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Sunday, August 14, 2022

The Advancement of Mateo Matic: June 11, 2398

Eleven hours later, the away team was over eight thousand kilometers away. Ramses performed a water landing, then kept The Olimpia in boat mode so they could dock at the marina. A taksi took them over to Bishopsworth Resort, where they spent the night. The concierge was insistent on knowing what time they would be fully awake and dressed in the morning. They were already feeling jet lagged, so they chose 10:00, and when the clock chimed ten times, a crew of waiters burst into their room unannounced, and began to serve them their welcome breakfast. It was shocking, and annoying that no one thought to tell them what would be happening. Perhaps they just assumed everyone would know. They failed to do their research, or rather, Heath did. No matter, the food was good, and they needed to fuel up before the mission. When it was over, they opted to walk back to the marina, where they climbed into their boat, and headed Southeast.
Three hours later, they have made it to reform.belief.paint. They can see all around them forever, but there’s nothing but water, water, and more water. “Does anybody feel anything?” Marie asks. “Do we get the sense that we can teleport again?”
“Not in the least,” Ramses answers.
Apparently the one with the strongest connection to any source of temporal energy, Mateo shuts his eyes and tries to jump all the way back to the entrance to the boat, but he doesn’t move. “Nothing.”
“Hm,” Ramses says. “If anywhere in the world would have it, I would have thought here.”
“Why is that?” Mateo asks. “It’s not really any more special than the pyramids, or Easter Island.”
“Because most of the British Isles are just gone?” Marie says. “That’s weird. It sure as hell sounds like some kind of temporal anomaly. The Great Pyramid of Giza is just sitting there, where it’s supposed to be. We’re not even really sure why it’s special in the first place. But the fact that most of Great Britain doesn’t exist, but some parts of it do...that doesn’t make much sense.”
“True,” Mateo agrees.
“Well, we can’t have come all this way,” Marie begins, “and not at least try to find some clues. There’s only one logical next step.”
Ramses nods, and takes them down as far as this thing can go, but still don’t reach the bottom. If there’s any temporal energy tied to the location of Stonehenge, it’s under too much pressure. It looks like this little side mission is just a dead end. Leona drew a border on the virtual map, so they can maintain their proximity to their target. Mateo keeps trying to jump every once in a while, but nothing happens, not even a hint. The trio keeps thinking that maybe something will surprise them just before they give up, but they continue to sporadically utter defeatist phrases at each other—like “there’s nothing here” or “this is dumb”—yet still nothing changes.
It doesn’t even necessarily have to be time-related. They could resurface to find a band of pirates who want to take them hostage, or a shady government helicopter who has been following them around since the parking lot. But when they break the surface, they find it just as it was before. Water, water, and more water. “I think I’m gonna call it,” Marie declares. “This was a waste of time.”
“No, it wasn’t,” Ramses contends. “We had to come here. If we hadn’t, we would have wondered about it. Now we can check it off the list. That’s the whole point of these little missions. We only have to find one thing that helps us get home.”
Marie nods, appreciating the sentiment. “Let’s go back to the island. We might as well be able to tell Heath that we did the bike tour. He was pretty excited about the prospect of us doing some real vacationy stuff”
Mateo heads towards the stern as Ramses is turning the Olimpia around. Recessed in the walls of the two back cubbies are footholds that lead up to an emergency exit in the ceiling. He opens up the hatch, and climbs outside. He stands on the roof, and continues to look around, hoping to see an ominous dark shadow of a giant creature as it swims underneath them, or a brilliant green whirlpool, or maybe a beacon in the distance. That would be satisfying enough, to rescue a random castaway. But as before, he finds that there is nothing special about this place. It’s just the middle of the ocean on the most boring version of Earth yet. He’s not yet lost hope, because they still have many other locations to test, but it’s sure not a good start. Though, to be fair, it’s not really a start. Magic exists here; The Constant proves it. As Ramses was saying, they have to keep trying, and keep checking things off the list.
After they’re sufficiently far from awaited.passively.landings, he climbs back inside, and hangs out with the other two until they get back to the resort. There they stay for two more nights to finish out their reservation. Island culture is a little bizarre and confusing at times, but overall a lovely experience. Next stop, Munich.

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