Sunday, 30 June 2013

S5.165b - Art Aside: Para

  The series is now closing off it's second year - admittedly with a hiccup of over two months in there. I'm also away from the computer for a bit to start July, so Sunday updates will be a bit different. I'll be taking the opportunity to showcase some character artwork that I commissioned.

Today: PARA (Quadratic)


Commissioned at ConBravo in July 2012. The Con is back again for late July 2013! I recommend looking for Michelle if she's back. This is a great picture, which I've used more than once over on my other (non-fiction) blog. This marked the first time I asked someone else to draw one of my characters.


Commissioned at Anime North in May 2013.  She's sort of staring into your soul, in a thoughtful way.  The hair is nice too, in the way it has those curved lines.  Impressive what you can do with black and white.

My only regret is that I didn't provide a picture of Para with her bunny ears up. Because while she fits better into a page when they're down, her depression can't help but be maximized that way.

TRIVIA NOTE: All polynomial functions have a y-intercept.  Similarly, when in standard form, all the polynomial girls have a bow somewhere on their outfit which represents that mathematical aspect. The only exception is when Lyn (the line) goes standard form - and loses her bow.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

S5.165 - Frakked

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"Nyuugh!" Sine winced, a small tear escaping from the corner of her eye. "I can't hold it... we're about to... WHOA!"

The primary trig function yanked the navigation joystick hard to the right. Logan's gazebo immediately spun a full 360 degrees - on the wrong axis - avoiding the bolt of lightning that was arcing across the wormhole. Inside, all the lights went dim as power was rerouted to stabilizing the gravity, keeping everyone on the floor of the bridge.


And then, just like that, it was over.

The blue gazebo shot out the other end of the vortex, now spinning around on it's other axis. "Cut the engines!" Logan called out. "Coast to a landing! Damage report!"

"Cutting the engines," Radik told the Captain. There was a slight bump as their ship hit the ground. "No system showing in the red... but the diagnostic system might be damaged."

There was a moment of silence.  "Okay then, if you're quite through shaking the ship, I'll finish configuring these crystals," ParaB declared. "By the way, installation for the Cone of Science is complete. You're welcome." She resumed her work on the set of teleportation rings.

"Main viewer," Logan decided, jabbing at a button in the armrest of his chair. The viewer illuminated, showing what looked like a tree. "Maybe it has markings. Sine, zoom in," the logarithm requested. There was a pause. "Zoom in... please?"

"I just did," Sine said in surprise. "Twice. It looks the same."

"An object's properties can't remain invariant with changes in scale," Logan said dismissively.  "The viewer must be damaged."

"Wait, no... no, not possible," Radik said, his eyes getting wide as he stepped away from the engineering console. "It's... it's Fractal City!"

"It's what now?" Cosecant asked, putting her hands on her hips.

"A place that exists between dimensions," Radik clarified. "I've heard talk of it through my roots... but I thought it was a myth." He drew himself up taller and looked to Logan. "If I'm right, we should broadcast a message of arrival. To Julia."

"No one's broadcasting anything!" the Heaviside function announced. Everybody turned towards the back of the bridge to look at the latest arrival... only to be slammed down to the floor by an invisible force, as Flora made a downwards motion with her palm. Hevvi grinned. "This is where the rest of you are getting off! Your gazebo is now under Step Function control!"

Sunday, 23 June 2013

S5.164 - Change of Acceleration

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Signum blinked in surprise. "I thought you two were confined to quarters, like me."

Heaviside pushed past the partially pink haired girl, and Flora followed the other step function into the room.  "Just felt the ship take off. So while everyone's preoccupied, I'll change the rules. Seriously, these other mathematical relations, they're all jerks!"

Signum blinked. "No, they're not clerks."

"JERKS!" Hevvi repeated, turning to face Signum again once the door had been closed. "So I say we kick them out at the next stop and pilot this ship ourselves. I've seen enough now to be able to do it!"

Signum's mouth open and closed for a few moments. "Oh, I... I don't think that's a good idea, 'Evvi. They're friends of my brother."

"Step-brother," Hevvi reminded. "Whom you haven't been with in person for, what, weeks? Years?" She adjusted her glasses, then crossed her arms. "Wouldn't you rather navigate this gazebo towards whomever consigned us to that steppe in the first place?"

"Um. Maybe?" Signum yielded, a bit hesitantly. She looked over towards Flora, who simply smiled and shrugged, seemingly happy to go along with whatever the other two decided.

