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Incorruptible Equations

Incorruptible Equations

There is a shadow under Mount Hook, a shadow of something that has been or is yet to be, and from time to time it will slip down to the campus of Brentwood and weave its way through the rings of incorruptible equations that surround Professor Ted Kelly’s home.

This it will do because he dreamed of the shadow, on one occasion, and it has hungered for him since.

This is the kind of dream you have when you work too long at the Department of Esoteric Mysteries that is suspended over the pit containing the cruel demiurge at the Lethal Magnet School for Wayward Youth.

The shadow will hunt him, it will slip its way in to find him, writhing through the solid things and slipping around the jagged edges of the equations (the teeth of the Truth, the unbreakable, the undefeatable) that are writ into the walls of his home and office in incorruptible golden veins.

It will bring the cold with it.

It will bring ice and it will bring terror. It will flare a hood like a cobra’s and it will bare its fangs.

And it might seem for a moment, then, that the theoretical incorruptibility of the incorruptible equations is not so useful when it comes right down to it, that you can’t take the raw perfection of the Platonic world and implement it in our fallible reality, but that’s when it becomes most important, that’s when it becomes most critical (if you’re somebody like Professor Ted Kelly, anyway, and you’re hoping to show a bit of the nightmare to your students in class the next day so that you can finally impress upon them that showing their work and treating the incorruptible equations correctly is worthwhile and not just one of those things like algebra that they’re never going to use in the real world) that the incorruptibility of the equations is invariant over certain transformations but the shape of the coils and serifs of them is rather not.

For just a moment as it spreads its fangs the bedroom of Ted Kelly, Lethal Magnet Professor of the Incorruptible Equations, is rendered in polar coordinates; and the equations likewise; and in that frozen instant of the transformation the nightmare, the shadow, the prognostication of ice and doom that has weaved its way through the numbers and symbols and the teeth of them in gold, is cut.

It falls.

It is screaming.

And for a moment—

For just a moment—

There is hope that when the horror at Mount Hook happens or happened, somehow triumph will virtue and right.

It would be more of a triumph, of course, if the School didn’t confiscate the bits of the shadow; if the guards didn’t take them and rush them off to the Lab; if the treasure of his work were left in his own hands—

But, well. It’s math that’s incorruptible, not the world.



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