Sunday, 23 February 2014

S6.211 - Uncomplementary

The Story So Far: The inhabitants of Fractal City have been teaching personified math about the nature of their existence. Very soon, a decision will be made as to whether the high school functions are reunited - or recycled.

"If you go to statistics, you won't die," ParaB murmured. She tilted her chair back and brought her legs up to rest on the table in front of her. She had been taken from the Council chamber to this small room on an adjacent level. It was pretty spartan, obviously an interrogation room of some sort - complete with a mirror on the wall that likely went two ways. But they'd brought her a fruit bowl and a comlink, and were obviously looking out for her well being. The parabola smiled as she remembered QT's big speech. Then her face clouded again.

"If YOU go to statistics..." She'd thought Koch had been referring to her. Apparently not. "...YOU won't die." Still, Weier's reuse of the phrase had made her think she was missing something.

There was a knock at the door. ParaB quickly righted her chair and stood up, even as it swung open, revealing Hevvi. "Hey," the step function said, crossing her arms and leaning against the frame. "Thought I'd drop in to say goodbye. Flora has procured us a Hyper Jumper, we step functions are returning to our steppe before the Fractals close their iris."

"Oh! Safe trip then," ParaB said. "Thanks for all your help." She came around the table. "I know our first encounter wasn't under the best of circumstances..." Her brow furrowed. "Nor, for that matter were many of our other ones..." She shrugged and extended a hand. "But no hard feelings, I take it?"

"Meh." Hevvi came into the room, reaching back to give ParaB's hand a quick shake. "None worth talking about. Just wanted to say, you high school folk are welcome to look us up. But don't get the wrong idea! We may not be enemies, but that doesn't mean we're friends."

"Of course n--" ParaB froze in place. "My God. THAT'S it... oh HEX."

With effort, the step function pulled her hand free from ParaB's seized up grip. "What?" Hevvi said in annoyance. "What's it?"

"Not being an enemy doesn't mean you're a friend. Not being DEAD doesn't mean you're ALIVE. If you go to statistics, you won't die -- will you LIVE?"

"Uh... well, the flip side of death is life, so... yeah?"

To assume makes an ass of you and me, yes?
"Tell that to a vampire," ParaB snapped. She brought her outstretched hand back to her forehead. "Such an elementary statistical mistake! If 60% of people agree with something, you might think 40% disagree. Except that's WRONG! Maybe 10% disagree and 30% are undecided! There can be a third option!"

Hevvi's gaze tracked over to the two-way mirror. She deliberately moved to stand between it and ParaB, then lowered her voice. "You think the Fractals are scamming you here? Sending you all to your death?"

"No. Or not intentionally. But YOU WON'T DIE - that could mean anything! Right? What if QT ends up permanently archived or something??? It's not death but... it's almost WORSE than death!"

"QT only?" Hevvi said, a hint of amusement in her voice.

"I have to warn Para! Except..." The conic's hands slid back to grab fistfuls of her orange hair. "Except where else can they go?! OH! To your steppe maybe??"

"Whoa! No," Hevvi said coldly. "Flora procured an energy device we can use as a temporary iris. We're protecting our land from your wormhole folly as well!"

"But then..." ParaB's forehead creased as she thought. "If only they could get back to mathematics. Except it's the ONE subject we've been locked out of! To even FIND it again we'd need some sort of tear in our reality! Some sort of cataclysmic event that would shake the whole of the universe as we perceive it, something like..." Her voice trailed off as her eyes went wide.

"Like an imploding Jump Gate?" Hevvi finished.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

S6.210 - Name Theory

The Story So Far: The inhabitants of Fractal City have been teaching personified math about the nature of their existence. Very soon, a decision will be made as to whether the high school functions are reunited - or recycled.

Para glided back down to the ground and released her hair, her bunny ears ceasing their helicopter spinning to stick back up into the air. "How are we doing?" she asked.

ArcCos stood up next to the 'Dial Out Device', or D.O.D., leaving his twin ArcSin to fiddle with it. "We've been able to confirm what ParaB told you. We'll be wormhole capable within half an hour. Not long after that, implosion. Which gives less than an hour for everyone to get onto Logan's Gazebo, as we set the charges this fractal Candice has created, and dial the heck out of here."

"Fair enough. Logan and the rest are already in hyperspace," Para noted. "I've also learned that Can-Tor has a portable dialing device, so we don't REALLY need the D.O.D. to work."

