A Rock and a Hard Place is a case featured in Criminal Case as the thirty-third case of The Conspiracy (Season 5) and the two-hundred sixty-fourth case overall. It takes place in the Misty Grove district of Grimsborough.
Jones and the player headed to infiltrate DreamLife's meteorite lab after nightfall on Chief Parker's orders. However, they found dome chief of security Barb Bellamy decapitated inside the lab next to the crystal meteorite.
The team was given a twelve-hour investigation period per Judge Powell's negotiation with Rozetta Pierre, who accused Jones of the murder after catching him standing over the body. Additionally, Chief Parker put Gloria on the case instead. Mid-investigation, Gloria and the player suspected that someone was spying on them from the power supply room. Later, Rozetta shortened her deadline, giving them only three hours to finish the investigation. Despite the time pressure, the team was able to incarcerate janitor Cyril Shelwater for the murder.
Upon admitting to the murder, Cyril said that he felt that the meteorite had magical powers. That night, he went to hug the meteorite in order to get "transformed" by it, but he was caught by Barb as he was starting the embrace. To stop her from getting in the way, Cyril grabbed a rock saw and decapitated her. Judge Powell sentenced him to 20 years in prison, with mandatory counseling, and removed all charges against Jones.
Post-trial, Gloria and the player found a box of crystals in the meteorite lab. Per Mortimer Pickering's analysis of a core fragment, the meteorite was made of the (previously theoretical) element Berzelium. After lab technician Emilio Fuller let slip that they injected a rabbit with Berzelium, the team found the rabbit in the meteorite lab. Mortimer told the player that the Berzelium had suppressed the rabbit's immune system. Knowing that the meteorite had also been able to heal a plant (per Amir's previous analysis of a radiation sample), Mortimer concluded that Berzelium had two opposing effects: enhancement and suppression of an organism's immune responses.
Meanwhile, Gabriel and the player found DreamLife's notes on Jasper Everett during his application interview in order to get Amir to stop pushing Jasper away to cope with Rupert's death. After all the events, Chief Parker promoted Amir to Lab Chief. She also told the team that they needed to find proof of DreamLife's ill intent with the meteorite and that they were not to alert the press regarding their findings under the dome. The team then resolved to bring DreamLife down.
- Barb Bellamy (found beheaded in the meteorite lab)
- Rock Saw
- Cyril Shelwater
- The killer uses baking soda.
- The killer drinks orange juice.
- The killer reads Wondrous Worlds magazine.
- The killer wears glasses.
- The killer wears a tie.
- Investigate Meteorite Analysis Lab. (Clue: Victim's Body; New Suspect: Rozetta Pierre; Victim identified: Barb Bellamy)
- Talk to Rozetta. (Prerequisite: Meteorite Analysis Lab investigated; New Lab Sample: Victim's Body)
- Autopsy Victim's Body. (18:00:00; Attribute: The killer uses baking soda)
- Investigate Meteorite Analysis Lab again. (Prerequisite: Rozetta interrogated; Clue: Tool Set; New Crime Scene Unlocked: Laboratory Steps)
- Examine Tool Set. (New Suspect: Emilio Fuller)
- Talk to Emilio Fuller about the murder. (Prerequisite: E. Fuller decoded)
- Investigate Laboratory Steps. (Prerequisite: Meteorite Analysis Lab investigated again; Clues: Broken Clipboard, Bloody Saw; Murder Weapon registered: Rock Saw)
- Examine Broken Clipboard. (Result: Clipboard [Employee Photo])
- Examine Employee Photo. (New Suspect: Cyril Shelwater)
- Talk to Cyril Shelwater about the murder. (Prerequisite: Cyril Shelwater identified)
- Examine Bloody Saw. (Result: Blood)
- Analyze Blood. (03:00:00; Attribute: The killer drinks orange juice)
- Go to Chapter 2. (1 star)
