Monday, December 26, 2022

The Advancement of Mateo Matic: October 23, 2398

Leona has been at a retreat for the last five days since she was forced to accidentally kill Solomon Powers, the star of the hit talk show, Balance of Power. She didn’t technically have to kill him, but she lost control, and hit him too hard against the side of the head during their fight, and that was that. Now she’s in control of a broadcast program that she doesn’t want. They have reportedly been running repeats until she comes back out the woodwork, and gives them direction, which she’s not interested in doing. She certainly doesn’t want to host it. She just wants to go back to the way things were before, whatever that means. Winona has her tucked away on a special patch of land that serves both as the training grounds for intelligence department recruits, and a safe haven for furloughed and retired operatives, officers, and agents.
It’s been nice, but it’s time to leave. Her people need her, especially Mateo and Ramses, who will be returning from the Facsimile dimension in a couple of days. “Wait,” Winona says after Leona explains as much.
“Wait for what?” Leona asks.
“Ugh, I was hoping you would stay at least one more day, so we could clean it up for you. It’s ready to fly, though, and I suppose that’s what counts.”
“What’s ready to fly?”
“Come with me.” Winona leads her across the ranch, into one of the hangars. There’s only one aircraft there at the moment. It looks strikingly similar to The Olimpia.
A man is looking it over, and tapping on his tablet. “Oh, I thought we had until tomorrow. I’m so sorry, sir, I must have screwed up somewhere.”
“You didn’t,” Winona assures him. “She’s decided to leave early. I had to move up the presentation. Agent Matic, this is yours. We heard what happened to your last one.”
The engineer nods. “Same overall dimensions as your old model, but it sports a more streamlined and accommodating interior. More private lofts, no cubbies. Less room in the cockpit to leave more space for everything else, but that’s okay, because more systems are automated than ever before.” He pauses while Leona takes a quick look at the inside. “It’s also vacuum compliant.”
“It can launch into space?” Leona questions.
“It can self-propel from a fusion reactor,” the engineer clarifies. “It has to be launched as a payload on something else, though. Apparently you have your own special engine too? Mr. Abdulrashid left us in the dark for that part of the design.”
“Ramses knows about this?”
“He asked for an upgrade,” Winona reveals. “He’s been planning this for a while.
He always has a lot of irons in the fire. Leona nods at it. All she can think is how much Heath would like this. She didn’t kill him, but she is responsible for it. She feels responsible for everything. Being the captain is great until you count up all the pain it’s caused. She should step down and disappear. Wouldn’t everyone be happier?
“What do you think?” the engineer asks, proud of his work. “We still need to clean it, but it’s sky-worthy, and space-worthy. And subaquatic-worthy, and—”
“I love it. Thank you.”
“What are you gonna name it?” Winona asks. “Not the Olimpia again, right?”
“That’s not my call. My team needs to become more of a democracy.”

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