PERPLEX CITY, SEASON ONE
THIS PAGE IS OUTDATED!!
Not that the page itself is full of stuff on nonsense. But when Monica Grand died, her last words were: "We never held it, it was already gone."
The crew who we had suspected stole the Cube never got to it. Someone else got there first.
Throws a heckuva wrench into things, doesn't it.
Just let that sink in.
Okay. So. As of this revision, this page is outdated, and works under the assumption V Q K & C stole the cube. Maybe they were hired by others as a distraction. Maybe V was behind it afterall, somehow. Lots of maybes. When Monica died, the community was sent almost back to square one. Except for one little detail: The Receda Trail.
The remainder of this page is kept a reminder of where we've come from. As an editorial note, some enterprising soul could certainly re-edit this page to reflect the current situation. Otherwise, read on, take from it what you will, then go follow The Receda Trail.
The Theft - Plot So Far
As yet we only have a partial picture of how The Cube was stolen. This page details the facts we currently know. Please feel free to update this page as necessary, but please also keep it free of speculation.
From remarks made by The Advisor to Pietro Salk, we can deduce that there was a dedicated team engaged in the Cube theft. This team was apparently four strong, which agrees with a security analysis developed by the head of Academy Security, Henrik Tanner, who opined that a four - person team would have been needed to orchestrate the theft. Although we are aware that each of the four would have brought a differing skill to the team (Tanner’s report mentioned that the theft would have had to require the skills of both a ‘hardware’ and a ‘software’ expert, for instance), we have only been made aware of one particular specialty – one of the four (code – name C) was ‘some kind of software genius’. Given that Bernardo Holyoke [see below] is, however, associated with the team, and known to have both fenced and jury–rigged stolen items of Academy tech, it may be fair to suppose that he was the ‘hardware genius’.
The precise functions of the other two members of the team remain open to speculation. The four – person team were, according to The Advisor, not known to each other before they were assembled, and, in fact, great pains were taken by their sponsors to transfer payment for the theft to them anonymously etc. They addressed one another using code – names: Quercus, Kilo, C and V. Generally all 4 members referred to each other by letter, which is a simple abbreviateion of their codename. C, however is a bit of an exception. She appears not to have a codename (Advisor’s comment – ‘I think C. was the initial of her real surname’). The group was masterminded by V, who the Advisor told Salk was a ‘dangerous…true believer’, and the only member of the group who knew all the other members before they were recruited.
Let’s now consider again the actual night of the Cube theft (our date: Jan. 16th, 2004).
On Ball Night, when Academy security is frequently stretched to its limit, the team struck. Police Chief Eoin Morgan recognised that the group would have to have been ‘highly organised and technologically sophisticated’ in order to pull off the theft. It was recognised immediately by the Academy that portions of the security system had been reprogrammed in order to allow the theft to take place, and that three different systems had, in fact, been disabled without causing alarms to trip.
Security guard, Fran Mendling, was murdered the same night, apparently because she chanced across the theft (although it remains an outside possibility that she may have been allied to the team, and aided their entry). Fran was murdered with a neuro–suppressant, which appears to have killed her instantly. This could have been a knee–jerk response to the team’s discovery, but use of a neuro–suppressant may have actually been quite deliberate, inasmuch as it effectively masked Fran’s time of death, and thus gave the thieves more cover for their activities. K may have been the killer, given her aptitude with weapons. Fellow members of the security team later discovered Fran’s body at 2 a.m. when she failed to check in for a shift change. By that time, the Cube and the thieves would appear to have been long gone.
Some have supposed that escape was made by way of the Catacombs, which are known to run much of the length of the City, all the way from the Old Town (Holyoke’s base of operations) to the Academy, and further out, towards the harbour/dock regions of the City.
