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.
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.
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?


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


Character Map.txt

>w ohx?3tq;z1u   
/88,/\x,1 i4m6   
cp 34zx]b7nadv   
;: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.)
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I do like the puzzle flow a lot, Engineer. Can you provide us plain text versions of the .txt-files the culprit left us? $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 28, 2017 at 12:45
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ You didn't say the magic word... $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 28, 2017 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
    Commented Mar 29, 2017 at 3:51
  • $\begingroup$ Do we have to know anything from previous puzzles? $\endgroup$
    – shy
    Commented Apr 4, 2017 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. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 4, 2017 at 14:32

3 Answers 3


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.



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.sstatic.net/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.

enter image description here

and open me last.txt contains the answer.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ You might want to a) put that in a spoiler tag, b) add an explanation of how you got there. $\endgroup$
    – F1Krazy
    Commented Apr 4, 2017 at 15:10
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I added the solution. :) $\endgroup$
    – shy
    Commented Apr 4, 2017 at 15:27
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Techidiot It's legit, if you accept my word. Well done shyos $\endgroup$
    – LeppyR64
    Commented Apr 4, 2017 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. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 4, 2017 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. $\endgroup$
    – shy
    Commented Apr 4, 2017 at 19:23

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

  • $\begingroup$ Nice! I think I know the password $\endgroup$
    – LeppyR64
    Commented Apr 4, 2017 at 1:38
  • $\begingroup$ What are you opening the zip file with? I'm getting an error on it. $\endgroup$
    – LeppyR64
    Commented Apr 4, 2017 at 1:51
  • $\begingroup$ The archive manager built into Linux Mint. Perhaps try something like 7zip? $\endgroup$
    – qwewqa
    Commented Apr 4, 2017 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
    Commented Apr 4, 2017 at 2:01

(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)

  • $\begingroup$ "What is in the box" may be a reference to Se7en, but that might be there for flavor $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 2, 2017 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. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 2, 2017 at 2:46
  • $\begingroup$ @WesleySitu You're good with the image stuff. Anything wonky in the layers of the gif? $\endgroup$
    – LeppyR64
    Commented Apr 2, 2017 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). $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 2, 2017 at 3:45
  • $\begingroup$ Here are the first and last frames. imgur.com/a/8QXGY $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 2, 2017 at 3:50

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