Thursday, June 22, 2006

Chapter 17: Quantum Gaming

In many families of the Higher Scientific Community (yes, somehow they still manage to have families, it isn’t known how they both find the time and manage to attract a mate but that is a phenomenon for another chapter) the habit of Quantum gaming has evolved from the lowly roots of Basic Dice Games such as are commonplace among the more commonplace population. Most of these are simple turn based Role playing games that have been developed and enhanced for the highly sophisticated minds of the Higher Scientific Youth.

One of the biggest differences is the actual dice used in these ventures. Rarely will you see a standard 3 dimensional cube or other multi-faceted die (unless the character is somehow constrained in his abilities from some previous occurrence). More often what is used is significantly different than what you would expect. Usually extra dimensions are included as in the Hypercube. It is a 5 dimensional perfect cube. Exactly the same length sides in all 5 dimensions. This is incredibly useful in games of this caliber and wonderfully beautiful to behold as well. Unfortunately there are some adverse side effects that have to be mitigated in the mean time. Since man has been proven to exist only in the viewable 3 dimensions he has an extreme difficulty influencing the 5 dimensional Hypercube, which has nearly infinite mass when crammed into 3-dimensional space. It wasn’t until the first Hypercube die was created that this situation was discovered. The scientists running the Wizards of the Other Coast – The Higher Scientific Game Company (WotOC, pronounced w00t) were unable to remove the die from their laboratory for a number of months. It was actually Mr. Slobodan Vilczevski (previously renown for his discovery of Nothing) who was able to develop a suitable small multidimensional containment field allowing the dice to be used as with nothing more than the heft of a high quality polymer.

On a similar vein, the introduction of a perfectly flat-faced 3-sided die was also plagued with difficulties during development. This game piece required the use of less than 3 dimensions while still filling out a 3 dimensional space, giving it a nearly infinitely small mass. The first twelve prototypes were lost before it was ever discovered that the person 3 cubicles down was sneezing from spring allergies. After the Hypercube containment field was modified to actually increase mass rather than decrease it, it took several years of R&D and several more lost dice before it was discovered that you had to actually construct each one inside the modified hypercube field so you wouldn’t lose it. 42 of the original 47 uncontained 3-sided dice are still at large and are highly sought after by collectors of the rare and unusual.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Chapter 16: Greatest Failure

The Galactic Disaster Preparedness Committee (GDPC) is a most ignoble position as of late. True, it has been acknowledged with the majors successes of intercepting the Thoron particle tidal wave in the Betelgeuse system and intervening in the progressive freezing of the planet Eridius by introducing a new brand of hair care product under cover of a dummy corporation that released copious amounts of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere (or bluehouse gasses, as the case was on that planet). However, it has had it’s share of magnificent embarrassments as well. More notably on that scale was the prevention of Tropical Atlantic Hurricanes. While the GDPC claims the lack of hurricanes on record hitting Ventosus Island as its success in part, the rest of the HSC tends to reflect on the lack of any and all weather data dating further back than 6 months at any given moment may in part belie that theory. The greatest proverbial egg on their face however stemmed from the original distress beacon sent out by a planet known at the time as Archemelar IV. This was a quaint little planet sure to become a fantastic tourist location in the event that intergalactic travel becomes commonplace. The Archemelarian Soni-burgers were one of the most fantastic delicacies that one could find this side of the fourth dimensional rift.

The distress beacon (really a casual request for assisstance) came when the thermian mosquitoes began migrating over from Archemelar III. Archemelar III was a largely uninhabited planet of almost completely inhospitable conditions. About the only things living there were the thermian mosquitoes, the Monocyanic quantum bacteria and the trylic tree snort (which was almost certainly not a native species since there was a significant lack of trees on Archemelar III). The GDPC was hot on the heels of the narcotic effects of a spectacular success, having just circumvented the invasion of the largely grumpy sea bass, when they received this call. Due to a minor difference in dialect the tone of the message was misconstrued to be one of utmost urgency and so the GDPC leapt into action without completely examining nearly all of the possible outcomes (10 to the 347th power is usually a sufficient number).

Upon receipt of this (apparently) most urgent distress beacon warning of the imminent invasion of another non-indigenous species, the GDPC immediately purchased massive quantities of the same type of pesticide that was used as a general deterrent for the Sea Bass and scheduled a extra solar hyperspace launch aimed at Archemelar III. In their haste to come once again to the rescue, they failed to account for the quintannual solar crosswind coming off from Alpha Centauri’s second and third star. This marginally sub-light particulation happened to be arriving about the same time the pesticide delivery module cleared Neptune and began to warm up it’s hyperspace generators. Now a solar crosswind isn’t something that you would normally associate with disaster and most of the time you would be correct. This “breeze” merely threw the trajectory of the delivery module off approximately 23 microns at the journeys origin. This, due to the inconsistent irregularities of hyperspace (discussed in a previous chapter) caused the craft to bounce far too close to the galactic center after picking up a nearly insignificant increase in mass from the Oort cloud. The result was that instead of hitting the intended target of Archemelar III it ricocheted violently off the 4th moon of Archemelar VII and caromed on a direct spiral into the Archemelar sun. This pesticide was an extremely unique variety acquired from a backwoods chemist shop deep in the NE sector of Antarctica. It was a special variety designed to work mostly on higher dimensional creatures and the chemist himself never gave up the recipe prior to the day he decided to attempt to travel to the future to find better manufacturing methods. He like all the other time travelers has yet to return. This pesticide had some rather uncharacteristic qualities that had yet to be discovered at this time however, since when it entered the star’s corona it began to have a most peculiar effect. The best method to date that has been achieved to describe this phenomena was that the Archemelar star had an allergic reaction and “sneezed”. This was the origin of the horsehead nebula.

