Tuesday, September 20, 2022

The Advancement of Mateo Matic: July 18, 2398

Once they received a message from Leona, telling them that she had managed to get on board The Olimpia all the way in Russian waters, Marie asked the others to not say anything about what happened to them. The whole ordeal with being locked up in a fishbowl for three days was a fluke, and it would just cause needless concern. They were rescued, and all back safe and sound. There was no need to bring it up again.
The rest of the team has returned now. Leona figured it was possible to duplicate anything almost indefinitely as long as they didn’t completely destroy the original object. He shouldn’t need to cut a hole in the center of the lantern. If he just poked the base of it, a new one would be born, and they would both retain their powers. As it turned out, this wasn’t one hundred percent true. Possibly as some kind of inherent function of the quantum duplication knife, each lantern stabbed loses its special ability to illuminate system flaws. What it doesn’t lose, however, is its temporal energy. It’s still stored in there, just unusable, like tearing out the processor in a cell phone, but keeping the battery intact. Temporal energy is amazing and insane, and capable of teleporting them to the other side of the world, but it’s also just a really great power source. The teleporter that Ramses designed only works on immortality water, and it’s not capable of processing raw energy. So they had to take the long way around, but they were able to do it in the air, and that was better than driving up into Russia, and making their way over the land to Finland.
They walk into the condo, happy to be seeing each other again. Marie, Heath, and Kivi are sitting at the kitchen counter. Leona starts to get a weird feeling about it. They all look fine; too perfect, really. Sitting there like this, they’re reminding her of the kids in a teen comedy about a rager they threw before having to clean everything up in preparation for their parents’ return. “What did you do?” she asks them.
“What are you talking about?” Marie asks.
“Something happened,” Leona presses. “What was it?”
“Everything’s fine, we’re glad you’re back,” Marie insists.
Kivi is about to explode. “We were captured by some black ops guys, and taken to this glass prison cell in the middle of a warehouse, where they left us for days—probably to die of starvation, or perhaps even boredom—until Winona Honeycutt came in with, like, an entire army, and took out all the bad guys, and rescued us from being electrocuted by a menacing scowling man, who I guess just wanted to cut his losses, because I’m sure he knew that Senator Honeycutt would want to have us back.”
Leona stares at Kivi for a minute, then turns her attention to Marie. “Why are you keeping things from me?”
“I just wanted our family back. I was afraid that you would go back to the Capital, and we would end up being separated again. I know I’m the cause of the latest issue, with the Fountain of Youth. I just wanted to fix it. I didn’t think it through.”
“Oh, and we met a new friend,” Kivi keeps going. “Her name is Andile, and she—”
“Andile Mhlangu?” Leona interrupts.
“Yeah,” Heath confirms, “do you know her?”
Despite his low intelligence, and poor memory, Mateo actually recognizes and remembers the name. “She was Leona’s college roommate...like, a dozen timelines ago.”

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