Whenever a disaster strikes, whenever life and limb are in danger, a call to International HalfBakers will bring almost, but not quite, instant help.
Based on a secret sub-tropical island, the International HalfBakers team are ready at a moment's notice to react when Jutta sounds the alert from her
orbiting Server Farm. No sooner has the message flashed across the screens than the team are ready to leap into action, arguing about the grammar and syntax of the message, disputing minor points of little or no relevance, and generally being bloodyminded.
After many days of debate, a bitter and resentful group of rugged individualists is herded at weapon-point into the hangar by [21Quest], [MikeD] and [8thof7] where a further protracted debate ensues as to which vehicle to use.
Eventually, Rumblebird 297 is chosen, which is a solar-powered vacuum dirigible made from recycled Spaghetti al Forno and chopped marmot hair, with a top speed of almost a knot in still air and load capacity of nearly its own weight.
After more argument, and several HalfBakers coming close to choking due to eating a mixture of Spaghetti al Forno and chopped marmot hair, attention transfers to Rumblebird 808, a fairly conventional B-52 bomber except that the jet engines have been replaced with large jars filled with vinegar and baking soda.
When the mess had been cleaned up, the team (still bickering amongst themselves) and the remains of their equipment are eventually loaded onto a giant raft made of lard-based Pykrete, on which they drift aimlessly for some days before, completely by accident, making landfall at an inhabited island from which they continue their journey by commercial airliner.
On their arrival at the scene, their well-meaning efforts make things almost infinitely worse, both for the survivors and for the established rescuers. While the construction of a trebuchet designed to throw rubble out of the area is locally successful, the damage caused by large lumps of rubble landing randomly some distance away is in many instances worse than the original event, and causes a great deal of resentment from many residents who were previously not directly affected. The improvised and inadvisable use of explosives, pyrotechnics and projectile weapons causes further casualties, and the knots of HalfBakers grouped around whiteboards, arguing furiously about coefficients of friction, substantially obstructs the emergency services, and the scuffles that inevitably ensue overtax the already-stretched local law enforcement system.
Telecommunications infrastructure, already seriously compromised, completely collapses under the additional load as the "Point" team continually argue the toss with their online HalfBaking compatriots, who of course would do it far better if they were the ones on site and in control, which they do not hesitate to point out.
In the midst of all this, [Vernon] posts an enormously long, detailed and closely-reasoned idea describing a new energetically-efficient way of separating the isotopes of Hydrogen. Everything stops for a long time while the HalfBakers struggle to understand the explanation.
When activity resumes, it is discovered that half the team have wandered off to try to dig a canal to bring water to the site for firefighting, due to the fires caused by the incautious use of explosives,
pyrotechnics and projectile weapons by other team members. Since the current problem is flooding, this is perceived as less than useful.
Finally, the HalfBakers are eventually driven away by United Nations armed forces, who attempt (but singularly fail) to arrest those responsible, and deprive the rest of their stocks of explosives, petroleum, matches, cheese, inflatable llamas, gigantic owl-shaped brass teapots, asbestos lava gondolas, steam-driven nose-cleaning brushes and cryogenic canopic jars for earwax storage. The surviving populace are greatly relieved and grateful, and for a second time start to try to rebuild their shattered lives.
The HalfBakers retire en masse to an establishment where alcohol is served cheaply in large quantities, and commence to grumble about not being appreciated. They then resume their online arguments with the stay-at-home armchair rescuers, again causing an overload and shutdown of the local telecoms net...
Meanwhile, in one of his many residences, [MaxwellBuchanan] is reclining, on a chaise longue stuffed with Unicorn hair and upholstered in tie-dyed spider silk, with Lady Penelope's golden head cushioned in his lap. He sips a mouthful of the 1836 Aloxe-Corton offered to him in the Holy Grail by a uniformed flunkey, twitches aside his dressing gown, runs his fingers carelessly though her luxuriant golden tresses and mutters, "Darling, since you're down there ......"