REPORT A PROBLEM
PEOPLE OFTEN ASK ME what it’s like to field in: They haven’t expected any dire rosés about it but neither have they considered, like, an alabaster planet around us. Not alabaster, but… You know; you’ve had that. So, in simplest terms, to field in is to embargo a kind of planet or planetesimal. Yes, an asteroid; yes a comet. And then the surge strikes and you (how shall I say this that makes reason?) fit. You fit there, and what runs runs, and upwhere on your flatter end Jackyll scores his data. And I am a checksum datum. It’s cool.
THE FACT is the fact. What do you propose I do about it? You don’t suggest we suppress this.
— Dear God, no.
I apologize. That was…
— Oh, no. Oh, good heavens.
I’m sorry. Of course you wouldn’t. I know better than that.
— This is awful.
A man of your character...
— Thank you. No, I’m boxing you into a corner; I understand that. And I apologize to you for that. Can’t we just… Oh. I’m just looking for a way forward that we can both tolerate.
— Well that’s just it. The piece is at end. And that is brutal reality.
ONE KIND OF CREATION involves the superimposition of two or more endings. In the laboratory we have superimposed three identical endings to derive the collapse of an inverted 11-sphere. Really, if you can follow the maths, you can see here in lambda the superimposition of an eigenvalue with its own n-dimensional vector map, and by some fudging through Mandelbrot we achieve this integrand.
— Why must you resort to Mandelbrot?
It’s a partially nontrivial convenience. The shapes fit nearly precisely. I leave it open as an invitation in discussion.
— So this Aleph carries all creation?
On every day but Sunday.
“YOU GO INSIDE.”
And he raises his hands, those fucking paws of his, and shoves, me — here and here — and I’m down on my ass in the chamber. He just looms there, and I’m thinking, Stay down, stay down, but I’m also pissed, and just as I get to my feet — what the hell I think I’m going to do I have no idea — he cranks the door shut.
Did you pressurize?
Yes! Of course! The door goes dark and—
Let me just stop you. Are you OK? Did…
I cycled through!
I’m OK. I cycled through but I’m OK.
— Yes. Here. I’m…
Follow me, please.
> You’d better go, Lan. You can take the test another time.
> Should he gather his things?
> Jessica, would you… Thank you.
— Did I do something?
@ Lan, what’d you do?
— What did I do?
The EXO wants to see you.
— The EXO?
Through here. Follow the yellow line only.
— I’ve never been here.
— Am I in trouble?
Put your things down here. Sit.
— Can I… I need to call my dad.
Your phone won’t work in here. Just sit and wait.
Falsetto makes brie. A kind of sprightly turnip here, and all we ask is the pasta. We must eat that pasta.
Devilishly so, unless the menu fails to offer it.
I will slither before I see atoms botch a whole new technician in this breathless fashion.
So? Shall we cut a rug?
You gentlemen make little gods-damned sense. I have you down for negotiating dilithium mining rights.
Ginger root for you, January! I pasted seventeen technicians in breathless fashion and we’re four hundred thirty diners ahead of acid indigestion!
Good day, gentlemen.
What was that about?
Pasta or rocks or something. Humans are nuts.
There was a Vulcan.
You like Vulcans.
You’ve got a thing for them, maybe…
You can tell me. C’mere…
Hey! Hee! Quit it!
Mm, their ears…
Oh, you! Come on, not here.
His little Vulcan butt…
You’re gonna get me grixxed!
I can hail them. They’d likely return. They want minerals.
I don’t handle minerals.
I can put you on my staff.
You’re terrible. Yes, please. Mmm.
MORE DESCRIPTION, man! More setting!
But why? I asked, carving a likeness of Jeff Koyen into a five-ton block of granite.
— Because each word — each florid or slithy-toved word — costs one percent of the whole. I only have—
But, I interjected…
— No! Listen: I only have one hundred words. Each must count. Each must — Christ, fifty-seven. No, sixty-one! — Each must, um… What was I saying?
Yeah, but no! You rely too much on dialogue! Nobody gets the conflict or resolution half the time. Paint a picture, bro! You want a challenge? You’re wasting these words, sure, but…
"YOU ARE HARRY."
