Friday, December 9, 2022

The Advancement of Mateo Matic: October 6, 2398

Carlin and Moray haven’t slept in about a day. They can’t stop working on this project. They have learned so much already, it’s a wonder that no one has noticed this before. Or maybe they have noticed, and somebody disappears them. Mateo and Leona are the ones who gave them this assignment. They should be here to hear the big news.
Vearden hangs up the phone. “Okay, Mateo can’t come, and Leona can’t get away from her work in Arcadia.”
“What? How is that possible?” Carlin questions. He takes another drink of his energy drink. Someone needs to ban this stuff.
“Can’t he just teleport here?” Moray asks.
“Apparently his ability isn’t working,” Vearden informs them.
“He was just here literally yesterday.” Carlin stares into space. “It was yesterday, right? I didn’t lose time, did I?”
“No, you didn’t,” Vearden assures him. “He went back to Kansas City, and now he’s stuck. We can’t rely on that trick anymore. They don’t really know how it works. He may be able to come tomorrow, but no one can guarantee anything.”
“Then he can take the Olimpia,” Carlin suggests. “It’s not that far to fly.”
“We’re trying to be discreet here,” Vearden explains. “Our people can’t be spotted flying back and forth from a country that only a few people are allowed to visit each day.” He frowns at the two of them. “Maybe you could tell me first?”
Carlin starts to pace. Moray paces alongside him. He wants to be just like his older brother when he grows up. Carlin shakes his head. He has to get this out. He has to tell someone, and Vearden will have to do. It’s too big. “Okay.” He opens the map.
“What am I lookin’ at here?” Vearden asks invitingly.
Moray reaches over to tap on the screen of the large tablet to activate the presentation. Points bubble up in various regions around the world. Transparent colors spread from these points, and swirl around, crisscrossing each other, and mixing, dancing around the screen in an oddly organized fashion. New points and colors spring up. A slider at the bottom shows the passage of time.
Vearden tilts his head near the end. “I assume that this is showing how religions have propagated across the globe?”
“Yes. Did you see it?”
“I watched it, yes.”
Carlin rolls his eyes. “No. I’m talking about that spot right there.”
“Hmm. Yeah, there appears to be no religion there, but it’s not the only one. See there’s another one in the Philippines. And another over here, and another.”
“Those are unpopulated areas. This is a big area in the middle of Kansas. People live there, so why do they all report no religion, and why have they done that for centuries after the area was settled? I looked into it.” Carlin zooms in more. “The other cities seem normal, but there’s something weird about this bit of land exactly in the middle of it. Roads don’t go through. Satellite images don’t render. It’s weird as hell.”
“Weird as hell,” Moray echoes.
Vearden peers at the screen. “Hold on. I know this area. This is where Springfield, Kansas should be.”

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