Friday, September 2, 2022

The Advancement of Mateo Matic: June 30, 2398

Marie just got back from a hiking trip with her husband, so she’s not having too many problems. Kivi, on the other hand, was literally born less than a week ago, so she doesn’t have a whole lot of experience in the wilderness. “Ow!” She stops walking and instinctively, reaches up to slap herself in the cheek. “That’s blood. I’m bleeding.”
“It’s not only your blood,” Marie tries to tell her, “and it’s just a little.”
“A bug bit me, and you think that it’s totally fine.”
“It’s a hematophage. It only needed a little bit of your blood. We put on that smelly stuff to keep them away.”
“It’s obviously not working.”
“Well, it’s not magic.”
“Why did you say that in a different accent?”
Marie gets going on the trail. “It’s a pop culture reference.”
“You know I won’t get those.”
“I know,” Marie says as she’s getting farther ahead.
“What if it was carrying a disease?”
“It probably wasn’t.”
“Hurry up! I wanna get there before it gets dark!”
“How do you know where we’re going again?”
“Ramses had a little bit of data from the main sequence in his bag when he came to this reality. Using the AI, he was able to overlay corresponding coordinates to the geography of this world, which we can follow using SatNav.”
“In English?”
“I have a map.”
They continue for another kilometer or so until they hear rushing water. This area is surprisingly remote, while it’s pretty heavily developed in the main sequence. The trek was rough, but they have come to a clearing, where they find a source of water. “Ah, there it is, you were right,” Kivi says with a smile.
Marie zooms in and out of the map. “No, this isn’t right at all.”
“You said we were looking for the Fountain of Youth, and that to me looks like a fountain. I mean, the water isn’t coming out of sculpted horses, but it’s nice enough, I guess.”
“Hold on.” She goes into the overlay code, and checks for errors, to the best of her ability with only a cursory glance. There’s too much data to go over comprehensively right now. “This isn’t gonna do me any good.” She starts to remove her clothes, ultimately keeping her bra and underwear on.
“What if someone else comes?”
Marie looks around. “I see no signs that a single human has ever been in this area ever. It’s pretty well hidden. I’m not worried. Besides, I don’t care.” She wades into the water, which she finds to be lukewarm. It’s not a hot spring, but it’s not freezing either. Perhaps it’s warmed by geothermal energy just a little bit. She walks along the smooth floor, encountering no obstacles or sharp rocks, and approaches the bubbling fountain in the center.” A warmness comes over her, but not physically, just emotionally.
“Can you teleport?” Kivi asks.
“What?” Marie didn’t really hear that. She’s mesmerized by the sight, and can’t think about anything else. It just looks like the work of jets in a hot tub, but there’s something so beautiful and entrancing about it, she can’t look away.
Kivi yells something else from the shore.

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