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Flame computer

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Flame computer and video
Chang flame

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First introduced
Last seen
Found by
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Picture of the computer.


The Flame computer was a DHARMA Initiative computer located inside the communications station the Flame. Ostensibly being used to run a chess game on the initial face of things, the game was actually a security system, which, if won, would grant manual access to a video menu system. The video menu featured clips of Pierre Chang giving various options on station functionality. Chang, who has used three different aliases in orientation films, does not introduce himself in this case. If the system determined that both mainland communications and sonar was inoperable, a video menu would appear telling the operator to enter 7-7 if an incursion by the Hostiles had occurred. Locke gained access to the system, reached this menu, and entered 7-7, triggering an explosion and destroying the entire station.

Lost Chess Game
Layout of the board when the game ends


Given the common station functions accessed through the video menu, it is highly likely another means existed to access these features other then playing the chess game. Playing the game every time the operator wanted to contact the mainland would undoubtedly become tedious very quickly.

The Flame video

The video on the Flame computer had Pierre Chang giving a number of choices, corresponding to number sequences, in random access video clips. His introduction was:

Manual override achieved.
For pallet drop enter 2-4.
For station uplink enter 3-2.
For mainland communication enter 3-8.

If 3-8 was entered but the satellite was not working, the following options were presented in a new clip:

The satellite dish is inoperable.
Communications are down.
For sonar access enter 5-6.

If 5-6 was entered but the underwater beacon was not working, the following option was presented in a new clip:

Sonar is inoperable.

The combination of entering 3-8 with a failed result and entering 5-6 with a failed result led to another clip:

Has there been an incursion on this station by the Hostiles?
If so, enter 7-7.

If 7-7 was entered, C-4 charges placed around the structure would be ignited on a time delay, destroying the station in an explosion.


Trivia

  • Chang does not move either arm in this video.
  • In a likely prop or editing continuity error, the shown move list did not correspond to the two board positions shown in sequence. Alternatively, this could be what Mikhail references when he noted the computer "cheats".

Cultural references

Cultural references
(direct references only)
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  • The finish to the chess board was from a match between Anatoli Karpov and Garry Kasparov from the 1985 World Championship. In that match, called the "Brisbane Bombshell" Kasparov, playing black, defeated Karpov in 40 moves. Incidentally, that game did not end in checkmate, but in a resignation by Karpov. The board, as shown on the show, had two valid moves for the computer. (Games) Game replay and details. The game is considered one of the greatest of all time, because young challenger Kasparov, with the disadvantage of the black pieces, had to defeat then-champion Karpov to take the title. Karpov, playing with white, needed only a draw to retain his championship. Having to win with black when your opponent only need draw with white is considered the most difficult task in chess between two evenly matched players. Kasparov won by "maintaining the tension" of the position over 40 moves and not allowing a simplification into a drawn ending.

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