6
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You are a renowned paleobiologist who travels the world and evaluates recent discoveries. You recently were contracted to fly to Jakarta University and check in with one of their researchers. You eventually meet with the man, Sukarno, who claims to be on the verge of an incredible discovery. You ask him for details, but he tells you he believes that he is being watched and that someone is trying to steal and publish his findings before he does. Sukarno insists that all discussion about the case be done in code, lest his work for the past 47 years be robbed or trashed. With some consternation, you acquiesce to his demand, primarily because your trip to this island is all expenses paid.

Sukarno guides you into a closed office with a desk and two chairs. On the desk are a pair of computers. Once you have both taken a seat, he hands you a sequence of six pictures with numbers scrawled in marker on them.

First:

First in sequence

Second:

second...

Third:

third. Should I have included the animal tag?

Fourth:

fourth. why are you reading this?

Fifth:

fifth. I didn't think of any good clues to put back here

Sixth:

sixth. all of the names are the common names. the Wikipedia page uses the scientific name here. Sorry for any confusion

On the monitor, a shared document has been left open. It reads: %9:D :D 9@H H6 H:== E2=< E@ 6249 @E96C H96?6G6C H6 2C6 5:D4FDD:?8 E96 42D6] p== @7 E96 ?F>36CD 2E E96 3@EE@> @7 6249 A:4EFC6 8@ E@86E96C] tG6CJE9:?8 @? E96 A:4EFC6D :D 6?4@565] x ?665 J@F E@ 7:8FC6 @FE H92E ?F>36CWDX 36=@?8 2E E96 3@EE@> @7 E96 D:IE9 A:4EFC6 2?5 E@ :56?E:7J E96 A2EE6C? xVG6 7@F?5]

You're pretty sure by this point that Sukarno is crazy and has not made a meaningful discovery. However, you are paid handsomely by the hour and are a bit of a cryptography enthusiast. As such, you're willing to take the time needed to solve this puzzle.

Thankful that you have unrestricted internet access and that Sukarno can only see what you are doing on the shared document page, you begin your task.

Hint1:

You start to ask him a question aloud before he scowls and shushes you. He quickly types: Do you want to risk Ruining Or Tarnishing 47 years of labor? Please stick to this code when communicating with me!

Hint2:

You sigh with exasperation and type loudly, E96 4@56 @? E96 A:4EFC6D :D?VE E96 @?6 J@F 28C665 FA@?] Sukarno apologizes before responding, :E :D ;FDE Q=@42= 92?5HC:E:?8Q]

Hint3:

In your frustration, you type in English: Your precautions have gotten ridiculous, I'm not even sure what these numbers are supposed to be! Sukarno points at the first pair of digits in the top left of each picture. He then types, u:CDE =6EE6C @7 E96 2?:>2=VD ?2>6] tG6CJE9:?8 27E6C E92E 2E E96 E@A @7 E96 A:4EFC6 :D 9@H >2?J =6EE6CD 2C6 :? E96 ?2>6] }@ DJ>3@=D @C DA246D]

Hint4:

Sukarno seems unwilling to disclose any additional clues, so you open a notepad document and carefully type out what it is you need to do.
1. Identify the cipher he insisted that I use, "Cipher A"
2. Use "Cipher A" to decode the message in the shared document.
3. Identify the cipher used on the pictures. What island were we on again and what was that about handwriting? Whatever it is, it is "Cipher B".
4. Use "Cipher B" to decode the numbers on the pictures. It looks like I get a letter and some numbers at the top. At the bottom, I usually get a three digit number except for the fifth one. I do not know how many digits the final picture requires.
5. Identify the animals in the pictures. It looks like all of these were ripped from Wikipedia pages of extinct animals.
6. Figure out what the pattern is between the decoded numbers at the bottom of each picture.
7. Identify what the last number I need is.
8. Encrypt that number using "Cipher B".
9. Finally, since I can only talk to Sukarno on this shared doc, I need to encrypt both the *rule of the pattern (or even just identify what the number corresponds to)* and the *"Cipher B"-encrypted answer* using "Cipher A".

