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ST: HMB, Episode 6: The No-Brainer, Part 15

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Last week, Ensign Doall, Lieutenant Fle’ek of the Rational Plausibility, and the science team of the Inconceivable were figuring out what exactly went wrong with the experient that was now rewriting the universe. Several hours, much arguing and many romcom-style pratfalls later, they were ready to present their findings to their captains. It was a three-way comms, still being relayed, but thanks to Doall’s revelation, the lines were clear as long as she, Fle’ek, and Basil led the conversation. Or more to the point, as long as she led the conversation, with Basil and Fle’ek chiming in like two arbitrators, or the angel and devil on her shoulder. But that just reinforced her theory as well.

And of course, in this she was correct. She was Ensign Doall and the survival of her ship and crew depended on her.

 

“It’s nonsense. There is no way emotions can figure into an equation,” Basil insisted after she presented her theory to the command crews of each ship. They had gathered in their respective briefing rooms. It should be noted that on the Impulsive, First Officer Smythe, having nothing to contribute to the scene, was in fact on the bridge doing his job and commanding the ship while his captain was otherwise occupied with the larger issues.

“You say it’s nonsense, but the evidence supports my theory,” Ellie responded. She felt almost gleeful, almost giddy inside. While on the HMB Mary Sue, the push-and-pull effects of having a nemesis and a mentor/potential love interest had forged her from a shy, brilliant cadet with low self-esteem into a brilliant and self-confident officer. Now the process was propelling her to new heights. “The laws of this new…pocket universe if you will, are far too localized around people.

“Let’s start with the obvious. I analyzed the incidents of every time someone tripped into someone else. I then repeated the events in a controlled setting. Only people who were attracted to each other, openly or secretly, fell into each other, and only when they were within staggering or catching distance. And the stronger the attraction and the stronger the secret, the more likely the couple would bump into each other and stay stuck.”

With her heightened awareness, Ellie noticed as Lt. LaFuentes shifted uncomfortably in his chair. A glance at the viewscreen which had a window to Loreli, safely absconded in her room, showed, she, too, felt sheepish. He and Loreli were the outliers in the equation both in frequency and duration, but she had a theory about that, too. “Lieutenant, I think I may be to blame for you and Loreli. Remember our encounter with the Clichans? I had ’shipped you and Loreli pretty aggressively to complete the mission. Somehow, that’s been picked up by the threads of this new universe.”

“But that was long before this mission,” Commander Deary protested. On the Inconceivable, Basil threw up his hands in a “Yes, exactly!” motion.

“But it’s still in people’s minds – even LaFuentes’ and Lorelai’s. Now, let’s look at the experiments. There are 312 experiments running on all three ships. Three hundred and five have concluded, which is odd enough in itself, but even more so when you realize they all completely meet expectations of the lead scientist. The other two percent are either still running or met the expectations of the strongest-willed scientist on that team.”

“What about this experiment?” Vizzini asked. “We had three potential conclusions, and none of them involved rewriting the laws of physics.”

“I’m afraid that’s not true – is it, Basil?”

“It was on offhand comment!” the lead scientist retorted.

However, Commander Deary’s face grew ashen. “Bugger me,” he whispered, then in a louder voice explained. “That little git was poking his nose into Grant’s and my work while we were building the NO-BRAINR. He kept insisting we were doing it wrong and how we were going to end up rewriting the laws of physics instead of monitoring them. Are you telling me he was right?”

“So they did screw it up. That’s not my fault!”

Doall shrugged at Basil, then spoke to her captain. “It is, and it isn’t. I checked the records. Basil’s exact words were, ‘NO-BRAINR? What an appropriate name. It should be a no-brainer not to throw in another variable to my carefully planned experiment. Adaptive Interferometry Nucleosynthesis Regulator. If your regulator ends up rewriting the laws of physics…’ At that point, Commanders Deary and Jardin said – well, the exact words aren’t important, but basically that it was impossible. And yet, later in the records, they laughed about both putting money in the Inconceivable pool for the experiment to rewrite the laws of physics.”

“As a joke,” Deary protested. “We were yanking Basil’s chain. There’s no way our device could rewrite anything.”

“We spent weeks on the design,” Jardin added. “We ran every conceivable test – and a few Inconceivable ones. The design was perfect.”

Doall nodded. “And then, you put the design specs into a replicator. The same replicators that are creating running shoes that run away from their owners and ear drops that make people’s ears drop off.”

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