PERPLEX CITY, SEASON ONE
After following The Receda Trail, PXC players realized that they must gather together to intercept a secret Third Power rendezvous. So on October 22, 30-40 people gathered in Clapham Common - from forum regulars to people whose interest had been roused by an ad in the Oct. 20 Metro:
Secret Agents Required
Date: Lxmpksxv 22es Fzmfyok
Time 2hd mf 5hd
xes Zcxhixd Zfddfe Lfpmi LNso.
fkrxenlxmnfe, xes N eoos vfpk ioch.
x loelo fa ndxrnexmnfe, mioe vfp'cc
sf tocc. Toxk Ifdominer hpkhco
A simple cipher reveals the message to be:
Secret Agents Required
Date: Saturday 22nd October
Time 2pm to 5pm
and Clapham Common South SIde. [sic]
organisation, and I need your help.
a sense of imagination, then you'll
do well. Wear Homething purple [sic]
After groups began to congregate, a motorbike dropped off a package containing folders with maps and instructions, and the basic treasure trail, with five tasks in five locations (plus one virtual).
The Third Power will be holding a rendezvous today, not long from now, less than a mile away from here. I wasn't able to find out exactly where, but I do know how you can figure it out. They've set up five puzzles in order to tell their agent the rendezvous location. I've marked where these tests are on the map on the back of this sheet.
Between them, these puzzles will give you a codebook and four keywords. You can use them together to figure out a password. There's also some kind of online puzzle that will reveal a page where you can type in this password. Once you've done that, it should give you the final pieces of information you need to get to the rendezvous.
So, the PXC players divided themselves into five groups, and commenced solving.
Online: 3P.html, the rapidly winding trail
The reader should understand how crazy this all was! Every 5 minutes, new pages were cropping up all over! -Scott
Our trail of the day began at:
3p.html kept a running update of changes. Immediately, this was noted:
- Updated Receda Approach is now active and ready
Which led us to look at this page:
This immediately made the astute think of other sites:
Carefully, it was noted the logical connection would be the song, mentioned in the "approach" interview.
Once again, wise hands referred to past trail efforts, and dialed up the somnatherapy line. The sculptor page had a series of numbers, which gave clues about what to dial in what order.
The 3p.html page was once again updated to say:
- /mirror music puzzle confirmed to lead on to private dir on Receda's Revenge
This led us to look here:
However, the song being played is The Moonlight Sonata
The long and very interesting path you are led on leads you here:
Carrying on from above we got:
Caps on the page give you bookitnow:
Which redirects to:
On IRC, we've broken up into 4 channels.....
- The starting point appears to be up around 5z
- X7 - Cast Adrift (boats & islands)
- T11 - Radio Play (photos)
- M12 - Buried Secrets (briefcase braille)
- S18 - Boxed Delight (sudoku)
- AA2 - Journey's End (codebook)
courtesy brat-sampson on UF Coordinates: X7
Upon reaching the small lake marked on the map, the group discovered three objects floating around in it. After much discussion and debating over how to retrieve them, including some poor souls almost willing to sacrifice their dryness for the cause, an individual pointed out handy strings which could be used to withdraw the objects from the water.
Inside were square pieces of paper each devided into a 3x3 grid. There were 18 pieces altogether, 2 identical sets of nine. These were all maps of a wide expanse of water with named islands and boats in certain squares. The boats all had directions underneath to denote the paths they travelled from island to island (e.g. N SE W E S) with the goal being to use this info to arrange the grid correctly and find out which island was visited by all boats (assuming that the boat continues in said direction until an island is reached before changing direction to the next one, etc without going off the side) This puzzle got very close to being solved in the time limit but unfortunately the final answer was not deduced in the given time. Looks like it would've been GREEN though. CORRECTION: Actual answer to solved puzzle was GAUGE island.
