14
$\begingroup$

The Story:
It had taken longer than planned to sneak out after having solved the word search with the hidden message. Vimes was worried that he had alrady failed. Having taken the stairs to reduce the chance of being noticed, he slowly pushed open the door to his floor. It being well past midnight by now, the pit was dark and empty. He'd thought it was stupid to separate the shifts into different floors but he was thiankful for the privacy it afforded him now. He crossed the floor quickly, his footsteps covered by the gentle humming of the AC vents. As he reached his desk, the phone rang, practically giving him a heart attack. Sarge picked it up, holding it slightly away from his face and saying nothing. The speaker emitted an audible click and what seemed to be a recorded message began to play.

Here's what's going to happen. I'm going to read this, and you're going to listen, and you're going to stay on the line. You're not going to interrupt. You're not going to speak for any reason.
[pause]
I know where Anna is. I know everything, don't I? You have to figure it out. That's the game. I have one more game for you, Sarge. You do like puzzles, don't you? I would be so sad to find out now that you didn't. All that work I put in wasted on someone who didn't even have fun? No, thank you. I'd hate to think what I'd do if I was to get… sad.
[pause]
I've given you a present! It's a computer. I hope you like it. The operating system is a little outdated but it… better fit my purposes. Can you find the puzzle I left you? Can you find Anna? I can! I did. Who wins?

The phone clicked off. Dead silence. Sarge placed it back on its cradle and inspected the black laptop sitting on his desk. Figuring that the psychopath wouldn't go to all this trouble just to blow him up, Sarge opened the computer without even checking for wires or a ticking clock. The thing was already booted up and logged in. Sarge stared at the desktop for a minute, waiting until he could see it better. Something was making his vision all blurry again.


The Puzzle:

Can you find the end of the story?

R1C1R1C2
R2C1
RC31RC32R3C3R3C4R3C5
R4C1
R5C1R5C2R5C3R5C4R5C5
R6C1
R7C1R7C2R7C3


Per request, here are plain-text versions of the text files:
Message.txt

oFAlLmYmanYgAm   
esIkNowiLiketh   
IsOnetheBestIs   
SheoKorisnTshe   
whAtIsinthEbox   

Character Map.txt

p60]dr>k9<|\|r   
>w ohx?3tq;z1u   
t1p/h|hks7n]:2   
/88,/\x,1 i4m6   
:0.zsy,>y0t\l?   
avc5ebjwkb;o.f   
jxi0ij?:sg\5ma   
,tgau6lvr2.l[<   
cp 34zx]b7nadv   
o;qem56f7[/j9d   
u7>3<r8oyk5glc   
1db48yzh23fe.q   
qv4<gw]eswinf[   
;:9?punc 9|[m2  

Magic Word.txt

Words are our most inexhaustible source of magic
Abracadabra, open sesame, and bibbidi-bobbidi-boo
You can't stop me with magic, Sarge
Maybe you can figure out what I'm up to, though
When you find me, whisper klaatu barada nikto
To get to me, you must pass the nerdy den
By speaking the name of my favorite song
(Correct spacing and capitalization, please.)
$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ I do like the puzzle flow a lot, Engineer. Can you provide us plain text versions of the .txt-files the culprit left us? $\endgroup$ – Mike Limburg Mar 28 '17 at 12:45
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ You didn't say the magic word... $\endgroup$ – 2012rcampion Mar 28 '17 at 14:18
  • $\begingroup$ So many details in so little space. What's a red herring what's not? Such an intriguing puzzle! $\endgroup$ – LeppyR64 Mar 29 '17 at 3:51
  • $\begingroup$ Do we have to know anything from previous puzzles? $\endgroup$ – shyos Apr 4 '17 at 14:11
  • $\begingroup$ @shyos No, each puzzle stands alone. The story is a continuation from one to the next and that is the only connection. $\endgroup$ – Engineer Toast Apr 4 '17 at 14:32
13
+100
$\begingroup$

The answer is:

Sergeant Vimes sat dumbfounded, staring at the screen. This didn't make any sense. It didn't line up with anything from the last few days. All this stress, all this apparent violence, and it was to get to this? This was... silly. What in the world was going on? Vimes was still puzzling over this a few seconds later when he was blinded by someone turning on all the lights in the office. He spun in his chair to face a crowd of people cheering and wearing bright, colored hats. Anna was in the front row. She ran up and embraced him. "Happy birthday, Daddy!" she squealed. "Do you like your surprise?" His reply was hoarse. "What?", he stammered. "Oh, come, now!" she continue. "Did we really fool you? And here I thought my daddy was the best dang investigator on the force!" He just stared at her, smiling just to know she was OK. "You've been saying you were bored lately, after all. Me and Lipwig came up with a way to really challenge you. Isn't he great?" Vimes found the Officer in the crowd. The young fool was grinning like he didn't know how much torture the old Sarge was going to put him through. A cake was being rolled up front on a cart and someone started singing. "Please, no!" shouted Vimes as he grimaced. "I've had enough song lyrics to last a lifetime!" Turning back to his daughter, he gave her a reproachful look. "Next year, how about you just get me a tie, eh?" They laughed as even Chief Vetinari joined in the singing. This might have been the best prank in the station's history despite all the resources it soaked up. It was entirely worth it, though, to finally pull one over on Vimes.

