Saturday, October 1, 2022

The Advancement of Mateo Matic: July 29, 2398

It came to Leona Matic’s attention that Alt!Leona doesn’t really like to be called that. Before things went haywire in her timeline, she had already developed feelings for her version of Mateo Matic, but they never got married, and she never took his name. She asked to be referred to Leona Delaney, or maybe just Delaney. They both asked Leona Reaver what she would like to be called to distinguish her from her two alternates, and she doesn’t really care. Unless ambiguity comes up, they decide to use her married name in the same way. They all have different last names, so that should make things easier to understand, and prevent any of them feeling less than.
Reaver wanders into the lab. Ramses is out in the field so Leona Matic is the only one here right now. “What are you working on?”
Leona sighs, grateful for the break. “My final report.”
“Report on what?”
“I’m building the government a fusion powered rocket ship. It’s all been on paper and computer modeling so far, but that’s almost over. I’ve completed quadruple checking the specifications, and once it’s approved, it will be ready to be disseminated to manufacturing. Well, I guess I still have more paperwork, because we can’t have people knowing what it is they’re building, so I have to break up the work. One guy will be in charge of fabricating part of the shielding, while another welds them together, but neither will know what the finished product looks like, or what it’s for. Sorry, I’m rambling. This type of work always makes it hard to go back to talking normal.”
Reaver is looking at the document on Leona’s screen, but not really.
“What is it?” Leona asks.
“How did you do this?”
“I’m afraid I don’t understand.”
“How did you get so smart? I barely passed my high school math classes,” she clarifies. She looks like she’s feeling very self-conscious and unworthy.
“Oh. Me too, early on. But then I got a tutor.” She looks up and thinks about it. “Actually, it was Mateo’s half-sister from an old timeline...but we didn’t know that yet.”
“That’s all it took? One tutor, and you’re suddenly a genius?”
“Quite frankly, Leona Reaver, you’re also a genius. So pretty much, yeah. Frida didn’t just teach me how to solve for X. She showed me how to think about math and science in a new way. She showed me that I already knew all this stuff, but it was trapped in a box of anxiety, self-doubt, and an inferiority complex.”
Reaver continues to look at the document in a half-grimace.
“Do you wanna ask me something?” Leona asks.
“I’m afraid that you’re too busy.”
Leona nods. “Honestly, I am. Work is ramping up, not slowing down. I’ll have to be away from home daily for months, overseeing production. But Ramses is independent, and better educated,” she adds in response to Reaver’s frown. “He’s just as intelligent, but he was born later in the timeline, so he would be a better teacher.”
“Do you think he’ll go for it?” Reaver asks hopingly. “Would you ask for me?”
“He absolutely will, but I think it’ll be better if you ask instead. Show initiative.”
“Okay, I think I will. Thanks...self.”

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