Friday, July 29, 2022

The Advancement of Mateo Matic: May 26, 2398

This was originally planned as a six-man operation. Well, actually, it was only going to be five men, but they lucked into finding Mateo, and decided that he would be a good sacrifice. It’s going to be a dangerous mission, but if Mateo doesn’t help, the rogue veterans say that they’ll out him as a fake Dominus. So Leona, Ramses, and Heath agreed to participate as well, so he wouldn’t have to do it alone. The military guys were hesitant, because they don’t understand that this is not at all the first mission they’ve been on. It’s just the first one they can talk about with these people. Heath is the least experienced, though, so he was assigned to stay with The Olimpia to provide air support, along with Captain Tarboda Hobson. They have lucked into having a fancy flying carboat submarine too. Perhaps it is the once-immortal time travelers who should be leading this superhero team-up adventure. Ah, yes, that’s the new plan.
Here’s the mission. A cargo ship is headed for the states, carrying perfectly normal goods, and also a bunch of innocent women and children to be sold into sex slavery. This is the consequence the country faces when it comes to religious freedoms. Slavery is not legal, but there are ways around getting caught by declaring privacy, exploiting loopholes, and executing well-coordinated timing. If they travel from the right port, and arrive at the right port, at the right time, they’ll be able to unload the trafficked people, and erase all evidence that they were there. The rogue vets intend to intercept this ship in international waters. This will be illegal, because it’s considered a form of privacy, and there’s no explaining that away. It’s this whole thing. That’s why they’re doing it, because if teams like them don’t, no one will.
The superempathy that Ramses built into their new bodies—which is still, for whatever reason, strongest in Mateo—allows them to sense each other’s feelings. That’s what it was designed to do, so they can at least communicate as much amongst the team members without anyone else noticing or knowing about it. To a certain degree, this also gives them a heightened sense of general empathy, which works on anyone they meet who happens to have a soul. It’s not perfect, but it gives them a pretty good idea when someone is lying. According to Mateo’s readings, the rogues are telling the truth about the mission, and their convictions. They’re not saints, but they believe that what they’re doing is right, and Mateo does not believe that the people running the ship don’t deserve what’s coming to them. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy.
Here’s the plan as they drew it up after three more people signed on. Seven of the nine members of the taskforce are meant to sneak onto the ship from below, and break off into two teams. Technically, three of the soldiers are on one team, and two of the travelers are on another, but they’ll be moving throughout the vessel together. While Mateo and Ebraim go up to commandeer the bridge, the rescue team will head for the shipping containers of abductees. The strike team, lead by Goran, will protect both the rescuers, and the refugees that they find. Any help they might need from the outside will be provided by Heath and Tarboda on the fourth team.
It’s not safe, and it’s not guaranteed they’ll win, but the biggest issue with this plan is that people will most likely die. It might not be any of them, or even any of the refugees, but Team Matic is not fully okay with that. For various reasons, they’ve had to kill occasionally, but it’s never been something they’ve planned. Well, there was that one time Leona conscripted an alternate version of Reaver to stab Ulinthra with a dagger that erases her from time. And when she murdered Erlendr Preston in the afterlife simulation, it was pretty premeditated. But other than that, killing has been a last resort. This is so calculated, so intentional, and therefore so...wrong. So that’s not what they’re going to do. Instead, the time travelers manage to lock all of the soldiers in the galley, and steer their boat as far away from the intercept point as possible. They get free, but Ramses teleports away at the last second. When he arrives back on the Olimpia, the real mission begins.
They do sneak onto the cargo ship, and they do rescue the refugees, but they don’t kill anyone, and they don’t make a mess of things. They escort them all onto a lifeboat, drop it into the water, and distract all the guards and whatnot with a small explosion in the engine room, using explosives they stole from the rogues. The secret plan goes off without a hitch, and no one is the wiser.
The rogues are pissed when they break down the door, and make it back to the location of The Olimpia, having missed out on all the action. But they’ll get over it, and besides, it’s not like there’s no more work for them to do. It will be their responsibility to tow the lifeboat to safety. Do they have to go back to Santo Domingo? Will the U.S. take them in for asylum? Will another country? These are questions that Team Matic can’t answer, but there is one question that they can respond to quite swiftly.
“You will get those people to safety, wherever that might be. You will not return to the cargo ship to kill all those criminals, or harm them in any way. They are dead in the water, so you will contact the authorities anonymously, and let them do whatever it is they do. You will not tell anyone about what you know of Mateo’s situation, or even that you met any of us at all. If this is not clear, then I will kindly point out that we managed to achieve everything you wanted on our own, without any of them seeing our faces, or being able to tell you how we did it. I don’t know what you’ll take from that, but if I were you, I would start to think that I underestimated us at first. There is no telling what else we can do when properly motivated. Is any of this not making sense?” Leona Matic understands astrophysics and technology. She knows main sequence film history through the year 2028. But goddammit if delivering threats isn’t her best feature. The men all nod silently, now sufficiently afraid to do anything to anger her. This is where they leave it.
While the soldiers drive off to finish the mission without further supervision, the Olimpia heads farther out, to the exact center of the mysterious Bermuda Triangle. They were dubious that they would find anything out here, which is why Mateo and Leona chose to check it off the list of special temporal locations while getting a short vacation out of it. The fact that they can teleport in this region, just as they could near the site of The Constant, is interesting to say the least.

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