The USS Mariner has been hurtling through time and space for over four decades now, and current captain Jerry Dipoto has been steering her towards a 2021 contention window that he saw open up after the explosion of an unstable star cluster. Always clever, Dipoto saw his opportunity to slingshot the ship around a partially open window in 2016, using its power to launch towards the 2021 opening. What was left of the 2016 window was destroyed in the process, closing for good in 2018. If Dipoto’s calculations were correct, it would all be worth it in a few years. The ship soon passed through the tail of a rare Prospect Comet and acquired two Outfield Teens in the process. The Outfield Teens are now part of a fuel reserve that the USS Mariner has not enjoyed for quite some time. While the reviews have been mixed, many scientists and experts have agreed that Dipoto would be able to steer his vessel into the 2021 window, or at least a residual 2022 or 2023 window that will likely open up in the aftermath.
However, new reports in recent months appear to suggest that this may no longer be the case. After significant ripples in the fabric of reality since the beginning of 2020, adjusted calculations show an increasing likelihood that the USS Mariner shoots beyond the 2021 window altogether, and it is uncertain that any similar windows will open any time soon. In fact, some now believe that while Dipoto is at the wheel, the ship will run out of fuel completely sometime around 2023, and be left to drift through the void of competitive space until a rescue mission can reach it.
One competitive physics scientist spoke to us in anonymity, fearing potential backlash if the findings of their studies were perceived as criticism. “Everything was looking really good for the USS Mariner to enter through that 2021 window, assuming its captain followed through on the plan he laid out. But now what we’re seeing is that due to some changes in the MLB landscape and the fact that reality itself has just gone absolutely bonkers right now, the ship is beginning to drift and it’s becoming less likely that it will be able to adjust course.” Another contention expert told us “it is well known that Dipoto does not prefer to spend money to improve his ship, which in this case would probably be necessary to hit this window on time, especially considering the altered space he now finds himself in.”
Both of these assessments operate under the assumption that the 2021 window will even exist at all, which is far from a certainty according to the research team at The Institute of Things That Will Definitely Happen. “Yeah, at this point it’s beginning to look like there’s a very good chance that 2021 as we think we know it doesn’t even exist, so whatever contention windows the Mariners may be shooting for will likely not be there. Not only that, the competitive landscape of 2021 as a whole is looking like it’s potentially just a void at this point.” These are eye-opening words from the leader of research at this not-particularly-well-named institute.
While the sailors, stowaways, and fans of the USS Mariner are certainly not strangers to watching their beautiful ship cruise by contention windows, this one will sting a little more. “It really is a tough break,” said Captain Dipoto. “We’ve done everything we can up to this point and it looks like it may just not be in the cards this time. But rest assured we have a plan, and have our eye on something special up ahead that I don’t think any of the other captains have even seen yet. Just give it some time, and believe in the people we have on this ship.”
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