Wednesday, March 22, 2023

The Advancement of Mateo Matic: January 17, 2399

Ramses is watching the footage from the lab yesterday. The current feed is running on the other screen, showing Mateo sitting on his bed, and doing nothing of note. Leona walks into the room. “How’s Arcadia?” he asks her.
“They say that she’s in a coma, but...”
“But it’s more than that.”
“Yeah. If it were anyone else, she’s the one I would call to go inside her mind, and figure out what’s wrong.”
“What have you found here?”
Ramses rewinds the video, and plays it again. “See for yourself.”
Did they bring you in to see if I’m really Mateo?” Mateo asks.
“Are you?” Arcadia asks.
I’m an open book. Read my mind if you’d like.
Arcadia closes her eyes, apparently using her psychic powers on Mateo. After a few minutes, she reopens them. “Your story checks out. I don’t see anything in there that suggests you’re anyone other than who you say you are.
I told you. I don’t like to lie.
I’ll go tell the others.
Mateo nods, unsurprised by the verdict. He turns away to pull the sheets off the bed, presumably in anticipation of having to wash them before the next guest arrives. That’s when Arcadia collapses. He turns back around, and starts banging on the glass. Remembering that there’s an emergency button by the door, he runs over and pushes it, prompting Ramses and Marie to run in. The rest of the video plays out as they remember it. As for how it all began, it doesn’t make a whole hell of a lot of sense.
Ramses and Leona exchange quizzical looks. She holds her hand out to him, which he takes. They teleport to the middle of a forest in Nowheresville, Russia. “What the hell did we just watch?”
“A deepfake is my guess,” Ramses replies. “But, like, a really good one.”
“How did Mateo do it? He doesn’t know how to do that.”
“It’s not Mateo.”
“He knows things.”
“Maybe he knows things the same way that Arcadia can know things.”
“If...whoever that is is powerful enough to generate a deepfake remotely without any obvious means of interfacing with the recording system...”
“Then the containment chamber is useless, at least in the lab.”
“Which means the entire facility has been compromised, and nothing in there can be trusted.”
“What are we gonna do with that thing?”
Ramses shakes his head. “We have to move it.”
“The where is not the problem, it’s the how. I would have to build a mobile containment chamber, get him inside, and hope that he doesn’t interfere with any of the systems of the vehicle we put him on. This is after we build a second full-sized chamber elsewhere. And that’s assuming any of this matters. My guess is that he can’t use his time powers while inside, but can use whatever else he can do.”
“But that’s just a guess.”
“He may be playing the long game, and only pretending to be trapped.”
Leona tilts her head. “Wait, the lock is electronic. He could just open it.”
“There’s a mechanical component,” he explains. “It’s just a sliding bar, but you need hands to open it.”
“Ah, I didn’t realize that. I haven’t been involved in all that all that much.”
Ramses chuckles, and watches a bike of ants carry something indiscernible away.
Leona believes that she can read his mind. “You’re thinking of moving him yourself; no mobile containment chamber.”
“It would be the fastest way to do it,” he acknowledges. “We would still need to contain him at the destination, and there couldn’t be any electronics for miles.”
“But it could be done,” she finishes.
“I don’t know if we have time to do anything. He’s expecting us to let him out soon. He might just brute force it if we take too much time. We keep calling him a him as if we know who this person is, but we almost don’t know anything at all. All we know is that the consciousness in Mateo’s body isn’t least not one we love.”
Leona kicks at a nearby tree to stimulate her thinking brain. After a few minutes, she’s got it. “How attached are you to the AOC? How badly do you want to keep it?”
He narrows his eyes, suspicious of her. “Why? What are you thinking?”
“I have an idea, but we need to work it out together. I want to come up with every variable, and have a contingency to correct it. We’ll only have one shot.”
