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Icarus (Part 8) by aron.wolde

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· @aron.wolde · (edited)
Icarus (Part 8)

# Lost? Start from the very beginning [here!]( #

Chapter 4

“What of the atmosphere, Miss Holmes?” asked another unknown doctor. This was the seventeenth question they’d asked Cemone during her examination. So far, she had answered all of them with ease. This, however, did not stop her from worrying. Among the mountain of placid faces that she never knew, Dr. Cart sat casually calculating. He was the one man she feared from the rest. As she started to answer the unknown doctor, she wondered when Dr. Cart would ask something. He’d asked her a difficult question during her first examination: one which stalled her so thoroughly that the examination panel asked her to rework her thesis. Now, in her second examination, she was sure he would ask another difficult question.

“Because of the gravitational flux, the atmosphere, at any layer, would settle at any point identical to ours,” Cemone replied. “Remember, the idea is based on exact symmetry of every physical aspect of the planet’s existence, not just the planet itself. Everything that happened to the Earth occurred not as individual events, but rather the consistent degradation of a moving system. So, everything that the Earth is will always be what it could have been. Meaning that its current placement and features are an effect of the coming end of everything, rather than an effect of billions of years of chance.” 

Cemone concluded her answer with confidence, but still worried about Dr. Cart. The old man was giving her the same look he did last time. She could feel the question coming, and couldn’t bear the suspense. 

“Miss Holmes?” Dr. Cart motioned. Cemone clenched as the old physicist readied her for his question.

“Yes, Doctor?”

“Given the planet’s orbit in relation to its creation, what actions would you say mattered most in keeping the world where it is?” 

Cemone was confused with the question: not by its difficulty, but its content.

“Other than gravity?” 


“Given everything I’ve explained, I think the world would be what it is regardless of any interaction. If not here, then somewhere else so entirely similar that you could hardly argue a distinction. Spatial destiny proves that.”

“So, every cosmic incident that has ever happened is ultimately irrelevant?” 

Cemone was at a loss for words. The question Dr. Cart asked her was so far from scientific, it was practically philosophical. Even some of the other doctors in the room were confused by the question. 

“In regards to....” She couldn’t think of the right word. She wanted to avoid the word ‘placement’ as it wasn’t entirely accurate, and yet nothing else came to mind. “Placement, in regards to placement, yes. Nothing that has physically happened in the universe matters; it was predestined as part of other spatial systems. It’s not a series of individual events that placed the Earth, but rather one big system that is acting in and around the Earth. The system is what it is, and regardless of where planets are, they can only react within their own systems of control—which, I’ve just proved, is nothing.” Unsure of her answer, Cemone’s mind gasped under the weight of her insecurity. She’d rarely ever studied philosophy, and had no way of knowing a right answer beyond a mathematical result. “Does that satisfy your question, Dr. Cart?”

“Yes, yes it does.” Dr. Cart readied himself to ask another question, but stopped before he could make the words. Instead, he looked at the crowd of scholars and then returned his gaze to Cemone. “You may step outside now. We will discuss if your theory needs any more work or follow up and call you back when we have made our decision.”

“Thank you, everyone. I am eager to hear your feedback. “Cemone slowly walked out of the lecture hall, feeling defeat and dread. Dr. Cart had bested her again. This time, however, it wasn’t with equations or missed vectors, but with philosophical autonomy: a notion she considered unfair this far in her academic career. As she lazily pushed the door open she heard the shuffling of maybe a hundred other doctors behind her, all of whom were gathering together to punch holes in her theory. 

Stepping into the hallway, she found a nice spot on the floor and fell into the fetal position. While her little body rocked back and forth against the wall, she tried to re-answer Dr. Cart’s question in her head. Nothing seemed right about it, and for that reason, the question seemed to hurt. 

She checked her watch four times. In that time, thirty-three minutes had passed. On the thirty-fourth minute, a group of doctors exited the room. They were surprised to see her on the floor. They quickly told her to return to the lecture hall; apparently, they had made their decision. After the embarrassing few seconds it took to roll out of the fetal position, Cemone picked herself off the floor and walked through the large doors with the group of strangers behind her. From all the stony faces she saw, Cemone knew her thesis would be denied. If she were lucky they might let her revise a small feature of it, instead of redoing a larger idea. Standing on formality, it was Dr. Cart that announced the conclusion of the group.

“Cemone Holmes, in regards to your thesis oral examination, we find that no revisions are necessary. Accordingly, the physics department of Oxford University approves of your doctoral dissertation. Congratulations, Miss Holmes: you have earned your doctorate in planetary physics.”
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