Thursday, April 26, 2007

Star Tek Puzzle Manual

I purchased this book back in elementary school from one of those school book club flyers. Do they even have those Book Clubs anymore, if not they do not know what they are missing. Take a little trip with me back to the days when kids could roam the streets on a Saturday Afternoon and not worry about being abducted by some stranger with candy. Back to the days of the Book Club order forms. I'm betting all two of my readers probably remember these. These were two to four page catalogs printed on newsprint usually from a company called "Troll" or something to that effect.

You never new when one of these were coming, usually on a Friday so you had the weekend to go over it with a fine tooth comb. The teacher would pass these out and if you were lucky she would give you time to look over them in class and discuss plans with your friends on purchasing the great literary finds on this Elementary School Best Seller List. I usually skimmed through these wether it was allowed or not in class perusing the print for some of my favorite subjects of the time, Spider-man, Star Trek, Evel Knievel, you know the usual suspects.

I lucked out on this occasion because not only did I find this manual that was sure to get me through the toughest of Star Fleet Tests of Skill, but it came with a pretty snazzy poster of the cover illustration. Side note I recently found this poster in a stack of childhood books, I know surprise, surprise. The next best thing to the handing out of the order form, or the cafeteria running out of regular milk and being forced to serve only chocolate, was the day the book orders came in. It would take about two to three weeks, I think the teachers held onto them longer though because they were reading our books.

Well needless to say I must have convinced my Mother and/or Father that this book was a necessity or I wouldn't be writing about it now. The thing about this book that continues to stump me was the logic behind the puzzles, one puzzle in particular. This puzzle was one of those situational puzzles were there are three security guards escorting three prisoners, they came to a river where there was a small boat that could carry two at a time. The trick was that the guards could never be out numbered by the prisoners, but they all had to cross the river to get to a shuttle craft to get back to the Enterprise. The thing that continued to through me was that the guards were not armed. I'm sure that Star Fleet protocol called for all security personnel to carry phasers. I know that this really does not have any baring on solving the problem, but I could not get past that point.

I was beside myself as I set out to solve this little security problem, I finally gave up after a week and looked up the answer in the back of the book (yes a week) and what I saw still did not satisfy me in the least bit. The author of this puzzle actually suggested at one point that prisoners were all separated from the guards, now I new this quiz had to be written by a Klingon! There's the proof in black in white. You think about it, if you trusted the prisoners to point where you didn't need weapons and allowed them to separate themselves from the guards, why not just send them a nice little invite to meet your landing party across the river for refreshments and a nice little trip in a shuttle craft to the pride of Star Fleet, the U.S.S. Enterprise, where they will be whisked away at warp speed to the nearest star base for a trial by their peers and eventual incarceration? To this very day I find myself in traffic wondering why the hell they took a shuttle craft and just not beamed the guards and prisoners up to the Enterprise in one shot.

No comments: