Sunday, March 17, 2024

The Advancement of Mateo Matic: May 18, 2439

Generated by Google Gemini Advanced text-to-image AI software, powered by Imagen 2
It took a little time, but Olimpia managed to find where Vitalie!811’s stasis pod was buried. It wasn’t hard to convince her to play the role of a new executive hire for this world. Before she started sending her alternate selves to all the inhabited planets in the universe, she underwent extensive training to learn how to blend in with any culture. She could become whatever type of person she needed to be to complete the mission, like a foreign spy on Earth. She even knew how to make disguises to keep from blowing her cover, which was good, because no one on the team knew how to give their illusion powers to others through new temporal objects. It was a thing, they knew this much, but it was a skill that they would have to learn later, and find someone to practice on.
In the meantime, Ramses figured out how to reverse engineer the comms discs, so they could give one to Vitalie!811. They were probably going to keep doing this on each world. The network was as complex as any, and far more secure. The various Vitalies could stay in contact with each other too if they wanted, leaving the team out of it altogether. If they met other people in the future who could be trusted, they could join the network as well. They would have to be kept separate, though. Members of the team should always be able to tap into their respective conversations, without these hypothetical people being able to do it to the team. The team network, the Vitalie network, and the trusted outsider network: same same, but different. Ramses would have to work on that, along with the million other projects he had on his plate right now.
Today, they were on a break. The nearest system to Ex-811 was nearly two light years away, which meant their relativistic ship had not yet arrived. They were just flying through space, with not much to do yet. It was going to be a bottle episode.
“That’s not true,” Angela contended. “We know where we’re going; we know what’s there, so let’s prepare for it. Let’s make a real plan for once.”
“Or we could stop,” Marie countered.
“If we were to stop,” Angela replied, “we would still have time to do what I said, because we’re still in the middle of nowhere.”
“There’s something else that needs to be done,” Marie insisted, which we may be able to assist with. Leona?”
Leona was preoccupied with something, and not paying them any attention. “Huh? What’s that?”
“What was that thing we were talking about this morning, which needed to be fixed, but we can’t do it while we’re at fractional speeds?” Marie pressed.
“Oh, the reframe engine, yeah, it’s cracked.” Leona held up her tablet, but didn’t bother showing them the screen. “I’m running simulations on it now.”
“So maybe we can stop and do that?” Marie suggested.
“Oh, no, not here,” Leona clarified. “No, we don’t have what we need. Besides, that’s not what requires being at drifting speeds or lower. The testing is what demands it, but we can’t test it unless we seal that crack, or just replace the whole engine.”
Can we replace the engine?” Olimpia questioned. “Do they have one here?”
Leona did the Indian head bobble. “They have reframe tech, yes. Do they have one that specifically fits the Vellani Ambassador? I sure as hell hope not, because I don’t want them to know anything about it. It would just be easier to fabricate it if we had access to parts and equipment that’s used to make them.”
“Where can we find that?” Marie asked. “The dockyard, Ex-741 was destroyed.”
“Well, we know that they build some ships on Ex-182 too, according to Vitalie!324’s intel, as well as the rebels on Ex-666. In fact, we believe that some more advanced tech is kept there, since it’s so heavily protected. We specifically avoided it because it’s probably the absolute most dangerous one, and we decided that Niobe and the Ex-666ers would be responsible for it. If we wanted to go there instead, it would be a pretty long detour. We kind of sidestepped it.”
“No, I don’t think we should do that,” Olimpia reasoned. “You’re right, that sounds entirely too dangerous to so much as approach, even with my ability to turn invisible.”
“It doesn’t matter,” Angela decided. “We’re already on our way to Ex-467. That should be all we’re thinking about right now.”
“What’s there to think about?” Marie poses. “It’s a warehouse that holds secrets.” She threw up airquotes. “The person from there who Vitalie!324 spoke to barely told her anything about it. He either doesn’t know, or didn’t wanna say. There’s no way for us to prepare for that. All we can do is wait until we get there to see what’s what.”
“I think we’re going to have to break into it,” Angela posited. “Between the six of us, we have lots of experience breaking in and out of places, so let’s formulate some strategies ahead of time. They probably have one of those teleportation dampening field things, or whatever they were called. We need to be prepared for that. How does this ship do with surface landings? Do we have a shuttle? Escape pods?”
“We know all the answers to these things,” Leona said.
“Great,” Angela retorted. “Who’s we? You and Ramses? I’m saying that we all need to talk about it, so everyone understands what we have at our disposal. If we’re about to do a heist, I want to be as prepared as possible, so when we finally do get there, we’ll already know what tools are in our toolbag.”
