Saturday, June 10, 2023

The Advancement of Mateo Matic: April 7, 2400

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It wasn’t as hard to recalibrate the Helm of Reality as Kyra thought. Leona reached out to all the other realities. The people that were conscripted to protect the Keyholders had been in those foreign realities for a year now, with nothing to do. They all kept their communicators, though, which was nice and smart of them. Tarboda knew where to find Alyssa, who had spent a year doing who knows what. She had one of the other Helms of Reality, which Leona was able to use to return to the Third Rail, and get her own working again. Once it was, she handed it to Kyra, who had returned to the Fourth Quadrant version of Earth in a ship. Then she, Angela, and Marie went to the main sequence to reunite with Mateo.
“Are we really just going to walk away from this?” Mateo asks.
“You said it yourself,” Leona begins. “They needed your blood to jump to the future, in an apparent effort to be so erratic and random that none of their enemies could track them, and stop them. Now that’s done, which means our part is too. What more do you want to contribute?”
“I dunno,” Mateo replies with a shrug. It’s just...”
“Well, has anyone asked you to stay?” Marie asks.
“Not really. I’ve told everyone that we were out of the game, and no one argued with me about it. In fact, I’m getting the feeling that our leaving would be the best thing that could happen to the secret plan. We’re involved in all sorts of things all the time, so the bad guys expect it. They’re trying to avoid being predictable, and we can help by not helping anymore.”
“Maybe you can help us instead.” It was Pribadium Delgado, who they had not seen in a long time.
Leona shut her eyes and massaged the bridge of her nose. “No. I’ve not gotten the chance to sit down. The two of them are friends, but it’s clear that Pribadium is not here for a social call. This is a thing. This is another thing that the team is going to get roped into working on, and she doesn’t want to say yes. She doesn’t want to say yes to anything. If she never sees the Third Rail, or hears about the Reconvergence, ever again, it’ll be too soon, but that doesn't mean she wants to jump right in to the next big thing. Can’t she just spend time with her friends and family, and ignore the multiverse? Does it always have to be something?
“Sorry, it’s’s time.”
“It’s time for what?” Leona questions.
“It’s time for our biggest meeting ever. The Shortlist was created for this occasion. Until this moment, every meeting we’ve ever held has been about the small things, but what we need to discuss now is everything. The public is about to find out about us, and we need to know how to deal with that.”
“Well, can you just stop that from happening?” Mateo puts forth.
“No.” Pribadium pulls the shades back on one of the viewports in the space hotel where they’re staying. They crowd around it to see what she’s talking about. There in the sky are the stars, and several of them are connected by a mysterious light, spelling out the word DON’T PANIC. “It’s in every reality. Every Earth can see this, as can a few other planets. Ladies and gentleman...we’re standing on The Edge.”

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