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Vincent Ingram La Ine, the famous clairvoyant villain-for-hire, has decided after his most recent prison break (for plot reasons, clairvoyance isn't constant, and requires a crystal ball and lizard tails.) that he no longer likes being hunted. He sets off looking for ways to pursue contracts, and stumbles upon an idea: abuse chaos theory to his advantage to produce the desired effect. Upon receiving his next contract, V.I. La Ine drops his water glass, causing his mark to (through an indirect and convoluted process) drop dead of a stroke in a month. The heroes are obviously distraught. Nothing can prove Vincent guilty, because technically he didn't do anything illegal. The heroes still need to beat Vincent, though. They know the following about their foe:

  1. Vincent has a vindictive personality. If a hero approaches him with the intent to kill or imprison him, Vincent will set events in play to destroy a significant percent of the world's population
  2. Vincent isn't perfect. Seeing the future in such a way as to affect (and/or effect) future events is based on how many future events Vincent is in the process of orchestrating. For each event, seeing the future takes an additional hour.
  3. The chance of an event happening decreases with how far in the future it is. Events a week away are guaranteed. Events a month away have a 90% chance. Events a year away have a 50% chance, and events 5 years away have a 10% chance of occurring.
  4. Vincent could have his apocalypse planned already, a sort of dead-man switch. Probably, he doesn't, but keep it in mind.
  5. Vincent can't immediately drop all of his future events, un-planning an event (so to speak) takes an hour.
  6. The uncertainty in Vincent's predictions is due to quantum fluctuations.

Given that Vincent is a dangerous criminal that needs to be stopped; how best might we quarantine and end the clairvoyant, while still avoiding the apocalypse?

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closed as off-topic by Andon, Renan, JohnWDailey, sphennings, Mołot Feb 14 '18 at 9:34

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  • $\begingroup$ How randomness is handled in Vincent's world? Suppose, someone loads one bullet in a revolver and tries to shoot Vincent. Will Vincent know, a week in advance, whether the revolver will actually fire, or the hammer will hit an empty chamber? $\endgroup$ – Alexander Feb 14 '18 at 1:19
  • $\begingroup$ Yes. Vincent is able to predict anything except whether Schrodinger's cat is dead or alive. Unfortunately, using a 'quantum sniper' would likely send Vincent into a vengeful rage, so we really only get one shot. $\endgroup$ – Jakob Lovern Feb 14 '18 at 1:23
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    $\begingroup$ I'm a bit iffy on the premise. Clairvoyance != omniscience. Does Vincent contemplate every glass he could drop to determine which one might eventually kill his target? The popularized version of chaos theory suggests that it's virtually impossible to know which input produces a given output, so unless the future is immutable and Vincent was predestined to "kill" his target (and if so, should he get paid?), how does he know which one to drop? $\endgroup$ – jdunlop Feb 14 '18 at 2:11
  • $\begingroup$ Vincent can choose an event (ex. 'Gyro the Hero dies') and know the probability of it occurring within a given time span. He can then ask how the chances change if he drops his glass. $\endgroup$ – Jakob Lovern Feb 14 '18 at 2:14
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    $\begingroup$ Probably worth viewing the movie "Next" which involves a clairvoyant trying to avoid/detect future events that affect him both positively and negatively. Issue related to yours come up. $\endgroup$ – StephenG Feb 14 '18 at 3:21
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Confuse the future

The heroes needs to set up as many attacks against Vincent as they can, including some that will deliberately fail. Possibly they use another clairvoyant to know their plans are working.

In the same way that Vincent can set off a chain of events by letting a glass fall, the heroes need to set off hundreds, perhaps thousands of events that directly affect Vincent.

Most of these can be benign, and all of them are in constant flux, but the idea is to confuse Vincent's clairvoyance by creating a future with too many outcomes, each of which has an equal chance of occurring, for him to determine which of them is the definitive timeline.

That is, it's not just quantum that's fluctuating, it's the myriad of ever-changing plans the heroes set up. Overwhelm Vincent with too many options, and maybe he'll miss the one event that eventually leads to his death.

