Wednesday, September 7, 2022

The Advancement of Mateo Matic: July 5, 2398

Heath and Marie moved off to one side of the line of megablocks while Leona and Kivi went to the other, planning to meet in the middle. They started asking everyone they could find whether they knew anything about the person they were searching for. The inside man who gave them their mission info was right when he said they didn’t know much. They have a first and last name, but Amir Hussain is so common in this area that it’s hard to pinpoint just one individual. They have a photo, but it’s grainy and shadowy, so the people they try to show it to can’t always quite tell. Plus, residents don’t really want to talk, which is understandable. There’s no way for them to know whether the team has good intentions, or bad, or if their target is a good person, or not.
They wake up the next day having accomplished just about nothing. It’s just so overwhelming. This isn’t working, so they’re going to have to change tactics. It will take far too long to canvas the entire country. The government representative who handed them this mission said that this place doesn’t take census, but they have to keep records of some kind. Otherwise, how did he ever find the four of them?
“Can I suggest something?” Kivi asks, surprisingly nervously.
“Yes, of course,” Leona says.
“Sorry, I just don’t know my place within the group.”
“You just said it yourself,” Marie explains. “Your place is within the group.”
Kivi smiles. “Every Kivi has a superpower. I mean...not literally. We just have our own skill set, unique to us. I’m shockingly good at finding allies. They have a certain look about them, like an aura, except auras aren’t real, because like I was saying, it’s not magic. It’s just something that I can do. I can’t tell you how, because most of my memories are false, but I know this to be true about myself.”
“We believe you,” Marie tells her. “Go ahead and try to find us an ally.”
Kivi starts to walk around their megablock. She’s eyeing the people around them as if shopping for a nice new pair of shoes. The other three follow her as she’s browsing, but try not to get too close. They’re already friends with her, so they don’t want to throw off her spidey sense, or whatever it is. She keeps going for several minutes, ultimately making it halfway to the other side of the block when she suddenly stops. She’s not looking at anybody at first, but then she turns her chin quickly, like a dog who has suddenly noticed a squirrel. She walks briskly across the lawn, and approaches a stranger. He’s staring at her now, but she doesn’t say anything; she can’t.
Leona decides to trust Kivi’s intuition, and take control of the situation. “Hello. Sorry, we’re new, and she’s nervous. We were hoping to meet someone who could sort of show us around, and make sure that we’re not causing any trouble. You just seem like the kind of guy who would be open to that.”
He smiles quite kindly at them. “Why, yes, actually, I am. I have helped a number of people get themselves oriented. Do you already have a unit assigned to you?”
“Yes,” Leona answers.
“But no food.”
“Not yet.”
“I’m sure I can help you with that.” He extends his hand, and nods as each of them recites their respective name. “It’s nice to meet you all. I’m Amir Hussain.”

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