Thursday, January 5, 2023

The Advancement of Mateo Matic: November 2, 2398

Leona wakes up in a hospital bed. Her husband’s is the first face she sees. The nurse’s is the next. She tries to speak, but it doesn’t feel like her voice is coming out. The nurse hands Mateo a cup of water so he can hold it under Leona’s chin, and help her sip. Quenched, she can utter the only pertinent word right now. “Report.”
“There was an explosion,” Mateo begins to explain as the nurse is leaving to get the doctor. “They don’t know who, and if they know how, they’ve not released this information to the public. The investigation is going slow. The fact that the crime took place in a crime hole is causing some jurisdictional issues. Normally, an internal investigative team would be expected to handle this on their own, but when neighboring areas are at risk, external forces are willing to come in, which they have to, because—”
“Because I drained the swamp of nearly all staff, and absolutely all security,” Leona recalls. “I don’t regret it.”
“This being the case, police would usually try to get consent from the owner of the crime hole to step in, but since you were incapacitated...”
“They have it,” Leona says. “Anyone with the authority to investigate crime has my consent and support to do what they must.”
“I’ll text Winona,” Mateo says, taking out his device.
Once he’s done with that, Leona says, “go on.”
“Cheyenne and Marie were hurt; Cheyenne the least. She was conscious, and able to inform the rescuers that only the three of you were in the building at the time. Is that a fair assessment?”
“As far as we knew, yes. We kept a few staff to help with the transition, but we asked them not to come in today—”
“It’s the second of November,” Mateo interrupts.
“We asked them not to come in on that day,” Leona amends. “We wanted to walk the space, and envision the changes. Is it destroyed? Is the whole thing gone?”
“It is, yes. It was a massive explosion.”
“That’s a silver lining. We were just discussing how we would prefer to knock it down, and rebuild from scratch...assuming we haven’t lost ownership over it.”
“No one has said as much. I don’t know how it works.”
The doctor comes in and performs a basic examination on Leona. She has multiple bruises, a head laceration, and both of her legs are broken. She cracks a joke about this being a blessing since she didn’t have to cut them off, like last time. He doesn’t think it’s funny, but if he knew that she wasn’t lying... She’s going to make a full recovery, but the healing process is going to take some time. She will be confined to a wheelchair for the next three months at least, maybe even longer. She would be able to transition to crutches sooner, but there’s little point in trying that when both legs need time to heal. Leona is taking it surprisingly well. Again, if he only knew the kinds of things she has gone through, he would understand that this is not life-shattering news. It sucks, but if all else fails, she should eventually be able to just transfer her consciousness to a new body.
Shortly after the doctor leaves to let Leona get some rest, there is a knock on the door. Mateo answers to find Kivi on the other side. She steps into the room quietly, and looks around cautiously. She opens the door to the bathroom, like she’s expecting another person to be here. Then she settles her gaze back on Leona, and finally exhales.
“Are you looking for another bomb?” Leona asks.
“No, I was looking for the people who did it,” Kivi replies.
“What made you believe that they were in here? You don’t think that one of us did it, do you?”
“Of course not!” Kivi says. “I think I’ve overestimated how much control I’ve developed over my psychic abilities. I want to catch the people who did this to you, but my heart just wanted to make sure my friend was okay.”
“That’s sweet,” Leona says. “Thank you.”
“I better get back to the team.” Kivi lifts her watch up, and speaks into it, “code orange. Stand down.”
“Code orange?” Mateo asks.
“Like a detour sign?” Kivi explains. “These are not the droids we’re looking for.”
“Why do you know pop culture references from the wrong reality?” Leona questions.
“I dunno.” Kivi starts to back out of the room casually. “Why is a tree good? Why is the sunset good? Why are boobs good?”
Leona narrows her eyes at her. “I love you.”
“Love you too!” Kivi calls back just as she’s stepping out of view.
Leona manages to get a little bit of sleep before Ramses abruptly invites himself into the room. “She’s asleep,” Mateo tries to whisper, but it’s too late.
“I’m up.”
“Good.” Also without asking, Ramses lifts the bedsheets, and slides Leona’s hospital gown up to get a look at her legs.
“Oh good, you’ve graduated from medical school at last,” Leona jokes.
“I just need a quick look.” Ramses feels Leona’s upper thighs, and sticks his fingers down her casts.
“And a feel.”
“No, it’s your body; you built it for me.”
Ramses rolls his eyes. Then he takes out his version of a Star Trek tricorder, and scans her legs. “Yeah, I think this will work, but I can’t promise.”
“What will work?” Mateo asks, growing impatient.
“Did anyone tell you that we’re planning to raise the Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez from the bottom of the ocean?” Ramses asks them as he’s checking Leona’s lymph nodes for an as of yet unknown reason.
“Yeah, what does this have to do with my wife’s medical condition?”
“Do you remember what happened to you when you teleported yourself into orbit? Did you die up there?”
Leona realizes what Ramses is thinking. “Oh. You think if I break the planet’s atmosphere, I’ll regain my transhumanistic upgrades, and reactivate my healing nanites, which will repair my legs.”
“That’s the idea,” Ramses confirms.
“Is that even a thing?” Mateo asks.
“Only one way to find out.” Ramses and Leona high five each other.

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