It has been quite a while since your first assignment as a P.U.Z.Z.L.E. agent. Most of your tasks weren't even half that exciting and since your boss is currently on vacation, your most important task right now is to beat the ceiling dart high score.
Just as you prepare your final throw, your boss's boss - Mr. Smith - rushes through your door, looks around and finally walks towards you.
"You! ... This was delivered yesterday by a courier from a law office."
He hands you a letter.
"Find out what this is all about. This has top priority, I need an explanation first thing tomorrow morning. ... Oh, I almost forgot. The envelope with the letter contained this as well."
He hands you a punched card. Well, it might have been state of the art when the letter was written, but what are you supposed to do with it now?
Mr. Smith rushes out of the room almost as fast as he came in, leaving you with a quizzical expression. Luckily you know Charles, probably the oldest man still working here. Maybe he can provide some insights. You find him in one of the labs.
"Ermm, yes, I remember Dr. Leverett. He was only a couple of weeks here before he disappeared without a trace. There was an investigation, but it came to nothing. Wait a second, we should still have one of those devices he was working on."
He walks away and comes back a couple of minutes later, carrying something looking like an oversized PDA. Its display must be one of the first ever produced LCD displays, and it has the most odd keyboard you have ever seen.
"Dr. Leverett attached the display and the keyboard, before he disappeared. We had two more of these devices, one of them heavily damaged, but they disappeared together with him. We only had little time to examine them before the project was cancelled. The only things we could discover were, that the devices had some unknown energy source and an odd clock signal. Examinations after Dr. Leveretts disappearance have shown, that the clock signal of this device was changed, possibly by Dr. Leverett himself."
Charles makes a short break and then continues:
"Well, I have to get back to work. Good luck with your investigation. I hope you can find out what happened to Dr. Leverett."
Using the device requires a 5 character long code consisting of lowercase letters, uppercase letters and digits. Add the code to the following URL to use it:
http://i.stack.imgur.com/<add code here>.jpg
Images will contain a white on black transcript code. This is provided only for convenience, some puzzles aren't solvable with the transcript only. Add the code to the following URL to use it:
http://pastebin.com/raw/<add code here>
- There are 3 possible values for "today".
- One of Deusovis comments below his answer contains the right key.
- Remember what you learned in part 1.
- Remember the history tag.
- The number of characters in the first line matches another number of items.
- How many unique digits does "today" have?
- This answer might be helpful.
- A friend has shown me his birth certificate, and his name looked very odd.
- The four yellow "buds" are not always zeros (or ones).
- You might need Deusovi to solve this.
- The arrangement of the cipher at the top is a hint for the puzzle below (as already found out in chat).
- The decrypted message is a hint for the final solution.
- The cipher which is used here has the word "cipher" in its name, but is actually not really a cipher (see tags below).
- What characteristics of a ciphertext can be indicators of a particular cipher?
- If you think, that you don't have enough different dates yet, there is one unused hint in part 2.
- You need a basic understanding, of how the devices work (there is an important restriction).
- The previous sentence contains, apart from the obvious meaning, a second hint.
- Basic arithmetic is all math knowledge you need.
- It looks like you couldn't simply travel to any time you like using these devices. Something narrows down the possible travel targets.
Mr. Smith wants answers to the following questions:
- Why was it necessary to visit the years you visited, why were you involved at all?
- "Where" is Dr. Leverett?
There is also another still undiscovered Easter Egg.