A friend of yours was part of a secret society and was put on trial on 15 December 2014 without a lawyer. Alice encrypted the trial's transcript and sent it to Bob, but double agent Carol was able to e-mail a copy of the ciphertext to you. Your friend desperately needed help from a lawyer, but you were unable to provide one with the plaintext so that you could relay the proper advice back to your friend.

RESULTS OF TRIAL: Your friend was executed on 26 December 2014, and the rest of your friend's family followed on 20 January 2015.

Recently, Carol was able to intercept communications containing a rather ominous message. It seems that your friend's secret society has learned of the work you and your associates have been conducting and are less than pleased. Your life appears to be in jeopardy unless you solve the mystery of your friend's trial by the end of this quarter. If you fail, you will find out if there is an afterlife.

E-mail: Show

Can you produce the plaintext for the message below to prevent your untimely demise?

Ciphertext: Show

Hint 1:

After checking your e-mail, you find the following message in your inbox.

E-mail: Show

Hint 2:

You receive another e-mail, but the source is completely different from yesterday.

E-mail: Show

Hint 3:

Another cryptic e-mail has found its way into your inbox and keeps the theme of being indecipherable.

E-mail: Show

Hint 4:

A programmer working for you named Mallory has come up with a certain theory. He believes that the message sent by Dave is a base 10 representation of a base 27 number. When asked for an explanation, Mallory mumbles something about the power of the trinity.

Hint 5:

While visiting your cubicle to get help on one of his assignments, a new intern named Oscar catches a glimpse of Eve's message on your computer screen and asks, "Is that code from a hex editor?" When you ask what he means, Oscar explains that the message looks like the output his disassembler has been giving him. "Each pair of symbols can be thought of as a base 16 representation of a base 256 number."

Hint 6:

The IT documentation specialist Peggy has heard about your mysterious e-mails and calls you on your work extension. "Victor, our e-mail administrator, mentioned at lunch last week that our firewall alerted him of some Ascii85 data transferred across the network and referenced a message from someone named Frank." You suddenly see Mallory peek over your cubicle's wall and give you the A-OK sign.

Hint 7:

Consultants by the names of Sam and Sally have been brought in from Luminosum Defensione Ltd. After analyzing all available data, they have come to the conclusion that the attachment in Dave's e-mail is something known as an initialization vector. If they are correct, then it is a critical piece of information for understanding the ciphertext.

Hint 8:

Sybil is LDL's top analyst and has noticed a peculiar similarity in Eve's attachment and the ciphertext from Carol. When comparing the two with one above the other, there appears to be a correspondence between certain characters in the two messages. Though the text is unreadable, the structure is visibly mirrored when comparing them both together.

Hint 9:

Among all the bright people at LDL, Trent is the only one having a PhD in information theory. He is the doctor who everyone has been clamoring for, and he has deduced an impossible sounding explanation for the attachment in Frank's e-mail. Trent believes that the pickle contains the instructions to create an eighty-eight dimensional table having a length of fifty-two characters per side.

Hint 10:

An e-mail similar to the one from Tenebris Lamina is showing up as an unread message.

E-mail: Show

Hint 11:

This must be the week people send weird e-mails to others ignorant of their existence.

E-mail: Show

Hint 12:

Yet another e-mail has landed in your inbox without any explanation of what to do with it.

E-mail: Show

Hint 13:

Bill is your company's primary lawyer and has a friend named Merlin he thinks might be able to assist with Alice's message. After five minutes of analyzing the message, Merlin exclaims, "This ciphertext has an amber infinity; look at lines 19 and 24!" When asked what an amber infinity is, he explains that "we also call it a double infinity; the 88th alpha character on those lines are the same."

Hint 14:

Word of your friend's family's fate has been getting around, and a telephone operator in customer service has taken special interest. Paul calls and tells you, "I have been looking through the available data and have a theory. Could there be a connection between the 87 random alpha characters before Merlin's amber infinity and the 87 character primer?"

Hint 15:

A coworker and analyst named Carole has been studying the information gathered so far and has pointed out an interesting trend found in the observations made by the others. "Trent, Merlin, and Paul have all noticed details that appear to be related to an amber infinity. Is there a possibility that lines 19 and 24 of the ciphertext, the primer, and the key are related?"