The Pietro Salk Logs
Pietro’s lengthy correspondence with The Advisor has gone some considerable way towards deepening our understanding of developments post – theft. The basic pattern of this correspondence has been pieced together, and the association would appear to have run along the following lines:
- The Advisor contacts Pietro anonymously on (our time) 6th May 2005. She appeals to his better nature, by reminding him of the conspicuous record he holds as a champion of the underdog, and his drive to expose corruption within the workings of the City. (‘I can promise you the biggest scoop of your life’). The Advisor demands that Pietro secure confidentiality for her, and immunity from prosecution, given that she is prepared to act as whistleblower upon her own team operation. She assumes that, as Pietro has important journalistic contacts with the police, he should be able to engineer this.
- The Advisor throws Pietro a bone in order to demonstrate that she is operating in good faith. She leads him towards investigating Holyoke’s fencing ring, run from the Five of Cups tavern in the Old Town. The police, given Salk’s tip – off, uncover an operation jury – rigging stolen security devices, most of which appear to have come from the Academy. Pietro gains the byline for the story in The Sentinel.
- Bernardo Holyoke is killed. The investigating officer is Helena Frye, identified as Pietro’s police contact, and Salk again covers the story. According to Frye, it appeared to the police as if the murder had occurred during the course of a ‘bungled robbery’. However, it would seem that Holyoke knew his killer (or had at least seen fit to allow them to enter the pub, and remain after closing hours) because his alarm system had not been set up for the night, and there was no evidence of its having been triggered by breaking and entering. It looks as if a ransacking of the establishment had then been undertaken, in search of something. Given that one must assume that the police had already confiscated the jury – rigged goods previously uncovered, one must assume that the burglar was attempting to find something that the police had missed.
- The Advisor’s take on this situation was to imply to Salk that Holyoke had been murdered by an associate (most likely V, or one of V’s supporters), possibly because of her actions in leading Salk to investigate the Five of Cups in the first instance.
- On the 15th May, 2005, we have the first reference by The Advisor to the effect that she is going to communicate with Salk via a secure channel. They appear to have arranged a meeting via this channel. In actual fact, later correspondence seems to indicate that the pair did not come face to face until as late as mid – June. What, therefore, looks to have been arranged here is some kind of drop – off at a pre – selected location. What may have been dropped off is certain information outlining the links of the theft to the shadowy group that I refer to as ‘the conspiracy’. Later, The Advisor will refer to Salk following ‘a lead’ she has offered him. The Advisor would seem to have ‘turned up’ to this meet, inasmuch as she ‘turned up’ at all, without formally identifying herself to Salk.(‘You will not recognise me. I will find you.’)
- For a short time, Salk appears to have looked into Reconstructionist activities in the belief that they were somehow involved in the theft. This may have been partly inspired by his realisation that Holyoke’s wife had converted to Reconstructionism. However, no useful further information is turned up on this trail. The Advisor lays emphasis on the fact that Salk is looking in the wrong direction. Eventually, Salk talks to Jessica Holyoke, and realises she knows nothing about the situation. He is also unable to reconcile the Reconstructionist’s spiritual values with the fact that the team that stole the cube were hired to do so.
- By 20th May, 2005, Pietro appears to have realised that he is getting in deep. He feels unable to talk to his police contacts about his investigations, although this is slightly odd: The Advisor merely asked that she keep her name out of reference to the investigation, not that Pietro should talk to nobody about it (at least, if she meant what she said about offering him a ‘scoop’, we must assume that the intention would be to publish the information eventually).
- Pietro then starts to pursue research in the Academy Library, hoping to find out more about ‘the conspiracy’ from ancient texts. He canvasses the idea on 25th May. We must assume that he then proceeded to do this research at intervals. By 13th June, he mentions, elliptically, what he has found out.
- During this time period, The Advisor is holed up in her apartment in Ascendancy Point, presumably in hiding.
