|The Science of Santa
Author: Quietly-Confident PM
It's Christmas on the Normandy and Mordin offers his thoughts on the science behind Santa Claus. Re-Upload.Rated: Fiction K - English - Humor - Mordin S. - Words: 1,924 - Reviews: 14 - Favs: 24 - Follows: 1 - Published: 12-10-11 - Status: Complete - id: 7625065
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Re-upload because 'tis the Season. Written a year ago, just for a bit of fun.
Disclaimer: Mass Effect and characters are property of Bioware.
As she ducked below an arc of wayward tinsel with a frown, Commander Shepard began to resent herself for permitting the decoration of the ship for the holiday season. Even after a week of emotional blackmail from Kelly, her forbiddance on the matter had remained so resolute that it had started to worry the Yeoman, who had naively expected the Spectre to submit to her overbearing friendliness by now. As it happened, it wasn't until Kasumi, having been solicited by the desperate Chambers in her time of need, had concocted a plan that the Commander began to show any signs of yielding whatsoever. When prized possessions from her cabin had started to go missing, the Commander knew exactly who to question; and when it became clear that said possessions would not find their way back to her cabin until she "quit being a scrooge," Shepard had grudgingly caved in and given permission for the ungainly decorations to be littered across the mess hall on the condition they did not cause any obstruction.
The mess was as busy as usual, with a few serviceman in deep discussion at the far end of the dining table; Tali and Legion were engaged in a game of Skyllian Five and Kasumi was absently steadying the ladder atop which stood a merry Kelly Chambers.
"He sees you when you're sleeping, he knows when you're awake, he knows if you've been bad or good, so be good for goodness' sake!"
"Someone's getting into the spirit of things," Shepard noted on arrival, glancing at Kelly before sweeping her eyes over the rest of the mess hall.
"Yeah, Shep, in more ways than one," Kasumi teased, lifting Kelly's mug to her nose and sniffing.
The Yeoman scoffed. "You guys. It's just a little mulled wine I had Gardner cook up. Give it a try, it's delicious!"
"Don't mind if I do," Kasumi said, pushing off from the ladder and skipping childishly to the kitchen.
Shepard grimaced watching the Yeoman fix mistletoe over the dining table. Being cooped up for months on end with the same people, the same faces did things to one's libido. That pug-faced bootlicker that put you off eating your dinner had started to become a veritable Don Juan nearing the end of each rotation and the Commander was quite sure that romantic encouragement on the ship in such circumstances was at best ill-advised. "Kelly, is that really necessary?"
Kelly twisted awkwardly so she could catch sight of the Commander who was now standing with her weight on one hip, arms folded in disapproval.
"It's traditional, Shepard! You can't have Christmas without mistletoe." The redhead turned her attention back to the decoration, adjusting its position on the string that hung from the ceiling. "And anyway, I'm hoping to catch some interesting couples under here," she admitted impishly.
"Great..." Shepard replied sarcastically, making a mental note to avoid that particular area of the canteen, especially around Kenneth down in Engineering.
It was at that point that Mordin darted into the mess, murmuring under his breath and pre-occupied with the readings on his data pad.
"Hey, Mordin," Shepard said, strolling over to the breakfast bar and leaning her weight against it leisurely.
"Shepard." He paused, frowning as he glanced about himself. "Bright lights, music - celebration?"
"I guess you could say that..." she said, rubbing at the back of her head.
"It's for Christmas, Mordin," Kasumi explained, having re-appeared by Shepard's side.
"Ah yes. Human holiday. Religious significance, secular interest also. Impregnantion of—" he cleared his throat, "—Virgin Mary, Journey of Magi, birth of Chri—"
"Yes, " the Commander interrupted hastily, pausing the Salarian with an outward facing palm, "that's the one."
"Have you been good for Santa this year, Mordin?" the voice from the ladder inquired.
"Santa?" The Salarian tilted his head in confusion. "Unfamiliar term. Military rank?"
Shepard chuckled lightly. "No, not quite..."
Kelly hopped from the bottom step of the ladder and scuffed her hands against each other, satisfied with her work. She turned to the doctor. "Wait, you don't know about Santa Claus, Mordin? Aww, you poor thing!"
"He's an old Earth legend," Kasumi explained, stepping forward to give herself room for her theatrics. "A big, jolly, fat man from the North Pole who rides a sleigh pulled by flying reindeer!" The thief's voice had assumed a whimsical quality and her eyes twinkled with excitement. "Every year he visits the home of every good child on Earth on Christmas Eve and leaves them lots of presents to open up the next day!"
Mordin blinked once, he blinked twice and after a long pause said, "Impossible," before continuing to make his way to the fridge.
"It is not," Kasumi argued, turning with him as he walked past.
"Flying reindeer?" the doctor chuckled derisively and shook his head. "Scientifically unsound."
Kelly sighed. "He's magic, Mordin. Don't you ever suspend your disbelief? The poor Yeoman was becoming visibly distressed by the doctor's lack of festivity, her brows creasing into a frown above the bridge of her nose.
The Salarian considered her query for a moment. "No," he chirped brightly, before dipping his head into the fridge.
"You don't have to be such a stick in the mud, Mordin," Kelly sulked, folding her arms across her chest. "Can't you think of it as, I don't know, some kind of as-yet-unproven scientific theory?"