- Investigate Power Supply Room. (Available after unlocking Chapter 2; Clues: Storage Bin, Romantic Gift, Victim's Ticket Book)
- Examine Storage Bin. (Result: Bloody Keychain)
- Analyze Bloody Keychain. (12:00:00; Attribute: The killer reads Wondrous Worlds magazine)
- Examine Romantic Gift. (Result: Lipstick Sample)
- Analyze Lipstick Sample. (06:00:00; New Suspect: Wendy Stokes)
- Talk to Wendy Stokes about her relationship with the victim. (Prerequisite: Lipstick Sample analyzed; New Crime Scene Unlocked: Laboratory Walkway)
- Investigate Laboratory Walkway. (Prerequisite: Wendy interrogated; Clues: Broken Badge, Victim's Phone)
- Examine Broken Badge. (Result: Hoover's Replacement Badge; New Suspect: Philip Hoover)
- Ask Philip Hoover if he's been at the crime scene. (Prerequisite: Hoover's Replacement Badge restored; Profile updated: Philip uses baking soda and drinks orange juice)
- Examine Victim's Phone. (Result: Unlocked Phone)
- Analyze Unlocked Phone. (12:00:00)
- Interrogate Rozetta about her meeting with the victim. (Prerequisite: Unlocked Phone analyzed; Profile updated: Rozetta uses baking soda and drinks orange juice)
- Examine Victim's Ticket Book. (Result: Infraction Details)
- Ask Cyril Shelwater about his citation from the victim. (Prerequisite: Infraction Details unraveled; Profile updated: Cyril uses baking soda and drinks orange juice)
- Go to Chapter 3. (1 star)
- Investigate Meteorite Display. (Available after unlocking Chapter 3; Clues: Broken Trophy, Victim's Face, Threatening Letter)
- Examine Broken Trophy. (Result: Science Trophy)
- Talk to Emilio Fuller about his broken trophy. (Prerequisite: Science Trophy restored; Profile updated: Emilio uses baking soda, drinks orange juice and reads Wondrous Worlds magazine)
- Examine Victim's Face. (Result: Fingerprints)
- Analyze Fingerprints. (09:00:00)
- Ask Philip Hoover about his stress ball. (Prerequisite: Fingerprints analyzed; Profiles updated: Philip reads Wondrous Worlds magazine, Cyril reads Wondrous Worlds magazine)
- Examine Threatening Letter. (Result: Colored Powder)
- Examine Colored Powder. (Result: Fertilizer)
- Interrogate Wendy Stokes about her threatening letter. (Prerequisite: Fertilizer identified under microscope; Profile updated: Wendy reads Wondrous Worlds magazine)
- Investigate Supply Consoles. (All tasks before must be done first; Clues: Victim's Radio, Burning Trash Can [Smoldering Trash Can])
- Examine Victim's Radio. (Result: Fibers)
- Analyze Fibers. (09:00:00; Attribute: The killer wears a tie)
- Examine Smoldering Trash Can. (Result: Burned Magazine)
- Analyze Burned Magazine. (15:00:00; Attribute: The killer wears glasses)
- Take care of the killer now!
- Go to Under the Dome (3/6). (No stars)
Under the Dome (3/6)
- Ask Gabriel to help Jasper. (Available after unlocking Under the Dome; Reward: 20,000 Coins)
- Investigate Laboratory Steps. (Prerequisite: Gabriel interrogated; Clue: File Folder)
- Examine File Folder. (Result: Torn File)
- Examine Torn File. (Result: Job Interview Notes)
- Show Amir the notes from Jasper's interview. (Prerequisite: Job Interview Notes restored; Reward: Rainbow Scarf)
- Investigate Meteorite Display. (Available after unlocking Under the Dome; Clue: Box of Crystals)
- Examine Box of Crystals. (Result: Sample Labels [Meteorite Fragment])
- Analyze Meteorite Fragment. (06:00:00)
- Try to get information from Emilio about the meteorite experiments. (Prerequisite: Meteorite Fragment analyzed; Reward: Burger)
- Investigate Meteorite Analysis Lab. (Prerequisite: Emilio interrogated; Clue: Rabbit Cage)
- Examine Rabbit Cage. (Result: Test Rabbit)
- Analyze Test Rabbit. (06:00:00)
- Move on to a new crime! (1 star)
- The case title refers to the idiom "between a rock and a hard place," which means to be faced with two equally undesirable alternatives.
- This is one of the cases in which the player has to investigate the same crime scene twice during the main leg.
- Sosch is a parody of Bosch.