Colette's Valentines Day Special
The Trattorian Dr. Miyako looked up from the equations she had scribbled in a daze on some napkins. Adjusting her Appel Glasses, she saw a Scythian physicist in a neat red suit extending a champagne flute towards her.
“No thank you,” she pushed it away.
“Well, I’m Professor-”
“Thomas P. Rogers, faculty of the Scythian FTL Institute,” she interrupted. The image analysis software in her Appel Glass had already identified him.
“In that case, it’s my pleasure to meet you,” he responded, bowing slightly. He could only hope that Dr. Miyako, in her social ineptness, had failed to notice his shaking. After all, she had hid herself among the empty round tables in the ballroom’s corner. The bright red bars on her labcoat’s shoulders and trim on her clipped-on ID contrasted against their white settings. Her short black hair almost reached her shoulders and framed the genetically perfected features of a face nearly as pale as her labcoat. Tiny, floating windows of what were presumably physics papers permeated across her Appel Glass-
“Could you please stop staring at my eyes?”. Dr. Miyako dragged Professor Rogers back to reality. “Eye contact makes me uncomfortable.”
“Oh, sorry,” he mumbled. “I just wanted to say, it was really kind of you to be the keynote speaker for this RARCom fundraiser. I really enjoyed that speech on A-D-E classification of modular-invariant partition functions in conformal field theory!”
“You can cease flattering me,” Dr. Miyako replied in a disappointed tone. “I only had to undertake this inane onus as a mutual goodwill gesture to improve Trattorian-RARCom relations. The RARCom organizers coerced me to diminish the intellectual level of the speech, and they had me remove all the sections on Lie algebra classification to enforce a more ‘practical’ subject matter. It was quite a disappointment accommodating this audience of simpletons.”
“Well, I can assure you that I am no simpleton,” Professor Rogers asserted with an added swagger in his voice.
Dr. Miyako dropped the pen she was spinning in her fingers. "Credentials please."
"Well..." Professor Rogers had rehearsed his little self-panegyric many times in the men's restroom. "In high school, I received a 2320 on my SAT and made the finalist round in the Scythian Physics Olympiad. I graduated in the top 10% of my undergraduate class at the Scythian FTL Institute. I then authored a Ph.D. dissertation on magnetic monopoles in condensed matter systems. My current research on the properties of spin ice has earned me a Humboldt research award."
Dr. Miyako remained unfazed, even bored. "You foreign scientists are so full of yourselves, aggrandizing your achievements in such a gaudy manner. I easily I received a 2400 on the SAT and had to choose between representing Trattoria at the International Math or Physics Olympiad- I picked the former and gold-medaled. But of course that doesn't matter, because at the age you were presumably a high school freshman, I was a college freshman. And I graduated summa cum laude and valedictorian from TTI, which I might note has a higher galactic ranking than your FTL Institute. Your one and only Ph.D. is based on a faulty misnomer, since condensed-matter magnetic phenomena do not violate Gauss's Law Of Magnetism and are therefore useless in confirming Dirac's quantization argument. Furthermore, I've never heard of the undistinguished award you mentioned, while I won two Nobel Prizes and a Fields Medal. Now, simpleton, would you allow me to return me to my solace- I was doing some rough derivations to see if the spectral interpretation of nontrivial Riemann-Zeta zeros could shed some insight on the Riemann hypothesis..."
Professor Rogers had zoned out about halfway through her diatribe- she hadn't told him anything he didn't read on her official bio. He would have taken deep offense had it been any other ordinary person- but something about her captivated him, and he couldn't really rationally deny it. Something about her obvious passion for mathematical physics during her keynote, her clear brilliance, her beautiful if somewhat plain and artificial appearance- he hoped that some normal minifig lay buried beneath the heap of arrogance and asexuality, despite how hopeless his colleagues had labeled the endeavor.
"Nonetheless," Professor Rogers replied, "Perhaps I could learn something from an intellect as great as yours." He put on a sweet smile and leaned in towards Dr. Miyako.
"I suppose," Dr. Miyako acquiesced, although Professor Rogers hadn't waited to pull up a chair. “How familiar are you with group theory?”
“Actually, I read your paper formulating a possible Theory of Everything using the simple exceptional Lie group E8. I thought it contained several interesting concepts.” Professor Rogers clenched his fists below the table and prayed to the maidens of Scythia that Dr. Miyako didn’t probe his understanding too far- even the 31-page summary was too dense with abstract mathematics for him to comprehend. The gambit seemed to pay off for now, however, as he now had Dr. Miyako’s full attention.
“Really?” she asked with incredulity. "People bother to waste their time reading that defunct piece anymore?".
"Of course," Professor Rogers reassured her. "I mean, it was a nice piece of work, and clearly shows your intelligence. I don't know why you would be disappointed in it."
"Because it was wrong," she blurted out, her neutral expression starting to slide into melancholy.
"I don't see what was wrong with it," Professor Rogers admitted with honesty. The math in the paper was at a level where he lacked any qualifications to judge its accuracy.
Tears began to pool in Dr. Miyako's eyes. "Two USA physicists published a paper refuting the idea that I could embed the three generations of fermions into the exceptional Lie algebra E8. I tried to counter argue on the fermion embedding objection, but the Trattorian Soledad Fermion Super-Collider failed to detect any of the predicted 22 new bosonic particles even as we approached the Planck energy level. And then Dr. Liang came along..."
She lost her control and began to cry upon mentioning her rival's name. This time she accepted Rogers's offer of a drink, although as a Trattorian it lent no help in clouding her mind or grief. "She's only in her thirties and yet she beat me to the correct Theory of Everything. As a specialist in group theory, I had so wanted the 248-dimensional E8 to be the structure underlying the universe. It's so fundamentally beautiful and symmetric- Dr. Liang's theory, although correct, lacks any mathematical elegance, and can't even explain the mechanics of our universe without appealing to the existence of others. It's as if the powers that be had smashed the BrikVerse together from utterly disparate and disorderly parts- surely you would understand my misery."
“Well, you’re pretty beautiful, even if the universe isn’t. I guess that’s a consolation.”
Dr. Miyako ignored him and Professor Rogers absently nodded, attempting to pretend to understand her predicament. Although they clearly operated on separate wavelengths, Rogers hoped further efforts could bridge the gap between their two thought processes. He was also impressed observing the mental immunity of Trattorians to alcohol in person. Dr. Miyako continued rambling on about higher-level mathematics with the same cogence she possessed at the start even after setting down her fourth glass. It began to dawn on him that inebriation was not a tool at his disposal for smoothing his relations with her.
