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The Maru Crisis

Science brain teasers require understanding of the physical or biological world and the laws that govern it.


Puzzle ID:#42835
Fun:*** (2.59)
Difficulty:**** (3.18)
Submitted By:JasonD*




It was no surprise that the environmental alarm was blaring. They'd all heard a terrible CRACK when something had struck the vessel.

"This is bad," said Jack Peters, the science specialist, examining a gauge. "The damage extends across the airlock, so we can't shelter there. We're leaking across half the vessel! What about the bridge?"

"The bridge isn't designed to be sealed," answered Marvin Corey, the logistics officer. "Quick! Get out the emergency suits!"

But, to Marvin's horror, not all of the emergency equipment had been packed. The self-contained breathing apparatuses were there, along with plenty of oxygen, but the pressure suits were missing. "Who screwed this up!?" he demanded loudly. "This kind of incompetence might have been common in the early twenty-first century, but now--"

"Quiet," ordered Captain Joan Suder. "Let's work the problem." She calmly picked up a breathing kit. "Put these on. Once you're wearing your masks, unpack the balloon from the science lab and meet me on the bridge."

Marvin and Jack hastened to obey. A few minutes later, they entered the cockpit dragging what looked like a large rubber balloon and three spare oxygen bottles.

Captain Suder was seated at the comm station. She inhaled from her tank, then pulled aside the mask and said, "I just spoke with the Commander at Farpoint Seven. They're prepping the Andorra, and expect it to be underway in half an hour... which means we'll be rescued in about three hours."

"What about the Maru?" asked Marvin. He, too, was careful to inhale only from his equipment.

"Our own engines are fine," answered the Captain.

"Then we could make it to Farpoint Seven in only two and a half hours!"

"Bad idea," answered Captain Suder, "very bad, indeed. We have plenty of oxygen, so we'll wait here. I'll run the cabin heaters at maximum power on the bridge. If necessary, we'll crawl into the balloon and huddle together to stay warm." She arched an eyebrow at Marvin. "Just don't get too friendly."

1) Where is the Maru?

2) Why does Captain Suder refuse to take the Maru back to base (Farpoint Seven)?

3) Will Marvin get frisky despite the captain's warning?

[Important note: The cause of the accident is not relevant to the riddle.]

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