OpAphid ARG puzzles
- For other series, see Puzzles.
This is an index of all the puzzles that have taken place in the OpAphid ARG.
- 1 Set of Five
- 2 The Test (USA Today)
- 3 Adventures in New Phone Lines: The Musical
- 4 High Complexity: A John Cusack Puzzle
- 5 Step By Step Puzzle (Be Sure to Drink Your Ovaltine)
- 6 Puzzle (Language Labs)
- 7 Dancing In The Dark
Set of Five
Five OpAphid videos were released as a series (Everyone Hates Cassie: What a poor, lonely girl., They Attack Cassie! Is Daniel Next? He Crossed the Line., What ever happened to that girl, Cassie?, Cassie is Lying, Cassie Tells Lies, Cassie Does Not R.I.P. (Rest In Peace)). This series featured the same pattern of text and sound.
The same music is used through out the set.
In the bottom right, hieroglyphs appear and fade out.
The same video, with different coloration, appear in each.
Letters fall into place below the face that are statements of guilt. (This is also spoken)
A word, written in dots of light, scrolls across the screen.
We hear audio from Bree or Cassie videos.
A key Cassie phrase appears over the girl’s head.
The scrolling word from before then scrolls back the other way.
A false youtube ending.
OpAphid's logo with backwards audio.
The last three have slight variants on this theme and are discussed more thoroughly in their pages.
Upon the release of Cassie Does Not R.I.P. (Rest In Peace) we were told that we had our set of five videos and had to "find purity in the Order".
The first step was the hieroglyphs that were at the beginning of the five Cassie videos. Each video had hieroglyphic numbers that were fractions. The football means fraction with assumed numerator 1. The lines are 1s. The sideways symbol is 1/2. The union symbol (upsidedown u) is 10.
The fractions when added and reduced become 1/5, 2/5 and so on which gives us this video order which was later verified by the bug herself.
Whatever Happened to That Girl, Cassie
Cassie Does Not R.I.P.
Cassie is Lying, Cassie Tells Lies
Everyone Hates Cassie
They Attack Cassie
The further analysis was with regards to the words infront of the face. These lines are admissions of guilt that are a twist on the 42 Declarations of Innocence (AKA the 42 Declarations of Purity) that are associated with the Egyptian Goddess Ma'at (Goddess of Truth, Balance and Order).
When the fractions are used to put the videos in order the declarations appear as
I have judged hastily and harshly
I have acted with guile and insolence
I have beared false witness and supported false allegations
I have taken god's name in vain
I have been unduly proud and acted with arrogance
When you look up the declarations you can find the corresponding numbers
If you called Cassie in her game then the numbers 213 set off little bells of glee. When (213) 814-2839 is called it leads to an outgoing voice mail message which Tigerlilylynn has preserved here. OpAphid can also be reached via Skype.
After deciphering the number we were to message OpAphid with what we believed our instruction to be.
Each success only buys an admission ticket to a more difficult problem.
It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong.
Mistakes are the portals to discovery.
Alas, never interrupt an enemy when he is making a mistake.
It is possible to fail in many ways, while to succeed is possible only in one way.
Do what’s right, the right way, at the right time.
A story is told as much by silence as by speech.
Except in this case.
And then wait for further instruction.
These lines are quotes with a few linking words inserted.
Each success only buys an admission ticket to a more difficult problem. [Henry Kissinger]
It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong. [Voltaire]
Mistakes are the portals to discovery. [James Joyce]
Alas, never interrupt an enemy when he is making a mistake. [Napoleon]
It is possible to fail in many ways, while to succeed is possible only in one way. [Aristotle]
Do what’s right, the right way, at the right time. [[[Arnold H. Glasgow]]]
A story is told as much by silence as by speech. [Susan Griffin]
Except in this case.
And then wait for further instruction.
Solution: Be prepared to act when called upon.
Solution Video:Also includes audio of aphid's voice mail
The Test (USA Today)
"Hi, I'm calling with USA Today and I need to ask you a question for a poll we will be having."
These words were the standard greeting received by those who were tested by OpAphid.
Those who left their numbers on the voice mail were called back by Brother and asked about psychic vampires. The answer "energy" resulted in a conversation about Tachyon (aka "Sister"), "Summer camp", the Order, OpAphid, the Bureau, and the wide availability of free internet access at libraries.
If you spilled the beans on the operation, you failed.
If you kept your mouth shut, you passed.
The phone line was being monitored by our good friends at Operation APHID and after the conversation with brother ended, OpAphid rang with a recorded message of pass or failure.
Adventures in New Phone Lines: The Musical
Tachyon updated her profile with the message: "OMFG. I need to find a better phone line."
There are 13 song clips:
1. Weezer - Pink Triangle
2. Sneaker Pimps - Six Underground
3. Rob Base - It Takes Two
4. Dashboard Confessional - Age Six Racer
5. Third Eye Blind - Losing A Whole Year
6. Blind Melon - Three is a Magic Number
7. Nine Inch Nails - Down In It
8. Smashing Pumpkins - Zero
9. Metallica - One
10. Coheed and Cambria - Three Evils
11. Tsunami bomb - Negative One to Ten
12. Hole - Use Once and Destroy
13. Violent Femmes - Add It Up
When the numbers from the titles and songs are reversed you get (310) 933-6263.
It's a voicemail message from “brother”.
"So you've figured out my little mash-up, well done. Bad news is I can't get online still, I've spent forever on the phone with AOL tech support. She kept telling me to right click and I was like 'listen lady, I've written out the word click over 100 times now and it's still doing nothing how many more times do you want me to write it.' She said maybe I don't have the right software and I was like 'look, I got the software brand new double bagged and everything.' So she tried to redirect me to another line. What's up with that? Worst of all though I think I’m going out of my mind. I’ve been to like 100 computer stores this week and none of them sell a keyboard or computer with an 'any key' on it. I hope you're doing well, mom and dad said if you aren't back in a couple weeks I can keep your stuff."
Craigslists and Algebra
When the message is looked over… a certain line stands out from the rest…
So she tried to redirect me to another line. What's up with that? Worst of all though, I think I'm going out of my mind. I've been to like eight different computer stores this week. None of them even sell a computer or keyboard that has an "any key" on it.
When that sentence is put together, you get the URL:
Which takes you to Craig list post:
The Craigslist post was titled:
How could a righteous babe like you be lonely? - m4w
Love spreads her arms, waits there for the nails I forgive you boy, I will prevail Too much time to take, some cross to bear I'm hiding in the trees with a picnic, she's over there Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah She didn't scream, she didn't make a sound I forgive you boy, but don't leave town Cold black skin, naked in the rain Hammer flash in the lightning They're hurting her again Let me put you in the picture Let me show you what I mean The messiah is my sister Ain't no king man she's my queen I have a dream, I've seen the light Don’t put it out, say she's alright Yeah she's my sister...
Pulled scource code
Hex to ASCII
A. Song #6: Count every instance where the number # in the title is mentioned.
B. Song #4: Count every *female* vocal mention of summer.
C. Song #10: Count the number of times there is a mention of "pull the trigger."
D. Song #2: Before the first time one hopes to fall from grace, add up the number of separate instances a male appears to issue a count-off.
E. Song #9: Total the number of things specified as being taken (taking quantity into account).
F. Song #8: Total the # of times her numerical worth is mentioned.
G. Song #9: Total # of instances that the # in this song's title is mentioned.
H. Song #3: Total every 2 that is mentioned, before it's time to get loose.
I. Song #3: Add up the 1's mentioned. Any 1 counts, but "ones" don't.
J. Song #7: # of times the song title is mentioned.
K. Song #5: Total the days of each year, as if the mention of each counts as a seperate loss. Take into account that there'd be two leap years. Days in bed never count as a loss. Each mention gains you an additional week. All combined, how many days are lost?
L. Song #6: Add up every number mentioned that is NOT the # in the title of the song.
M. Song #13: How many times is the title repeated in the song. And then? See title.
N. Song #12: "Might as well," how many times?
O. Song #11: Total the # of things music saves you from.
P. Song #1: The song's title is repeated how many times in the song?
Q. Song #3: Add 1 to the # mentioned in the song title. How many times is *that* # mentioned in the song?
All done with that part? Redirect to what we do if it's wack...
If it's wack...put it back
This led to the Craig list post:
Which led to:
Her? Mm-hmm. And him? Mmmm-hm. That makes sense. - m4w
faded in the blackout you left me in it's safer on the outside I'm swimming in this kerosene it's hard to breathe statics got me down I can't sleep I'm disconnected everything went wrong and certain stars are sad and bruised like someone's cheating heart U. Divide A by B, and then subtract C. V. Multiply D squared by E, and then add F. X. X equals G. Y. Subtract I from H, then divide the remainder by J. Z. Add M to N, then separately add O, P, and Q. Multiply the two totals. Subtract *that* total from the sum of adding K to L. Work it. Lay it down "UVZXY" Then flip it (or reverse it).
The puzzle was solved (refer to spreadsheet above). From this, the number (310) 933-5901 was found.
The VM on this number was:
*Numbers dialed* (10033) They've had me shadowed since I got your signal two weeks ago. I've had to stay put. I'm pretty sure they're monitoring my lines so I can't use my phone or the computer. I'm at a payphone right now. I just cant seem to shake these guys for very long. I was able to hit up an internet cafe and go online. Looks like you made a few friends. I tried passing along the message to that kid. It turns out he hasn’t shown up for his JC classes in over a week. His mom says he’s on a camping trip. Black Lincoln just came up the street, it might be a while *Numbers dialed* (411) Hi, information? I was wondering if you might be able to direct me to a store that sells a keyboard or computer that features an "any key?" Well, I've been trying to install AOL but it keeps saying press "any" key but I don’t see an "any" key. Oh, so you mean I can press any key. They should really be a little more clear about this.
Tachyon updated her profile to say:
For my "Brother":
Now I've got "It Takes Two" and "Three is a Magic Number" stuck in my head. OMFG, I hate you! BTW, nice movie quotes, dork!”
The videos on Brother's YouTube page are several months old, but the tags seemed to have had hexidecimal code in them. The hexidecimal translates into a set of anagrams:
From 3-2-1 Contact, we have:
43 4c 41 4e 47 4152 434c 49 44
Which translates into:
Which anagrams into:
From Sparks Are Flying, we have:
49 53 494e 56 4f 4944
Which translates into:
Which anagrams into:
DIVISION (although we aren't completely sure about that right now. It makes the most sense.)
From Misdirected. Lost Visual in the Burn Out, we have:
48 45 53 4554 4c 49 47 4854 4f 56 4552 44 4547 52 4545
which translates into:
Which anagrams into:
DOES HE EVER GET THE GIRL (Lyric line in the Dashboard Confessional song "This Ruined Puzzle")
Notes: How could a righteous babe like you be lonely? - Adventures in Babysitting
Her? Mm-hmm. And him? Mmmm-hm. That makes sense. - Better Off Dead
Companion Video: Watch
High Complexity: A John Cusack Puzzle
Around 5:45am PST, Tachyon had a profile update, which read:
"Go that way, really fast. If something gets in your way, turn."
Lately, I am not having the easiest time with the situation i am in. But i can handle it, right? What other choice do I have?
Oh, and if you think you can beat Stalin (because he's a punk)... http://the-K12.redirectme.net/
And at the very bottom, under the 'About Me' section, was this:
d3c0d3 4 k3y / c0d3d 1n70 l337 5p34k 17 3qu4l5 'T'
"Go that way, really fast. If something gets in your way, turn."
Is from “Better Off Dead” (1985) –the same year that the movie from Tach’s last profile quote was produced. This movie, like “The Sure Thing,” also stars John Cusack.
The Leet Speak
The leet speak:
d3c0d3 4 k3y / c0d3d 1n70 l337 5p34k 17 3qu4l5 'T'
decode a key / coded into leet speak it equals 'T'
It is believed that perhaps the number '7' will be key for a code later on because 7 coded into leet speak is 'T.'
The Craigslist Post
The redirectme link brought us to yet another craiglist site:
Bagged like my favorite character in Mallrats. - w4m After Mallrats, I finally watched that crap mid-90s movie on cable. The one you love with the dude from Dogstar. I can't believe you actually spent your hard-earned money on something that awful! I am still going to keep quoting that one line from the trailer though. Ask me how I do it, that's totally my answer!
If you check the page's source you get the following color codes and a hidden link:
"000000" "000000" "636173" "73616e" "647261" "206875" "676865" "732020" "000000" "000000" "706f6c" "795b61" "6d6f72" "6f7573" "5d2073" "75625b" "6d6973" "736976" "655d3f" "205b75" "207769" "736821" "5d2020" "000000" "000000" "75206d" "617920" "62205b" "726f75" "67686c" "795d20" "333231" "383620" "6b696c" "6f6d65" "746572" "732061" "776179" "206275" "747420" "657965" "206361" "6e2063" "207961" "000000" "000000" "747572" "6e2069" "74206f" "757420" "676f20" "5f2033" "362033" "342020" "000000" "000000" "537570" "657242" "6f7920" "666974" "747920" "666f27" "000000" "000000" "http://www.snapdrive.net/files/229709/4U.jpg"
The color code's hex turned out to be:
cassandra hughes poly[amorous] sub[missive]? [u wish!] u may b [roughly] 32186 kilometers away butt eye can c ya turn it out go _ 36 34 SuperBoy fitty fo'
Mallrats Character: Tachyon was referring to TJ Quint (Played by Jeremy London in the movie) Quint means five -- Tachyon was trying to tell us that this puzzle with be bagged five times. You can see that there are five different parts to the hex message from the craigslist posting. Each line is a clue that will tell you how to decode the message.
Cassandra Hughes: A character in a British show called "Hex".
Decode from Hex and proceed
poly[amorous] sub[missive]? [u wish!]:
Clue: d3c0d3 4 k3y / c0d3d 1n70 l337 5p34k 17 3qu4l5 'T'
Decode a key / coded into leet speak it equals 7
Any imporant numbers to Tachyon?
10033 = 7
Into leet iooee
Use iooee as the key and proceed.
u may b [roughly] 32186 kilometers away butt eye can c ya:
32186km = 20000 miles
Similar to lyrics in an NSync song called “Digital Get Down.”
Digital language = Binary
Decode and proceed
turn it out go _ 36 34:
Similar to a Rob Base song called “Turn it out (go 'base')”
Decode and proceed
SuperBoy Fitto Fo:
In the comic "SuperBoy," issue #54, a character called "Hex" is turned from a man to a woman.
Decode and interpret
The Fake Picture
Within the craigslist page's source code, a hidden link was found:
If followed, this link led to a blank .jpg file named '4U'. This actually happened to be a RAR file, and within it was a file named "havefun."
It was encoded several times (hex then base64 then binary then hex where the letters were encoded with a Vingere cipher and finally ASCII), but the hex was finally discovered. It can be viewed here:
Then, once that was decoded from Hex, a message was discovered:
That reversed is:
Once cleaned up (Thanks to sphinx), it comes out to be:
Did I ever tell you that as a child I always wanted to go to Disneyland? I would pester my parents, but they kept saying we couldn't travel that far "because of my sister's obligations." I hated her for that. I hated her so much.
I bet you know what that's like--in fact, I know you do. It keeps you awake at night, that anger that you can't let go of...all because someone drilled into your head a sense of inferiority.
It isn't that the other person is better than you. It's that the situation helps you convince yourself that they might be, and you’re deathly afraid that they are.
Knowing what you dealt with awhile back really helped me put things in perspective. It helped me make peace with that part of my past, because I realized that my sister was never the enemy. There are other people to blame for creating that situation, but I also blame myself for not even trying to do anything about it except act like a spoiled brat.
But your situation is different in many ways…it’s almost the opposite actually. Although from what you’ve told me, maturity was neither of your strong suits (so at least we have that in common). Still, I know that how it all played out left a really bad taste in your mouth that you’ll probably carry around for the rest of your adulthood (the same way I held onto mine to the point where it almost ruined what little childhood I could cling to).
And yes, you can at least feel better about blaming yourself for the mess you got yourself into because a lot of it was actually your fault. (I may suck at sympathy, but writing it out really does wonders for my own issues LOL).
However, there might be an opportunity for you to resolve some of these feelings that you are still carrying around, or at the very least maybe settle the score. I’ll tell you more about it in a few days, once I do a little more research, because I want to be absolutely sure--plus there's another pressing task at hand that needs to be dealt with, once and for all.
I don’t want to ruin the surprise, and you shouldn’t get your hopes up yet, but I will tell you this much: We’re not going on vacation and no one is going to Disneyland, but if what I suspect turns out to be true, well...it damn well proves that it’s a small world after all.
Step By Step Puzzle (Be Sure to Drink Your Ovaltine)
Step 1: The UPC Puzzle
On December 9th, Tachyon alerted us to a busy week ahead:
To my "Brother" : Tonight and tomorrow, things shall come into focus.