Professor Rogers stopped Dr. Miyako as she reached for a fifth champagne flute while discussing the merits of triality transformations. "Careful now, Lab Director, I wouldn't want you to die of alcohol poisoning on this occasion. In any case, it's obvious that I hit upon a sensitive topic. How about we try something of a little less gravity?"
"And what would you suggest, Dr. Rogers? Perhaps a talk on your line of work in condensed matter physics? I'm not exactly an expert on the field, but I could more than pass for a-" she inquired.
"Well," Professor Rogers interrupted, "I wanted to ask, Dr. Miyako, if you have any experience dancing? This is a fundraiser gala, after all."
Dr. Miyako tilted her head in confusion, and he repeated the question.
"I don't have any past experience or future inclination," she responded. "When I receive invitations to these sorts of events, I usually do what I'm doing now and continue my work in an unoccupied corner so as to minimize the time wasted."
"If you've never done it before, how can you be so sure that you wouldn't like it? That's not very rational of you."
"Too much interpersonal contact," Dr. Miyako grumbled in immediate reply.
"Well, considering you've engaged me for a half-hour of my time about your work, wouldn't it be fair for me to take five minutes of yours? Just five minutes. Also, the Nobel-winning Britannian physicist Dr. Gabor, inventor of holograms, was well known for his passion for the waltz."
Dr. Miyako fell silent. Professor Rogers took her hand, and although she frowned and pulled back with a small effort, she didn't outright resist.
"A man of your guile would have been better suited as a politician than a scientist," she retorted.
"Thank you," Rogers gracefully accepted as they moved out of the corner and onto the dance floor. That he was dragging a Trattorian in hand attracted much attention. "Now, put your left hand on my shoulder, and just follow my direction. It's very algorithmic, much like a physical Conway's Game of Life."
"Actually, studying cellular automata leads to fascinating results regarding emergent prop-" Professor Rogers put a finger to his lips as the music started again. He guided Dr. Miyako to the gentle string tune, although she kept an awkward distance from him.
"Dr. Miyako, I wanted to ask- do you ever think about things aside from science and mathematics?". He was surprised that despite her relative fame and their conversation, he had learned very little about her as a person.
"My financial matters occupy me out of necessity, including paychecks and taxes. Winning awards and publication in journals is-"
"Also not related to work," Rogers cut her off. He ignored what would have been an accumulation of tremendous irritation in any other situation- he had gotten this far. Dr. Miyako pondered the question, looking towards the floor to avoid eye contact.
"OK, let's try an easier question- maybe you could tell me your first name?" Rogers offered. As seemed to be traditional for Trattorians, the event handouts only listed her initials and surname.
"That does not concern you," she rebuffed.
"Your full name is public domain- you could tell me, or I could look it up."
"Priscilla," she spat out. "And please refrain from even the thought of first-name basis."
"Okay, Dr. Priscilla Miyako," Rogers replied. Judging from her glare, he decided not to push too hard.
The music accelerated in its finale and inspired Rogers with another idea. He lifted his arm and twirled his partner. "Spin 2*pi!". He smiled as, just like a good mathematician, she assumed counterclockwise, labcoat whirling behind her. As the music drew to a close, Professor Rogers drew the two of them to the side.
"So?" Rogers posed simply.
"Five minutes better spent on another derivation," she responded. "Although not as bad as expected," she added after a little more thought.
"See?" Rogers pointed out. "You should try new things before you disparage them. Say, would you have time for a coffee after-"
"Nope," she interjected. "I should starting heading to that RARCom-hosted physics conference right now and then I have my private shuttle scheduled to take me back to Trattoria. It was nice meeting you, though."
"How about a good-night hug?" Rogers asked.
"How about a hearty handshake," Dr. Miyako replied, extending her hand.
"Figures I can't ask for too much on our first day." Professor Rogers conceded to himself, accepting the hand. "Oh, and happy Valentines Day," he added.
Dr. Miyako tilted her head in confusion.
"Never mind then," Rogers dismissed. As Dr. Miyako turned and left, Rogers clenched his fist and muttered to himself.
"I don't care if it's a biological impossibility, or that RbT was cured and neutralized. There has to be a way to recover that loving minifig interred in you, and I will find it no matter the cost or how many deals with BrikThulhu I have to make."
Professor Rogers reclined in his chair, his legs on the lab bench and his hands clicking some keys on a keyboard. A variety of imposing machinery surrounded him, whirring in a tone too low to easily notice but perceptible enough to annoy. The lab was a mess, strewn with spare machine parts and crammed with as much equipment as they could nab from their colleagues. He and his partner, Professor Kyle Latham, weren't exactly the most organized types, but the results they produced were enough for their department supervisor to ignore that idiosyncrasy. It was a down period in their lab at the moment. The wait as their x-ray diffractors crunched data served well as the calm before the storm of analysis and statistical tests. And with the Scythian Empire pinched from multiple war efforts, the higher-uppers in the FTL Institute expected usable results from every credit invested.
Professor Latham extracted himself from underneath a precariously overcrowded antigravity optical bench, his brows furrowed in disapproval. "Professor Rogers, you seem awfully cheerful today. And, as a corollary, I might point out, awfully unproductive."
Professor Rogers smiled, his demeanor failing to deny any of Latham's accusations. "Well, what would you have me be doing right now? We're just collecting data-"
"Oh don't give me that Tom," Latham snapped. "Get your arse over here and help me do some maintenance on the optical bench."
"Bloody maidens," muttered Rogers. "I just had a wonderful time over the weekend and a long extragalactic trip from RARCom, can't you-"
"I said don't give me that, Tom. I went on the same trip and yet here I am, being productive. If you're still dazed over that Tratt lass you met at the fundraiser, then I'd say you got infected with whatever mental dysfunction she has."
Professor Rogers glared at Latham. "Dr. Miyako is not mentally dysfunctional. Her mind is just as beautiful as her physical appearance- what more do you want out of a girl?".
"For one, the physical capability to fuck," Latham whistled, "and for two, somebody without Assburgers."
"You're so shallow, Kyle, you know that? You look over a lass and all you see is their fanny without considering any other merits they have."
"You don't need any other merits for one night." Latham paused, before adding, "Which is basically your deal, since I'll bet ten credits you'll never be able to meet Dr. Perfect again. I'd bet more, except given how much you've been spending on drinking recently, I'd be afraid you wouldn't pay up."
Professor Rogers took his feet off the desk and intensified his glare towards his friend. "I'm telling you, she liked me. She even let me hold her hand and be her dancing partner."
