Sunday, October 8, 2023

The Advancement of Mateo Matic: April 25, 2416

Generated by Google Workspace Labs text-to-image AI software
Angela Walton stood at the door, waiting to go in. No one was keeping her from simply walking through on her own, but she wasn’t quite ready. She had not been given clear instructions, so she wasn’t sure exactly what she was going to say. Only two things were clear to her. One was that Dardius had no interest in forming any sort of strategic relationship with the Sixth Key, or any of its components. Two, her sister, Marie had no interest in rekindling—or even reminiscing about—any relationship with Heath. Their unwelcomed arrival placed Mateo’s daughter in danger. It was irrelevant whether this was the Sixth Key representatives’ intent. It was what happened, and it had to be dealt with. That was Angela’s responsibility now, because it couldn’t be anyone else’s.
“You’re not Marie,” Heath determined immediately.
“No, I’m not.”
“I want to see her.”
“She doesn’t want to see you.”
“I need to hear her say that.”
“No, you don’t. She owes you nothing. You walked out on her when she needed you most, and nothing has changed. She’s decided to move on. She’s had to. I’ll ask you kindly to respect that.”
“Fine. I didn’t come here for that anyway. You and your team appear to hold a lot of sway with these people. Could you please request an audience with the planet’s leadership for me? We have important business to discuss.”
Vearden and the world owners are aware of you and your request, and they are denying it. I’m sure they’ve told you. The only reason you’re still here is so that I could return to the timestream to send you off. All you have to do is give them back control of the Nexus so they can actually do that. And agree to take this.” She held up a vial of clear liquid.
“What is that?” Heath asked.
“Memory eraser. The entire last year will be wiped from your minds.”
“Why would we do that?”
“You’ve seen too much here, and you have placed my family in danger. I asked them to make this for you. Not only will they send you back home, and erase your memories, but they’ll send you back to the original time you left. It will be as if it never even happened.”
“We’re not doing that. Our memories are too important to us. They are part of who we are. The six of us have held meetings in our jail since then. We have shared stories, grown closer. You can’t take that away from us. I, more than anyone, know what it’s like to lose who you are.”
“You know nothing. The man who looked like you, who lost his memories, was not you. Your consciousness was summoned to the future before that happened.”
“Miss Walton, I’m keeping my memories.”
“The only other option is Lohsigli.”
“I don’t know what that is.”
“Exile,” she clarified.
“We can’t do that either. We have responsibilities to our people.”
“What did you think would happen when you came here unannounced?”
“We hoped that they would at least sit down with us; not lock us up, and ignore us for an entire year. Now, I understand that you’re on your own schedule, but that has nothing to do with us, or the Dardieti government.”
“I think you’re a little ignorant here. This world is millions of light years away from Earth, and it is not populated because of all the pretty trees and animals. It was founded as a sanctuary. It was literally called Sanctuary. What started out as a hotel has grown into a powerful civilization since then, but this mandate has not been lost. The people who live here are under the protection of the leadership, and you have threatened that. Even if you have the best of intentions, you broke into their home, and they’re not going to listen to you. If you had gone through the proper channels, you might have been okay. This...” She held up the vial again, “is your second chance. If you make the same choice again, they’ll know they can’t trust you. If you reach out first, they may listen this time.”
“Why would we make a different choice? If you’re forcing us to an earlier state—”
“Humans don’t store memories in little boxes that are organized by date. Memory is associative. The solution doesn’t erase them. The solution opens up your mind, so a trained psychiatrist can extract what they need. They’ll strongly suggest you make a different choice. And you’ll only not take that option if you genuinely came here with bad intentions.”
Heath sighed. “If this is what the Dardieti want, I’ll talk it over with the others.”
“Very well.” Angela turned away, and found herself face to face with Leona.
Leona looked over Angela’s shoulder. “What’s happening here?”
