I am updating my "full partial" answer to make it less rambling and confusing. The initial partial post was intended to start some other (cleverer) people solving the puzzle, but it looks like I am currently alone! :)
Firstly the part that we know is true:
If you take the first two lines of the email, it somewhat cryptically says that you need to look at the letters following a big D (i.e. a capital D)
(Also, the hint that was given, STALIN II, is an anagram of INITIALS.)
DJ, Dancing, D.C., DK, D.B., Dave, Duran, Death, Dr.
all spells out JACK BAUER, same as the character from the TV series 24.
From here we are working anew, with our given hints:
Fair point in the comments below - the letter is very long for only a single clue. So what else is there to notice?
1. References to JAMES BOND.
In the Film Party paragraph, the writer alludes to Around the World in 80 Days, which was starring David Niven as Phileas. However, David Niven also starred in a James Bond movie: the original
Soon after we get a list of 80s bands, all of which played a theme song for a James Bond movie:
a-ha: Living Daylights, Duran Duran: View to a Kill, Rita Coolidge: All Time High (Octopussy), Sheena Easton: For Your Eyes Only, Gladys Knight: License to Kill
Some other references:
* "Dr. Yes" in this same section is a flip of
Dr. No which is also a Bond film.
* "Value for the money, but a penny for your thoughts?" is reminiscent of
Moneypenny, Bond's not-exactly-love-interest.
* "King's Honour" as a slot-machine, might be a different nudge at
Interestingly, DB Cooper was apparently a real-world hijacker who appeared to be very James Bond-like, and escaped via parachute after making off with the money. Wikipedia
As an entirely side note, XXXX is the 'name' of Daniel Craig's character in L4YER CAKƐ. And Daniel Craig has also famously been James Bond.
So is one of the code names JAMES BOND? Perhaps, they are all taking on identities of famous fictional spies. This could be confirmed by the text message perhaps because James Bond titles are often about being alive or at least not dying.
2. There is exactly one hyphen (-) per paragraph with the X-X-X-X between.
Home-Valley, Copenhagen-DK, Boscobel-Seattle, Vauxhall-Vauxhall, A-ha, non-stop.
We can see that there are 12 total X's, and 6 2-part words. Is this a coincidence? Probably not! (Especially given our clue in the comments!)
3. On the topic of punctuation, there are a lot of question marks.
Even in sentences that seem like they should be statements, some of them are questions... (and this is weird even for an Australian!)
you? available? thoughts? feasible? party? us? Party? hours? boring? fail? Yes?
I have been trying to work out whether I can use this in some way, either by itself or with the hyphens.
After much staring and wondering why there was so much punctuation...
Here is the list of punctuation in order, without the letters:
And as it turns out, this is Morse Code for (I must be psychic!) JASON BOURNE.
So with a hint listed above (the number 571) I now remember that there was a movie called U-571 that cast, of all people, Jon Bon Jovi.
Jon is also known for his hit song "Livin' on a Prayer" which I guess is the reference in the message?
I will just reiterate my previous thoughts on this:
CONGRATULATIONS could be the text of a cipher with instructions following it.
The Midas Process reversed implies turning gold into something else. (eg AU -> ?)
(Or this is just another subtle reference to
There are a lot of descriptions explaining what sounds like a catalytic converter. Wikipedia
These chemical processes change CO and CH into H2O and CO2, and also NO into H2O and N, using a catalyst like Platinum.
This may hint at some letter conversion rules using chemical symbols.
OR Through a big push from the comments, and a facepalm on my behalf, a reference to counter agents... (apparently change agents) Both in the chemistry sense and in the espionage sense.
There seems to be an additional section mentioning second, no. one and no. four.
Either this is an additional rule for a substitution or it is indicating that there are 4 main instigators and it is helping us resolve "who is wealthiest right now".
Another weird thing of note:
Is it a coincidence that all these names are people whose initials are J.B.?
Jack Bauer (one of 1,2,3)
James Bond (one of 1,2,3)
Jon Bon Jovi (4)
and now, Jason Bourne (one of 1,2,3)
So what are we finding exactly?
Well it seems that we are finding a list of people in the espionage business.
As second part to this, we can also see that their initials are all J.B.!
Pretty certain that the one of these with the most money is JAMES BOND, who is worth $19.9b US and is one of the highest grossing franchises of all time.
Note - I feel like there is still a 5th person to be found.
This is for 2 reasons. The first is that the letter as a 123 in the bottom corner and gave us 3 names, the SMS has a 4 as the person the boss is talking to, and the Email has a 5.com email address... This implies that there is a 5th name from the email that hasn't been revealed.
The other reason is that we haven't done anything with the "no. one for no. four" which has to mean something!
Not entirely sure, but it is possible that you were second when a slogan we need, is referring to JOE BIDEN being VP when Obama's slogan was "Change We Need".
He is also now #1 (the President) for 4 years? I guess that fits the clue?
Also... if we are looking for the wealthiest of all J.B.'s it is probably coming from Jeff Bezos, who is (at least some of the time) the wealthiest man in the world!
So... a full-on JB Conspiracy?