Thursday, December 15, 2022

The Advancement of Mateo Matic: October 12, 2398

Mateo survived his trip up into orbit. He concentrated on making the jump to the best satellite for the job, according to what little information Ramses gave him about it. He placed the scanner on the hull and let it go. It started spinning and transforming on its own, staying in place, and freeing Mateo to die. He didn’t, of course. His body too transformed, back into the way it was before they got stuck in this reality, but after Leona downloaded his mind to this upgraded substrate. Ramses did say that they would be able to survive in the vacuum of space, though to be fair, he said that it could last for hours. All he could do was hang onto the satellite he had co-opted, and hope for a miracle. His biological enhancements were back, but his temporal powers were gone. He could feel both the timonite, and the telekinetic coating, drip off of him, and land by the scanner. He had no way of teleporting back home. All he could do was feel.
If Mateo were better with technology, maybe he could figure out how to send a message to Ramses through the scanner, but he didn’t know what any of its few buttons did, and he couldn’t risk pressing them if one turned out to be an off button, or something. It was better to sacrifice himself than to ruin their best chance of finding Meredarchos and Erlendr. His only option was to send vibes outwards and hope that a member of his team could feel them. He thought that maybe he could feel Leona’s emotions in return, but it was hard to tell. What Ramses failed to explain was that surviving in the vacuum is not the same thing as breathing in an atmosphere. It’s not painful, but it’s highly uncomfortable. Imagine stretching your arms out in the morning, or after you’ve finished the first paragraph and a half of a story that you’re writing. Now imagine never being able to put your arms down, or readjust your position in any way. That’s what it’s like to be in space, unable to breathe—not needing to, but still feeling the constant urge to respire.
Leona saved him yesterday in a spacesuit, which could not have come too soon. There is no telling how long Mateo would have been able to hold on. It had become even harder to go without having normal bodily function than it was at the beginning. She wrapped him in an emergency vacuum-sealed tent, and opened a tank of oxygen. It slowly repaired the damage that space had done to him, and before their supply ran out, Leona had already installed and activated the carbon scrubber. They have been sitting here ever since then, still tied to the satellite, waiting for the end of quarantine. Something on the planet is keeping them from realizing their full potential in these bodies. That’s the only explanation for why Mateo isn’t a popsicle right now. He has to recover completely before it’s safe for him to go back to whatever that is. They were also not entirely sure what that recovery would entail, or how detrimental it could be to just start trying to walk around on the ground afterwards. So far, neither of them has experienced any health issues. They were likely never in any danger. Even so, it was a necessary precaution, and one which might yet prove to be inadequate. They still have to see what it’s like for them down on the surface.
It’s time for that right now. At this point, the risks are no longer decreasing the longer they wait. It’s going to be a delicate dance. They’ll have to detach from the satellite, retract the tent, teleport the maximum distance, which should be a few dozen kilometers up in the air...and then parachute down. All with only one spacesuit.

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