The Prestidigitation Approximation Fallout

By Ermintrude

At the end of The Prestidigitation Approximation, Sheldon says:

"Apparently you can't hack into a government supercomputer, and then try to buy uranium without the department of homeland security tattling to your mother."

Well, that line caused the following to pop into my head. I have written it down, to share with you all.

This is my first TBBT fanfic. I've always liked Mary Cooper, even though I have more in common with other characters, than her. And she is surely Sheldon's kryptonite. Enjoy!

DISCLAIMER The Big Bang Theory is copyrighted to Warner Brothers and CBS. The original portions of this story, however, are copyrighted to the author. This story is for entertainment purposes only and cannot be redistributed without the permission of the author. If you want to put it on your site I would be flattered, please email me. No infringement of copyright is intended.

The Prestidigitation Approximation Fallout

(Takes place at the end of episode 4-18)

It was a sunny, warm Tuesday afternoon. The two men in conservative dark suits, wearing wrap-around sunglasses parked their dark SUV in front of the modest house in the Texas suburbs. They checked their paperwork one more time, and then exited the vehicle, carrying the folder with the pertinent information.

They strode up to the door, and rang the bell.

The door was opened by a middle-aged woman, slim and modestly attired. She took one look at the men.

"Oh Lord, what's that boy of mine done now? Come in gentlemen." She ushered the men inside.

They began to speak, and she cut them off. "You gentlemen are guests in my home. Do you want something to drink? Tea perhaps, or a soft drink? I know, I'll make some nice cold lemonade. Now you all just sit there," she indicated the couch, "and I'll be back in a jiffy."

The two men sat where they were directed, and waited for their lemonade.

A few minutes later, Mary Cooper returned from the kitchen with a tray containing a full pitcher of icy lemonade, and several glasses. She set down the tray on the coffee table, and served her guests, before pouring a glass for herself. She sat across from the men and drank.

"There! That's certainly refreshing. I always say, good lemonade can cheer you up faster than most anything." She saw the men weren't drinking. "Drink up, don't they teach you G-men any manners in whatever schools you go to?"

They glanced at each other, made an infinitesimal movement which might have been interpreted as an abortive shrug, and dutifully drank some of the lemonade. They looked around, and Mary Cooper provided two coasters, which they then placed their glasses down upon.

"OK boys, let me have it. What's that boy of mine done this time? Has he sent prank letters to the latest round of Nobel candidates? Or wait—has he been bothering those CERN people with his demands for their equipment? Or has he been writing letters about cold fusion again? Not that that fusion stuff really exists—if it did Jesus would have mentioned it in the Bible. Or maybe it could have been included in the Acts. "

"No, ma'am. Not this time." One of the men replied.

"Well spit it out, tell me what he's done."

They shuffled uncomfortably—this interview was not going as they had anticipated.

The lead agent drew himself up, and proffered his identification. "Mrs. Cooper, we are from Homeland Security. We're here to discuss a grave matter regarding your son, Dr. Sheldon Cooper."

She took the badge and regarded it interestedly. "You boys are new—never been visited by the likes of you before. FBI, CIA, some military people a couple of times—that was an honest mistake on Shelly's part, I assure you—but Homeland Security: your badges aren't as spiffy as those FBI boys." She handed the badge folder back.

"Yes. Well. Mrs. Cooper are you aware your son has engaged in some highly illegal activities?"

"He's always pulling his pranks and getting into trouble. He never means anything by it. But I get visits by you boys every so often about it." She cocked her head and pursed her lips. "Actually it's been a couple of years since any of you people dropped by here. I guess he's getting more sneaky about it. I really can't see that boy ever giving up his little pranks. He was always curious. Never could stop him from his little experiments, though Lord knows, we certainly tried. Especially after he killed the cat in one of those infernal machines he built. I guess we all have to be glad he never did get ahold of that uranium he always wanted." She laughed in remembrance of that incident in Sheldon's childhood.

"About uranium," the other agent started.

Mary Cooper cut him off—"Did he finally get some? That must've cost a pretty penny."

"Ma'am—it's a federal offense…"

"Yeah, jail time, national security, radiation hazard, dangerous fissionable materials—heard it all before. So did he finally get some?" She looked alarmed.

"No, ma'am. He did not."

"Well, that's a relief." She slumped back and took another sip of her lemonade. "I remember the time we all had to go in to the clinic and get tested for radiation poisoning. Seems someone had sold him something they called uranium, but it wasn't. Just some yellow glowy powder. Sure scared his papa something fierce, though. The boy got a whupping for that one, I can assure you."

"Ma'am he attempted to acquire refined uranium. That's a federal offense."

"Refined uranium—is that worse than the plain stuff?"

"He also hacked into a highly secure government supercomputer. That's also a federal offense."

"It couldn't be that highly secure if my boy could manage to hack into it. Of course, he always was good with computers. Him and his little friends." She smiled in motherly pride. "Well, what do you want me to do about it all? If I ground him, he can't go to his work at the university, and I think they would be unhappy about that."

The agents looked at each other. The lead agent spoke. "We have a rather extensive file on your son, Mrs. Cooper." He hefted the file. "And yes, we did access the information from the FBI, CIA and military intelligence."

"Those military boys were the most persistent. I told them he wouldn't work for them. And I also told them my boy was raised to know having carnal relations with any woman outside of wedlock was a sin. Korean spy or otherwise. Not that he ever would have relations with any oriental woman—I hear they're even made differently—or that's what my late husband said about them. He was in Vietnam, you know. So he learned all about it first-hand so to speak." She pursed her lips in distaste. "But I guess it was his roommate, Leonard who was having the carnal relations out of wedlock. They just wanted my boy to spy for them instead. I told them, carnal relations out of wedlock was a sin, and I would not condone that—patriotic duty or not."