"Look, Logan's group is not going to listen to us," Hevvi asserted. "As evidenced by how they blame us for things, and seem more interested in talking to any OTHER people they meet." The whole room suddenly seemed to pitch to the side, throwing all three girls off balance. "Then there's their inability to fly this thing!!"

"Okay," Signum sighed. "I'm in. So long as no one gets hurt."

Meanwhile, up on the bridge, everything pitched to the side again, Logan nearly falling out of his chair. "Sine!" Radik barked, gripping the Engineering console. "You're overtaxing the engines!"

"I'm not used to steering through a wormhole like this!" the tall trig protested, now gripping the joystick at the Nav console with both hands. "Tangent's the wizard at impromptu navigation, not me!!"

"She's not here!" Cosecant reminded. "C'mon Sine, you can do it! Picture yourself on Cosine's shoulders, if that helps!"

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

S5.163 - Orient Express

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ParaB pushed herself out from underneath the science console, then closed it up. "Okay. I've configured a beam to emit tachyons in alternating bandwidths. That should open up another of Conway's transwarp conduits... or Einstein-Rosen Bridges... or whatever the heck it was. Can I get back to the Cone of Science now? I was nearly finished with it."

"Mmmm. Sure," Logan said airily, not even looking at her as he rewound the footage of Con's wormhole, which was playing on the main viewer.

"It's been several days," Cosecant pointed out to the bunny. "You might have been done with all your work by now if you weren't always running off with QT to double check redundant systems."

"Hmph. I hadn't expected you to find extra tasks for me!" ParaB shot back defensively.

"Um, so, about Minkowski and Conway," QT broke in quickly, from where she was watching the viewer from behind Logan's chair. "What do you think their story is, Csc?"

"Obviously they were inverses," Radik broke in, as he ascended the stairs onto the bridge.

Sine looked up from her iPad. "What? How do you figure? Seems possible that they were two aspects of the same function."

Radik looked back at Sine as he wiped his hands on a rag. "They were married, hence they were inverses! Marrying your inverse is a mathematical LAW," he reminded. He punctuated the final word with a glare towards QT. 

The quartic merely reacted by biting down on her lower lip, making every effort not to look over at ParaB. After staring for a few long seconds, Radik shifted his gaze to Logan. "At any rate, the ship is again fully functional."

"Excellent! Make it go," the redhead directed, finally shutting down the main viewer before emphasizing his point by gesturing forwards with two fingers out.

"You think this is a wise course of action?" Sine asked.  "Using Con's wormhole, rather than getting more directions from Signum?"

"Signum's never had an exact heading," Cosecant reminded. "Mink and Con, they knew something. Now, if we don't find them at the other end of the tunnel, we can get Signum to reorient at that time."

"To re..." QT crinkled her nose. "Oh, but we haven't been to the orient even once, so how would that work?"

Sunday, 16 June 2013

S5.162 - Psych Doubt

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"How was she?" Maud asked, cleaning a glass as he approached Root.

"Back to normal. I think." Root answered. "Not drinking, anyway."

Maud glanced around the room. Secant and Cotangent were involved in what seemed like a small argument off in the corner, and Sexi had put in a rare appearance, now sipping a margarita at the bar. But there was no sign of Expona or the conics, so Maud sat down, placing his glass on the table. "You think?"

"Yeah, no, Para's fine," Root said. "I'm sure it's me, I simply don't understand girls. Which is kind of ironic, when you consider how often I've been mistaken for one." He tugged idly an errant loop of hair by his ear.

Maud drummed his fingers on the table. "Still. If you're not a hundred percent sure, maybe we should have Para talk to someone professionally. She really seemed out of it the other day."

Root lifted an eyebrow. "You DO know that the closest we have to a psychologist around here is Elly," he pointed out. "And she's a conic. Could do more harm than good."

"Er. Yeah," Maud yielded. "What about ArcTan, he's a doctor, maybe he's got a degree in 2-space psychology or something?"

"What about you?" Root countered. "Isn't there some unwritten rule that says bartenders have to be good at counseling people?"

Maud shook his head. "My lack of credentials aside, I'm not sure Para would want to talk to me. The way I tried to pull her into videos before she was ready? I could be part of the problem."

Root leaned back in his chair. "Eh. If there is a problem, I'm sure it's with me. Going away like I did, to work with Lyn and the others on other curriculums, it probably drove a wedge between me and Para."

"You going with the beta group was my idea," Maud remarked dryly.

"Oh. Oh yeah." The radical cleared his throat.  "So maybe you are the problem after all."