Hint 16:

Auditors have been hired from Myutsu Mutucsoecul Corporation to verify previous findings for the purpose of utilizing the encryption techniques being studied. Alloy is the investigation leader and seems especially interested in last week's research. "The discovery Merlin made may have been the most valuable clue thus far, and I believe we should explore the connections Carole found."

Hint 17:

One of MMC's auditors has been studying notes from previous weeks and has drawn attention to Trent's theory. "If what he says is true, the encryption table's size would be fifty-two raised to the power of eighty-eight." Cobalt finally blurts outs, "No computer can store 10,192,817,301,005,542,286,466,232,471,675,496,120,406,975,910,800,636,068,660,404,884,973,826,682,736,169,865,768,988,355,997,729,823,378,974,012,695,621,304,952,079,063,967,426,432,230,164,063,584,256 units of data!"

Hint 18:

Another MMC auditor, Blastus, disagrees with Cobalt's conclusion regarding the table believed to exist by the doctor. An alternative interpretation is that if one understands how the instructions should be interpreted and how the resulting table should be used, it may be possible to simulate its function without its construction. Blastus believes that the total space required would probably be less than double the space of the key's pickle.

Hint 19:

Those from Nigrum Gladio have reached out to you again but neglected to include an instruction manual.

E-mail: Show

Hint 20:

Another unread e-mail is in your inbox, and if the subject is any indication of its contents, it might be a self-fulfilling prophecy.

E-mail: Show

Hint 21:

With all the e-mails you have been receiving, one might think that there is a certain theme to all this secrecy and madness.

E-mail: Show

Hint 22:

Your company's chief security expert thinks that the ciphertext characters may be related to each other. While testing the hypothesis is impossible, Mallet believes changing a single ciphertext letter would alter all remaining plaintext letters. His study of mathematics has led him to conclude that there is some type of relationship with Markov chains.

Hint 23:

Charlie, the network administrator at this branch, runs continual automated analysis of all internal traffic and has found an interesting note on his reports. "I don't know much about encryption, but the filters monitoring your case's data have been barkin' at me an electronic codebook tag. The information could potentially be processed in blocks at a time."

Hint 24:

Several new employees were hired last week, and Trudy has quickly adjusted to her role as an information specialist. The time she spent working for Sanguine Shield obviously prepared her well for working on your friend's case, but Charlie's revelation yesterday appeared to come as a shock to her. "If the IV is the first chunk's header, shouldn't we expect approximately A / B chunks where A and B are the lengths of the ciphertext and primer, respectively?"

Hint 25:

Elite Security Consultation And Protection Enterprise was a small company operated by Pat and Vanna Clingan before merging a couple of weeks ago with your employer. Several years prior, ESCAPE established a business relationship with Cumulus Cote and still has limited access to the systems they were responsible for implementing. Pat is going to submit two similar messages to be encrypted by CC's servers so that the results can be analyzed, the process reverse engineered, and the cryptographic technology understood for future application.

Data: Show

Hint 26:

A few seconds after Pat submitted the messages for processing, Vanna was able to retrieve the results produced by yesterday's experiment, but several hiccups were encountered along the way. The first problem comes from the fact that while the plaintext could be sent and the ciphertext received, there was no way to set the keys and primers used during the transaction. It seems that ESCAPE did a better job at security than they remembered because the second problem discovered was the inability to gain read access to the key and primer used to generate the text shown below.

Data: Show

Hint 27:

After working for Shiners' Bait & Pet Store for a few years managing their web site and computer systems, Chuck claims he was bored and wanted to put his black hat skills to work for your company. He was hired two weeks ago and immediately put to work getting up to date on your friend's case while also collaborating with the former members of ESCAPE. After seeing the troubles they had with the key and primer, he quickly went to work infiltrating Cumulus Cote's security and was able to find a few backdoors and exploits that allowed him to recover the following information.

Data: Show

Hint 28:

While talking with one of your coworkers, your computer mentions "you've got mail" in a pleasing voice.

E-mail: Show

Hint 29:

For reasons unknown to you, the people at Egregie Obice still wish to contribute towards your efforts.

E-mail: Show

Hint 30:

Maybe if you can understand this e-mail, you might understand all past, present, and prophetic e-mails.