Most scientists assume that the planet of Archemelar IV was instantly destroyed in the resulting shockwave however there are a select few adventurers that hold to the belief that it was merely forcibly ejected from it’s orbit and sent flying randomly through the galaxy. Now, no longer being warmed by a sun, it hovers near absolute zero with all of its inhabitants frozen in suspended animation. They search for it with a fervor comparable to the search for the lost city of Atlantis and have already picked a suitable surrogate sun to warm the planet once a method of retrieval is refined.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Chapter 15: Malagnon Beta

I hope you enjoyed the previous chapter penned (or typed, written, scribed or whatever means of creation the author used) exquisitely by none other than the famous Jonny10. “I’ve never heard of Jonny10 before” you may say. And to that I say of course you haven’t for you are probably a mere earthling sitting in some third dimensional structure lovingly (or begrudgingly depending who did the building) constructed by another third dimensional earthling. I use the term ‘probably’ because I am unsure how far this scientific journal of epic proportions will reach into uncharted space and time.

The reason you, our most studious reader, have not heard the name Jonny10 is because his exploits are generally unknown ‘round these parts. If you were to travel to Malagnon Beta, the third planet in the Pikchur galaxy, you would most assuredly see at least 1,754 statues erected in homage to the enigma that is Jonny10. Generally, these statues are no more than a pile of rubble tossed haphazardly into a central location due to the fact that no one in Malagnon Beta has ever actually seen Jonny10 but they apparently assume he resembles something akin to said piles of rubble.

The reason for this is simple and straightforward; the people of Malagnon Beta have come to believe that rock piles are synonymous with wealth and want nothing more than to show earthlings the extent of their wealth. And what better way to show ones rock wealth than playing a game of Avoid-Being-Crushed-By-Large-Heavy-Objects. Though being crushed by rocks is seemingly impossible due to their unique physiological makeup. The rules of the game are fuzzy at best since we have not yet translated the Malagnon language or individual dialects of the many tribes of the planet.

In one visit to the primarily forested planet we were greeted by what can only be described as a hyperactive yet surprisingly tame bucket of an unknown liquid. The bucket attempted to interact with our landing party but only managed to dump half of its contents on our pilot. We believe this is how the Malagnons communicate. Currently we are developing hyper-sensitive outer coverings that can detect the subtle differences between three drops from a bucket which we have come to conclude has the meaning of “Lets play a game of Avoid-Being-Crushed-By-Large-Heavy-Objects” and four drops which means “Your standing in my foot.” Not only does the language differ by the number of drops, but it also depends on what sound the drops make as they strike a surface. For instance drip-drip-drop is a completely different phrase than drip-drop-droop. One of my personal favorite sayings is drip-pang-zap, I’m not sure what it means but whenever someone says it the buckets literally quake with laughter (insofar as it is possible for a bucket of unknown liquid to laugh).

How these buckets of liquid managed to grapple and throw rocks has yet to be discovered. It may have something to do with the odd properties of the liquid in the buckets, which resembles wet glue in texture but is clear like pure spring water. It is my belief that the buckets are merely the “clothes” of the liquid as I have seen, with my own two viewing organs, the liquid jump straight out of one bucket and into another. Fear not, for the first stop the floating Island of Ventosus will make after the demise of the planet will be on the humble planet of Malagnon Beta where we will be able to observe the indigenous beings more closely.

At any rate, the large piles of stone lying strewn across the planet look almost vaguely like a finger when viewed from the far reaches of space. The vague finger shape seems to be pointing in the general direction of Earth, and who on Earth has the most space-sounding name? Jonny10 of course, which is why we at QSP and certain members of the HSC have come to the logical conclusion that the piles of rubble are actually a monument to the intrepid space explorer and have also deduced from various top secret experiments and observations that the game of Avoid-Being-Crushed-By-Large-Heavy-Objects is merely a front to make it seem as if they have no idea what we are talking about.

The many scientist and other higher-thinkers at the HSC are trained to see through such fallacies and can readily identify at least 27.986 ways the beings of Malagnon Beta have tricked the greater Milky Way area into believing that they are only unintelligent buckets of unknown liquid that can somehow lift boulders the size of Texas. It is the proposition of some lesser beings in the LSC that we may not be on the verge of a major scientific discovery. Of course, anything the LSC has to say is automatically stamped as erroneous babblings spewing from a pit of nonsense. Therefore I recommend we disregard anything and everything the LSC has to say and proceed to build a space elevator to Malagnon Beta in all haste. This will start the downfall of Earth but will speed the launch of Ventosus Island into a self-contained floating mass of all that is good and right.

I don’t see how this could possibly backfire.