Professor Latham laughed, almost knocking a loose laser off the optical bench. "Even after the worst sciencey pickup line and exploiting her in a moment of personal weakness, she rationally took pity on you and suffered to humor you to the middle-school dance. Then you wanted to hug her and she ran away. Hell, actual middle-school dances go better than that, if I recall correctly."
"That is not true!" Rogers countered. "She offered me a handshake before she left."
"Eh, close enough."
"I don't get it," Rogers asked with frustration weaved into his voice. "You're my friend, right? Shouldn't you be supporting me, instead of making fun of my interest in a girl?"
"Trust me, I am," Latham replied. He approached Rogers and put a hand on his shoulder, his tone growing serious. "There are several known methods of resurrecting the dead, both technological and magical, and yet none currently known for attracting a Trattorian. You're tilting at windmills here, Tom, and I don't want to be there when you inevitably mope and write angsty poetry like you did after Lisa. And even if by some miracle of the maidens you got her to like you back, she just lacks the physical equipment for intercourse. And knowing you, it would end the same way."
"But I still want her!" Rogers blurted out, "and you're going to be help me do it!".
"I'm not going to help lose my own bet," Latham responded. "Or lead you down the path of ruin, because I'm a caring friend," he added after a little more thought.
"Forget the bet, Kyle. Please, you got to help me as a friend!"
"That's what you said every time you asked me for studying help in grad school," Latham retorted.
Rogers pleaded, "This is different. I think I finally found a woman I want to express my love to and settle down with-"
"Might I interject that the Trattorian state does not recognize the concept of marriage-"
"Would you stop interrupting me!" Recollecting his calm, Rogers lowered his voice and tried again. "Listen, Latham, you don't have to do much if you don't want to. I just need you to do one favor."
Latham quieted down and turned an ear towards Rogers. "I'm listening."
"You knew Lord Professor Mills, right? The Scythian pioneer in quantum field theory and the guy who proposed the Yang-Mills tensor equation in conjunction with the Trattorian Dr. Yang?" Latham nodded his head. "Could you get in contact with him and convince him to do a special guest lecture at the FTL Institute? I'll also need two tickets."
"Lord Professor Mills retired sixteen years ago," Latham flatly declared. "I haven't talked with him for years, I'm not sure I could convince him to do this."
"Please..." Rogers was on the verge of begging. "You have to try- I don't ask these sorts of drastic favors of you often. This might be the only way I can convince Dr. Miyako to go out with me."
"Not if you phrase it like that she won't."
"It doesn't matter what she thinks it is, as long as we did it. Now, you go have a friendly chat with Lord Professor Mills and get me those two tickets and I'll pay both our bar tabs for the next six months."
"Ooooh," Professor Latham let out. "Tempting- make it nine months and I'll give it a shot."
"Deal," Rogers concluded.
"You really want her a lot, don't you," Latham commented as he crawled back beneath the optical bench.
Dr. Miyako was being terribly unproductive.
Three of the four walls in her office were floor-to-ceiling whiteboard screens covered with proofs and calculations, interrupted only by a glass door. As she had run out of space to write on them, abstruse equations and diagrams began to creep on to her window as well, to the chagrin of the robot janitors. In contrast, the spartan room itself only contained a glass desk and a white plastic chair. An iPad and several boxes of markers lay neatly stacked on the workspace- she had exhausted an entire pack of Expo’s today. She realized that she had been staring at her alternative proof of Iwasawa’s conjecture on p-adic L-functions for the better part of an hour.
“Gödel-dammit, I’m only as far as Drs. Bhargava’s & Shankar’s paper! I haven’t proven any novel results on elliptic curves of rank two today- some mathematician I am,” she grumbled.
She knew her actual job description read “physicist”- the Science Department didn’t technically have a separate pure mathematics department, and this bothered her to no end. She was sick of the Science Department trying to exploit her talents for more “practical” matters. Just this week Dr. Herndon had dumped a pile of 11-dimensional quantum loop gravity calculations for her to do, claiming it more expedient than waiting in the queue for the Central AIs. She hadn’t started on them, having been distracted by her diversionary interest in the Birch & Swinnerton-Dyer conjecture. She knew she was wasting work time pursuing this, but she didn’t particularly care- the loop gravity calculations would only take her a few hours Saturday evening anyway. It insulted her that the assignment wasn't even remotely related to her area of interest, unlike the self-similar p-adic string dimension analysis last week.
A notification for a video chat popped onto Dr. Miyako’s Appel Glass. “Accept the call, SIRI,” she ordered while pressing the side of the device. She nearly fell backwards when she saw the caller.
“How in the nonrenormalizable did you obtain my personal number?” she demanded with equal parts concern and indignation.
“Well…” Professor Rogers trailed off before gathering his courage. “I was working on my spin ice research, and I needed some help with the mathematical aspects in calculating the magnetricity. Since you’re an expert in quantum field theory, which is kind of related, I thought you would be good to ask, out of, you know, scientific etiquette.”
Dr. Miyako frowned at the suggestion and took care to control her rising voice. “Nowhere does scientific etiquette entail a personal call- an email would have sufficed. Now you better have a groundbreaking paper deserving of my urgent co-authorship on the end of your line or I’m going to-”
“Wait, please, I have news you’ll want to hear,” Professor Rogers panicked. He tried to maintain a cool demeanor in front of Dr. Miyako, but he knew the moment she called Trattorian security on him the entire venture was over.
She frowned and crossed her arms. “Over the years I have received two calls from the Nobel committee and one from the International Congress of Mathematicians, I highly doubt anything you can tell me over the phone will surprise me to such a pleasant extent.”
“I’m betting several of those calls were due to your solution to the Yang-Mills existence and mass-gap problem, am I right?”. Rogers had learned by now that ego-stroking was an effective tool for getting Trattorians’ attention. As expected, his stratagem had the desired effect- Dr. Miyako beamed. “Of course, that was me!”.
“You’ll be excited to hear that Lord Professor Mills is returning to give a special guest lecture at the FTL Institute. The event is open only to FTL Institute affiliates- and invited guests,” he reported.
“Didn’t he retire sixteen years ago?” inquired Dr. Miyako. “How did you motivate him to return? Not that it matters to me- it sounds like you’re taunting my inability to attend such a fabulous event.”
Professor Rogers winked. “How it happened indeed doesn’t matter. However, the point I’m making is that you’re my invited guest. We could attend and enjoy the lecture together and you can meet what I assume would be a physicist you highly respect.”
