Saturday, September 24, 2022

The Advancement of Mateo Matic: July 22, 2398

No waiting, no getting sidetracked. They decide to get to Utah quickly, and start formulating a plan to get Alt!Mateo out of prison. Does he deserve to get out, or will he turn out to be a psychopathic killer? Hard to say, none of them knows him all that well, but they can’t just leave him there either. Most of the team has stayed in Kansas City. Leona and Ramses have a lab to finish, and Angela has her own thing going down on the first floor. Heath managed to convince Marie to stay out of it, for the sake of their marriage, so it’s just Mateo, Kivi, Alt!Leona, and Andile. They don’t know what they’re going to do, but they don’t want to waste time. It’s a two day trip from Kansas City to Provo, Utah, with a stop in the middle in Aurora, Colorado. They can’t take The Olimpia, because it’s still in need of some repair, which Ramses is doing during his free time. He never takes any actual free time. The workload will catch up with him later. It’s mid-afternoon now, and they have made it to their resting place, the McIver house. It looks a lot like their farmhouse in Kansas. Family aesthetics.
“Welcome, welcome,” Alyssa says sincerely, ushering them in.
The eldest boy, Moray begins to help them with their bags, deaf to the protests.
“Thank you for letting us stay with you again,” Mateo says graciously.
“Do you really have business out here,” Alyssa asks, “or are you just making sure we haven’t told anyone about all that stuff in Lebanon.”
“We really do have business. We just needed a place to stay for the night,” Alt!Leona explains. We’ll be out of your hair in the morning.”
“You can stay as long as you need, there’s plenty of room,” Alyssa promises.
“Where are you aunt and uncle?”
“Strawberry Cemetery,” Alyssa answers.
“Oh my God,” Mateo gasps, “what happened?”
“They died,” Alyssa says with a shrug. “It was about sixteen years ago.”
“That timeline doesn’t make much sense,” Kivi argues. “We gave you some money to help you make your way here to live with them much less than sixteen years ago.”
Alyssa shrugs again. “We lied. We were worried that you would try to take us in, or call social services.”
“So whose house is this?”
“It was theirs,” Alyssa claims. “I don’t know how they handle things in the future, where you’re from—”
“Not the future,” Mateo interrupts.
Alyssa just keeps going, “but for us, when the owner of property dies, it passes on to their next of kin, and they’re free to do whatever it is they want with it. We chose to ignore it until a couple of months ago. We have a secret mountain cabin down near Bryce that our grandparents left us too.”
Alt!Leona perks up when she hears that. “How much?”
“How much what?” Alyssa asks.
“How much for the secret cabin?”
“If you wanna use that too,” Alyssa begins, “you can do so for free. We’re not allowed to sell it. I signed a secret will when I was a child.”
“Who asked you to sign this will? Your grandparents?” Alt!Leona asks.
“Yeah,” Alyssa replies.
“Did your parents sign one too?”
“No, they didn’t even know about the cabin.”
“Someone knew a long time ago that we would be coming.” Alt!Leona realizes.
“What makes you say that?” Mateo asks. “Did a seer tell you to look for a mountain cabin, or something?”
“No, it’s not the cabin itself, but where it’s located,” Alt!Leona explains. “Bryce Canyon is where Maqsud Al-amin created the cosmic sextant.”
“How would you know that if you pretty much came straight here after the surgery?” Kivi asks.
“It wasn’t immediately after. I spent a year trying to gather every bit of evidence I could find, in case there was a way to bring him back,” Alt!Leona says, referring to a different Alt!Mateo. “What I found was a book called Hotspots.”
A Look into Places of Great Power on Earth, and Beyond?” Alyssa asks.
“Where did you hear that title,” Alt!Leona asks her.
Alyssa goes to an old-timey cabinet thing that’s not built into the wall. She unlocks a drawer, and pulls out the book that they’re talking about.
“Where did you find that?” Mateo asks.
“Carlin found it in the cabin,” Alyssa responds. “It...literally doesn’t open.”
Alt!Leona reaches over, and opens it anyway. There must be a special lock on it that only allows time travelers to access it. “This can help us.”
“That’s not all we found,” little Trina exclaims. She takes a rock out of her pocket, and smiles as she shows it to them. It’s a homestone.

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