climbs in either direction are going to take significantly longer. This is not a good alternative, but the computer didn’t tell them where the elevator car was stopped, so they had to do the whole thing to find it. Once they reached an obstacle, it took some sleuthing and math for them to realize that said obstacle was not the elevator. It was a ceiling of concrete, or some other strong material, which was constructed in order to prevent the soil above from falling down.
“Well,” Heath begins as he’s digging through his bag, grateful that there is a ledge here for them to sit and rest.
“Well...?” Mateo prompts after a period of silence.
“Oh. Well, we have all the tools we thought we might need to break into the elevator car, but I guess it was removed...?”
Another bit of silence. “Go on”
“Since it’s not here, we’re going to need something else; a heavy duty power tool of some kind.”
“You wanna take out this ceiling?” Mateo questions.
“I don’t see any other way,” Heath says, “not unless you’re sure that your ability to teleport at this specific location won’t ever go away.”
“Nah, it probably will. It would be foolish for us to rely on that.”
“That’s what I figured, which is why I suggested we do what we’re doing right now. I just didn’t know it would entail this much climbing, or that we would run into this damn thing.” He clumsily pounds on the ceiling with the outside of his fist. “Ow, why is it so hard?”
“Well,” Mateo decides, “I can still feel the energy right now. I can jump up to the surface, dig down with the shovel, and then jackhammer this block.”
“You want to what the block.”
“Jackhammer?” Mateo repeats. He pantomimes with sound effects. “Jackhammer.”
“Oh, a powered demo chisel.”
“Yeah, I don’t have one of those.”
“I should think not.”
“You jump us both up there, I’ll start digging, you go rent one—a hardware store in town surely has one available—and then I’ll operate it.”
“Are you asking me to let you do all the work?”
“How do you mean? I don’t know how else we would do it.”
Mateo laughs. “This is my cousin’s house. If anyone was gonna do it all by himself, it would be me. But no, we’ll do it together. We’ll both go rent the chisel thing, we’ll both dig a hole, and we’ll both break through this ceiling. Let’s hope it’s not made of adamantium, or naquadah, or something.”
“I don’t know what those are,” Heath admits.
“I should think not.” They sit there to rest a little more until Mateo speaks again. “I don’t suppose it’s legal to blast our way through with an explosive.”
“It would be if we owned this land, or secured a permit to conduct such work. Otherwise, they would ask us why we need the explosives. They may even ask us if we try to rent the demo chisel. That’s why I think one will be available, because it’s not exactly something the average household ever needs. It’s a risk too.”
“What about a sledgehammer? Would they question that?”
“A what?”
Mateo growls, though he knows that it’s no one’s fault that they sometimes have different words for the same, or similar, thing. “It’s a hammer you use for demolition, rather than nails.” That’s how he thinks to describe it, but it may be inaccurate.
“Oh, no, that would be fine, though...I imagine it would take a long time. Do you really wanna try?”
Mateo shakes his head. “No one can know what we’re doing here, or that this place exists. We should even move our car to a different location.”
“That’s a good idea,” Heath agrees. “Jump us to the surface, so we can drive to Mankato. There’s a greater population, so we should be able to blend in. I don’t have my own block striker either. Then we’ll park a ways away from here, hide the car behind some trees, and walk.”
“Sounds like a plan, but we may need to get back to the top of the ladder at some point, and I do not want to climb it again, or have to aim at this ledge, so hand me that rope, if you please.”
“What are you gonna do with it?”
“I’m gonna build myself a web.”

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