The first byte

2am. Of course, I'm the only one left in the open space. Stupid "last minute functionality for tomorrow please Greg"... I hit $<$Enter$>$ : compilation started. Well. I have a few minutes now, time for a coffee...

Or time to check Steven's desktop. The guy has been missing for, like, a week. Nobody knows where he went, why, or if he's in any sort of trouble. I only remember he left in the middle of the afternoon, with a weird face, and never came back. Two days ago, I noticed his computer was still on, only the screen was shut down.

Nobody's here, right ? Well, I'm gonna have a look. Just a look. I get up and approach his desktop. Among two unsolved Rubik’s Cube, food stains on scribbled paper and a dozen of E.T. and Elliot plastic miniatures (man, this is an obsession!), I reach for the power switch.

When the pixels suddenly lit up, I knew I was looking at what Steven saw right before his one-way travel from office to God knows where.

Steven's Computer

Just next to the screen, a sticky note :

The note

Perplexed, I stay in front of the screen a few minutes, without moving. I forget about the program that must have finished compiling. I forget about everything else than what I'm seeing right now, and with only these informations, I get back to my desk.

10 minutes later, I know a bit more about Steven's agenda : I know what happened just when he left office. And you, do you ?

General hint :

This puzzle is less about cryptography and more about doing real stuff outside SE.

Specific hints (you'll know when you need it) :
1 :

I've already seen Steven typing his password. He used the numpad only.


Where was he when he created this password ?


Who was waiting for Steven when he left ?

Note : This investigation is the first of a series. Once someone figured out, the stories will go on with new challenges, under the "Killing Entropy" licence.

EDIT : Just before I left Steven's computer, I noticed the popping sound of an incoming mail.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Another good puzzle! +1 Just a note - Make sure you release the hints only if solvers are stuck. Happy Puzzling! $\endgroup$
    – Techidiot
    Feb 16, 2017 at 21:38
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks Techidiot ! I always feel insecure about my puzzles being actually totally unsolvable, and ppl not even trying. Well, I let the hints this time, and I continue learning for the next iteration of Killing Entropy. $\endgroup$ Feb 16, 2017 at 21:40

4 Answers 4


Partial answer. Adding stuff as soon as I find them.

First step:

from the sticky note and the pastebin tab open on the image
This is made from Steven's accoun: http://pastebin.com/u/StevenLocksten
On his profile you can find this paste: http://pastebin.com/9Vs526Wu
Who are you Larry?

To be continued...

EDIT: I have other stuff to do and it will be bed time in a hour or so, so no solution from me for today.

  • $\begingroup$ Nice :) To be continued indeed ;) $\endgroup$ Feb 16, 2017 at 21:01
  • $\begingroup$ Ok maybe I posted this too soon :\ $\endgroup$
    – FrodCube
    Feb 16, 2017 at 21:07
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ No, an evolving partial answer is the way to make everyone progress on the puzzle :) Keep digging, and don't forget to talk about your unsuccessful attempts too :) $\endgroup$ Feb 16, 2017 at 21:09
  • $\begingroup$ [narration addedum] Just before I left Steven's computer, I noticed the popping sound of an incoming mail. $\endgroup$ Feb 17, 2017 at 19:10

related to the computer screen:

The first thing I notice is the number of bytes in the exe: 1729. According to wikipedia, it is "the smallest number expressible as the sum of two cubes in two different ways."

There happens to be two unsolved Rubik’s Cubes on his desk. Since his password are numbers only (from hint 1), it might be related to 1729 and Rubik’s Cubes somehow? Although I have no idea what the password is for at the moment.

related to the mail?:

Here is something weird I've found. Log in to Steven's pastebin account. Go to "my settings", then go to "change profile". Here we see an email address [email protected]. Now go to Mailinator and enter stevenlocksten. The mailbox is currently empty.

HOWEVER, when I checked the mailbox this afternoon, there were 3 mails of the same title and content in the mailbox. I didn't copy it down, but it was something about "Thank you for your last visit. You can use your key and sequence at any time." The mail is from "JLB @ LoB."

This could be referring to The Library of Babel, a short story written by Jorge Luis Borges. This is consistent with the library mentioned in the "direction" paste. Now go to the website Library of Babel. You can use the key found in the private paste as a hexagonal chamber name to find a specific hexagonal chamber.

(contributed by Techidiot and Logan) Use the OEIS A001047 series: 0, 1, 5, 19, 65. Ignore the first 0 and use the rest of the numbers in order as wall, shelf, volume, and page number. We find the following passage:

"looking for something, arent you. well it must be important for you to dig here. hope you arent looking for sense, because in this place, everything has been written already. everything ever said, every love or hate words. your future. your past. your death. the best thing youll ever write is already sitting here, somewhere. a glitch in entropy. entropy. thats why youre here. the key is in the size. when you figure out, youll know what to do."

Size is referring to the size of the exe (1729, as explained in the first section)?

Confirmed as irrelevant by OP

I find the \$10 to greg line suspicious. If the money was returned to Greg, it should have been removed from the todo list. If it has not been returned, if I were Greg, I would be worried about whether I'm getting my \$10 back... The \$10 should have been mentioned in the story, but it was not.

Conclusion: a clue?

