Sunday, 30 March 2014

S6.216 - Mahou Shoujo Statistical Coping Flaw

The Story So Far: After leaving Fractal City, personified math must deal with a wormhole that could bring them to Statistics... help point the way back home... or destroy them outright.

"You're intersecting with MY magical guide!" Hyper shouted, shaking her fist at the quartic.

"Yeah, that's not typical factored form for you," Para noted. "Though... the pink hair... is a nice touch." For some reason, she felt her cheeks growing warmer the longer she stared at QT.

Mahou Shoujo
Magical Girl
"Hyper, you can talk with Sigma as soon as the crisis has passed," QT assured the green haired conic. The magical girl grabbed for one of the support posts on the gazebo, as the ship pitched slightly to the side. It was hovering just above the ground, near to the rapidly overloading Jump Gate. "But right now, I'm better equipped to understand the A.I.'s statistical information." She took a deep breath and pointed with her large factoring fork. "Here's the thing. While going to statistics won't kill us, I've learned that without proper understanding... pure stats can drive the ignorant insane!!"

"Bwahahaha! That's fine! I've already turned a replimator into a flux capacitor!!" Dr. Nisano said, throwing his head back and laughing in delight.

"Meaning you're already insane," Root pointed out, as he attempted to plug in a section of cable under the Dial Out Device. Nearby, ArcCos sighed.

"It's fine," Maud said to QT, from off to the side. "We have a back up plan now - returning us to mathematics. I'm here waiting for Signum, and for the flux capacitor to get enough charge."

"'Cept I'm nae sure about tha device," Cotangent remarked. "Wi' th' flux, seems like we mae return ta math before we e'en left!"

"Well, regardless," Can-Tor said, climbing out of the gazebo's floor hatch, "I need to set the charges on your Jump Gate to prevent the implosion." She ignored the stares from everyone assembled, nimbly jumping off the gazebo and striding over to the active wormhole.

"Huh. You weren't kidding about her," Root remarked to Para. "And the rest of the fractals... they all look... that way?"

"What? Er, yes." The bunny girl finally pulled her attention off of QT. "Time we loaded everyone over at the cliff into Logan's ship! You guys can handle the rest of your technical stuff without more supplies?"

"Yeah, we're good," ArcCos assured. "The timing's going to be interesting though. The tear in reality and the Jump Gate wormhole might not interact well, but of course we need the tear before exploding the wormhole. I'm working on some calculations."

"Hmph! And so long as my magic's been HIJACKED, I might as well give things a final scientific once over!" Hyper said, glaring daggers at QT.

The polynomial function elected to turn away from the conic. She moved to the central gazebo hatchway, as Para jumped on board. "Logan, we're good, head for the cliff edge!" QT shouted down. The ship shuddered and tilted a bit as it flew off, sending Para tumbling to the floor. QT hurried over to help her up.

"It's fine, I calculated my rate of descent," Para mumbled, though she accepted the help standing.

"So... we're going to math? Not statistics?" QT confirmed. "Because ParaB is still in Fractal City! How can we go back to get her if we--"

"Actually, she'll be coming here with Signum. I think."

"You THINK??"

"Our telepathy is spotty when one of us is in hyperspace," Para explained. "Which is where ParaB definitely is now. Thing is, I couldn't quite pick up on the how or why... and she broadcasted something strange to me right before we lost contact. Say, maybe you can make sense of it?"

"Maybe?" QT said uncertainly.

"She sent 'We have to stay and fight!'. But I don't see how we're supposed to do that, as this whole area is going to get totaled by that wormhole."

QT opened and closed her mouth.  "I... I don't know either. Give me a second to see if Sigma has insights." She closed her eyes, and the jewel in the bow on her front briefly flashed red. Ultimately though, QT shook her head. "All she can say is that the probability for us fighting TPTB and getting to math is non-zero."

Para pursed her lips. "Well, I suppose the probability for any two non-mutually exclusive events is non-zero. That doesn't necessarily mean anything." And yet both of Taylor's Polynomials were left wondering.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

S6.215 - Escape Velocity

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.

ParaB shook off the few remaining aftereffects of Hevvi's attack as she approached Koch. "YOU! What did you mean by 'If you go to Statistics, you won't die'??"

He speaks Straczynski
An opening within the snowflake on Koch's suit seemed to open and close. "Understanding is a three edged sword."

ParaB grit her teeth. "Yes. I know that now. Dead, alive... and maybe something else. Being in an archive. Something. Just tell me, what's the better choice here? For everyone to try to get to statistics, or to return to mathematics?"

Koch seemed to tilt his head to the side. "You have forgotten something."

"What?!" When Koch didn't answer, ParaB's eyes narrowed. "Are you implying there's a third option there too?"

Another pause, then, "You do not understand. But you will."

