Sunday, 31 March 2013

S4.144 - A Likely Story

"This is what happens when you trust parabolas to transmit sensitive information," came Expona's voice from the other end of the communication channel.

"RING theory," ParaB enunciated to Signum before turning her attention back to the main viewer on the bridge of Logan's gazebo.  "Now, don't you blame us quadratics for Maud's step sister being half deaf!"

"And don't you be slighting the person whose directionality apparently made this two way conversation possible," Maud retorted. He gave a little wave to his sister function, who beamed in response.

"Shall we return to the point?" Sine suggested diplomatically, clasping her hands behind her back. "Namely that we can use the gazebo to return to Mathematics, and the Cone of Science to bring in everybody else?"

"Or to be an emergency exit if the effort fails," Cosecant added quietly, standing off to the side.

"Meaning we'll end up in Music, moonlighting as a band called 'Your X Girlfriends'," came Secant's similar vocalization from the other end of the line.

"Precisely! About the cone anyway," Hyper said, making a shooing motion in what they presumed to be Secant's direction. Meanwhile, Nis' face replaced Maud's. "All it requires is that you Alpha folks build a receiver; turns out I can't project the other side of the double napped cone the way I wanted. Also, we'll need everyone to make special rings to facilitate transport. Nis can provide those specifics."

"Hey, seems like that will take a while!" came Cubi's voice, which nearly caused Radik to smile. "Hey, what are we supposed to do while you're techno babbling??"


Hyper turned to the side with an irritated look on her face, but Logan had the answer. "We'll be improving our chances of victory," the redhead said, drumming his fingers on his command chair. "Because the 1% we're at now is problematic. 'Evvi?" He looked to where Hevvi was staying just offscreen - where they'd all insisted she stay, so that the functions back in Hyper's lab wouldn't be distracted by the sight of her.

"The probability math-tans," she revealed, crossing her arms.  "Legend says they exist, and Signum should be able to point this gazebo towards them too."

There was a collective gasp, and Hyper's eyes narrowed. "Probability-tans? Are you serious??"

"Geometrically serious, Hyper, geometrically," Logan confirmed.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

S4.143 - Phony Science


"So what--"

"Quiet!" Hyper said. She smacked a suction cup onto the forehead of the bunny girl who had just walked into the lab. "Don't say a word. I'm going to read your thoughts!" she declared, adjusting the device she had on her head.


BRAIN WAVES: EASIER TO SEE IN TRIG?

Para shifted her gaze over towards the others who were already in the room, namely Maud, Cosine, Expona, Cubi, Nis, and Secant. Maud shrugged, and the others seemed to be paying more attention to the rest of the electronics that had been set up, so Para returned her attention to the conic. Her bunny ears twitched. "I don't--"

"I said quiet!" Hyper insisted. She flipped a few switches on a large machine, then turned on a small video monitor. "Okay, you're... thinking of ParaB."

"No," Para said, shaking her head.

Hyper glared. "Well, why not?! The whole point of this exercise is to let the rest of us in on this communication you have with her and Logan's ship!"

The quadratic flinched.  "Oh. Sorry. I'll try to resume our telepathic connection then."

"Uh, Hyper," Nis called out.

"Right then," Hyper said, rubbing her hands and then adjusting some dials. "You're thinking of ParaB. So I'm seeing Logan's gazebo... I'm seeing a small knife... I'm seeing a donation to the Coast Guard Youth Auxiliary... what? Agh, this thing doesn't work at all...!"

"Hyper," Nis repeated, tapping a computer monitor. "We're getting a Skype. It's Logan, he's calling us collect."

"Eh?" The scientist marched over to respond, and moments later, the face of the Logarithm appeared. "How are you doing that?" the green haired conic demanded. "Moreover, why didn't you do it sooner?!?" She struggled to remove her hair from her headpiece.

"Couldn't get a signal. At least, not until Signum gave ParaB a precise direction for the transmission," Logan explained.  "Even now it's reliant on Maud being in the same room with you."


"Hi bro!" the partially pink haired girl said, poking her head into the frame. "Oh, wow, what happened to your hair??"

"Reunions after," Hyper said hurriedly, tossing her electronics aside and waving her hand to prevent Cosine and Cubi from leaning in along with Maud. "More importantly, did ParaB explain to you about my Cone of Science??"