The next day, she updated her YouTube profile with this. Keep in mind what she says about following the steps:
One step at a time, before the next. I wouldn't want to confuse you. Figure out what you need and we'll go from there. Step 1: Always be prepared. MTogMzAzOTM1MzAzNDMxMzEzMzMxMz MzMTMwDQoyOiAzMzMyMzEzMjMxMzIz MjM5MzEzNTMyMzANCjM6IDM5MzczNj M3MzkzMTM2MzMzOTM2MzgzNw0KNDog MzMzOTMyMzAzNDMxMzEzMzMxMzMzMT MwDQo1OiAzODMyMzQzNTM4MzQzMzM0 MzAzNDM5MzcNCjY6IDM4MzUzMzMwMz AzMDMzMzQzNTM0MzIzMA0KNzogMzYz MjM2MzUzMTMzMzIzOTMxMzUzMjMwDQ o4OiAzNTMyMzMzMjMzMzEzMTM5MzMz NTM4MzANCjk6IDM2MzIzMTM1MzYzMz MyMzkzMTM1MzIzMA0KQTogMzQzMjM2 MzUzMDM3MzYzMTM2MzczMjMwDQpCOi AzMzMyMzYzMjM4MzIzMjM5MzMzNTM4 MzANCkM6IDMxMzIzNTMzMzgzNzM0Mz AzMDM0MzQzMA0KRDogMzgzNDM3MzUz NjM4MzYzMTM2MzczMjMwDQpFOiAzNT M3MzUzNjMyMzAzNjM5MzMzMzM0MzAN CkY6IDMxMzczMjM4MzMzMDM2MzkzMz MzMzQzMA==
This was Base 64 and translated to:
1: 303935303431313331333130 2: 333231323132323931353230 3: 393736373931363339363837 4: 333932303431313331333130 5: 383234353834333430343937 6: 383533303030333435343230 7: 363236353133323931353230 8: 353233323331313933353830 9: 363231353633323931353230 A: 343236353037363136373230 B: 333236323832323933353830 C: 313235333837343030343430 D: 383437353638363136373230 E: 353735363230363933333430 F: 313732383330363933333430
This was recognized as hex, and when it was decoded, it took out the columns that consisted just of the number 3 to give us this:
1: 095041131310 2: 321212291520 3: 976791639687 4: 392041131310 5: 824584340497 6: 853000345420 7: 626513291520 8: 523231193580 9: 621563291520 A: 426507616720 B: 326282293580 C: 125387400440 D: 847568616720 E: 575620693340 F: 172830693340
These were identified as UPCs (Universal Product Codes) and a little research turned up the movies they belonged to:
1: 013131140590 Heathers (Special Edition) (1989) 2: 025192212123 Back to the Future- Trilogy, Widescreen (1985) 2 (1989) 3 (1990) 3: 786936197679 Swingers (Special Edition) (1996) 4: 013131140293 Hiding Out (1987) 5: 794043485428 House Party (1990) 6: 024543000358 Fight Club: 2 Disc Special Edition (1999) 7: 025192315626 Breakfast Club (1985) 8: 085391132325 Risky Business (1983) 9: 025192365126 Three O'Clock High (1987) A: 027616705624 WarGames (1983) B: 085392282623 Gremlins (Special Edition) (1984) C: 044004783521 The Game (1997) D: 027616865748 Sure Thing (Special Edition) (1985) E: 043396026575 Just One of the Guys (1985) F: 043396038271 Cruel Intentions (1999)
Step 2: The Movie Puzzle
Once we’d gotten this far, Tachyon added a list of movie situations to her profile (the list is decoded from Base 64 to hex to text, but I’m omitting the code here to cut down on the length), with this note:
Step 2: Finding the Order is simple. As long as you watch each one closely (and can spare the hours, of course).
With any luck you'll work past any 'identity' issues to make the necessary connections as well. See below for details.
At the very bottom of her profile, a code could be found which translated to:
l: Those damn cults. m: Two words. Dick Gregory n: He is such a badass. His voice naturally has that sonic echo underneath it when he yells. It just takes a lot
out of him. o: Probably grounded? She looks so young for her age. p: This is late night decision making at its worst. q: No better way to start the day than gossiping about new students. r: Shortly after the final shotgun. s: Just after dawn, but before I'm lying. t: LD188A u: Going through changes, lots of changes. v: ‘Eddie’ gets the girl (eventually). w: He knows too? Just don't tell anyone. And don’t cause disruptions in biology, no matter how slow the class may
seem. x: The county recorder has no listing for Consumer Recreation Service or any derivation thereof. y: Talk about creating trends in geek culture. Not only the obvious, but also the geek rage manifestation of
punching doors. z: This last minute strategy makes sense as a failsafe, but why wouldn’t you give yourself an even better window
to work within?
What we had to do was watch the movies we had found in Step 1 in order to match them with the situations Tachyon described in the update above. There were no guides as to which movies went with which situations. After putting in many hours, we identified them as follows:
l: Those damn cults.
E: 043396026575 Just One of the Guys (1985)
m: Two words. Dick Gregory
5: 794043485428 House Party (1990)
n: He is such a badass. His voice naturally has that sonic echo underneath it when he yells. It just takes a lot out of him.
7: 025192315626 Breakfast Club (1985)
o: Probably grounded? She looks so young for her age.
F: 043396038271 Cruel Intentions (1999)
p: This is late night decision making at its worst.
3: 786936197679 Swingers (Special Edition) (1996)
q: No better way to start the day than gossiping about new students.
9: 025192365126 Three O'Clock High (1987)
r: Shortly after the final shotgun.
D: 027616865748 Sure Thing (Special Edition) (1985)
s: Just after dawn, but before I'm lying.
1: 013131140590 Heathers (Special Edition) (1989)
6: 024543000358 Fight Club: 2 Disc Special Edition (1999)
u: Going through changes, lots of changes.
B: 085392282623 Gremlins (Special Edition) (1984)
v: ‘Eddie’ gets the girl (eventually).
