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The Macumbera

Illustration for article titled The Macumbera

Building telepods isn't like it is in the movies. It's not just a simple matter of ordering all the parts and setting everything up in a nifty lab space with you and your pet baboon and a nice big bed to bone Geena Davis in. The regulations alone would drag the whole project down into limbo and plus, how the fuck do you think you are going to power the thing? We are talking about ripping solid matter apart in one spot and then reassembling it in another. For that you need lots and lots of juice...


So that's why I am in Brazil. The government is wonderfully corrupt and for a reasonable fee they let me siphon off what I need from the Angra nuclear plant whenever I need it. Sometimes this makes the electrical grid less than dependable for other folks...especially the poor ones. In fact, there are people rioting in the streets here as we speak, protesting these shitbirds who run their country but I can't give a crap about any of that. I've got a job to do and I haven't made any real progress in months. And this isn't the sort of thing one can do by themselves. It's nothing like a Hollywood movie down here, except for maybe all the plastic surgery (you gotta look good for Carnival, right?), and I got people to answer to.

So far I can dematerialize anything you give me at the molecular level, living or inanimate, and contain it in a kind of magnetized plasma. But when the B Pod receives the material it can't reconstruct it properly. So far anything juicy and alive we've sent through it — dogs, cats, monkeys, slum kids from the ghettos of Rio — comes out looking like a steaming pile of lasagna that's just been dumped unceremoniously on the floor. It's a fucking nightmare. I've got another 6 months to show I can do this or they are going to turn the project over to someone else.


If that weren't enough of a headache, I've spent the last 90 days dealing with a native saboteur who wasn't too happy with what we are doing out here. It's not that we don't keep it all hush hush but word gets does around, especially when children go missing. She was what they call a Macumbera, basically a practitioner of a form of Brazilian voodoo — you know, all that dumb hocus pocus shit where these people think they're having sex with spirits and go about casting spells with severed chicken feet and wax dolls.

At first it was just a bunch of silly stuff: a black hen with it's throat cut sent to the facility through the mail, then later the left hand of a cadaver delicately laced with a red ribbon in a box wrapped with dried human flesh. We just laughed at all that nonsense. It wasn't until the equipment started to be tampered with that things got real. No one really knows how she got past all the layers of security but she caused nearly 2.5 million in damages and lost work hours and nearly blew all of us up after she emptied two quarts of goat's blood onto a circuit board.


We got her though. She wasn't so much of a ninja that Juan and the night staff couldn't eventually nab her sorry ass. They locked her in the A pod until I could get down there. She was a fiery one 'til the very end, scratching at the industrial glass until her finger tips bled, and shouting curses at me in Portuguese that I couldn't hear.

I just flipped the switch and she was gone. Well, not completely gone of course. Her molecules ripped away from one another and went dancing and tumbling over each other in a bright, glowing containment field that was probably the closest she would ever get to being a true "spirit".


Unfortunately all the damage she did has kept the B Pod offline and I am still unable to reassemble her into a big pile of sloppy joe. It's OK. She isn't causing any costly mischief anymore. She's just swirling around in that glowing plasma, nothing now but a glorified night light. If B doesn't come around soon I will just vent her bits into the atmosphere.

I may have 99 telepod problems, but a witch ain't one.

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