Tuesday, June 6, 2023

The Advancement of Mateo Matic: April 3, 2399

Leona asked Alyssa for help with a new special project, and told her about how someone had stolen every weapon from the Parallel, at which point Alyssa admitted that she was involved in the major heist, at the behest of Aldona, who was apparently trying to prevent the devastating Reality Wars of the future. She evidently didn’t think that the Parallel would be able to retaliate against this clear act of aggression, but she was wrong. There is no such thing as a ship without any weapons, for the ship itself is a weapon. At high enough speeds, any object can wreak havoc on another, and according to Parallel!Ramses, that is precisely what an army of angry militants are intending to do. They will be here tomorrow.
“I’m sorry,” Aldona says. “We had it all planned out. This was supposed to save us. There’s more than one reason it took me as long as it did to carry out that mission. We didn’t think they would be able to find me, and even if they did, we didn’t think they could amass a contingency that fast, and even if they did, they’re aware of the Reconvergence as well, and we assumed they would be too busy preparing for that.”
“Who is we?” Leona asks. “Who are you working with?”
Aldona shakes her head. “You don’t know them. They weren’t originally in the time traveling world. We got together because we thought we could change things.”
“Change things, you did,” Leona notes. “Our orbital defense grid. How close is it to being finished?”
“It’s finished, as is the one here in the Fourth Quadrant” Aldona says. “But neither would be enough. It can’t handle the onslaught that Mister Abdulrashid is claiming to be headed to the Third Rail. I really am sorry.” She means it.
“However big their fleet is, we’ll just have to be twice as big,” Leona says, looking at Alyssa as if she can do anything to help this situation.
Alyssa nods, but only because she’s listening intently, and expecting Leona to elaborate on her plan. She doesn’t actually know how they’ll accomplish such a thing. “Wait, me? Am I meant to do something? Oh, I have no idea. Where do you get an army on such short notice? Can the main sequence help us?”
“No, the two of us can,” Leona tells her, just as vague about it as before.
“I don’t understand.”
“We don’t have an army, but we can make it look like we do. We’ll make it seem as though all of their efforts will be futile. I’ve seen it done on TV before.”
Long pause. Alyssa is half-grimacing. “We don't have enough power between us to pull that off.”
“'We don’t draw temporal energy from ourselves; we draw it from other sources, and what does this world happen to have a whole hell of a lot of right now?” Leona poses. They may even be able to siphon the temporal energy from all the new people.
“That’s a crazy idea,” Aldona says, hoping this doesn’t make Leona more mad.
The truth is, Leona isn’t all that mad. They did what they thought they had to do to make the universe safer. They didn’t have all the variables. No one but someone like Bhulan Cargill can see the timeline branches like that, and she’s had every chance to use her powers for good, but she’s wasted most of them. Leona also wants the Reality Wars to be stopped before they begin. They’ll get through this. Leona’s plan is crazy, but that doesn’t mean it won’t work.
“It won’t work.” A young woman is approaching from inside the Kansas City bubble. Voices don’t normally pass through the dimensional barrier, but for her, it’s like it’s not even there. She proves as much when she steps through it without issue. “Hello, all, my name is Kyra Torosia. I’m glad to finally be meeting you, Mrs. Matic. You and your husband played a significant role in the history of my planet.”
“Durus,” Leona acknowledges. “How did you get it changed?”
Kyra laughs. “Most of the residents escaped to Dardius when Durus was finally deemed uninhabitable. Time powers were gone, and there seemed to be no hope. But a few of us stayed. A Nexus explosion imbued me with a great and terrible power. I have been fighting many wars on many fronts ever since. This is only my latest. Your plan is very creative, and I commend you on that, but I have a better one.”
“I sure hope so,” Aldona begins, “because if we can’t find a way to save every single Third Railer, I won’t be able to live with myself.”
Kyra nods. She’s very regal for her age, probably as the result of being treated like a god by whoever renamed a whole planet after her. Not that she doesn’t deserve it; what does Leona know about it? Kyra smiles at the small group. “How would you feel about initiating a little convergence of our own?”
“How would we do that?” Alyssa questions.
Kyra breathes in. “You’ve heard that I belong to a bloodline of Keys, but have you ever considered why the bloodline has anything to do with anything? Sure, any child of a  Preston is going to be immensely powerful, but Arcadia is not even a Key; she’s the Keyholder. Curtis is a Keyholder too. So why? Why us?”
“Is it because of you?” Leona guesses.
“I can move planets,” Kyra explains. “I can move them through the bulk, and by extension, across realities within a single braine. The Reconvergence will be difficult, and my biggest feat ever, what with the trillions of worlds I’ll be expected to move, but it’s doable, thanks to my family. Transporting your one planet to another reality ahead of schedule is practically nothing compared to that. If there weren’t already another version of Earth here, the residents of Earth!Three wouldn’t even notice.”
“Are we really talking about doing this?” Aldona asks. “Are we going to move the planet? What will the other Keys and Keyholders say about that?”
“They’ll say, thank you...more please,” Kyra replies.
Just then, they hear a rustle in the bushes. A man rounds the bend. Kyra reaches out to help him through the barrier. “Ah, Ansel. Come meet my new friends. Leona, Aldona, Alyssa, this is Ansel Haywood.” Vearden’s father.
“It’s nice to finally meet you, sir.”
“Likewise,” he replies. He seems rather shy.
Another rustle, and then a woman about Kyra’s age appears. “And this is our daughter, Allison. Don’t let our similar ages fool you, she’s my little baby.”
“Mo-om,” Allison complains.
“I’ve heard a lot about you,” Leona says, “though I’m not sure how accurate Vearden’s stories are, since I’ve known multiple versions of him.”
“Speaking of which,” Kyra goes on, we were all hoping to meet our granddaughter-slash niece. Could you transition us to the Third Rail? I could technically do it myself, but I think I ought to save my energy.”
“Certainly!” Leona agrees. She takes out her device. “Everyone take an arm.”

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