4: 013131140293 Hiding Out (1987)
w: He knows too? Just don't tell anyone. And don’t cause disruptions in biology, no matter how slow the class may seem.
8: 085391132325 Risky Business (1983)
x: The county recorder has no listing for Consumer Recreation Service or any derivation thereof.
C: 044004783521 The Game (1997)
y: Talk about creating trends in geek culture. Not only the obvious, but also the geek rage manifestation of punching doors.
A: 027616705624 WarGames (1983)
z: This last minute strategy makes sense as a failsafe, but why wouldn’t you give yourself an even better window to work within?
2: 025192212123 Back to the Future- Trilogy
Solution: At this point, we had matched all the movies with the situations, but we didn’t know what we were looking for in those particular scenes. A Dec. 11 Tach profile update helped us out:
If you've got the time, then you're much closer to putting a good face on it.
This told us to look at clocks, and sure enough, we found one in every scene. Looking at the times we found, we saw that if we “spared the hours” and put the movies in a certain order, the minutes would increase by increments of 4. Here is what that looks like:
:04 10:04 The Game C :08 2:08 Fight Club 6 :12 5:12 Hiding Out 4 :16 2:16 Cruel Intentions F :20 12:20 Gremlins B :24 1:24 Back to the Future 2 :28 3:28 Risky Business 8 :32 2:32 Swingers 3 :36 3:36 Houseparty 5 :40 Sure Thing (Specific time unknown) D :44 7:44 Breakfast Club 7 :48 11:48 Wargames A :52 7:52 3o’ clock high 9 :56 9:56 Heathers 1 :60 :60 Just One of the Guys E
This led us to the combination:
This is what you get if you take the original numbers and letters from the Step 1 list of movies in the order determined by the times on the clocks.
Then, another code was added that translated to:
Match the quote/scene/sequence (in lowercase) to the movie (in UPPERCASE). Watch and compare the lowercase scene in
each UPPERCASE movie to find a pattern that will determine how you handle the UPPERCASE letters/numbers.
This clue told us that what we wanted to do was link Step 1 and Step 2, which meant that we needed to use not only the uppercase letter/number from the Step 1 movie list, but also the lowercase letter from the Step 2 list of situations. This gives us:
At this point, it was suggested that this might be a ring cipher, which contains letters placed in concentric rings. Coded letters correspond to letters in the same physical location on either the inner or outer rings. This is where the idea that we were building a decoder ring began.
Later that day, Tach updated her profile with this, letting us know that a drop was in the works:
To my "Brother" : I know there's a lot going on right now, important work towards a greater reward. If you can ask a friend or two to help, it makes sense to multitask at this point. I know you're overwhelmed, but I
have faith in you. So even though you're not finished with the step you've been working on, perhaps you'll be much closer to having it
completed by the time your friend(s) return from running an errand for you. Aren't you glad that you taught me the value of teamwork?
The drop happened. For more about it, go here: http://lonelygirl15.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3946
Step 3: The Tinyurl Puzzle
On Dec. 13, Tachyon was on to the next step:
I'm sure you've got your friends working on what was recovered. But it's one of those xx/xy things that some people
are good at, and other people just can't wrap their head around it. However, multitasking is necessary! So with step 2 completed, set those results aside for the moment while we move on to Step 3: Don't worry, there are
just a few tiny details below... MTogNzk3OTYyNmI3ODZlDQoyOiA3OT MzNzg2MTY0NzQNCjM6IDc5MzYzODdh NmY3Ng0KNDogNzkzNjcxNzg3NTcwDQ o1OiA3OTMzNzg2YzZlMzgNCjY6IDc5 MzU2YTM0Njc2Mg0KNzogNzM2NDdhNm QzNw0KODogNzkzMzM2NjczNTM5DQo5 OiA3OTM3NmE2MjMyNjcNCkE6IDc5Mz I3MDM3NjMzOQ0KQjogNzkzNDM1NmI3 NDc0DQpDOiA3NTc1NzQzNDcyDQpEOi A3OTM0MzI2ODZjNjINCkU6IDc5Nzk3 Mzc2NjU2NA0KRjogNzY2ZjZkNzk2MQ 0K
This decoded via Base 64 and hex, and finally it gave us a list:
1 : yybkxn 2 : y3xadt 3 : y68zov 4 : y6qxup 5 : y3xln8 6 : y5j4gb 7 : sdzm7 8 : y36g59 9 : y7jb2g a : y2p7c9 b : y45ktt c : uut4r d : y42hlb e : yysved f : vomya
These were discovered to be tinyurl links:
1 : http://tinyurl.com/yybkxn 2 : http://tinyurl.com/y3xadt 3 : http://tinyurl.com/y68zov 4 : http://tinyurl.com/y6qxup 5 : http://tinyurl.com/y3xln8 6 : http://tinyurl.com/y5j4gb 7 : http://tinyurl.com/sdzm7 8 : http://tinyurl.com/y36g59 9 : http://tinyurl.com/y7jb2g a : http://tinyurl.com/y2p7c9 b : http://tinyurl.com/y45ktt c : http://tinyurl.com/uut4r d : http://tinyurl.com/y42hlb e : http://tinyurl.com/yysved f : http://tinyurl.com/vomya
These turned out to be episodes from the radio show Loveline, most of which were quite long, and quite explicit. Tachyon moved us forward:
Download those and come up with a strategy to divide them. Step 4 is forthcoming.
Step 4: The Loveline Puzzle
Shortly thereafter, another profile update:
Step 4: Finding the Order is simple. As long as you *listen* to each one closely (and can spare the hours, of course).
With any luck you'll work past any 'identity' issues to make the necessary connections this time as well. See below for additional instructions.
