Sunday, May 7, 2023

The Advancement of Mateo Matic: March 4, 2399

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As an extra step of precaution, Mateo and Taraboda were asked to stay in separate level of quarantine just for them for a full day. This is a process that everyone who goes in and out of that place has to deal with, including the everyday soldiers. He’s fine with it, but it would be a lot to deal with on a regular basis, especially to coordinate. The government has not encountered a single new case of the virus, even from the three who came through the portal before it closed, but they’re still deeply concerned. They still don’t know how it causes its symptoms, or how to cure it. They haven’t even had time to devise a vaccine. This area is going to be the way it is, or worse, for a long time.
While Mateo was waiting, he found himself with a lot of time to think. Alyssa was brainwashed, and has commanded the Omega Gyroscope to halt all forms of temporal manipulation, advanced bodily upgrades, and similar anomalies. This was already a thing before, but there were loopholes. The rules are far stricter now, preventing Mateo from even communicating with his wife’s consciousness that should be somewhere in his brain. Had they not done that, he might have just let it all go, but if whoever did this didn’t want him to be an enemy, they should have been a little more lax.
He, Tarboda and Heath are on their way to Aotearoa now, where Mangroves Eleven, Twenty-Four, and Forty-Two were built. They’re flying into Eleven, the rocket of which will be launched soon. Mateo is going to be on it, so when he breaks free from the Gyroscope’s...scope, Leona should come back. From there, he’ll transfer her consciousness out of his body, and into Alyssa’s old body, and then he hasn’t come up with a plan beyond that, because he’s not as smart as she is. Winona has been hounding him for an explanation for why one of her secret tactical teams thinks they sort of remember a member of their team who never existed, but he can’t help them. Leona may be able to answer that question, and more. Now, she might have been killed when Alyssa turned the Gyroscope up to eleven, or she is in another dimension, or stuck in the 1950s. Regardless, Mateo has to try something. He has to leave Earth.
A man greets them on the tarmac when they land. G’day, folks. My name is Hemi, and I’ll be your pilot today. Are we ready to shoot on through, or does anyone need anything here?”
They look over at Heath, but he doesn’t know why. “Well, it’s just that you and Tarboda have been in space an equal amount, but Tarboda is a pilot, so...”
“I’m fine,” Heath replies. “I want to be involved. I want to show Marie that I’m okay. Let’s get on up there.”
“Perfect. Yeah, I did hear that you’ve done this before, but I don’t care about those other times. I still have to go over a few rules. We all wanna be safe, don’t we?”
“Yeah,” they agree in approximate unison.
After the briefing, Hemi takes them into the rocket to launch. They don’t see a single other person on the base. It’s Aldona who counts them down remotely from Balikpapan. One thing is that Mateo isn’t used to all the g-forces from having to break out of Earth’s gravity well. Aldona installed whatever crazy futuristic technology prevents them from feeling it, but it’s not working under Alyssa’s Gyroscope regime. Even so, they make it into orbit, and he tries to reach inward for Leona, but she’s not answering. None of his upgrades are working yet either. “We need to go higher.”

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