Sunday, August 27, 2023

The Advancement of Mateo Matic: April 19, 2410

Generated by Google Workspace Labs text-to-image AI software
Team Matic were not the first people to try to find the second Earth Nexus. It was reportedly somewhere in the South Pacific ocean, but despite having literally all the time in the world, no one had ever uncovered it. If people from the future were never able to, there wasn’t much chance of them locating it either. Their best course of action was to ask for help, and their best hope for finding that help was not in this reality. It wasn’t even in the same universe anymore. Instead of spending time trying to build something that could detect Nexa somehow, Leona, Ramses, and Constance focused their efforts on creating a new kind of interdimensional communicator. This would hopefully allow them to reach out to someone in the Sixth Key.
It was now after midnight central, and the smarter people in the group were still working. Even Angela and Marie found ways to contribute, leaving Mateo and Olimpia to occupy their time with games and old media. They were in the middle of the fourth Meg movie when Marie entered their pocket dimension to retrieve them. He paused it just as it was getting to the good part. “Did you get a hold of somebody?”
“We’re about to try,” Marie answered.
The three of them exited the pocket, closed the hatch, then entered the code for Ramses’ lab. He was still tinkering with the presumed new communication device. “Who are we going to try to contact?” Mateo asked. “Surely they would need something like this on their end.”
“They do,” Ramses explained. “I already know someone who messes with stuff like this. She’s the one who helped me get to all of you after Dalton split us up. Well, except for you, Olimpia. That was different.”
“Oh, you’re talking about Shantel,” Mateo realized.
“That’s right. It’s hard to explain how this thing works to a layman,” Ramses went on, “but it doesn’t work by dialing a phone number. It’s more like GPS...except obviously we’re not on the same G, so not that.”
“You don’t have to explain it,” Olimpia said. “Just...dial.”
Constance reached over and started tapping on the screen. The special phone trilled for a little bit before Shantel actually answered. She appeared on the screen. “Why is this thing beeping? Hello? Who is this?
“This is Ramses Abdulrashid. I believe we’ve met. Do you remember?”
Of course I remember you,” Shantel replied. “Why are we talking?
“We need help; help which can only come from your people. I’m not sure if you’re the person to ask, but I was hoping that you could connect us with the right party.”
What do I look like to you, an operator?
Ramses held back whatever quip his brain came up with. “Please.”
Shantel sighed, realizing that it was probably not too big of an ask. She was immortal, and this would likely take all of two minutes. “What do you need?”
“The Antarctica Nexus is missing. Someone stole it. We were trying to find the other one that supposedly exists, and if it was installed in the same place on our Earth as it was on yours, then—”
There.” A text message appeared on the screen that looked like coordinates.
“That’s where it is?”
That’s where it was,” Shantel replied. “I can’t guarantee your version will still be there, but the location is common knowledge. I gotta go. Please wait one day to reach out to this device again. I will be handing it off to someone else, so whatever you need in the future, it will be their problem from now on.
“Very well, Shantel. I appreciate your help.”
She hung up.
“That was easy,” Leona noted. “Too easy.”
“The answer is, don’t think about it,” Mateo decided. Maybe the Parallelers weren’t as bad as Cheyenne said they were. Or maybe they had changed things. It was never completely clear whether their actions had altered the timeline, or if everything they had done to prepare for the Sixth Key was just fate. It was possible that they had managed to subvert the Reality Wars entirely. Wouldn’t that be nice?
“I’ll try,” Leona said. “Dante? Please convert these coordinates to standard spatial reference, and jump with the cloak on.”
Already done. Jumping now.” The ship teleported.
“Simplistic.exploration.boast,” Olimpia read on the screen.
“That’s where we are?” Mateo questioned. “That sounds familiar.”
“You may have been here before,” Leona pointed out. “We’re not in the middle of the ocean.” She reached over, and pinched the screen to zoom out. “We’re in Topeka.”
“Not just anywhere in Topeka,” Mateo realized. “This is the little graveyard where I used to go to be alone. That is, it’s where I found the graveyard. It was a little rest stop where The Gravedigger, Mr. Halifax buried all the dead time travelers, and I guess it wasn’t in our dimension?”
Marie was looking at the exterior camera feeds. “There’s no cemetery here.”