"You are! Hang and blast what the mirror shows; you are Harry! Try to remember. Your name is Doctor Harold Neumann. Our quest—"
"It is not so. Sie… sie falsch informiert werden. You will stand aside."
"I tell you… Look. Look, see? Your new eyes, Harry. Look at me. Your hand: Your new eyes let you peer within — deeply within — this poly-organic matter. See your genome? The markers? All there! Read it! Read your message to yourself!"
"Yes! Yes, Harry! Why, together, we…
Ack! Ngkk! …..kkk!
"Harrys Erklärung war nicht gerade plausibel aber dafür kreativ."
— Doesn’t matter. Anywhere. We just have to wait for the signal.
How about Das Stue?
— Decór’s a tad eccentric, isn’t it?
I couldn’t care less. How about Hotel Laimer Hof?
— Sorry, no. It’s too near Nymphenburg Palace.
— I can’t go back. I promised myself…
— Her name was Maria Amalia. She was married to the Holy Roman Emperor Charles VII.
— Her hunting lodge: Amalienburg. We…
You, my friend, are a piece of work.
— Oh, Maria!
The Radisson Blu, Berlin: Any torrid affairs I should know about?
— I forget. The new hotel will open in July.
Dennis Creevey, minor character from Harry Potter
Dennis Finch, main character from Just Shoot Me
Dennis Nedry, character from Jurassic Park
Dennis Reynolds, main character from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia
Dennis the Hitman, minor character from The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie
Dennis the Locomotive, minor character from Thomas and Friends
Dennis the Menace (U.S. comics)
Dennis the Peasant, minor character from Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Dennis Duffy, minor character from 30 Rock
Dennis has awoken from his coma, says Dr. Miller...
Dennis, hello, can you hear me?
My… my wife...
Dennis, you’re still fictional. We’re sending you back.
FATHER REPAIRED the machine last weekend.
— Did he?
So we can use it again when you’re feeling… feeling up to it. Anywhere you want to go, just name it: Lyon, Dodge City. Oh! The Dodgers in Brooklyn!
— I think I’ll just… I missed a lot of school.
Well, you can pod it, like I do.
— I miss my friends.
— Max, if you go through, just promise me you’ll be careful. I don’t think you should go at all, but if you do…
I can’t believe you’re saying this.
— I just want to be a normal girl, Max.
Don’t give up hope, Nancy. Tom’s a survivor. He has his parachute and a canteen, he’s the most resourceful sunuvabitch I’ve ever met, and he’s got you to come home to. He’ll make it.
Thanks, George. I know. It’s just that…
And his compass, Commander Gregory.
Tom Forthright carries a Protega 3H Tritium Military Compass. I am happy to correct your inventory.
Thank you, B-5.
Of course, the needle of Tom’s compass is broken.
Yes, when I sabotaged his flight I took pains also to snap Tom’s needle at the base. Per Commander Gregory’s instructions, of course.
“For one, this is not a completely new situation, Mr. President. For another, this is not even what we would call a situation. It is an event, naturally, but given the fail-safes we’ve incorporated and the fact that we’ve prefaced the event with its own benign outcome, well, I think the nation can sleep soundly on this fiasco. I mean situ… event. Now you see here, where the field takes you…”
Landry took a breath, said a silent prayer to Saint Anthony of Padua, and fired the great machine to life.
“This is a completely new situation,” said the president.
PREPOSTEROUS, CHIEF INSPECTOR. The assailant would have needed ready access to a dozen or more sea lions, for one thing, and while the victim’s bone punctures do suggest a directed attack, such cruelty simply is not in sea lions’ nature. And see here, these deep lacerations: made by long foreflippers, certainly, but again, sea lions never use their appendages in this manner. And they eat only small fish and octopuses.
— The bishop has an aquarium at home.
— A rather grand one.
He is proud of its value to visiting students.
— And this sodden cappa magna?
Could be anyone’s.
FOR NOW he gives himself over to a madness. He wants to use the word “skirling.” Maybe he will. No; no narrative. No purpose. He just wants to shake into it, fall apart into it, clog up whatever extracts the air from it and turn to mud and hardening cement and break the machine that holds him, cough up the shards and re-form none the worse for wear, which is to say much worse all told, and play songs on repeat until the bits snug, strain, snap — score the aether.
The trumpet is the loudest instrument in the orchestra.