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  • $\begingroup$ "...you are paid handsomely by the hour and are a bit of a cryptography enthusiast. As such, you're willing to take the time needed to solve this puzzle." made me think "Huh, getting paid to solve puzzles on Puzzling.SE would sure be something!" $\endgroup$ – Dorrulf Dec 7 '18 at 18:58
3
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This should be the full answer! In order by each piece of Hint 4:

1:

From the bolded letters in Hint 1, he is using ROT-47 cipher ("Cipher A").

2:

The message in the shared document is:
"This is how we will talk to each other whenever we are discussing the case. All of the numbers at the bottom of each picture go together. Everything on the pictures is encoded. I need you to figure out what number(s) belong at the bottom of the sixth picture and to identify the pattern I've found."

3:

The city of Jakarta, Indonesia is located on the island of Java. The programming language of the same name uses ASCII to identify character values. Therefore, the cipher used on the pictures is ASCII ("Cipher B").

4.

The numbers on the pictures are as follows:
1. Top: W, 6; Bottom: 3, 3, 6
2. Top: S, 7; Bottom: 2, 8, 8
3. Top: T, 9; Bottom: 1, 6, 2
4. Top: Q, 6; Bottom: 1, 9, 2
5. Top: P, 1, 2; Bottom: 0
6. Top: N, 1, 4

5.

The animals in the pictures are:
1. Warrah (starts with W, 6 letters long)
2. Sea mink (S, 7)
3. Thylacine (T, 9)
4. Quagga (Q, 6)
5. Pyrenean ibex (P, 12)
6. Nelson's rice rat (N, 14)

6.

The numbers at the bottom of each picture are the numbers that are reached when you multiply each digit in the year of each animal's extinction.
1. 1876: 1*8*7*6 = 336
2. 1894: 1*8*9*4 = 288
3. 1936: 1*9*3*6 = 162
4. 1883: 1*8*8*3 = 192
5. 2000: 2*0*0*0 = 0

7.

The last number you need is based off of the extinction year of the Nelson's rice rat, which is 1897. This is 1*8*9*7 = 504.

8.

504 encrypted into ASCII is 53 48 52.

9. The message you should send to Sukarno is:

%96 ?F>36C 4@CC6DA@?5D E@ :ED p$rxx G2=F6] %96 >:DD:?8 ?F>36CD 2C6 db cg da]
(The number corresponds to its ASCII value. The missing number is 53 48 52.)

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  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Correct. x H2D D9@@E:?8 7@C Qy2G2D4C:AEQ 2D r:A96C q[ 3FE 6?E:C6=J 7@C8@E E92E p$rxx 6?4@5:?8 H2D 32D:42==J :56?E:42=] qC2G@] $\endgroup$ – Arpeggio Dec 7 '18 at 19:03
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ *6A[ y2G2$4C:AE H@F=5 567:?:E6=J H@C< E@@] }:46 AFKK=6[ x C62==J 6?;@J65 :EP $\endgroup$ – Meerkat Dec 7 '18 at 19:52
4
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This is a partial answer, as I figure out more I will update it.

The images are as follows:

1:

The first image is of the Falkland Island Wolf (or Fox) [became extinct in 1876] edit -> also known as a warrah [hint this is the one we needed]

2:

The second image is of the Sea Mink [extinct in 1894]

3:

the Third image is of the Tasmanian Tiger (or Wolf) [became extinct in 1936]
edit - also called a Thylacine [hint this is the one we needed]

4:

The fourth image is of the Quagga (extinct in 1883)

5:

The fifth image is of the Pyrenean ibex [extinct in 2000]

6:

The last image is of Nelsons Rice Rat

from hint #1:

The emphasis suggest that we use ROT-47 to decode the interactions between the two

from hint #2: [ignore this if your looking for the ans]

'local handwriting' is probably Malay (since we are in Jakarta)

hint #3 tells us:

First letter of the animal's name. Everything after that at the top of the picture is how many letters are in the name. No symbols or spaces.

Now this seems to cause some issues as: [ignore this if your looking for the ans]

for the first image Falkland Islands Wolf has 87 54 -> 8 : 7 5 4
F is 7 in ROT-47, and is otherwise the 6th letter so I get stuck here (well that and the number of letters in each word do not match up)
BUT malay is read/written right to left so then we have:
87 54 -> 5: 8 7 4 and now this fits Falkland Islands Wolf if we take the alphabet to be 0 indexed
but this fails for others like so - #3 Tasmanian Tiger - 84 57 -> 5: 8 4 7 or for even the Quagga - 81 54 :(

Now for hint #4:

#1 Cipher A is ROT-47
#2 The message is the shared document is :

This is how we will talk to each other whenever we are discussing the case. All of the numbers at the bottom of each picture go together. Everything on the pictures is encoded. I need you to figure out what number(s) belong at the bottom of the sixth picture and to identify the pattern I've found.

