Friday, December 23, 2022

The Advancement of Mateo Matic: October 20, 2398

Marie has been staking out this apartment for the last two days. This is the kind of work that she used to do for SD6. She was taken off of all such assignments when her team showed up, and that became her only priority, both on a personal level, and for the government. This still has to do with time travel, but her team isn’t involved. They’re looking for people who have experienced an inordinate amount of time for a normal living human, or just have unusual brain chemistry. The orbital scanner that Ramses built, and which Mateo installed on a Snowglobe satellite, only mapped where these targets were at the time of the last scan. This information is now over a week old, so if any of them were just on vacation, or something, they’ll probably never find them. This may all be a waste of time. She hates this now. She hates everything she used to love or like. She’s just bitter and angry, and nothing seems right anymore. She shouldn’t take it out on the team, though, and she knows it. Hopefully they understand, and won’t hold it against her. Maybe getting herself a win will raise her spirits.
She has the extra mobile scanner that Ramses left in his hotel room. He didn’t have time to write up a manual, and the data burst he was able to send from the time bubble he and Mateo are presently trapped in didn’t say much about it. Even so, it seems pretty self-explanatory. Marie was able to adapt it to a tripod, and place it next to her other surveillance equipment. She doesn’t know which unit in the apartment complex is housing the target, but they’ll have to go through the front door at some point, and when they do, this thing should beep to let her know. It starts to beep. The scanner doesn’t communicate with the digital scope, of course, so she has to cross-reference the time codes to find who she’s looking for. Three people entered the building at about the same time, but two of them appeared to be together, and the scanner only caught one unusual brain. That’s not a guarantee, but it’s a safer bet. She pulls up the photo, runs downstairs from her surveillance nest, crosses the street, and enters the building.
“English?” she asks the lobby supervisor.
“Yes,” he replies. “But my shift is over. Divina will be out soon.”
Just as he’s saying that, the woman she was looking for steps out of the back office in her uniform. The scanner beeps. The two of them exchange a few words in Filipino, and then the man leaves. “Yes, can I help you?”
Marie isn’t prepared for this either. She doesn’t know what to say, so she just goes with the tried and true code words. “Yeah, thank you. Listen, I’m in the mood for some fish. Do you know of a good restaurant that serves salmon?”
The lobby supervisor starts to consult her computer. “There is a really great seafood  restaurant down the street, but I can pull up a comprehensive list for you.”
Hmm. That didn’t work. Marie holds up her scanner, which thankfully, doesn’t look like a weapon. Yeah, her brain is definitely unusual.
“I’m sorry, do you live here? We’re really only meant to help residents.”
“I’m a time traveler from the 19th century, trapped in your reality, hoping to find others like me. We have been looking for a way back home, but we don’t want to leave without first checking to see if anyone else would like to join. I believe you’re one of us.”
“Of course, ma’am. One moment, please.” She calls the authorities.

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