"Be that as it may, ma'am. We need you to inform your son that what he did was wrong, and that he should never do it again." They sat back and waited.

"I see. So tell me exactly what it is he did this time."

The other agent consulted the file. "Dr. Sheldon Cooper on or about March 10th, 2011 did illegally access the Cray unit at Oak Ridge Laboratories. Then he went on line and accessed Craigslist, searching to obtain Uranium 235."

"Why did he hack into your boys' computer?"

"It isn't our computer, it belongs to Oak Ridge National Laboratories."

"It's the government's computer—you're from the government—why was he using it?"

The lead agent shifted uncomfortably. "He seems to have been running algorithms concerning randomization probability and decks of cards. To what end, we haven't figured out yet."

"My boy better not be gambling. That's a sin, too."

"Will you contact him, and get him to stop? Our records indicate you are the only effective method of controlling his behavior."

"It isn't that hard, you just have to understand him—though Lord knows, he can be downright mysterious at times." She shook her head. "All right. But you boys have to cover the long-distance charges. I'm living on my late husband's pension and survivor benefits, so my budget doesn't allow for unlimited long-distance calling in the middle of the day."

"Yes ma'am. You may use my phone, if it would be more convenient." The other agent proffered his phone.

"No thanks—he won't answer any unknown number until he checks it out. My boy's careful that way."

She went to the phone, and dialed Sheldon's cell number.

In his office, Dr. Sheldon Cooper was staring at his whiteboard, working out the intricacies of String Theory before going to lunch in the University cafeteria. His cell phone rang. He debated ignoring it, but when he checked, he saw it was his mother calling. "Drat!" he exclaimed, and answered it, straightening his posture as he did so. "Hello, mother. How are you today?" He started nonchalantly, hoping this was just a social call.

"Shelley, I have a coupla G-men here telling me you've been doing things you oughtn't not be doing."

Sheldon started indignantly. "What are they telling you, because I can assure you…"

"Don't lie to me boy, they have proof."

He sagged. "What did they say?"

"They said you hacked into some crayfish computer and tried to buy uranium again. I thought we've already had this talk about uranium. You promised me you wouldn't buy that stuff again."

"That was unrefined uranium ore. This was uranium 235. They're totally different."

"Well, whatever it is, no more uranium buying. At all—no matter what kind it is. Do you hear me?"

"Yes ma'am." Sheldon was chastened.

"And stay away from that crayfish computer at the Oak Ridge place. Are you gambling?"

"Gambling? No mother, I know better than that. The odds are always with the casino anyhow. Mathematically…"

She cut him off. "Don't get all fancy with me. You know it won't work. Now I want you to promise me, no more uranium buying and you stay away from that Oak Ridge computer place, you understand."

"I never traveled to Oak Ridge, mother."

"Don't you sass me, Shelly. You know perfectly well what I mean."

"Yes, Ma'am." He stood up straight and put his hand to his heart. "I promise to leave the Cray unit at Oak Ridge Laboratories alone."

"And…"

"And to never try to buy uranium again." He paused, hoping it was enough. The silence on the other end of the phone indicated it was not. He added, "in any form."

"Good. Jesus will know if you break this promise. And I will hear him weeping if you do, believe you me about that."

"Mother, Jesus probably has more important things to worry about than my promises."

"Hush your mouth. Jesus cares for the smallest sparrow—he certainly pays attention to you—especially as the government pays attention as well."

"Yes, mother." Sheldon slumped further in defeat.

"Now, are you taking care of yourself? How are your little friends? Are you careful to not waste all your money on those comic books?"

"I care for myself adequately. My friends are well. I currently spend only 10.6% of my discretionary income on comic books."

"That's good. Now you make sure you behave yourself. These government boys from Homeland Security have lots better things to do than bother me about what you've done. What if some terrorist manages to blow up the Alamo because they were wasting their time here rather than looking to catch the bad guys? I don't like having them show up here, Shelley. Keep your nose clean, you hear me?"

"Yes, mother I hear you," Sheldon dutifully replied.

"Good. I will have my prayer circle pray extra hard for you and the country tonight because of this. Hopefully Jesus will hear our prayers and the country won't get attacked again because these boys were here instead of doing whatever it is they do when they aren't visiting me and telling me about what you've done this time that's illegal. I love you Shelley. You're a trial Jesus sent to me for sure, but I still love you."

"I love you too, mommy. Good bye."

"Good bye, Shelly." Mary Cooper hung up the phone and turned to the Homeland Security agents. "Well, that's all I can do. And I will have my prayer group on it, tonight." She shook her head. "Jesus sent that boy to me to try my patience, but I'm doing my best. Hope you boys don't have to come back again. If you would just give him his Nobel Prize, he'd probably leave all of you alone."

"We don't control the Nobel Committee, ma'am."

"No, I suppose you don't. Well, have a good day and I hope you catch those evil terrorists. Heaven knows, they are always trying."

"Yes, ma'am, they are. Good day."

"Good day gentlemen. Take care, and drive carefully." Mary waved cheerily to them as they got into their SUV and drove off. Then she turned, went back into her house, and went straight for her phone. "I swear, my prayer group sure gets the workout praying for my boy. Gotta remember to put in a good word for those Homeland Security boys, too. Don't want those terrorists blowing up the country because they were distracted by Shelly's antics."