The Problem

DimKnight
DimKnight
Mar 21, 2008, 12:00 AM |
4 | Fun & Trivia

1.

Arin Hellstroem was an obsessive man, to say the least. This trait had served him well in some endeavors, and in fact had made him fantastically wealthy. But the complication was that, once his mind got wrapped around a problem, it wouldn't let go until it found a solution.

This precipitated a revolution in Arin's life when he began pondering an ancient conundrum. The Problem had long ago lost its allure, and most had given up searching for a solution, choosing instead to focus on practical matters of greater current interest. But one day it came to Arin that the fundamental stumbling block was that all prior researchers had simply lacked the necessary willpower.

So he began the construction of a massive computational laboratory, situated deep beneath the surface of a lonely but particularly stable asteroid. He equipped it with the absolute best in processing technology and stasis fields--for he was determined to be there at the moment of the discovery, no matter how long that might take. He christened the computer "Bobby," started it on its way, and settled himself down for a long sleep.

2.

Beep.

Arin's eyes began blinking slowly, heavily.

"I wish you would try to wake a little faster," Bobby noted with a touch of impatience.

"So," Arin began slowly, "How long has it been this time?" He'd been getting up for a minute or two every few million years, ever since the figures began heading in an alarming direction.

Bobby paused. "Does it matter?"

Arin shrugged and agreed that it didn't.

"I have good news, and bad news, and terrible news. Which would you like to hear first?"

"I'll shoot for the middle. Give me the bad."

"About 141 million years ago, this asteroid developed a slight eccentricity in its orbit. It was beyond my power to correct, and human civilization had long since collapsed, so I let it be. But it means that in approximately eight minutes, we'll fall into the sun's corona and disintegrate."

Arin dashed to the control panel and found Bobby's estimates to be entirely correct. The last operational visual scanner showed a glaring, ruddy field of view before failing. "The good news," Arin muttered unhopefully, "had better be pretty damn good."

"It is," said Bobby, "I've found a solution meeting your parameters."

This was indeed good news, and Arin's heart leapt at the thought of hearing it. He strode proudly over to the stasis cabinet, opened it, and poured himself a deep glass of whiskey.

"Not a moment too soon, apparently," said Arin. He downed the glass. "Let's have it."

"Well, you see, that's the terrible news." Bobby seemed to be stammering slightly, insofar as it is possible for a computer to stammer. "It seems that the Grob is a forced win for white."

The asteroid boiled away.


More from DimKnight
A Chessic Goodbye

A Chessic Goodbye

King Hunt

King Hunt