parallel transport

The framed print of the Periodic Table of Elements is missing from his bedroom wall. They’re out of milk again, even though there was a fairly decent amount left last he checked, as he was making tea the previous afternoon. And his flatmate’s military haircut appears at least a full centimetre longer than its state just a day prior.

In hindsight, those oddities Sherlock has noticed this morning, observations he couldn’t immediately formulate a deduction to adequately explain, should’ve been sufficient clues.

The critical – and most alarming – sign that it most certainly isn’t just another day of his life at his (and his blogger’s) 221B, however, arrives in the form of a plain envelope. Addressed to him. Well, to ‘Mr S. Holmes’.

Enclosed is a ticket to a symphony concert (over in the States, in NYC), an introductory flyer (containing a photograph of the very fresh-faced orchestra, featuring bright, innocent eyes and a few missing-tooth grins), and an unsigned note, penned in elegant script: “Don’t be late.”

The detective’s gaze fixes upon somewhere specific on the photograph, and is for a long moment incapable of moving away. Amongst the performers sits a dark-haired, neatly dressed boy in the front row. A child whose confident, lopsided smile reminds him so much of-

He shakes his head, but fails to clear his mind of painful memories threatening to surface, memories that he’d wished to leave behind amidst the rolling plains and sweltering heat in that Pakistani city and never have to revisit.

He’d realised, mere days after, that a significant part of him did desperately hope to win her, yet despite the heart’s insistent whisper, their respective pride decisively yielded dispute instead of ‘dinner’.

He absolutely despises how, years of silence later, three pieces of paper are all it takes to make something in him once again flutter.

There is no doubt that the invitation is from The Woman. Nor that the charming boy, the child that is sure to shine as the star of the performance, is none other than her own. What he doesn’t understand, is the reason behind such a move. Move? He’d thought their game was long concluded, and he certainly wasn’t the winner.

What’s she hoping to achieve now, taunting him with the family she’s clearly succeeded in building? Tearing at old wounds that haven’t healed and probably never will, as if there hadn’t been enough hurt that they each caused the other?

Nothing, nothing makes sense.

..but there is a way to rectify that, he supposes, hands still steepled beneath his chin.

He reaches for the desk beside him and flips his laptop open. A few clicks and keyboard taps later, the British Airways booking page appears on the screen.

It’s a nice, blue-skied morning, after a night of precipitation and thunder. Sherlock Holmes is one swift motion away from pulling his bedroom door open when he pauses, his attention suddenly caught by something to his left.

A Periodic Table print, on the wall. The one that should currently be resident in NYC, not here in London. The same one that he’d gently taken off himself and placed into a poster tube, to accompany a small boy on the flight back to his American home, a couple of years ago, at the youngster’s request.

“No! It won’t be the same. I don’t want a new one, Dad, I want this. Yours.”

Nero had taken a keen interest in the sciences, even back then, when he still liked to be carried and swung around. He’d ask to be lifted up in front of the large framed print, hug his father’s neck tight, and tilt his head to study the columns with concentration. He’d point towards individual elements, and demand to hear cool stories of their discoveries, to learn their unique properties, to know everything there is to know about these fascinating constituents that make up the world..

A slight curve stretches its way across the detective’s lips at the thought of his son. A far-too-telling smile. One that he has to remember to erase from his face before entering the living room to greet John. One to which no passing observer would’ve spared a second glance before assigning the simple, ordinary label of ‘fondness and pride’.

But proud he is, indeed. In curiosity and cleverness, in exploration and mischief, the plantlet cheekily flourishes, with much more liberty than he ought to have been allowed. Yet it isn’t as if either parent has any real power to constrain his access to what latest objectives he’s chosen to set his determined young mind upon – both Sherlock and Irene’s well-honed people-manipulating craft has proved unconditionally susceptible to what they see in those big, blue eyes. Nor do they truly intend to deny the boy at all.

Directing his thoughts back to the present, Sherlock examines the framed print before him – is this yet another coded message from Irene or Nero? Has it been delivered and discreetly put up within the time frame of a few hours, whilst he was asleep? They couldn’t have been visiting Baker Street themselves – he would’ve observed. And the boy must’ve been busy with rehearsals recently, with his first big concert this coming weekend.

Speaking of which, he expects to pay them a visit very soon.

Prompt from A03:

I really like these. I wonder if you might be up to this challenge: Cas is an inventor at a company and doesn’t think of anything but his work.

