Plinky vs. The Leviathan

Part 1 of A Multi-Dimensional Tale

By David Akers

A vast crowd gathered within the courtroom, each observer anxiously striving to catch even a fleeting glimpse of the plaintiff. An unprecedented event in the history of the planet would occur this day: a flat-ling had brought forth a lawsuit against a three-dimensional higher educational institution for what he claimed was "dimensional discrimination." The government, composed entirely of four-lings and their three-dimensional underlings, had tried to play down the event by insisting that the plaintiff was merely a "militant extremist" attempting to shake the very foundations of society. But the public was nevertheless drawn to the fact that the supreme court, a fully four dimensional institution, had agreed to hear the case to begin with.

At last, the flatling client and his threeling lawyer entered the room, followed by a crowd of secret service agents. A murmur arose from the crowd as the observers repositioned themselves to get a better look. A low flutter could be heard as flatling observers rapidly scanned the room, attempting to create two-dimensional images of the world by combining in their mind's eye the many one-dimensional retinal slices that their vision could capture. The threeling bailiff shouted for quiet, and the courtroom gradually came to order. All those present looked toward the supremely honorable Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Fourland, dispenser of supreme truth and goodness, maintainer of the supreme social order, controller of all other things deemed to be supreme, otherwise known as . . . Fred.

Fred Fourling had been a decent four-dimensional man all his life. He liked to think that he had risen to his lofty position through a life of conformity and adherance to tradition. In the court's decision to hear the case, he had been with the minority who had dissented. He did not want to hear this case. If flatlings were given rights, what next? Would threelings begin fighting for rights in government? In Fred's enlightened opinion, what would result would most certainly be anarchy. And anarchy was evil in its purest form.

The bailiff announced in strong tones, "The case of #217584 vs. The Leviathan. Gentlemen, please rise."

In Fourland, flatlings were not deemed worthy of names, but were instead identified by number. From birth, they were encoded with this number as a special bar code placed inside their two-dimensional bodies. (They could not see this number, as it was technically "inside" of them.) Among flatlings, having a prime number was said to fortell greatness. Threelings and fourlings ignored such idle superstition, and continued to assign numbers arbitrarily. As a matter of convenience, flatlings developed their own naming convention which they would use amongst themselves. 217584's birth-given flatname was Plinky, and we shall refer to him as this from now on.

"The Leviathan" was the name given to the four-dimensional "government of governments" which ruled over the entire world of Fourland. Lastly, it is worth noting that women were not allowed within the courtroom. They were deemed inferior to men in the same way that flatlings were inferior to threelings, and (by logical extension) threelings to fourlings.

Fred spoke at last, when he was satisfied that he was in complete control. "You may be seated. Plaintiff 217584, you may begin your opening statement."

The focus of the room switched from Supreme Court Justice Fred to Plinky's representative, a somewhat portly threeling with a reputation for mischief among traditionalist threeling lawyers. he had been involved in the famous "aarf vs. the Leviathan," which had resulted in the abolition of flatling slavery thirty years ago. his presence here was no surprise to anyone, least of all Fred, who considered him to be an incarnation of the Antichrist. It seemed to all those present that Plinky would face an uphill battle in convincing the court of his case.

The many cameras in the room focused on Plinky's lawyer, who presently began to speak in urgent tones:

"Gentlemen of the court," he began, "members of the viewing audience, and supreme justices, I come to you with a mathematical dilema of sorts. It seems that my client has been denied access to Skyler University solely on the basis of his dimension. Let us consider this concept of dimension. What is it that makes me third dimensional? Or Fred, fourth dimensional? Is dimension some kind of mystical number which binds a lifeform to his place in the sociopolitical hierarchy? Sadly, I fear it is. What I am going to argue here today is that it SHOULDN'T be."

At hearing this, Chief Justice Fred shifted his weight uneasily in four-space, causing his volume to increase momentarily. The crowd, startled by the sight, recoiled in fear. The bailiff quickly restored order, and the opening statement was allowed to continue.

"I return to my previous question now. What is it that makes me three dimensional? What, essentially, am I? I am a stack of two-dimensional objects of varying size and shape. I am COMPOSED of two-dimensional objects. They make me what I am. How can I accept discrimination against myself? It would be analagous to . . . well, self-discrimination. And I think that you all agree that such a concept is ridiculous."

Those seated in the courtroom defiantly erupted, enraged by the speech made by this heretic. The bailiff shouted a warning which went unheeded. The crowd began to form into a mob, and surged forward toward Plinky and his lawyer. Fred found himself forced to intervene, despite his basic agreement with the sentiments of the mob. The tragic events which followed will always be remembered in Fourland's history books. Without leaving his seat upon the throne, Fred reached his hand out in four-space toward the gathering mob. Through a simple operation, he simply caused several of its members to vanish from three-space. He moved them in a fourth direction, a direction perpendicular to the other three dimensions, effectively removing them from the world of three dimensions, and placing them in a "parallel universe." Screams echoed through the courtroom as chaos reigned. After several minutes, order was at last restored, and those who had formed the mob were forced to leave the room.

At this point, as Plinky's lawyer prepared to continue his opening statment, Plinky himself motioned that he wished to address the court. This was quite unorthodox, but it was within the rules.

Since flatlings are two-dimensional, their sound waves travel in two-dimensions. This presents a problem, since the sound cannot reach the ears of three or four dimensional beings. The solution to this problem, discovered quite recently, was to use 2.5 dimensional fractal beings as interpreters. Their fractal dimension allowed them to converse (rather roughly) with both flatlings and threelings.

The interpreter entered the room, impressing the crowd with his beautiful fractal appendages. When he reached his place by Plinky's side, Plinky cleared his throat, stood up rather awkwardly, and prepared to address the court.

What will happen to our flatling protagonist Plinky? Will he successfully argue his case, bringing flatlings out from the tyranny of The Leviathan? Or will our hero be dashed into line segments by another angry mob? You'll find out in the next weekly installment.

To Be Continued . . .