The dark haired function glared, then sighed himself.  "Are you SURE you didn't notice anything specific when you were talking to her?"

Root shook his head. "Nope. Bunny ears said depressed, but she didn't act like it." He frowned. "Yet... something. I dunno. Maybe my inverse sense is tingling."

"Inverse sense... the thing that initially drew you two together?" Maud asked.

"Oh, we're together because inverses are destined to get married," Root assured. "One of those mathematical laws."

Maud stared. "Uh, no offense, but that sounds kind of stupid," he admitted. "Who came up with that 'law'?"

"No idea," Root admitted with a shrug. "Maybe if we manage to get back into our subject area, I can look it up?" He eyed the empty glass on the table. "On a lighter note, could you maybe fill that with something for me?"

Maud looked to the glass, then back at Root. "It's full of air," he pointed out. "Have a gas."

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

S5.161 - Two Difficult

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"Did you want to join me?" Root asked. "Help me decide if I should plant flowers or vegetables?"

"No, not really my thing," Para answered after a moment of thought. I'd only screw things up. "All the best with it though."

Root nodded. "How is the songwriting going?"

"It's not. That is, I haven't been feeling inspired," Para amended. I suck. "But given how Expona hated my last one, and ParaB seems to be filling any void I left, I'm not worried." Just useless.

Root blinked. "Expona hated your last one? I thought it was a tribute to her."

"Yeah, she thought I was pandering. But then, the redhead hates everything I do, so hey, I don't let that get to me." Except for how it did. And continued to bother her, even now.

"Well, that's good," Root concluded.  He shoved his hands into his pockets, and the two of them walked in silence for a short time.

"So, you seem to be a bit more level headed lately," Para ventured, the silence making her uneasy. "Less of the big positive or big negative in front of you.  Am I imagining that?"

Root grinned. "I don't think so. Been feeling more positive! I'm wondering if it might have something to do with the existence of ParaB... less cause for me to trend negative or something."

"Could be," Para mused. Certainly not due to anything I did. "I'm happy for you." In fact, ParaB could totally replace her, now that she thought of it. There really WASN'T any need for two parabolas. And Para, she was the more worthless of the two. By far.

Root had said something. "Sorry, what?" the blonde polynomial asked.

"I said did you want to go get something to eat?"

Para sucked in her lower lip. Given that new revelation about ParaB, she didn't think she could keep up the facade of joy much longer. "Tomorrow, maybe? I'm feeling a little lightheaded all of a sudden. How about Maud's for breakfast?"

"Sure, that works," Root agreed. He started to lean in, then paused. Para completed the distance, giving him a quick kiss on the cheek, followed by another smile.

"Talk to you tomorrow then!" With that, the parabola waved, then turned, and with a little skipping motion, headed back to her apartment. Where she could sit in the dark. And stare at the ceiling. And play with her knife.

Sunday, 9 June 2013

S5.160 - Keeping Up Appearances

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Root and Para walked out of the polynomial apartments side-by-side. "If you like, I could have a look at the tuning of your hairband," Root offered. "Try to fix it."

Para glared. "The last time you looked into stuff for me, I was kidnapped by Hyper so that the conics could mess with my variables before you got the chance."

"O-kay," Root said slowly. "Maybe Cotangent could look then, she does engineering. I just thought it might be annoying, having people always thinking your depression was at a maximum."

"Right. Right, sorry," Para said, passing a hand over her face. What a stupid thing for her to say. "Just, stressful times for all of us out here. I'm sure you're busy though, I mean, aren't you helping with Hyper's Cone of Science?"

Root shook his head. "I'm more of a coder. The core group there seems to be Maud and Expona, as far as coordinating with Signum and Logan, then Hyper and Nis, in as much as physically building the thing. Of course, Cosine and Secant are helping to coordinate too, given their vested interest in seeing their twins again, and Cubi's keeping me apprised as she works on the periphery with splines... but not a lot of programming just now. Plus, too many cooks and all that."

"Maybe they'll need you later then." Para almost added, 'as opposed to me', but caught herself in time. "Meanwhile, I guess Lyn and Tangent are also off doing something useful together?"

"They did a talk on fractions some weeks ago. Otherwise they've been exploring," Root replied. "Looking for anything else of use in this random Purgatory... with Reci keeping an eye out for Lyn, as usual. Did you know there's a sizable cliff just a short distance from here? Potentially dangerous."

"I was aware," Para answered with a nod. She'd thought of wandering out there earlier. "Which might be the only thing I'm up to date on, hm?" She laughed lightly. "Guess I've been wrapped up in my own stuff for a bit." Busy wallowing in self pity, like a perfectly useless individual. "Sorry."

