Wednesday, October 12, 2022

The Advancement of Mateo Matic: August 9, 2398

Marie badges herself in, and heads for Ramses’ area of the lab, which is farthest from the elevator. His hair is mussed up, and the table is full of chemicals, some of which may be drinkable, placing the whole operation—and his life—in danger. He doesn’t even notice her approach. “Rambo.”
He’s startled, but he doesn’t make eye contact. “What?”
“You haven’t been sleeping.”
“I can sleep when it’s over, Angela.”
“I’m Marie.”
“I’ve heard it both ways.”
“Have you made any progress?”
He laughs at the very idea. He’s run so many tests on the Insulator of Life, and the Livewire, trying to figure out how to get Trina back, or at least confirm where she is. He hasn’t worked on anything else since the incident, and he’s no closer to solving the problem. Cheyenne is going to need the Insulator back pretty soon, so either she’s going to have to come to them, or he’ll have to find another way to the answers. “Nothing. I have absolutely no idea how either one of these things works. No moving parts, no obvious unusual properties. If I didn’t know any better, I would call it magic.”
“Maybe that’s what it is,” she offers.
He scoffs.
“Why not? When I first found out that time travel was a thing, I immediately started questioning everything I thought I knew about the physical world. Ghosts, sorcerers, even God; perhaps they were real. I’ve not seen any evidence of such things so far, but maybe these two objects are evidence of something.”
He shakes his head. “It doesn’t work like that. Time travel is crazy, but it’s not magic. Magic inherently doesn’t make any sense. It doesn’t have rules. If you need something done, there’s a way to do it, and any failure to accomplish it is based solely on your lack of imagination. Science has rules, whether we’re cognizant of all of them, or even any of them, or not.”
“Well, I’m not going to argue with you about it. I’m your elder, but you’re much smarter. I’m not here to convince you to stop trying, just to take a break.”
“I can’t do that. People are counting on me.”
“I’ve spoken with Bridgette and Cheyenne. They’re moving into the Lofts.”
Now he finally looks directly at her. “They are?”
“This floor is exclusive to travelers, which Cheyenne is. Angela is moving back in with Kivi, even though Kivi just moved out of Angela’s place.”
Ramses is happy for a moment before he realizes that this only solves one issue. “It doesn’t matter. The McIvers need me to find their sister. Yeah, it’s great that I can keep working with the Insulator, but I still can’t waste time sleeping. Trina needs me.”
“She needs you to be at the top of your game,” Marie corrects. “Sleepy Ramses is sloppy Ramses. Who knows, you might even come up with a new angle to tackle the problem when you let your brain rest a little.”
Ramses argues more, but Marie calls Leona to ask her to give him an order, so he reluctantly goes upstairs to sleep on it. She was right, a weird dream gives him an idea.

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