Monday, November 24, 2014

Top Secret

With his heart rate increasing steadily, James Bents (alias Lt-Colonel Ivanovic Zdanov, as far as the KGB were concerned) lined up behind the scientists who were walking towards the internal gate. Thanks to his forged documentation, he was able to pass through the two previous gates. He was aware that to get right inside the missile launch-pad, he would need to supply a password. He had been informed that the password changed daily. Only his extreme cool and many years of training enabled him to contain the fear.

The two scientists in front of him reached the gate, which was patrolled by machine-gun wielding soldiers. He strained to hear the voices of the people ahead of him in the queue.

"Twelve?" asked the guard.

"Six," replied the first scientist.

The first scientist strode through the gate as the second one walked to the guard.

"Six?" asked the guard.

"Three," replied the second scientist and walked through.

Relief and confidience spread through Bents; the method that drove questions and answers was trivial. He stepped forward.

"Nine?" asked the guard.

Brents hesitated for a split second. This was an unpredicted complication, but his arduous conditioning allowed the secret agent to remain calm and as sharp as a razorblade. "Four and a half," he answered without blinking.

Quite suddenly, the entire area was filled with floodlights. Alarm sirens broke the silence of the otherwise peaceful night. In a fraction of a second the Lt-Colonel realised his mistake. He tried to turn on his heels and run, but instantly felt the cold barrel of a machine-gun pressed against his neck.

What was the secret agent's fatal mistake?

Top Secret Puzzle Solution

The answers given were the the number of letters in the question. When asked "Nine?" the secret agent should have answered "Four".