Dr. Miyako’s eyes finally redirected from the board she had been studying to Professor Rogers. She smiled a little and let out something resembling a nervous laugh. “You can’t be serious...you would actually take me to such an event? You don’t realize how much the prospect excites me.”
Rogers reciprocated the smile. “Nope, you’re not dreaming. I’ll forward you the time and details via email- you might want to look into a Scythian travel visa in the mean time.”
Dr. Miyako returned her eyes to the floor, although she trembled somewhat with excitement and her smile remained. “Thank you so much for the opportunity. It is appreciated.”
“You’re welcome. I hope it’s a night we can both enjoy,” Rogers winked. As he prepared to sign off, he paused.
“Oh, and you should do that more often.”
“Smiling. It looks beautiful on you. Signing off-”
Rogers’s window flicked off of Dr. Miyako’s Appel Glass. She returned to her desk and, for once, settled in the cold chair. Her analytical mind failed to parse anything that had happened in the past few minutes, confounding her far more than even the Hasse-Weil L-function had earlier.
”What motivation does he have for treating me so abnormally?” Dr. Miyako thought to herself. ”He must be seeking grant money or research data. It’s the only logical explanation for this course of affairs.” Satisfied with this conclusion, she returned to her original ponderings on the mysteries of the Birch & Swinnerton-Dyer conjecture.
Professor Rogers leaned against the wall, ice clinking in a glass of ruby punch. In the past, he would have socialized with the many attractive Scythian post-docs milling around outside the lecture hall. Today, however, he was expecting someone. ”What a reversal,” he noted to himself. ”For once, I’m the wallflower. Maybe she really is contagious.”
He stared into his reflection on the drink's surface, subtle ripples from his shaking hands disrupting it periodically. He knew that Dr. Miyako wouldn't skip the guest lecture, judging from her excitement during the video call and its relevancy to her past achievements. Nonetheless, Rogers was nervous- over what? He didn't expect much out of her tonight. After all, he had achieved his primary goal of meeting her again face-to-face without Trattorian security dogpiling on him. Maybe he was worried her lack of social graces would embarrass them both. Maybe, he wanted more.
Murmurs and turning heads signaled to him that she had arrived. Her white labcoat, loose and unbuttoned, bounced as she strode in plain white heels and revealed a plain white formal dress underneath. The whole ensemble was presumably from some high-flying Lancian designer and, despite its simplicity, bespoke a certain expensive elegance. Among the Scythians’ red garb, she stood out like a glowing angel. Rogers immediately recognized Dr. Miyako’s lack of Appel Glass- she murmured commands into a platinum Appel Watch today. Looking around the room, she found Professor Rogers and headed towards him.
“Thank you so much for this opportunity,” she greeted, extending her hand. Rogers, noticing himself staring at her, tried to drag himself back to reality and accept the handshake.
“Ummm, sure, you’re welcome,” he tried to respond. As he leaned in, he noticed a large diamond hanging off Dr. Miyako’s neck, a clear and serene blue he had seen only in pictures of five-star Venetian beach resorts. He was desperate for any topic to distract him from the lady standing before him.
“So...um, where’d you get the diamond from? I’m guessing it’s pretty expensive,” he asked.
“Oh.” She looked down towards her necklace. “The Wittelsbach diamond used to belong to the royal jewel collection of the Bavarian imperial family,” she responded. “Then it didn’t, after I bought it for eighty million dollars. It was my first purchase with my salary raise after my first Nobel. I even wore it to the Nobel banquet for my second one. So I thought today was an appropriate occasion for it, given that I owe Dr. Mills the foundation for much of my own success.”
Rogers was impressed- no, more shocked- to see anything approaching humility or acknowledgement from Dr. Miyako. “Wow, you’re attributing quite the amount of respect to Dr. Mills,” Rogers commented. Inside, he envied him.
“Well,” Dr. Miyako responded, “Newton once said, ‘If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.’ I’m excited to meet one such forebear today.”
“I hope you realize that was an insult against Hooke, a midget. In any case, it should be starting soon,” Rogers noted. He wrapped his arm around her back, although the latter slinked out of the gesture. As they entered the lecture hall, Dr. Miyako turned back towards Rogers. “Please, don’t try to touch me again.”
“In order to really understand the Yang-Mills existence and mass-gap problem, we need to gain an understanding of the theory that underpins it. To quantize Yang-Mills theory, we need to express the generating functional as a path integral over infinite possible trajectories. Unfortunately, this isn’t enough due to the problem of gauge freedom- a topic you may have covered in passing in an elementary course on vector calculus- and is exacerbated here due to the non-Abelian nature of our gauge group. Thus we introduce the Fadeev-Popov complex scalar ghost field to rectify this problem. Physically it actually makes no difference, since although the ghost field obeys Fermi-Dirac statistics, it violates the spin-statistics theorem…”
Professor Rogers was in hell.
Dr. Miyako had dragged them to the center of the very front row, as she claimed to always have done in her school days. Polite applause had ensued as the aged Lord Professor Mills hobbled with a walking stick towards the whiteboards at the front of the room. His hair balding and his face wrinkled like a prune buried in the desert, he introduced himself and gave a brief overview of the guest lecture before diving right in. Rogers, although a qualified physicist himself, was clearly out of his element and field. He took a few introductory particle physics courses in college to get a flavor for them- a flavor that repelled him after only the first day. And now here he was, stuck reliving the worst days of his education with a retired professor who should have been dead if it weren’t for the wonders of Scythian medical technology.
“Dr. Miyako, why is he doodling random squiggles on the whiteboard?” Rogers whispered to her. Even if he couldn’t parse the meaning of the equations, the drawings completely escaped him.
“Those aren’t random doodles, they’re Feynman diagrams used to model subatomic particle interactions,” she responded, almost scolding him. “Incorrect ones, I might add.”
Dr. Miyako raised her hand and Lord Professor Mills, somewhat agitated at the interruption, asked, “What is it this time?”.
She assumed a smile as she corrected her theoretical forerunner. “Oh, you switched the indices for the Lorentz signature in your 4-gluon vertex.”
Lord Professor Mills sighed, massaging his forehead with a rumpled hand. “Try doing this stuff when you get to be my age.”
