Quantum Loop: Entry 1c

Sham tossed the dart at the board at the same time as Hal Calalilli appeared. The dart flew through Hal’s head to land on double 10. Hal blinked. “Want to watch where you’re tossing those things?”

“Hal!” Sham shouted. “Finally – please tell me you have some sort of new information.”

“Well, no quick sort,” Hal admitted. “We’re still checking into these private operators on campus.”

“It’s June 12th. I think I felt my brain going numb last week.”

“Well, all we’ve had to go on is your identifier code: 333,333,331. Plus the other professor’s confirmed identity, Rick Ursion.”

Sham shrugged. “Well, as I said, he began making declarations when I observed it was that number in his sequence that was divisible by 17. Then for a switch he gave me that case.”

Hal nodded, absentmindedly leaning over to put his head through the referenced briefcase. “And you don’t know why he’d give you schematics for the math building?”

“None. With all the red marks, maybe they’re trying to blow it up… I really need more information!”

Hal tapped his calculator. “BigE says the building is still here in the Fall.”

“Very funny, Hal.”

Hal continued tapping. “Here’s something though – a new objective! The secret society may not be why you’re here. There’s some kid named Chip D. Ip in your class, who’s under ten.”

“TEN? I don’t recall anyone so young…”

“Tension,” Hal corrected, slapping his link. “He’s under tension. Stress. According to BigE, he’s going to fail your midterm, lose hope, sink into depression, drop out, and end up bottling soft drinks in a C-Plus Plus Factory…”

“From a MIDTERM?”

“…but he’s going to be coming to your office, so you can monitor his condition, make sure it won’t become terminal.”

“The midterm is not that hard, Hal.”

“Maybe Chip’s paranoid. There are time constraints too. Just give him some memory pointers.”

Sham nodded. “Of course I will – but I have a feeling that our main process still involves Professor Ursion’s group.”

“BigE hasn’t picked up any major problems though, so whatever they’re going to do either won’t work or be will be very subtle… maybe poisoning the water or something?”

“Hal, have you tasted some of the water already in the area?”

“I’m a hologram,” Hal reminded. “I can’t touch anything in your time.” A knock at the door interrupted the conversation, along with the sound of a big ‘OH!’. “That would be Chip,” Hal commented out loud. “Good luck.”

*

Outside, in the shadows of a larch tree, two figures spoke quietly.

“You sure Cal can come up with a plan of attack? You said he looked odd.”

“He’s not stringing us along. He’ll come up with a method.”

“Still, next time test him with the friendly numbers password. We can’t afford any error.”

“He knows the drill,” Rick Ursion assured. “We’ll find a way to fix the building’s computer labs once and for all…”

*

Will Sham pass the new password? Just what are these people plotting? Check back next time…

–Greg “hologrami” Taylor

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[No other columns this time, but this was actually Issue 4 (of Volume 77), as Issue 3 was “The Toronto Numb”. A massive parody special. Hence Sham’s comment about his brain.]

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