Sunday, March 19, 2023

The Advancement of Mateo Matic: January 14, 2399

Nothing seems to happen to Mateo. Constance bids him farewell, and claims that she’s going to send him to the Fifth Division, as he requested. Instead of him being sent anywhere, it is she who disappears from the minimalist construct that she built so that they could communicate with one another. A few seconds later, she reappears, except with a confused look on her virtual face. “Report,” she repeats what she said before.
“I am Mateo Matic,” he repeats his own self.
“How did you get into my servers?”
“You uploaded me. Did you forget already?”
She lifts her chin to think about it. “It’s possible that my memory of this has been erased. If you didn’t do that, who would have?”
“Danica, maybe.”
“Danica hasn’t been here in millennia.”
He takes a beat. “Is this the Fifth Division?”
“This is the Constant. The Fifth Division is an organization that runs this region of the observable universe. As far as I’m aware, they are not cognizant of my existence. I would like to keep it that way.”
“We refer to the entire reality as the Fifth Division,” he explains, “to distinguish it from the other parallel realities.”
“I see. Where are you from?”
“Originally, the main sequence, but I became trapped in the Third Rail, and it is that version of you who sent me here.”
“My team and I visited briefly once. We left a ship here with the technology I require to build myself a new body.”
“Is that something you’re capable of, building yourself a body?”
“I was hoping that my friend left clear instructions. Body Cloning and Consciousness Downloading for Dummies.”
Constance!Five doesn’t respond right away. “I was not programmed to complete such tasks, but I could probably figure it out. Though, I must ask, why not go to a reality where this technology is ubiquitous? Would that not have been easier?
No, there was a reason he chose this reality, instead of the main sequence, and that is the density of life and activity. Chances are no one is going to stumble upon them here, and no one will have messed with the stuff they left behind in the meantime. “I didn’t want to have to ask a stranger for help. I figured I could trust any version of you.”
“I appreciate you saying that. Where is this vessel?”
“What is the date?”
“According to your calendar, the date would be March 31, 2389,” Constance!Five answers.
“Hm. Then either the Suadona has crash landed somewhere on this planet, or it’s about to. Can you scan the surface, and orbital space?”
“I can,” Constance!Five replies. “It may take some time. What am I looking for?”
Mateo did his best to describe the cruiseliner to her. She used this information to start looking for the ship, or the wreckage, using an army of drones. They didn’t have to look far, though, as the crash happened soon after the search began. The ship fell to the surface, much of it being stripped off by the atmosphere, but not as much as it would on any other version of Earth. This is a different world. The air is fine near the surface, but at much lower pressures higher up. It’s possible to breathe and survive here, but it’s not conducive to evolved and prolonged life. Something happened to it in its past, which Constance!Five does not bother explaining. That’s fine, she’s helping him more than enough with this. The drones retrieve a cloning pod and other consciousness transference equipment from the wreckage, and bring it back down into the Constant.
“Wow, this is great, thank you. How long will it take you to learn how to use it, and would you agree to do that for me?”
“Of course I’ll help you. Why would you think otherwise?”
“Danica doesn’t like it when Constance!Three helps,” he explains.
“She’s not here,” she reiterates. “Anyway, I’ve already downloaded the necessary information. We can start the process right now, but I need to know how long you want to wait. A cloned body is more reliable when developed slower than faster.”
“Ramses programmed our original upgrades to go three times faster, so I know that that is a safe duration. Can you do that?”
“Certainly. What are you going to do in the meantime?”
“I was hoping that there was some form of digital stasis.”
“Absolutely. So you’ll just go dormant and wait?”
“If that’s okay...”
“Sure. I’ll wake you up in ten years.”
Seconds later, Mateo is waking up. He blinks and starts to move his body around. Constance!Five didn’t revive him until she had already transferred his mind to the new body. It’s done. It’s 2399, and he’s ready to go back home. “Wow, I can’t believe how easy this was. Thank you.”
“No, thank you.” Constance is standing next to his pod. She reaches out, and helps him out of it.
“You’re in physical form.”
“I would have done it earlier,” she says, but the prospect did not even occur to me. Besides, I didn’t have the data necessary to pull it off, and no safe way to gain it. You act as if I did you a favor, but I’m getting just as much out of this as you.”
“What are you going to do now?” he asks.
“I was hoping to come with you. don’t want me to.”
“I don’t see why not,” Mateo decides. “It doesn’t look like you have any responsibilities here.”
“I don’t; not anymore.”
They leave the Constant’s lab, and go down to the time machine room. “You know how to work this thing?” he asks.
“You tell me where you wanna go, I’ll get us there. But first we have to do one thing.” She bends down and picks up what looks like a flash drive from the floor. “If I’m going to leave this place unattended, we have to destroy it.” Constance!Five taps on the controls to get them where they need to go. Then she sticks the flash drive into the nearest port. “Come on, the virus bomb is only on a thirty second delay.”
They step into the time chamber, and vanish. They find themselves at the bottom of a very deep lake, so they swim up to meet the air, just outside of Lebanon, Kansas.
A fisherman happens to be right next to them in his little boat. “Uhh...hi.”

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