The two of them go over the plan, keeping it all in their head, or writing it down with good old pen and paper, because they can’t trust computers right now. They don’t know the extent of Impostor!Mateo’s power, and can’t risk him catching wind of what they’re going to do to him. He may be able to sense other people, which means he’ll know if Angela is in or out of her stasis pod. There are too many questions, so they have to be extra cautious. All they know is that he has to be isolated and contained. They’ll have to just figure the rest out later. They bring Marie and Alyssa into this, but no one else. Alyssa’s main job is to stay with Arcadia, Vearden, and her brothers in the hospital.
They’re about to execute the plan now. “Are you ready?” Leona asks.
Marie cracks her neck, and gets into position. “Ready.”
“Radio check one,” Leona says.
“Check two,” Ramses replies.
“Check three,” Marie says, adjusting her ear piece a little.
“On my mark,” Leona declares. She looks at her friends and nods. “Four, three, two, one, mark.”
“Stepping one.” Marie teleports first. She jumps to the infirmary in the lab. She starts to open Angela’s stasis pod.
“What are you doing?” the doctor questions.
“Help me lift her up,” Marie orders.
He helps her, even though he doesn’t know why.
“Step one complete. Stepping two now.” She teleports again, this time with Angela and the doctor in tow.
“Stepping three now.” Ramses jumps to the infirmary. He activates the stasis pod’s hover feature. He then gets on top of it, and holds on tight. It’s heavy, so even though it’s possible to transport, it’s a little harder to do than a person is. “Stepping four now.” He jumps to an Antarctic island that the main sequence would call Heard Island.
“Stepping five now.” Leona teleports last. She unlocks the containment chamber, and power walks towards the man who looks like her husband.
“Hey, honey. Is it over?” he asks, feigning delight at the sight of her.
Step seven primed,” she can hear Ramses say through the radio.
Without a word, Leona wraps her arms around him, but not in a loving way. “Stepping six.” She teleports to Ramses’ location on the other side of the planet. He already has the stasis pod open, and is waiting to close it. “Stepping seven.” She shoves Mateo into the pod.
“Hey what the fuh—?”
Ramses shuts it.
She locks it. “Step seven complete.”
Stepping eight,” Marie tells them through the radio. “Purging Constance.
The two of them look up at the sky, knowing that they can’t see her from here.
“Step eight complete. Stepping nine now.”
“Godspeed, Marie,” Leona says.
Love you all.
“Love you too,” Ramses responds.
Step nine complete,” Alyssa reveals through the radio. She was keeping an eye on the Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez from the hospital, since they can’t have electronics around Impostor!Mateo. She sees that it has successfully entered relativistic speeds, but not using the reframe engine. It’s the only way to keep both Angela and Marie alive long enough for Angela to finish drinking all of the immortality waters. Impostor!Mateo needed the stasis pod more than her.
He surely wouldn’t agree, though. Speaking of which, he can speak. “What, no step ten? There are usually eleven steps. What’s the deal?
Leona rips her earpiece out, and hastily sets it on a rock. She takes a second rock, and slams it down. Ramses hands her his, and lets her do it again. “How is he talking to us? One second should mean ten thousand years in there.”
Ramses checks the pod to make sure it’s set to the right differential, and functioning properly. He then looks into the window to see Mateo lying there, frozen in time. “Framejacking.”
“What’s framejacking?” Alyssa has teleported to their location. “The others are fine,” she assures them before they can ask.
“Framejacking is a superintelligence concept. It refers to altering one’s perception of time, as opposed to actually changing the time that passes around you,” Ramses begins to explain.
“Basically it’s when you’re thinking so fast, it’s like you’re living a lot longer than you would if you just operated in normal time,” Leona continues. “Different species at different sizes do this naturally. Ever notice how a fly can move away from your swatting hand so quickly? That’s because it sees your hand move in slowmo. Computers can process upwards of millions of calculations per second. A really advanced one could do billions, or even trillions. I think I know who’s really in the box.”
Ramses and Leona look at each other and simultaneously say, “Constance!Five.”
“Constance!Five. Right,” Alyssa says hurriedly. “That’s what I was gonna say too; we’re all equally smart.”

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