The Castle on the Hill

2021.12.08 01:55 Impronoucabl The Castle on the Hill

Original Prompt:
Here lies a strong stone castle on a hill. Its walls are made of perfectly cut stones that all fit neatly into place, with spaces for doors and windows at symmetrical and aesthetically pleasing locations. They say the person who had the house built had no heirs, so the house was never claimed, and no one ever seemed to want to buy it. However, age and decay seem to have never touched the house on the hill. While the furniture is gone, the building itself seems almost brand new, with beautiful wooden floors that are as clean and polished as if they were installed yesterday. The mosaics in the tiled floors in some of the rooms and in the stained glass windows around the house are beautiful and bring a sort of liveliness to the house. Even the door to the basement is in perfectly good condition, though it is made of solid iron. Even the key in the lock shines. - written by u/TechnicolorTraveler
The professor parked the car in the freshly installed garage of the castle. The General stepped off, examined her surroundings, and sniffed the air. "Now that we're here," She said, "Please explain what's so important that I'm missing lunch with my darling." "To put it as bluntly as possible," The Professor said, gesturing at a door, "I think we've just solved maths." "You mean you solved a big maths problem." "Yes, but also no." They began walking through the main hall. "We may have potentially solved all of math's biggest problems." "Great." The General replied, "So now what? Can you take over the world with this newfound knowledge of yours? Or end world hunger? Theories are nice to have, but that's all they are, theories." "Well, it's still too early to be completely certain, but...with time, yes...Yes, I think we could do both." "Wait." The General stopped. "You're serious?" The proffessor scratched his head, and looked out the window. "It's possible." "But?" "But it wouldn't be easy." "Remind me, why did I skip lunch for this?" The professor resumed his pace. "What we're doing here is still untested, but I'm sure we've succeeded already. Did you bring the message?" The general withdrew an USB from her pocket, and handed it to him. She saw that gleam in his eye again. "How long," He asked, "do you think a message like this could stay encrypted for?" "If the rest of the world was working together, they could probably crack it in a year. Maybe sooner if something crazy is discovered with those new datajacks." "I had a look at those actually. Impressive for what they are, and now they've caught the attention of some priests too." The general raised an eyebrow. "Do you think we should acquire some soon?" "They're not a threat. But the prospective tribe and their priest are most interested in using it as a new form of devotion." "Speaking of this potential new tribe, I heard they are working with you on this project?" He nodded, and began walking downstairs. "Half of them are either current, or former students of mine. They're well educated at the very least." "But can they offer anything new?" "You can decide shortly." The duo arrived at the basement door. A single cable had been fed beneath, following the wall and up the staircase. The door opened without a prompt, revealing a shaggy student and their laptop in front of a recently cleared whiteboard. "This is Amanhya," The professor said, "part of the prospective Cyber tribe." They exchanged pleasantries, and then the light seemed to return to Amanhya's eyes. "You're a mage, aren't you." The General asked. "That's quite perceptive," Amanhya replied. "as I anticipated you would be." "So what makes you so special? Your teacher is quite gleeful about what you're doing here." "Oh, I'm rather obsessed with the future. So much so, I have devoted all my magic to learning the much ignored art of pre-cognition." "You can see the future?" "And hear it." Amanhya smilied. "So you know what my next question will be?" "Well, if I hadn't turned off the spell earlier, yes. If I use it for too long, my senses dull, and I get a headache." He pointed at the door and the board. "I saw you coming in before you did, so I took a minute to prepare. Satisfied?" The General looked at the professor. The professor shrugged, then spoke. "Just to confirm before we begin, you're absolutely sure you've encrypted the USB?" The General nodded. "Then we'll try running the program now, and explain how it works later." He handed the USB to Amanhya, who plugged it into the laptop. The General saw Amanhya's eyes diminish as the program was being initialised, typing in apparent random numbers as the initial seed. "You're going to try break the encryption here and now?" "It's worth your lunch, trust me." Replied the professor. "That's going to take too long, it'll require all the supercomp-" "Done." "Whaaaaat?" "Here's your message." Amanhya showed the General the laptop. "Its...It's real! But how?! Even if you looked 5 minutes, or heck, even two weeks into the future, there's no way an algorthim could finish half the solution by then!" The light returned to Amanhya's eyes. "It's not just because of me, it's also this location." "A stone castle away from the sea?" "No. It's hard to describe. There are no words I can use to convey what sort of special this place is." "Try me." "Okay, well, when looking into the future, or even before that, there is some sort of sense of change. It's like a big ball of wibbly wobbly... time-y wimey... stuff. But here, it's smooth. Curved but flat, looping and twisting with itself, but still smooth. Time itself has a strange permanence around this room in particular, and it's leaking all over the castle." "-That explains the new house smell." "So when I noticed this, I began to wonder...What could possibly cause time to flatten itself out?" Amanhya