“How did you find this place?” Leona asked Mateo. “It’s not that close to where you used to live.”
Mateo shook his head. “I was drawn here. As soon as I got my license, I felt compelled to come to this spot. I finally gave into it, and found my little grassy clearing sanctuary. Surrounded by trees, one way in, one way out. No one ever comes here, and now I’m sure they definitely don’t. The weird thing is...” He opened the hatch to the outside, and breathed in the fresh air. “The trees all look the same. It’s been nearly 400 years since I set foot here, and nothing has changed.” He turned back towards the group. “Doesn’t that seem odd to you?” He stepped onto the grass, and knelt down to run his fingers through the blades.
Leona stepped out of the Dante too, and deeper into the clearing. “The answer is, don’t think about it,” she joked. “Hey, Opsocor. Are you there?”
I’m here,” Venus replied. Her voice was coming out of the aether; from everywhere and nowhere.
Leona smiled, and looked back at the group. “We need to get to Dardius. Is that something you can help us with?”
Come on down. I’m only two kilometers below the surface.
“Is there a way to take our shuttle with us?” Can we link them up?”
I’m afraid not.
“I’ll take care of it,” Ramses said as he was closing the hatch. “You two go on down. We’ll meet you soon.”
Leona sidled over to Mateo, and reached down.
“This doesn’t feel right,” he noted with a slight shiver.
“It seems fitting to me,” Leona mused. “This is where it all began for you. You were drawn here because you always knew it was a special place. You just didn’t know how special.” She jazzed her fingers at him. “Come on.”
He took her hand and stood up. Together, they jumped down two kilometers, expecting to find themselves in the Nexus building. They were immediately aware that that was not what this was. “It’s a trap.” Now he was really feeling bad.
“Jump back up.” Leona shut her eyes, and tried to teleport again, but was unable to. They were locked in. The trap was either set for them, or people like them. Whoever did this knew about Venus Opsocor, what she sounded like, and how she would talk to Leona, even from two kilometers away from where she was supposed to be in a Nexus.
“What do we do?”
“We can’t let the others come down here.” Leona lifted up her watch, but before she could try to talk into it, she saw that it was off. She tapped on the screen several times, but nothing happened. “It’s not operational. We can’t get them a message.”
“But we can send them a feeling.” Their shared empathic bond was even stronger than it was with their old new substrates. Mateo took a breath, and said, “claustrophobia,” as he was exhaling the air.
“Claustrophobia,” Leona echoed with her own breath.
They both continued to think as hard as they could about feeling trapped, but not in a way that suggested they needed their friends’ help; in a way to suggest that they stay away. Love and concern is what the others returned to them, so Mateo and Leona replied with patience and wisdom. They still couldn’t express anything complex, but it seemed to be working. Or maybe it wasn’t. Olimpia suddenly appeared in front of them.
“We were trying to get you to stay away,” Leona argued.
“We understood, and the others are leaving to prepare the next move,” Olimpia told her. “I volunteered to come down.”
“Why?” Mateo asked her.
“So you two wouldn’t be alone.”
“Aww, that’s so sweet,” came a voice in the darkness. His silhouette approached, and grew sharper with each step, until he was fully in the light. It was, of course, that dude from the Fifth Division who could not let go of his grudge against them.
“Did you build this place all for us? Did you lure us here with that outpost manager from Dardius?” Leona questioned.
“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” the Fifth Divisioner replied. “You called a patriot who did her duty, and reported it to us. We didn’t expect you to fall into our trap so soon. We’re not really ready for you, but...” He looked around at the ceiling and walls. “The power suppressors appear to be working, and that’s what matters.”
“My God,” Mateo said, shaking his head. “Can’t you just let this go? So much has happened since we killed your friend. I’m so sorry,” he mocked.
“Oh, it’s not about that,” he said with a heavy laugh. “You’re wanted. You’re all wanted. Some very powerful people in the Sixth Key would like to talk to you. I joined them because I don’t think they’ll have very nice things to say.” He started to pretend to be polite. “Anyway, sit tight, and once your cells are ready, we’ll get you fully settled.” He checked his watch. “Should take less than a year. In the meantime, you think about how you’re gonna get the rest of your team to fall into our trap too. You don’t want us finding them first. Trust me on that.”

No comments :

Post a Comment