Thursday, July 02, 2009

[dilemma for the day] new series, part two

Sorry about the quick cut and paste 'art' but you'll get the idea below

High in the Swiss Alps, clinging to the mountainside, is the little village of Leichen, spa resort for the rich and famous but for one week only, the venue for a most extraordinary Middle-East conference.

Key to this conference is Professor Samuel O. Lution, a bookworm who's come up with a simple and yet workable solution to the crisis and so far, all leaders have tentatively accepted his package but he is due to expound on it on the second last day of the conference.

The day before the plenary session, a small group is invited to visit the nearby Golden Caves, spectacular in the light effects but also a little dangerous, as events prove. At one point of the tour, the ledge on which four of the visitors are standing suddenly breaks away, slides over the edge but is halted by a ragged stalagmite in such a way that the four, in their current positions, have the fragment evenly balanced.

Did I say four people? Well, actually, one of them is Francine Dubois, a Parisienne philanthropist and peace fighter and with her, in her arms, is her baby Michelle. Also present is Che Araveug, a South American agent-provocateur, whose purpose at the conference is an unknown factor. The third is one of the most famous singers in the world, one who has brought countless people pleasure through her warbling - Anno Dam and the fourth is Professor Lution.

Search and Rescue immediately size the situation up and realize the only way of lifting anyone to safety is to fire an explosive piton into the stalagtite hanging above the ledge and they estimate that it will take a maximum 150kg without pulling free or pulling the rock away. This means that two and two only can be rescued, along with the baby.

If they lift the two on the left, those on the right will tip and die in the cavern below. If the two on the right are lifted to safety, the two on the left [with the baby] are killed. If the others attempt to move up to balance the ledge, it will crack and they'll plunge to their deaths below. If the two in the middle are saved, the two on the outer edge might still balance but it's not possible to save the outer two because of the danger to the middle two as they would go up.

Dam's people immediately offer the authorities $1.2 billion towards the peace effort as the professor was about to outline and now show half of that money upfront. The professor's ideas are fairly well surmised already. Araveug's gang immediately show the authorities guarantees that no longer will they not blow up the conference, which they'd planned to do but they will also return the kidnapped Israeli and Palestinian leader unharmed and undertake not to do anything to harm the peace process for the period of three months ... if the authorities willl rescue Araveug, that is.

No one comes forward on behalf of the mother, an ordinary citizen beyond her philanthropic work and she resigns herself to the fact that someone important will be rescued and will take her baby to safety. Naturally, people come forward to insist the professor is one of the two saved but he himself, from the rock, loudly dismisses that and says he can give the speech from the rock, which has already begun to crumble.

The trouble is, all sides in the conflict are only at peace temporarily on the strength of his presence. Who knows what will happen if he dies?

The head of S&R, the UN Secretary-General [at the conference] and you yourself are selected to make the decision on who will be saved. The rock is beginning to crumble badly now and it's estimated that they have fifteen minutes left there before they all tumble to their deaths.

The explosive piton is fired, it 'takes' in the rock, the line is lowered.

Whom will you save?


  1. None of 'em, obviously.

    "Leichen" is German for corpses.

  2. You don't say who is who exactly but I'm guessing the book guy is the professor with the super dooper idea to save the planet.

    So, Save the middle 2 plus the baby.

    The reasoning is that the others may balance long enough to be saved. If not you have saved as many as you could.

  3. Mark, That may be true but one of the corpses is protesting, nobody could plung to their death and nobody offers rewards or concessions for dead people except perhaps in blog quizes.

  4. Mark - wondered who'd pick that one up first.

    Lord T - could well be.

  5. Myself. By making sure I'm not standing under the f--ing rock!

  6. I'd save the baby, seeing as the the others clearly have rocks on their heads.

  7. Fire any number of explosive pitons into the rock face behind the trapped persons.

    Establish circulating ropes through each one, to return to the floor.

    Each one capable of holding 150kg, send up four skilled light weight rescue personnel (one per rope) to establish more pitons, and rope links between each of the trapped party and the new pitons.

    Lift all simultaneously, and lower slowly to the valley floor, after the ledge has fallen.

    Forget the explosive piton into the stalactite, it was a stupid idea. Replace the idiot who thought of it.

    Convene the conference.

    Examine the reasons for the collapse of the ledge, and question the origin of the invitation to the party to visit the caves.

  8. On the other hand, if the stalagmite and stalactite are a pair, it is difficult to see how the ledge could have fallen between them, so I am assuming they are not a pair.

    Or was that a deliberate trap, James.

  9. It has to be the baby and I am not even fond of babies!


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