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Saturday, March 25, 2023

The Advancement of Mateo Matic: January 20, 2399

Mateo is getting out of the hospital today. Constance!Five worked him over pretty good, but he’s still wearing a highly advanced substrate, so he heals fast. A little rest, a little protein, a little sun, and he’s as good as new. Ramses is with him now while Leona and Alyssa are getting the house ready. It’s Arcadia and Vearden’s house. It was nowhere near large enough to accommodate the whole team back when they first bought it, but their numbers have been pared down significantly since then. Mateo and Leona will get the second bedroom. The boys will get what is eventually going to become the nursery. Ramses and Alyssa are going to share the master bedroom, because it’s the largest. They’ll erect a curtain for more privacy. Arcadia is being moved to a long-term wing, to a room that can fit a companion.
For now, there is no lab. Normal technology is fine, like handhelds and tablets, but nothing advanced can be trusted. Constance!Five may have wormed her way into the internet, but she can do more damage with a teleporter gun than a phone. Ramses will work on a way of detecting and neutralizing the threat, but not here, and not now.
“There’s something I wanted to talk to you about,” Alyssa says as they’re carrying the crib down to the basement.
“What is it?” Leona asks.
“Mateo and Vearden want to get rid of the stasis pod, and everything that’s in it.”
“That’s the goal.” She looks over her shoulder to recount the number of steps.
“They want to do it now. Mateo’s idea was to teleport it to a volcano, and then his second idea was to shoot it into the sun.”
“Neither of those ideas is going to work.” They set the crib down in the corner.
“I suggested we try to take it back to the Constant.”
“Ugh.” Leona pulls some cobwebs out of her hair. “We don’t know where it is anymore. Besides, what makes you think Danica and all them will help us?”
“They don’t have to want to help us,” Alyssa says. “We’ll drop it off and fly away. What are they gonna do, return it? Good luck; they don’t have a receipt. It was a gift.”
“No. We can’t have that. Even if we successfully convince them that this version of Constance is dangerous, that’s the most powerful building in the universe. We don’t want her anywhere near it. That may be where she wanted to go all along. Just being in proximity—even while in stasis—could trigger this reality’s Constance into turning evil.”
“Oh, I didn’t think of that.”
“Sorry, the pod stays where it is. I know that means she continues to survive, but it’s our only option right now.” Transporting her anywhere is too dangerous. They know that she’s framejacking in there. That’s okay for now, because it’s a function of mental speed, not physical motion. But one day, she will break out of that pod, and moving her could expedite that. “We don’t know enough about her yet. I need your help.”
“With what?” Alyssa asks, looking around the basement.
“With making sure my husband doesn’t do something stupid. I wish he would always listen to me, but he...I don’t know, he just doesn’t. He has a soft spot for young women, though not in the way you think. He sees the helpless naïve girl that I was when we met. I’m not saying you should manipulate him, but you can...guide his choices.”
“I’ll see what I can do.”

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