The Professor droned on. At some point he passed the so-called introductory material and explained the actual Yang-Mills existence and mass-gap problem: “rigorously establishing a non-trivial quantum Yang-Mills theory on a 4-dimensional Euclidean space on a foundation at least as strong as the Wightman axioms and a nonzero mass gap for any compact simple gauge group G.” Professor Rogers knew that even before Dr. Miyako’s solution, physicists had numerous experimental pathways to verifying the mass gap and that renormalization worked well enough for them without any sort of rigorous proofs. He couldn’t fathom the importance of the problem or why it had such a large monetary award associated with it, although he knew Dr. Miyako possessed strong pure mathematical tendencies and thus a different mindset to approaching physics.
Rogers, feeling drowsy, perked as he felt Dr. Miyako poke in him in the arm. “He’s finally getting to the part about my solution,” she chimed.
Lord Professor Mills continued his relentless lecture, “So Miyako authored a paper on instanton sums in noncommutative deformation of Connes-Rieffel gauge theory. Now, some in the audience may come to believe that instanton moduli spaces are smooth and thus relatively easy to work with, but Miyako actually had to employ several innovations to derive the mass gap from these equations. She obtained the Seiberg-Witten lemma through analyzing the explicit instanton sum as an analog of holomorphic curves on a Calabi-Yau manifold, obtaining a mirror in the form of a Riemann surface encoding the lemma. From there, she applied the Wightman axioms to the assumption of a quantum lattice structure used to prevent nonrenormalizability problems…”
Professor Rogers wondered why they didn’t advertise theoretical particle physics textbooks as children’s bedtime stories.
Professor Rogers was half-asleep when he noticed most people were getting up and leaving. At long last, the guest lecture was over.
“I managed to correct Dr. Mills five times during the lecture,” Dr. Miyako announced with pride as she beamed at Rogers.
“Oh, really?” he asked. He hadn’t bothered to count how many times she had annoyed the old Lord Professor.
“Yep,” she replied. “I guess I’m the new model.”
“Or maybe he tried enjoying the sixteen years of retirement he’s had thus far instead of doing strange math,” he rebutted. Dr. Miyako had already bolted from her seat, however, and was heading towards the front of the room.
“Dear maidens of Scythia preserve me,” he muttered to himself.
Dr. Miyako had already introduced herself and extended a hand towards Lord Professor Mills.
“Oh, it was you,” the old man noted between wheezes. “Well, I guess it’s interesting to finally meet the person who solved the problem. Figures it would be solved in my lifetime, and figures it would be someone as stran…errr, unique, as you.”
“Oh, I assure you,” she replied, “it’s an even greater honor for myself to meet you. I owe much of my success to you and Dr. Yang- I wouldn’t have solved the problem if you two didn’t come up with it. Besides, I’m a big fan of your work ever since I read your paper on tensors back in fifth grade.”
“Huh,” Lord Professor Mills muttered. “My magnum opus is elementary-school literature now, it seems. Say, are you a college student?”
“No, I’m sixty-three years old. I just told you a minute ago I’m an accomplished Nobel-winning theoretical physicist and mathematician.”
“Huh, you sure look like one. Sorry about the forgetfulness- it must be the old age kicking in,” Mills replied. He coughed and noticed Rogers approaching him. “Hey, Scythian professor, is this your girlfriend? She’s been quite eager to-”
“I am not his girlfriend!” Dr. Miyako screeched. “He’s just a useful acquaintance I exploited to come here and meet you. Trattorians don’t even possess a word for the concept of what you call love in our native language.”
“Oh, figures, you Trattorians are like that, I remember now,” Lord Professor Mills muttered. “Yeah, Dr. Yang had almost the same reaction when I put the moves on her sixty years ago. Those were the days, when I dreamed of being a hot physicist like that Dr. Feynman from the USA. Good times, good times.”
“You knew Dr. Feynman?” Miyako inquired excitedly.
“Yeah,” Mills replied, “he taught me how to play the bongo drums. He also tried to teach me how to pick up women, but that didn’t go as well as the bongo drums.” Mills began rhythmically slamming his palms against a nearby table.
“It would have been so cool to learn the Feynman interpretation of path integrals from the physicist himself! Perhaps you could tell me about-”
“Listen,” Mills interrupted, “I came here to do what I needed to do and now I have a scheduled senior golf outing in Arcology Tower 23. I have to leave now.”
“Wait, could you oblige me with one favor?” Dr. Miyako asked. “I want to take an autographed picture with you!”.
“Eh, sure, why not.”
“Hey!” Dr. Miyako called out towards Professor Rogers, who had retreated from the entire exchange. “Take a picture of me and Dr. Mills together so I can brag about it when I get back to the Physics Department!” She handed him a glass iPhone from a pocket in her labcoat. After taking the picture, she then retrieved the phone and had Lord Professor Mills sign it with his finger.
“Today was such a great day!” Dr. Miyako gushed. “I got to listen to a guest lecture from Dr. Mills, and then I got an autographed photo from him!”
Any hints of a smile or kindness had washed from Professor Rogers’s face. He knew Dr. Miyako certainly did not consider them to be in a romantic relationship, if in any relationship at all, but he didn’t anticipate the explicit friendzoning would hurt so much.
“Hey Dr. Miyako,” he called out. “Could I take one picture with you? Just to have something to remember-”
“No.” Her denial crashed into him without delay. Rogers still couldn’t shake his feelings towards Dr. Miyako, but he decided it was time to be honest.
“Listen, Dr. Miyako, you’ve been very rude to me today. I put up with this boring lecture just so I could be with you, and yet you ignore me entirely, embarrass me in front of a famous former physicist, and now you won’t take a picture with me when you just did with Lord Professor Mills. I think you need to remember that I’m the one who brought you here, and that therefore you need to treat me with the respect and gratitude due to me.”
“Maybe you should become a renowned, award-winning physicist too if you want-”
“That’s not the point,” Rogers interjected. “What I’m saying is that you’re being unfair to me, considering how nice I’ve been to you and what I did for you. I think you need to apologize.”
Dr. Miyako tilted her head in confusion.
Rogers sighed. He had no doubt Dr. Miyako was brilliant, but her ignorance in areas most non-Trattorians would consider common sense was frustrating.
“OK. Dr. Miyako, you had a good time today, but I didn’t. It would only be fair if you were to give me an opportunity to have a good time myself,” he explained.
Dr. Miyako mulled on the suggestion. “Perhaps I can take you to a guest lecture by a Trattorian physicist? You work in the field of condensed matter, correct? I know Dr.-”
“No,” Rogers cut off. “I was thinking something with just you, like a dinner or something.”
“What’s the fun in eating together?” she inquired.
“Trust me, I feel the same way about particle physics. Do we have a deal?”.