- On June 1st, Helena Frye gives Pietro more information on the continuing investigation into the Five of Cups operation. The police have now discovered several pieces of tech that were missed on the earliest sweeps – these are a Reynolds ioniser and three Klebold plates. None of these items have a security application. They appear to have been stolen after January 1st, 2005. This would imply that these pieces of tech could not have been involved in the theft effort per se. However, it is a strong likelihood that what the ‘mysterious assailant’ who murdered Holyoke was looking for were these pieces of tech, and that, for some reason, it was necessary to any ‘clean – up’ operation that these pieces not be found. It would appear, however, that Holyoke had hidden them away too well, possibly even as insurance should the deal turn sour. Salk’s opinion on these pieces was that Holyoke was unlikely to have obtained them himself; presumably they had been handed over into his care, perhaps with the initial desire that he would alter them, and then fence them on. Attitudes appear to have hardened between January and June as the investigative net tightened.
- June 1st is also the day that Salk realises that The Advisor has been ‘spying’ on his domestic arrangements. Aggrieved by this, he appears to have downed contact for several days.
- On 4th June, the correspondence resumes. The Advisor apologises for spying, but claims that she had to be certain that Salk was fully trustworthy.
- On 13th June, Salk finally broaches the notion that the pair should meet.
- By 16th June, this meeting has taken place. It has sometimes been assumed that Salk was unfaithful to his wife during these three days. Perhaps. But it doesn’t necessarily follow that a brief affair developed. Rather, Salk, with his highly developed sense of injustice, appears to be feeling guilty that he is meeting (and thinking about) any woman clandestinely, regardless of why this meeting is taking place.
- On the 16th, The Advisor does not meet with Salk, even though both of them turn up to their ‘agreed meeting place’. She gets cold feet, because she is aware of someone else present who looks as if he’s trailing Salk. Salk maintains that this individual is nothing to do with him. The figure is dark – skinned, reads a newspaper, and The Advisor rates him as ‘another professional’. Interestingly, he is said to have sat in a leather armchair whilst he observed, which implies that the meet was taking place indoors, rather than outside, although the man is also said to have sat in the shade of a cluster of birch trees (some interior hydroponics?). The Advisor says of this man that he ‘looked like he could handle himself’ and later Salk will compare him to a ‘fitness instructor’. This implies that he was bulky and well – muscled. The theory that the observer may have been Garnet Reed, a member of the Academy Cube Retrieval Project, on secondment from the Perplexian defence forces, appears to be pretty convincing.
- Later on the 16th, The Advisor goes for a walk. By this point, she is refusing to take her key with her, for the sake of security.
- On 17th June, Salk returns to his contention that the Reconstructionists may have been involved. By now, this smacks of justifying his theories to himself. However, he may have been confused by the accusations being levelled against Aiko Entrescore at the time. Interestingly, it was Salk who reported on Aiko’s indicting for the Sentinel.
- On 19th June, Salk determines that he and The Advisor must jointly go to the police with the evidence they possess. This would appear to go against the initial basis of their agreement. The Advisor sidesteps agreement, and asks that they reconvene at Ascendancy Point on Solstice Day (June 21st).
- By 20th June, Salk has been got to, and found comatose. Apparently, this occurred relatively suddenly, and when his wife Sylvia returned to their apartment, she discovered the door hanging open. The latter fact is probably not significant, although it may indicate that, in haste, the assailant failed to close the door behind them as they fled. Another possibility is that Salk’s condition, which by the 23rd June, is clearly diagnosed as a degenerative neurological one had lain dormant in his system for some little while (how it would have been transferred to him remains a mystery), and that he was being visited by someone he knew (perhaps the Advisor) when he collapsed suddenly, and they fled in dismay. It does not seem to be the case that the door was broken in from the outside.
- Salk proceeded to encode as much information as he could within his key, under cover of a maze - generating programme, when he emerged for a time from his coma, and before death claimed him on the 27th. Pietro's Maze is uploaded onto the Salk Family website, and from it we are able to retrieve various phrases which are all sub-directories on the Salk family website, each of which contains part of Salk's logs. It is at least suggestive that the theft team murdered Fran Mendling via use of a neuro – suppressant, and that Salk, too, was disposed of with a neurological tool.
