No matter what I did with the numbers, the result was the same. I closed the file and sent it to Fiallan’s station.
“The experiment is out of control.” Aod looked up at my words.
“What do you mean, Brittyn?”
“Well look at it. The subjects are fighting — again.” I gestured to the monitor.
“Seventy-two virgins? What are virgins?” Caoilfhionn joined Aod and me at the monitor.
“As near as I can figure, they are sexually immature female subjects.” Fiallan said from his station where he was studying the numbers I had sent to him.
“I see,” Caoilfhionn clearly didn’t see at all. “Why would they each want seventy-two of them? And why seventy-two? Why not eighty? Or a hundred?”
“I don’t know,” Fiallan said.
“Who cares?” I said. “That’s not the important part. Someone must inform Them.”
“Good luck with that.” Aod said. “I’ll stay and keep an eye on things.” I stood there starting at him, two hands on my hips while the other two fidgeted with the laces of my tunic.
“Well, you are the team leader, Brittyn,” Aod replied. “Besides, I want to see how they expect to get seventy-two virgins each when there don’t appear to be that many virgins on that world.”
“I suppose.” I frowned at the monitor. “I’d better run a couple of simulations first.”
“What for?” Fiallan said. “We have the numbers.”
“I think the experiment is out of control because its design is flawed.” I entered data into the computer. “The simulations will prove that we ran the experiment as we were told to.”
“An alibi,” Caoilfhionn approved. “Genius.”
“That’s why she is the team leader,” Aod chuckled.
“Thanks,” I said, “but I really think They won’t like hearing that They didn’t design the experiment correctly. I think we all should go.”
“No,” Fiallan said. “You are the team leader. Besides, someone should stay here and monitor the experiment. The subjects do have the Bomb.”
“They won’t use it,” I said more confidently than I felt.
“How can you be so sure?” Aod wanted to know.
“All right, I’m not that sure,” I admitted, “but they have shown the capacity to learn and the issue with the nuclear power site gave them a warning.”
“If they heed it,” said Caoilfhionn.
“They don’t want to die,” I insisted.
“Some of them do,” she said.
“OK,” I said. “If they do use the Bomb, you won’t be able to stop it. You might even be in range to take damage.” She laughed.
“True,” she said. “But I would rather face the effects of the Bomb, than Them.”
“You and me both,” I said, “but someone has to make this report. Is the simulation done yet, Fiallan?”
“Have the results right here,” he said. “It doesn’t look as though anything has changed.”
“Don’t make it sound like I rigged the simulation,” I protested.
“Well, smote things have changed, but the outcome is very similar.” He handed me the data pad. “I think They’ll buy it.”
“Why wouldn’t They buy it?” Aod demanded. “Are you saying They will think we rigged it?”
“I don’t know,” Fiallan said. “It’s just convenient that it came out that way.”
“I think they will run their own simulations,” Caoilfhionn said, “and come up with similar results.”
“We can hope,” Fiallan said.
“I suppose I had better get going,” I turned to the door. I really didn’t want to face Them.
“It was nice knowing you,” Fiallan said.
“Thanks a lot.”