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Wednesday, May 17, 2023

The Advancement of Mateo Matic: March 14, 2399

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Imani Pettis is a Compliance Enforcer in the Church of Daltomism. Unlike most Daltomists at her level, she began in a starter house where she could have easily been lost in the crowd. People who have risen up the ranks to be where she is today have done so after being born into more elite status. There’s a downside to this, because while it’s impossible to begin in the uppermost levels, those who start at the upper levels just under those are not always considered worthy by the general Daltomistic population. Imani garners a lot of respect, because she started at nothing, and earned her place. She belongs to what is called a Singularity Church, which basically means that she operates autonomously, and at the behest of the Primary Church. The paradox is complicated, but even though there are thousands of members of the Primary Church, they each technically belong to their own church. That is what gives them the highest elite status.
Imani attends services all over her region, which encompasses the majority of Northeast United States. She is there to ensure that the local chapters are following the Word of Dalton faithfully, and that no one in the congregation strays from the path too significantly. The point of starter houses is to determine who is worthy to move up to smaller meeting houses, which means that technically, people here don’t have to do anything The Word says. But she will still instruct the local leadership on how to guide the wandering flock towards the Mountain of Truth. It’s unclear why she has requested a meeting with Leona Matic, but Heath wanted to impress her because of what she can do for their mission, so he set it up right away.
“Madam Pettis,” Leona says with her hand outstretched. “It’s nice to meet you.”
“Likewise.” She shakes her hand. “You may call me Imani.”
“Thank you, Imani. How can I help you today?”
Imani looks around, and walks forward a little. “What is the purpose of this building?”
“We hope to turn it into a refugee sanctuary. It’s not quite ready. We need to inspect all of the rooms, and there are many.”
Imani nods. “How did you come to create it? Or did someone create it for you?”
Leona looks to Heath for guidance, but he isn’t giving anything away. Okay, so a building appeared out of nowhere in the middle of downtown, which threw out the whole secrecy thing. For now, Leona has been able to remain quiet about how she’s not stunned that this happened, but it may be time to change that. If she were freaking out, she would probably be telling people, and asking the public how the hell it happened. She doesn’t know how it happened, but she knows that they can’t help her. “Someone appears to have created it for us. I had a general idea of what I wanted to do, and this building fits those parameters. I’ve taken it as a gift from an anonymous donor.”
Imani laughs. “An anonymous donor builds an invisible building for you, and then just suddenly makes it visible? I would like to meet the person with such power.”
She probably doesn’t need to know about the Omega Gyroscope. Whoever built it may not have known that it would be activated, and was intending to keep the Superscraper hidden for longer. Unless that person was Dalton himself, which is a plausible theory. “There are things in this world that most would not understand.”
“Yet you understand it?” Imani prods.
“Some things I know, some things I don’t,” Leona quotes a TV show.
“Quite,” Imani replies. She looks around some more, and steps a bit deeper in. “A Dark Citadel will fall from the heavens, and make its mark in the Center of World Power. The Watchers who come out of it will change the world forever, and the people shall know the Life of God.”
“Ma’am?” Heath asks vaguely.
“Word of Dalton, Book Two, Chapter Thirty-One.” She grins at him. “Yes, dear, there is a second Word of Dalton book. You have not learned enough to know it.” Pretty impressive, keeping the existence of a whole prooftext out of public knowledge, especially in this advanced informational age. She goes on, “tell me, do either of you recall the date that this building appeared?”
“March 1,” Heath replied.
“March 1, 2399.” She holds up a tablet, and navigates to the chapter in question. “Chapter 31...month three, day one. Page two,” she says as she swipes to the second page. “Paragraph three, words 99 through 137. March 1, 2399,” she repeats. Numerology: the fool’s excuse for being late.
“Interesting,” Leona says, trying not to scoff at the absurdity, knowing in the back of her mind that it’s possible that the book is telling the truth, and this has all been orchestrated to turn out exactly as Dalton wished.
“Tell me,” she repeats herself, “would you consider New York City to be the Center of World Power?”
“One could argue that,” Heath says.
“One could also argue that it’s Kansas. Perhaps the whole country is the world power, and Kansas is literally in the middle of it.”
Imani points at her. “Exactly, my child. Because that’s how Dalton’s words often go. He frequently means something literally that most would take metaphorically, or culturally. And while Daltomism began in Africa, many competing religions were started somewhere in the land which would become North America. Some believe that Kansas holds a plethora of sacred secrets. Besides, look around...would you consider this place to be a dark citadel? Why, it’s so white, I was nearly blinded by the façade when I pulled up.” She’s right. Normal arcological megastructures are painted a gray base, which can alter its tint automagically to reflect or absorb sunlight, depending on the regional climate, and current weather where it’s built. The Superscraper is shockingly white, making it stand out even more amongst all the puny little skyscrapers below, and it doesn’t appear to change colors at all. Plus, it shouldn’t really be described as a citadel.
“So this is not the structure as foretold in your...little book,” Leona says, knowing that it’s a pretty disrespectful way to word it, especially considering it may all be real.
“That was why I wanted to come here, and why I appreciate your accommodation, despite the line of others ahead of me.” It’s true, the number of people who have asked to cross the border has grown exponentially, and that is showing no signs of slowing down. Most of them likely don’t have any particular reason they want to come. They’re curious more than anything, but as soon as they find out that she was invited without any sort of waiting list, or whatever, others might start to feel a little ticked off. Hopefully Imani does not intend to ask for more than just a few answers.
“So we’re agreed that this is not the Dark Citadel?” Leona presses.
“It’s not, but that does not mean that it is not something else. Mr. Walton, tell me what you know of the False Watchers of the Other Worlds.”

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