Dear 100 Hour Board,
Which group uses green quad-ruled engineering paper more, engineering students or working engineers?
-"homework will not receive credit unless it is written on green engineering paper"
And thus was the manner that the question was first asked, while the 100 Hour Board was yet in its youth. The question was one of many, almost indistinguishable from its brethren and sistren in the overdue inbox. It was asked on a lark, a mere whim of curiosity given the form of written words.
It was the Board's voluntary duty to answer questions, however esoteric, and return written responses after a minimum of 100 hours. Having started out as a physical board that had to be updated manually, it had expanded to the internet, increasing it's outreach (theoretically) to any within access of WiFi. Questions poured in, and even more answers poured out.
No matter how strange, a small band of procrastinating students painstakingly researched and sometimes just lazily Google-searched the answer. Until the question.
When this response was read by the reader, they shrugged off their disappointment, and moved on with their life, not giving a second thought to the question.
Over the course of 20 years, the question was asked again and again, always taking on a slightly different form, recognizable by the common thread of the response:
It was 3078. Popculturereferencenym turned to MyNameHere.
"Hey, ever wondered how many gold-plated pterodactyls it would take to exactly fill a 3 by 3 inch cube in quantum space after being condensed by a black hole?"
"T'is one of the burning questions of life," replied MyNameHere.
"Wait, I think I know a place where we can get an answer! The Somewhere Between 100 and 3981 But We Aren't Making Any Hard Promises Hour Board!"
Popculturereferencenym was proud of the fact she was not only aware of the Americas' premier source for answering question, but that she even knew it had once gone by the simple name of 100 Hour Board. It had come a long way since its early days, and the whole CATS incidence. The legends had it that either a group of 1000 half starved college students or just one mysterious figure by the name of Matt Meese answered all the questions that came in.
174 hours later, the answer to the posed question came:
"42 (after having performed some crazy number theory magic)."
"Wow, isn't that amazing?" exclaimed Popculturereferencenym.
"Mmfh." (MyNameHere was currently occupied by morphing into a different person yet again.)
"Hmmm... " mused Popculturereferencenym. "I wonder if they could find that one really weird play I once saw a clip of when I was either 3 or 18 years old. It had something to do with inter dimensional travel? Or was it pandas?" She immediately submitted her query, and eagerly waited 298 hours until an answer appeared.
"Amazing! They found the exact play I only half-recalled and gave super vague descriptions of!" In the background, MyNameHere seemed torn between being someone asking about relationship drama and another person who just wanted to find the nearest legume.
Cackling gleefully to herself, Popculturereferencenym quickly asked another question.
"What was the last memory I forgot?"
3982 hours passed before a single sentence flashed in response:
Popculturereferencenym sighed a bit dejectedly, but hastily thought up another question to pose, and the unanswered one was soon forgotten.
The year was 405060. SLKJ872 was excitedly getting ready for The Celebration. It was almost the 100,000th anniversary of The Either 100 Hour Or 100 Wombats We Kind Of Forgot Which One It Was Board moving onto an inter galactic forum.
In honor of the great occasion, past writers were going to be resurrected from the dead to haunt the person who asked them to count how many stars were in the 5 nearest galaxies. The EHOWWKOFWOIW Board was also going to release the 100,000 overdue questions it had been stockpiling over the last 100,000 years.
SLKJ872 gazed lovingly at the 876,000,000 hour old question that had been passed down through the generations to finally come to him. Tomorrow,... tomorrow he would get the answer: a much anticipated forecast of what would happen to the next 200,000 descendants of the original asker of the question.
By now, no one really knew where the answers to these questions actually originated from. Rumor had it that if one was swallowed whole by a monstrous worm, they would somehow have the knowledge of the universe crammed into their heads and develop a strange penchant for learning about different subjects and then writing about it. Forever.
Bright morning's dawn found SLKJ872 glued to the microchip inside his head that transmitted all information directly into his mind. He was too excited to even notice MyNameHere pass him 37 times without ever changing directions.
And then, the answer:
It was 892764164. It was also a generally accepted fact that the sum of all human was contained within The Just Search The Archives Literally We've Already Answered Anything You Can Think Of To Ask (Sorry We Never Did Update Our Search Function) 100 Board.
The greatest scholars mankind had to offer up spent their days immersed the archives of this awesome Board. MyNameHere still tried to occasionally ask questions, but was always met with a scholar proffering an answer that had been given to a very similar question already asked.
No one knew where the enigmatic Writers resided, or if indeed, there WERE still any Writers.
One day, an intrepid student approached the scholars with a question:
"Which group uses green quad-ruled engineering paper more, engineering students or working engineers?"
After years and years of tireless searching, a young scholar intern breathlessly exclaimed, "I found it! The same question! It was one of the very first ones ever asked." Proudly, the intern presented the answer to the student:
"But... this isn't an answer," the student remarked. "It's just a copout. Obviously some lazy writer at the dawn of the Board just didn't put in the work to give an actual answer to this. How many other copouts are there anyways? What are the questions that have been asked but never got real answers? Can they get answers now?"
Before the flustered intern could open her mouth, a booming voice spoke as if from the virtual heavens.
"I am... The Writer. It has been long since I have had the opportunity to answer a question. But I see that is no more. Give me 100 Hours 100 Times and I will answer."
It was past the time of years. The Writer painstakingly searched through the mighty archives, amassing a huge collection of questions, that were really all the same question. It was the question that had never received true answers.
By this point, only The Writer, MyNameHere, and a motley assortment of monkey-cats were left.
They were not deterred by the size of their self-assigned task to gather every bit of the question (though quite a few of the monkey-cats thought they were actually looking for bananas/world domination).
At long last, Matt Meese raised his head.
"Let there be answers."
TL;DR: Idk, sorry about that, wouldn't it be great if there was someone who really could answer everything?
~Anathema with inspiration from Isaac Asimov