  • $\begingroup$ 1729 - Look up Ramanujan! $\endgroup$
    – boboquack
    Feb 17, 2017 at 6:55
  • $\begingroup$ Greg isn't worried about his 10$. Everything related to the *.exe is important. What is the password for ? $\endgroup$ Feb 17, 2017 at 7:20
  • $\begingroup$ [narration addedum] Just before I left Steven's computer, I noticed the popping sound of an incoming mail. $\endgroup$ Feb 17, 2017 at 19:10
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ You found one crucial clue up there ! $\endgroup$ Feb 18, 2017 at 9:54
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Going to libraryofbabel.info with that key, then using OEIS A001047 (without the first zero) for the wall, shelf, volume, and page numbers, gives: "looking for something, arent you. well it must be important for you to dig here. hope you arent looking for sense, because in this place, everything has been written already. everything ever said, every love or hate words. your future. your past. your death. the best thing youll ever write is already sitting here, somewhere. a glitch in entropy. entropy. thats why youre here. the key is in the size. when you figure out, youll know what to do." $\endgroup$
    – Logan
    Feb 18, 2017 at 22:05

Adding another partial because I don't like seeing you folks stuck.

Log in to StevenLocksten's Pastebin account:
Username = StevenLocksten
Password = 1982

1982 was the release year of E.T.

FYI only one person can be logged in, so someone please extract the data and put it in an answer... :)

  • $\begingroup$ Haha! I didn't had that anywhere in my mind :D +1 $\endgroup$
    – Techidiot
    Feb 17, 2017 at 14:18
  • $\begingroup$ @Techidiot See my edit please. $\endgroup$
    – LeppyR64
    Feb 17, 2017 at 14:18
  • $\begingroup$ And I am out. Go for it. Still amused about this step.. $\endgroup$
    – Techidiot
    Feb 17, 2017 at 14:20
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @LilianDelaveau Don't rush the puzzle. Let it work :) $\endgroup$
    – LeppyR64
    Feb 17, 2017 at 19:13
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @LilianDelaveau Cheers. I'm a usual solver of this type of puzzle. I understand. You've done a good job with this one so far and hopefully I can get home to a computer to do this next step sometime. I'm pretty sure I know what it is, but the characterset doesn't look right to me. $\endgroup$
    – LeppyR64
    Feb 17, 2017 at 19:25

As already discovered by FrodCube

The pastebin link points to the following text
weekly TODO:
- 10$ to greg
- talk to boss about last clients stupid request
- buy keyboard
- call samantha 4 dinner
- check the code from K_E.exe (in private pastes)
- debug whole narwhal project (ask intern?)

Also another link points to the following text -
Hey Larry, stop stalking my pastes.

There are other files in the archives as well which I think are private and not related to the puzzle.

Other thoughts

The WIkipedia page shows "sécurise" also the command prompt shows French language which means he was accessing the French version of Wikipedia and is in France. And the Project Narwhal is the name of a computer program according to Wikipedia. Need to check if there is any relation between France and Project Narwhal. Also, Larry reminds me of Larry Page :)

Greg tells us that the last time Steven was seen was during the afternoon. So, if we check the schedule we can come up with following conclusions -
A. Either he was caught into an argument with his boss
B. Samantha cancelled the dinner
C. He didn't found the keyboard he was looking for.

There is obviously a $10 for Greg which we are not sure whether it was returned or not.

Next step

Leppy found the password here as 1982. Logging into the account provides couple of important things -

KEY 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

he said i go to the library with the key
he said directions are A,0,0,1,0,4,7. what kind of directions are that ?
he also said to forget about the zero.

So, we might to see what A1047 gives.
Some random googling gave the following things -

UK Road A1047 And Gerald_Ford_Library which is a clue I guess.

Or the OEIS A001047 series - 0, 1, 5, 19, 65, 211, 665, 2059, 6305, 19171, 58025, 175099, 527345

Another find

This could either me irrelevant or a clue but we have an email in the account as well. Though its a standard mail from the website, we may need it so I will paste it here -

Hello StevenLocksten,

Good to see that you have decided to join our community!

We like to remind you that our website is mobile friendly, so you can create, edit and delete pastes on your phone or tablet too.

You currently have a FREE account, but we also offer far superior PRO accounts.

Being a PRO member unlocks many cool features, and removes all advertisements from the website.

You can follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Kind regards,

The Pastebin Team

Again, may not be relevant, but worth nothing, taking first letter of the n'th word in the above email with the obtained pattern we get TITE

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ For the French related thoughts, I'll have to be a little meta : I couldn't configure everything I wanted on the VM for this series, so it is in French because of external reason. Very argumented however, you Sherlock. But the clues you discovered on this topic are actually to prove I'm French ^^ $\endgroup$ Feb 16, 2017 at 21:59
  • $\begingroup$ Are you on some mission? ;) I don't see any other visible clues yet. Also, can you specify in your question exactly what we need to find? What happened? is too broad to answer. $\endgroup$
    – Techidiot
    Feb 16, 2017 at 22:01
  • $\begingroup$ Well, this may be where puzzlingSE habits are hard to mix with what I want to do. "What happened ?" will be the right question at the end of the path. I understand I could formulate things better. Well, there is a serious clue in the first pastebin. A clue about what to do if I'm Greg and I want to understand things about Steven. $\endgroup$ Feb 16, 2017 at 22:07
  • $\begingroup$ If there is another "Partial Answer" post, maybe copy/paste the inside from the found document could be a good idea (no pun here, no clue, just an advice ^^) $\endgroup$ Feb 16, 2017 at 22:09
  • $\begingroup$ Interesting. The commas make it un-googleable. Remove them and try again. $\endgroup$
    – LeppyR64
    Feb 17, 2017 at 18:40

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