paused. "Amanhya discussed this with me, and we both concluded that there had to be some sort of paradox going on. I looked into the historical record of this place, expecting a slaver's old den or the like, but there was nothing." He paused for dramatic effect, "Nothing, at such a fine place like this?" "Ah, so then you asked me if there was any top secret military stuff happening here, which there wasn't." "Exactly!" Said the professor, "From that, we gathered that the most likely paradox here would have to be a pre-destiny timeline." "A what?" "A paradox where a series of events is their own cause." "Is this like the grandfather paradox?" "No, that's when you stop yourself messing with time. This is the opposite, when you make yourself mess with time, by messing with time" "This is...beginning to sound dangerous. Just how exactly are you 'messing' with time?" "No mess," Said Amanhya, "Just precognition. I'll walk you through the steps." He took out a black marker and began drawing on the board. "The program we're running is an implementation of a brute force attack against some foreign encrypted data." "That's the slow method where you manually check every possibility right?" The General asked. She wished there was a chair nearby. "Correct." Said the Professor. "But instead of testing each cipher individually, we do two in parralel at a time. One is sequential like most other implementations, and the other is an arbitrary guess, based on what I see from the future." "A guess that happens to always be correct? How can we be so sure?" "If it's not correct, we'll find out shortly, and I'll write down a different guess for my past self to see." "This doesn't make sense. How can you write down something different to what you already saw you do yourself?" The professor began drawing lines like a tree on its side, splitting into multiple branches from one original trunk. He labelled it 'A'. "When we run the program, there are two main possibilities, many-worlds, and pre-destiny." He pointed at the lines he just drew, "With the many-worlds hypothesis, if we got our guess wrong, we'd send our new guess into a parralel universe, where they'd have a higher chance of gettting it right. In this universe, we'd still need to repeat the computations a few more times, until we either brute force it, or a better guess comes from an adjacent universe." Then he drew a line with a loop, labelled 'B'. "However, if alternate realities can't exist, or there is only one timeline, then making an incorrect guess becomes self-inconsistent. That is, timelines where we guess incorrectly can't exist." "Stop." The General held out her palm. "Are you saying that if we guess incorrectly our timeline will cease to exist?" "No..." The Professor pondered for a moment. "Timelines are a bit like holes. Either you've made a hole, or you haven't. You can't dig half a hole. Similarly, timelines can't just stop existing, they were fixed before they 'began'." "I see..." Said the General. "And you're sure we're in a predestiny timeline instead of a many worlds one?" "We've tested other algorithms with known data, and the chances everything being a perfect guess off the bat are infinitesimal, but not zero." Answered Amanhya. "As I was saying, timelines where we guess incorrectly can't exist. So our guesses must always be correct, which we can then quickly verify." The professor retrieved the USB, and returned it to the General. "And how does this solve world hunger?" She asked. "What we have just accomplished" Said the Professor, "is a physical demonstration of P=NP" "That equation sounds familiar." "It's what I meant when I said we 'solved' maths. Breaking encryption was just the tip of the iceberg. We can set up a travelling salesman solver and have the perfect solution to logistics." "How long would that take to set up?" "If I drop everything else, maybe a week or two?" Said Amanhya. The General gave a few moments thought about what to do next. "Okay, you've got one month, but I also want a test on real data, live leaks from behind enemy lines. If you succeed, consider the tribe's military endorsement granted. She turned to the Professor. "You've got any funds you need to set this up and scale it. I want this running 24/7." The professor's face lit up. The General continued, "At the end of next month, I'd also like a model of how we could restructure our military logis-" "Sorry, just a minor problem, but" The Professor leaned on Amanhya, "There are very few precogitive mages in the alliance, and I think Amanhya's the only one who's not a priest or servant." "Actually, there's at least one woman in the military, and I think she's a shock trooper." Amanhya said. "Well," The professor said, "she's not a number-cruncher like you. I am curious as to why most of the priests that have it, none seem to turn off their foresight." "It's all about pre-destiny, really." Amanhya stared off into the distance, gazing into the fabric of reality itself, "Seeing the future you can't change really makes you question your free will. Most priests, simply chose to give that up, as a symbol of their devotion." Amanhya looked back at the professor. "I've always preferred the illusion of choice. I mean, I'd rather think that I wanted to do all this, rather than have my actions pre-written by fate"
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2021.12.08 01:55 JustHuman07 MarriageADVICE NEEDED

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2021.12.08 01:55 Several_Run_5434 Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you an album made by us, of none other than the maam himself, MC Stan. Thanks to everyone who participated, mods for letting us complete the series and the peeps who left an award in some posts in the process of making it. Feel free to tell your thoughts on this

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