"We need to increase our speed, in that direction," Hevvi remarked, nudging ParaB. "Hill's sure to raise the alarm, plus we've barely enough time now. Not if we want to make a stop to drop off you and Signum."

ParaB crossed her arms and glared at the fractal. "Damn it, Koch! We're becoming pawns of higher forces here! Can't you tell me what is it we're supposed to do? Where we're supposed to run?? After all, it's not like we can stand and fight!" She paused. "... Can we?"

"The truth points to itself."

ParaB flinched backwards. Then an alarm sounded. "Perfect," Hevvi sighed, grabbing ParaB by the arm. She practically dragged the bunny girl away and into the stairwell by the elevator. "Just so you know, I'm selling you out if we get trapped here."

"I... that's fair," ParaB yielded.

The two of them hurried down a couple of flights of stairs, then as Hevvi slammed her shoulder into another door, they burst back out into a lower corridor. "The Jump Gate room is right down here," Hevvi explained. "Flora and Signum should already be on the Hyper Jumper... that is, if we get there."

Howie Mandelbrot had appeared from a side corridor. "Stop there, please," he requested, holding up his hand.

This is not a new moon
"Sorry, Howie," ParaB apologized. She reached up, her thumb and index finger closing on her tiara. "Focus Tiara ACTION!" she called out. The tiara began to glow as the conic removed it, then whipped it into the air. It executed a perfect parabolic arc, catching Mandelbrot completely off guard as hit him with enough force to knock him into the wall. He fell to the floor.

Hevvi and ParaB ran forward, jumping over his prone form, the conic scooping up her tiara in passing. Moments later, they ran through a large, open, sliding door down the passage, and ParaB got her first good look at an active wormhole. She also saw that in front of it was a conical-shaped ship, which sported a circular hatch at the back. Both Signum and Flora stood in the hatch opening, Flora looking up at a large viewing window and grimacing. Her hand was extended and miming pushing down, indicating that she was in the process of using her gravity based attack. Presumably on the adjacent room.

"Hurry up, 'Evvi!" Signum cried out. "Things are going nuts, the Fractals want to close the iris on us!"

"Then get the lead out!" Hevvi retorted, vaulting up and into the Hyper Jumper. She was quickly followed by ParaB.

"Get a bed out? At a time like this?" Signum sighed, twintails flicking back and forth as she shook her head. Even as she spoke, she was hurrying to the front of the ship. Seconds ticked by. Then the ship gave a little lurch forwards, so Flora slammed her free hand down on a panel, causing the hatchway door to begin lifting back up into position.

"I feel like we're not going to be welcome back here any time soon," ParaB murmured.

"Grab onto something!" Signum called out from the forward controls. The Jumper shot forwards into hyperspace.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

S6.214 - Just a Moment

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.

Cosecant walked into the medical bay area of the ship. "You might want to come to the bridge," she advised QT. "We're arriving in... what's the matter??"

The quartic function had turned from where she sat on the floor, tears stinging at the corners of her eyes. "I can't figure it out," she said, gesturing at the 10cm by 10cm by 10cm cube next to her. "I don't know how to activate this thing! Meaning I don't know how to get to Statistics! For all I know, we hang it in front of the viewscreen like those fuzzy dice you see in cars."

"Oh..." Csc said softly. She knelt down next to the polynomial function. "Nothing from any scans?"

"Oh, I've got scan results." QT reached for her quadcorder and jammed the display at Cosecant. "Results for pretty much EVERYTHING, all with associated probabilities! No one thing over 10%! There's even a 0.1% chance that this thing is a Transcendental Pi-Type Being!"

"Huh. Okay. Well... in theory you still have time. Even after evacuating, we can tool about in hyperspace for a while... I think..."

"Five minutes or five hours, I don't think it will make a difference," QT said, throwing the quadcorder aside in frustration. It squealed as it hit the floor. "I don't even know why I took this cube anymore. There was a sphere nearby. Maybe I should have taken it instead, spheres have a more optimal surface area."

Csc crossed her arms.  "Stop getting down on yourself. The Characteristic Function chose you for a special reason... you have to believe that!"

"Believe," QT snorted. "Sounds like something you'd see on a cat poster."

Csc pursed her lips. "Well you ARE a cat... kinda... okay, look. How about we consider how polynomial thinking differs from trigonometric thinking?"

"How am I supposed to know that?!" QT demanded. Csc simply glared. "Fine, give me a moment," the polynomial sighed, rubbing the bridge of her nose.

Csc looked from QT to the cube and back. After an extended silence, she offered up, "Maybe you don't cycle back to the same thoughts quite so much?"

"No, no. Moment. Give me a moment," QT repeated. "That's... familiar. Statistical." She scrambled for her quadcorder again.

Csc blinked.  "What, moment? I thought it was a physics term."