Inasmuch as we know anything about ‘the Conspiracy’, we can note that the correspondence between Salk and The Advisor indicates:
- One group taking on a ‘conspiratorial’ identity are believed to have ‘died out decades ago, if they ever existed’; in Salk’s opinion, they had adopted a name and a symbol that were significant, apparently as a deliberate provocation, in memory of something that had gone before. The Advisor appeared to contradict this, suggesting that, rather than such a group having been a ‘throwback’, they were a continuation.
- In more general terms, it would seem that the conspiracy as a whole is reputed to have been operating since ancient times. The group to which Salk referred (within living memory) must have been a momentary surfacing of one facet of the (much) longer – lived conspiracy. When Salk talked to The Advisor about the originators of the mysterious symbol, he claimed that they ‘had been gone so long’, he found it hard to credit their continued existence. This would appear to have been a reference to the ancient founders of the conspiracy, rather than any more recent recrudescence, unless Salk genuinely felt the passing of ‘several decades’ to be equivalent to an extremely ‘long’ period of time, in which case he might have been referring to the modern arm of the conspiracy.
- The suggestion that the conspiracy are ‘ruthless true believers’ is a recurrent refrain. Salk finds it hard to credit that they would not act spontaneously, but if the conspiracy has been in existence for several hundred, even a thousand, years, then the fact that they are ‘playing the long game’ might not actually be difficult to accept.
- The members of the conspiracy are said to be deployed everywhere – this implies that, whatever it is, the conspiracy is a multi – headed hydra and has infiltrated into the ranks of many Perplexian organisations.
- It would appear that V was the theft team liaison with the conspiracy (a ‘true believer’). The other members of the team appear to have been freelancers, who did the job for the money. The conspiracy presumably arranged for the theft to take place, with V orchestrating proceedings on their behalf. V may be a minor cog in a much bigger machine, therefore.
Members of 'The Conspiracy'
The advisor has another codename, of course: Kilo. The Advisor only gave herself that name when contacting Pietro Salk. She was given this name due to her last name, Grand. It is a very strongly held belief The advisor is Monica Grand.
It is strongly held to be true that "Q" is short for Quercus -- Quercus being a latin word referring to a tree -- and is the codename of Bernardo Holyoke. Holyoke's task in the heist was to provide a secure den in which to operate. It's possible he was more or less an innocent bystander who saw a profitable opportunity, and quickly got in way over his head.
We have only a letter and a job requirement for this person. C. Their codename is the same as their real surname. Their job was to be the technical genius of the group.
The Dispersal of the Cube Theft Team
It is very difficult to be precise about the current situations of members of the Cube theft team.
Holyoke (who was probably Q) is dead, perhaps murdered by V.
The Advisor (K) appears to be carrying on with her life, more or less. If ‘the conspiracy’ have become aware of Salk’s activities, then they may have also become aware of those of The Advisor, and thus she is remarkably paranoid. On the other hand, her circumspection throughout proceedings may well have enabled her to remain undetected for the time being.
The identity of C remains unknown. Given that we know she is a female software genius whose surname also begins with C, there have been some sensible guesses as to her identity. One possibility is the PCAG wunderkind, Myra Champaign. Another is Sarah Covington, who, right at the outset of our investigations, was mentioned in conjunction with the Academy’s Gatehouse Error Logs. It is perhaps worth recalling the brief excerpts of conversation recorded between Lyssa Ling and Sarah Covington at this juncture: Covington mentions feeling distracted because she is thinking about a mysterious ‘them’.
V also remains unknown. We have no information on what sex they are.
The undated advice contained on Salk’s log ‘You must find her before it’s too late. You must find out what she knows’ is ambiguous. It has been plausibly suggested that it could have been advice given to Salk by The Advisor, directing him to locate C before she, too, was murdered. However, it could equally plausibly have been a plea written by Salk himself to those who would decode his logs (namely, us), and asking that we locate The Advisor before it is too late. If the latter is the case, then there is no reason that C may not have been disposed of at any time between the theft and the present, although one wonders if the deaths connected to the case thus far are reactive attempts to cover up when inquiry gets too close, rather than a systematic drive to ‘clean up’ in the wake of the theft.