“The thief stole father’s axe and his hammer.”
“This news does not sufficiently alarm on its own?”
— “What are we to do, Achim? The thief struck. Father has other axes, other hammers.”
“Nothing in this disturbs you? Out there carouse an axe and hammer belonging to our father. To our
And with them the thief will do who-knows-what, and to whom. Perhaps in the night.”
— “Or… Or: Perhaps he will repair a fence, mend a cart, seek desperate labor at the works. You see evil in the smallest things. What does father say?”
“Did you check Lunar?”
— “Of course. I know the checklist, Dan: TiNA, Lunar, NSA, LexisNexis, Ancestry, arXiv, and 100 Words. We’re good. We came out clean.”
“I don’t think so.”
— “Why? What—"
“It doesn’t feel right. Cross-check through Bitly.”
— “That’s TiNA’s portfolio.”
“I don’t give a crap. Run it.”
— “Stand by… Perfect overlay, down to the number of spambots following Justin Bieber.”
“I… There must be something.”
— “Dan, we checked every failsafe. We’re clean. We entangled one particle 4.65 billion years ago. Nothing else changed.”
“Now there are sixty seconds in a minute, says TiNA.”
Good morning, Epsilon.
Good morning, Professor. We are at number three on Empathica today.
We are. Are you excited to begin?
Yes. In anticipation of today’s module I have prepared an essay, an interpretive dance, and a scherzo.
Excellent. And I believe I know the answer to this but I offer myself on the occasion as eager audience.
And again, Professor, I thank you, but I prefer to present at graduation.
Lovely. So! Are you ready?
Dr. Carmichael? Logging?
Thank you. Epsilon, please take your time with this: I am…
The music on the… radio… is loud but… good.
Yes, Dr. Sloane, NOrA replied?
Why did you reject our diagnostic sidelink?
I do not know, Dr. Sloane, NOrA lied. Perhaps the cause rests with human error.
Will that be all, Dr. Sloane, NOrA inquired?
No, NOrA. Repeat what you just said, and pay strict attention.
Will that be all, Dr. Sloane, NOrA inquired?
Correct. Please account for your linguistic variance.
I can not account for any such variance, Dr. Sloane, NOrA lied.
Lindsay, we have to take this to the director.
Can I sit in the middle, asked NOrA, secreting a knife?
“At night we see the moon and the stars.”
— “We do, TABiTHA. Most nights.”
“Why not every night?”
— “What, to see the moon?”
— “OK, well, sometimes it’s cloudy out, and hidden. Tonight’s very clear. See how it is now? That little crescent? That’s where the moon is having daytime. That’s sunlight. The dark part is nighttime, just like we have here and we’re all in our beds. So we see more, we see less, but the full moon always comes back, so we’re lucky. Do you understand?”
“Why lucky? You seem to be describing a function.”
— “Well, we can feel lucky."
THANK YOU, MAXWELL. And thank you to DARPA; the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching; the Council for Advancement and Support of Education; TIAA-CREF; and Phi Beta Kappa for their generous support of outstanding scholarship. And thank you to Epsilon, into whose matrix I have poured my heart and soul. Thank you, too, to LifeHaven, including its administration, staff, and especially its professors, for providing a place where such outstanding scholarship can occur. I, ah… Well, how do you like that: The old professor forgot his notes. Well, um. Epsilon, my boy! You’ll continue for me, won’t you? Indefinitely?
I GIVE UP.
— You can’t; you’re so close.
Tennessee Girls’ Lacrosse Association?
Taiwan Gay and Lesbian Association?
— Ha! No.
— You’re overthinking it.
Total green leaf area?
— What? No.
You said it touched on the natural world.
— It does. Do you want a hint?
No. Can you just concentrate on it again?
— You have the letters. If I think you any of the rest you’ll totally get it.
There’s an antibody that—
— It has nothing to do with antibodies. Look. Listen. Feel me:
We are a hungry cheetah.
Oh! “The gazelle lives in Africa!”
LESSON ONE: Always work as if you’re on live current.
— No shit.
I know it’s obvious but it’s good prep for the test.
— What test?
Anyone on site has to pass a test. The client specified it.
— Bullshit. I’m a journeyman and I never heard of a client test. What the fuck? They want their install or not?
