Belatedly, a brief report. A rather elaborate scavenger hunt was held in Vienna on 15 July, 2006 to celebrate my daughter’s 17th birthday. Besides Beta, roughly half a dozen of her friends took part. The hunt took them to about ten interesting locations around Vienna.
Behind the scenes, roughly half a dozen of my friends took part. Maybe more. Maybe seventeen, actually. And those are just the people who signed up at the forum that was created to plot the game. But ganging up on the kids like that was fair, because the kids are all brilliant, and I’m not, and you know, weakest link etc etc. I’d guess more than 20 people helped out behind the scenes.
So you had this big gang of talented people working hard since April to put this scavenger hunt together.
I’m losing the thread here.
So, anyway, the facts:
About a week before the day of the hunt, Beta was visited by a stranger at her place of employment, who gave her a package to give to another person, who he told her would pick it up the following day. He was such a good actor that she readily took the package.
Later that night, she received a text message from Australia (this was an international team, by the way, from California to Australia, to half a dozen European countries) ostensibly from the woman informing her that she had accidentally gone to Australia instead of Austria and to open the package herself.
Inside was a blank journal and a couple blank scraps of paper. The journal was a present. The scraps, when heated, provided a URL of a blank page. Hidden in the source code was a message, ROT-13 encoded and written backwards.
Beta and her team quickly decoded the message, by hand, not using any of the many online tooks I had expected they would use.
About this time Beta started receiving dozens of postcards from around the world warning her off her hunt. Some included hidden messages, and other red herrings. Some were in Russian or other foreign languages.
[End of Part I. Part II tomorrow]