These are the instructions (decoded from Base 64):
l: Those damn cults! I don't think the Order's engine is “driven by the same motor” though. Just to be sure,
I’ll check it out at a later point. m: Oh, so you're not tilting at windmills? It must be after that’s clarified, and fresh ideas are brainstormed…
follow along…the right time is clear when a break is finally needed due to the lack of even being able to finish
a sentence. n: I never have those kind of talks have with my "Brother" either. And while my profession is different, I keep
swearing that I'm going to quit my job in six months as well; that’s the point I’m getting at. o: Try not to get sidetracked by any talk of waffle—um, actually never mind that. Once one moves past suggestions of
singing showtunes, and reaches the point of pondering the barometer vs. yardstick, you’ll know you’re in the
right moment if the breaking point is near. p: Take it from me: You try to bust an international jewel thief AS an international jewel thief, you don't stand a
chance. You gotta look back though, to the point of asking, how can you NOT believe it? q: Sounds like a great party game, especially since I'm not ticklish. Good as you, indeed. r: Hearing it described this way, at least it's obvious at this point that I've got other options if this gig
doesn't work out. I'm well suited for it, but not so sure I'd dig the dress code. s: And I thought my childhood was messed up! After you've heard the details, you’ll know you are at the right spot
when one ponders what pain is. It’s before one could assume she may have locked her keys in...well, nevermind. t: After you take a minute or so to recover from the shock (and realize that this isn't bogus), recognize the point
that is quite profound, because this simple logic is accurate more often than not. Actions are defining. Action
means everything. u: After you knock on the door, all that matters is that the *notion* to follow it was a strong one. You really
can’t miss it, trust me. v: After you close your eyes to visualize, you must recognize that once you reach the point where you can do it
while being chased by a neighbor's dog, you really are that good! w: It's shortly before they numb you up to make you not feel things--The point where we can explain our rebellion,
due largely to being raised by a religious family. x: That description sounds kind of like my "Brother" LOL. That's the point I am getting at. Oh, and regarding their
theory, it's true that we always know on some level! But if you run into the movie being projected on the
perineum, you’ve gone too far! y: The street lights are on, it's time for the oldest son to bring his bicycle in. z: Forget everything that leads up to wondering where you are, the point of this minute is to prepare yourself for
what follows. After that, we can all be enlightened by one man's inquiries toward the "fountain" of knowledge.
And should you ever need an attorney...
Solution: We’d seen this kind of puzzle before, and got to work downloading the Loveline episodes and listening to them to match them up with situations, just as we had done with the movies in Step 2. We also matched them up with the time that the situation occurred in the clip. The results (first column is Loveline episode number/letter, second is situation letter, and last is the time the situation occurred):
f - t - 0:34:36 4 - v - 0:38:30 7 - p - 0:42:31 9 - q - 0:46:40 3 - l - 0:50:40 b - w - 0:54:16 8 - u - 0:58:48 c - r - 1:02:00 2 - x - 1:06:02 d - o - 1:10:16 6 - n - 1:14:00 1 - z - 1:18:00 a - s - 1:22:17 5 - y - 1:26:32 e - m - 1:30:09
When you "spare the hours," the list changes:
c - r - 0:02:00 2 - x - 0:06:02 d - o - 0:10:16 6 - n - 0:14:00 1 - z - 0:18:00 a - s - 0:22:17 5 - y - 0:26:32 e - m - 0:30:09 f - t - 0:34:36 4 - v - 0:38:30 7 - p - 0:42:31 9 - q - 0:46:40 3 - l - 0:50:40 b - w - 0:54:16 8 - u - 0:58:48
When put together the same way we had done with the movie clips, we got this:
Step 5: The Tiny Project Puzzle
On Dec. 14, Tachyon’s profile changed to read this:
To my "Brother" : Step 5: A tiny project. MzczMTMzMzYzNjYxMzczMzMzMzgzNz M5
This decoded via Base 64 and hex to read:
Which, when reversed, is another tinyurl:
This brought us to this image:
This picture has been identified as being a brad.
About an hour later, Tachyon added this to her profile:
[ a tiny hint: jx62t ]
Once again, when reversed, this was a tinyurl:
This brought us to this image:
The second photo was eventually identified as the handle of a pair of scissors, and a very small ruler was discovered along the top of the picture. Language lessons is a photobucket account name.
Step 6: The Small Test Puzzle
A new YT profile update on Dec. 14 read:
To my "Brother" : Hope you're figuring it all out. I am en route to my next location. So in the meantime... Step 6: A small test. (see below)
Under Favorite Music was the usual code, which decoded via Base 64->hex->ASCII to:
I/II [E] 0/0 X: 6B36676B38B2B2E03EE03AE033 Y: A respectable score (or the room where the players dwell)
The Y: part of the message was interpreted as follows:
A respectable score was a reference to Tach's bowling score from the "Knock 'Em Down" video=112. Putting this together we get "Room 112 where the players dwell," which is a line from a Puff Daddy song, "Only You.",br>
After examining the message further, the most popular theory was that the X: line was a message decoded, and that the other lines were instructions on how to decode it using the decoder rings.
We got another hint from Tachyon's YT profile:
[ a small hint: X decoded by Y = Z ]
The correct decoder rings used only the uppercase letter sets from the Movie and Loveline puzzles. The outer ring of the decoder was this set:
The inner ring was this set:
Another clue was given by Tachyon:
[ is Doug Ramsey around? what about Warlock? ]
Doug Ramsey was a character named Cypher.
Solution: Using the [E] and 112 hints, we found this pattern. For the first two characters, we matched the outer ring E with the inner ring 1. For the third character, we matched the outer ring E with the inner ring 2. By repeating this 1-1-2 pattern throughout the puzzle, we found this (decoded from hex):
TESTING 1 2 3
Note: Because the decoder ring only works for 1-F and not 0, to get this solution you have to leave 0 (zeroes) as 0 when it appears. The pattern matches as follows:
112112112112112 112 112 11 6B36676B38B2B2E03EE03AE033
A detailed explanation for the method used on this step can be viewed here: Step 6 Pattern
Puzzle (Language Labs)
Around Midnight on December 16th, 2006, Tachyon began emailing back from the Language Lessons account.