E-mail: Show

  • 9
    $\begingroup$ For those not in the know, .pickle is python's way to store objects. I tried to unpickle the given data, in all conceivable settings, and all of them gave me a load error on key 'm'. BTW, it is NOT SAFE to unpickle arbitrary data. This can execute ARBITRARY CODE. Only try to unpickle this data on a separated virtual machine, or if you absolutely trust the puzzle author not to install a keylogger on your computer and then act exactly as if there was an error while unpickling. $\endgroup$
    – Lopsy
    Dec 20, 2014 at 14:03
  • 6
    $\begingroup$ After bashing at it for 30 minutes, I don't have any motivation to keep trying random stuff and hoping it comes up English. I think your friend is doomed. Butterfingers. See meta.puzzling.stackexchange.com/a/1718/1752 for a guide to constructing code puzzles more people will want to try. $\endgroup$
    – Lopsy
    Dec 24, 2014 at 0:01
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ @NoctisSkytower This puzzle is getting impossible to solve. You're over complicating this. Just post an answer so we can see how this is done. I'm not going to try and solve every possible encryption standard. $\endgroup$ Jan 19, 2015 at 15:02
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ I'm with @QuyNguyen2013. The key to a successful puzzle is that there's some information gained from a successful step forward. For example, for the ASCII85 string, I got the same result as Quy did, and there's nothing clear to do with the resulting bytes. They're not clearly in the ASCII range, or standard unicode. They don't neatly form pairs. They don't fit in the range of numbers necessary to access a 52x88 matrix. In other words, the decoded bytes are just as useless as the enecoded ones were. $\endgroup$
    – Bobson
    Jan 20, 2015 at 22:00
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ Holy ****, THIRTY hints?!!! $\endgroup$ Feb 25, 2015 at 23:57

4 Answers 4


The puzzle author appears to have come up with their own encryption scheme. It doesn't appear to be documented anywhere, but there is sample code (in python) out there on a different site. Finding that is actually the hardest part since the key and primer needed to decipher the message are both given in the first few hints.


Contained herein are the arguments for and against re-admitting Jay_Darsener into Luceoscutum. Present are Steel01, Administrator of the site; Koballt10, Moderator of Totally Random; Gwythaint, Game Master; Jay_Darsener, the accused; Makosolider and Zero, interested parties in support of the accused.
So verified by: 

With my signature below, I hereby a) verify that all I say is truth, b) verify that any questions asked of me will be answered directly, barring any information that is available to moderators only, c) agree to abide by any and all terms that are established by this meeting, and d) agree to honor these terms not only in word, but in spirit, with the full knowledge that any wrongdoing on either side of this agreement will be punished to the fullest extent of the site rules, to be meted out by moderators and followed through completely (in the event that the Administrator or the Moderator do wrongly, moderators who are not present will mete out the penalty).
To the defense:
By signing below, I hereby state that I am sufficiently represented in this meeting, and feel that I am being defended to the best ability of my representative.

To the prosecution:
By signing below, I hereby state that I am sufficiently represented in this meeting, and feel that I am being just in my challenge of the defendant.