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  • $\begingroup$ Great, you've killed Vincent. Unfortunately, during a thermonuclear arming drill, the false warhead is accidentally replaced with a new warhead because butterflies in India and a nuclear war starts. $\endgroup$ – Jakob Lovern Feb 14 '18 at 1:59
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    $\begingroup$ @JakobLovern What's the point of asking the question if you're going to be sarcastic about the answer. You asked, I gave an answer. Up to you how you use it. $\endgroup$ – Tim Feb 14 '18 at 2:03
  • $\begingroup$ While your answer successfully kills Vincent, it does it just as well as a bullet to the brain would. The goal is to isolate if Vincent has a apocalypse scenario lined up already, and stop THAT. $\endgroup$ – Jakob Lovern Feb 14 '18 at 2:08
  • $\begingroup$ I just assumed you wanted him dead. You could easily change that last word to "capture", or which ever outcome is best. It could be that killing Vincent is actually key to preventing his plan. $\endgroup$ – Tim Feb 14 '18 at 2:10
  • $\begingroup$ It might just give Vincent a migraine or a nervous breakdown - kind of like Mrs Cake when people don't say things she has just responded to. (Terry Pratchett Discworld reference for the uninitiated) $\endgroup$ – pojo-guy Feb 14 '18 at 4:30
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Quantum Dice

You said "The uncertainty in Vincent's predictions is due to quantum fluctuations." It is fairly easy to create a "quantum dice", or a machine that gives a random result through quantum fluctuations (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hardware_random_number_generator#Quantum_random_properties). So, just make every decision at least partially based on a quantum dice. This will make it much harder to predict what you are going to do.

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15 years after Vincent is released, he is shot and dies. The gun is a snipper's rifle connected to some uranium. It turns out there are 100 of these rifles aimed at him.

Setup

A former KGB/Chess Master takes on the challenge of killing Vincent him/herself.

Since this person is not a hero, Vincent won't worry about what he/she is doing....or planning to do beyond Vincent's clairvoyant capabilities.

The first 5 years, he/she spends studying people like Two Face from Batman comics; a person who's life decisions are based on chance (schrodinger's cat). As such, no matter what he/she does, it can't be predicted by Vincent. However, the long term game (chess) guarantees an outcome.

As far as the "dead man" switch , that turns out to be a bluff, at least for the former KGB agent. A Dead Man's switch would need to have the apocalypse happen if he doesn't do something. A habit of doing something for 1hr per week for 15 years can be easily copied by a professional KGB agent.

So, not only can Vincent not predict his death, he's not even loooking for it. And his Apocalypse is averyed by the KGB agent doi my what Vincent does very thursday at 3pm -- blow his nose.

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Sedatives - i.e. GABA receptor agonist

GABA receptor agonist are depressant drugs, inducing a state of reduced anxiety, muscle relaxation, and in some cases, alertness. My favorite for this job is a group of drugs called Benzodiazepine, which are used in anesthesia and, among other sedating effects, also induce memory loss. The drug used by the heroes is a modified version that takes a very long time to metabolize, thus inducing chemical buildup.

Put small amounts of sedatives in the drinking supply, be it house faucets, public fountains or water bottles, or sodas, whatever Vincent drinks (and they know because they studied him in prison).

If necessary, drug the whole supply of the town, and be prepared to deliver free-of-charge clean fresh water supplies to trusted people in town so that necessary services don't get messed up by this plan. The supply should be such that Vincent has no access to it. This is going to cost a fortune, but I am guessing that the heroes have unlimited economical resources.

I am borrowing on the idea that events that are farther in the future are harder to be correctly predicted by the clairvoyant. The sedatives used cause a chemical buildup in the organism between one year and 5 years into the future.

During early intake Vincent cannot clearly foresee that he will be dizzy and unable to focus. As time passes, he will have problems focusing, or remembering recent events. One month into the "cure", it will take him nearly two hours to look into the future, and his memories will last for a few hours.

Twenty-four months into the "cure" and Vincent will be a lethargic, dizzy, zig-zagging relict, without any recorded recent history of his own, or of what he used to be. Most likely he will not even have the intention of trying and looking into the future to know that they are waiting for him out of his home to dispatch him.

The post-Vincent task of the heroes would be to handle collateral damage. This includes people who were also accidentally affected by the drug who now need to clean themselves from the drug, recover and resume their normal lives.

A final thought: even if Vincent himself would declare that he killed someone by dropping a glass of water and setting in motion a certain chain of events, I fail to see how that would constitute murder. In every murder case there are, prior to the murder itself, chains of events that lead to it: should a couple be considered murderers because they gave birth to the killer? Should the grandparents be convicted too? The teachers of all the schools they went to? Should the law condemn every single human being on the planet simply because with the global impact of everyone's daily choices they created that particular chain of events?

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