Sunday, January 8, 2023

The Advancement of Mateo Matic: November 5, 2398

Ramses left New York, and came back to Kansas City. The best way to help Leona is to get himself down to the bottom of the ocean, where he can recover the Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Mateo had the idea to just go to the surface of the Bermuda Triangle, and utilize the temporal energy there to teleport down, but that’s too risky. They don’t know exactly where it is, and they don’t know if the interior is habitable. It may have all been crushed under the pressure of the ocean, for all they know. The best and safest way to do it would be to take a submarine down there, and enter manually. He is procuring temporal energy injections to be used in an emergency, but hopefully it won’t come to that. The only problem is that they do not have access to a submarine capable of reaching such depths.
“Okay, I’ve secured you a submarine capable of reaching those depths,” Winona says as she’s entering the team’s new laboratory, not looking up from her tablet.
“Really?” Alyssa asks. She stayed in the area, and has been handling the transition for Ramses. No one asked her to do that, but she didn’t want them to have to worry about that. He’s on the roof right now, upgrading the satellite dish, so they can communicate with the AOC once it’s up there.
“Oh,” I thought you were him. “Where is he?”
“Roof satellite,” Alyssa answers.
“Ah.” Winona nods awkwardly. “I’m Winona Honeycutt.”
“I know that. We’ve met. Many times.”
“Right, but we were never really introduced; not formally.”
Alyssa smirks in a confused-but-whatever sort of way. “Alyssa McIver.”
Winona nods awkwardly again.
“Do you want me to go get him, errr...?”
“Yeah, if you could, I think that would be okay.”
Alyssa could just ping his handheld, but Winona is clearly uncomfortable being alone with her. She must have her reasons, which may be as simple as the fact that she mainly deals with the core team, instead of ancillary members like her. So she leaves.
She comes back quickly with Ramses. “I hear you got a sub for me?”
“My superiors are very interested in the prospect of activating a ship designed to travel the stars. The Marine Corps has a deep sea sub capable of reaching the bottom of the ocean. It’s obviously usually busy with other things, but as luck would have it, the majority of the crew is being given shore leave in Bermuda. The skeleton crew remaining has agreed to take a detour to the coordinates that you provided, but we gotta go now if we want to rendezvous with them. They won’t wait for us forever.”
“Us” Ramses questions.
“I’m the liaison. I’m going.”
Ramses looks in the general direction of New York, where most of the rest of the team is. They don’t all have to join them on this mission, but one of them certainly does. “We have to pick up Leona first.”
Winona checks her watch. “We don’t have time for that.”
“The whole point of getting the AOC back is to heal her.”
“It is only one reason,” Winona contends.
“It’s the only one that matters. I don’t know what you’ve sold your superiors on, but your scientists aren’t getting their hands on my ship, and neither is your military.”
Winona sighs, and looks at her watch again. It’s been fifteen seconds. “Some of your magic water is in the Bermuda Triangle, right?” She goes on without waiting for a response, “let’s take your new vehicle there, fill up on whatever you need, quickly jump up to New York, and finally jump back. You did say that the engine you built for it can store enough power for two or more jumps?”
“Yes,” Ramses confirms. “The concentrator filters regular water, so that only—”
“Great, let’s go,” Winona says, urging them on with a wave of her hand.
“I want to go too,” Alyssa announces.
“Fine, whatever.” Winona waves more. “Let’s all go. But we gotta do it now.”
Ramses and Alyssa grab their go-bags, and head for the garage. “Constance,” Ramses speaks into his watch, “run a pre-flight check on The Bridgette.”
Acknowledged,” the AI replies.
“Working title,” Ramses explains when Alyssa gives him a look.
“I mean the name of your AI,” Alyssa clarifies her expression.
“I got it from the Constant,” he says with a shrug.
“By the time they board the craft, the pre-flight check is complete.”
“Constance,” Ramses speaks into aether this time. “Please fly us to Site W-5.”
Proceeding to the center of the Bermuda Triangle,” Constance responds.
During the flight, Ramses contacts Mateo to ask him to pick a secluded area upstate where the Bridgette can teleport to. He should transport Leona there, so they can get her all the way to the Triangle, down to the bottom of the ocean, and up into orbit. It’s nearly midnight central when Ramses, Aylssa, and Winona reach the very center of the Triangle. He lands the vehicle in ship mode, and collects enough water to fill his special engine’s storage tanks. Once it’s ready to go, he teleports the whole thing to Harriman State Park. It’s off-season, so there shouldn’t be anyone in the area to witness their arrival and departure. To be honest, he was afraid that it wouldn’t work at all, but they make it to the clearing, and land on the ground to wait for their friends.
Mateo and Leona are nowhere to be found, so Ramses tries to call them, but they don’t answer. Winona keeps urging them to get back to the Triangle. The sub is on a very tight schedule, and there is only a short window to make this detour dive happen. If they miss this window, the sub will move on to its next mission, and she can’t guarantee when they’ll ever have such an opportunity again.
“They’ll be here,” Ramses promises for the upteenth time.
“We can find a way to get her into it later, but right now, we just need to recover it,” Winona insists.
“It doesn’t work like that. Leona is in a fragile state. I can’t just teleport her up there naked. She needs to be in the vessel when it launches.”
“I’m sorry, we can’t wait any longer.”
“Well, there’s not really anything you can do about it, so...” Ramses claims.
“Yes, there is.” Winona pulls a key from inside her shirt as she’s stepping down into the bridge. She removes a hidden panel compartment under the controls, which reveals the keyhole. She sticks her key in, and turns the light from red to green.
“What the hell is that?” Ramses questions.
“My failsafe,” Winona answers. “Constance, jump to W-5.” They jump.

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