Wednesday, February 8, 2023

The Advancement of Mateo Matic: Year 62,398

When Mateo went back inside, and rode the elevator back down to the Constant, he found himself once again alone. Danica had apparently come out of stasis long enough to recall him, but didn’t want to stick around for any longer. That was ten thousand years ago, and Mateo has come out of his own stasis, determined to get her alone, so they can have a real conversation.
“Constance, what is the location of Danica Matic?”
Unable to convey that information,” she replies.
“What is the location of anyone else in this facility?”
Unable to convey that information,” she repeats.
Perhaps he ought to go about this a different way. “What is the location of the greatest current power draw?”
Constance pretends to sigh. “That would normally not be that much of a problem to answer, but I’m not an idiot; I know what you’re going to do with that information.
“Constance, please alert Danica to my request for an audience.”
She knows. She’s declined.
It’s time for Plan Z. Mateo starts to teleport all over the place, kind of like how he was planning to evade capture when he first woke up, except now he’s trying to get people’s attention. If they truly don’t trust him, they can come out and prove it. He doesn’t just jump from one room to another, though. He goes into the swimming pool pump room, and starts draining all the water. He goes into the gym, and wraps tape over the bleacher controls, so the engines don’t stop turning even once the bleachers are good and extended. He goes to the master sitting room, and just drops books onto the floor.
None of this is going to work,” Constance claims.
“Well, if you have any better ideas, I would love to hear them.”
Constance waits to respond. “Try this.
Mateo suddenly finds himself in an area of the Constant he has never seen before. He doesn’t even know what level he’s on right now. Before him is only one room. He opens the double doors to find what he can only assume to be, “a time machine.”
That’s right.
“Can this get me back to my time period?”
It can only take you across its own timeline. I am not cognizant of the temporal limitation, but as I understand it, it doesn’t exist that far into the future.
“What’s the point of me trying, then? A billion years from now, three billion years from now, I would still need stasis to make it the rest of the way.”
You won’t actually be using it. You’re just trying to get your cousin’s attention, correct?” Constance asks.
“Good point. Thanks for your help.”
I didn’t help you at all, I’m forbidden.
“In that case, screw you, I found this place all on my own.”
Constance doesn’t give him any more guidance, for her own protection. He spends a little time examining the machine. He has to figure out how to activate it without accidentally sending himself to some other time. He was never one of those drivers who could repair his own car. He tried changing the oil once, but didn’t care for it, so he started treating the process of going to the mechanic as a business expense. Still, he’s learned a few things about fuses and wires, and he believes he’s found a solution. This switch right here is blocking the time machine from getting power from the wall, because it’s not in use. All he should have to do is close the circuit, and hopefully that’s enough to set off all kinds of alarms. It’s dormant for a reason, because it goes against Danica’s decrees, of which the no time travel thing is the only one he’s heard so far. Why they didn’t take this whole thing apart upon agreeing to these rules is presently low on his list of questions for her.
There, it’s on, and making a noise. He stands back in case the transport field can extend beyond the confines of the chamber, and waits. After about a minute, he does hear alarms, so he continues to wait for a response. Finally, Danica herself teleports into the room with an angry expression on her face. By now, the sound of the time machine operating has increased. “What the hell do you think you’re doing?” she shouts.
“I’m just trying to have a conversation!” he shouts back.
“With whom, Benjamin Franklin!”
“With you! You keep avoiding me!”
“What?” Now it’s too loud for them to hear. It doesn’t sound like it’s that great of a time machine, that’s for sure.
“Why are you avoiding me?”
She shouts something intelligible.
“It’s hard to nardle bardle zouz with all these marbles in my mouth!” Not really what’s happening here, but Mateo makes himself laugh anyway.
She yells something at him again, but he still can’t understand her.
“I’ll go turn it off!” he cries. He goes back to the switch, but it won’t budge. Yeah, he really shouldn’t have turned it on. Constance was wrong about this being a good idea. He tries to get some leverage with his foot, but he still can’t get it to move.
Danica bends over, and places a finger on the switch. She twists her wrist, and looks at him inquisitively. He nods back. She evidently doesn’t know how it works, but yes, turning it down should turn it off. She tries to move it herself, but can’t either. She takes a flashlight out of her back pocket, and starts trying to hit the switch with it. Strike one, strike two, strike three, and they’re gone in a flash.
The force is strong enough to knock them both on their asses, but not enough to knock them unconscious. When the energy recedes, they stand themselves up, and make sure each other is okay. The alarms are still going off, but nothing else has changed. Just then, someone else teleports into the room. After Mateo’s eyes adjust to the change in lighting, he can see more clearly who it is. It’s another Danica Matic, which is no big surprise. This is a time machine, after all.
“Report!” she demands.
“Danica Matic, Concierge to the Third Rail Constant, Day 56 of Year 62,398 after first activation Hadean.”
The other Danica loosens up. “Danica Matic, Concierge to the Fourth Quadrant, December 7, 2398 by standard advanced inhabitant phasing.”
“Well, you got your wish, Matt. You’re home.”
“Not quite.”
“Let’s go talk in the master sitting room,” Quadrant!Danica suggests. “I’ve been alone for so long.”

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