ArcSin's voice came from beneath the console. "I'll feel more comfortable with a backup system," he pointed out. "Besides, I want to know why it's overloading, and I might not be allowed to look at a D.O.D. once we're in Statistics."

"Have you gathered everyone together at the cliff edge?" ArcCos asked.

Para shook her head sadly. "We've got Trig and the Polynomials, but no one's sure what happened to the Conics. Elly might have tipped them off beforehand - maybe they fled to other subjects already."

ArcCos frowned. "You don't think this 'Q' got to them, do you?"

The blonde sighed. "I don't know what to think about Q." Her lips pursed. "That said... Maud has a theory..."

"Go on," ArcCos prompted off Para's hesitation.

Para began to pace. "Remember, it was Maud's recommendation that we stay in Mathematics. He was overruled. Maud now thinks it's because there were already plans to replace us. That would explain Elly's reference to 'the new order'. A 'new order' that may have been created by this Q. They're presently in math, while we're here. Perhaps secretly kept in reserve."

Better a DOD than a DOA
ArcCos rubbed his chin. "I see. But now Q has found us, and he wants HIS math characters to continue, not us? Thus engineering our demise - but isn't this a bit of a roundabout way to kill us?"

"Yeah. There's been some talk about that too," Para admitted, stopping in place. "Tangent proposed that the 'Transcendental Pi-Type Beings' have a noninterference directive. They're not allowed to destroy us directly, but they CAN make us the engineers of our own demise. After all, it WAS our choice to activate the wormhole."

ArcSin poked his head out from under the D.O.D. console. "Hold up. Are you suggesting we're pawns in some cosmic battle between omnipotent beings?!"

"Oh, I wouldn't say that," Para countered. "Though it HAS got me thinking - if this Q is against us, surely there's someone else who's been on our side." Her gaze turned up to the sky. "My ability to see the audience doesn't quite extend that way, but now that I'm looking, there is a name... tickling at my subconscious..." She smiled.

"Go on," ArcCos prompted a second time.

"Taylor," Para revealed. "I think me and my family are Taylor's Polynomials."

There was a moment of silence. "That's terrible," ArcSin said, wincing at the wordplay.

"I know!" the quadratic agreed. "Almost six series' and only NOW does the name make any sense!"

Sunday, 9 February 2014

S6.209 - Kiss and Yell

The Story So Far: The inhabitants of Fractal City have been teaching personified math about the nature of their existence. Very soon, a decision will be made as to whether the high school functions are reunited - or recycled.

"We might be able to get to Statistics," QT yielded, looking down at the pink cube she was holding in her hands. "But only if someone can figure out how this acts as a passcode."

"Another question!" Radik challenged. "Do you have an escape ship here, capable of handling all of us?"

Can-Tor shook her head. "Nope, our Hyper Jumpers are limited in terms of carrying capacity. We've been trying a workaround, but our Schwarz gets twisted. That said, doesn't Logan's gazebo have some fractal-like properties? Finite perimeter, infinite area sort of deal?"

Still bigger on the inside
"Of course," Logan realized, nodding his head slowly. "Except with my ship, an exact point of arrival is no guarantee. And we've seen the consequences of our creating a portal without knowing quite what we're doing."

Can-Tor fired off a wink. "It's fine, I can help you fly the thing through our Jump Gate network! Granted, it might hamper your ability to activate that Gazebo randomly afterwards... but one problem at a time."

"Help us fly? Can-Tor, are you coming along?" Cosecant asked.

Candice tugged down slightly on her top. "Naturally. You'll need a Gate expert on hand, and I've nominated myself."

"Similarly, your ParaB will be staying here," Hill announced.

"Wait, what?" chorused both ParaB and QT.

"Bert..." Weierstrass said, warningly.

Hill pointed at the conic bunny. "No beating around the bush! We talked about this! Regular communications will be affected, so this girl's psychic link is the only way for us to know for sure if they succeed."

"It's not even a fair trade - a Council member for a high school function," Henon chimed in dryly. "But we're willing to compromise." Pinski remained silent, but nodded his head in agreement.

"Yet my link could be affected too," ParaB protested. "Or, heck, I could simply lie to you!"

Hill's eyes narrowed. "Then there would be repercussions. Honestly, your little math friends can simply pick you up once we've reopened our wormhole. What's the problem?"

Weier sighed. "Yes, well, we were sort of hoping you might volunteer. In light of Can-Tor going. Unless you have some other suggestion...?"

ParaB glanced to QT, then back to those assembled. "Fine. I'll stay."

"And I'll stay too!" QT offered. "For, um, medical reasons."