“Okay, okay, okay. That’s fair,” Leona recognized. “And you’re right that it’s more pressing. I’ll stop what I’m doing, and give you the grand tour. We probably should have been more focused on that before, we just had so much going on. Once we’ve done that, we can talk about the techniques we have to get in and out of places. We can’t rest on our laurels with our special powers, because they may not work everywhere, especially not in a place that’s designed to be off-limits.”
“Let’s start with the reframe engine,” Marie recommended.
And so Leona started to show the majority of the team around, including a disgruntled Mateo, who was desperately trying to practice his illusion skills. He never thought he would be as good as any of the others, but he needed to be good enough to fool an enemy. Ramses wasn’t there, of course, because he already knew all of this stuff, and he had plenty of work to do in his lab. They spent hours on this, but it wasn’t boring for most. Leona was so articulate and informative with her lessons, it was as if she had known that this would be requested, and had rehearsed it. But that was a sign of being a true authority on something. She knew it so well, talking about it was an effortless task.
She went over the basic specifications of this reframe engine, which was more fuel efficient than any they had used until now. She also explained why it couldn’t be used, even though the crack running down the side was almost imperceptible to the human eye. She showed them the multipurpose pods, which could be used for stasis, virtual reality uplink, emergency escape, or even just sleeping. She took them to the bridge, where there were hidden compartments that Mirage had to give them access to. There were a few weapons here, but the vessel itself was not armed for space combat. Nor did anyone ever want it to be. As decided, that was the Ex-666 rebellion’s job. They had come full circle now, back to the Delegation Hall. This was modular, able to be modified to different sizes and configurations, but at full size, it took up the majority of the space on the vessel. After all, that was why it was called the Vellani Ambassador in the first place. This was all part of a larger vessel. Mirage thought that it had the potential to be used for diplomatic discussions and heated arguments between warring parties, and she wanted to be able to have it separate from everything else. The Mediator Stateroom was the only one fit for personal living here, designated for a peacemaker to be able to separate themselves from the factions while remaining close by. The team still needed the dimensional generator for their own living quarters, affixed to a door what was otherwise a storage closet.
“You may have noticed that we can walk all the way through on either side of this room, as well as above and below. It’s in the exact center of the Ambassador, and there are no viewports. This was done for strategic reasons as much as for symmetry, in order to protect parties from an external attack from one side or the other. These windows you see here are not real, but displaying the feed from exterior cameras. They can just as easily be changed to display an ocean view...” She hit a button on the remote to prove it. “...or a TV show, if you wanted.” She hit another button to reveal an episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, which was famous for its many, many diplomatic storylines. “So if you’re bored, you—”
Before Leona could finish her sentence, four people appeared out of nowhere. She recognized them, as did Mateo, but Angela, Marie, and Olimpia did not. It was Goswin Montagne, Holly ‘Weaver’ Blue, Eight Point Seven, and Briar de Vries. The last time they saw this group, an older roster of Team Matic was leaving Thālith al Naʽāmāt Bida in the Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez at the same time that these four were going in the opposite direction in the X González. Goswin held his hands up, almost defensively, but more so confusedly. “What year is it? I! I keep forgetting to say report!”
“It’s 2439,” Leona replied. “May 18,” she added.
“How the hell is that man alive?” Briar asked accusingly, pointing at Mateo.
“Don’t worry about it,” Mateo replied. Briar was the one who killed Mateo the first time. Well, technically Horace Reaver killed Mateo in a completely different timeline, but that didn’t count, because any number of others could have done it in any other of the infinite timelines that came before, of which they were not cognizant.
Briar’s volume increased by the syllable. “No, I am going to worry about it, because if you’re alive, then that means I didn’t kill you, which means I’m exonerated!”
“I suppose that’s true,” Mateo admitted.
Briar was fuming now, back to a lowered volume, but still intensely threatening. “Oh my God, you have been alive this entire time? You understand how they have been treating me? You need to tell them to leave me alone. I don’t have to power The Nucleus anymore. I don’t have to stop the Reality Wars, because I don’t care! I am free! I’m free!” He paused for half a moment. “And I’m out of here!”
“No, wait!” Goswin cried, but it was too late. All four of them disappeared just as quickly as they had arrived.
Leona winced. “That was weird.”
“Hold on,” Marie said, looking around fearfully. “Where’s my sister?” She was right. Angela was gone too now.

No comments :

Post a Comment