Saturday, November 5, 2022

The Advancement of Mateo Matic: September 2, 2398

When Leona and Coronel Zacarias disappeared into the Nexus, she was surprised and startled, but okay. That was not the craziest thing she had ever seen in her life. She just didn’t think they would ever get it working. She knows a lot more about these machines than she is letting on. She knows more about a lot of things, for instance that there are only two Nexa in the entire universe in this reality, and they’re both on Earth. The Inventors always install them on celestial bodies of significance. That means populated, visited, or other points of interest. Such places do not exist here, and they never will before the Third Rail collapses into oblivion. She can’t remember the address of the other Nexus, but it’s not just zero. So what could Leona have meant when she yelled out that that’s where they went? Maybe she was trying to say that they pressed zero buttons, but that’s kind of a funky way to word that, right?
She and Bridgette tried to contact the people back in Kansas City, but the Mozambican soldiers wouldn’t let them. They were never granted access to any communication devices in this secret base, and they are not allowed to return to The Olimpia. She understands where they’re coming from. Their leader disappeared without giving them instructions on how to handle his disappearance. Before he did so, he had ordered radio silence, even to their own people back on the mainland, and their only choice now is to continue adhering to these orders. After their failure to get help, the two of them made an attempt to press the zero button on the pad, but it did not work for them. The soldiers figured that they ought to stay out of the control room after that, so they have not gotten any chance to try again. They have been sleeping in the main chamber ever since, in case anything changes.
At the moment, Cheyenne is sitting in the corner, where the stairs and the wraparound ramp meet at the control room door. It’s her turn to keep watch, so she is desperately trying to stay awake, but she’s struggling. This room is fairly far away from the Olimpia, which makes her a little too far away from the Insulator of Life. She doesn’t have to stay right next to it at all times, but she does need to receive frequent recharges, and it’s been too long since her last one. She can’t ask the soldiers to let her get closer to it, because they wouldn’t understand that it’s not about the radio anymore. She would ask Bridgette to take her shift, but she needs to sleep too. Bridgette has already done so much for her when she didn’t have to.
She yawns, and tries to find the strength to slap her cheeks a few times, but she doesn’t get the chance. The machine spontaneously powers up. In her head, she jumps into action, ready to fight against evil, or receive their new friends, whichever one is happening. But even this development isn’t enough to clear the sandman’s sleeping sand from her eyes. Technicolor lights appear from above the Nexus cavity, then flash away.
Four figures are left standing there. One runs over to Bridgette, who too is trying to wake up, while two of them run to Cheyenne. “Are you okay, Shy?” Leona asks.
“I need to get back to the Insulator,” Cheyenne ekes out, hoping that her words are loud enough for human ears to hear.
“Jacinto, can you help?” Leona asks the stranger.
“Of course.”
Cheyenne feels herself being lifted into the air, but no arms are under her.

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