Friday, September 9, 2022

The Advancement of Mateo Matic: July 7, 2398

Mateo, Angela, and Ramses can’t wait any longer. Angela had the bright idea to crack open the LIR Map, and see if it could give them any answers. They were all shocked that they hadn’t thought of it before, and not just for this situation. It could have been really helpful before they got into this mess, and might even help them find Danica Matic, or other answers. As Leona described it, the map worked like a comic book strip. Future or present events could be seen illustrated on the page, allowing the viewer to make certain decisions with an advantage. That’s not what is happening here. Each of them sees something different when they look at it.
Angela is seeing moving compasses with numbers on them. Some of these numbers are going down, and some are going up. As she turns her body around, the compasses rotate, and are not always pointing North. Interim deadlines, she presupposes. These are the places that she’ll be going, and when she’s going to get to each one, or maybe how long she has before time runs out. It’s annoyingly cryptic with the details.
When Ramses is in charge of the map, he sees an actual map. There is no legend, so it takes him a minute to decipher, but he realizes that some of the points of interest are places that he’s been, and some of them are probably places that he has yet to go. A couple of them have both kinds of markings, suggesting that he’ll return to those places. A few really important places that they frequent, such as the loft, the lab, and the tasty taco restaurant down the street have their own special markers.
Mateo doesn’t see anything at all when he tries to look at it, which he’s choosing to believe is because he just so happened to try it last, and the other two have the plan covered, so he would have only seen what’s already been seen anyway. Yeah, that’s probably it. “Why do you think it stops here, though?” he asks. Somehow, Ramses and Angela managed to take possession of the LIR Map at the same time, which combined what they were seeing into one image, which Mateo actually can see, and so could likely anyone else in the room.
“What do you mean? That’s our goal,” Ramses decides.
“No, our goal is to get our friends back, and come home safely. This stops at the Dead Sea. What do we do after that?”
“Maybe the map doesn’t know what happens after that,” Angela suggests.
“The map knows literally everything,” Mateo argues. “I once saw Lincoln flip out when he went to another universe, because he was suddenly seeing an entirely different timestream than the one he normally does.”
“What are you saying?” Ramses questions.
“The map doesn’t show us what it knows. It shows us what we’re allowed to know. It’s psychic.”
Angela stands up straighter, and looks away from the console of The Olimpia. “Or it shows us decisions.” She pauses, but the other two don’t bother asking for more information, because they know she’ll go on. “We know to go to the Dead Sea, instead of the colony blocks, because our friends have already chosen to go there. Yeah, they’ll arrive in the future, but it’ll be part of the plan. They’ve not come up with a plan beyond that, and neither have we, so we can’t see it. It’s like The Oracle in The Matrix films.”
“That’s not how Lincoln’s power worked,” Mateo contends. “He could see everything, including alternate paths. He saw all timelines, even ones that hadn’t been created yet.”
“Well, it’s like you said,” Angela continues, “we’re not allowed to see all that. It’s restricted. I don’t know why, but I can make an educated guess.” It seems unlikely that the limitation would be built into the document when it was created. It probably has more to do with it presently being in this reality, which they know handles time and time travel in weird ways. Still, this should help enough. They know where they need to go at this very moment, and that’s more than most people get.
“So it can never tell us the future unless someone has already decided upon it,” Ramses laments. “Who has to decide? Obviously not just the map user, because we didn’t know we needed to go to Birket until today.”
“Didn’t we?” Mateo poses. “We all wanted to go to Birket. The map didn’t tell us that, it just proved that we got some follow-through. This reality; it’s different. Nothing and no one is all-knowing...or someone is, and they always squash their competitors.”
“It doesn’t matter what we don’t know,” Angela determines. “We have to go to Birket, we’re going to Birket. We spend most of our time understanding the future, but not knowing too many details. I’m sure we’ll get through this too, even with the limitations.”
Angela was right, but barely. They make it all the way to the Dead Sea, just in time to find Leona, Marie, Kivi, and Heath by water’s edge, along with another guy. As soon as they land, sirens go off, and a squadron of fighter jets starts heading their way. Leona throws a jug of Energy Water through the hatchway, but she doesn’t step in herself. She orders them to take off vertically, and teleport under the cover of clouds. Mateo frowns at her, but she doesn’t explain any further. Ramses reluctantly agrees, and takes off again, leaving the team on the ground. Angela monitors the computers so Ramses can inject the temporal hydroxide into the engine. After they successfully escape without the air force firing a single shot, they find a stranger in their midst.

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