The purpose of the meeting (J) is to discuss why I have not been allowed back on the site/ (S) to find out what has been going on since the original account has been banned until now/ (G) to clear the air and cure the site of ill-will (Z)agrees with G (M) to get the site back to the original intentions--to RP without stress and drama.
"First, addressing history of the account. The two present at the original argument were Steel and Jay. Both need to tell their chronology of the issue." (G)
(S)I do not remember the first post that sparked the whole thing. CP as the Global mod saw something in one of Jay's posts that went against the site rules --content-- that was modified by CP. Jay did not like the edit, and edited out CP's edit without fixing the post for content. A PM was sent about the issue, explaining that editing the mod's posts out without fixing the issue was agains the rules. He fought this. During the week that he was banned, he talked to me a lot, gave some reasons that he wasnted the account permanently removed. The reason that I recall is that his parents don't like fantasy and that he didn't want his parents to see what he had done. Jay said that he would continue causing trouble until he was permanently banned. He kept misbehaving and was banned--this came to a head in the duel with Leben-hoff."
(J)I don't remember everything that happened. There were grievances b/w me and CP. The mods were reevaluating how post counts counted toward titles. I was against post counts counting in GD. I talked to either a mod or Steel. I decided that they weren't going to do anything about it and posted everywhere. CP, noticing this, became picky about everything I did. She cut out one of my posts and edited it into one post. I changed it back. That day, S told me that I had gotten into trouble and was banned for a week. The original ban didn't work; S re-banned me properly. I don't think I posted after that week.
(G) Most of this centers around the argument with CP. Kage also interfered in the duel, which neither of us liked. There was further animosity than just with CP.
(S) Kage stepped down before the final, permanent ban.
(J)did that have anything to do with the duel?
(G) both CP and K were mods. That is the only connection there. With that, general chronology from there. That was in July. S, J, feel free to interrupt. Initially after the ban there was some disgruntlement, but nothing happened either way. Ther e were further difficulties with interactions on the site. This was brought to a head b/c S and the mods were in disagreement over the site about how much power that the mods have. S brought up the mod election idea because we needed to start over (S agrees). J and G saw that the elections might not have CP reelected, and we were happy about that. When the election did come about, CP was still mod. We were pleased that the Global Mod position was eliminated--it granted more freedom, eliminated the hierarchy idea among the mods; they were players, not just GODMODS. Fall semester, J had another account. He was trying to keep under cover b/c he knew that he would be insta-banned. When (S) found out, he asked me to find out what his new name is. I asked, I was informed that J was on, but he did not tell me what account it is. After that, I was told by J that teh.bob was not the name. After that, I did not push, hoping it would die. After fall semester, it did die a bit.
(J)last semester I approached S and I asked for Jay to be resurrected. At that point, I would stop sneaking around behind everyone's back. He told me that it was the mod's opinion that Jay was dead. The only way I could do retribution would be to reveal my other screen name--S would bring it before the mods for review and maybe allow me to get back on later. (S--not so much allowed back on, but we would not hunt him down and ban him instantly. If he came to us and tried to work with us, he would talk about allowing the new account to stay.) (K agrees)
(G) Interterm, it has been the same discussion.
(S) Other than that, there is 2nd and 3rd hand rumor that during the mod elections that J and G were actively talking to people, trying to curve the elections/get rid of the old mod team. 
(G) yes, J and I did get together, we were pleased with the prospect of getting rid of CP as Global Mod. We wanted the position of GloMod to be eliminated, and it was. We considered it a success.
(K) I know this, he talked to me about it before I was a mod.
(S) have there been any attempts to remove anyone else as mod?
(J) no, Kage was annoying, but that is it. (G agrees)
(J) my parents have now stated that it is all right that I am on the forum. They were confused at first, had some skewed details about the site, but their opinions have changed since they found out what the site is about.
(S) IS the account you are currently using teh.bob?
(J) I will tell you (S) in secret to protect my anonymity.
(Z) the admin will be informed, I am okay with that.
(M) so far everything has been accurate as far as I know. I want this resolved as fast as possible.
(G) the primary difficulty is the other account, and whisperings behind the scenes. It sounds like more than just going through the back door to getto the site itself. There's whispering, discussion, chatting with newbies who have joined saying don't trust these people, interact with these people, etc., poisoning the site, specifically the old mods. 
(J) I don't remember whispering to people about this other than about CP.
(G) was this after CP?
(J) yes, I was was warning them about her temper.
(G) was there anything like "Watch out for xx, not just CP."
(J) I told people to be careful about double posting. That was it."
(S)You, Z, told people in the chat that the mods would get people in trouble for any disagreement with them. Where did they hear that?
(K) we had a bti of a bicker/play argument.
(Z) we were having an argument abotu sheep being dumb. I gave my bible perspective, and you said that sheep are not stupid. You defended them, and expressed that on previous sites, that because on other sites arguments rose. I have seen an argument starting. I thought, I want peace, I will not force my opinion does not mattter in the long run. Seeing an argument growing, I sat back and shut down the argument, showing that I am under the authority of the site. (K agrees) If they find that I am breaking a rule, I accept their judgment. To answer S's question, before coming to the site, I was aware of the issue with J. I understand that issues can be generated between Mods and players. I was trying to cover myself. I don't think that there's anything wrong with that, especially with new people. Call me over-protective.
(S) when that happens, we don't ban or do moderation on small offenses.
(G) J and I have had negative interactions with CP. Other than that, I have had mods PM me about problems, and they have helped me. They wield the sword, and they do their duty, but they do so graciously. Aside from one or two interactions, they have been pleasant. Aside from that, Jay is the only one to be banned permanently. At this point, others have been warned. There seems to be a disconnect because at first the ban was voluntary, but tensions have grown.
(S) from the mods perspective, there was no voluntary on the ban--even if he agreed with it, it was going to happen.
(J) from what I recall, by the end of the week, I was permanently banned.
(S) when was the new account made? Or the second account?
(J) about 2 or three weeks after I was banned
(S) and your parents
(J) a day after they were okay with it, I signed back up.
(S) then why didn[t that come up before when he was asking for J to come back?

