Liviano didn’t move from his room for hours, trying to process the mad ocean of confusing feelings that were brewing inside him. He was never great with rejections, but he usually had the chance to at least make his thoughts clear before getting the glare and the uncomfortable words that would put an end to it. Cecilia took even that away from him, and he felt stupid for falling for her, for entertaining the idea while being in someone else’s mind in another reality. For some reason, he thought that the surreal nature of the circumstances would have led to the beginning of something, but no.
He was about to get back into the loop of thinking, but was cut short as he received a message. ‘Meeting at Center in 15 mins’ it said. As he left his quarters, he hoped that for some reason, neither Cecilia nor Samith would be present; he didn’t particularly want to be face to face with them, he didn’t want to start noticing how close they were, or catch any exchanged lingering sights and smiles between the two.
Liviano moved around the silent corridors and reached the automatic door. He entered the passcode in a hurry and was relieved to see no one inside. He sighed relieved with the sound of the sliding door behind him. He even thought for a second that his wish of avoiding Cecilia and Samith was granted, but as he was walking towards the colored round table, the door slid open again.
“This is serious Samith. That thing, it looked back at me, it was locking on my position! Erica thinks I lost it, but you believe me… don’t you?” Cecilia said.
“I believe you Ceci,”Samith said, “There was something Fabian was trying to hide. I only had a glimpse, it feels like what you are describing. I’ll talk this over with Alexis, Atlantis might have some sort of connection to it…”
Liviano’ stopped listening, his thoughts turned to white noise, his motion mechanically led him to his seat, and his eyes set on his silver section of the table. One after the other, the remaining members of the team came in taking their respective seats. Someone might have spoken to him, but he was too far gone to hear it, let alone respond. Liviano didn’t pay attention to much of the words exchanged, the little functionality left in his mind was entirely devoted to avoiding eye contact with anyone. He filled the seconds by diverting his focus from the monitors around to the skylight above, then back to the color wheel. He started questioning the line of events that led him to be involved with the organization, and if he wasn’t better off working part time and leading an empty and predictable life.
“Did you get any of that Liviano?’ Alexis said in a sudden general silence. Liviano slipped off his thoughts, he faced Alexis’s inquisitive glare, but couldn’t recall anything that was discussed, the feeling reminded him of his high school years, when he used to give up on following in class opting for scribbling only to be asked by the teacher to contribute to what was just said. He tried to formulate some sort of apology, but no sound left his open mouth.
“We are discussing important matters Mr. Iskatel, get your mind together and try to follow this time,” he said pausing to let the words synch, “if you can’t, you will be relieved of your functions.”
A rush of adrenaline flashed in Liviano’s system dissipating the white. He realized that he didn’t want to stop so early, not only after one drive. While the word resonated in his mind, he was finally able to completely disconnect the last threads of his persona from the Silver Knight. He looked around, glimpsing at everyone, finally looking at Samith and Cecilia, he felt no heart ache, and only saw different levels of concern.
“Sorry boss, just a little shook, nothing that would compromise my ability to drive,” he said starring at Alexis with conviction.
“Just try to focus this time Liviano, I really hate repeating myself” Alexis said, regaining a more friendly tone, “C.A.M.I scanned the recently discovered beta cluster, it revealed that it is composed of three connected realities: beta plus, beta minus and beta null. While beta minus is relatively similar to our reality, beta plus and beta null are fundamentally different, both in elementary composition and dominant intelligent life forms.”
“How different?” Liviano asked intrigued.
“Beta minus’s earth has the same landmass composition as our earth. And humans seem to have evolved there in a similar fashion than our worlds, much like in Alpha minus,” Erica said, making Liviano’s imagination run array as he wanted to know more about what made beta plus and null different ‘They could have societies of crab people breathing ammonium, or lava people living close to the core of the planet, it could be anything, what is it already?’ He thought losing patience.
“Beta plus on the other hand has different landmasses distributions, but relatively the same composition of matter. There are no humans, but two different subspecies of humanoids…”
Erica got caught mid-sentence by Rachel “Angels and Demons! They can materialize wings and most of them can manipulate specific types of matter: water, fire, lightning…Elements as described by spiritualists!”
