Likely to be going to college.

Yes. I am pulling a pseudo-Dan Brown. Which is to say that below lies a pile of semi-useful batdung, a distillation of what couldn’t pass.

Plot, because the story itself is really unclear:

There are two people. They’d just done an applied math marathon contest (yeah rly), which was something about analysing stocks. (This contest exists. It’s really scary.)

Now, somehow, they’re trapped in the Nasdaq marketsite with a bomb. Maybe some assasin guy strapped it on them during the awards ceremony–be imaginative. Think to the Digital Fortress scene where they’re near that giant silicon phallus computer, where stuff’s about to explode.

Res: Circular room. LEDs everywhere, plexiglass, NASDAQ floor. Hours ago, numbers had been playthings, little symbols to be modeled, little tricks of the examiner to elicit some eloquent, 20-page response.

Now, only silence, save for the bomb’s ticking. Ominously, more numbers glow red, the same color as the bomb’s timer–if fourteen hours for analysis on a solvable problem were short, then three hundred seconds? The numbers ticked down.

Two hundred ninety-nine seconds to disable the bomb. No clues, save one note, a five-dollar bill with a scribble:

“Urso fidamus.”

“Let us trust in the bear?” he muttered. His eyes opened wide enough with the statement to give–and command–attention, but all else was still.

She turned her torso slightly, then shifted entirely, flipping onto her stomach. [[Insert some typical Dan Brown-ish remark about how the female protag is not only smart but also well-toned, bronzed, etc. Except here, the female is an antihero, and is sort of flabby and dressed in awkward formal-wear. Haha.]]

“You? Latin?”

A blink and a grimace. “Mozambique. And your twittering.”

All around them, the numbers waned and ebbed, yet the red timer’s numbers went inexorably down.

Had they plugged the timer’s numbers into the algorithm they’d developed hours ago, their neat data would have been plagued by an inextinguishable rogue point. The market moved periodically. Not linearly with a negative slope of 1 (second/second).

Empty speech, yet she smiled at it. “Two hundred and eighty-nine seconds. 17. Take one down, cut it in half, 12.” Sitting up once more, she turned to see the reaction, if any.

His head tilted, but no words were exchanged. Trapped in plexiglass, it was inaction to the paralyzed; it was uncertain end to the exhausted.