(J) it was because you told me people didn't want me back, mods were mad, you told me that I was causing trouble.
(S) you cause trouble with one mod, you get trouble from all.
(J) I learned to stay in RP sections, and not GD and TR. 
(M) I think people are putting too much stock and emotional time into TR, GD, and chat. It irks me when people cause issues, when there sholdn't be an issue there. Chars can argue, but when people argue, there's problems. It's not what all of us joined Luceo for. I almost see the arguments as a roadblock to what we came here for. 
(Z) It seems that to me from J's perspective, he was banned voluntarily, and that the mods banned him whether or not it was voluntary.

(m) about banning: ban the username, but not the person. Imagine if you couldn't be your fav. char ever again. I can see user names dying, but I can't see breaking internet anon to reban someone for who they are because you're mad at them as a person. 
(S) something that does need to be considered is that when people start breaking laws, not governing themselves, the admin needs to step in. When people cause probelms appropriate measures need to be taken.


The message body of the hints are all numbers, written in various bases. When expressed in a different base with each digit mapped to a different character to reveal the message.

Hint 1

Convert the base 10 number to base 27, using the characters " abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz" for digits 0-26 gives:

eve will send audio

The attachment should be useful later on.

Hint 2

Same as hint 1, except you're give hex digits for a base 256 number. After getting that in base 27 I got:

sorry for the garbled audio but frank might send key data tomorrow

In case you couldn't tell the attachment was garbled.

Inquisitive got a good start on the attachment already. Spaces, punctuation, word length, and capitalization are all preserved, only the alphanumeric characters a jumbled. Here is the full text

Contained herein are the arguments for and against re-admitting Jay_Darsener into Luceoscutum. Present are Steel01, Administrator of the site; Koballt10, Moderator of Totally Random; Gwythaint, Game Master; Jay_Darsener, the accused; Makosolider and Zero, interested parties in support of the accused.

It's worth noting that this is very likely the first line of the encrypted audio (hint 8 points this out too). Word length and punctuation match perfectly. Ya! partial plaintext.

Hint 3

In case you don't recognize this as ASCII85 hint 6 will tell you so. Converting to base 27 just like the first 2 emails gives:

you need to research markov encryption to decode the message

I'm familiar with Markov chaining, but not encryption. That chapter appears to be missing from my copy of Applied Cryptography.

As for the attachment, it's not a real pickle, it's a 88x52 matrix already. Each line has a-zA-Z randomized with no repeated digits on a line.

You can stop here with the hints, nothing else given is all that useful.

Hint 10

Bases got switched, after some trial and error, I found base 38 worked with " abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz\n0123456789." and got:

number representation and value are separate
they are shown in base x with x or more symbols
values have not a base
base 16 may be shown in base 256 and base 256 in base 27

Hint 11

Using base 38 I get something almost useful.

would a base 85 number be stored as characters or bytes
something is a kind of clay used as a building material
the building material is typically in the form of sun dried bricks
what is the key word

The attachment doesn't decode to anything meaningful in base 26 or 38, or any base between 26 and 128 if the initial character mapping stays the same.

Hint 12

Hint 11 points out you should use the Adobe implementation of ASCII85 to decode the messages.

an attachment contains this message 3 times
each is encrypted with the primers and keys

Hint 19

Bases switched to 65 this time and converting to plain text got a little more complicated. The first 39 characters of the decode string are the same, but after that you need to add 56 and convert that number to to an ASCII character.

from our past 7 weeks of analysis
we have concluded there is a 99.9
percent chance that an unfamiliar
method of encryption was utilized
to secure the transcript for your

Hint 20

while working with ng and attacking the systems at ls
we have found that me works with individual bytes. do
not try solving this using unicode. ascii encoding is
probably your best choice. chars should be printable.

