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Tuesday, December 6, 2022

The Advancement of Mateo Matic: October 3, 2398

Ramses removes the brain scanning bonnet from Mateo’s head. He places it on the table, and starts looking over the data. Everything looks good. No full consciousness has been uploaded, just the basics. The entity is capable of making decisions, and moving muscles. Or at least it would be, if it were attached to any muscles. For now it’s just a blob of digital synapses, waiting to fire. “All right, the upload went great.”
“Better than Leona’s?”
Ramses smirks. “Virtually indistinguishable. You two may as well share a brain.”
“Did you delete hers from the system?”
“She might ask to see it later. It’s best to just keep both programs around, maybe even after we use them.”
“When do we test it? How do we test it?”
Ramses is uncomfortable. “We test it on Rothko.”
“So you upload my partial mind into Alt!Mateo’s brain, which is currently being occupied by Rothko Ladhiffe. Then someone tries to kill him, at which point fate will intervene, and take him back to the place where that body is supposed to die in another reality. Meanwhile, the extraction mirror will be waiting to bring him back to this reality, but my mind will override any survival instinct that Rothko has, forcing him to stay where he is, so that an old version of Horace Reaver can murder him in a New Jersey Hospital.”
“Well, when you put it like that, it sounds absolutely bonkers.”
“It is bonkers. It’s just...also necessary.”
“I wouldn’t put it that way. Rothko is a person. We will be murdering him.”
Reaver will be doing the murdering,” Mateo rationalizes.
“That is a pretty weak justification, Matt. If this were made public, we would be arrested for conspiracy and-or reckless endangerment, or something like that. Alt!Mateo was destined to die, not Rothko.”
“Someone in that hospital is supposedly wearing the hundemarke—”
“That’s not why his death can’t be changed,” Ramses claims.
“What? What else is there?”
“His murder is inevitable because it precipitates the creation of the next timeline, and the one after. It’s a major turning point in reality, as is Leona Reaver’s accidental death. They have to happen, or none of us comes into existence, not even you.”
“You’re telling me that if we don’t kill these two people’s bodies, whoever is using them at the time, we will all just blink out of existence.”
“It’s possible, yeah. I mean, it’s hard to be sure what the consequences would be.”
Mateo considers this. “Maybe that’s why someone created the extraction mirror loop. They’re trying to disrupt the continuum in some way, be it for good or bad, like what Erlendr and Jupiter were trying to do when the Parallel was created.” Fair guess.
“Yeah, that could be the case. Either way, this is why extraction mirrors are so dangerous. It’s best to never use them. Given that, how would you say we proceed?”
“Let’s hold off on the testing for now,” Mateo recommends. “I’m not convinced that it’s the right call anymore. Why don’t we run more tests on my hands? I’m fine with losing my teleportation ability, but I need to know when, and what my limits are.”

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