Wednesday, September 14, 2022

The Advancement of Mateo Matic: July 12, 2398

Apparently, the radio tower they were hoping could put them in contact with someone who might be able to help them is more of a decorative piece. It worked at one point, but the locals never used it, and didn’t maintain it through storm after storm. Now it’s so damaged that Ramses probably couldn’t cobble together a fix, even with parts from The Olimpia, or the other way around. He didn’t really even want to try. The more they thought about it, the riskier the idea felt. They don’t have any allies out there, except in the penal colony. In order to protect Amir, and his whereabouts, they have to get out of the region themselves, and they pretty much have to do it in secret.
Ramses decided to keep trying to fix the Olimpia to get them closer to home, or at least so far away from Amir that no one thinks to look for him in the village. He takes this as an opportunity to try out his new lantern as a source of light when looking into an access panel, and that’s when he makes a startling discovery. The lantern illuminates everything around it uniformly, but there are also points of light in various places. One wire here, a circuit there. When he checks these places, he notices an issue that’s contributing to all the problems that they’re facing with the full operation of the vehicle. As he works through it, the points of light adjust in a pattern that he’s had to learn to understand, which guides him to a solution.
The lantern is obviously special, but he doesn’t know exactly how. He’s tried to come up with a temporal explanation, but there isn’t one. Nothing about time and space would lend itself to such a function, and nothing about the advancement of more traditional technology would either, except maybe some very fancy augmented reality. That has to be it, even though he’s never encountered such tech before. The locals of this little bit of land on this island obviously know more than they have conveyed, though it’s unclear if they’re intentionally keeping secrets, or if the language barrier between the two parties is simply too hard to see over.
Marie has kept trying to communicate with them, using body language drawings in the dirt, and demonstrations. From what she can gather, a boat comes around from the cities on the other side of the island once a month to deliver supplies, and occasionally transport people. They could get on it, and from there, make their way to anywhere in the world. This would be a great option—despite the sadness that would come from having to abandon the Olimpia—but the problem is that it’s not due for another two weeks, and sometimes, when the weather is bad, it ends up having to skip a month. Unfortunately, that may be their only hope if Ramses can’t get the Olimpia back in full working order. Even with the lantern, he might not have the tools he needs to accomplish this. There are a lot of missing parts here, strewn all over the North Pole.
Mateo climbs down to the engineering section with a certain smile.
“What?” Ramses asks, knowing that look.
“Nothing. Just. What are you missing? Like, what’s a part that needs to be replaced? A cable maybe, or a bolt?”
Ramses picks up a small, clear object. “This is called a crystalatis. It’s supposed to be glowing blue—”
“Yeah, I don’t care,” Mateo sets the crystal-thingy on a step, and stabs it with his new knife. A blue-glowing duplicate of it pops out of the handle. “Ta-da!”

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