Angela looked over her own shoulder. Then she took Leona by hers, and teleported them to the middle of the Mirage Desert. “How did you find me? Did Olimpia tell you where I was?”
“I sensed great tension,” Leona explained. I was leaving you alone, but then the tension was suddenly relieved, and it was so jarring that I felt compelled to come to you. How did Heath Walton get here?”
“We don’t know. He’s not said, but the Dardieti did not expect him. There was a huge military formation on the island. They were freaked out. Olimpia was there; she told them that they should lock Heath and his friends up until it could be resolved. I was asked to facilitate that resolution.”
“Why? Why you? Why didn’t they tell us?”
“We were leaving you and Mateo out of it. For the baby. And Ramses is busy anyway. Olimpia only told Marie because of her ex-husband. She’s refused to see him. She wants that part of her life to be over, I guess.”
“That was my fault,” Leona said. “I keep talking about us leaving the past behind. But you should have told me. I could have been there to look into the Nexus problem. I could have spent this whole time trying to figure it out.
That was a good point. Angela wanted to keep everyone else out of this, but Leona was the one with the power to actually fix the situation. She should have said something before...before it all got so out of hand. “You’re right, I’m so sorry,” she said. “The Dardieti have asked the Sixth Key representatives to have their memories erased, and then go back home, but only after they tell us what they did to the network.”
“If you had told me, I could have told you that they probably spoofed their number.”
“What do you mean?”
Leona prepared to explain. “Every Nexus is supposed to have its own term sequence, even ones in alternate realities. Generating a new sequence after a duplication event is, from what I gather, a complicated matter. There is a period of time when both Nexa can serve as the real one, and this can cause travelers to end up in the wrong reality. What Mateo did with the Omega Gyroscope probably caused a little confusion when it came to the now two versions of the main sequence, especially since one of them is now in another universe. Basically, it was on the network, and off the network at the same time, which gave it a little extra power. I think I can either request a new number for it, or simply have the machine removed from the network entirely.”
“Oh. Well, yeah, let’s do that.”
Leona took Angela by the hand, and teleported them back to Tribulation Island. “Everyone out. I’m gonna fix this for you.”
All of the techs left without question. Once they were gone, Angela slid the door closed. “Thank you, Leona. I messed up. I was just trying to protect Marie.”
“I understand. Hey, Opsocor.”
“Why are the Dardieti locked out of the Nexus?”
They have been placed in a feedback loop. It’s a glitch that I never really did figure out, but it’s rarely exploited. Basically the molecules in the air underneath the dematerialization drum—
“It is called a drum?” Leona questioned.
Yeah,” Venus answered.
“Oh.” She didn’t know that. “You were saying about air molecules?”
Right. They’re constantly being broken apart and rematerialized. This makes the Nexus think that it’s in the middle of transporting a person or object to itself, and won’t let it form another connection until that one is complete, except it never is.
“The line’s busy,” Leona reasoned. “Except it’s not, it’s just that the phone was left off the hook.”
Yeah,” Venus said once more.
“How do we stop the loop?” Angela asked, hoping that the superintelligence wouldn’t ignore her as unworthy of response.
Create a vacuum,” Venus suggested. “Others have solved this by sucking all the air out of the whole building, but technically, only the molecules underneath the drum are the issue.
“That sounds like a lot of work,” Leona said. “But okay.”
“There’s another way,” Angela offered. “We’re under about one Earthan atmosphere of pressure, right?”
“And the composition of the air is about the same as it is on Earth?”
“I should think so,” Leona replied. “Humans survive here without issue.”
“We can teleport the air out. Just you and me. Each of us can transport two times the equal mass to ourselves, and Ramses built us to be around a hundred kilograms...”
“We would need one more person,” Leona calculated. “But it should work, if we concentrate hard enough. We’ll get Olimpia to help us. One quick jump to outer space, and then back down to the sand. Venus, you ever seen anyone do it like this before?”
Never. That’s why I picked you.

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