"No, no, different moments give information about distributions! I saw this when researching... moreover, moments are linked to numerical exponents!" She tapped at the device in her hands, then beamed and showed it to Cosecant. "Look, I'm Kurtosis!"

"Huh. So you are." Csc's eyes wandered. "Though flatness, not really an issue for you..."

QT had already turned back to look at the cube on the floor, setting the quadcorder aside again. "Since I chose a cube, which connects to cubing - this relates to the third moment. Yes! I know what will unlock Statistics!" She reached out to grab the object. "This cube in my hands.... it signifies skewness! Sigma cubed!"

A red glow came from within the object. "Stand by. Ready. Set up," came an electronic female voice. The cube then pulled out of QT's hands, rising into the air as it started spinning, shedding it's fuzzy exterior. The two math functions exchanged an uncertain glance as the cube became translucent, symbols appearing on the faces, the red inner glow persisting. Csc reached for her portable phaser.

QT reached for Csc's arm. "No, wait. I don't think it's a weapon. I think... it's intelligent?"

The cube began to pulse regularly with light where it hovered, then the voice came again. "Union device, ready for input." 

The two women again exchanged glances, then QT reached out to tentatively touch the floating object. The red light immediately tracked down over her body, and she gasped, even as Cosecant was forced to avert her gaze.

Works best with the music. (NSFW?)

Somewhat later, Hyper arrived at the Dial Out Device. She'd run all the way across the chasm bridge, scattering dirt as she did to make it more visible. "Hyperbola!" Para said, caught off guard. "Where did you come from? We thought all you Conics had left!!"

"Have ye come ta help us wi' th' flux capacitor?" Cotangent asked.

"Don't be silly," Hyper said to them breathlessly, before striking a dramatic pose. "I've come because my magical guide is finally about to arrive!"

Which is when Logan's gazebo blasted out of the nearby wormhole, spinning on it's own axis.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

S6.213 - Fallacious Climax

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.

There was a pounding at the door. ParaB continued to throw her weight back against it, having jammed her chair under the doorknob. "Please," she said breathlessly to Hevvi. "If you don't reunite Signum and Maud, there may be no way for the rest of them to locate math!"

"If we hurry, we may be able to drop Signum off before going to the steppe," the Heaviside function said grudgingly. "But what about you? If all of your friends make it back to your subject, they might not be able to return for you after all."

ParaB bit down on her lower lip. "I-I'll be fine. As long as QT-- as long as everyone else is okay."

The comlink on the table crackled. "LAST warning!" came Hill's voice from the device. "If you don't cease your unauthorized telepathy immediately and let us in, you WILL be thrown into prison!!"

Swallowing hard, and with a final pleading look at Hevvi, ParaB pushed back from the door and yanked away the chair. The door opened immediately, both Bert Hill and Julia Childset striding in. "NOW then," Hill said angrily, jabbing a finger at the conic. "We're not sure exactly what you were talking about - but you WILL advise your Para counterpart that you were incorrect. Your group are to proceed to Statistics, as planned!"

ParaB's lips thinned. "Not unless I know for certain that they'll be okay if they do.  Can you guarantee that?"

The security fractal glared. "Yes."

"Bert," Julia said, uncomfortably. "We really can't."

He rounded on her. "We DO know that any shenanigans might interfere with Can-Tor's plan, impacting us! You want to risk our infrastructure, our very lives on some gamble by these high schoolers? We're just lucky that we found out about this at all! Imagine if the vote hadn't passed to keep this Parabola with us?! Anyway," he finished, looking back to ParaB and crossing his arms. "Koch said they won't die in Statistics. That's good enough for me. So, ParaB, either you tell your friends to abort - or we're throwing you in prison!"

Julia winced, but said nothing. ParaB set her jaw, obviously unwilling to yield. Hevvi cleared her throat. "Thing is, the bunny's right when she says not dying and being okay are different..."

"You can shut up," Hill interrupted, tossing Hevvi a glare. "For that matter, your transport leaves in less than five minutes. Leave now, or you won't make it."

Hevvi's eyes narrowed. She looked from Hill to ParaB and back. "Fine. But the parabola's coming with me."

"Excuse me?!"

"You heard me," Hevvi shot back at Hill. "ParaB's with me now. Who knows how long she'll be here otherwise, and you obviously aren't going to treat her very well."

"Hah! Don't make me laugh," Hill snickered. "You have no authority here. For that matter, if we have to, we won't let ANYONE leave, including you!" He smirked back at Heaviside's increasingly annoyed expression. "Oh, and don't try using your ability to 'turn on functions' as a manner of persuasion either. Our resident Strange Attractor has warned us all about your peculiar brand of chaos!"