"Well sure!" Signum said brightly before Logan could speak. "She said your scones are based on string theory!"  The smacking sound was audible even before ParaB stepped into the image with her palm over her face.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

S4.142 - Spare The Rod


Sine cleared her throat as she and Hevvi stepped into the small cottage. QT and Flora looked up from where they were playing a game of Magic on the kitchen table. "So, there's good news and bad news," the primary trig announced. "Good news is, Signum can lay in a course for Mathematics. We can get home."

"Bad news is she'd have to go along to make constant course corrections," Hevvi cut in. "And there's less than a 1% chance of being able to land, AND these idiots don't even know what could be waiting for them on the other side."


QT and Flora exchanged a look.  "So... are we doing it then?" QT asked uncertainly.

"Only if we can increase our probability of success, and bring an army along with us," Sine yielded. "Which, here's the thing, might not be impossible. We're all getting together on Logan's bridge, where both ParaB and Para have some news to share back and forth through their mental link."


Flora turned to look at Hevvi with an uncertain gaze. "Yeah, all of us," Hevvi confirmed. "I've seen enough of their setup now to know they're not a threat. More to the point, they're not waltzing off with Signum, since I've inked a deal where they either bring all three of us, or none of us." Flora clasped her hands in delight, and Hevvi half smiled. "Right, I thought you'd like that, you're always asking us what plant life exists off this steppe."

"Can we at least finish this game?" QT asked. "I think I was finally about to win one."


"Untap your mana later," Sine insisted. "I need your medical opinion on something called a Cone of Science."


Again Flora looked inquiringly at Hevvi, who shrugged. "Beats me, at first I thought they were envisioning rods and cones."


The catgirl blinked in confusion. "You still measure in rods around here?"

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

S4.141 - In Security


"Why does Signum need to see the engine room?" Radik said, narrowing his gaze.

"Something to do with variability in navigation, and she's wondering if she can correct for it directly," Cosecant answered with a sigh. "Both Logan and ParaB concur she needs access."

"So you're just going to rescind your bridge only policy," Radik said, rolling his eyes. "Fine. Now I see why Logan put YOU in charge of security."

"HEY!" the secondary trig said, putting her hands on her hips.  "What are you implying there?"

"Obviously that you were easier to sell on this plan than I would have been," the silver haired function answered bluntly.

Cosecant ground her teeth a little bit. "Don't presume. Besides, I didn't see YOU with the presence of mind to install phasers into this ship!"

RADICAL: DIFFERENCE OF OPINION

"I was busy actually doing my assigned job... plus you haven't even been able to test those phasers," Radik reminded. "Honestly, I have a sword, and you're wearing engineering yellow, the choice should have been obvious."

"Security yellow! Cotangent is the engineer in our family!" Cosecant responded angrily. Her eye twitched. "For that matter, Maud sent you along in part so you could give insight on this new world surrounding us. What happened to, you know, ANY of that?"

Radik shot her a dark look in return. "Had my imaginary roots anything of relevance to contribute, I would have passed it on."

"Perfect," the security officer said sarcastically. "Well, unless they say 'Don't let Signum in the Engine Room', that's happening."

"I already said fine."

"Fine!" Cosecant glared for an additional moment. "I'd say try not to have anything sensitive sitting out, but given how insensitive you are, it shouldn't be an issue."

"Oh, well, there's some truth tables, but I'll put them away," Radik concluded. "It's obvious you can't HANDLE the truth tables!" If there were a door to slam, he probably would have; as it was, the engineering doors merely glided closed after he stalked through them.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

S4.140 - Parabola Down


"So what's wrong?"


DO YOU ASSUME PROBLEMS JUST
BECAUSE I'M NOT DRINKING
SOMETHING GREEN TODAY?
Para jumped a bit, untwisting her fingers from each other and reaching out for the cup of hot chocolate sitting on the table. Maud had recently attempted to create a smaller version of his bar, and had resumed serving drinks, so she'd decided to take advantage. "Wh-What makes you think anything's wrong?" she asked of Root.

The silver haired function took a seat next to her. "Well, for one thing, you've been kind of quiet lately. For another, I'm your inverse, so I pick up on things. Like how your ears are drooping."

Para blinked and reached up to her hairband, discovering that she was opening down. "Oh! Ah, a-ha-ha-ha! Must be a malfunction?"

"You're allowed to be sad from time to time," Root pointed out. He rubbed the back of his neck. "In fact I've been pretty moody myself lately, or I might have approached you sooner. So what is it then, are you still upset about how you can't do live singing?"

