Friday, April 7, 2023

The Advancement of Mateo Matic: February 2, 2399

Angela is asleep again. Marie and Dr. Farlind woke her up for a few minutes to update her on the current situation, but she had to go back down so she won’t unintentionally purge the immortality water from her system. It’s been about a half hour, and they’re miles and miles and miles away from Earth now. Even so, the computer beeps.
“What is that?” Dr. Farlind asks.
Marie tilts her head at the screen. “It’s another ship. It just disappeared. It’s back again. It disappeared again.”
“Someone’s come after her. How long has it been on Earth?”
“Two weeks,” she answers. They’re about to be boarded. Marie goes over to the food synthesizer, opens the cabinet, and starts to pull the nutrient cartridges out. In the back are various parts. Half of the grip, the other half, barrel, trigger, magazine. In seconds, she expertly assembles them into a gun. She’s finished and aiming at the dark figure who has transported into the ship, and would have been able to shoot if Mateo had not been the one to step into the light. “Oh my God, I nearly killed you.”
“Wouldn’t have been the first time,” Mateo says nonchalantly. He looks around. “Room for three more?”
“Three who?”
“The McIver boys, plus another.”
“If need be, yeah, but who is this other?”
“It’s a newcomer. Name’s Cedar. I don’t know his last name. He’s good people. Constance is after him too. He can’t tell us why. We’ve accepted as much.”
Marie looks at the camera feed showing Angela sleeping in her grave chamber.
“Where’d you get the gun?” Mateo asks.
“Never mind that,” she replies. She tucks it into the back of her pants. “Bring ‘em on board. Then, unless you’re staying, you better get going. You’ve been here for almost an entire day already.”
“I know.” He holds up a portable drive. “This is the updated AI system.” He looks between the two of them. “One of you, or the other, can come back. This ship no longer requires human monitoring. It knows where to go, and how to get there.”
“I’m not leaving my patient,” Dr. Farlind says.
“I’m not leaving my sister,” Marie echoes the sentiment.
“Very well. You still need to upload this. It comes up with a full update on our lives since you’ve been gone. Not only does it tell you what we’ve been through, but you can ask the avatar for clarification. You can also ask it the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow, or how many dimples are on a golf ball.”
“Three hundred and thirty-six,” Dr. Farlind answers proudly.
“Well. I guess you don’t need the AI then,” Mateo jokes.
He jumps back to the Bridgette when it pings again. It’s not traveling at relativistic speeds, since it’s not a ship. It has to teleport within range, and then Mateo can reach it. He returns with Carlin and Moray, then makes a second trip for the last passenger. “Marie and Dr. Farlind, allow me to introduce you to...Cedar.”
“We’ve met.”

No comments :

Post a Comment