"Theory?" The Salarian's head popped up from behind the fridge door, suddenly intrigued. "Had not considered that potential." He closed the door of the fridge and set down the container he had removed, no longer enchanted with its contents. "Enjoy a challenge. Debate, argument, resolution." Mordin turned to Kasumi. "Visits every human?" he inquired, now curious.
The thief took a sip of the wine she was nursing. "No, not everyone. Just the good kids. Like me!" She grinned at Shepard. "What's Santa going to bring me this year, Shep?" she asked skittishly, attempting to sideline the conversation.
Mordin looked thoughtful for a moment. "Approximately two billion children in residence on Earth," he began, then muttering to himself quietly, "but must account for percentage decrease caused by unvisited dwellings of alternative culture paradigms..." His eyes danced within his closed eyelids as synapses fired and calculations raced through his mind, "...approximate reduction of 15 per cent brings potential population sample to three hundred and seventy eight," he announced as he opened his eyes.
"Keelah, here we go..." Tali interjected wearily, shaking her head then pressing the heel of her palm to her forehead.
"Assume an average of three point five children per household.." his voice continued to twitter on, "...that coalesces to one hundred and eight million homes, presuming, of course, the presence of at least one 'good' child in each. Good..." he trailed off. "Dislike that term. Steeped in subjectivity. What is more appropriate? Ah! Obedient. Now!"
Kelly and Kasumi exchanged pained expressions.
"Concerning afforded time period: Planetary rotation around Sol, construction of artificial time zones, effect of longer evening. Thirty-one hours, assuming an East-West direction of travel." He placed a finger to his lips before adding, "Only logical choice." He began to pace. "Consequently, Santa Claus required to make approximately nine hundred and sixty seven point seven visits per second. Thoroughly incredible."
"Maybe he takes a dose of whatever keeps you going, Mordin," Shepard quipped absently, leaning obliquely and peering into the vat of mulled wine on the countertop.
"Assuming even distribution of households, total area of ground coverage estimated at around...hmm...seventy five point five million miles," the Professor carried on, undeterred. "Vehicle must travel at a speed of six hundred and fifty miles per second."
"Christ," Shepard muttered, growing weary of his wittering and pinching the bridge of her nose.
Mordin stopped and glanced at the Commander. "What about him? Discussion concerns Santa Claus, not Human-Christian Messiah. Ah! Payload of vehicle also introduces interesting element..."
"Mordin..." Kasumi made an ineffectual attempt to distract the Salarian.
"Allowing one gift per child, two pounds per gift, basic arithmetic indicates a weight in excess of five hundred thousand tons," he paused and blinked at Kasumi before adding, "not including weight of sleigh driver."
"Extranet sources suggest conventional reindeer can pull no more than three hundred pounds," EDI pointed out helpfully, causing several of the occupants of the mess to glance over at her blue avatar as it flickered alive. "By my calculations," she added, "this would mean that to pull a payload of that magnitude, a driver would require three hundred and sixty thousand reindeer."
Mordin nodded enthusiastically. "You see? Problematic. Also, added mass increases payload by something in region of fifty-four thousand tons."
"That is correct, Professor Solus. The implications are—"
"—Unpleasant, yes. Creation of extreme temperatures caused by volatile air resistance – much like ships' re-entry into atmosphere. Lead reindeer pairing subjected to fourteen point three quintillion joules of energy per second. Each. Instantaneous incineration! Surviving animals exposed to powerful sonic boom!" The scientist flung his arms out in an attempt to demonstrate the seismic importance of what he was saying. "Vapourised within four point two six thousands of a second," he added. "Give or take."
An open mouthed Kelly stared at the Salarian in disbelief. The Commander had assumed that the discussion of exploding reindeer was the proverbial nail in the coffin to any argument favouring the magic of Santa; that was, until, Legion's keen observations sallied forth.
"Such conjecture is irrelevant, Solus-Professor," the Geth said, pausing from his poker game and raising his head.
Mordin sniffed. "Reasoning?"
"The sudden acceleration from stationary to a speed of six hundred and fifty miles per second in approximately zero point zero one seconds would result in centrifugal forces equivalent to seventeen thousand Gees. Assuming a driver weight of two hundred and fifty pounds, We have calculated that the driver would be subjected to four million, three hundred and fifteen thousand, and fifteen pounds of force, which would pulverise the bones and internal organs of any normal human organic."
"Yes! Excellent observation, Legion," the doctor praised. "No driver, no delivery."
There was a pregnant pause in which Kelly dropped into a chair beneath her, still open-mouthed, still incredulous. Seeing the effect the conversation was having on the poor, impressionable Yeoman, the Commander decided to call it to an end.
"Alright, alright, as cheerful a topic as this is, I think it's time to focus on something else for now."
"What?" Mordin blinked pointedly. "No! Not finished. Still plenty to dispel. Habitation in North Pole, gift manufacture—" The Scientist suddenly made a noise like his breath had gotten caught in his throat, his eyelids grew heavy and he spun on one heel before slumping to the ground in a heap. The Commander straightened as all heads in the mess turned and watched the spectacle unfold.
Where Mordin had been standing, a mischeivous-looking Kasumi flickered into view having de-activated the cloak that had allowed her to sneak up on the scientist undetected. Stealing a glance down at the unconscious Salarian, the thief grinned with satisfaction.
"Poor little guy," she lamented. "I guess the excitement of Santa's arrival must have tired him out!"