The Orientation

“Good luck Ms. Quinn! Stay alert and use your wits all the time!” Dr. Johnson let out his sinister smile as she entered the orientation chamber, the heavy steel door sliding shut, sealing her inside.

“Welcome to your orientation, Ms. Quinn!” a voice thundered, sounding like James Earl Jones voicing for Darth Vader. 

“I commend your courage on choosing Option 3,” the voice continued. “Although I must admit it seems foolhardy to choose this option without knowing about it. Most others chose either the first or the second. You make for an interesting study.”

She looked all around for speakers or cameras, but couldn’t find any. 

“The third option is simple. You will face a test, or rather, a series of tests. Pass them all and you’re free to go. Fail in one and you’re dead. We know that you have an exceptionally high IQ. But how do you react in pressure situations? Can you think as clearly, and make the right decisions within seconds when your life is at stake? That is what we intend to study about you, Ms Quinn.” 

Her heart was beating louder and faster. Fear gripped her as she looked all around. 

“We will monitor your every move, your eyeball movements as you try to answer each question, the direction you turn, the movement of your muscles, the rate of your heartbeat and so on.”

“Now let’s start with a little warm up exercise, shall we?” the voice continued as a huge screen appeared, showing four almost identical looking images which had a colorful assortment of shapes, similar to the tests she had done in the past. 

“Pick the one that is different from the other three. You have thirty seconds.” 

Easy,” she thought to herself and touched the third one from the left, just before realizing that the correct one was the fourth.

A sudden puff of smoke came out, nearly suffocating her.  

“There, there, overconfident, weren’t you?” a loud laughter echoed.

 How could I be so stupid?!,” she told herself as she swallowed nervously. “Relax Elizabeth, you can do it.

“Once the game starts, there will be no second chances,” the voice warned. “Be careful, Ms. Quinn. It would be a waste to lose you so early in the game.”

Game? Is this all a game to you?” she asked incredulously.

 “All right, we begin now. You will have thirty seconds to answer your question. On your right are four doors. Open the door you think has the right answer. Opening the wrong door will let out a poisonous fume which will kill you in seconds. Take too long to answer, and a poisonous gas released from the vent will kill you.”

She nodded.

“Here comes the question: Which of these does not accurately fit in a pie?”

She looked at the doors as they were lit with the numbers 14, 28, 59 and 93 respectively.

“What, no lifelines?” she asked sarcastically.

“Your intelligence is your lifeline, Ms. Quinn. Use it wisely,” the voice replied. “The clock is ticking.”

Pie?” she wondered, and then looked at numbers. “Oh, he must have meant Pi,” she thought. “Now, what is pi? Ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter.

“Can I have a pen?” she asked aloud, but there was no response.

 How I need a drink, alcoholic in nature…” she began to sing her ‘piem’ which helped her recollect the decimal places of pi. The length of each word in the 'piem' made a digit in pi.

Thus the first twenty digits came to 3.14159265358979323846.

“Fifteen.. fourteen.. thirteen..” countdown boomed, infuriating her.

If the doors represented pairs of digits in pi, then 14 was certainly there, and so was 59. Once again singing her piem “How I need a drink..”, she figured that there was also a 9 followed by a 3. That accounted for the number 93 as well.

She glanced up to see the air vents opening.


“Pi is usually associated with 22/7, but it is not quite accurate,” she recalled.


“22 divided by 7 is 3.1428, which is not accurate when looking at 4 decimal places, since pi is 3.1416.”


“It has to be 28 then.”


She rushed to the door marked 28 and opened it.

The End

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