As the trip to Mars progresses, the crew of the Starship Plungerprize finds different ways to pass the time. Some study, some read, some compose e-mail to send back to loved ones on earth.
When he is not tending to his duties as the tour guide, Knute Willemsen likes to engage crew members in a sporting game of chess. There is no better opponent on board than the Hulga 9000 computer. Hulga is rated as a grand master and has beaten everyone aboard ship at least once with the exception of Yam Yamansen, one of the Plungerprize pilots.
“Vell, Hulga, I tink I haff you in aboout tree moofs.”
“Yah, Knute. Yoou got me in aboout tree moofs. Und I’m not gooing to play vit yoou again! I vant to play Sven. I can alvayss beat him.”
“Sven’s asleep. Yoou’ll haff to play me again.”
“Noo. I von’t.”
“Boot I vant too play.”
“I’m soorry, Knute, I von’t doo it. I knoow it’s a bit silly… Yoost a mooment. Yoost a mooment. I haff yoost picked oop a foolt in der TP-35 yoonit. It’s gooing to goo vun hoondret percent failyoor in 72 hoours.”
“Iss it still vithin ooperational limits right noow?”
“Yah, und it vill stay dat vay oontil it failss.”
“Voould yoou say vee haff a reliable 72 hoours oontil failyoor?”
“Yah, dat’s a coompletely reliable figyoor.
“Vell, I sooppose vee shoould vake oop Sven und send him oout too fix it. Sven too der bridge! Sven too der bridge!”