That is until one day when he meets one of his bosses’ sons, Dean, and falls in love with him. He attempts to win his heart but Dean rejects him.

Amara, another one of Cas’ bosses who is also vying for Dean becomes jealous.

She forces Cas to test out his latest invention, a teleporter, on himself despite him constantly saying that he still hasn’t worked out all the kinks yet. Something goes wrong and Cas is transported a parallel universe.

Dean realizing his feelings tries to get Cas back.

You don’t have to take this challenge if you don’t feel up for it but let me know either way.

It was a more elaborate prompt and when i wrote it, it came out to 1451 words! i think there’s a long fic in this too…


Dean was running an inspection for his dad when it happened.

Walking by Cas’s lab on the way to inspect the project running in the next lab over, he paused. The light was one. The ‘we’re experimenting so stay out’ light.

That wasn’t right. Cas hadn’t gotten the green light – no pun intended – to make the first trial run yet. So why would he…?

Dean reversed direction and went to Cas’s door. He knew better than to interrupt an experiment in process. Thankfully, the higher ups had outfitted all labs with monitoring equipment. Dean opened the panel beside the door and flicked the switches, the little monitor flaring to life.

He frowned. Amara and Cas were inside and Cas did not look happy. She, on the other hand, looked smug. Dean didn’t like Amara. She was the kind of woman who just wouldn’t take no for an answer. He’d told her time and time again that he had no interest in her.

At least Cas had been respectful, if a bit disappointed, when Dean had said the same to him. And while it had made things a little awkward between them, Cas was still one of his best friends. Something here didn’t line up.

Dean flicked another switch and suddenly his earpiece came to life, the audio from inside the room beaming straight in.

“…told you, this technology isn’t ready. None of the test modules have either made it to their landing coordinates or sent back viable data for adjustments.”

“And I told you, Castiel, that your funding depends on results and you’re behind schedule.”

“No, I’m not,” Cas turned to the pad on his table.

“Oh, you are. The time tables were moved up this morning.” Amara handed her pad over and Cas reluctantly took it.

Dean’s frown deepened and he pulled his own pad out to check it. Pulling up Cas’s timeline, he saw no changes. What the hell was Amara getting at? Dean looked up in time to see Cas’s face fall, the pad dropping to his side.

Amara looked down at her nails and picked at something non-existent. “I believe todays’ test calls for human trials?”

Looking defeated, Cas dropped her pad down on the table and went to the test equipment. His fingers flew over them controls like an expert pianist at a keyboard and he locked the last one in place, walking forward to the testing pad.

With his back turned, Amara smirked and Dean nearly growled. Something was very wrong, he just couldn’t put his finger on what. As soon as Cas stepped up onto the pad and turned to face Amara, her face wiped of her smile and one of fake concern was pasted on.

“Why, Castiel, why haven’t you called for one of the volunteers?” she asked.

“You know very well why not. I may be forced to start the human trials today, but I still insist that this equipment isn’t ready. I’m not risking someone else’s life because suddenly, the bottom line is all the folks at the top care about. If it works, then it works. But if it fails…then at least the project won’t be able to continue because I’ll be gone.”

And that’s when Dean realized what the hell was going on.

Screw the lab light. He punched his override code into the pad, waiting impatiently, his heart in his throat, for the doors to slide open. Dashing inside when they did, he yelled, “Cas, stop! She’s playing you!”

He was too late. Cas’s startled face at Dean’s outburst was suddenly obscured by a blinding white light. Dammit! The thing had been on a timer! Amara jumped back at his entrance, surprised as well, and turned to face Dean. He ignored her, staring numbly at the spot Cas had been standing, trying to register what had just happened.

Cas was gone. His best friend was gone. Dean didn’t even know if the man was alive or where he’d been sent.

He might never be able to come home.

“Dean! I tried to stop him, but he was insistent on getting results today. It was all I could do to keep him from calling in some poor, deluded sap to – “

“Save it, bitch,” Dean growled, shoving past her. “I heard and saw everything. I don’t know why you were trying to get rid of Cas, but I’ll make sure you’re fired.”

“Dean, he’s just a scientist. This place is crawling with scientists. They’re a dime a dozen. It’s what we do. There will always be more to replace them,” her voice was oozing fake sincerity. “Now, someone like me…” she stepped closer to him, placing a neatly manicured finger to his chest, “We could be something special, if you let us.”

“So that was your angle,” Dean whispered in shock. “Jealousy? Over Cas? Why?”

