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Aunt Lorenza's Bookcase

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February 22, 2360

[Vignettes: The Fibonacci Spiral]


The Captain poked her head in through the door of his room, catching him just as he leaned back from his note-taking.

"Good evening, Captain. I find myself marveling at the complex simplicity of the Fibonacci spiral," Max mused to her. "I’m sure you know what that’s like." He set down his pen. "What's vexing you?"

The moment the words left his mouth, he had cause to regret it: her face took on a mischievous expression. She's about to vex me, he thought.

"I do," the Captain said. And then: "Does the fact that its complexity is born from its simplicity tell you anything about the Equation?"

Max blinked. "The spiral is not the Equation, Captain," he pointed out.

"No," she agreed. "But let me ask you this: if you’re looking at a distant star and it’s too distant to see orbiting planets, how could you draw the conclusion that it has them without direct evidence of the planets themselves?"

He pursed his lips in thought. "You’d do so indirectly. There are several methods. Observing whether the star has wobble caused by an orbital body’s gravitational pull, for one example."

The Captain nodded. She said nothing, but simply looked at him expectantly.

He knit his brows. "Are you saying that the spiral is an indirect way of observing the Equation?"

She tilted her head. "Haven’t you told me that all things are the result of the Equation?"

He stared at her. Up to this point, his knowledge and thoughts had largely been tidily arranged, as comfortable and predictable as the contents of his bookcase. But now he felt as if she had set off a bomb in there. The Equation could be complex and simple at the same time? It’s a paradox. But she’s right about the Fibonacci spiral… Shards of shattered thoughts, swirling - he knew he would be up all night thinking about it. Again.

With a smile, she ducked back into the hallway and disappeared. On her way to destroy someone else's inner peace, no doubt. Aggravating woman! Max threw up his hands and announced to no one in particular, "This is why I can’t get any sleep on this ship!"


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