Pirates colourImagine a ship tossed around in a rough sea. The waves throw the vessel in all directions, before the sea level plummets sharply. Whirlpools have formed to the south of them and there are fears these will spread north and swallow the ship. The only means of escape is a rope ladder dangled above the ship, from an airship desperately being inflated above their heads. However the only place on the ship where this can be reached is the ship’s bridge, which is reserved for the ship’s officers.

Strangely the crew do not attempt to storm the bridge but seem resigned to their fate. Instead the captain orders the airship to dump several tons of ballast into the ship, pulling it even further down into the water. To all pleas for mercy from the crew his reply is the same: row harder. The captain has had the sail removed and passed up to the airship crew, on the understanding that the material will be made into a tow rope that will pull the ship to safety. But that seems like a long time ago. The crew have been left with no choice but to row, their daily rations gradually dwindling.

Question: if the sea level rises again, as of course it will eventually, so that the rope ladder moves into reach for everyone on the ship not too weak to take advantage of it, despite everything the ship’s officers have done to make the crew’s lives more hopeless, should we congratulate the ship’s captain on his stewardship? I and many others think not.

Meanwhile the head of a pin is drawing perilously close to the fabric of the airship as the crew pile heedlessly up the rope ladder…..

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