She contemplated the scenario, before concluding, “You make a fair point- I do owe today’s wonderful events to your assistance. I’ll email details on a specific location and time- look into getting a Trattorian travel visa in the meantime.”
“Thank you so much,” Rogers accepted. His exterior show nowhere near matched his internal excitement. “How about a farewell hug?”
Dr. Miyako again extended her hand. Sighing, Rogers took it.
“Well, at least I got something out of today. I scored another date with Dr. Miyako! Maybe it’ll be a real one next time…”
Professor Rogers stood in the waiting area of the restaurant, gripping a bundle of red roses. A white hospitality robot, gleaming in some places from gold engraving, had offered him a seat in one of the plush lounge chairs. He refused the offer, taking the stand as a mental exercise to steel his trembling nerves. His flight from Scythia to the Trattorian homeworld had arrived ahead of schedule, a quirk for which Virgin Galactic was well-known. As a result, he took a hover taxi straight to the restaurant to whittle the time until Dr. Miyako appeared.
“Sir, you appear uneasy. May I offer you a complimentary refreshment?” the hospitality robot asked, a platter of exotic chocolates in hand. Rogers knew it merely tried to be helpful, but he felt its annoyance only further unnerved him. He guessed that the Trattorians, nearly robotic themselves, didn’t mind their servants’ antics.
“No thank you, I’m fine,” Rogers replied. He checked his personal device for the time- only a minute remained until their reservation. Tightening his hold around the bouquet, he had begun to form second thoughts- perhaps such an overt gesture might startle Dr. Miyako. He saw the robot move towards the entrance and, following it with his eyes, saw her walk in. She wore her labcoat in the same unbuttoned style she had at the lecture, with a designer cerise dress underneath and silver, diamond-studded high-heeled sandals. Pressing the side of her Appel Glass, Dr. Miyako terminated a video call and then looked in Professor Rogers’s direction, her attention drawn to the flowers.
“I just came out of a press conference on Soledad,” Dr. Miyako explained as the robot server escorted the pair into the dining area. Circular, white-cloth covered tables and grey round chairs faced a wall of crystal. A hundredth-story view of Trattoria’s Corpora skyline lay beyond the glass, the many lights of the corporate skyscrapers and hovercar lanes supplanting the sun’s nightly absence. Massive screens flickered with sundry colorful advertisements, some vast enough to be plastered across a dozen floors. Rogers could discern a few of the larger ones: a zippy animation of a Cauchy private shuttle, a promotion for Wolfram Alpha Pro subscriptions, a showcase of Appel’s newest ultra-thin quantum laptop. He had visited Moonhatten once to meet with some USA collaborators at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider, but even such an impressive locale would be suffocated by Corpora’s overwhelming consumerism.
He glanced back towards Dr. Miyako, the latter intently studying the iPad menu. “So, how was your day?” Rogers started.
Dr. Miyako’s gaze remained on the iPad. “As I said, I had to attend a publicized press conference for the Physics and Engineering Departments. Director-General Dr. Dempsey reported that thirty-five superconducting magnets in the Orbital Soledad Fermion Collider had quenched and contaminated the vacuum beamline in the resulting explosion, resulting in a two-week delay on all particle collision experiments.” She shrugged her shoulders. “There existed little rationale for me to attend, as a theoretician uninterested in the practical matters of the helmet scientists. I was likely invited only for my rank and prominence.”
Rogers nodded, feigning interest. “Today was another data collection day for me and my partner Latham. Not much happened- the spin ice read the same magnetricity it did a week ago. The FTL Institute bigwigs are starting to get on our shoulders for results.” He giggled nervously to himself. “Man, the funding committee can be really scary when they call you in. Do you ever have to deal with that kind of stuff in Trattoria?”.
Dr. Miyako looked towards the window. “The Council can be...opaque, at times. Scientific funding is never an issue here, and neither is the Ethics Committee, but ultimately the final approval decision rests with those five people.” She sighed. “I would like to be a member one day. Truth be told, however, the competition among the physicists for the Physics Department Chairmanship is even more fierce than in other Departments. I have never wanted to involve myself in that brouhaha- I just want to continue sitting in my corner, happily deriving mathematical results as I always have.”
She paused, before looking in Rogers’s direction. “Have you decided on something to order?”.
“Maidens!” Rogers interjected, reaching for an iPad menu. His eyes squinted at the incomprehensible text, and he tapped at the screen futilely.
“Vous voudrez bien m’excuser, the menu’s in Trattorian,” Dr. Miyako mentioned. “I take it you Scythians do not use Appel products very often- just go to Settings, General, International, Languages, and toggle Galactic Basic.” Then she added, “Also, for reference, the Trattorian dollar is around $1.03 USD.”
Rogers gulped- seeing the prices, he wished the intimidating numbers were denominated in USSSR rubles. Dr. Miyako waved over a robot server.
“Have sir and madam decided what they would like to order?” the drone intoned.
“Eh, bien, comme hors d'œuvre, je voudrais le velouté de potimarron et caviar. Puis, comme plat principal je voudrais le cœur de filet de bœuf de Kobe, cuit, et condimenté à l’oseille et saisi au grill avec pommes de terre trattoraise de saison. Attends pour dessert.” When she had finished, Dr. Miyako smirked at Professor Rogers. “And, now, it would be the Galactic Basic gentleman’s turn.”
“Ummm…” Rogers was flustered. He would say Dr. Miyako had embarrassed him in front of the waiter, except the waiter was an emotionless robot. “I would like the steak on the first page. And maybe the fruit bowl, too.”
“How would sir like the milk-fed veal cooked?” the server queried.
“Um, with a little pink in the center,” he replied. The waitresses he encountered in typical Scythian restaurants were never as fastidious, but they still delivered something edible. As the butler bot left them, Dr. Miyako spoke up. “Regarding the florets- could you explicate your motivation for bringing them?”.
Rogers realized that, in his anxiety, he had forgotten to mention the roses. “Well, I brought some flowers to express my...professional admiration for you.” Rogers carefully worded his lie- it didn’t fall far from the truth, aside from the “professional.” And perhaps a stronger word than “admiration”...
“Really? I’m surprised an experimentalist like yourself would possess so much respect for a theoretician like myself,” Dr. Miyako expressed. A small smile accompanied the words.
“The experiments are only possible by building on the foundation your theoretical work builds,” Rogers conceded. He loved seeing her smile.
“Here, you’re supposed to take them. They go nicely with your dress,” he added, handing the bouquet to her. She tilted her head in confusion, then tentatively accepted the present, plastic crinkling as they entered her hands.
“What am I supposed to do with a bundle of almost-dead plant reproductive organs?” Dr. Miyako inquired, a little uncertainty in her voice.
“You can place them in a nice vase in your home or office,” Rogers offered.
Dr. Miyako examined the flowers. “Interesting proposition. I have seen florals used as decoration. I have only encountered white roses before, however- red ones exist?”.
Rogers was taken aback somewhat by her ignorance. “Of course. I chose red ones deliberately because some people say the color of the rose conveys a message. It goes back all the way to old Victorian Britannia.”
“Minifigs can manufacture such artificial, irrational associations at times,” Dr. Miyako remarked. “In any case, what are red roses supposed to mean?”.
Professor Rogers fell silent. He had tripped straight into this one. “They signify…” Rogers paused again, examining his options. Dr. Miyako waited for him to finish his sentence.
“There’s a lot of different cultures in the galaxy, so there’s actually no common agreement,” Rogers fibbed.
“A pointless exercise then,” Dr. Miyako concluded. “Characteristic of the rest of the galaxy.”
The food arrived- little lumps of Assyrian beef surrounded by colorful, artfully arranged menageries of sides and complements. They resembled miniature modern art sculptures more than edible articles. Rogers paused for a moment to give a silent blessing to the maidens of the Scythia, thankful for the opportunity to meet Dr. Miyako again.
“How about we talk about a lighter subject? Try to take our minds off of work,” Rogers suggested.
“Excellent proposition,” Dr. Miyako replied, “I’ve wanted to discuss some difficulties I’ve encountered in my proof of the Birch-Swinnerton & Dyer conjecture on the relationship between elliptic curves over number-”
“Try to take our minds off of work,” Rogers reminded.
“But that is how I distract myself from work,” Dr. Miyako protested. An awkward pause ensued as the two ate in silence for a while.
“Let’s talk about ourselves. Get to know each other better,” Rogers spoke up. “I know a lot about your work, but I don’t know much about yourself, actually, despite how often we’ve met.”
“I dislike it when you try to exclude science and mathematics as topics of discussion,” she complained. “All I do is science and math. If you won’t allow me to converse on those matters, then I have nothing to contribute.”
“Fine.” Rogers was grasping at straws. “What’s your favorite show on galactic television?”.
“I don’t waste my precious time watching others’ accomplishments,” Dr. Miyako retorted.
“Really, nothing? What was the last thing you watched?” Rogers probed.
“Oh, fine,” she gave up. “I did watch the last International Math Olympiad. They televised it by having the contestants work on digital paper, which transcribed their progress directly to the screen. The last problem was really exciting- the competitors were asked to prove the existence of a constant c > 0 with the property that, for positive integers a, b, and-”
“No math, remember?” Rogers interrupted.
“I was only answering your question to the best of my ability.”
Professor Rogers recalled when he had hoped to recover a normal minifig buried inside Dr. Miyako- he began to seriously consider the possibility that said normal minifig was nonexistent. Every time he dug, he found only more mathematics, more arrogance, more clueless-
”Get a grip on yourself,” Rogers admonished himself. ”That’s the kind of thing that Latham would say.”
He didn’t want to have to resort to politics, but at least it wasn’t math or science.
“What do you think about OASIS? They’ve been all over the news lately,” Rogers asked.
“They are probably atrocious. I do not care too much, personally- border security would stop any such yahoos from encroaching into Trattorian space.”
“Aren’t you bothered at all by their flagrant minifig rights violations? They behead people and sell women and children into slavery,” Rogers continued.
Dr. Miyako shrugged. “They aren’t of my concern.”
She waved a butler bot over and Rogers realized that both of them had already finished their meals. ”Or excessively tiny portions,” Rogers thought to himself. ”It’s almost a scam.”
“We’d like to pay now. I’ve changed my mind about dessert,” Dr. Miyako told the drone, presenting her hand for a genetic scan. She looked towards Rogers. “Oh, you’re not keyed into the Trattorian genetics database. You’ll have to use a physical payment method for your portion.”
“We can’t leave already! We were just starting a good conversation point-” Rogers protested.
“We finished our meals. Our purpose for staying is over,” Dr. Miyako flatly stated. Seeing that she would not be convinced otherwise, Professor Rogers grudgingly presented his SPBC credit card to the robot. It ran its finger along the strip and returned it to him. “You have been billed ₮119.22 Trattorian dollars.”
“See, not that expensive?” Dr. Miyako commented, picking up the bouquet and rising from her seat. Rogers accompanied her out of the restaurant to the elevators.
“I didn’t find that very enjoyable,” Rogers complained.
“I technically fulfilled my end of the agreement. I have compensated you for your time and services with regards to the lecture by inviting you to dinner, as you judged fair at the time,” Dr. Miyako responded. An elevator opened and the pair stepped in. It was empty, and it would be a nontrivial ride down one-hundred stories.
“Due to this, I also no longer hold an obligation to specially set aside time to interact with you again,” Dr. Miyako concluded. Professor Rogers immediately, involuntarily began to shake, his heart racing.
“You...you can’t,” Rogers squeaked, turning to Dr. Miyako and establishing firm eye contact.
Dr. Miyako tilted her head in confusion.
“You can’t, Priscilla.”
Rogers grabbed her hand, wrapped his other arm around her shoulder, and leaned in. Dr. Miyako instinctively tried to turn her head away, but Rogers persisted and his lips met hers.
He ignored the elevator abruptly stopping. He ignored the doors opening.
“CEASE ASSAULTING THE CITIZEN.”
A second later he felt a pain in his chest. For a second he thought it was from over-excitement, the passion of the moment, until he felt several more in different areas of his torso. He collapsed and only then relinquished his hold on Dr. Miyako. He couldn’t even feel any bleeding, the hot laser shots cauterizing the neat holes in his body.
Three Trattorian police droids, their clean white armor gleaming, stormed the elevator. Their laser pistols were still smoking.
“ARE YOU HARMED, CITIZEN?” one inquired.
Dr. Miyako stared at the crumpled body lying at her feet. She failed to understand anything that had happened in the past minute. Even the most daunting calculations in the Theory of Everything momentarily seemed to pale in comparison.
She began to cry. She couldn’t understand why.
Dr. Miyako found herself in a black leather chair and facing a glass desk that curved away from her. The office’s floor-to-ceiling window was tinted and smothered the sun and city lights beyond it- Conselia was on the opposite side of the planet from Corpora, a fact the apparent time of day reflected.