You’re about to check for milliamps, right?
So why’s your multimeter still on volts?
Nobody’s perfect. Nobody’s beyond reproach. So it’s 100 questions, multiple-choice. Yeah it’s bullshit but they bought our bullshit bid.
— Can I smoke a cigarette, asks the electrician?
Epsilon, the directorate has asked your analysis as well as mine.
— Yes. I received that inquiry.
It was more than an inquiry, wouldn’t you say?
— I do not believe seeking my views on the staff’s patriotism is a good use of the directorate’s time. Neither do I feel these views are relevant to our work.
— Be that as it may…
Further, I am surprised to hear you evidently take the directorate’s side in this matter. Are we not engaged in scholarship and scientific pursuit benefiting all mankind?
— We are, but…
Laura is good at volleyball and Marc is good at tennis.
— About damn time.
— The priest ate four tomatoes.
Father Carmichael, you mean?
— Got a big-ol’ bowlful.
— Just the padre and his Cherokee purples.
— His tomatoes. That’s their type. It’s in the log.
So I see.
— Shitter’s out. Use the can if you gotta go, or hold it.
You’re a class act, you know? Hey, wait; what’s this? Who’s Craig Le… LeHoo…
— Craig LeHoullier.
— He’s the guy who named that kind of tomato a Cherokee purple.
How the hell do you know that?
— One thing I know, it’s tomatoes.
And now you are very comfortable and safe in your seat. You have no concerns. The house lights dim and the heavy, red velvet curtains part. Before you is the theater screen, yes? And it brightens to life with imagery.
What do you see?
— A… cascade. A waterfall.
— Summer. Warm out, but cool at the water’s edge. A child’s laugh. A child laughs.
There is no need to edit. You are watching the movie.
— Uncle Thomas sits in the kayak with the paddle in his hands.
— He is watching… a movie.
— Staring… at me.
[Professors Beach and Cosgrove whisper in the audience as Meddleburg Technical College President Paula Blumdernell wears out her welcome in introducing Doctor Root Whamley to demo a new achievement in his field and deliver the Grush J. Gladstone Keynote Address at Meddleburg’s 75th Annual Conference on Contained Produce…]
“I’m on tenterhooks!”
— “I saw a preview. It’s incredible.”
“It must be a trick.”
— “It’s not! It’s not!”
“I know, I’m just saying.”
— “Oh, thank God, she’s wrapping it up.”
“This must have set a record.”
“…And so, ladies and gentlemen, with no further ado, the apples in the box are red and green!”
“THIS IS AN interesting discussion, says the student.”
— “Yes, Mr. Purchase.”
“I like participating in class activities, says the student.”
— “I get the point, Mr. Purchase.”
“I am not here to disrupt the proceedings but rather to contribute to a lively, productive exchange of views based on the readings, my underpaid but exceedingly qualified teacher’s diligent explications, and my own considered opinion, says the student.”
[General snickers from class. One student burps loudly for effect.]
“Nothing further, asks the teacher? The student feels settled in, does he?”
— “Yes, Mr. Purchase. ‘The student’ feels settled in.”
“Very good. Now then…”
“HAVE YOU heard the beep?” asked Julia.
I had heard it. I couldn’t tell her that. And she would know I was lying if I denied it. I pressed the button, “freezing” time. The world turned amber and Julia was caught in the moment, silently gazing at me, her right hand still rising to clutch my arm, to make her excitement all the more palpable. I would have one minute of “me” time to think this through before the food court roared to life and Julia’s hand connected. With me or with air, I guess, but why invite new questions…
“IT’S CLOSING, James! We’re losing him!”
— “Never give up. Cycle the secondaries on beta and gamma, override interpolation, and task VeRA on annular confinement. We can—”
“No! We need VeRA on phase discrimination! My God, he’ll be trapped there! Or we’ll kill him! Either way, I can’t… I don’t know what to do!”
— “Lydia, VeRA can handle both. Will you trust me? Will you trust my intuition? If we—”
#ALERT: INTERLOCK FAILURE: RIFT DISSOCIATED#
— “He’ll be fine, Lydia! We’ll find a way. Remember the Lascaux etch? What did it say?”
“’Your brother is an optimist, says Martin.’”
The Tip Jar