Sunday, December 18, 2022

The Advancement of Mateo Matic: October 15, 2398

Marie was able to spend one night in the lofts, in the other room of Ramses’ apartment, which looked nothing like the one she shared with Heath, due to the interference from the elevator and stairwell, and because he furnished it quite differently. Still, she was occupying the building where her husband first left her. This was already a sore memory, but it’s been made worse by his final and irreversible death. She had always hoped that he would come home eventually. He never even mentioned the word divorce, but now they will never get that chance. She can’t go back to the condo either, because that’s where he actually died. Her first thought was to go look for her own apartment, but she needs something now, and that is a long and involved process. She doesn’t have time for that.
Fortunately, they still have plenty of money, so Leona suggested that they splurge on a really nice hotel suite. It wasn’t the easiest to find one according to their specific requirements, but once they did, they found it to be available, because it’s so expensive, and it’s off-season for Kansas City tourism. Four bedrooms—two with this reality’s analog to king-sized beds, and two with queen-sized analog—a decent kitchenette, and a luxurious living room, but one glaring omission is a temporal sciences lab. But that’s okay, because this is what Marie needs. They could have just booked four or five rooms separately, but they have grown accustomed to being able to meet with each other spontaneously without running into any strangers. They really prefer a common space that is just theirs, where no one else can come in without their permission. This hotel has a feature that allows them to forgo housekeeping in favor of doing it themselves, which provides them with an extra layer of privacy.
“I still want to live in the AOC, where I belong. I still consider that my true home, even after all the other places I’ve been for the last several centuries.”
“That’s going to be a challenge,” Ramses explains softly. “First we have to find a submarine that can go that deep. Then we have to convince whoever is responsible for it to lend it to us, possibly while having to read them in on time travel. Then Leona and I have to get inside and repair any damage. Then we have to break the surface. Then we have to get into space.”
“Thanks for mansplaining that to me,” Marie snaps back.
“What are we going to do once we’re up there?” Leona asks her. “We wouldn’t be able to land on Earth whenever we wanted or needed to. That ship was designed for low atmosphere launches and landings, and it was later equipped with a teleporter, which we can’t use in this reality. Even if we pack enough resources to last until our best guess at escape, what are we going to do while we’re in orbit, play RPS-101 Plus all day?”
“I don’t need anyone to go up there with me,” Marie contends. You can stay down here, and interrogate Meredarchos, and kill Erlendr, and look for Danica, and do whatever else you feel is necessary.”
“No,” Leona says. “We stay together from now on.”
“That’s not your decision. You’re the captain of the AOC, and if you’re not going to help me get it back, I don’t have to listen to a goddamn word you say. This suite was paid for with my money, so if you think about it, I should be the one in charge!” She storms off, and slams her bedroom door behind her.

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