Para gave up on trying to manually pull her ears up, and instead wrapped her hands back around her mug. "Not really. That is... well, ever since getting kicked out of math, you know how we've been sort of existing in this Purgatory state?"

"Without all of our child functions, yeah," Root said. "But you said ParaB and the alpha group had found Signum, and were finally onto something."

"Mmmm." Para took a quick sip from her cup, then, "Have you been getting a lot of notifications for help lately? Ones that would normally have been handled strictly by our infinite set of children?"

"Some, sure," Root said, shrugging. "So you either ignore 'em, or offer back a flash of insight."

"No, I mean, like, a LOT a lot," Para insisted. "Like, to the point where it feels like 80% of the human population who see you can't figure you out, and you ultimately start questioning your own usefulness."


Root lifted an eyebrow. "It's been that bad for you?"

"No. Maybe. No. It was just a question, that's all, I was curious," Para hedged. She took another quick sip. "I mean, it's not like I have Elly or Radik's bizarre insight into the so-called human world, so I'm sure I'm overstating."

Root turned. "You want me to find Elly and ask--"

"No!" Para said, quickly reaching out to grab Root. "I don't want word getting back to Circe or Expona! They'd... look, never mind. I'm sure it's nothing." She smiled again. "Hey, I don't think I told you what ParaB discovered she could do with her tiara!"

Root accepted the change of subject. Though unknown to him, the subject of mathematics, and her place in it, continued to weigh heavily on the quadratic's mind.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

S4.139 - Valid Point


"I'm now more convinced than ever that we all have inherent abilities," Cosecant said as she sat up herself. She didn't fully stand though, as the three step functions were now taking seats on the floor of the gazebo themselves. "Ones you three have been able to hone while living out here by yourselves."

"But then what's your ability?" Sine asked Signum, both verbally and with sign language.

The partially pink haired girl smiled back. "Oh, I'm wicked awesome at directions! For instance, I know my brother Maud is that way," she said cheerily, pointing to the left.

Everyone turned to follow her finger. "Where?" QT said in confusion, seeing only the steppe, right to the horizon.

"Who knows?" Hevvi cut in. "She's rubbish at distance. Again, we figured she was making half of this stuff up."

ParaB began to drum her fingers on the floor. "Hold on. Signum... does this mean you could point us back towards Mathematics? Towards our home??"

Signum canted her head sideways. "You need wards for a gnome?"

"No, we want to get back to our subject area," Logan jumped in quickly as ParaB made a face. Sine also resumed translating. "And my ship could do it, except I don't have a heading. Maybe you can program one in?"


Signum glanced towards Hevvi before answering. "Maybe? I'd need more information about both your home and your ship. Could I see inside?"

It was Logan and Sine who now exchanged glances. "If there's a chance, we should take it... right?" the primary trig said.

"Limited access. Bridge only," Cosecant cautioned.

"And your QT stays back in our cottage with Flora," Hevvi added. "So we know you won't try to pull something!"

ParaB eyed Hevvi a bit suspiciously. "No tricks from you either, 'Evvi'."

Hevvi smirked.  "Silly rabbit, tricks are for kids."

Sunday, 10 March 2013

S4.138 - The Florist


ParaB helped QT up through the Gazebo's hatch, before closing it. With everyone out, Sine then beckoned to the three step functions, who had been cautiously waiting just outside. When QT held up her Quadcorder, Hevvi merely gestured vaguely, so the catgirl began to run a scan.


FLOWER CHILD?
Flora, the latest addition to the step trio, looked particularly interesting. Seemingly the youngest, instead of bifurcated hair in twintails, her hair was done up in a sequence of curlers, each side showing black or white. Her track suit also involved stripes, as opposed to the clearly delimited sections sported by Hevvi and Signum. Apparently also the most timid of the three, she clutched a flower in her hands.

"Not picking up anything, dang. Dang..." QT slapped her device. It squealed. "Dangerous."

"Now what guarantee do WE have that this gazebo isn't about to leave along with us?" Hevvi demanded, hands on hips.

"Our word," Sine retorted. "Now please turn them off." 

Hevvi feigned innocence for a moment, but as ParaB leaned in with a look, she let out a sigh of exasperation. The glasses-wearing function reluctantly turned towards Logan and Radik, who had been inching closer and closer, practically drooling as they stared lovingly at her. "Guys, willpower. Have it. For the moment."


Logan blinked, then cleared his throat and started inching away again. "Sorry. It's just you have a very impressive set. Ah, of abilities."

