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Games. Tech. Musings.

Games offline and online. Technology. Random stuff.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Axon Murderers?

The hard puzzle at the moment in ILB is the Axon puzzle on the links page.

Here's the background. On August 10th, the links page was updated with a list of what looked like GPS coordinates, 2 per line with 110 lines. There's a caption reading "Axons Go Hot", with a countdown to the same time as the main page countdown - i.e. Tuesday August 24th. All the points when plotted out turned out to be within the continental U.S., with some in urban areas and some in the middle of nowhere. Shortly afterwards the same day, one of the points that was in the ocean got moved back inland.

On August 13th, an email is received from the mysterious AI named the Sleeping Princess. It says that "the Queen has been ordering [the Widow] to build the most extraordinary number of little roads out from the castle" and that "the Widow had built one path mindlessly straight INTO THE SEA".

On August 24th, the page updates again. Some of the points have moved - 10 are missing. All of them are now specified to 6 decimal places instead of the previous 4. There's a monotonically increasing time associated with each coordinate.

There's two schools of thought on this being espoused on the Unfiction puzzle forum. One has it that this is some sort of puzzle which should be solved. The other has it that something will physically happen at that time at each location.

I'm of the puzzle school of thought. As I mentioned earlier, the initial analysis I did is here.

As to the actual form of the puzzle and the significance of the "roads out from the castle", the best theory I saw yet was deep in the middle of a 24-page thread over at Unforums by Extrasonic.

So, to incorporate all four of the clues you've listed plus your spec that fewer and fewer points are important, I'll suggest that D.C. is the location of the Castle (since D.C. is the first coordinate and arguably - http://forums.unfiction.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=5654 - where Melissa is) and each D.C. coordinate is the start of a road. Each point that immediately precedes a D.C. coordinate (plus the very last coordinate) is an endpoint of a road.

The only snag is, how do we get from this set of coordinates to something useful, ideally a list of websites? Very unclear. IP addresses would be enough, so perhaps the puzzle ends up boiling down to a complex transformation which ends up with standard quad-byte IP addresses.

There appears to be an awful lot of people who are content to put their feet up till the 24th and see what happens. I'm worried that the thing that happens will be a "Bzzzt. You lose." scenario where we didn't solve the puzzle in time and we're just presented with the answer so that the story can move on. I for one would be a little sad if that were to happen.

I'm guessing noone will solve the puzzle by tomorrow, so I'm predicting another hint - possibly tidying up more coordinates but very likely another email - tomorrow, since those crazy people over at the 'Soft seem to like to do minor updates on Friday. For whatever reason.


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