"But QT, you chose that cube," Logan reminded, pointing to the object. "We may not be able to figure out how to GET to Statistics without you - surely CF had you accompany me into the store for a reason."

The catgirl sucked in her lower lip. "But... oh..."

"I'll be all right, QT," ParaB said softly. "But thanks for offering." The two girls looked at each other long enough for QT to begin blushing... at which point ParaB impulsively leaned in and planted a passionate kiss on the quartic's lips.

Mathematical Relations

"Ugh! See, I knew it," Radik said, a disgusted look on his face. "Lesbians."

"Mmm. Much as I hate to agree with one of you," Hill began. "This is HARDLY the time for--"

"SHUT it! ALL of you," QT shouted as soon as ParaB pulled back. The outburst surprised everyone - even QT herself. "Don't pretend," she continued, the words tumbling from her lips as she looked around the room, "don't the rest of you even TRY to pretend like you understand us! Not when even WE haven't figured our emotions out!" Her eyes rested on Julia, and she jabbed out a finger. "You! You better make sure ParaB is treated right and kept safe, you hear me?! Because our story doesn't end here." Julia Childset found she could only nod in mute agreement.

QT smoothed her dress and let out a long breath. "Right then! Can-Tor, you're with us. Let's go save your Gate network."

Sunday, 2 February 2014

S6.208 - Familiar Ring

The Story So Far: The inhabitants of Fractal City have been teaching personified math about the nature of their existence. Very soon, a decision will be made as to whether the high school functions are reunited - or recycled.

Everyone was back in the Council room, below the X-Mansion. At least, all the high school functions were there, plus Weierstrass, Julia, Can-Tor, Henon, Hill, and Pinski. Howie was off briefing Popcorn and Flora about how the Jump Gate system was about to be affected. The other fractals had not yet arrived, assuming they were even coming.

"This is your fault!" Hill shouted towards Logan.

"Possibly," Logan yielded, looking uneasy. On the trip over, ParaB had made contact with Para, and the sharing of information led to the conclusion that it was the Math-Tans' newly activated Jump Gate that was the culprit. It would overload and explode within a matter of hours. "Except according to Elly, there may be this being called 'Q' who engineered--"

"Transcendental Pi-Type Beings have no interest in us fractals," Henon interrupted. Her voice was calm, but cold. "Or they certainly did not until you arrived, which again points the finger back at you."

"Rather than attempting to assign blame," Weierstrass interjected. "Let's talk about how we're going to fix things. Candice?"

"Right!" Can-Tor said, stepping forwards. "In the last hour, me and Pinski have managed to design and invent this!" With a flourish, she held out a curious looking device. "Simply place it on one of the central bars for a Jump Gate, and the bar will be blown off. Without those bars to hold the wormhole stable, it will explode out of the ring. And we've never seen a wormhole sustained on it's own beyond 38 minutes."

"So the entire gate network will no longer be compromised?" Julia affirmed.

Can-Tor bobbed her head so fast, her hair pieces almost slid out of alignment. "Precisely. If the singularity is not in the ring during the overload, no implosion taking out the network, and by extension, sizable regions surrounding each Gate. That said, there's a problem." She shifted her gaze towards the high school functions.

"You need to be at the Jump Gate in the Math-Tans' Purgatory in order to do this," ParaB observed.

"Ayup. Meaning we've got to get the device there, and set it up within the next few hours," Can-Tor agreed. "Fortunately, there will be a period of wormhole stability, allowing us to make the transition."

Cosecant crossed her arms. "Hold on. Wouldn't a wormhole exploding out of this contained ring completely devastate our community??"

"Obliterate, more like," Henon said dryly.

"That... is another problem," Can-Tor yielded. "So, once we get there with the explosives, you'll need to evacuate everyone. Fast."

"Except the ring is situated in the midst of a chasm," ParaB objected. "Not exactly easy to reach."

"Back up - evacuate everyone to WHERE, exactly?" Radik interjected. "Here in Fractal City??"

"NO chance," Hill shot back, darkly. "Our gate will be Irised over, to minimize the damage if you fail. You'll have to go elsewhere."

"Could we simply stay in hyperspace?" Logan mused, rubbing his chin.

"Maybe. We wouldn't recommend that for too long, or you may lose your way out," Weier noted. She shrugged. "How did your meeting go with the characteristic function? If you go to Statistics, you won't die." Right after the words tumbled from her lips, she paused, then looked towards Koch's empty chair in irritation.

Hate it when he does that...