First Mention: Sister Sharon (September 11, 2003)
The identity of "the One" is one of the longest running mysteries in the GPF universe. According to the Brotherhood of the Twisted Pair, "the One" is a hacker "like none other, whose skills are without equal. He (or she) will initiate a golden age of geekdom, and lead a revolution of ideas that will revolutionize the computerized world." The existence of this "geek messiah" was prophesied by a Brother named "thePR0PH3T" who analyzed decades of Usenet posts in a similar fashion to the Bible Code. Many Brothers have dedicated their lives to locating "the One", including Scott and Tim. A number of individuals have been identified as leading candidates for "the One", including Fooker, Sharon, and Yoshi, although none have been definitively declared the winner.
There are a series of tests set forth by the prophesy for identifying "the One". However, when Fooker and Sharon analyzed "thePR0PH3T"'s code, they discovered a fatal flaw that revealed there were six criteria rather than five as originally surmised. The corrected list of criteria mentioned in the prophecy include:
- "The One" must thrive on vast quantities of caffeine. While the exact vehicle through which the caffeine is delivered does not seem to matter (coffee, soda pop, energy drinks, etc.), both Fooker and Sharon consume large portions of coffee on a daily basis. While no specific quantity is mentioned, most interpreters of the prophecy agree that both Fooker and Sharon far exceed the requirement. Similarly, Yoshi has been nicknamed "the Twitchmeister" for his copious intake.
- "The One" must be able to create a massive server cluster with the computing power of a supercomputer from extremely outdated and potentially broken equipment. Fooker actually accomplished this task; Sharon's theoretical plan seemed sufficient enough for consideration. An "FBI" raid on Yoshi's house netted some "tricked out iron" that would eventually draw the Brotherhood's attention, although it is uncertain whether or not this qualifies. ("thePR0PH3T's" acceptance of Yoshi as a candidate would seem to imply that it does.)
- "The One" must be able to unclog a congested network in record time. Fooker repelled a DDoS attack; Sharon contained Trent's virus infection. Yoshi's network test has not been documented.
- "The One" is agnostic in the text editor "holy wars", favoring an editor of their own design over any of the other available options. While there has been no official explanation as to why this might be significant, one possibility may be that the candidate's refusal to "settle" for something already established may be interpreted as being a truly independent thinker. While it is true that one of the Virtues of Great Programmer is laziness (which promotes code reuse, even when written by others), many innovations come from rejecting the established norms and trying to improve them. A refusal to take sides in the long standing vi/Emacs conflict could also be interpreted as a desire not to be labeled by petty stereotypes, allowing the candidate to potentially bridge the gap between the Brotherhood's warring factions. Both Fooker and Sharon passed this test, with Fooker bashing one out on the fly as the test took place. Yoshi proved to be a "text editor masochist" by uselessly embedding pico inside vi within Emacs, although it is uncertain whether this qualified as a passing grade or not.
- "The One" has the ability to be at one with the computer and oblivious to everything else. Fooker repelled a coworker's sexual advances during this test, while Sharon was observed by Tim to be in tune with her machine. Yoshi's distraction test has not been documented.
- "The One" must be extremely curious. Originally, this test was believed to be combined with the following one, stating the candidate must be "insatiably curious", but Fooker and Sharon corrected this oversight. Both passed this test as well, eventually investigating an encrypted e-mail sent by the Brothers, although not in the time frame the Brothers' originally set. Yoshi's curiosity test has not been documented.
- "The One" must be "insatiable". This was originally combined with the curiosity test above but was eventually proven to be a separate test. While the text of the prophecy does not state exactly what "insatiable" means, it has been heavily conjectured that it refers to sexual appetite, which it seems Fooker and Sharon have plenty of and virtually no one else in the Brotherhood could hope to achieve. For Yoshi, being a male teenager, this apparently "comes by default".
Since both Fooker and Sharon appear to meet the criteria of "the One", initially a quandary existed as to which may claim the title. This was complicated by the fracturing of the Brotherhood into multiple factions. All factions except for Scott and Tim's universally agreed that Fooker could not be "the One" as he is "he who shall not be named" after invoking the name of the "Great Evil". (It should be noted, of course, that it was actually Fred, not Fooker, who said this.) Sharon, being female, was also discounted by most Brothers as they could not accept the possibility of the existence of female geeks, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. It was only Scott and Tim's faction of the Brotherhood that formally recognized Fooker and Sharon as candidates; all the other factions continued to search independently of each other. Yoshi eventually became the leading candidate for Greg's faction, which is currently the largest.
To alleviate the discrepancy of Fooker and Sharon's dual candidacy, Scott created a new theory. Since both could not share the title of "the One" for obvious reasons, it was theoretically possible that their offspring might inherit their unique abilities and fulfill the same criteria. To this end, Scott became obsessed with the pair's mating habits, intent on capturing any evidence that may lead conception. His surveillance so disturbed Sharon that it invaded her dreams, where her imaginary son Harry was born into a world of hackers which he may one day come to rule.
Recent events imply that there is a seventh, secret, final test beyond those documented so far. During an argument between "thePR0PH3T" and Greg over the validity of Fooker and Sharon's modifications, "thePR0PH3T" stated that "the final test has yet to be administered" and that none of the candidates had indisputably passed all the tests to his satisfaction. In a later clandestine meeting of all known candidates and their sponsors, "thePR0PH3T" further explained that the final test was only recently discovered and required a great deal of time to prepare. Any foreknowledge of the test's details would ruin the results, so for now only "thePR0PH3T" is aware of what it might entail.
To add another wrinkle to the mix, "thePR0PH3T" also hinted at the existence of a fifth candidate (with the other four being Fooker, Sharon, their potential offspring, and Yoshi). We have very little information about this candidate, other than the facts that he is supposedly male and "his apparent depth of knowledge merits giving him the test". However, his true identity has proven "elusive" and, due to the partiality between the factions, "thePR0PH3T" has taken it upon himself to personally administer his tests. If the fifth candidate proves to be viable, "thePR0PH3T" has promised to reveal his identity in time for all the candidates (except Fooker and Sharon's unborn child) to take the final test.