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The Thinking Molecules of Titan: Ending by Vivienne Béla

Editor's note: This is a continuation of a story Roger was working on when he passed away. This ending is one of many we received. To read Roger's beginning to the story, from the end of which each entry picks up the thread, go here. Illustration by Krishna Bala Shenoi. This is one of five endings we're posting this week. Vote on this week's endings here.

Vivienne Béla writes:

Alex thought for a moment and said, "Mozart…but why the Titan molecules clump themselves into a failed-Mozart pattern?"

"It cannot be an un-failed Mozart," Elliott quipped. "For Mozart was a titan of Western civilization."

"I agree with Claire that it's music," Regan said. While Regan was pausing for a moment to formulate her thought into words, Mason interrupted.

"But why have the molecules stopped evolving at the Mozart-wannabe level? Why is this pattern 'a good fit'? Why not Bach?" asked Mason.

Regan concurred, "That's what I thought. Isn't Baroque music more of a…a mathematical framework than the works of Mozart? But I have to admit that I don't know much about the history or evolution of music."

Mason continued, "I've heard my symphony-going highbrow uncles say that Bach's music is of balance and perfection."

After a big gulp of beer, Elliott said, "Why are the good-fit nominations limited only to the styles of Bach and Mozart? How about the music of Beethoven? And I don't know many classical composers. Who was the guy who wrote the New World symphony? And who wrote the something Lord of the Ring opera cycle?"

Elliot's last question drew a cluster of what? and laughter from his pondering friends.

"You meant Dvořák and the Ring cycle by Wagner?" Claire helped out.

"Oh yeah! The Ring!" Elliott smiled.

Alex asked Claire, "Was he the guy you told me in a round of trivial pursuit who caused a riot in Paris in the early 1900s?"

"No, that was Igor Stravinsky," replied Claire.

Suddenly, a gleam of excitement flashed across Regan's face. She said, "Stravinsky—I just remembered a year ago I attended an early childhood educator conference with my cousin Mona who was an assistant teacher in the infant section of a children's center. The child psychiatrist and pediatrician lecturer in the conference once said that playing Mozart to a baby had the effect of calming the baby's heart rate, whereas playing Stravinsky's music to a baby would raise the baby's heart rate. At that time I asked my cousin who Stravinsky was. Perhaps the key is that the pattern of the Titan molecules have become Mozartian, or sort of Mozartian, when it gets in the groove, as it is also the vibration that calms the heart rate of human being."

Mason added enthusiastically, "Right. Fetuses listen to Mozart! Baby Mozart!" He was referring to a slew of CDs marketed to the parents of infants.

Elliot wanted to protest about baby Mozart, thinking that his sister-in-law had been playing the music of the Beatles to his future nephew. But before he had uttered a sound, Claire spoke.

"It makes sense," said Claire. "Maybe when the molecules have evolved into this pattern, the pattern became perceptible to our equipment and our ears."

Alex and Mason nodded and everyone sank into contemplative mode. Mason listened to the pattern again and said, "I have a suggestion. There's a phrase of five notes that really strikes me, because the pauses on both ends of the phrase are longer than the rest of the pauses and it's short and sweet. It just stands out. It's on the seventh-second mark. Let's set lyrics to this phrase to celebrate our mini-discovery."

A round of why not? and sure were heard. Mason passed his iPhone to Alex, and one by one, his friends listened to the pattern attentively.

Claire sang the phrase aloud in solfège: "Sol—mi—do—fa—re—ti, (an octave lower)." The rhythm is: Sol----mi--do--fa-re-ti,.

Elliot got an idea first. He joyously chanted, "Let's have beer after work!"

Everyone laughed. "We're having beer!" reminded his friends.

Alex sang, "Titan excites me!"

A round of applause ensued. It was Mason's turn. He sang, "Sound waves and patterns." It was met with a lukewarm reception.

Regan said, "I have a completely unrelated one. It just came to my mind." Then she sang, "Be kind to each other."

Claire clapped on her shoebox and said, "I like this one and I can't think of a better one, so I vote for Regan's."

"Cheers to Regan!"

"Cheers to Titan!"

"Cheers to the Thinking Molecules of Titan!"

"Be kind to each other!"

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