Sunday, April 9, 2023

The Advancement of Mateo Matic: February 4, 2399

Mateo and Ramses are still not back yet from dropping the boys off on the AOC. Aldona has not even bothered to think about long-range communications systems, because it’s not priority. They have to build the ships and satellites first, then they can worry about all that stuff. All Leona can do is hope that they wanted to have a longish conversation while going relativistic speeds, and that nothing is actually wrong. She’s been trying to keep her mind busy with her work, but it has not been easy. She’s been distracted, and not even by her husband’s absence. It’s something else. Something has been gnawing at her, and it’s not the loneliness, nor the exhaustion, though both of those have become real problems. No, she’s realized what it is. It’s the Constance!Five android they tucked away in the antarctic. She’s still a threat. She’ll continue to be a threat until she’s gone forever.
Aldona knocks on the door for her two hourly check-in, which she apparently thinks Leona has not noticed. “Hey, what’s up? Could you check these numbers for me?”
Leona accepts the tablet, and gives them a cursory glance. “They look great.”
“You barely looked at them.”
“I’m that good. You are too. Stop asking me for input that you don’t need.”
“Measure twice, cut once,” Aldona muses.
“That’s what the computer is for.”
Aldona sticks the tablet under her armpit, and folds her arms.
“Is there anything else?”
“You want to ask me for something.”
“What makes you say that?”
“Once a day, you ask for something extra. Resources, access to something. We’re nearing the end of the evening, and you’ve not done that yet. So, out with it.”
She stares at her for a few seconds. “Okay, you’re right. I was hoping to borrow one of your rockets.”
“What is it this time?”
“There is something that we need to get into space.”
“Okay. Because...?”
“Because...that’s where the sun is.”
“And what do you need with the sun?”
Leona scrunches up her lips, and shakes her head rapidly. “We may or may not need to allegedly throw something into it.”
“You need to throw something into the garbage?”
“That’s a word for it.”
Aldona narrows her eyes. “Are you trying to murder someone?”
“ a word for that.”
“Talk to me, Leona. Tell me what I need to know.”
“We call her Constance!Five. She can make herself look like anyone. We trapped her in a stasis pod, but it’s only a matter of time before she breaks out.”
“Why wouldn’t you tell me this? That’s who’s trying to kill Cedar.”
“I know, but not everyone believes that all’s fair in love and war.”
“If you have a version of Constance, I want it gone. Permission: granted.”

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