Solution:

Message.txt

Uppercase chars are on the prime series. So I picked prime chars on next txt.

Charachter Map.txt

Picking prime indexed chars on this text gives us following text:

60d>|| https://i.stack.imgur.com/9y5b2.gif |

and here is the image...
enter image description here

I know the fact that this musician is Rick Astley and his song is "Never Gonna Give You Up".

Magic Word.txt

This file indicates some password is actually a song name

The End.gif

Thanks to @qweqwa we know where to use a password. If we download .gif file and change the extension to .zip we can reach two password protected files. When we use "Never Gonna Give You Up" for passphrase we can open two files. First one is a SURPRISE GIF and other one has the STORY.

OPEN ME FIRST.GIF
enter image description here

and open me last.txt contains the answer.

$\endgroup$
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ You might want to a) put that in a spoiler tag, b) add an explanation of how you got there. $\endgroup$ – F1Krazy Apr 4 '17 at 15:10
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I added the solution. :) $\endgroup$ – shyos Apr 4 '17 at 15:27
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Techidiot It's legit, if you accept my word. Well done shyos $\endgroup$ – LeppyR64 Apr 4 '17 at 15:48
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Techidiot I don't blame you for thinking it was a prank. I actually started with the question of how I could rickroll the Puzzling community. The other 4 puzzles related to this one were just build-up to the sudden change in tone at the end. $\endgroup$ – Engineer Toast Apr 4 '17 at 17:30
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @EngineerToast When I find Rick Astley gif at first I thought it was a deadend and troll. But tried anyways and it was actually the answer. lucky me. $\endgroup$ – shyos Apr 4 '17 at 19:23
5
$\begingroup$

Partial Solution to The End.gif

Notice in the gif that its in the:

ZIP Files folder:
enter image description here

Rename the gif:

to a zip,it contains "OPEN ME FIRST.GIF" and "open me last.txt", but the zip is encrypted.
enter image description here

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ Nice! I think I know the password $\endgroup$ – LeppyR64 Apr 4 '17 at 1:38
  • $\begingroup$ What are you opening the zip file with? I'm getting an error on it. $\endgroup$ – LeppyR64 Apr 4 '17 at 1:51
  • $\begingroup$ The archive manager built into Linux Mint. Perhaps try something like 7zip? $\endgroup$ – qwewqa Apr 4 '17 at 1:53
  • $\begingroup$ The title of the GIF suggests this may be the last step and the other parts need to be done to get the password. $\endgroup$ – qwewqa Apr 4 '17 at 2:01
2
$\begingroup$

(Not even a partial answer... In retrospect it was the list of red herrings...)

Details That Might Be Useful:
The End.gif is from Jurassic Park as 2012rcampion pointed out.
"Nerdy Den" is possibly a hint at "Dennis Nedry" who is the character in the gif.
"klaatu barada nikto" is from "The Day the Earth Stood Still"
The system clock is set to Pi Day - March 14, 2015, 3:14:15 AM (3.1415 twice)

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ "What is in the box" may be a reference to Se7en, but that might be there for flavor $\endgroup$ – Wesley Situ Apr 2 '17 at 2:39
  • $\begingroup$ Also, using the digits of pi to index a character for each line in Magic Word.txt gives "rac my eye" (maybe coincidence that it spells something you can read?) I've tried that with the other files but ended up with gibberish. $\endgroup$ – Wesley Situ Apr 2 '17 at 2:46
  • $\begingroup$ @WesleySitu You're good with the image stuff. Anything wonky in the layers of the gif? $\endgroup$ – LeppyR64 Apr 2 '17 at 3:02
  • $\begingroup$ The very first frame does appear to have some noise to it. There's some greenish / magenta tinges to some pixels (which all the other frames do not have). $\endgroup$ – Wesley Situ Apr 2 '17 at 3:45
  • $\begingroup$ Here are the first and last frames. imgur.com/a/8QXGY $\endgroup$ – Wesley Situ Apr 2 '17 at 3:50

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.