Formula for Solving
For the play along instructions to solving please go here: Language Lessons (A How To)
Getting at the Clue
Tachyon's Profile read:
Step AA: A small taste. (see below)
NDkyZjQ5NDkyMDViMzQ1ZDIwMmEyZj MwMGQwYTU4M2EyMDQ1MzE0NjM2NDYz ODM5NDU0NDMxNDQ0NjBkMGE1OTNhMj A1NzY4NjE3NDIwNjU3NjY1NzI3OTZm NmU2NTIwNzM2ODZmNzU2YzY0MjA2NT YxNzQyMDZmNmUyMDc0Njg2NTY5NzIy MDYyNjk3Mjc0Njg2NDYxNzkyZTBkMG E=
Which translated from Base64 to:
49 2f 49 49 20 5b 34 5d 20 2a 2f 30 0d 0a 58 3a 20 45 31 46 36 46 38 39 45 44 31 44 46 0d 0a 59 3a 20 57 68 61 74 20
65 76 65 72 79 6f 6e 65 20 73 68 6f 75 6c 64 20 65 61 74 20 6f 6e 20 74 68 65 69 72 20 62 69 72 74 68 64 61 79 2e
Which translated from Hex to:
I/II  */0 X: E1F6F89ED1DF Y: What everyone should eat on their birthday.
Making Sense of the Clue
With 4 held constant on the outside ring and the input set as E1F6F89ED1DF it was time to find out what Y was.
Tachyon updated her profile with the clue:
[ A small hint: To find the answer, all you need is 'love.' Hopefully that will 'convert' you. ]
On an episode of Lovelines, Adam Corolla says all real men should eat pie on their birthdays.
Pie can't be the key because not all the letters appear on the cipher ring. However, 504945, hex for pie, does appear.
Decoding: With new key, E1F6F89ED1DF decodes as "Aww..." which opens the rar file
from Gemma <email@example.com> to Sebastian <firstname.lastname@example.org> date 02 15th, 2006 10:16 PM subject Sincerest apologies
I want to apologize for my inappropriate remark after class today. It’s just that after spending so much time
together, I am finding it quite difficult to suppress these feelings I seem to be developing for you. Based on your
reaction, however, it appears you do not feel the same way towards me (please do let me know if I am mistaken).
I feel more than a tad embarrassed for putting my foot in it and creating such an awkward tension between us. I’ll
understand if you do not wish to continue our professional relationship as a result, but I hope that won’t be the
Regardless, your friendship has meant so much to me these past few weeks and I am truly sorry for doing anything to
jeopardize that. I am more than willing to do anything within my power to put this uncomfortable moment behind us.
Getting at the Clue
Step BB: A small victory? (see below)
NDkyZjQ5NDkyMDViNDIyZDMxNWQyMD MwMmYzMDBkMGEwZDBhNTgzYTIwMzYz ODQzNDM0NTM2MzEzMzMyMzYzMzMzMz gzNTMyNDU0MzM5MGQwYTU5M2EyMDQ5 NjYyMDQ5Mjc2ZDIwNjY2Yzc1NmU2Yj Y5NmU2NzIwNDU2ZTY3NmM2OTczNjgy YzIwNzc2NTZjNmMyMDc0Njg2NTZlMj A2MzZjNjU2MTcyNmM3OTJjMjA0OTI3 NmQyMDY0NzI2Zjc3NmU2OTZlNjcyZT BkMGEwZDBh
Base64 to Text:
49 2f 49 49 20 5b 42 2d 31 5d 20 30 2f 30 0d 0a 0d 0a 58 3a 20 36 38 43 43 45 36 31 33 32 36 33 33 38 35 32 45 43 39 0d 0a 59 3a 20 49 66 20 49 27 6d 20 66 6c 75 6e 6b 69 6e 67 20 45 6e 67 6c 69 73 68 2c 20 77 65 6c 6c 20 74 68 65 6e 20 63 6c 65 61 72 6c 79 2c 20 49 27 6d 20 64 72 6f 77 6e 69 6e 67 2e 0d 0a 0d 0a
Hex to Text:
I/II [B-1] 0/0
X: 68CCE6132633852EC9 Y: If I'm flunking English, well then clearly, I'm drowning.
Making Sense of the Clue
Seems to be a reference to A Sure Thing.
Decoding: "We determined that Y: was a reference to the movie “The Sure Thing” (1985), which had been part of the Step 2: Movie Puzzle, but were unable to determine the keyword from looking at the script. Communications via email with Tachyon told us that we actually needed to watch the movie for the clue. We were still lost. Another round of emails directed us toward the depth of the pool in the relevant scene, and we were able to find the password: 3ft. (with period at the end). This led us to the .rar password L-I-V-I-N," - Tilt
Imagine my surprise when I saw the email address from your last assignment turn up in a few of the emails I’ve decrypted so far! And here I had been under the impression that there was more than one girl named Gemma in all of England!
I honestly think that reading all of them will bring you more pain than closure on the subject. But needless to say, you were right in your original assumption that you were set up by Gemma. In fact, the truth is just as bad as you'd feared it would be: Op sent Gemma in to sniff out “Sebastian.” And despite your initial resistance, you ultimately let her get close enough to you that it compromised the security of the mission.
It’s no coincidence either that she disappeared after spending time in your flat, right before those months of hard work establishing your cover as "Sebastian" started to come undone.
And you can also thank her for leading War Pylol to the front door of our safe house in the area. Until I hear otherwise, I will assume that you were followed there, and that you didn’t foolishly try to make contact with Gemma after your cover was blown.
