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Saturday, May 6, 2023

The Advancement of Mateo Matic: March 3, 2399

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Winona is in charge of so many things now. When she first got into this business, her father had maneuvered her into a position within the government. She by no means started out in the mail room, but she wasn’t top dog yet either. She proved herself over time, and did everything she could to move up the ranks on her own merit, rather than because of her dad’s political power. No one could have foreseen the sudden introduction of time travelers to this world. She’s been trying to juggle all of the new responsibilities with her regular duties, but it’s recently become too much. She was gradually passing work off to trusted subordinates, and it’s time to pass the torch totally. But even that is too much for her to worry about right now, because on top of the three and a half men that she has locked away at this black site, she’s just brought in a tactical team who are exhibiting unusual and erratic behavior. They all act like one of their members just died. There’s no record of that happening, but funny enough—not funny, haha; more like funny, oh God—there are meant to be seven people on a tack team.
“Who is your Spotter?” she asks.
“That’s it,” Team Leader Alserda says, having an epiphany. “That’s who we’re missing. Who is our Spotter?” she echoes to Winona.
Winona looks down to the floor and sighs. “It’s not Hurst?” she says, half as a question, and half as a statement.
“It was. He became our Technician.”
“And your Technician, Strand became your Engineer. And your Engineer, Klein became your Lieutenant.”
“Because my Lieutenant, McGuinness retired,” Alserda finishes. “Who is our Spotter!” she asks the whole universe.
“What was your mission?” Winona asks, fully knowing the answer, like a school teacher.
“We were looking for people who were going to hurt Leona Matic. That has been our primary mission for weeks.”
“We should have pulled you from that,” Winona notes. “We caught the people who set the bounty, so we were dispatching pub teams to spread the news, and infil teams to confirm it to the underground.”
“I dunno,” Alserda says sadly. “We were in Romania. We were definitely working, not on vacation. I don’t—I have memories from before, but something feels missing.” She’s mostly been staring into space, but now she makes eye contact. “Was it our Spotter? Did something happen to them? What could do that?”
Then it dawns on her. “A time traveler.”
“Madam?” she questions simply.
“I need to make a call.” Winona starts to leave the room. That’s not a fitting word for it. It’s one of those nice locked chambers that the likes of Labhrás Delaney live in. “Try to get some rest. I’ll see about getting you com privileges with your team.” She dials her phone as she’s walking down the hallway. “Mateo? I have kind of a weird question. Are you still in transitional quarantine?” She waits for a response. “Okay, then we’ll talk later. But while you’re in the middle of that, maybe you could think about what could make an entire person disappear, both from the world, and people’s memories.”

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