Sunday, December 11, 2022

The Advancement of Mateo Matic: October 8, 2398

Mateo’s phone rings. It’s Moray, which isn’t odd. His brother, Carlin has been calling a lot lately, trying to get him to teleport up to Palmeria. This is probably him, thinking that using a different phone is like a new strategy. “Mr. Matic, are you there?” It actually is Moray, he’s whispering.
“You can just call me Mateo,” he reminds him.
You need to come right now. I know that we keep saying that, but it really is an emergency.
“What kind of emergency?” Mateo asks. “Tell me what happened.”
Heath’s ex-husband is here. He’s really mad. He’s demanding to see him and Marie. He has Carlin and me trapped on the little island. We’ve been helping get the resort ready for the next guest every morning, but the Waltons are still in the main house on the big island. They don’t know anything’s happened yet. What do we do?
“I’m not sure that I can teleport,” Mateo explains as he’s rushing down the stairs, “but I’m going to do what I can. I’m going to hand Ramses the phone, so you can stay on the line with him.”
I don’t know how long I can hide in the bathroom,” Moray explains in a lower voice. “He’s going to get suspicious.
“Don’t make him any angrier,” Mateo tells him. “Hang up if you have to. Someone is coming, I promise.” He’s reached the lab. He covers the mouthpiece with his hand, and relays the info to Ramses. Then he hands over the phone, and teleports away.
He doesn’t know where he is, but it’s nowhere near Palmeria. The small border country is on an island in a lake. This is saltwater. And it’s freezing. And he literally doesn’t know which way is up. Let’s see, what did his brother, Darko say about this? That’s right. Blow bubbles, and head in the same direction. He releases what little air he has left, and follows them up. The sun is bearing straight down on him, but it still feels cold enough for him to die of hypothermia. Sometimes, when he’s tried to teleport in recent days, he has arrived late. Often he doesn’t go anywhere at all. He’s occasionally been a little bit off the mark, but unless this is the Great Salt Lake, he’s a thousand miles from his destination. Even if this were the Salt Lake, that would probably be true, though it might not be so cold.
There is no land in sight, though that may have more to do with the waves blocking his view. There’s no way to know, and without even a vague guess as to where he is, he can’t possibly know which direction to try to swim. Well, it could be worse. He could have ended up at the bottom of the ocean, instead of near the surface. Then again, at least that would have been a quick death. Who knows how long he’ll last if he can’t get his powers working again, if only once more? God, that’s such a bad idea. Teleporting is what got him into this mess, it is not going to get him out. Damn, he doesn’t even have his phone! Why didn’t he just ask Moray to hang up and call Ramses? Oh, because it’s only hindsight that is 20/20.
He has to get out of this water, and warm up. His only choice is to pick a direction, and cross his fingers. What he wouldn’t give to be in a lifeboat with a tiger right now, or even just a man with a tiger’s name. This is all wasteful thinking. There is no boat, no living mobile island. There’s just him and the deep blue sea. Whether he makes it to land or not, swimming will get his blood pumping, and keep him warmer for longer. Perhaps Ramses can track all teleportation around the planet. He’ll realize that Mateo never made it to Palmeria, use tech to get there himself to help, and then maybe send someone else on The Olimpia? How long will that take? A matter of hours? Surely he has hours of life left in him. Not necessarily, or rather, not likely.
He takes a deep breath to prepare himself, and then reaches across the water, pulling it towards him. Then he reaches out with his other arm, and does the same thing. He keeps doing that for about three hundred years before he gets tired, and has to take a break. How far did he get? Well, when he first started the sun was over his head, and the water was under his chin, which is still the case, so presumably, he didn’t go anywhere at all. That’s funny, but could also be one hundred percent true. The waves may have even pushed him farther away, which is probably okay, because he doesn’t know where he’s going anyway. Kolby Morse, also known as Guard Number Two, was a lifeguard, and once told Mateo that he knew how to make a lifejacket out of his own pants by tying the legs together, and swinging them over his head to catch and trap air. He didn’t go over the specifics on how to make it work, but this is a better time to try than never.
It takes Mateo several attempts, usually because he’s not happy with how little air he was able to trap, but finally, he has it. Now he can rest. He’s still lost. He’s freezing. But he’s not treading water anymore. For a time, he just stays like that, floating on his back with his eyes closed, and trying to capture as much sunlight as possible. It’s not enough. He has to get as much of his body out of the water as he can. Is that right? That may not be right, because of the wind. Oh my God, how does anyone survive anything! Half of them didn’t. That’s what happens. One person dies trying something, so the next person learns from their mistakes, and does it better. Unfortunately, it’s looking like Mateo is the first one in that allegory. One day, a teleporter with no control over their power is going to be in the same situation, but they’ll do it better, because they’ll hear the tale of this day. They’ll call it...The Downfall of Mateo Matic. Or maybe The Drowning of Mateo Matic. Or, no, how about—what the hell was that?
Is that a breeze underneath him? He swears, it felt like air tickling the shirt under his back. There it is again. He carefully turns his neck, and looks over his pants lifejacket. There’s the water. It’s under him, sure, but he’s in it anymore. He’s hovering over the surface. He’s completely up in the air. He lets go of his pant legs, and looks at his hands. They’re tingling in a way they never have before. Is this true telekinesis? The god who gave him these powers said that they would just allow him to simulate touching things without technically making contact. But whatever magic he used to give him such a limited form of telekinetic powers must also be theoretically capable of real telekinesis. Perhaps that magic is somewhat sentient, and is aware that Mateo is in trouble.
Mateo closes his eyes again, and drops his hands to his sides. He calls upon the spirit of Tony Stark with his rocket hand things, and pushes himself farther away from the water. There’s a learning curve to this flying thing, but he doesn’t go too far up, so if he falls, he’ll land safely in the ocean. He just keeps working at it, and while he never flies like superman, he does make it to an inhabited island, where—after climbing over some language barriers—he manages to learn is not too far from Antarctica, which explains why it’s so damn cold here. A look at the map shows that he’s even pretty close to the region where the Nexus is. Now he just needs a radio.

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