Friday, August 26, 2022

The Advancement of Mateo Matic: June 23, 2398

Everyone is real quiet in the living room. Marie is feeling very anxious, because it is not yet time for her to take another pregnancy test. They don’t know this as a medical certainty, since it wasn’t exactly a normal abortion, but they’re going to follow conventional professional advice, which recommends an ultrasound no sooner than ten days. Angela took a day off to be with her sister, and Leona is working from home. She spent yesterday traveling to Washington alone to confront Senator Honeycutt regarding his family’s intrusion into their lives, but she promised to keep working on fusion for the lab so that’s what she’s going to do, even today. Ramses and Mateo are thusly left without purpose. It’s not looking like they’re going to continue with the special temporal location investigation. There are still plenty of places they could check out, like Giza and Antarctica, but it all feels so stupid now.
“It’s not,” Marie tells them when Ramses expresses his sentiment, and Mateo agrees. It was hard for them to go through that experience with her. They can’t imagine what she’s feeling, but that’s between her and Heath now. They’re confident that their actions were moral and justified, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt, or isn’t sad. “I can’ anything like that right now, but you two should go on. It’s important. I think that I want to leave. I want to leave this world behind, and I want to figure out how to bring Heath with us.”
“I’ve thought a lot about it,” Heath says in a tone that suggests they’ve been discussing this on their own. “Ramses, and your friend, Olimpia deliberately turned themselves onto your pattern by temporarily occupying your bodies. If it worked for them, it will work for me. You can make me like my wife. That way we can all return to the main sequence, and do whatever we want...together.”
“It’s not that simple,” Ramses tells him. “Olimpia and I were able to do what we did because we used Mateo and Leona’s original substrates, and they were vacant at the time.”
“They weren’t our originals,” Mateo reminds him.
“Right, but they weren’t the ones that I cloned,” Ramses clarifies. “Tamerlane Pryce specifically designed them to do that. The same thing won’t happen with these ones. I designed them not to, in case something like that ever happened again. We don’t want to saddle someone with this pattern without any way to undo it.”
“There must be a way,” Marie urges.
He sighs. “I could clone him a new body of his own, and give him all of our same biotemporal properties.”
“Okay...” Marie says, hopeful.
“It would take time,” Ramses says with a shake of his head. “These clones are special. We can’t accelerate the process any more than we did last time. In fact, after we used them for a little bit, I think I would have preferred to slow it down even more, perhaps even at a slower rate than a typical organic human. Heath would spend a year at a time, waiting for you to return, just like Mateo’s family once did.”
“We could use a Cassidy cuff,” Angela offers.
“We don’t have any left,” Leona says. “We had to give them all away.”
“Not all of them,” Marie contradicts. “Olimpia still has hers.”
“Olimpia still has hers,” Leona echoes, as if agreeing, “wherever she is.”
“I have an idea,” Kivi jumps in.
They all look over at her.
She goes on, “you don’t have to accelerate the cloning process using science. You could transfer Heath’s mind to a baby, and then provert his age, just like you did on The Stage with that witch from the other universe.”
They’re just staring at her.
“What?” she questions.
“When did you get here?” Leona asks.
Kivi consults her watch. “About forty-five seconds ago.”
“You understand that this world doesn’t have a lot of time travel and stuff, right?”
“Well, it’s got me,” Kivi answers. “Each reality has at least one of us, and I am the one and only Third Rail Kivi Bristol.”
Heath is confused. “Uhh...what are you people talking about? She’s been here this entire time.”
“Entire time, since when?” Marie asks him.
“Since April 9, when you all showed up in that parking lot?”
“Hm,” Mateo says.
Leona sighs. “I suppose we’re going to have to explain spontaneous reemergence to you.”
“Ooo, let me get my tablet.” Ramses is excited. “I wrote a new presentation software in my spare time, and I want to test it out.”
“Because of course you did,” Angela muses.

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