#3 is from hint #3 - First letter of the animal's name. Everything after that at the top of the picture is how many letters are in the name. No symbols or spaces.
#4 is where i get stuck
#5 is provided in my work
cant proceed since im stuck on #4

-----------------------------EDITS-----------------------------

Ok first off I did too much overthinking its much easier than I was making it out to be (partly my fault with the names I chose)

So first off, back to Hint #3 which I messed up:

looking at the first image we have:

87 and 54 - the letter in the 87th index (or 40th index) of ROT-47 is w and then 54-47 = 7 if you start with numbers 6 is in 7th index (because of 0) this fits with warrah

looking at the second image we have:

83 and 55 - the letter in the 83th index is s and 55 - 47 = 8 -> 7
sea mink starts with s and has 7 letters (so this works)

now looking at the third image:

84 and 57 - the letter in the 84th index is t and 57 -47 = 10 -> 9
Thylacine starts with T and has 9 letters

looking at the fourth image:

81 and 54 - the letter in the 81st index is q and 54 -47 = 7 -> 6
Quagga starts with Q and has 6 letters

moving on to the fifth image:

80, 49 and 50 - the letter in the 80th index is p and 49, 50 - 47 = 2, 3 -> 1,2 -> 12
Pyrenean ibex starts with P and has 12 letters

finally looking at the last image:

78, 49 and 52 - the letter in the 78th index is n and 49,52 gets us 14
Nelsons Rice Rat starts with N and has 14 letters

Now since we know that the format fits we can look at figuring out what the numbers on the bottom mean. (stopping here for now)

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  • $\begingroup$ This is a great answer! For the record, the local language could also be r13(Onunfn Vaqbarfvn), which thanks to a trivia competition I participated in a while ago, stands out as a painful memory of either being the same language or different as r13(Znynl)..... (this is entirely me griping though) ;p $\endgroup$ – El-Guest Dec 7 '18 at 12:00
  • $\begingroup$ @El-Guest I'm hoping that we don't need extensive knowledge of either of them to solve this question as i'm not familiar with either of them $\endgroup$ – Karan Shishoo Dec 7 '18 at 12:03
  • $\begingroup$ I’m thinking you’re fine without it since there’s no language tag. Whenever I see either of those two languages I get bad flashbacks haha, that’s all! $\endgroup$ – El-Guest Dec 7 '18 at 13:00
  • $\begingroup$ @casualcoder q67@C6 J@F 8@ E@@ 72C 5@H? E96 C233:E 9@=6[ x H2?E E@ =6E J@F <?@H E92E |2=2J :D ?@E H92E H2D >62?E 3J Q=@42=Q @C Q:D=2?5 92?5HC:E:?8Q] *@F 92G6 A2CD65 E96 ?F>36CD :?4@CC64E=J :? E96 D64@?5 DA@:=6C 27E6C J@FC 5:D4FDD:@? @7 9:?E b] xE :D gf dc[ ?@E g fdc] *@F 92G6 E96 C:89E 2?:>2=[ 3FE HC@?8 4@5:?8] w:?E a H:== 7:I J@FC AC@3=6>D E96C6] #6C625 :E 42C67F==J] *@F 92G6 E96 4@CC64E 2?:>2=D 7@C 2== @7 E96>[ 3FE HC@?8 ?2>6D 7@C ` U b] }@E DFC6 H96E96C E9:D H:== >2E6C:2==J :>A24E J@FC AC@8C6DD D@ xV> 36:?8 42FE:@FD 2?5 A@:?E:?8 :E @FE] Otherwise, good work so far. $\endgroup$ – Arpeggio Dec 7 '18 at 15:53
  • $\begingroup$ @Arpeyji thanks for the clarifications, I will leave my current work up if I make more edits so other people don't jump down the same path as me and get lost. also great puzzle! $\endgroup$ – Karan Shishoo Dec 7 '18 at 17:02

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