Tuesday, May 9, 2023

The Advancement of Mateo Matic: March 6, 2399

Generated by Canva text-to-image AI software
Mateo brought one of Ramses and Leona’s little leechcraft up into space, thinking that it could be of some use to them, and he turned out to be right. Leona deployed it from the vacuum tent, leaving it in their then-orbit before they went back towards Earth in Mangrove Rocket Eleven. It is capable of a little station-keeping on its own, but it works best when latched onto some other satellite. It immediately fell into a decaying orbit, which means that it will eventually burn up in the atmosphere, but it will probably be years before that happens. They don’t need it to stay up there forever. They just want to get an idea of how this mysterious Omega bubble works.
“Anything?” Mateo asks. It’s late, and they’re back in the Kansas City lab with Tarboda and Heath, who are both asleep.
Leona takes a sip of her tea. “So far, so good. The bubble has not yet reached the leechcraft.”
“What does that mean?” he presses. “Did it shrink, or just stay where it is?”
She takes another sip. “There’s no way to know. If and when the bubble reaches it, there will be a split second before it shuts off where I might be able to tell that the bubble is the reason that this happened, and I didn’t just lose contact with it because of a micrometeoroid, or interference, or something. We may never be sure where the bubble is, and where it isn’t. By its very nature, it blocks such observation.” She takes another sip, and doesn’t even give herself enough time to set the cup down before she needs yet another.
“What I’m observing right now,” Mateo begins, “is that you need to go to bed.”
“No, I’m fine. I’m working.”
He points at one of the other screens. “What does this mean here?”
Leona peers at it. “Well, that—that means the big satellite we have up there is detecting temporal energy. The bubble must be receding. How did I miss that?”
“Because it’s like I said, you’re too tired.” He kind of paws at her.
“Bzzz!” she exclaims, trying to swat him away like a fly, then takes another sip.
“What exactly is this you’re drinking?” Mateo picks it up himself, and takes a tiny sip. “Whoa, this is black tea. If you take any more of this, you’ll be up all night. Come on.” He gently tries to pull her away from the machine. “It's time for bed.” He pulls a little harder when she resists.
“Mateo, this development means that I have to stay!”
“The computer is monitoring the bubble’s progress, right? You don’t have to be here to watch it. You’ve had a long day, and a long few weeks before that, and a long few months before that, and I could go back to the beginning of the first timeline you remember, couldn’t I? I know you want to keep on this, but you could make more mistakes. You don’t want that, do you?”
“No,” she replies in a nervous little girl voice.
“Go on upstairs,” Mateo urges softly. He starts waving his hand at the computer like a philistine. “I’ll call you if I see something happen on the thing.”
Leona nods, and turns away. Just then, the computer beeps. She spins right back around. “What was that?”
Mateo leans in to read it. “It’s a message...from Alyssa. She wants to meet.”

No comments :

Post a Comment