"No worries there," Hevvi said coldly. Perversely, she began to smile, as she reached a hand up to tap at the hair bobbles holding her twintails in place. "As I can see that MUCH more than simple persuasion is necessary!" She flung both arms forwards.

Hot and Hevvi
ParaB inhaled sharply. Parts of her body began to twitch involuntarily. "Ohh!" she gasped. Had she been hit by a taser?? No, the sensations were more reminiscent of her last evening with QT... either way, the parabola found she could no longer stand. With a moan, she stumbled forwards - right into Heaviside's arms. The step function began to drag her from the room. "H-H-Hfff..." the conic gasped, trying to speak. She noticed Hill and Julia were both out cold on the floor. "H-Hf-H-How?" she finally managed to articulate.

"Ever since I discovered non-functions like you were immune to my charms, I've been trying to devise a work around," Hevvi answered with a grunt. "The bad news is, I can't target properly yet, so you caught the edge. Moreover, that one effort has me completely depleted. Please tell me you can walk, you're heavy."

"Tee hee... no, you're 'Evvi," ParaB giggled. Rolling her eyes, Hevvi shoved ParaB against the corridor wall. The bunny girl gasped again, but managed to brace herself in time, and even stay upright. She shook her head to clear it, then wiped her brow. "Unf. Well, now I need a shower."

"Shower later. Escape... uh..." Hevvi's voice trailed off.

ParaB turned and squinted, trying to focus on whatever had caught the step function's attention. She saw Koch standing at the end of the hallway.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

S6.212 - Plan ParaB

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.

"That's crazy!" Para protested aloud, making ArcCos jump. There was a pause. "But we might die!" the blonde continued in irritation. "I thought the whole point is we would NOT die by going to Statistics!" Another pause, and the parabola began to pace back and forth again, in front of the gradually coalescing wormhole. "No, B, you can't use a 'you only live once' argument. More than just OUR lives are on the line here."

"Look, that's kinda distracting," ArcCos pointed out. He and his twin were still playing around with the controls for the Dial Out Device.

"Sorry," Para apologized. "Difference of opinion here. Helps for me to vocalize." Her lips pursed. Then she rolled her eyes. "But... okay, fine. ArcCos! Theoretically speaking, could the force of this wormhole implosion be somehow channeled into ripping a hole back into our subject of mathematics?"

"What?!" ArcSin tried to stand up so fast he banged his head on the D.O.D. console. "Gyahhh!"

"Whoa. That's..." ArcCos paused to help his brother to his feet, their eyes briefly locking. Then he looked to Para. "Theoretically? Yes."

Para opened and closed her mouth like a fish. "Okay. Did not expect that answer."

"But probably not in the way you're thinking," ArcSin added.

The bunny girl raised an eyebrow. "Enlighten me."

The twins exchanged glances. ArcSin cleared his throat. "Consider that an implosion is an inward collapse. Normally, the exterior around an implosion is relatively unscathed. The problem here is that the interior is an interconnected network of highly charged Jump Gates. So if the wormhole remains in place, the shockwave will ripple through hyperspace, and our implosion will have external effects."

"Namely removing sizable regions around said Gates, leaving smoking craters," ArcCos noted. "And the only way to avoid this is to disconnect our wormhole from the system. But we can't power down. Hence CanTor's plan to remove the wormhole from the ring, allowing it to expand without bound until such a point as it dissipates."

"That said," ArcSin finished, "BEFORE we blow out the wormhole, if we could bleed off enough energy... harness it, and channel it into... say, a flux capacitor. It just might work."

"If only we had more time," ArcCos lamented.

Para tapped her fingers against her temples. "B, quiet down, the blue shirted guys are trying to explain something." She looked to ArcSin. "So it's possible, but you can't do it?"

"Well, it would effectively destroy the Gate... but then, that's happening anyway," ArcSin yielded. He crossed his arms. "As my brother said, it comes down to time. To manage this in less than half an hour, we'd need three things. The first is a way to approximate direction and distance FOR mathematics, once a tear is open. ANY chance of that? If not, there's no point to this at all."

"The Fractals might have something?" Para stared off into the sky, then frowned, then nodded slowly. "Okay, ParaB says they won't help, but thinks that using Signum and Maud, we could do it ourselves."

"Fair enough. The second thing is the pieces from Maud's replimator, not to mention as many technical minded Math-Tans as you can ferry over here."

"I can get right on that," Para affirmed.

"And third..." He pulled his swirled glasses out of his pocket, and looked to his brother.

A pained look ran over ArcCos' face. He looked back at Para. "Escaping to Statistics - it's not an option then?"

The blonde polynomial shrugged. "We just don't know. We can check with QT once she gets here, but I gather that by then, it may be too late for this other plan."

The inverse cosine function sighed. He then nodded, straightened his body and looked to his brother. "Do it. Bring back Dr. Nisano."