Friday, January 20, 2023

The Advancement of Mateo Matic: November 17, 2398

Marie has gotten a lot of steps today, already more than she had yesterday, and it’s not even evening yet. With every orbital pass, the map of the brain scanner errors updates, providing them with a new location of their current target in Paris, France. Whoever it is has been moving around a lot, and they cannot catch up to them. There is no pattern to their movements. Some of the places are good tourist traps, but others are just a random alley, and people’s homes. They appear to be on the move with great purpose. The distance from one location to the next is always short enough to reach within the timeframe, but in some cases, only if they’re being evasive. They never spend too much time in one place, suggesting that they know someone is on their trail, and they’re trying to stay one step ahead. The team is exhausted, and everyone agrees that they need a new tactic. Marie has come up with a plan, but it’s best done after nightfall, so they ignore the next two pings, and wait it out in their small Parisian safehouse.
Three hours later, Marie takes the auto-injector out of her pack. Ramses was embarrassed that they were still using regular syringes up until this point for emergency jolts of temporal energy, but it’s fine. She has it now, and it’s time to use it, even though it’s not technically an emergency. For some reason, she feels like this is going to be a bigger deal than the other times she’s used the stuff. It’s not. She jams it into her leg, presses the button, and feels the usually temperate surge of electricity all over her body.
“Tell me again why you can’t just give us one of those too?” Esmé asks. She just won’t let it go. She’s not a very good diplomat, which is annoying, but Marie isn’t in charge of choosing her own team. Perhaps if she had stayed with the organization fulltime, she might have more pull.
“This doesn’t give me the ability to teleport,” Marie explains once more. “My body was designed with the power. This injector reactivates what’s already there. If I gave you one, it would do nothing. At best, it would add a whopping one hour to your lifespan.”
“I’ll...take it,” Esmé declares. She pretends to not notice Marie rolling her eyes.
“It’s almost time.” Agent Filipowski holds the tablet in front of Marie’s face.
Specialist Cleary and Officer Sharrow take their positions on either side of Marie. “Keep an eye on our realtime pins,” she instructs Doric. She can only carry two other people with her. “I may have to transport our target to a third location.”
The tablet beeps. “Shit.” They’re at the Eiffel tower. Ramses’ scanner can’t accurately distinguish elevation. They could be on the ground, at the top, or anywhere in between. Plus, even this late, there are going to be tons of people there. They can’t just jump around a few times to look for them. Marie has to make a split second decision, and the rest of her team isn’t going to like it. “I’ll stay in contact, I promise.”
“What are you going to do?” Esmé questions.
“It’s too risky to move in a group.” Marie pulls herself away from the other two, and makes the jump. She’s on the ground underneath the tower. It’s one of the many unusual things about this reality, which is strikingly similar to the main sequence, even with a profoundly altered historical timeline. The primary difference here is that the beams are made of steel, rather than iron. She calls Ramses. “Hey, are ya busy?”
No, what’s up?” Ramses replies.
“Can you see where I am?”
Gotcha right here.” The scanner has always picked up on the rest of the time travelers in the group, as they qualify as temporal errors. They have always filtered out and ignored each other, but it’s useful now. “Who’s that with you, Leona? We can’t get a hold of her.
“No one is with me. The second dot is our target. I lost access to the map. How far away are they?”
About twenty meters southwest. You better hurry. They’ll go out of range again within ten minutes at the most.
Marie starts to run. There’s a larger group of people over there, so she could really do with an investigator, but she’s alone, and that was her choice.
Stop!” Ramses warns. “Two hundred meters directly south of you.
“They’re a teleporter.”
“Just like me.” Marie focuses on visualizing the distance, then covers it with another jump. There are fewer people around here, but she still has no idea who she’s looking for. She starts to scan them, hoping to see someone suspicious. She does in a man who’s staring right back at here. Now she has a face. If she doesn’t get him today, she will later. He can’t hide forever.
He teleports away again.
Jump to the ship,” Ramses tells her.
Marie looks up to the sky, and jumps to the main level of the AOC.
Ramses is waiting for her. He tosses her a handheld device. “He jumped another five hundred meters. Go get him.”
Five hundred meters. That’s an increase, but still not very far as teleporters go. He clearly realizes that he’s being tracked, and he doesn’t want to be caught. That’s fair, he doesn’t know that she could be a friendly. She doesn’t know that either, but she hopes she is. If he’s so worried, though, there must be a reason he’s not bailing to Madagascar or Argentina, or something. Either something is keeping him in the city, or his power has limited range. Regardless, they have to find him. If Ramses can learn why this reality isn’t suppressing his abilities, it will take them one step closer to solving the problem for everyone. She looks at the map, and focuses on the dot. She jumps down to him, and without giving him any chance to react, wraps her arms around him. She then makes one final jump, back to the AOC.
“Curtis Duvall.” Arcadia smiles at him.
“Oh, Leona.” The man goes over and gives her a big hug. “If I had known that you were involved, I never would have kept running.”
“Yes, Leona is involved,” Arcadia confirms, “but I’m not her. I was accidentally placed in this body. I’m Arcadia Preston.”
He nods like that makes total sense. “I don’t know who that is.”
Arcadia narrows her eyes at him. “Which timeline are you from?”
“I don’t know,” Curtis argues. “Why would I know that? What do you want me to do, give it a random designation, like Six-One-Six or Earth-X? I’m from the timeline where I’m from!” That’s a fair point.
“I don’t care about that,” Ramses says dismissively. “I wanna know how you can teleport when no one else in the world still has their time powers.”

No comments :

Post a Comment