Saturday, November 12, 2022

The Advancement of Mateo Matic: September 9, 2398

The four of them start to test the bubble, knowing that there is no way in. As they pound on the surface, rippling colors emanate from the center—looking like an oil puddle rainbow—and fade away. “Do you see anybody?” Alyssa asks, placing her face against it, hoping to get a better look. She cups her hands over her eyes to block out the light, but it doesn’t change the image.
“What does that look like to you?” Leona asks.
“A cemetery,” Mateo says what everyone is thinking.
Alyssa takes a half step away, and looks at the ground under their feet. She bends down, and brushes some debris away. There’s a gravestone on this side of the bubble. The name reads INFANT DAU. They were born May 8, and died May 9, 1917. They were only hours old. It was rather common in those days. The strip of land between the bubble and the edge of the ocean is only a couple of meters wide, cut in a perfect circle, but they can see two more gravestones next to the baby for three Holts. Dau Holt. The period suggests it to be a diminutive, but maybe they’re interpreting that wrong.
Erlendr is still looking through the bubble. “Leona, do you have binoculars of some kind?”
“What does that matter?” She questions.
“We’re somewhere in the North,” he begins. “I think I know where we are, but if you could just look in that direction. He lifts his cuffed hands and points south by southwest.
He’s a dick, but he knows a lot of things that they don’t. Using the scope app on her tablet isn’t going to give him some kind of advantage to escape...probably. Leona lifts her device up, and zooms in.
“Little to the left. There.”
“Jesse James. That’s his real grave?”
“That’s what people are led to believe,” Erlendr explains. “He died in 1816, not 1882. He was killed by a time bullet.”
Leona lowers the tablet. “1816? We’ve been there before, roundabouts here.”
Erlendr nods. “The man who killed Angela Walton, and framed Theo Delaney. Someone gave him the technology, I don’t know why. He had to test it first, and this is what he chose, or someone asked him to do it.” That doesn’t quite match what they thought about any of this, but it doesn’t change anything. They’re still no closer to getting into the city limits. “This is Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Kearney, Missouri. We’re forty-two kilometers away from the center of the island, at fifty-sixth and The Paseo.”
“How does that help us?” Mateo asks.
“It’s better to know than to not.”
Leona has become distracted by something. Alyssa is running her fingers along the barrier. “Lyss, what’s that on your wrist?”
Alyssa jerks her arm closer to inspect it. “I don’t know. What is it? How did it get there? Is it going to hurt me? Is it a bomb?”
Mateo takes her arm to examine it himself. It’s the Traversa Bracelet, or something that looks very much like it. Ariadna Traversa only agreed to have one of them created, but Mateo lost it when the original copy of the AOC was destroyed in an antimatter explosion. Did Meliora save it for them? “This should be able to get us through the wall. It’s dimensional, right? It’s not glass or something.”
“Yeah,” Leona answers. “You should wear it, though. You’re the one with the superpowers.”
“No,” Erlendr says.
“What are you talking about?”
“Meliora Rutherford is one of the most powerful beings in the universe, and the next. If Alyssa is wearing the bracelet, she’s supposed to be wearing it. If you so much as attempt to take it off of her, it may be rendered useless. I think this is up to her now.”
“She’s my sister,” Alyssa furthers.
Leona shakes her head, not wanting to send their newest recruit on a solo mission this early. She’s not ready.
“Captain,” Alyssa urges, “please.”
Leona reaches into her bag, and retrieves an earpiece, which she hands to her. “This will allow signals to cross the dimensional barrier too. I wish it came with video, but at least you can stay in contact. The battery should last a hundred years, in case you need that.”
Alyssa giggles, but forces herself to turn serious. She recognizes the danger in her having to do this alone. She turns to face Mateo.
He holds her upper arms in his hands. “She’s in there. You can find her. Go to the Capitol at the One Kansas City Place building to speak with the Presidents. Tell anyone you find that Mateo sent you. But that’s only if your hat falls off.”
This confuses Alyssa for a second, but then she realizes what he’s talking about. “I don’t have the magic hat with me. I didn’t know that I was going anywhere when that phone rang to inform us of Trina’s location.”
He shakes his head. “You don’t need the actual hat.” He points to her chest suggestively. “The power is in you, and you’re in a reality now where you don’t need assistance. The bubble is full of temporal energy. They run on the stuff.”
“Who should I make myself look like?”
“No one,” he replies. “You should turn invisible.”
“Are you sure? Is that really possible?”
“You can make yourself look like anything...or nothing. All you’re doing is taking something that exists somewhere else, and putting it in front of you. It doesn’t have to be remote, though. The thing you’re superimposing could be right behind you instead.”
She takes a breath to prepare herself. Leona hands her a daypack with essentials from the emergency bag. “Captain,” she says to her respectfully. She looks over at Erlendr. “I know you’re not really Ramses, but you look exactly like him right now, so allow me to thank him for teaching me how to do this.”
Erlendr is uncomfortable. “You’re welcome.”
Alyssa throws the bag over her shoulders, and reaches out to the barrier, left hand first. She concentrates on passing through it, instead letting it hold her back. The barrier transforms into a liquid, like that one scene in The Matrix, or several scenes in The Matrix 4...or nearly any episode of Stargate. She keeps walking, holding her breath instinctively. Once she’s through, she looks back, she doesn’t see her friends, only her own reflection. She uses it to gauge her ability as she concentrates on turning herself invisible. She waves, knowing that they can see her, and in seconds, she’s gone.

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