Hint 21

our associates are learning more and more about markov encryption
but some of them have not caught on to a simple fact. the process
works on what we call targeted bytes. when a byte is not targeted
it passes through the process without being changed. each byte of
interest may be changed into any other targeted byte. until then.

  • $\begingroup$ Incredible work! However, the reward to solving the puzzle is still located in payload.me. Over the coming weeks, information will be released to see who gets to claim the three game codes. $\endgroup$ Feb 9, 2015 at 20:38
  • $\begingroup$ I have no idea how you managed to actually make sense out of all this, but very well done! $\endgroup$
    – Bobson
    Mar 13, 2015 at 15:19
  • $\begingroup$ Justice and Fairness: Part 2 is relatively complete, and the way is clear to claim the final prize. $\endgroup$ Mar 25, 2015 at 17:51
  • $\begingroup$ These look like the court proceedings of an Internet forum. $\endgroup$
    – user88
    Mar 27, 2015 at 16:56
  • $\begingroup$ What sort of Internet forum executes its members? Or is that just a metaphor for banning? $\endgroup$
    – user88
    Mar 27, 2015 at 16:58


From Hint 4:

Insert "338531339395984130673279936 in base 27" into Wolfram Alpha and get a Base 27 number, 5:22:5:0:23:9:12:12:0:19:5:14:4:0:1:21:4:9:15.

Translate this into letters (e.g. 5->E, 22->V, 0->space), and I get "EVE WILL SEND AUDIO".


From Hint 2: Partial Translation?

Cotanneih dreeia rnt hee rgumeatsn ofa rda naigstr na dmietitnJ ayg_aDrseenr itoL ucenocusumt. rPensae erS tteld01, miAnisratoert tf osh etei; Kballto10, deMaoortf oT taorlRy nlomad; Gwtyhnati, Gema sMrtea; aDa_rseerJne, ahc yseuctM; ksdaoiodral eZe oidn, tnreresepr ttidase sn iuproft te pcc husoead.

Contained herein are the arguments for and against readmitting J ay_aDrseenr itoL ucenocusumt. Present are S teld01, miAnisratoert tf osh etei; Kballto10, deMaoortf oT taorlRy nlomad; Gwtyhnati, Gema sMrtea; aDa_rseerJne, ahc yseuctM; ksdaoiodral eZe oidn, tnreresepr ttidase sn iuproft te pcc husoead.

From Hint 5:

02 90 B2 9A E9 D0 8B D7 60 39 61 1B 07 85 92 1F B8 F2 E3 44 ED 95 A4 6C C9 A9 09 43 A3 99 DA 32 78 DC 35 CF E0 8B 24 82

The result I get from converting (at WolframAlpha) the base 16 representation to base 256:


We'll need to put our heads together on this problem people. Just keep building on the work others provide. It'll come together.

  • $\begingroup$ Your progress is impressive! The answer you posted before your first edit was a step in the right direction. It might help if you incorporate McMagister's work with your own. $\endgroup$ Jan 27, 2015 at 15:37
  • $\begingroup$ How did you get the partial translation? $\endgroup$ Feb 6, 2015 at 21:13
  • $\begingroup$ @QuyNguyen2013 You may not believe this, but I got it simply by staring at it for quite a while. $\endgroup$ Feb 7, 2015 at 0:57

Hint 12:

ASCII85 to Hex to ASCII

wVÒ­Â&ì~*÷X/ô,@=27t-òFpµv=2Qõ¼Ïnïo4 giñO?
ú2Rܬmë÷s#%]Zao«º·k;;|iªRÊ>ð.g³¹Óµ[email protected].%/??FèÊî¤dàI(Ûo¢Ü½
s ?Ei¸gfjÔ¿Myþx_ÞxI{Z¡u³'>

  • $\begingroup$ Hints 4 - 6 are about changing bases. How would you apply hint 4 to hint 5? $\endgroup$ Feb 6, 2015 at 18:56
  • $\begingroup$ @NoctisSkytower But this is Hint 12 $\endgroup$ Feb 6, 2015 at 19:05
  • $\begingroup$ You will want to solve hint 2 first. All of the e-mails have a theme of rewriting numbers from one base into another of a certain representation. Some hints might be misleading unless they are paired with another. $\endgroup$ Feb 6, 2015 at 19:51

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