Tuesday, April 4, 2023

The Advancement of Mateo Matic: January 30, 2399

Aldona has apparently never heard of the principle of SCR&M, because she didn’t design this rocket to be modular. It’s one giant tube, with living spaces at the top, cargo in the middle, and propulsion at the bottom. It’s a good thing that the first two aren’t switched, because while it’s not modular, it is compartmentalized. With a little bit of effort, they were able to pull it apart to leave one section on the moon, while the rest flew away, using the auxiliary control room as now the only control room.
Ramses and Mateo are heading back towards Earth to deploy their supersecret array of leechcraft. They’ll enter a high orbit, and launch the little leeches as they pass by other objects. Once those are dispersed, they’ll drop down to a lower orbit for another round. They’ll keep doing that until every sufficiently sized object up there has a little piece of hardware on it that Team Matic controls. Is this ethical? One hundred percent no. Is it morally right? Absolutely yes. Aldona and the world leaders are primarily concerned with external enemies, like the other parallel realities, but they know that there are plenty of domestic hostile forces to worry about. That’s what these technologies do. Like Ramses said before, this is more than just a temporal error detector. The software will map the behavioral patterns of everyone in the world, synthesize the data, and model the threats.
No specific individual is going to be targeted through this system. The artificial intelligence that Ramses curated himself will only ever output locational concerns, not people or groups. The AI is not based on the Constance program. The Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez already had its own intelligence, which became dormant when Constance was uploaded for consistency, but Ramses still has a copy of it, so there is no concern of an uprising, like they have on their hands with Constance!Five. That’s something that Aldona doesn’t even know about, which puts civilization at more risk than just aliens from other dimensions. It’s why they’re doing this. Ramses’ little assistant, Mateo is certain that people will thank them for this one day.
While all of this is going on, Leona will be on the moon with the boys. She’s not being sidelined, though. There’s plenty of work to be done here. The far side of the moon is a perfect place to install a vanguard extrasolar incursion detection system. There are others, like the Lagrange points, but it has to start somewhere. The orbital defense grid will protect Earth, but it works best with forewarning. The small container of nanites that they came here with has grown extraordinarily in just a few days. Until now, all they have been doing is replicating themselves using lunar material. Now it’s time to build some stuff. Half will be sent with Ramses to turn into leechcraft during the deliberately slow journey. The rest are for Leona’s special projects.
She’s going to expand what little infrastructure is here now into a full-fledged lunar base. Hundreds of people will be able to move in by the end of next month, and thousands by the start of this future war. This time next year, it could potentially be considered the center of a colony of millions. That’s a long way off, if ever. For now she just needs to focus on making sure she and the kids don’t die in the vacuum of space. That doesn’t mean they can’t have a little fun at the same time, though.
Little Moray’s face is pressed against the glass, watching the nanites work their magic. The shaft is done, and the head is nearly there. “What is it?”
“You’ve never seen one of these before?” Leona twirls the finished one.
“You don’t have golf on your world?”
“Never heard of it.”
“Oh, I think you’ll like it. Go get your brother, and meet me in the airlock. I’ll show you how to use them.”
Moray runs off to grab Carlin. When they get to the airlock, Leona helps them into their custom-made vacuum suits, then gets into her own. Then they go out for a walk. “Four hundred and twenty-eight years ago tomorrow—in the main sequence—a man by the name of Alan Shepard landed on the moon. He was there to collect moon rocks, and do a bunch of science stuff, but he secretly smuggled one of these bad boys with him.” She holds up Carlin’s club. “He also had a couple of these.” She pulls several balls out of her bag, and drops them onto the lunar regolith.
“I assume you’re supposed to hit the balls with the sticks?” Carlin figures.
“Clubs, and yes,” Leona confirms.
“Farthest one wins?” Moray asks.
“Well, in regular golf, you would want to aim for a tiny little hole that’s hundreds of meters away. It’s never just a straight shot, and they put all kinds of hazards between you and the hole, like water and sand traps. I don’t have time to build all that, so yeah, farthest hit wins.”
“How far did Alan Shepard hit it?” Carlin asks.
“About thirty-seven meters, but his suit was extremely cumbersome, and he could only hit it with one hand.”
“How are you supposed to hit it?” Carlin presses.
“I’ve never played. So let’s watch a video.” She taps on her wrist device, and releases a hologram for them all to watch. It’s a tutorial from some famous golf player that was being stored in the AOC’s databank of main sequence knowledge.”
They had to modify their grip, because even though these suits are a lot more streamlined than the early Apollo missions ever could have dreamed of, they still weren’t designed for extreme dexterity. Even so, they were able to make it work. To no one’s surprise, Carlin was the best at it. He barely tried, and he hit it as far as an experienced player would, though maybe without too much accuracy. Given more time and practice, he could play it for real. They evidently have to get through this war first. Once all of the balls are gone, they head back for the base. Perhaps she’ll build a rover on her downtime that can go retrieve the balls later for another competition.
That night, the three of them are trying to eat their freeze-dried dinner when they hear a banging coming from down the hallway. “Do you remember when I showed you reclamation?” Leona asks.
“Yes,” the boys reply in sync.
“Go there, and find somewhere to hide,” she instructions. After they run off, Leona heads in the direction of the banging, holding the longer club. They come in a pattern, suggesting an intelligence behind them. The exterior security cameras aren’t showing anything, but there’s a blindspot right against the hatch to the airlock. She steps inside, and peeks out the viewport to find a man. He’s not wearing a suit, and is casually tossing one of the golf balls into the...moon air. “Can I help you?” Leona asks.
He nods, and slaps his free hand against the viewport. Written on his palm in black marker reads HERE FOR CEDAR.

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