“Don’t call them that…”Erica said annoyed, “They do fit the description, I’ll give you that.”
“How is it possible? Aren’t they supposed to be myths, no offense Rachel, but didn’t people create the concept and the belief around it?” Liviano intervened, “How can there be a reality where they are actually real?”
“I thought you were all about quantum mechanics,” Sonata teased, “If more than one reality can exist, than all possible realities do exist, just on different layers. If I think about a world where the ground is ice cream, and life is crystal based, than it already does exist, everything does!”
Liviano realized that the mad worlds he thought up might not be that crazy, they are real somewhere in the multiverse.
“Don’t take the myths for granted,” Daal said, “We can only know what their world is really like when we drive there, what is Beta null like?”
“There is no organic life form C.A.M.I could detect, but insane amounts of energy that are potentially leaking from the other Betas to this one. There is only One Island the size of a basketball court, the rest is an ocean of some sort.” Erica finished explaining.
“There is no driving there then,” Samith said.
“So Beta minus is where we should drive,” Cecilia said, “It would be easier to drive with humans rather than some pseudo angels or demons.”
“That was the initial plan,” Alexis responded, “But C.A.M.I couldn’t find any compatible hosts in Beta minus, but it found five in Beta plus, for Sonata, Rachel, Daal, Liviano, and myself”
Liviano felt a strange joy hearing that he would be driving again, it was like winning a lottery, and the prospect of visiting an Earth inhabited by angels and demons seemed fun to him, he wondered if he would be able to fly there. He wanted to ask, but abstained himself.
“We will be driving tomorrow at 2 pm. It might sound rushed, but I was informed by department K that Atlantis planned a drive for that timeslot so I did the same. There O.N.I is based on C.A.M.I, which means they are following the same multiversal course. We can’t let them loose after what happened in Alpha minus,” Alexis said.
“So we aren’t just observing?” Liviano asked.
“We will also observe them and stop anything nefarious they try,” Alexis answered, “But our main objective is to study the connection to Beta minus and null from there, it might get us closer to understanding the convergences, and maybe even the Nexus.”
The meeting was shortly concluded. As the ACMT members were leaving the center, Samith approached Alexis.
“After what happened in Alpha minus, there is no doubt Atlantis will be attempting something bad,” Samith said, “We should act first, get intel on what they are up to. I can infiltrate their facility and update the team on their goal before the drive tomorrow.”
Alexis silently considered the words for a moment before answering, “It would be a great advantage for us during the drive, but Atlantis is heavily secured, and there is no telling what Julio could make you go through if you are caught.”
“I understand the risks involved, and I have been preparing for them,” Samith said, “I also want to verify Cecilia’s vision.”
“Samith, I understand your feelings and bond with Cecilia, but that vision is irrelevant in the current state of things, there is nothing backing it up!”
“We’re dealing with the multiverse Alexis, all possibilities must be accounted for, including this. Or does the thought of it scare you?”
Alexis couldn’t answer immediately, he avoided eye contact with Samith for a bit in order to rearrange his thought. Once his mind cleared, he answered, “I don’t like the possibility, and yes it is frightening. How are we supposed to stop a goddamn predator world feeding on entire universes? We can’t even physically travel outside our own reality. But let’s say I buy into the idea, how can you verify that Atlantis is connected to it?”
“I will use their connection to the Organization that is most likely to be interested by the entity. The church of the last hour worships a great unifier god that is bound to make everything into a singularity, that’s where I’ll be looking. Your brother has a meeting with a member of the inner circle of the church tonight, I’ll look into it.”
“Keep your updates continuous, and abort the infiltration if they get the slightest of a hint, we can’t afford to lose you to them.”
“I’ll be back before you drive. They can’t catch a shade blending with the dark, see you tomorrow boss.”
Samith left the center on his way to see Cecilia one more time before his self-appointed infiltration mission on the enemy’s ground.