A neat lady in a black business ensemble sat behind the desk, hands together and resting on its surface. Her cropped chestnut hair was even shorter than Dr. Miyako’s. She wore a white and black Legal Department armband, an earpiece, and a pair of Appel Glass tinted like the window behind her. Through the desk, Dr. Miyako could see a blinking blue stun-gun holstered to her hip.
“Allow me to introduce myself. I’m Attorney Jennifer Tsunemori from the Legal Department, Commissioner overseeing the 1st District.” She smiled and extended her hand towards Dr. Miyako. Dr. Miyako hesitantly accepted the gesture.
“Do not concern yourself- you have not violated any Trattorian laws or committed any wrongdoing. What happened today was unfortunately forced upon you by a barbaric foreigner,” Dr. Tsunemori assured. “Rather, I thought you deserved an explanation. It is exceptional for a public display of affection case to involve a Citizen of your rank.”
“I’d like to know what he did to me, Dr. Tsunemori,” Dr. Miyako asked.
“You can just call me Jennifer,” Dr. Tsunemori replied. “It makes these conversations easier. In any case, Professor Rogers imposed on you unwillingly the strange foreigner practice called ‘kissing.’ Nobody knows why foreigners commit such an irrational, disgusting act. At least murders or robberies often serve clear, comprehensible motivations or self-interest.”
Dr. Miyako tilted her head in confusion. “But that’s so unhygienic...and meaningless. Why would one risk disease transmission and physically assault someone in such a way?”.
Dr. Tsunemori shook her head. “I wish I knew why. You might have seen references to it in passing before- there’s signs prohibiting it in the international terminals of our spaceports, and it’s part of the Foreigner Code provided to visitors during the visa process. And yet some imbeciles, like Professor Rogers, insist despite knowing the consequences. It’s totally illogical and against their self-interest.”
Dr. Miyako pondered the issue- no obvious solution presented itself. “What legal recourse can I seek against Professor Rogers?” Dr. Miyako inquired.
“Well…” Dr. Tsunemori trailed. “We are authorized to use any and all appropriate means in the course of operations to stop them, including lethal force, but we are not technically empowered to execute a foreigner for PDA offenses after the fact. Unfortunately, he survived the enforcement action. Ordinarily such an act would merit at least a one-year prison sentence, but Scythia has quite the favorable extradition treaty with Trattoria owing to its status as the second-largest country in the BrikVerse.”
“Rogers is escaping without any punishment?” Dr. Miyako asked, anxious.
“A Trattorian court has ordered that he never be eligible to return to Trattorian space again and also issued a restraining order. Additionally, Scythia has promised to take corrective actions of its own, permitted a possible civil lawsuit against him in a Trattorian court, and ensured the collection of any awarded damages,” Dr. Tsunemori responded.
Dr. Miyako rested her hands in her legs and looked towards the floor.
“You’re taking this much better than other PDA case victims in the past. I’ve seen Citizens committing suicide due to the trauma. Are you sure you’ll be OK?” Dr. Tsunemori asked.
“Yeah,” Dr. Miyako replied. “I just...I just want to know why he did it.”
Dr. Tsunemori leaned back in her chair, shifting her gaze towards the ceiling.
“You know how foreigners still rely on natural reproduction to maintain their populations? A rather unfortunate higher-order defect emerges from the system, a forcing necessary for its maintenance, and the foreigners call it ‘love.’ It’s such an ill-defined, meaningless term, and it’s not in our language except as a Galactic Basic loanword. I don’t think even foreigners even understand what they’re talking about. ”
Dr. Miyako thought the whole affair a farce- she wondered if the Theory of Everything held the mathematical answer, although for a phenomenon this complex and anomalous the Torbert computability theorem would probably hinder such an endeavor. She just wished she could, for a moment, understand why Rogers had committed such a nonsensical crime, if only out of scientific curiosity.
“Thank you for your time, Dr. Tsunemori.” Dr. Miyako rose and extended her hand.
“Feel free to contact me if you have further questions or concerns,” Dr. Tsunemori responded, reciprocating and offering a card with her contact information.
His eyelids felt like iron in weight as he tried to open them. Rolling his head, he saw a blurry figure in a red suit.
“Rogers? Rogers? Are you finally waking up? Oh maidens, I never thought you’d make it.”
Rogers had no idea what was going on.
“Listen Rogers, you’re in the hospital. Scythia, the homeworld. You’re safe here, buddy.”
A name came to mind- Latham- and he called it out. He felt a soft cot under his body and saw the red crosses of a Scythian hospital.
“What happened?” he mumbled.
“You got shot a half-dozen times in the chest area, light laserarm shots. Those Tratt hospitals really didn’t want to treat a criminal, but there’s nothing you can’t get a Tratt to do with enough money. And man did they work a miracle. I don’t think there’s many other places in the BrikVerse your condition could have been stabilized under those circumstances. Hope you enjoyed it, ‘cause you’re never going back there again.”
“Oh.” Rogers eyes widened. “Wait, how much did you spend?”
“That doesn’t matter. What matters is that you’re still alive, even if you’re forced to eat nutrition fluid for the rest of your life. Let’s just say you can forget about having to pay my bar tab,” Latham replied.
“You idiot,” Rogers murmured. “Why did you save me? I would have been happier to be dead. Every cat and dog and fleebnork may gaze upon her beauty, but I’ll never get to see her again.”
“Oh, regarding that.” Professor Latham sighed. “Listen, I’ve worked too hard and spent too much to save you to have you fuck it up again. Knowing you, you’ll end up having an entire Scythian spaceliner shot down trying to breach the restraining order, or worse, you’ll get involved with the Space Mafia. I’m going to offer you once a chance to be reasonable, a chance to move on. You survived Lisa, didn’t you?”.
Rogers shook her head. “My love for Dr. Miyako is true, and I’ll never give up on it! She’s the only one for me,” he declared groggily. Latham admitted he was being a little unfair- whatever medications Rogers was hopped-up on would only strengthen his brazenness.
Rogers saw two red-linened orderlies come into view behind Latham. One brandished a large needle labelled “amn-c651 Amnesiac.”
“I have a court order authorizing me to do this,” Professor Latham intoned.
“Please...you’re taking away what I hold most precious to myself! The maidens of Scythia have taken away any chance of future happiness with Dr. Miyako, but now you’re seizing what I already had! Please, at least may I dwell on my consolatory memories? Why are you doing this to me? I thought you were my friend?” Rogers blabbered in a stream of consciousness.
“I’m doing this because I am your friend,” Latham responded. Tears streamed down his cheeks as the orderlies restrained Rogers.