In hindsight, it’s a miracle we spotted that "location verified, D in APHID" video in time to arrange for your safe passage to a secure location. Even though there were no casualties when the bomb detonated (sans the corpse we planted to fake your demise), it still doesn’t change the fact that it was meant to DESTROY you.
As we’ve both now learned, life as a suppressive person of sorts isn’t all that much fun when you’re on The Order's radar. I assume that your self-imposed house arrest, growing the beard, and living like a shut-in have all been attempts to keep them from making the connection that "Sebastian" is still alive (in some form)? I agree it's far better for them to merely think they are keeping an eye on my "clueless partner."
If you escaped your babysitter the same way I escaped mine, I’m pretty sure you’re smart enough to know what you have to do next.
But first, perhaps we should make a little time to see to it that Ms. Pouty Lips does not escape the reward of her action?
PS. Be aware, this might mean we have to cross paths with Greg Tolan (and I wish I were only referring to William Zabka).
Solution Video: Watch
Dancing In The Dark
Tachyon updated her profile to add the following note:
To my "Brother" : aHR0cDovL2VzdHJhZGlvbC5yZWRpcm VjdG1lLm5ldC8= xoxox, T
This note is written in base64 and it translates to http://estradiol.redirectme.net/. This website redirects to http://humboldt.craigslist.org/y/mis/285089942.html
The Craigslist post
Title: A missive... Quote: I get up in the evening, and I ain't got nothing to say I come home in the morning, I go to bed feeling the same way I ain't nothing but tired, I'm just tired and bored with myself Hey there baby, I could use just a little help You can't start a fire, you can't start a fire without a spark This gun's for hire even if we're just dancing in the dark Message keeps getting clearer, radio's on and I'm moving round the place I check my look in the mirror, I wanna change my clothes my hair my face Man I ain't getting nowhere just sitting in a dump like this There's something happening somewhere, baby I just know that there is You can't start a fire, you can't start a fire without a spark This guns for hire even if we're just dancing in the dark You sit around getting older, there's a joke here somewhere and it's on me I'll shake this world off my shoulders, come baby this laughs on me Stay on the streets of this town and they'll be carving you up alright They say you got to stay hungry. Hey baby, I'm just about starving tonight I'm dying for some action. I'm sick of sitting round here trying to write this book I need a love reaction, come on now baby give me just one look You can't start a fire sitting 'round crying over a broken heart This gun's for hire even if we're just dancing in the dark You can't start a fire worrying about your little world falling apart This gun's for hire even if we're just dancing in the dark
These are the lyrics to "Dancing in the Dark" by Bruce Springsteen.
The source code of the webpage contains code for a lot of font colors. Translating the font colors from hex to text gives
- 09 08151605 251521 1805 0514101525091407 20080919 0218090114 230912191514 1608011905 1506 2515211819. 10211920 16181513091905 1305 20080120 251521 1212 20180913 200805 0205011804 020506151805 0920 07052019 011212 18090311 1821020914 0318012625. 0225 200805 230125, 23091212 131513 011404 040104 05220514 120520 251521 02010311 0914 200805 0815211905 250520? 1325 152314 0605051209140719 1506 0721091220 08012205 1305 0122150904091407 20080513 061518 200805 20091305 0205091407. 0920 230119 07151504 2015 190505 251521 0107010914 202315 2305051119 010715 022120 230815 2315211204 2205 20081521070820 0920 04 0205 2114040518 2008151905 03091803211319200114030519? 09 1212 0205 03211809152119 2015 190505 0906 200805 20050514 0114071920 010422051420211805 07011407 030114 03151305 2116 23092008 0114252008091407 05121905 1514 2008151905 1520080518 19251302151219 15140305 20080525 0318010311 200805 03150405. 09 11141523 2305 20081521070820 2008051805 230119 01 1609 1518 0114 15130903181514 0914 202315 1506 20080513 022120 20080120 0415051914 20 010404 2116 23092008 200805 1520080518 1920210606 09 2205 19050514. 09 13 18211414091407 200805 22011809012009151419 1920091212 022120 09 030114 20 0415 13210308 1805190501180308 1809070820 141523. 09 190815211204 1618150201021225 120125 121523 061518 01 060523 04012519. 09 2008091411 09 130125 08012205 02050514 19161520200504 011404 09 13 180501121225 141520 0914 200805 13151504 061518 01 182114 0914 23092008 20080120 0209200308 1518 080518 13091409151419 1809070820 141523.
These numbers, in pairs, correspond to the places of letters in the standard latin alphabet, meaning 01 is a, 02 is b, and so on.
The final message is
I hope you re enjoying this Brian Wilson phase of yours. Just promise me that you ll trim the beard before it gets all Rick Rubin crazy. By the way, will mom and dad even let you back in the house yet? My own feelings of guilt have me avoiding them for the time being. It was good to see you again two weeks ago but who would ve thought it d be under those circumstances? I ll be curious to see if the teen angst adventure gang can come up with anything else on those other symbols once they crack the code. I know we thought there was a pi or an omicron in two of them but that doesn t add up with the other stuff I ve found. I m running the variations still but I can t do much research right now. I should probably lay low for a few days. I think I may have been spotted and I m really not in the mood for a run in with that bitch or her minions right now.
- Tachyon's mention of Brother's beard goes back to when he faked his death and went into hiding. See Puzzle (Language Labs).
- It's unclear why Tachyon and Brother have had a falling out with "Mom" and "Dad", or why Tachyon is feeling guilty.
- The reference to "seeing you two weeks ago", "under those circumstances" refers to their helping to rescue Daniel in The Human Ransom.
- The symbols Tachyon mentions were given to Bree in an encrypted disk. The Semiotics puzzle page explains how they cracked the file. Tachyon herself is not sure what some of these symbols mean, but she hopes the "teen angst adventure gang" might find something useful.
- "That bitch and her minions" refers to Lucy and the Watchers as they were seen in The Human Ransom.