|(quoted from The Spoilers)|
'So we can stick to the coast or we can head out to sea. She has the same choice. What do you want to do?'
'I'd sooner stick to the coast,' said Tozier. 'If she caught us at sea where it wouldn't matter how many guns she popped off I wouldn't give much for our chances, especially if that yacht is loaded to the gunwales with her cut-throats.'
'Haven't you thought that she'll think that you'll think that and automatically come along the coast and catch us anyway? Ill bet she can see us right now.'
'How the hell do I know what she'll think?' burst out Tozier. 'Or what any other woman will think?'
'There's a way around that,' said Follet. 'Here, take the wheel.' He stepped on one side and produced a pen and a notebook. 'Now, if we go along the coast and she searches out to sea our survival is one hundred per cent -- right?'
'Until she catches on,' said Warren.
'We could get clear away,' argued Follet. 'And the same applies to the situation vice versa -- we go to sea and she goes along the coast. Andy, what chance of survival would you give us if she caught us at sea?'
'Not much,' said Tozier. 'Say, twenty-five per cent.'
Follet noted it down. 'And if she caught us on the coast?'
'That's a bit better -- she couldn't be as noisy. I think we'd have a good chance of coming out - say, seventy-five per cent.'
Follet started to scribble rapidly and Warren, looking over his shoulder saw that he was apparently working out a mathematical formula. Follet finished his calculation, and said, 'What we do is this. We put four pieces of paper in a hat -- one marked. If we pick the marked paper we go to sea; if not, we stick to the coast.'
'Are you crazy?' demanded Tozier. 'Would you leave something like this to chance?'
'I'm crazy like a fox,' said Follet. 'How much have I won from you at the coin-matching game?'
'Nearly a thousand quid -- but what's that got to do with it?'
Follet pulled a handful of loose change from his pocket and thrust it under Tozier's nose. 'This. There are eight coins here -- three of them dated 1960. When I matched coins with you I pulled one of these at random from my pocket; if it was dated 1960 I called heads -if not, I called tails. That was enough to give me my percentage -- my edge; and there wasn't a damned thing you could do about it.'
He turned to Warren. 'It's from game theory -- a mathematical way of figuring out the best chances in those tricky situations when it's a case of if I do that you'll know I'll do it but I do the other thing because I know the way you're thinking and so it goes on chasing its goddamn tail. It even gives the overall chances -- in this case a little over eighty-one per cent.'