It all started out with this post on the investigation board: A Clue For Tomorrow?
Aside from containing the usual daily passcodes, what it announced was much more intriguing.
It’s not too difficult to find the actual portal, but notice there has been a clock added to the portal image, indicating – combined with “evening” mentioned – a time frame between 17:00 and 19:00 local time (Sat 22:00 to Sun 00:00 UTC).
Ground teams were assembled.
Decoders and portal hunters were standing at the ready.
Then, suddenly, at 21:11 UTC the message came through: “@all Puzzles in New York missions”
Fortunately, one trick Niantic played was identified very early.
Out of the self-organizing chaos and information flood that ensued across Hangouts and Google Docs, the answers and resulting passphrases emerged:
Shortly after 22:00 UTC the mission passphrases could be relayed back to New York.
What came back provided another challenge (but also not too little amusement):
Media hacked from those portals lead to the puzzle (the right side is North and South combined):
Carefully trace which colour is “flowing” into which box on the bottom and use subtractive colour mixing. (So Yellow mixed with Blue becomes Green.)
Split up in interleaving halves again to get the passphrases for the mission to continue,
The mission could move on, tasking decoders with:
Dissecting the task, it became clear, that all bits of information retrieved so far had to be used at this point.
The nature of the New York missions so far had been strongly interleaved, with each mission giving clues needed to continue the other.
In addition, agents reported back all descriptions encountered, among those:
- “Keyword R: pac — Enter Keyword Q to proceed”
- “Keyword Q: olw — Enter Keyword R to proceed”
- “the sum of all things unlocks what comes next”
Structurally, the provided puzzles can be divided into 3 parts
– 3 letters Q and R, superscripted with digits
– 5 symbols from 1-5 and A-E
– a portrait image
Now, the information gained from the missions is:
– Keyword Q is olw and keyword R is pac
– Collecting all the indexed fields from the previous puzzles yields this mapping:
– Those are images of Susanna and Klue
– take “3 over R”, for example, to mean “take the 3rd letter of keyword R (pac)” and similar.
– change the 5 following characters according to the mapping
– add the name
Resulting in the passcodes (which are fully redeemed by now):
The two resulting passcodes produced media items pointing to the following enciphered texts:
Around 23:30 UTC, after a quick OCR – and a little less quick fixing of OCR errors – the final message could be decoded:
Note how word lengths and spacings of both messages match perfectly.
Using one message as a Vigenere key to decrypt the other yields the message from TECTHULHU:
I HAVE EXISTED IN POSSIBILITY FOR ALL TIME. I AM
THE SUM OF ALL POSSIBILITIES. I AM THE NEXUS POINT
BETWEEN THE PLANES. I AM THE ONE TO BE SUMMONED. I
AM THE ONE WHO SUMMONS. I GROW IN MINDS AS AN
IDEA. I CAN BE EXPRESSED IN A MILLION DIFFERENT
WAYS IN A MILLION DIFFERENT TIMES AND SPACES. I AM
UBIQUITOUS AND I AM VOID. I AM THAT WHICH BINDS. I
AM THAT WHICH DIVIDES. I AM IDEA. YOU ARE TO MAKE
ME ROCK OR WOOD OR FLESH OR WIRE OR LIGHT. I AM
AGNOSTIC TO MEDIUM. YOU MUST BUILD ME. YOU MUST
KNOW MY POWER. KNOW MY ANGELS. KNOW MY OPERATIVES.
YOU MUST KNOW THESE THINGS TO KNOW ME. I AM THE
TRANSLATOR. I AM THE VOICE. I AM THE EARS. IVE
BEEN KNOWN BY MANY NAMES. I HAVE BEEN SEEN BY THE
ANCIENTS. I HAVE BEEN BUILT BY THOSE WHO HAVE YET
TO LIVE. I HAVE BEEN ETCHED ON THE WALLS OF CAVES.
I HAVE BEEN DRAWN BY HANDS DRIVEN BY MINDS OF
GENIUS. I HAVE BEEN FASHIONED BY APES. I HAVE BEEN
FASHIONED BY RANDOM CHANCE. I AM FRAGILE AND I AM
ETERNAL. I AM OBDURATE. I AM FRAGILE. I AM AN
ENIGMA TO MOST. KNOWN TO FEW. I AM A BLESSING. I
AM A CURSE. I AM PILGRIM. I AM DIETY. I AM TECTH-
ULHU. I AM THE MEDIUM. I AM THE MESSAGE. I DO NOT
EXIST IN TIME. SOMETIMES I DO NOT EXIST AT ALL. I
AM AN IDEA WAITING TO BECOME MANIFEST. I AM MANI-
FEST WAITING TO BECOME AN IDEA.
Thanks and congratulations to all teams on the ground in New York and those assisting with decoding, portal hunting, collecting, filtering, and relaying all information involved.