- <uneasyjd> just spoke to guy (lake team)
- <uneasyjd> they found 9 map pieces (simple grid system) - boats and islands on the map
- <uneasyjd> need to assemble complete map based on instructions on each of the boats
- <badger_burrow2005> my brother and his mate have retrieved a map
- <badger_burrow2005> and a clue saying "the boats weigh anchor and move from island to island. Which islands do the boats dock in?"
- <uneasyjd> ok - i've got detailed descriptions from guy
- <uneasyjd> 9 map pieces - each a 3x3 grid
- <uneasyjd> 1 - top row center - 'WEIGH ISLAND'
- <uneasyjd> 2 - top row left - 'GREEN ISLAND', middle row center - boat 'GILLIGAN'S FOLLY'
- <uneasyjd> 3 - top row center - 'TIME ISLAND'
- <uneasyjd> 4 - middle row center - boat 'CLOUDMAKER', middle row right 'BENCH ISLAND'
- <uneasyjd> 5 - middle row center - 'RIGHT ISLAND'
- <uneasyjd> 6 - top row center - boat 'BLACK PEARL', middle row left 'OLIVE ISLAND', middle row center 'GAGE ISLANDS'
- <uneasyjd> 7 - bottom row left - 'POWER ISLAND'
- <uneasyjd> 8 - top row rightt - 'LEVEL ISLAND'
- <uneasyjd> 9 - middle row right - 'NEVER ISLAND', bottom row left - 'TOOTH ISLAND'
- <uneasyjd> each number represents a different map piece
- <uneasyjd> ok - each boat has a list of directions - the travels from it's starting point in the 1st given direction until it hits an island, then turns in the 2nd direction until it hits another island, etc.
- <uneasyjd> GILLIGANS FOLLY - s-se-n-n-s-w-w
- <uneasyjd> CLOUDMAKER - nw-e-sw-n-n
- <uneasyjd> BLACK PEARL - n-e-s-e-nw-w-s
- <uneasyjd> there is only one island that all 3 boats will visit, and that's the answer
- <uneasyjd> we've just got to assemble the map and sort it all out
- This puzzle was later solved in the unforums by User:sixsidedsquare.
- Photos of the puzzle solvers are here: flickr.com
The team that headed out here was included brat-sampson, and Jeb, who was in contact with Jakeo by phone. Upon arriving at a patch of gravel, they discovered 3 aluminium suitcases, two of which were padlocked.
The first contained two jigsaw puzzles that appeared to have braille on it in the form of orange and purple fish. Referencing the braille page on wikipedia () The page as translated into a sequence of numbers:
- <Scott> talk to me jakeo
- <Jakeo> was on phone
- <Jakeo> ok
- <Jakeo> I'll convert each number given to me into a 6 digit binary
- <Jakeo> 12
- <Jakeo> 34
- <Jakeo> 56
- <Jakeo> does that make sense?
- <Scott> thats fFine
- <Jakeo> 110000
- <Jakeo> 110100
- <Jakeo> 100100
- <Jakeo> 100100
- <Jakeo> 101100
- <Jakeo> 011000
- <Jakeo> 100000
- <Jakeo> 110100
- <Jakeo> 110100
- <Jakeo> 101000
- <Jakeo> 110000
- <Jakeo> 110000
- <Scott> 345589144833
- <Scott> i'm rechecking it now.
- <step> new on the secure page | · Braille number puzzle was confirmed to be in locked briefcases prior to start
- <step> in green text
- <Jakeo> they broke it open
- <Jakeo> :)
- <Scott> heh
- <Scott> well
- <Scott> ok
- <Scott> 345589144233 is right .. so you know. :)
The team on the ground solved this sequence to be:
34+55=89 89+144=233 144+233=377
377 was the combination to the padlocked suitcase.
This case was initially opened by brute force methods, but the combination was 377. Inside the padlocked suitcase was another two jigsaw puzzles with coconuts and palm trees spelling out the number sequence 641 643 647 653. This is a prime number sequence, with the next being 659. This was the combination the the third suitcase.