"No big deal," Root said, shrugging and smiling back. "For that matter, I'm sorry I haven't been spending more time with you lately. I've been trying to figure out how to resume my interest in gardening."

"Ah! Then I presume you're sketching tree diagrams," Para reasoned.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

S5.159 - Cut Vertex

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Para shuddered.  Her telepathic link with ParaB wasn't open, and yet somehow she could sense something happening on the other end. Something wonderous, something that made the bunny girl want to arc her back, to curl her toes, to gasp in delight.

Something that was distracting her from the small knife in her hands.

Para spun the blade between her fingers. "So many people would be better off if they didn't have to learn about parabolas," the polynomial murmured, speaking aloud to refocus herself. "And I can't help them all. Even the few who don't find me a misery, would they even notice if I was gone? What good am I, really?"

She turned the knife about in her hands again - and nicked her finger. Instinctively she brought it up to her mouth and sucked on it for a moment. Then she pulled it free and looked at it as a drop of blood welled up. "Mathematical functions. Prick us, do we not... leak?" Her gaze began to wander lower. Down towards her wrist.

There was a knock at her apartment door.

The bunny girl quickly stood up from her bed. She grabbed a tissue to wrap around her finger while running a quick mathematical calculation in her head. That done, she tossed the knife aside, not even watching as it executed a perfect arc to land, point down, in a loaf of bread on her table. Root opened the door and peered inside just before the polynomial could reach it.

"Hey Para. Up to anything?" the silver haired boy asked.

"Nah," Para replied, gesturing dismissively. "Just trying to do more songwriting." She followed his gaze to her wrapped finger. "Paper cut."

"Ah! Well, want to go for a walk together then?"

"Sure," Para said, smiling. A smile that didn't reach her bunny ears. A fact Root remarked on as she came into the hall and locked up.

"You're still opening down?"

"On the fritz or something," Para retorted. She flicked idly at one of her hairband's drooping ears with her good hand. "After all, it's not like you can just look at a person and know how they're feeling.  Right?"

"I guess so," Root acknowledged.

And the parabola added lying to her growing list of faults.

Sunday, 2 June 2013

S5.158 - Leading Coefficients

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"So! We finished early," QT remarked. Kneeling on the floor of the medical bay, the quartic slowly turned her attention from the gelpack on the floor to ParaB, currently sitting on her haunches.

"Yeah," ParaB affirmed. "We make a good team. First Quadcorder, now gelpacks..." Her voice trailed off as their eyes locked.

The catgirl began to figit with her fingers. "We shouldn't celebrate the way we did last time."

"O-Oh? Then you didn't like it," ParaB said, mixed feelings flashing across her face.

"No! Not that!" QT countered quickly, waving her hands in front of her. "It's just... I don't think I'm bi. Only biquadratic. So you're simply a substitute for Para, and I shouldn't lead you on further, it would be cruel."

"Oh, but I don't mind! Uh, that is..." ParaB's expression started to look pained, then her gaze dropped to the floor. "Look, QT... I have to level with you too. Before we ended up here, Circe was on me about trying to get closer to you polynomials. Hoping you'd let your guard down around me." She began to bring her gaze back up. "So... maybe I'm only leading you on too."

The quartic function stared back for several long seconds. "Why would you tell me that?" she whispered at last.

"I... I don't even know. In all honesty, I'd forgotten about what Circe said until your ladder incident. Yet now I keep remembering it. In fact, I've also been feeling increasingly depressed of late; I'm not sure why. I wonder if it's because part of me thinks conic subterfuge would be my only motivation for spending time with you."

QT licked her lips. "As opposed to...?"

ParaB shrugged.  "To... the soft curves of a polynomial?"

QT smiled.  "Conversely, I'd say there's something to be said for the focus of a conic."

"Ha! Could you love my focus the same way you love Para's roots?" ParaB joked. At least, she was pretty sure she was joking.

"I don't know," QT said, answering in all seriousness.  She found she was leaning in closer to ParaB as they spoke, causing the bunny girl to behave in the same way. "But we're agreed we should stop, yeah? I mean, if we're just using each other, and the others are getting suspicious, and our very pairing is contraversial... we should stop this.  Maybe."

"Maybe. Or maybe you just need to stop talking," ParaB recommended, reaching out to glide her fingers down the side of QT's face.

"Or else what?" QT murmured, her eyes having drifted closed.

"Or else... Mmm, I'll make you stop..."