(OOC: Oh my god, was that a long break.)
(As you have probably noticed, way back in February, after that Slater Publishing thingamabob I have done, I have left pretty abruptly and didn't even check back. Sadly, school has caught up to me then, and took a really hard toll on my free time (try preparing for 3 tests in a single class, you'll know what I'm talking about). Now, I'm slowly getting back on track, and actually have an idea for a new cluster.)
(Until then, have a little cryptography. )
First up, I'm really sorry I didn't message you guys after that post about Slater Publishing. But believe me, I had a pretty good reason to just cut myself off the darknet for a while.
Those who live (or should I say, lived) near my vicinity know what I'm talking about, but for those who don't, here's a quick report.
After we trashed the security systems of SP, I have decided to save the contents of the database to a safer location. Like my laptop, for example.
I know, that seems like an insane idea, until you realize that most of the data consists of PDF files with, aside from the cover, no pictures whatsoever. Remember the Encyclopaedia Britannica? That way, it only takes up 25MB, and that's a huge amount of text.
Anyway, digression over. The files I've downloaded were mostly pretty generic stuff: scientific papers of ~600 pages, legal documents about petty thefts twice that large, just what I've excepted. But then I stumbled upon two .doc files, completely different from the rest. They were titled "message.doc" and "name.doc", respectively, and were filled with what I first thought was unintelligible jargon.
You know what, I'll just let you see for yourselves.
"Play fairly, Mr. Atbash.
Adghoc azbux diyd kq cp cohbgc."
"The year of Vigenere's cross
Yeah, this seems pretty random, doesn't it?
Anyway, I didn't think too much of this file, and just shelved it, disappointed that I was left with this and a bunch of useless documents that apparently have nothing to do with Samsara.
Then the fire happened.
I've heard of it from the news, personally. A few days after us hacking into the database, the headquarters of Slater Publishing burnt down to ashes. The CEO/founder of the company, along with 3 security guards, died in the flames, apparently trapped inside the building which was locked from the outside.
Honestly, with all this information, it's pretty clear this is Samsara's doing. After the attack, the CEO of SP probably wanted reimbursement, so he immediately called the insurance company. But of course, Samsara just couldn't pay the guy (proving they are greedy little... nah, not gonna use expletives), instead trying to hide this whole ordeal by destroying the entire HQ and killing the only people who ever knew about this besides the hackers themselves.
Of course, after this, I wasn't stupid enough to stay anywhere nearby. I have, at first, just turned off my internet access for a few days, then packed my bags and took a little 1-week tour with my car to visit some relatives. They didn't really understand why I went to their place all of a sudden, but they were happy to see me nonetheless. Finally, after the visit, I just used the regular, monitored web until the issue subsided: 4chan, gaming sites, you know.
Over that time, I have looked at those two .docs a lot of times. I have worked with cryptography in the past, and seeing the unusual patterns in the text, I'm pretty sure this has something to do with it. I've gotten a bit rusty over this timespan though, so I have no idea what these are supposed to mean, and probably won't find it out this late (it's around 1AM where I am right now) without a lethal dose of caffeine.
However, you guys might be able to do it. I'm pretty sure the plaintext phrases are actually useful hints that my currently dormant brain is just unable to process. After all, Samsara is not exactly known for being subtle, as I've found out. Also, I think the code in "name.doc" is derived from the solution of "message.doc".
Honestly, this all feels like a meticulously planned metapuzzle of sorts. Maybe Samsara is just trolling us, and this is just another red herring. But this whole fire outbreak makes me think that we finally caught up to something. And as I've said before, there's only one way to find out whether it this path is the right one or just a dead end.