swirling star spitting out fireballs

When the past episode said, “The Impulsive went on Red Alert,” it should be noted that the Captain did not call for Red Alert. The AI of the Impulsive just decided to do it on its own. This was part of its new initiatives features. Captain Tiberius didn’t like it. He was all for initiative, mind you, but he did not like being taken by surprise.

Nonetheless, he filed that away for another conversation with the ship programmers – preferably off ship – and reacted according to his training and protocol. “Cruz, get a tractor beam on the Inconceivable and get ready to move. Deary, what the hell happened?”

“I… I don’t know. I’ve nae seen anything like this. It’s like spacetime is unraveling.”

“How the…? Impulsive to Inconceivable, we are reading a thread unraveling, can you confirm?”

The popping of a champagne cork was their first answer, then the viewscreen showed the bridge personnel, laughing and slapping each other’s backs. A holographic marquis proudly declared, “Humans break physics again!”

The star’s color was starting to wobble; Jeb looked at the time hack, did a rough calculation himself and shivered. Given the speed of light and their distance, they were seeing a reaction from before the core was launched. On the bridge of the Rational Plausibility, the Logics were no longer so calm but were hurrying about. Their ship, too, was on alert. They were no longer sending audio, a fact the Logic captain was just coming to understand, it seemed, because he had leaned forward in his seat and speaking intently. Jeb could not make out the words, but he did get the gist.

Broken Physics Bad.

“Vizzini!” Jeb shouted. “I’ve got a ship that thinks this is a red-alert situation. I need a threat assessment.”

“We don’t know yet,” Vizzini answered as he accepted a glass of spumante from his yeoman. “The sensor data is unlike anything we’ve ever seen. Isn’t it exciting?”

“Captain,” Cruz interrupted, “I can’t get a tractor beam lock. It keeps bouncing off their shields.”

“Reverse the polarity,” Dearly said.

“I have! And 90 degrees, both ways. It’s not working.”

“Captain,” Doall said, “the Rational Plausibility has engaged engines but they are not moving.”

“Cruz?” Jeb said. It was both question and command.

The helmsman’s hands flew over his console. “Santo Michele! We’re stuck.”

“Hey!” Enigo said and pointed at the viewscreen. “I don’t think stars are supposed to spark like that.”

Indeed Gamma Female had not only started wobbling its colors but spitting out moon-sized fireballs. One headed straight for the Inconceivable. It passed through its shields as if they weren’t there.

And then, it passed through the ship…

The last thing they saw on the viewscreen was Vizzini mouthing, “Inconceivable!” and then the viewscreen went to static.