Hevvi snorted. "Yeah, right. My persuasion is pretty useless unless there's someone else around. Flora, she's the one who'll mess you up if you double cross us."

"Oh yes?" Cosecant said warily, eyeing the quiet girl with the flower.

"Oh, yes," Hevvi mimicked. "Do NOT startle her, or else, well..." She glanced at her fellow step function. "Give them a demo. Just a second or two."

Flora's eyes darted left and right uncertainly for a moment. Then, without saying a word, she extended a tentative hand out in front of her, with her palm up. When she reversed it, pushing the air down a few millimetres... all six members of Logan's crew immediately collapsed, to the point of lying flat on the ground, feeling pinned there.

The effect lasted only a second. "Localized gravity effect," Radik realized, coughing as he pushed his body back up. "Okay. Consider us floored, function."

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

S4.137 - Power Strangers


"So you got beat up by a bunny, huh?" Sine asked, as she undid Logan's restraints.

"I confess I don't remember much of it," Logan said. "Though I am rather surprised to discover kung fu is possible in heels."


"ParaB didn't fight fair!" Radik complained, as Cosecant untied him. "Her behaviour was terribly unsportsmanlike! She seems very different from the usual Para."


"I'm not your Polynomial Para," ParaB said defensively. "The conics spent time training me in self defense. Though the tiara move outside, that was honestly more instinct than intent..."

"You know, perhaps deep down we all have such powers we can access," Cosecant suggested. Her eye twitched as she adjusted her reciprocal tie. "Though something tells me I'd need Secant here to reach my full potential."

"Perhaps I can modify the Quadcorder to scan for hidden abilities inside us?" QT suggested.

"Later. For now, use it on the step functions," Sine countered.  "We don't want them surprising us again." She glanced up towards the ceiling hatch - they had agreed to meet with Hevvi, Signum and Flora in the gazebo proper, Sine preferring not to let them into Logan's base.

"Yeah, I'm sure they've been separate from us until now for a reason," ParaB agreed.

"Perhaps because TPTB were worried they'd make formidable allies?" Logan hypothesized.

Radik shook his head. "Or ruthless enemies," he said, retrieving his sword.

QT crinkled her nose. "Wait, TPTB? I don't know that acronym."

"It refers to whomever might be externally influencing our world," Cosecant explained. "Stands for 'Transcendental Pi-Type Beings'."

Sunday, 3 March 2013

S4.136 - Green Lanterns


The ArcCos function reached out to adjust the light from a lantern on the desk. He and his twin brother were putting in another late night. Or at least, he knew he was. He looked over at his twin for a long moment. "How did you even get those glasses?" he finally asked.


SCIENCE!
"With science!" Nis replied to Soc, shaking his fist in the air. He then resumed pacing back and forth across the room.

"Yeah, stop doing the Nisano bit," Soc requested. "Or find me a pair so I can join you."

ArcSin whirled, jabbing his finger out. "I can't stop now, these specs are helping me focus on solving Hyper's Cone of Science! Moreover, they are of no use to you, as they tap into a more negative range of emotions. You have no negative numbers in your range!!"

Soc facepalmed. "Graphing me aside, you know we're pretty green compared to Hyper. So why this new attitude of yours, it's only making people question our association with her."

"Then they don't understand our genius, they-- wait, what did you say?" Nis said, cutting himself off. "They're questioning what?"


IT'S NOT EASY BEING GREEN
"Our association with Hyper."

Nis hurried over and shuffled through some papers, finally grabbing one and slamming it down into the centre of the table. "That's it! We've done it, we've identified the problem with the teleporter!"

Soc stared down at the page. Then bolted upright. "Of course. The associative property! We send (a + b + c) into one end of the cone, but it's not transmitting that! It sends an inferior copy, such as (a + (b + c))!"

"Which isn't a problem if we're, say, in the integers," Nis agreed. "As those would be the same thing."

"But here they're NOT," Soc concluded. He grinned at his brother. "Brilliant! In fact, as we're exchanging matter between two places, we'd best check the commutative properties too."

"Perfect!" The ArcSin function rubbed his hands together. "Moreover, I forsee a very simple solution to this mess! Something we can use to ENSURE associativity when we send items through!!"

Soc smirked. "What you say has a very familiar ring!"

There was a pause. "Non-mathematicians won't get that reference," Nis pointed out.

"People who don't know Channel Awesome won't get your schtick, what's your point?" Soc fired back.

Another pause. "Science!" Nis retorted, shaking his fist in the air.