The third case (rumoured on irc to contain sudoku, see Boxes of Delight) contained another two jigsaw puzzles.
This has maple brown and orange maple leaves which spell out MATCH 1 5 7 13 23. Match is presumed to be the keyword, the number sequence remains a mystery.
Comedy Moment While on the phone with Jakeo describing the puzzle Jeb says 'Oh, okay. We've just smashed open one of the suitcases and are working on the next puzzle'
Boxes of Delight
There was a fifth group on the ground who went to the location marked on the map by 'Boxes of Delight' but came past the 'Buried Secrets' group saying that they couldn't find anything (hence the confusion online as to where the sudokus came from - they were not in a 'Buried Secrets' briefcase). Fortunately a member of the group went and found sudokus in plastic cases attached to the trees. One box was ringed in red on each puzzle, and there were musical notes on the back of each. It was theorised that putting each puzzle in order of the length of the note on the back would have lead to a 33 digit number that could be used to find the keyword, but there was not enough time to solve all of them and the puzzle remains unsolved.
- <Jakeo> sken has found the code book
- <buzman> apparently this one was the codebook
- <buzman> which has been found
- <buzman> but not heard anything from them
The handouts specified a telephone number, which instructed people to go to:
The radio play team had to ring in the radio show, take pictures of themselves doing specific things:
- Two goals in one
- King of the Hill
- Stand and Deliver
- Banned Bands
- Railing Against Nature
- West Side Massive
- Parliament of Trees
Then send them to the 'online team', who put them up for us to see as a link off the radiofeed. When they'd done them all it gave us the codeword ether which then let us get through the authenticate page.
They took pity on us...
The goal, at length, was to get 4 keywords, which was then fed to a codebook, and placed in a webpage:
However as the last minutes ticked down, we only needed one keyword. The security protocols had changed.
This led us (them, really) on a wild and crazy run around london!!
- <MasterCheese> get to jedburgh street people!
- <MasterCheese> NOW
What took place then was a string of wild chases, running through the streets of London!! To cut through the enthusiasm a bit, when Chippy finally reached the end of the run, the 3p.html page was reporting all sorts of cataclysm!
· Operative 8 is compromised. Abort mission. Evacuate now.
· ALPHA SHUTDOWN. Don't try to follow us.
Or did they have us in a large complex snare all along?
We'll let Brat-sampson fill in what happened next:
| At this point it becomes a tad confusing as the next step consisted of a rather long walk/run following directions given to Ollie via the online people. This eventually terminated in an alley next to a heliport where there were a series of posters in around 4 different designs with bizzarre symbols on them and writing telling us to remain where we were and stay vigilant.
Somebody standing on a bench then spotted that some people were walking out of the center towards the main doors and by the time I got back around to the main gates I was informed that two shady looking men had escorted one of us (or so i thought) onto the helicopter. After realising that he was in fact the mole sent by the 3P to keep tabs on our progress there was much booing, jeering and unspeakable hand gesturing towards him as he escaped in his shiney black helicopter (Yes it was really cool, despite being mildly irritating that the guy we'd spent the day with had played us all for fools)
As a finale it was discovered that the mole had left behind his backpack, which he'd been carrying around all day and which contained many many packs of cards, leitmarks for all and a 'thanks for coming along' notice from MC along with a promise that the first round of drinks was on them.
The note dropped by O8, which reads "From O1: Watch"
At that moment, the 3p.html page was updated to link to:
It suddenly became apparent: The unidentified person beckoning us to help them was in fact an operative with The Third Power. The whole trail had been a lengthy drawn out procecss to see how tenacious we really were.
All was not lost. a discussion between 08 and 01 was observed, and linked to here:
In 48 hours, the trail picked up here; See: 3PGroupwareManager
- http://www.flickr.com/photos/24414503@N00/ - kirjava's flikr, which captures some terrific moments in the day
|The Receda Trail|