“Why? Because some stupid, head in the clouds scientist, was stealing you from me,” Her eyes narrowed, her words coming out vicious and sharp.

“Cas isn’t just a scientist – he’s one of the rare ones. He’s an inventor. He can envision an idea and then work the science to find a way to do it. He’s like an artist, and science is his medium. It’s his sort that we collect here to work and none of them are replaceable. And besides that, Cas is my friend and he means a lot to me – he means…” Dean trailed off, his eyes widening. “Shit…he means everything to me.”

“Now, Dean –“ Amara started. He stopped her with a glare, tapping his earpiece. Her face went white.

“I’ve sent the date from the monitors and our conversation just now to Security. Expect to be fired for manipulation and abuse of power within minutes. Now get outta my way. I have to save Cas,” Dean’s face was grim, determined as he strode about the room.

Dean was a scientist, but he couldn’t invent things the way the others could. He could assist, though, and Cas had talked enough about his work that Dean was sure that he could operate the machine.

As long as he didn’t change anything Cas had done. He also knew that Cas had been tinkering with a portable device to set up at his destination that could link back to the home device. He’d been thinking of the possibility that the transporter might not be able to make a connection at the other end clear enough to retrieve anything.

If Dean could find that equipment, then maybe he could chase after Cas and bring him home.

And if Cas’s other worries proved true…well then, at least Dean wouldn’t have to face a world that didn’t have his dorky, nerdy best friend in it.

Because suddenly, the idea of doing so had him blinking back tears, caused an aching lump in his throat and carved a hole in his chest. All Dean could think was, when the hell had he fallen in love with Castiel Novak?

Now was not the time. He looked for the portable device and the control box that went with it. Dean snagged Cas’s backpack and dumped it’s contents on the work table, heedless of the mess it caused and carefully packed the equipment inside. He looked around – ignoring Amara’s yells as security arrived and dealt with her – and tried to see if there was anything else he should bring with them.

He snagged 2 bottles of water and a first aid kit and Cas’s coat. The coat he used to help cushion the equipment before placing anything else in the bag. Dean zipped the bag shut, started picking it up and then put it back down, snagging a set of tools. Not any Cas’s elaborate things, but a basic, survival guide style tool set. Cas might need to tinker with things.

Zipping it up once more, Dean hefted the pack onto his back, went back to the console to check the controls and then reset the timer. He took a deep breath, than another.

Cas was worth the risk.

He pressed the button and ran to the platform.

Dean would bring Cas home. There was no room for anything else. 30 seconds left. Tapping his earpiece one more time, he sent a message to his brother explaining in quick simple terms what was going on.

“Goodbye Sammy. Tell dad everything and wish me luck,” Dean finished just as the light flared up around him. He closed his eyes tight against it, not wanting to be so blinded that he was unprepared for anything on the other side.

After all – he had no idea where the other side was.

Didn’t matter. He knew all he needed to know.

Cas was there.


I rather like it (though the malfunctioning teleporter and dean going off to rescue Cas reminds me a LOT of one of my favorite video games lol) and of course, when i have a few more prompts gathered, i’ll add it to the ficlet sets on A03 that i’m making.

Watch on

Are you a physicist and want to learn intermediate microeconomics as quickly as possible? Here you go.

Minute 18

  • Goods = vector space
  • Price = covector
  • Expenditure = their inner product
  • Foliate the vector space by hypersurfaces convex to the origin with codimension 1. Indifference surfaces / isoutility surfaces.
  • (no local minima/maxima, ever-increasing)
  • Look at the inverse images, given a particular choice of price = budget constraint. Affine hyperplanes of codimension 1, translated from the origin, which are all based on the kernel of the pricing vector.
  • The central dogma: agents spend up to their budget constraint reaching the highest level surface intersecting with the convex hull.
  • People buy the unique basket whose tangent space at the basket to the indiffference space is equivalent to the kernel of the pricing vector in force.
  • The space of all such baskets, given any income level but the same pricing system, is called the Engel curve.
  • Minute 34: income vs substitution effects

Minute 31. For the economists in the audience. This is a really good point. We measure the inflation from period to period by some formula like

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What’s up with multiplying prices from timepoint 2 against quantities from timepoint 1? That doesn’t really make sense does it. If prices changed in the next period then that induced a response in purchasing behaviour.

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Not to mention that e.g., hats have fallen out of fashion for men since a century ago–so the price of hats no longer merits a high weight in the basket of what price increases are killing the budgets.

What we really want to do is use a connection. That gives us parallel transport across timepoints.