Tuesday, August 9, 2022

The Advancement of Mateo Matic: June 6, 2398

Ramses is standing, but hunched over, hands in a steeple over his mouth. He’s looking at the floor as the rest of the team looks at him from the audience, and waits patiently. No one has anything else to do for the rest of the evening, so they might as well just give him the time he needs. Finally, he drops his arms, and picks the book up from his chair. “This book could hold the key to everything we ever needed to know about this world, and the next. I’ve read it twice already, and there is no denying that it was written by a time traveler, or perhaps a human compatriot. The attention to detail is unmatched even by The Superintendent’s words. At first, I thought maybe this was all a coincidence, and I didn’t know exactly what I was reading. I didn’t recognize any of the names of the characters, but upon my second time, I realized they were surely changed to protect the real individuals. There’s a family of powerful people who are obviously the Prestons. There are two people who call themselves gargoyles. There are even those I recognize as leaders of the Freemarketeer movement that I was a part of. That’s the focus of the story. The travelers are really just secondary to a historical account of 22nd and 23rd century Sol.” He stops to gauge their reactions. “Nothing?”
“Wait, are you done?” Mateo asks.
“No, I just thought...isn’t this exciting?” 
“Yeah, of course,” Mateo agrees. “We just didn’t want to interrupt. Who’s the author?”
“It’s a man by the name of Ildemire Lorenz. I did a little digging, and I believe that he’s still alive, and doing so in an Austrian city called Innsbruck.”
Leona taps the query into her tablet, sets the device on Ramses’ chair, and throws a hologram into the space between them and Ramses. “It’s not too terribly far from Croatia. We were planning on going to Austria anyway before sneaking over a couple borders.”
“Well...we were,” Mateo corrects. Everybody already knows by now that Mateo, Ramses, and Marie will be doing this one alone.
“Hold on, hold on, hold on,” Heath jumps in. “You’re just going to add a new destination to the itinerary. It’s not even on the list.”
“We had no reason to believe that anywhere in Austria belonged on the list before,” Mateo explains. “Now we do. It’s probably our best lead since The Constant imploded.”
“This is what you’re gonna do?” Heath asks his wife. “You’re gonna go on a mission just before your procedure?”
“It’s just talking to someone,” Marie defends.
“That doesn’t mean it won’t be dangerous,” Angela says. “I don’t like that the three of you are doing this alone. I don’t like that our bruiser isn’t going with you.”
“I don’t either,” Leona concedes, “but I have work to do, and even though I don’t always have to be in the office, it’s best that I stay close; as I’m able, anyway.”
“The fact of the matter is that it’s Marie’s decision,” Mateo reminds them. “Ram and I will go wherever, whenever, and do whatever. If you just want to go straight to the doctor, that’s all right.”
“We need a good reason to be in Europe,” Marie decides after a certain amount of time. “A short tour is a good idea. We could visit Germany, Czechia, and hell, maybe even where London ought to be. The longer we stay in places other than Croatia, the more time we’ll have to slip away unnoticed, and take care of business.”
“If that’s what you wanna do, then I support you,” Heath says. “I can’t go with you anymore, but I can use my excellent travel agent skills, and plan it for you. Would this be acceptable?”
“I would love that,” Marie tells him graciously. “He’s really good at it. He told me about how he planned a family reunion at age thirteen.”
“I can’t remember why they asked me to do it,” Heath adds. “I guess they just saw my potential. Or they just didn’t want to deal with it themselves.”
“There’s another order of business,” Leona begins, “if we’re quite finished with the Innsbruck one for now.”
“There’ve been so many,” Angela says with a laugh.
Leona reaches over to select a recording on her phone. The forger’s voice comes through, “how would you handle someone like me? Would you teleport into my house at night, and slit my throat?” Mateo was secretly live-streaming the maddening conversation. It was his idea.
Who are you, and why do you want me to become a federal agent? What can I do that you can’t do yourself, or have done for you by someone you know you can trust?” Mateo’s voice returns.
I’m the only one in this world who’s on your side. The war is coming, Mr. Matic. You can either support the war effort, or put a stop to it. You’ll need a badge either way.
Mateo releases a frustrated sigh. “Looks like you got me by the balls.
I wish.
Leona pauses playback. “All right, that’s enough. You get the point.”
“That sounded like the forger,” Ramses figures.
“It was,” Mateo confirms. “I’m a little suit piggy now. She’s going to make me go on missions, or whatever. I don’t know what she has planned.”
“What does that mean for us?” Marie questions.
“It means that my husband is leaving the country without telling this woman anything about it, and if she needs someone to complete one of her missions, then I’ll do it in his stead.”
“How exactly do you think that’s gonna work?” Heath questions.
“Oh, I’ll make it work. That’s what The Olimpia is for. You don’t have to tell no one where you’re going. I’m sure she’ll make the appropriate arrangements when she realizes I’m a better choice. I’m going to pay her a visit tomorrow. You three just need to focus on getting packed and ready to leave. We’ll handle the war at home.”

No comments :

Post a Comment